Latest News:

General News

Khalistan: Sikh Sovereignty and a New South Asia

April 29, 2024 | By

Throughout Sikh history, the Guru Khalsa Panth has strived to dismantle all oppressive structures and establish begampura-halemi raj (a just society-polity) according to the circumstances and realities of every era. Gurmukhs (Guru-oriented beings) of the Khalsa have dominated various battlefields and attained shahadat (martyrdom) to achieve this divine objective across time and space. On April 29, 1986, an independent, sovereign Khalistan was declared as the unequivocal political objective of the Sikh people–continuing that legacy into contemporary times.

After the colonization of Punjab in 1849, Sikhs have defiantly confronted the novel challenge of reasserting Sikh sovereignty in the current world order that has developed around the material dominance of colonial structures and the language (ideas/values) of Western “modernity”. The colonization of wide swathes of the world led to an unjust world order built upon the dehumanization, domination/assimilation, and exploitation of peoples around the world in the name of “civilization” and “modernity”. In response to these imperialist injustices, colonized peoples around the world engaged in powerful anti-colonial struggles seeking dignity and self-determination–most often expressed through nationalist struggles for “independence”. Even after this goal was attained however, the newly independent states simultaneously struggled with two issues:

  1. an unjust world order that continues to subordinate those in the Global South to the economic and political interests of global powers; and
  2. an authoritarian political structure (ie. the modern nation-state) which requires the assimilation of diverse peoples into a singular “nation” in order to ensure the unrivaled dominance and control of the state.

The Sikh struggle for Khalistan emerged as a liberation struggle during this period, offering an alternative vision of international order and political structures. Rather than a simple nationalist struggle for an ethnic group to secure political power domestically, the Sikh vision for Khalistan remains rooted in the timeless Sikh struggle to establish begampura-halemi raj in today’s world. This vision is not of a modern nation-state exclusively for Sikhs, but the expression of a maulik (original/indigenous) and holistic vision of justice, sovereignty, and self-determination rooted in the Sikh ideals of sarbat da bhala (welfare of all) and gareeb di rakhiya, jarvanay di bhakhiya (protection of the weak, destruction of the tyrants). Because there is no “external” or “Other” in Sikh philosophy and political theory, this is not an insular or exclusionary political movement for one group of people but a collective liberation struggle imbued with Sikh values. In this sense, the Sikh struggle for Khalistan is a unique struggle that seeks to build Sikh sovereignty based on our own self-determined concepts of power and political community rather than a derivative form of modern nationalism.

Our political goal is a sovereign political structure and international order based on Sikh ideals which respects the inherent sovereignty of the Khalsa (patshahi) and remains committed to sarbat da bhala and gareeb di rakhiya, jarvanay di bhakhiya  for all in this broader region, and the world.

Over the past several years, global powers have been facing numerous challenges and conflicts which have once again brought the Sikh struggle to the forefront around the world. Alongside a conceptual shift, where Eurocentric concepts of political structure and economy are no longer the exclusive paradigm of global politics, the world is seeing economic and political shifts where new trade routes and political alliances are shaping new centres of power. The risks of geopolitical competition and conflict in South Asia are therefore increasing, alongside a host of unpredictable global challenges like pandemics, AI, and climate change. As a result of these changes, the world’s geopolitical centre of gravity is shifting to the South Asian region where the Guru Khalsa Panth and Sikh sangat are key stakeholders that will help shape the future of the region and broader world order.

With the ongoing institutionalization of Hindutva fascism in India, conflict and tension across the region will only increase in the years to come. With the combined impacts of political centralization, cultural assimilation, and social polarization, India is inching closer and closer to perpetrating a renewed wave of genocide. While posing an obvious threat to diverse communities across the subcontinent, this steady march to fascism makes India an incredibly volatile state, an unreliable global partner and a serious threat to peace and stability in the region as a whole.

The history of the subcontinent has demonstrated on numerous occasions however, that Sikh resistance and leadership has the potential of boldly stopping oppressors in their tracks and galvanizing transformational mobilizations in response. Sikh mobilizations during the Emergency (1975-1977) and the Kisaan Morcha (Farmers’ Protest of 2020-2021) are just the most recent examples of this explosive potential to stop the aggressive march of Indian authoritarianism.

The establishment of an independent, sovereign Khalistan is the first step in reimagining and restructuring the entire region to ensure the dignity and self-determination of diverse peoples throughout the subcontinent rather than being imprisoned within the Indian administrative structure created by British colonizers. The comprehensive decentralization and democratization of the entire region is a crucial prerequisite to ensuring peace and stability in the region based on political structures that reflect self-determination at the most grassroots levels of society. Similarly, development initiatives and trade priorities must be based on the dignity of kirat (labour) and the sustainable co-existence of society and the environment.

Khalistan will be a beacon of dignity, justice, and peace in the region that can develop a leadership model based on solidarity, regional cooperation, and collective liberation for the oppressed across the subcontinent and beyond.

Bhai Daljit Singh

17 Visakh 555 Nanakshahi
(29 April 2024)

To Get Sikh Siyasat News Alerts via WhatsApp:

(1) Save Our WhatsApp Number 0091-855-606-7689 to your phone contacts; and
(2) Send us Your Name via WhatsApp. Click Here to Send WhatsApp Message Now.

Sikh Siyasat is on Telegram Now. Subscribe to our Telegram Channel

Related Topics: ,

Leave a Reply