When Yograj Singh was given a free run to spew venom against Hindus and use outrageous language against women at one of the farmers’ protest sites during the early days of their Delhi siege, many realised that the driving force behind the agitations was not farm-related issues, but a deep-seated hatred of a sizable chunk of Khalistan-proponents against India, and Hindus. Pussyfooting around the issue will serve no purpose. It is of immediate need that whatever-little support the ridiculous idea of Khalistan has within Indian Sikhs is addressed. In the entirety of the piece, I will be speaking mainly about Indian Sikhs alone. What the diaspora of some anti-India Sikhs (those in foreign nations) do is none of my business. They are neither Indians nor do I consider them Sikhs.
Why? Because of the simple fact that those in foreign countries know nothing about India, and have inflated opinions of the country being no safe place for Sikhs. It is for this very reason that Khalistanis in countries like the US, Canada, UK, and Australia take to attacking Indian nationalists at the drop of a hat. During a recent ‘Tiranga and Maple rally’ in Canada’s Brampton, for instance, Khalistanis attacked members of the Indian diaspora, telling them to “Go and drink cow’s urine.” TFI recently reported about how a man came on a podcast being live-hosted by BBC and slurred Narendra Modi and his mother with abhorrent language. In Australia’s Sydney, prior to the farmers’ agitation even beginning, Harris Park witnessed a bloody brawl after a Khalistani sympathiser took to TikTok to post anti-India videos which were strongly objected by a Haryanvi, resulting in a bloody brawl ending with the main culprit, Jassi getting gravely injured. The minds of such Sikhs are infested with extremism and Hindu-hatred.
So, to hell with some Khalistanis in other countries. Our concern should be Indian Sikhs, who have a lot to get busy with. There are fundamental societal faults existent within the Indian Sikh community. Let no one get up and tell me that I have no right to speak so openly about these faults because I am a part of the community which is currently a victim of the narrative being set by a cocktail of extremists, leftists, political forces and of course, Khalistanis. The levels of misinformation floating around are astronomical and any layman would fall into the vicious trap if not counselled thoroughly otherwise.
Let us talk about some faults within the Sikh community, which if not addressed soon, will not get us anywhere, and will only end up harming us.
The tough one goes up for discussion first. There is no denying the fact that a small part of the Sikh community harbours a seething hatred for the Hindu community. That these are mostly comprised of upper caste individuals is a subject that will be dealt with a bit later in the piece. With the coming of PM Modi in 2014, this hatred for India’s majority community has only turned more poisonous. Finally, a man came to power in Delhi who stood for Hindus, who wore his Sanatan culture on his sleeve proudly and who has himself in the past claimed to be a ‘Hindu Nationalist’. He gave voiceless Hindus a voice.
Khalistanis went berserk merely seeing visuals of Prime Minister Modi. They still cannot stand the very sight of him. The farmers’ protests were an opportunity they just could not miss. Initiated by left-leaning farmers’ unions of Punjab, the agitation soon took the turn of somehow protecting Sikh identity, which, according to the protestors, the BJP-led Modi government is hell-bent on attacking. That no other government in the past has worked a fraction of what the Modi government has when it comes to the welfare of Sikhs and propagation of their glorious history is a separate debate altogether.
Agriculture and ‘Sikhi’ were projected as synonymous. That they are intrinsically connected is something which I do not dispute. But once the religious angle was experimented by Khalistanis in the early days of the agitation, and turned out to work marvellously, the protests became a free ground for separatists to hijack and spew their venom from. All that the protestors needed to be told was that their religious identity, followed by their livelihoods, were being attacked by the Modi government. Soon, Punjab arose seemingly as one entity to agitate against the eternal enemy, that is Delhi.
For Sikhs, Delhi has historically been a symbol of subjugation and oppression. From the times of the Mughals to as recent as Indira Gandhi’s implantation of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale – Delhi has been at the centre of Sikhs being victimised. But there is a need for the Sikh community to realise this – Delhi of independent India, and especially of 2021, is not your enemy. Hindus are not your enemies. Prime Minister Modi is not your enemy. Unless Sikhs realise this, they will keep falling prey to the devious designs of Khalistanis, political parties and communists.
Jatta Di Shaan
As a thumb rule, I do not consider any individual who identifies himself/herself with their caste, while also proclaiming to be a Sikh, a Sikh. You are either a Jatt or a Sikh. You are either a Mazhabi or a Sikh. There are no grey areas in Sikhi. The mandate on caste is very clear – for Sikhs, there is none. So, when Punjabi songs are weaponised with lyrics of Jatt supremacy and are then used to fuel anger against the Modi government, ‘Dilli’ and Hindus in general – it should be known to all that members of one sub-community of Sikhs (which has come to exist, sadly) are solely behind the ongoing cringe-fest at the borders of the national capital.
The issue is not about farming. The issue is about the pride of Jatts, and how they think the Modi government is walking all over it. How dare the government take decisions on their behalf? A vast majority of those protesting on the borders of Delhi are not ‘farmers. They are agricultural landowners, who have in turn employed labourers to till their fields. These are the people who have a nexus with the arthiyas, and are hence, worked up because, in their sweet and comfortable world, there is no place for a third party (read – private players). So, high on religious toxicity and caste supremacism, our Jatt brothers and sisters have come marching to Delhi with their tractors to agitate against a government that is supposedly hell-bent on usurping their lands.
Also, notice how all those protesting on the borders of Delhi are Jatts and Jaats. The former is from Punjab and Uttarakhand’s Terai region; the latter, from Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. A classic case of potayto-potahto.
The farmers lost the plot on January 26, when they stormed the national capital and engaged in violence, apart from desecrating the Red Fort. Those seen engaging in violence too were mostly Sikhs. Before such violence, the protestors were at least being taken seriously. After their show of unnecessary bravado, however, they reduced themselves into a joke. And what, pray tell, did the fringe within my community achieve by hoisting the Nishaan Sahib on the Red Fort? What has changed? Are we suddenly under a Khalsa Raj? If not, why was such a stupid deed done in the first place, which has only created divisions between the protesters (largely Sikhs) and nationalists, when in fact, Sikhs themselves are supposed to be, and a majority still is, among the most nationalistic of communities in India?
I have spoken previously too, about how Sikhs need to cool down and take a chill. These are not the times of the Mughals, and neither do we have to fight the Afghans at midnight. We live in a democracy, in which violence has no place. It would be in the best interest of those who are ever-charged to pounce on just about anybody with their kirpans to start behaving themselves, and not do an entire community a disservice. Those kirpans are holy – meant to be raised only for the purpose of mercy. They are not to be used for cutting the hands and legs of Indian police officers. Those who do want to continue down that path still, should procure Made in China swords and knives for themselves, and give up their kirpans. It is a painful sight to watch when the kirpans are used to attack innocent people, for no fault of theirs.
Not a battle of existence
As a part of the community, I realise that there is this tremendous peer pressure of sorts on fellow Sikhs to stand in support of the farmers protesting on the borders of Delhi. Whether they should support them or not is an educated choice for them to make. However, the need of the hour is to call out, identify and punish the fringe within our community. The new farm reforms are not an existential crisis. None of the Sikhs I have personally interacted with know a damn thing about the farm reforms. All they know is that Modi is a proud Hindu and a bad man looking to attack Sikhs. This is a suicidal approach and will get us nowhere.
The time of fooling around is over. The winters are over. Harvest season is approaching. Let us not be fooled by some vested interest groups and make a mockery out of ourselves. I have known Hindus and Sikhs to be one. We go to Gurdwaras as much as we go to Mandirs. We celebrate Gurpurabs with as much enthusiasm as we observe Navratri. No extremist should be allowed to tell us that we are different. The onus lies on us to call out radical elements and Khalistanis within the community. If we do not, we will have nobody but ourselves to blame for the weakening of the Sikh identity.