Saturday, December 30, 2006

It is time for healing! Have a happy, healthy and holy 2007!


by : S. M. Sathananthan (London)
Dr. K. T. Lalvani (London)
S. Raghunath Iyengar (Lagos)
Prof. G. P. Mansukhani (Bombay)
Asha Bhatnagar (Jaipur)
Prof. V. S. Godbole (Poona)
(Late) S. Hukum Singh (Former Speaker of Indian Parliament and
ex-Governor of Rajasthan

Published by: Transatlantic India Times
8 Ashen Grove, London, SW 19


The political and religious developments in Punjab and Haryana have become the serious concern of all responsible Indians living in India and abroad. Due to the conflicting reports and accusations we read in the Indian and the foreign media, we decided to depute a mission from abroad to investigate the truth behind the tragedy of Hindu-Sikh disunity and report back their findings. A concise Report was then prepared from the detailed information that was made available. The findings of the mission were both startling and disturbing and quite contrary to most impressions gathered from various news media. The suggestion that Sikhs have separatist tendencies appeared to be clear distortion of the facts, almost certainly designed by anti-Sikh elements to damage Sikh credibility. The report provides well-documented reasons for the unpleasantness between the two communities. Its narrative of events is lucid and compelling.

The present Hindu-Sikh conflict is the saddest tragedy of postpartition Indian History. Its genesis lies in a narrow-minded attitude of certain sections of the community, that totally refutes the traditional Hindu virtues of tolerance and understanding. One also wonders, why are the Sikhs always pushed into agitation for their basic constitutional demands, the kind which were never denied to other states and communities. Why was Punjab the last linguistic state to be formed (10 years late)? Why is Punjab the only state of India whose capital Chandigarh is governed by the central Government? There are many such unanswered questions which deserve serious probing and full national exposure. Indian news agencies and papers will do well to investigate the reasons for Hindu-Sikh conflict arising from Hindu opposition to Sikh demands, even though their demands were made to the Government( and not to the Hindus of Punjab and Haryana). While most of the Sikh demands are for the welfare of Punjab State, not one demand is anti-Hindu or hurts Hindu sentiments in any way. It is a great pity that the Punjab linguistic problem as such, should have become known as Hindu-Sikh conflict, since Sikhs in our view are no less Hindus than many other sects within the Hindu religion and society. Since most Hindus in Punjab declared to be Hindi-speaking (the root-cause of today's problem) and all Sikhs rightly claimed to be Punjabi-speaking, one wonders why did we all and the press fail to mention them as a conflict between the Punjabis and non-Punjabis, thus avoiding the sectarian and communal title to the problem. A non-Punjabi speaker may not be called a Punjabi in as much as a Maharashtrian or a Gujrati living in Tamil Nadu is not usually called a Tamilian. The doctrine of fanaticism propagated by certain section of the Punjabi-Hindus has ironically done great damage to the Hindu activities seemed to have hurt patriotic Sikh sentiments; and to win our Sikh brothers back in our Hindu family, we need to expose the activities of certain elements.

Why was there bitter opposition to granting holy-city status to Amritsar. Equally incredible was the opposition by Amritsar Hindus to the Sikh desire of naming of one train as Golden Temple (Hari Mandir) Express, little realising that the city of Amritsar was built only because of that ancient temple that existed before it. Numerous incidents of these kinds provoked by some extremists of Punjab must be made known to non-Punjabi Hindus all over India, who continue to be victims of one sided anti-Sikh misinformation from various news agencies.

Every care has been taken to verify all the reports and the complaints made by various people. For example, to confirm the truth of the alleged Hindu opposition to the naming of a highway as Guru Gobind Singh Marg, the authors went to the extent of confirming the incident with the President of India. The Report provides us with well documented incidents including those where some anti-social elements have used turbans as a camouflage during the act of crime. Accordingly Sikh leaders' claim that the recent killings of innocent Hindus in the bus, near the border were not committed by the Sikhs appears to be credible and thought provoking.

It is our earnest and express wish that the facts revealed in this report will become widely known and help re-create brotherly feelings between Hindus and Sikhs and promote better understanding and strengthen traditional family-like bonds between our two communities.

S. M. Sathananthan, B.Sc (Econ). Lond.,
Managing Editor,


Dr. K. T. Lalvani (London) - S. Raghunath Iyengar (Lagos)

Chapter 1- Historic Bonds.

Among the religions of Indian origin, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh, there is perhaps more in common between Hindu and Sikh teachings than any other two religions.

No two religious communities are bound together with numerous bonds as are Hindus and Sikhs. Both for instance firmly believe in Karma, re-birth and Mukti (MOKSHA). Although Sikhism has rejected the Hindu pantheon of gods and goddesses, caste system and ritualism, yet Sikhs have always defended, at times with their blood, Hindu rituals, their preferences and prejudices. Guru Teg Bahadur's unparalleled sacrifice of his head to protect the sacred thread and the forehead mark of the Hindus is inscribed in the psyche and history of both communities. Sikhs may not have worshipped the cow yet treated it as no less than a sacred animal. Many Sikhs lost their lives in opposing the British reintroduction of cow slaughter in Amritsar in late 19th century. Maharaja Ranjit Singh went on record for having banned cow slaughter not only in Punjab but even ordered its ban in the Islamic land of Afghanistan, and he asked for and secured the return of the doors of Hindu Somnath temple, looted eight centuries earlier by Muhamud of Gazni. The same Sikh Maharaja gifted six quintals of gold for the Hindu temples of Benares, golden canopies for Jawalamukhi and Kangra temples and financed the repairs of the Vishwanath temple and its jewel-studded icon. To rescue a Brahmin's daughter, Sikhs fought a bitter battle with the Nawab of Kasur when over 500 Sikhs lost their lives. Sikh sacrifices for the oppressed have few parallels in history. The universally applicable scriptures of the Sikhs, 'Adi Granth' incorporates hymns of sufis and saints from Islam and Hinduism regardless of caste and creed. All the names, sacred to Hindus (Ram, Hari, Govind, Gopal, Thakur, Prabhu, Ishwar, Siva, Brahma, Indra) are repeated in Adi Granth time and again. Guru Gobind Singh, the founder of Khalsa wrote epics of Ramayana and Mahabharat under the titles of Ramavtar and Krishnavtar. His eulogising the exploits of Chandi as a warrior (not as a goddess) is well known.

Chapter 2 - Concern in Indian Society

There is indeed a lot in common between the two religions and it is not very uncommon to see that one brother may be a Hindu and the other a Sikh, living in the same house and respecting each other's religion. I for example, a Sindhi, following (like most other Sindhis do) Guru Nanak's traditional humble teachings for their simplicity in his message of truth and love embedded in his devotional hymns incorporated in the Sikh Adi Granth.

We, the overseas Indian citizens, Sindhis, Sikhs and other Hindus alike, are indeed most disturbed and concerned at the present Hindu-Sikh tension in Punjab and Haryana and feel the need to probe the reasons which have led to the prevailing conditions of mistrust, hate, jealousy and rivalry between the two communities in comparison with their brotherly relationship in the past and its scope in the future. Accordingly, I, on behalf of the Indian Merchant Association, U.K. and Mr. S. R. Iyengar, formerly a journalist and now an industrialist in Lagos, Nigeria, left for a preliminary study to report back our findings to various U.K. Associations. We prepared this report after spending considerable time in verifying the facts behind the complaints which we heard.

After arriving in India, we spent some days in Amritsar and Jullunder meeting various leaders, including Sant Bindranwale and Sant Langowal. There was total freedom of movement for every one, even inside the campus where leaders live. We kept our objective restricted to studying the reasons leading to the present-day Hindu-Sikh tension and Sikh rejection of being called a sect of Hinduism or a section of Hindu Society. Mr. S. R. Iyengar got down to serious study of fundamental causes Ieading to today's serious problems.

sainiboy : 2004/10/8 16:58
Chapter 3 - The Conflict

It did not take us long to trace the roots of this conflict way back to over thirty years ago, at the time when perhaps not even one Hindi daily paper existed in the East Punjab, when suddenly a vast majority of Punjabi Hindus influenced by Arya Samaj, Jan Sangh and local R.S.S, falsely claimed to be Hindi speaking almost overnight .

Thus they acted against strong advice from R.S.S. national leader Golwalker who pleaded to Punjabi Hindus to acknowledge Punjabi language as their mother tongue. The census results made the Sikh population in the state the sole custodian of Punjabi language, thus resulting in the declaration of Punjab as a bi-lingual state, in which Sikhs retained their Punjabi language and Hindus alienated themselves from the Sikhs by adopting the Hindi language of which the majority then had little knowledge, if any. This unfortunate development saw the beginning of friction between the two communities. Thus Punjabi Hindus became responsible for creating a bilingual Punjab state by disowning Punjabi as their language and yet forcefully and unjustifiably resisted the formation of Punjabi-suba on linguistic basis causing the delay of 10 years; this resulted in avoidable frustration and numerous agitations among the Sikh population of Punjab. Thus the language tussle of Hindi and Punjabi apparently took the shape of religious rivalry between the Hindus and the Sikhs. One Akali leader questioned: Why was the linguistic Punjab the very last state to be formed? Was it not due to discrimination against the Sikhs? Or, was it because our Suba agitation was too peaceful compared to the violent linguistic demonstrations elsewhere in the country?

Chapter 4 - Religious Jealousy

Replying lo my question of present day Hindu-Sikh relationship, Sant Langowal explained that when Zail Singh, as Punjab Chief Minister, named a secondary road as Guru Gobind Singh Marg, he was strongly criticised by Punjabi Hindus, in spite of their knowledge that Guru Gobind Singh (and so also his four children and his father) was born, lived and died for the protection of the Hindus. Comparing the situation, Iyengar commented that in Maharashtra, no one could dare dream of opposing the naming of Shivaji Marg. (Four days later, I had the privilege of meeting President Zail Singh in Rashtrapati Bhavan who confirmed that there indeed was unfortunate opposition to his naming of Guru Gobind Singh Marg).

Citing another example of communal jealousy against the Sikhs, Longowal explained that a few years ago, on the four hundredth anniversary of the city of Amritsar, Sikhs obtained permission from the Railway Board to display a picture of Guru Ramdas at the railway station as a 'Founder of the city of Amritsar'. Upon this, there was an immediate reaction from city Hindus, who brought in a few unauthorised pictures of Hindu Yogis and demonstrated against the Guru Ramdas picture. Sant Langowal added that by rival action of this kind, Hindus in Punjab certainly make it very obvious that in their view Sikh Gurus were not Hindus. We went to witness the pictures at the station, which are there for everyone's verification. He narrated similar other incidents and added that religious jealousy and communal rivalry from the Northern Hindus against the Sikhs has gone a long way towards pushing us into a separate race of the Sikhs within India.

Chapter 5 - Sikh Patriotism and National Contribution

Langowal then referred to the Government's decision to reduce the Sikhs in the Army to less than two per cent and attributed it to continued discrimination and distrust against the Sikhs, who have not only proved to be among the very best soldiers in the country's defence, but also carry the most outstanding and the most distinguished record during the freedom struggle. Quoting from a report of Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, he provided us with the following figures: Out of two thousand one hundred and and twenty five martyrs, one thousand five hundred and fifty (seventy five per cent) were Sikhs. Out of two thousand six hundred and forty six, deported to Andaman (Kalapani) two thousand one hundred and forty seven (eighty per cent) were Sikhs. Out of one hundred and twenty seven Indians who were sent to the gallows, ninety two (eighty per cent) of them were Sikhs. In Subash Bose's Indian National Army of twenty thousand, twelve thousand were Sikhs. Not only did India's two per cent Sikhs make by far the highest contribution to the country's freedom, but they also maintained the same tempo even after the independence of the country. Today, more than one third of the country's population lives on the grain produced and supplied from the land of Punjab, which was a grain deficit state with its barren lands at the time of partition of the country

The most important stride that the nation has made since freedom was the 'green-revolution', which is in the main a Sikh contribution from Punjab State, in which the investments from Central Government have been less than one per cent of the National Budget. In spite of this impressive track record of diligence, courage and patriotism, Sikhs have been the victims of continued discrimination and suspicion since Independence. Firstly, the government denied the linguistic status of Punjabi-speaking state, a basic constitutional right enjoyed by all other communities in the country. When at last the Suba was formed after fourteen years of frustrating and humiliating delay, we were again deliberately deprived of a 'capital for the state' and some Punjabi speaking districts. Besides, Central Government took control of our state's power and water supply headworks. Why was Punjab the only state to be discriminated against, on these counts? Is it a coincidence or is it because it happens to be the land of the Sikhs? One of his aides added that it is this basic discrimination against the Sikhs which alienates the Punjabi-speaking race from the rest of lndian society. Sant Langowal condemned the recent unwarranted and inhuman police firing on 4th April 'Rasta Roko' agitation, killing 24 innocent peaceful Satyagrahis. He strongly resented the Government's suggestion of a foreign hand in the Akali movement. He condemned violence and strongly rejected Khalistan theory which, he said, was a ghost movement. A one-man hoax of Jagjit Singh Chauhan receiving undue and deliberate publicity by the press and the Government to discredit the Sikhs and their patriotism and to frustrate a peaceful Morcha for fair demands. He said, it is a well known fact, that Sant Bindranwale and his Dal-Khalsa were brought into politics by the Congress to confront the Akali party. He explained that the word Nation is a mistranslation of the word quom. He explained, India is a Nation of various races and quoms. Sikhs are one of them. On Hindu-Sikh conflict, he said our demands and Morcha are directed to the Government. Instead of joining us for mutually beneficial demands, the Punjabi Hindus started confronting our Morcha and played cry-wolf to turn our non-Punjabi Hindu brothers away from us. I would strongly welcome and support a committee to investigate the factions responsible for the present day Hindu-Sikh tension in Punjab and Haryana.

Chapter 6 - Hindu Opposition

Replying to my question on Hindu-Sikh problems, Sant Bindranwale questioned me about Punjabi Hindus always opposing every Sikh demand made to the Government, be it a demand for a holy city or the naming of one train after the Golden Temple, or even naming of a road inside Punjab after the Guru's name. Why has not any Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Jain ever opposed any of these demands? Whether or not Hindus of Punjab and Haryana, along with the Government, are responsible for the present day Sikh-Hindu tension, it is for you to judge from the recent history. Bindranwale then reminded me that the Sikhs have often supported Hindu religious causes, like the banning of cow slaughter, etc., but never once opposed any of their religious demands. We have never interfered in their religious affairs, yet the support of the Nirankari movement by the Arya Samaj was a deliberate move against the Sikh religion. This will explain to you, who are responsible for the communal tension in Punjab. For further proof you only need to look at communal utterings in the mass circulation newspapers of Punjab, owned by the Arya Samajists. This has been going on for the last 30 years. He said, "It suits the Government to publicise me as an extremist, thus making an excuse to frustrate the just cause and the legitimate demands of the entire Sikh community and the Punjab State. This also explains, why the Government is encouraging violence and communalism in Punjab."

Bindranwale was very bitter about the police atrocities and their murder of over 30 men in garb of false police encounters. He criticised the double standards of the Government citing various incidents, e.g. there was an immediate appointment of inquiry committee for Jagat Narain's murder and none for any killing of the Sikhs including the recent firing of 4th April on peaceful Satygrahis, killing 24 of them. These actions of the Government are designed to encourage extremism in Punjab. Bindranwale then talked of Sikhs as a separate nation (quom) within India like Muslim, Christian and Hindu. We disagreed with him and strongly emphasised our views of Hindus and Sikhs being the roots and branches of the same tree. He replied back saying that by their actions, Hindus in Punjab and the Government have proved it otherwise.

Speaking on the recent Government award on the holy status of Amritsar, Mr Prakash Singh Badal, former chief minister of Punjab, talked about the double standards of Amritsar Hindus. For several years they bitterly opposed our demand with their demonstrations and processions and then at the last minute they asked for a similar status for a contemporary non-historic Hindu Temple.

Instead of pronouncing the old walled city as holy, the Government has only allowed two hundred metres around the Golden Temple and at the same time exactly similar status has been provided to a twentieth century modern Hindu Temple of no historic significance as opposed to the Hari Mandir which was itself the foundation of the city of Amritsar besides being the seat of the Sikh religion. The city's name Amritsar too has been derived from the surrounding lake of the Golden Temple. We have absolutely nothing against the similar status given to a Hindu Temple, but, by this unthinkingly equating two temples of contrasting historical and religious significance, the Government and the Punjabi Hindus have emphasised that in their view the Sikhs are not Hindus and the two religions are distinctly different from each other. The Government has always encouraged and promoted the shortsighted rivalry between the Punjabi Hindus and the Sikhs. Mr. Badal explained that while he was Punjab Chief Minister during the Janata Ministry, he placed the river water dispute before the Supreme Court. After her return to power, Indira Gandhi withdrew the dispute from the Supreme Court, and with a show of arrogance and high-handedness (she would not dare to do in any other state) compelled her Congress Chief Minister to sign her unilateral river-water agreement.

He claimed that Hindus and Sikhs are inseparable, and no amount of press propaganda or Arya-Samaj provocation can create a wedge between them. They have a common culture, history and social bonds. As the Sikhs had been created by the great Gurus for protecting the Hindu Dharma, there cannot be any question of confrontation between the two communities. On river-water issue, he said, "Instead of appreciating Punjab's 60 per cent contribution to Indian food basket, Government has made plans to deprive our farms of our own river-water."

Chapter 7 - Historic Lie and Falsehood

Mr. G. S. Tohra (M.P.) president of the powerful Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, in Amritsar was extremely critical of the deliberate massive publicity given by the Government to the Khalistan demand voiced by a few individuals. These 'disinformation' techniques are clearly intended to discredit the entire Sikh community across the country by amplifying and exploiting the Khalistan demand of the few. Sikhs have always been most patriotic and have always stood for a United India. Today we would have been living in a united peaceful Punjab if the Punjabi-speaking Hindus had not disowned their own Punjabi language. It was a misrepresentation of colossal magnitude in Indian History on the part of over ten million Hindus who lied in the Census and disowned their Punjabi language with open encouragement and support from their Arya Samaj and Jan Singh leaders at a time when there was not even a single Hindi newspaper in the combined state.

"Most of these millions of misguided souls were so totally ignorant of Hindi that even their one sentence of historic lie "we are Hindi speaking" was uttered in the Punjabi language. It was this platform of falsehood which became the foundation of Haryana and the basic cause of the division of our united Punjab."

The hatred for the Punjabi language continues in Haryana where Punjabi has been denied the status of second language, even though thirty per cent of Haryana's population is still Punjabi-speaking and Punjab is their neighbouring state. On the other hand Punjab is the only non-Hindi state, where Hindi has been accorded favoured treatment. It is a compulsory subject up to matriculation and every employee of the state government must acquire this standard before being confirmed. Punjab was the first state to use Hindi for correspondence with the Hindi-speaking States.

The Hindu opposition to the naming of Guru Gobind Singh Marg reflects their anti-Sikh prejudice and clearly implies that Guru Gobind Singh was not Hindu. Their opposition to the Sikh demand for the Golden Temple Express and the holy-city status for Amritsar were only few of the many incidents designed to alienate Sikhs from the Hindu Society. Mr Tohra then cited some examples of broken promises from Mr Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi and explained how the Sikh race has been sinned against in Free India, notwithstanding its stupendous sacrifices and sufferings, first for its freedom and then for its defence and development.

Mr Tohra was particularly critical of mischievous interpretation of Gurdwara Act. He emphasised that the proposed Act will be applied only to the historic gurdwaras and it will not cover the holy Shrines managed by the Sindhis, Udasis, Nirmalas, Nihangs etc. He strongly criticised the Government for banning the Sikh soldiers from carrying the swords, while Gurkhas in army continue to carry Khukris on their person. Mr Tohra appealed to the Hindus and Sikhs of Punjab to maintain unity and cordiality in the face of the Congress Government. He claimed that by limiting the Sikh recruitment to 2% the Government has brought communal politics in the armed forces and has confirmed its discrimination against the patriotic Sikhs.

Chapter 8 - River Water Injustice

Dr. Rajinder Kaur, M.P., daughter of Master Tara Singh asked, why should Punjab give away water to neighbouring states when its own fields are still dry?"

She referred to the recent statement in Indian Express by Dr. Kanwar Sain, former Chairman of the Central Water and Power Commission. According to him, Akali demand for the reopening of the river water issue and 1955 agreement is fully justified as Punjab is not given its due share. He said that the entire issue must be reviewed by the inter-state river waters tribunal. Speaking on the recent agitation, Dr. Kaur pointed out that over hundred thousand Sikhs have courted arrest in recent Satyagrah, while the maximum arrests during Quit India movement were sixty thousand. "Ours has been the biggest peaceful satyagrah the country or indeed the world has ever witnessed. It will be most unwise for the Government to underestimate Sikh sentiments and take advantage of our extreme tolerance which may not be everlasting," she stressed.

Mr. Khushwant Singh, former chief editor of the 'Illustrated Weekly of India' commented that one issue over which the Akalis have the unanimous support of the entire peasantry of Punjab is the distribution of the waters of the Ravi and the Beas. Punjab is the only riparian state and by any principle of law or usage it is entitled to all the water it needs and only give what it can spare. If Haryana is also regarded as a riparian state because it was once a part of Punjab then it is only fair that in any redistribution of waters. the Jamuna should also be included. However, the Akalis have been very reasonable on this matter and are willing to accept the verdict of any judge of the Supreme Court.

The longer it takes the government to come to terms with the Akalis, the more intractable will the settlement become. One specific instance of short-sightedness for which our country will pay a heavy price has not received the attention that it deserved: this is over the treatment meted out to Sikhs travelling by road and rail to Delhi during the Asiad. While the Asiad was on, every train, bus and private car proceeding towards Delhi was stopped and every Sikh questioned. None of this happened when the L.ok Dal organised its Kisan Rally or the communists their Worker's March. Did the government not realise that in singling out the Sikhs because it is easy to discover their identity, it was opening itself to charges of communal discrimination? We are likely to hear about this foolishness for a long time to come. If, God forbid, the Khalistan movement catches on, it will owe much to the foolish shortsightedness of Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal and others whose duty it was to restrain him but failed in their duty to do so. "I feel that an apology is owed to the Sikh community for the way it was treated during the Asiad, said Mr Khushwant Singh.

Chapter 9 - Biased Press Reporting

Dr G. P. Mansukhani, a Sindhi professor and author, agreed with the Akali complaint on biased newspaper reporting. He said. "If you were to trace the background of a reporter or an editor behind a particular anti-Sikh report, you would probably find him to be an Arya-Samajist." Late Lala Narian's persistent role in anti-Sikh activities (including that of his support to the Nirankaris) and his staunch communal tendencies were clearly reflected in his popular daily newspaper in Punjab.

Their biased reporting (due to their basic indoctrination against Guru Nanak and the Sikhs) may be understandable but not acceptable by any standard of fair journalism. He referred to various deplorable news incidents. We will quote one of them which happens to be from a popular magazine "India-Today," making an unfair and fatuous remark on one of the Sikh demands. In its cover story of 3.10. 81, "India-Today" argued against the Sikh request for Golden Temple Express by suggesting that it may give rise to a Muslim demand for a Jama Masjid Express. While this deliberate communal comparison was in very bad taste, "India- Today" conveniently forgot that Jama Masjid was not the world seat of the Muslim religion as the Golden Temple was for the Sikhs. Surprisingly, a year later the same paper, again in its lead story on the Sikhs (15.11.82), blames the Government for having delayed accepting some of the Sikh religious demands. On some occasions, the national press has failed to do justice to its usual high standards. Giving an out-of-proportion high publicity of communal nature to an anonymous letter from one lunatic, threatening to blow up a temple which did not deserve a mention in any media were carried in headlines. Another ugly example of press reporting is reflected in the deliberate publicity which the national media has knowingly provided to the one-man show of self-styled Khalistan president Jagjit Singh Chauhan with practically no following whatsoever. Distorted and irresponsible reporting of this kind is against national interest and has resulted in discrediting the entire Sikh community across the country.

Chapter 10 - Arya Samaj Doctrines and Slander on Sikh Gurus

Prof. Mansukhani was hesitant to blame Hindus or Sikhs as such and put most of the responsibility on the Arya-Samaj's imposing their anti-Sikh communal views on the Hindus of Punjab, Haryana and neighbouring states and also adversely influencing the R.S.S. The Samaj has since recently started fanning anti-Sikh feelings in Maharashtra as well. He explained to us the history of Punjab Arya-Samaj and the role it has played in influencing Government decisions and in worsening Hindu-Sikh relationships. Of late some of them have started a shocking new anti-Sikh campaign, saying that since the wars arc now fought with guns and not with swords any more, a Sikh is no better soldier than any one else and the Indian army can do without Sikhs if need be. Even the most ridiculous anti-Sikh invention of this kind seems to have possibly influenced some Government and political circles.

Anti-Sikh policies and activities of Arya-Samaj are responsible for alienating the Sikhs from Hindu Society and pushing more Sikhs into saying that they are not Hindus. Arya-Samajis themselves during the last 100 years many a time proclaimed not to be Hindus. Veer Savarkar wrote that even in rigorous conditions of Kalapani, the Arya-Samaji prisoners refused to be called Hindus in the 1921 census and also refused to attend the Hindu temple and made their own, thus also adversely influencing their Sikh colleagues in Kalapani. Arya-Samaj have many times savagely criticised Sanatana Hindu Dharma and the word 'Hindu' itself. By any measure or yardstick, a Sikh is more of a true and valuable Hindu, than the Arya-Samajist, who in an attempt to hoodwink the other Hindus of India, pretend to champion the cause of Hinduism against Sikhism, by promoting Hindu Surakhsa-Samiti and the Sangathan against the Sikhs, who have sacrificed countless lives for protecting the Hindu religion itself. Due to irresponsible support from some popular news-media, the cry-wolf clever tactics of Arya-Samaj seem to have succeeded in influencing many Hindus across the country which is a very unfortunate development.

Prof. Mansukhani branded Arya-Samaj as India's most fanatical cult, which according to him was a serious embarrassment to the tolerant and broad-minded religion of Hinduism and other religions of Hindu origin. He then quoted us the Arya-Samaj bible, written by Mr. Dayanand the founder of the cult. In it the author has savagely attacked Islam, Chrisitianity, Buddhism. Jainism and the lot. He has directly slandered Mohammed, Kabir, Buddha, Christ, Nanak, Gobind Singh and many others, all in the name of Hinduism.

We found it difficult to believe that any text purporting to be religious could be so derogatory to other religions. We studied "Satyarath Prakash" for ourselves. This is what it contains.

Page 443 (chapter IX) Guru Nanak did not possess any learning . . . he wanted to show that he had some pretensions to the knowledge of Sanskrit . . . anxious to gain public applause, fame and glory . . . He was vain . . . resorted to gain reputation and acquire fame. Page 446 . . . if Sikhs were to read vedas, they would no doubt embrace vedic religion


It too has not been spared by him. On page 434 (Chapter Xl) he explains how Vaishnavites are as bad as Shivites.


Page. 517 . . . Buddhist assertion is as valueless as the mutterings of a patient suffering from delirium


Page 557 (Chapter XIII) . . . it appears that the Jainees are perverse and ignorant . . . Page 559 . . . we do not think that there exists a religion more idiotic than Jainism . . . Page 561 . . .Idol worship with its evils originated with the Jainees and therefore the Jain religion is at the root of all fraud . . .


Page 634-635 Chapter Xlll) . . . Jesus was neither an enlightened man nor was he possessed of any miraculous power . . . he pretended to be the Son of God and those savages (around him) believed him to be such. No wonder he was so clever in dividing people and causing discord and dissensions among them.


Page 670 (Chapter XlV) . . . Quran is not the word of God but of some bigot . . . The Quran, its God and the Muslims are embodiment of bigotry and ignorance. Page 680 . . . Quran's author must have been a hypocritical and deceitful person . . . Page 684 . . . Quran is the production of minds steeped in savagery and destitute of all knowledge of God.

The above are only a fraction of the slander inflicted by Dayanand on all other religions, in the current edition of his bible. In the 1st edition he has called Guru Nanak as (dhurta) crafty and dishonest. The Sikh scriptures Granth Sahib as (Mithya) falsehood and Sikhism as (jal) a trap for the innocent.

Half of his seven hundred page bible has been devoted towards attacks on other faiths. We could never believe it until we ourselves looked into the original work of Dayanand, who has named his book as "Satyarath Prakash" meaning Light of Truth. In the publishers note, Mr 0. P. Tyagi (MP) says, "This book is Magnum Opus of Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati, founder of Arya Samaj. This book is regarded as the Bible of Arya Samaj and is as immortal as the truth is. We are particularly tempted to call it a 'Cult' because we hate to see it identified with our ancient (and yet modern) highly philosophical and tolerant religion of Hinduism. We were really amazed to hear that over half of the Punjab and Haryana Hindus are followers of this fanatic cult. How members of this kind of hateful sect can co-exist with other religions is indeed hard to understand. After studying their slander on Guru Nanak and his humble teachings, we became inclined to look at the causes of Hindu-Sikh conflict in a different perspective: Arya Samaj support for the Nirankaris and the object of their similar other anti-Sikh activities became self explanatory. We wondered how many Arya Samajists in the garb of Hinduism have helped influence Hindu national opinion through some of their own controlled media and also perhaps affect the Government's judgement and its decisions through the positions they may occupy in the ruling party and the senior posts they hold in the Civil Service. The anti-Sikh mentality of former Home Minister Gulzarilal Nanda, and former Prime Minister Charan Singh are perhaps due to their origin in Arya Samaj and also responsible for influencing the usually impartial attitude of the Congress towards minorities.

Chapter 11 - Demands, Views and Recommendations

From our study we could infer that Sikhs still had a lot of appreciation and warm brotherly feeling for the Hindus from outside the Hindi belt. There was plenty of justifiable admiration for our prime minister Indira Gandhi and Rajiv, but obvious resentment against her advisers, supposedly influencing her decisions. We both got along very well with the warm-hearted and hospitable Sikhs. Most of their sorrowful complaints made a lot of sense e.g. why is the Central Government investment in Punjab lowest among all the states? (less than 1%). Even though Punjab's contribution to the central revenue is among the highest, opposition from local Hindus and many years of denials from the Government even on the trivial demands (such as the re-naming of one of the Punjab trains as Golden Temple Express) seemed most incredible. We encountered many genuine issues of this kind which deserve national exposure and serious probing. Is it really due to the discrimination as the Sikhs complain? Or is it a deliberate exercise for causing annoyance, frustration and dissention among this virile and distinguished community in our country? Revelations in S. Hukum Singh's article are worth reading. It is now well-known that Sant Bindranwale and his Dal-Khalsa were especially promoted with a purpose to establish an opposition within Akali and Sikh politics. The present agitation of Akali party under Sant Langowal, is based on well-defined justifiable demands, and grievances and hence attracts sympathy or support from almost all Sikh masses. Any deliberate suggestion of Pakistani hand behind this massive Satyagraha is bound to hurt and deeply upset this highly patriotic minority of less than 2% with their most incredible record of over 70% sacrifices during Gandhi's freedom struggle and their important role in defence and development of our country after the freedom.

During the linguistic agitation in 1953, over 50,000 Sikhs had courted arrest. In the current Satyagraha of 1982-83 over 100,000 volunteers have been arrested. This high number of arrests is undoubtedly a national record and so has been the peaceful nature in which the Satyagrahas (morchas) of this magnitude have been handled by the Sikhs, with extreme tolerance insipid of over hundred lives sacrificed by them in the current agitation. The possibility of some interference in the Sikh politics and the religious affairs cannot be ruled out. The Press has not done itself any justice by failing to expose the basic issues of the conflict and have frequently hurt the patriotic Sikh sentiments, misrepresenting their cause and the case by dubbing them as separatists and unwisely highlighting the issue of Khalistan, a name we did not hear even once from any of the Sikhs we met in Punjab and Delhi. We however, observed a lot of genuine Sikh support for most of the Akali demands and not necessarily for the Akali party. We studied their demands. which appeared to be fair, democratic and within the framework of Indian constitution. While only two religious demands have only been partly conceded by the Government, in the main there appeared to be six major demands:

Chandigarh to be declared capital of Punjab. (Like Bombay was returned to Maharashtra in 1960 after depriving them for 4 years).
River-water dispute should be referred to the Supreme Court.
Appointment of a commission of linguistic experts to go into the territorial claims by Punjab and Haryana, treating each village as a unit and the language actually spoken and contiguity as the sole criteria.
Return of 3 Punjab thermal-head-works back to Punjab administration.
Removal of discrimination in the Armed Forces by lifting the limit of 2% on Sikh recruitment.
Enactment of All India Gurdwara Act, covering historical Gurdwaras.

In absence of any initiative from the Congress Sikhs, Akalis got the opportunity to champion the cause of Punjab and the Sikhs, based on certain demands, most of them being for the welfare of Punjab and eventually found support from several opposition parties. Langowal's letter of appeal (23.7.83) to all the M.P.'s. titled, "You Owe Us Justice," is an impressive and humble document, that talks of reason and is thought-provoking.

Today, the official director of Akali Morcha, Sant Langowal has plenty of following among the Sikh community. He has handled his morcha peacefully and his anti-Khalistan and anti-violence views are well established. Now that the Nirankaris have finally agreed to expunge from their books the offensive references made against the Sikh religion, it should further help to reduce tension. One fails to understand the motive of Arya-Samaj to support and champion the cause of Nirankaris.

Extremist activities have emerged mainly after the police atrocities, especially those at the Asiad and Rasta-Roko satyagraha with 24 shot dead by the police. It seems unfair and unfortunate to blame Langowal for occasional violence stemming from few radical splinter groups, not belonging to his Akali party. On the other hand Bindrawale and his own Dal-Khalsa party were created for opposing the Akalis in 1979. Yet any harsh statements made by this non-Akali leader receive undeserving attention by the press and the Government, frustrating the official Akali satyagraha for certain constitutional demands. Akalis have always maintained that they are not shielding any criminals in Gurdwaras. This now seems to be substantiated by the recent statement from the Inspector General of police - P. S. Bhinder, saying there was no clear proof with the Government that the men wanted by the police were hiding in Gurdwaras including the Golden Temple Complex.

Almost all the non-Congress leaders have already supported the Akali demands. In a recent article in Indian Express Mr. Rajmohan Gandhi says, (1) There is truth in Akali charge that some of their supporters have been killed by police by fake encounters. (2) There is truth in Akali accusation that Congress has fostered and backed some extremists Sikhs in order to weaken the Akalis. (3) Akalis have repeatedly disowned and disavowed Khalistan slogan. (4) Akalis have emphatically stated that communal harmony must be maintained at all costs. (5) Past record of Akali struggle shows an admirable degree of non-violence. While paying the above tribute, he advised Akalis to condemn all killings, no matter who is murdered or by whom. Akalis complain that their condemnation of violence does not receive publicity and for that they blame the media including the UNI and PTl. Recently (11.11.83) the official news agency U.N.I. has once again released the news of yet another anonymous Sikh leader, threatening a Hindu Temple and once again the responsible newspapers like Times of India (12.l l.83) published the same and that too in bold type on the front page. This incredible way of publicising highly volatile and unverified annonymous letters is not aimed at communal harmony but it certainly maligns the Sikh community for some isolated letters which may not even have come from a Sikh.

It is a tragedy that the problem has been branded as Hindu-Sikh instead of calling it as Arya Samaj-Sikh or better still naming it as Punjabi: non-Punjabi conflict, since Hindus in Punjab have time and again claimed to be 'Not Punjabi Speaking'.

Since none of the Akali demands are anti-Hindu or are likely to hurt Hindu sentiments in any way and most of the demands are for the welfare of Punjab State, one fails to understand why should this agitation (directed towards the Government) attract Hindu opposition and cause communal conflict? Instead of joining the movement and uniting the Hindus and the Sikhs, Arya-Samaj has unfortunately chosen the path of direct confrontation with the Sikhs by mobilising the Hindu-Suraksha-Samiti and the Sangathan and seeking the undeserving sympathy and support from Hindus outside the Hindi-belt by misleading them with false and exaggerated information e.g. while Hindu population in Punjab is as high as 49% yet it is highly publicised as a small minority. It is remarkable that the 3 communal incidents of Punjab happened in Hindu majority cities of Amritsar, Jullunder and Patiala, with over 60% Hindu population and no similar incidents in the villages, where Sikhs are in majority.

Extremists of both the communities should be dealt with equally firmly and impartially. A recent report in Blitz (14.5.83), named an extremist Pawan Kumar Sharma, (President of Hindu Suraksha Samiti in Patiala) from whom huge stocks of arms, explosives and hand grenades were recovered. On 11.11.83 the "Tribune" reported that police has recovered, 3 pistols, cartridges and 2 turbans and yellow cloth from the car used in the major Bank robbery on 9. I I .83 in Chandigarh. This startling piece of information (discovery of Turbans) confirms the involvement of dacoits and antisocial elements using turbans during the time of their crimes. This report provides credibility to strong Akali feelings that the recent inhuman killings near the border, of innocent Hindu passengers in the bus were not carried out by the Sikhs but by some non-Sikh criminals wearing turbans. Possibility of foreign agents in this particular case can not be ruled out. Time and again Sant Langowal, the Morcha director has requested for the appointment of a committee to study the much publicised violence and atrocities and to discover the truth and expose the people behind such activities, whether Akalis or Arya-Samajists or both. It is very unfortunate that occasional violence should be used by the Government as a reason to deprive Punjab of its legitimate demands. Arya-Samaj leader Virendra alleges over 30 Hindus killed and Akalis claim that 250 Sikhs have been liquidated. Both figures seem somewhat exaggerated. It is of paramount importance that an independent fact-finding committee should sit-in without any further delay. The overseas Indian bodies strongly recommend appointing of about 5 member Hindu Committee from non-Hindi speaking states comprising of retired prominent judges and senior journalists.

Sant Langowal had no objection to my proposal of all Hindu members and promised his full support. An unprejudiced and objective report on the situation may go a long way towards re-establishing the age-old traditional relationship of brotherhood between the Hindus and the Sikhs.


by Asha Bhatnagar
Since I was married into a Hindi-speaking Bhatnagar family I read, write and speak fluent Hindi, yet I do not fail to identify myself with the Tamil culture in which I had been brought up having been born in a Iyer family. My nationality is lndian, whose heritage, I adore, my mother tongue is Tamil which I am proud of. I admire those Sikhs who are proud of their Punjabi culture and its language and spare no efforts in retaining it.

I also fail to understand, on what ground did Punjabi and Haryana Hindus oppose the legitimate religious demands of the Sikhs? Are we not, by these very actions, implying that the Sikhs are not Hindus? Why did they oppose the demand of holy status for the city of Amritsar? Don't they know that the official Sikh name for the Golden Temple is "Hari Mandir" and is no less holy than the holiest of all the Mandirs in India. Are we not already enjoying the holy status for Varanasi, Hardwar and Kurukshetra? Narrow-minded fanatics have pushed some of our Sikh brothers into proclaiming that we are not Hindus. We can only blame ourselves for that. False declaration in the census by millions of Punjabi-speaking Hindus is a disgrace to our ancient Hindu tradition, in which truth is given paramount importance.

Even though it is mainly the Hindus of Punjab and Haryana, who owe their Hindu-birth to the Great Gurus and their Sikhs, who made the highest sacrifices for the protection of our Hindu religion from Mogul tyranny, yet it is the Hindus of the South and elsewhere, who seem to have greater respect for the Sikh Gurus and the Granth Sahib than the Punjabi-Hindus, who as history teaches us, only survived due to the emergence of Sikhism in their region of India. While national RSS has incorporated Guru Govind Singh and Guru Nanak in their prescribed morning prayer, some local Punjab and Haryana R.S.S. have joined hands with the Arya Samaj, who have slandered Guru Nanak in their prayer book.

Punjab Arya-Samaj apparently has a history of hundred years of hostility against the Sikhs and have found it difficult to reconcile themselves with the gradual influence of Guru Nanak's simple teachings on Hinduism, such as on the Sindhis.

Du to anti-Sikh indoctrination since 1875 by their founder Dayanand, the Arya-Samaj has gradually worked against the Sikh interests and especially more so since the partition of our country, when due to the sudden absence of the Muslim population from Punjab, they could afford more time and energy indulging in Sikh politics. Punjab R.S.S., too, was misled in joining hands with the Arya-Samaj in their anti-Sikh activities. Thus far from doing any good, the Arya-Samaj and R.S.S. of Punjab did far more damage to Hindu Dharma, by alienating the Sikhs from Hindu Society by weakening its very special branch of Sikhism, the branch, which is the protection of the mother-tree itself.

Great Hindu leaders of action have derived inspiration from the holy Sikh Gurus. Since my childhood, I remember the Tamil poem of India's great poet and patriot Subramanium Bharati. In his two hundred and four line poem on Guru Govind Singh he has described him as a 'great ocean of Knowledge,' a "lyric poet", a leader among warriors and a "lion among men''. Bharati describes the Sikh as one who does not know the caste distinction and wipes out injustice and tyranny. Achieving Dharma through knowledge is not great, great are the liberated souls of Khalsa who sustained Dharma with their lives. Guru's Khalsa is a 'sangam' brought about to preserve the Dharma and the country. Bharati concludes his poem with a moving note of optimism; "As the flag set up by Govind Singh fluttered on high, the regime of Aurangzeb fell down tottering".

Similar reverence to the Sikh Gurus and brotherliness towards Sikhs was expressed by many great lndian leaders. I may quote Swami Vivekananda's lecture in Lahore, in 1897, when he said . . . "Here it was (i.e. in Punjab) that in later times the gentle Nanak preached his marvellous love for the world" . . . Towards the end of the lecture he said . . . "I have quoted at the beginning of this lecture of our great Guru Govind Singh . . . Mark me, every one of you will have to be Govind Singh, if you want to do good to your country. You may see thousand of defects in your countrymen, but mark their Hindu blood . . . If they drive you out, retire to die in silence like that mighty lion Govind Singh. Such a man is pride of Hindu Dharma, such an ideal ought to be before us always". There are numerous tributes of this kind made to the Sikh Gurus and their Sikhs. Their rare sacrifices and contribution make our Nation proud.

It is a pity that the Sikhs have to agitate, struggle and sacrifice lives for their constitutional demands, the kind of which are usually granted automatically to other states and communities. While most linguistic states in India were carved out in l950's, Punjabi state was agreed upon in 1966, only after a decade of great peaceful satyagrhas and sacrifices by the Sikhs. While no other state was deprived of its capital, today 25 years later, Sikhs still continue to struggle and sacrifice lives for their Chandigarh. It is a great pity that entire Sikh community and Punjab should be held responsible and deprived of their rights because of the violence from few extremists.

It is tragic that some of our Punjabi Hindus should be betraying their own State's welfare by not supporting the common cause of Chandigarh and River waters etc., and thus alienating themselves from the Sikhs. Their most unfair and mean opposition to the Sikh religious demands, e.g. demonstrating with cigarette packets on Sikh swords in a communal procession through the streets of Amritsar, are the kind of high degree of provocations which cause disharmony and the rift which we witness today between the two communities. Due to the frequent biased press reporting Sikhs have not been able to present the true picture of their grievances across the nation. I will advise the Sikh politician to invite few prominent Hindus from each state of India to Amritsar to discuss their grievances and impress upon them the genuine sincerity of their demands which are within the framework of the constitution.


Revelations by late S Hukum Singh former speaker lok Sabha (Parliament), and Former Governor of Rajasthan.
Within a year after the independence, Punjab was to be betrayed and discriminated against, on the linguistic issue, while all the remaining states of India were given their constitutional right to their language within a linguistic state. To quote Pundit Nehru's remark in 1948. ... whatever the merits of such a proposal might be". While Nehru was known for his flexibility, on the Punjab issue he remained stubbornly dogmatic and negative. This became the future policy. Nehru stuck to it for 16 years. Shastri continued the same policy and Indira Gandhi has made no departure.

"After denying this fundamental linguistic right for many years. prime minister Shastri appointed a Parliamentary Committee. in October 1965, under my chairmanship, to prepare a report on the Punjabi Suba issue. This was done in accordance with the fresh promises made to tho Sikhs during the September 1965 war with Pakistan. The intention of the Government then was to use me against my community, secure an adverse report, and then reject the demand, even after 18 long years of deliberate frustrating delays. When my report was nearly ready Mrs Indira Gandhi went to Mr Chavan and said she had heard that Sardar Hukam Singh was going to give a report in favour of Punjabi Suba, and that he should be stopped . . . Lal Bahadur Shastri continued the policy of Jawaharlal Nehru, and was dead against the demand of Punjabi Suba, as was Nehru. So, when he was urged by Mrs Gandhi to stop Hukam Singh, he did not waste any time. Mr Shastri called Mr Gulzari Lal Nanda, then Home Minister, to his residence, and conveyed to him the concern about the feared report. Every effort was made by Mrs Gandhi, Mr Shastri, and Mr Nanda to stop me from making my report. But when nothing succeeded, the Congress forestalled the Parliamentary Committee Report by agreeing to reorganise Punjab by a vague resolution dated March 9, while the committee report was signed on March 15, 1966, a week later. It was a deliberate attempt to by-pass this Committee, and undermine its importance.

The Parliamentary Committee had come to these conclusions.

The present State of Punjab be reorganised on a linguistic basis;
The Punjabi region specified in the First Schedule to the Punjab Regional Committee Order, 1957, should form a unilingual Punjabi State.

The Government bypassed the Committee and forestalled its report. The subsequent reference to the Shah Commission was loaded heavily against Punjab. Making the 1961 Census as the basis and the tehsil (instead of village) as the unit was a deliberate design to punish the Sikhs. The language returns in the 1961 Census were on communal lines when Punjabi-speaking Hindus falsely declared Hindi as their language. Therefore, the demarcation had to be on communal rather than on a linguistic basis. Consequently merit was again ignored and justice denied. Naturally tensions between the two communities increased. If Punjabi Suba had been demarcated simply on a linguistic basis, and not on false returns of 1961, there would not have been any extremist movement. Tension between Hindus and Sikhs in Punjab is bound to continue unless the communal section of Hindus see wisdom and retrace their steps by acknowledging Punjabi as their mother-tongue. If the Punjabi Hindus had not disowned their Punjabi and isolated the Sikhs, then a sense of Punjabi identity would have grown and suppressed Hindu and Sikhs communalism. Those Hindus who lied in the census, betrayed their Sikh brothers, betrayed their language and culture and betrayed their own ancient land of Punjab and were responsible for its division on Hindu-Sikh basis.

The present agitation was started by one section of the Akalis, but the coercive and repressive policies of the Punjab Government has united all the different groups of Sikh behind the morcha. The indiscriminate murders of innocent young Sikhs under the false pretext of encounters, and harassment of women and children, relatives of the hunted persons, wanted by the police under real or cooked up charges, pushed all these families into a mass satyagraha, which so far has fortunately remained peaceful, despite many political and communal provocations.

Gandhi and Nehru had made personal promises to Sikhs before freedom, but soon after the independence they embarked on the long term programme of anti-Sikh politics and policies. 35 years later, there is no end to it in sight. The Government has never seen merit in any Sikh demand. Government has always felt encouraged in this direction by some extremist Punjabi Hindus who have always betrayed their Sikh brothers by opposing their constitutional demands, however fair and justifiable they may be. If the facts of the Punjab problem were to be truly understood by the Hindus from outside Hindi belt, they will feel ashamed of the action of their fellow Punjabi (now supposedly Hindi-speaking) Hindus and perhaps even disown them. I pray for the day when Hindus and Sikhs will again be united as one force."


by Professor V S Godbole
I was born and brought up in Poona and came to England in 1966. For the last few years I have been engaged in study and research on Indian History, which as presented in our text books is frequently misleading and at times intentionally falsified. Lately, my attention has been focused on the events in Punjab, which I began to look at with total dismay and disbelief. I am at a complete loss to understand, how any Hindu can oppose naming of a road in Anandpur after the great Guru Gobind Singh, who sacrificed everything from his father to his children, all in protection of our Hindu Dharma. We Maharastrians have a special place for him in our hearts in the same way, as we have for Shivaji. We remember them as defenders of our faith. Tears come to our eyes when we read about the two children of Guru Govind Singh, refusing to denounce their religion and embrace Islam. Their defiance, even when being bricked up alive, fills our hearts with courage.

Veer Savarkar, the great Indian revolutionary (and a Maharashtrian) was in London during 1906 to 1910. In those dark days of gloom, despair and despondency for Indians, he was searching for a source of inspiration. He turned to the great heroes Shivaji and Guru Govind Singh. On 29 December, 1908, he organised a meeting of Indians in Caxton Hall, London, under the chairmanship of Bipinchandra Pal (a Bengali). They celebrated Guru Govind Singh's birthday. Professor Gokulchand said "Guru Govind Singh means to us Hindus what Christ means to Christians". Lala Lajpat Rai said that Guru Govind Singh was a real lion. After a speech by Bipinchandra Pal, Veer Savarkar explained the meaning of the Deg, Teg and Fatteh. He said "Deg is principles, Teg is the sword and Fatteh means success". Principles, however noble, must where necessary, be backed by the force of arms. Deg, Teg, Fatteh is the basis of the Sikh sect. After the distribution of karaprasad by Savarkar, the programme ended with "Guru Govind Singh Ki jai and Vande Mataram". They paid tributes to him from their hearts to derive inspiration for fighting the British.

While in London Veer Savarkar took the trouble to learn Gurmukhi and made detailed study of Adi Granth, Suraj Prakash, Vichitra Natak and other Sikh scriptures. (Which other leaders did so?)

In 1910 Veer Savarkar was sent to fifty years imprisonment in the Andaman (Kalapani), a sentence unparalleled in the history of the British Empire. He was not allowed to read or write, so what did he do? He constructed Guru Govind Singh's biography in poems. But why Guru Govind Singh? Savarkar explains "I chose Guru Govind Singh because during the struggle against the Mughals, he lost his mother, wife and his four sons, he was even betrayed by some of his own people and yet this great Guru accepted his fate and suffered these catastrophes with magnanimity. I wanted to obtain the courage to survive through the ordeal of fifty years of Kalapani by remembering how the great Guru faced the calamities which fell upon him". During the eleven years of Kalapani, Savarkar celebrated the birthday of Guru Govind Singh every year. At the end of that day Karaprasad would be distributed. Once Savarkar even organised a strike to ensure that the Sikh prisoners were given palatable (not salty) water and soap to wash their hair and some oil to keep their hair tidy.

But then what brought about the present day bitterness and hatred in Punjab? Let us examine the chronology of the events. After the death of Tilak in August 1920, Gandhi became the unchallenged leader of Congress. He became President of Congress in 1924. In 1925 Gandhi denounced Guru Govind Singh and Shivaji for fighting with arms instead of practising Ahimsa against Aurangzeb, and yet himself consented to sending the Indian Army (not satyagrahis) for Kashmir war within two months after independence. People had to tolerate such insulting remarks of Gandhi, as there was no other leadership available.

While still in prison, Savarkar published his famous book Hindutva in 1923. He wrote . . . really if any community in India is Hindu beyond cavil or criticism, it is our Sikh brotherhood in Punjab. Brave Sikhs placed their heads by the hundreds under the executioner's axe, rather than disown their Guru or religion. Their great champion Guru Teg Bahadur laid down his life for the cause of Hindu liberation in Punjab . . . his illustrious son Govind, the poet, the prophet and the warrior of our Hindu race explains in Vichitra Natak, . . . "May this Khalsa panth flourish everywhere, so that long may Hindu Dharma live and all falsehood vanish".

Veer Savarkar writes: "great Guru had chosen the Khalsa of distinct identity as a band of the best and the bravest of the Hindu Race". He proudly said, "The Sikh of today is the Hindu of yesterday and the Hindu of today may be the Sikh of tomorrow". Sikh Gurus he said were children of Hindus. Many Sikhs are proud of their Sikh religion and their roots from Hindu-race and society.

Savarakar was released from jail in 1924 but interned and barred from taking part in politics till 1937. After his release, for next ten years, he tried to keep India united. Time and time again he warned of the horrible consequences of partition. He warned not to trust the Congress leaders. But all his warnings fell on deaf ears. In 1946 Congress leaders got elected on the promise that they will never accept partition. But once in power, in true Gandhian style, they agreed to partition with callous disregard for the safety and security of millions of Hindus and Sikhs.

As if the horrors of partition were not enough, new trouble started in Punjab in less than four years when in the 1951 census the Punjabi Hindus were misguided by the Arya-Samaj and other extremists into registering that their mother tongue was Hindi and not Punjabi. RSS chief, Golwalkar Guruji declared openly that Punjabi Hindus should not deny the fact that their monther-tongue was Punjabi. This false declaration on an unimaginable scale was the root cause of the current crisis. Even after such a census, the natural outcome should have been the formation of a Punjabi speaking Punjab, however small. But that was not to be. In 1956 Punjab was deliberately declared a bi-lingual state. When Master Tara Singh started the agitation for Punjabi Suba, Punjabi Hindus did not support it, and as a result, people in India got the impression that it was only a Sikh movement and not a linguistic one, and that the Sikhs were demanding a separate independent state. Naturally they got no support from other Indians. And this must have led to much alienation, frustration and bitterness among the Sikhs. Once again RSS Chief Golwalker Guruji said publicly: "The demand for Punjabi Suba is not separatist demand". Finally when the Suba was created in 1966 after a long and unnecessary delay, it was mischievously deprived of its capital and some Punjabi speaking districts. If Haryana was invented, because of its supposed Hindi language, then why was it not amalgamated into the bordering Hindi state of UP? The problem of Chandigarh would then never have arisen. But this would have resulted in peace and harmony which was against the Congress policy of divide and rule.

My research shows that the troubles started much earlier. Taking advantage of Gandhi's assassination in January 1948, Veer Savarkar (who was already bedridden) was put in jail, without trial, for one year. Patel and Nehru tried to implicate him in Gandhi's murder trial, but failed. And as soon as Savarkar was declared innocent, Master Tara Singh was disgracefully thrown into prison by Sardar Patel (February 1949). This is how the man who was largely responsible for saving East Punjab from the aggressive designs of Pakistan, was paid. He was released in October 1949, and replying to the telegram of congratulations from Veer Savarkar, Masterji said that he was extremely worried about the widening rift between the Hindus and the Sikhs in East Punjab and requested him to come to Punjab and study the crisis and find us a solution. But Veer Savarkar was banned for one year from leaving Bombay and was arrested when he was going to Punjab. Once again in January 1952 Masterji declared "we will accept Savarkar's decision in the current Hindu-Sikh dispute. But this was so because Sikhs had great respect for the sincerity, honesty and integrity of character of Veer Savarkar, which was in sharp contrast to the treacherous, selfish and self-centered Congress leaders.

28 May, 1958 was Savarkar's 75th birthday. Speaking at that function Mr B F Bharucha, an old Parsee Congress leader, said: "In my opinion the Government should seek Savarkar's help in solving the crisis in Punjab. As he is equally popular with both Hindus and Sikhs, he could definitely find a solution. But the Congress Ministers would not agree as they hate him bitterly for only one reason that he is a Maharashtrian". It was quite clear even to Congress leaders that Nehru was not interested in solving the Punjab crisis. All that he cared for was his own power and glory. Veer Savarkar died at the age of 82, on 26 February 1966. The hundredth birth anniversary of this great patriot fell on 28 May 1983.

Strange as it may sound, Punjab and Maharashtra though a thousand miles apart, are historically connected and have the same fate. Maratha Saint Namdev's bhajans are to be found in Granth Sahib and after the tactical retreat at Chamkaur, Guru Govind Singh came to Nanded in Maharshtra to spend his last days. Guru Teg Bahadur was tortured to death by Aurangzeb in 1675. As a result the Sikhs became a marshal race determined to die for the protection of Hindu Dharma. No amount of calamities would crush their spirit. Shivaji's son, King Sambhaji, when captured in 1689 was also tortured to death for refusing to embrace Islam, by Aurangzeb. His martyrdom so inflamed the Marathas that they fought with the mighty Mughal Army for next eighteen years even without a King and literally buried Aurangzeb in Maharashtra.

In 1760 Marathas came to Punjab because Sikhs were not powerful enough to resist the Pathans. One lakh Maratha soldiers died in the battle of Panipat to prevent Pathans from getting any foothold in North India. Few years later Marathas came to North once more and Mahadji Shinde (Scindia) made a tripartite agreement between Marathas, Sikhs and Pathans and with it Marathas ensured that there was peace and stability in Punjab.

In 1879 Vasudev Balawant Phadke revolted against British rule in Maharashtra. Ramsingh Kuka did the same in Punjab. When the Gadar movement was started in 1913, the pioneers among Sikhs included two Maharashtrians, Dr. Khankhoje and Mr. Pingle. Bhagat Singh was a Sikh and Rajguru was a Maratha, they were hanged together in March 1931. In March 1940 in London, Udham Singh shot and killed Sir Michael Odwyer, responsible for the Jalianwala Bagh massacre. And who praised him in India ? Only Savarkar. All the Congress leaders condemned the brave Udham Singh. At the time of Jalianwala Bagh massacre (April 1919), Gandhi did not even go to Amritsar and advised the Congress enquiry committee not to ask for the trial of General Dyer.

Thus the Sikhs and Marathas have much in common. During the linguistic agitations, both suffered at the hands of Congress. The similarity is very striking. After reorganisation of States in 1956 Bombay and Punjab were the only bilingual States, all other states were unilingual. Nehru said at that time on radio "Bombay may belong to Maharashtra but we (i.e. the Congress High Command) have decided otherwise." Chandigarh was victim of similar mentality and still continues to be so. Marathas were told that if Bombay went to their state then Gujratis will move their industries out of Maharashtra. Similar tactics were played against Punjabi suba formation. Both the threats proved phoney. Marathas even had to fight naming their state as Maharashtra. Soldiers of Maratha Light Infantry Brigade were forbidden to say 'Shivaji maharaj ki jai'. Today I hear that Sikh soldiers are not allowed to carry their sacred kirpan. Maratha cause was deliberately misrepresented by news media and given bad publicity. The Sikh struggle too has been subjected to same treatment if not worse. Their Suba issue was mischievously misquoted everywhere as a demand for a Sikh State and not a linguistic one. Even in Nehru's biography (Vol LI page 327) Mr Sarvapalli Gopal, Director of Historical Division in Nehru's Ministry of External Affairs (1954 - 1956), describes Tara Singh as a prominent Sikh leader who agitated for division of East Punjab to provide a 'separate province for the Sikhs'. Where can one look for justice and fairness when even prominent historians of Mr Gopal's calibre can stoop to that degree of distortion and fabrication even today. What a pity that our Punjabi Sikh brothers, who sacrificed so much for our independence and who suffered terribly during partition should still have to struggle for a capital for Punjab after 35 years!

It is no coincidence that every politician that is anti-Sikh is also anti-Maratha. Both their national leaders, Master Tara Singh and Veer Savarkar, until their death suffered same unending humiliation from the Congress leadership after independence, for which they both fought with greater spirit and patriotism than most of the celebrated Congress leaders. They must therefore work together, not just for mutual self interest but for the interest of whole of India. Holkar asked for Ranjit Singh's help but that was refused, and as a result he was defeated by the English. Later Sikhs wanted the help of Bajirao II, that too was refused and as a result Sikhs were defeated. The whole country suffered terribly as a result of noncooperation between these two brave and self-sacrificing communities. Every Sikh should have a biography of Shivaji and Veer Savarkar and every Maratha a biography of Guru Gobind Singh.

Sat-Sri-Akal! Har Har Mahadev!! Vande Matram!!!

Prof. V. S. Godbole


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