Tuesday, February 14, 2006

United Punjab after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Musharaf

After being selected in 2005, Dr. Manmohan Singh, the first Sikh leader to lead India since the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his siblings which ended in 1849, is a quite a change of pace in usual Indian politics. India is on an economic boom that has never been achieved before by any Prime Minister and Pakistan is following as well. In all of this hype and economic success, which is good for all Indians including Sikhs, my concern is about what happens to Sikhs after his term ends in 2009-2010, especially with relations to Pakistan. Even though a lot of peace progress that is being made thru people to people contacts, buses running between cities etc., the future of Sikhs within this framework of India and Pakistan governments is still uncertain. Sikhs seem like they are in a very awkward position in this peace deal at this moment given all the political and emotional hype of United Punjab. This seems achievable but hopefully with less emotional and political appeal and more with some concrete steps from both sides. Buses are a really a good start, but the next steps such as drafting peace and trade agreements, economic proposals, and other territorial agreements need to be drafted so as not to miss this golden opportunity during Manmohan Singh’s government.

First thing is that Pakistan does not seem to be reciprocating the friendly gesture of handshake with same will and compassion. Analogy would be that of a extending a finger instead of whole hand.

Secondly, the recent wave of religious processions such as Golden Palki to Nankana Sahib from Delhi and another one planned from Tarn Tarn this summer. Yes, at the current moment they are good for Sikhs given the emotions and are helping towards building bridges between the Punjabis, but what happens after Manmohan Singh who is not an elected Prime Minister or President Musharaf who came to power thru a coup are not in power? What is going to be the attitude of each country? Would the next Prime Minister of India and President/PM of Pakistan be able to continue the peace process and achieve the same success? Can Sikhs expect Pakistan and India to be still accepting towards them or things are going to change with the regime change? I hope processions like above will still be allowed when a new Hindu government in India or another Muslim one in Pakistan comes to power or Would Sikhs have to wait another 50+ years for another Golden Palki and various family reunions? Personally, I wish these decisions are taken before another procession is taken to Pakistan. I feel the Sikh community is so emotionally involved right now that the important peace progress steps are not being taken to ensure the future will be bright for Sikhs no matter what government comes to power. I wish the Manmohan Singh will be able to strengthen the Sikh community militarily and politically so much that the future generations will be able to live and enjoy life in peace for ever. These are just thoughts and questions and hope are being resolved by both sides on the table.


Blogger Sikhi Seeker said...

I'll begin with your closing statement: it is impossible for Manmohan Singh to strengthen Sikhs militarily...I don't see that happening and in fact it doesn't appear ethical in the shoes of a Prime Minister of a democracy. As for politically strengthening Sikhs, there are serious issues, but some significant proposals can be laid out. But no advancement can be expected until he meets same enthusiasm from the Punjab front. But then again, we don't expect the PM to be carried by personal motivations such as religion. I am not saying that I'm against his involvement in overall improved state of Sikhs, I just find it oversensitivity on our behalf.

As for the issue of United Punjab, as much of a humanitarian that i like to consider myself...I am strongly against that motion of uniting the Punjab of India and Pakistan. I know it aint even worth the debate for somehting like this would never happen. I mean look at the example of Kashmir, afterall it is one little piece of land with people who want peace and seem the least concerned over what country they belong to - appeasing identical standpoints. I don't see even that minimum requirement being fulfilled by the residents of the same state of the two countries. Maybe my reading is through a tainted glass, but i have met and been friends with several Muslim punjabis, and as wonderful as it is to share language and specs of culture, there are readical differences - almost unresolvable. I doubt if i should even be using the words problem and resolution, cuz these differences are so radically rooted in the two countires that a common ground is quite out of question. Let's talk of peace but when it comes to living independently and safely let's confine to our pieces.

p.s.// apology to any reader who finds my opinion offensive in any way.

4:34 PM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger SikhsRus said...

I agree with you about unresolvable differences. It will take really wrong time for peace given the differences of cultures and time gap of 50+ years of separation. I just hope Punjabis don't start acting more like muslims and take on muslim cultural behavior of chauvinism, disrespect for other religions like demolishing of 1000 yr old Buddhist statues in Afghanistan or having Hindus wear yellow tags, forced religious conversions etc. But this peace is very important and there is no other choice for both India and Pakistan right now if any progress is to be made. As a Sikh, I would love to be able to visit holy places with as little hassle as possible and also strength is in Union of both countries in stead of more division of Punjabis. I think, both sides would have to swallow this bitter pill of union/peace, no matter how much they hate to do it.

8:22 AM, February 24, 2006  

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