- Harbir Singh*
It is very unfortunate that in the last one month, the pro-Indira print media/Congress party supporters have dug up the wounds of the Sikh community again by portraying her as Godess/”Devi” and remembering her as the courageous woman, iron lady, mother India, iconic leader, visionary leader, charismatic leader, martyr, unifier of the country and the list goes on.
Homage was paid to her practically all across the country and widely covered both in the print media and on TV. Large full page advertisements costing crores of rupees (over million dollars), sponsored by pro-Congress Party agencies appeared, remembering her as a martyr. What acts of martyrdom, did she do, I fail to understand even 25 years later?
At the same time, well known HT journalists like Vir Sanghvi in their anti Sikh tirade described Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderwal, the spiritual leader of the Sikhs as a Frankenstein’s Monster –Bluestar -Too Little, Too Late.
Another HT journalist Dilip D’ Souza, titled his story: Unease in the Museum (Golden Temple) for displaying pictures of Satwant Singh and Beant Singh and accorded the same esteem as Bhagat Singh by calling them as ‘Shahid’ and says in the end – But this museum underlines what so many of us find hard to swallow; one man’s terrorist is another man’s… What? Martyr?
I think here lays the great divide in thinking between a Sikh and a pro-Indira supporter. While a Sikh thinks that the desecration of Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple), the most pious of Sikh institution was an unthinkable thing to do, a pro-Indira supporter thinks it was a necessary thing to do to flush out the alleged militants holed up in the complex.
Was it necessary to launch an all out attack on Shaheedi Purab of Guru Arjan Sahib when the Golden Temple was filled with over ten thousand devotees who got caught in the cross fire and thousands got killed? Why weren’t the dead accounted for? Why were they all heaped up like dead animals and burnt? Why weren’t their bodies returned to the families? These and many more are all very troubling questions. Why don’t the pro-Indira journalists dig into all these troubling issues and indict the guilty?
Who will answer all these questions? Unfortunately, the common man in India does not know all these things and is easily swayed by the pro-Indira marketing propaganda by the cash rich Congress party and build up anti-Sikh feelings.
What if the Sikhs, started spending crores of rupees, remembering Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Beant Singh, Satwant Singh and the hundreds of martyrs who died fighting the Indian forces in the Golden Temple, thousands of young Sikhs who disappeared in Punjab under he state terrorism carried on by K PS Gill/ PM Rajiv Gandhi and PM N Rao’s command? How would India or the pro-Congress elements in India react to it?
What if the institutions in Punjab are renamed after the Sikh martyrs of 1984, just like India has renamed thousands of institutions after Indira and Rajiv, including airports, hospitals, universities, sports stadiums, metro stations and the list goes on? How would India or the pro-Congress elements in India react to it?
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi showed the way to the pro-Congress elements that it was alright to desecrate the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) to prove her might in 1984. It is well known fact that most of India rejoiced at this news, an event that has become the darkest chapter of post-partition Indian history in the minds of the Sikhs and perhaps lay the foundation for an independent Sikh homeland that many Sikhs demand, even 25 years later in countries abroad where they feel free to express their minds.
Senior Congress supporters (like Bhagat, Lalit Makhan, Sajjan Kumar, Kamal Nath etc got the cue from PM Indira Gandhi and took to the streets with thousands of thugs after her assassination and massacred thousands of Sikhs in most gruesome manner in the streets of Delhi and other parts of India. Many children and adults were roasted alive with tires around their necks. How many innocent Sikhs did these pro-Indira journalists protect? How many criminals did they identify? Where were the likes of Vir Sanghvi then? Where are these criminals hiding today? How many got promoted including in the police for conniving with the Congress? How many of the murderers got prosecuted?
They also desecrated many Gurdwaras (e.g. Ashok Vihar) where people urinated on the Guru Granth Sahib and burnt many of them. Even some of the most historic Gurdwara like Sis Ganj and Rakab Ganj, built after the memory of Guru Teg Bahadur who died protecting the Hindu Pandits during Auranjeb’s regime were attacked and not spared. Where were the pro-Indira journalists then? The few, who tried to save like Sanjay Suri, were also harassed.
The violence went unchecked for several days. It is obvious, that the conspiracy to teach the Sikhs a lesson was hatched at the highest levels of Congress hierarchy and was likely blessed by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who later also made insensitive statements about the tree that shook Delhi. Why weren’t the south Indians killed after Rajiv’s assassination by the same Congress thugs? Whether Indira was a Devi or Demon, it is only a matter of opinion? Ask the families who went through this horror? Have the reporters ever tried to find out about the eerie feelings of the Sikhs or the revulsion the very name Indira Gandhi brings?
No checks and balances have been put to place to prevent another massacre of the minorities as similar incidents repeated in Bombay, Gujarat in 1992 and at the Babri Masjid destruction. The Indian police continue to be inept even 25 years later. Why don’t the Indian journalists focus on the police who have made no efforts to clean up the force? Today the North East migrants in Delhi continue to be the target of criminals and little is being done to protect them.
For heaven’s sake, kindly stop sprinkling salt on the wounds of the Sikh community and remember that the Sikh community recites this pretty frequently,
“Hum Ah Bhi Bhartae Haen Toh Hoh Jaate Hain Badnam,
Woh Katal Bhi karteh haen, toh Charcha nahi Hotah”
* The author is an expatriate from US, currently living in India, but contemplating to go back. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtesy: WSN (World Sikh News)