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OP-ED: The Illusion of Justice

January 9, 2019 | By

The recent life sentencing of Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 genocide case is being hailed as a landmark judgement by the Indian State’s various institutions vis-a-viz Media, Judiciary & Political parties. This claim of the Indian institutions must be examined as they are collectively trying to force their own false narrative of justice upon Sikhs which grossly misleads and dilutes the real issue which is at the core of Sikh genocide. A small section of elite Sikhs have also joined this bandwagon and are trying to push the Indian narrative down the throats of many unsuspecting fellow Sikhs and fulfilling their historic duty to their benefactors.

As per the Indian State’s figures, around 3500 people were killed in what the Indian state calls “1984 riots”, about 2700 in Delhi and 800 in the other parts of India. The figures from Independent sources stand at about 10,000 in Delhi alone and another 8,000 in other parts of India. Given the scale of the violence and the open complicity of the Indian State and its institutions, the sentencing of Sajjan Kumar is nothing but a deception. There are some basic points which need to be addressed to understand the real nature of this deception.

Riot or Genocide ?

The Indian institutions (including the Indian Judiciary) has been using the term “riot” for the Sikh Genocide. Can the Indian courts or the other Indian institutions explain the term “riot” and explain how the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 qualify as a “riot” ? Can they explain how the massacre of Sikhs does not fall within the definition of “Genocide” provided by Article 2 of the UN Convention on Genocide ? The Indian State must first accept this gross crime as a Genocide and stop terming it with lesser terms like “1984-riots”, “anti-Sikh riots” etc. This would be the beginning of the Justice process for the Sikhs. On the contrary the Indian state has gone to the extent of pressurizing foreign States to act against Sikh human rights activists who are campaigning to get this massacre acknowledged as a Genocide. This clearly shows that the Indian State is in no way serious about delivering real Justice to the Sikhs even after 34 years by denying to the crime itself.

Individual Crimes or Extermination by the State ?

It is a very well known fact that the Indian State was directly responsible for the mass murder of the Sikhs and the destruction of their properties in the Nov-1984. Thousands of individual perpetrators were mobilized with the complicity of the Indian Government, its administration, its media and its police to carry out these killings and arson. Other Indian political parties, Indian Judiciary and Media are equally complicit in denying justice to the Sikhs since they are not ready to acknowledge the real nature of the crime in the first place. These crimes were not committed by some individuals or by a single political party but by the Indian State and its institutions. The means of delivering Justice when the Genocide is committed by a State is entirely different. Such cases of mass crimes can be addressed only through International Tribunals. Since the Indian State would never agree to such an arrangement, any real justice for Sikhs is impossible in the current constitutional set-up of India. Sentencing a few individuals to hide the crimes of the Indian State is nothing but deception. The Indian state has failed to do even the token justice as most of its self-publicized perpetrators still roam free and most of the witnesses and complainants dead after 34 years.

An Isolated event ?

Indian politicians Sajjan Kumar, who is convicted in a case related to Sikhs killings during 1984 Sikh genocide [File Photo]

The Indian state and its institutions have always tried to portray the Sikh genocide as just another communal violence like many others which have been consistently happening in India since 1947. In reality, the Sikh Genocide is a retribution by the Indian State to the Sikh struggle for political, social & economic emancipation from the political domination of the Hindu-upper-caste which succeeded, through manipulations & deceit, in inheriting the hegemonic & colonial political structure left behind by the British. They emerged as new imperialists who have, since 1880, set a mission to destroy the heterogeneous cultural fabric of the sub-continent and create a Nation state comprising a homogeneous “Indian” society which in its true essence would be either Hindu-dominated or Hinduised. (The term Hindu here refers to the three upper layers of the Hindu caste hierarchy excluding the Shudras and the Dalits). The creation of such a uniform and homogenous society implicitly requires the assimilation of the non-Hindu societies into the readjusted Hindu caste structure. Any real Justice must address this core issue. Any Justice which is devoid of the above-said idea of Political emancipation cannot be acceptable to the Sikhs.

Hindu society and the Sikh Genocide

The Indian State and its propaganda has persistently maintained that the Sikh Genocide has been the handiwork of the Congress party and its hired goons. And that the Hindu population at large was against these acts of murder and ordinary Hindus were in fact trying to help the Sikhs during the Pogroms. It cannot be denied that many Hindus did try to help their neighbors but these instances were less and these facts over-exaggerated. In fact, such violence was not possible without the silent approval of the majority Hindus. The Hindu society rewarded the Congress party with the greatest victory in the General elections of December 1984. In Delhi, Congress won all the 7 Lok Sabha seats with 69% votes polled in the party’s favour. Similarly, Congress was able to make sweeping wins in the states of Haryana, Himachal, Rajasthan, Gujarat, UP, MP, Maharashtra, Bihar, Orissa with its vote share between 51% to 60% in these states. Any conscious and humane society would have rejected the political party which supervised massacres of so many innocent humans among them. And the irony is that the Hindu society is now looking for a more aggressive political force than Congress, i.e. BJP/RSS to further decimate the minority nations in the sub-continent and to fulfill its caste ego. The recent hype given by Indian media to the sentencing of Sajjan Kumar is an attempt by the Indian State to force a bogus Justice onto the Sikhs.

The real face of the Hindu political leadership

Hindus in general, liberals and fascists alike, are quick to point out the Congress party and “its hired goons” for the Sikh pogroms but are never ready to introspect their own role in strengthening the Indian State and its institutions in its agenda of militarism, its grave human-rights violation, its economic loot of the people, its strangulation of other cultures/nations in the sub-continent and its systemic denial of justice to the people. The political leadership of the Hindu society can be segregated into three main ideological groups – Gandhians, Sanghis and Marxists. Whereas the politics of the Liberal Hindu is rooted in either the Gandhian or the Marxist thought the politics of the Hindu fascist is rooted in the ideology of the Sangh (RSS). Although these ideologies seem contradicting and divergent from each other they are inherently united and equally aggressive in promoting the idea of the sub-continent as a uniform and homogeneous political, social and economic unit. The Hindu liberal since the 1920s, in spite of its ideological differences, has been a syndicate of the Gandhians and the Marxists to enforce an imaginary “Indian Nation” on the people of the sub-continent. Sangh’s “Hindu Nation” is simply an extension of the above imagination.

Although it was the Hindu ideologues like Vivekananda and Dayananda who were instrumental in creating a workable social framework of this Hindu-upper-caste supremacist agenda, but it was to Gandhi & his syndicate’s credit to mask this Hindu agenda as secularism & nationalism and successfully organize the unsuspecting and mostly uneducated peoples of the subcontinent under its leadership. The Hindu narrative of a single nation masked under secularism became a very potent tool against the freedom struggles of other nations like Muslims, Sikhs, Dalits, Tamils etc. It became very easy for the Hindu leadership to label any native struggle as communal and pro-British. Although the Muslims under the leadership of Jinnah did not accept and budge under the ideological pressure of the Hindu-upper-caste narrative, the Sikhs, Dalits & others failed to challenge this narrative and could not see the ulterior designs of the Hindu leadership. These communities gave up their own nationalistic aspirations and took up Hindu nationalism masked under secularism as their own cause, and chose the path of self-annihilation. The pre-1947 period was a phase of build-up of this deceptive Hindu narrative of a single Indian nation, under the garb of secularism, whose sole aim was to seize power in the sub-continent after the end of British rule. Gandhi and his pack, in spite of their secular, democratic & non-violent outlook, were in reality Hindu reformists who actually reconsolidated the Hindu-upper-caste during the so-called Indian freedom movement. Post 1947 they were successful in creating a Hindu-dominated political & economic system which has been systematically exploiting the people of the sub-continent.

The Indian leftist movement, although originating from a completely different ideological platform and in spite of having serious differences, more or less shares the same goal as that of the Gandhian politicians. Like the Hindu-upper-caste, they also view all the masses of the sub-continent as one people who are destined to have a common future albeit both have a very different vision of this common future. This flawed understanding is mainly the result of its historic and blind antagonism of religious-cultural diversity and its obsession with generic economic interpretations of all socio-political phenomenon. The “leftist secularism” is in reality a practice of enmity with religion in general, rather than true secularism. Thus, it failed to give any serious ideological challenge to the Hindu-upper-caste narrative and instead committed itself against the struggling nations of the sub-continent. Post 1947, the Indian left ended up becoming a champion of the National Integration cause and became an extended arm of the Hindu-Indian-state in the ideological suppression of various peoples’ movements. The Marxists claimed to be the greatest well-wishers of the oppressed classes but it was Dr. Ambedkar who championed the cause of millions of Dalits and Shudras by identifying the root cause of centuries of injustice in the sub-continent.

The Sangh (RSS and family) too cannot be viewed as a separate ideological entity but a fascist avatar of the Hindu reformation movement of Vivekananda-Dayananda-Gandhi which is inherently grounded on the Hindu-caste-structure promoted as Vedic civilization. Sanghvad is Gandhivad stripped of its facade of non-violence and secularism. Sanghvad (Hindu fascism) is the only logical conclusion of the Gandhivad (Hindu reformation). The main ideological conflict between the two has been whether India should be a Hindu dominated society or a Hinduised society with Gandhivad as proponent of the former and Sangh of the later. While Gandhivad’s political approach results in accommodating the non-struggling minorities to some extent and eliminating the struggling ones, the Sangh’s approach is complete annihilation & assimilation of the non-Hindu entities at all times. Moreover, there is no hidden fact that Sangh and the Congress had allied with each other at numerous occasions. Whenever non-Sanghi political entities excel in Hindu chauvinism and minority bashing, the Sangh provides them unconditional ideological support like it did to Indira Gandhi for her anti-Pakistan campaign and then during the Sikh genocide. The Sikh genocide has been the handiwork of both Congress and the Sangh, evident from many eyewitness accounts, media reports, writings of the Sangh ideologues and other authors.

The way forward for Sikhs

A significant section of the Sikhs now seem delusional by the fake narratives of Justice and the gimmickries of the Indian state and its institutions. The most fundamental point for the Sikhs is to introspect on the justice that we seek. We cannot dissociate our idea of justice from the struggle which the Panth has waged, to maintain the purity of the Gurmat ideals and the Sikh way of life since 1947s, against the onslaught of Hindu constitutional set-up. Any cheap and false justice which seeks monetary benefits and punishment to the few individuals for the crimes committed by the State is no justice. It must be rejected.

For Sikhs, any quest for justice would only begin by accepting the fact that any real justice is not possible in the current constitutional setup of India. The Indian constitution sanctifies a majoritarian democratic process which is the root cause of all the genocides and pogroms in India. The Indian state has inherited all its institutions from the British colonists and it is the Hindu-upper-caste which is now driving this colonial machine and perpetrating a greater injustice. There will be no justice in India as long as the Hindu colonial-castist state is not dismantled. Sikhs did attain their freedom in the 18th century by uprooting a similar tyrannical & unjust Mughal state from Punjab.

The Sikhs must free their minds from the prevalent rotten political, social and economic thought which is exploiting nature in the name of science & development, manipulating humanity in the name of elections & democracy and killing socio-diversity in the name of National Integration and Unity. Sikhs must create their own political, social and economic models rooted in Gurmat principles of Acceptance, Equality, Freedom, Service (Seva) and Contentment (Santokh). An arrangement where the State “must never make the paranoia pretensions of almighty absolutism entailing the concept of total power, entitled to rule over the bodies and minds of men, in utter exclusiveness.” It is high time that Sikhs must develop their own idea of a Gurmat based State which aims to deliver a long lasting justice and security to themselves, their fellow beings, create harmony with nature and become a beacon for all the people of the subcontinent.

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