Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Anybody needs any reasons what is wrong with the concept of Khalistan, Khushwant Singh provides the reasons here - Viji



Close the chapter
Chohan: end of an era
The death last month of Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan (79) in his village, Tanda, reminded me of his case against me and my encounter with the other protagonists of a separate Sikh state, notably Ganga Singh Dhillon, Gurmeet Singh Aulakh and Simranjeet Singh Mann. I never met Chohan but he took me to court in London and Chandigarh. He had set up an Embassy of the Republic of Khalistan in London, with a Nihang guarding the entrance. He issued passports and currency notes of Khalistan. He made Sikhs a laughing stock. I wrote about him in volume II of my A History of the Sikhs. He claimed that I had libelled him and asked for damages of over a million pounds sterling from my publishers and me.

It was trial by jury. Chohan attended the hearings everyday, taking with him a few patriarchs with long, flowing beards. He produced some witnesses, including an English woman, Joyce Pettigrew, author of Robber Noblemen, a book on Sikh zamindars I had rubbished in my columns. I could not travel to London but sent affidavits signed, among others, by President Zail Singh, S.J.S. Chhatwal, retired high commissioner of Canada, and a couple of old fellow villagers of Chohan to the effect that as a young man he had not conformed to the Khalsa tradition of wearing his hair and beard unshorn.

The judge put two questions to the jury: Had I libelled Chohan? If so, what damages would they award to him? To the first question, the jury affirmed that I had libelled Chohan. To the amount of damages to be given to Chohan, the jurors fixed the amount at one penny. Chohan claimed victory. He never asked me for the one penny he had won. I still owe him a penny. I've no idea what came of the case he had some relation of his filed against me in Chandigarh.

I have strong views on the claim of a separate, sovereign state for Sikhs or any similar demand for an independent state to be carved out of India. I belong to the Sikh community but regard Khalistanis as the worst enemies of the Khalsa Panth and traitors to the country. I have often challenged them to draw me a map of what they conceive as Khalistan, in which Sikhs will have as much of a majority as they do in Punjab today. Not one has taken up my challenge. Twenty per cent of the community live outside Punjab: farmers in Ganganagar district of Rajasthan and the Terai in Uttarakhand, Sikh industrialists, professionals, and tradesmen prosper in all parts of the country. What will become of them if, god forbid, they get away with a Sikh state? Another mass immigration of refugees?

They never answer these questions because they never bother to think about them. They are singularly brainless and unconcerned about the future of the community. Another Khalistani, Simranjit Singh Mann, won his election to the Lok Sabha but refused to enter it because he was not allowed to carry a kirpan of the length he wanted. No other Sikh MP before or after him found that a problem.

Gurmeet Singh Aulakh and Ganga Singh Dhillon continued to live in Washington. Aulakh used to issue bulletins in support of Khalistan. (He sent me some in which he had written something nasty about me). He has fallen silent. Dhillon lives in a large house overlooking Potomac River. I had a long luncheon session with him. I advised him to change his name and that instead of polluting the Ganga, he should pollute the Potomac.

The demand for Khalistan met the fate it deserved. It died an ignominious death. But let it be a lesson to others who periodically make noises about separating the states in which they live from India. We have heard them in Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. They are voices of treason which the people themselves should silence.


At 12:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Khalistan movement is not a terrorist movement. Khalistanis are not terrorists. Khalistanis did not kill innocent civilians in fake encounters - Indian police did. Khalistanis did not attack a center of faith - Indian army did. Khalistanis did not rape women and arrest young boys under false pretense - Indian police did. Khalistanis did not sponsor riots and massacres in Delhi, 1984 - Indian Congress party did. After all, China calls the Falun Gong terrorists and some agencies label groups in order to eliminate their movement which threatens their power.

Khalistan is a movement for the reunion of East and West Punjab, which was split in 1947 when India and Pakistan were created. In the separation, many thousands of people were killed and millions more suffered injuries, abuse, and obviously displacement. However, nobody suffered as much as the residents of Punjab (regardless of their religion). Punjab was split in two by greedy politicians (Gandhi, Nehru & Jinna) with unrighteous ambitions.

I think that the Khalistan movement is a righteous one, because it aims to restore equal rights to the residents of Punjab. Furthermore, the Sikh faith is a universal one and every day in their congregations they actually pray for the wellbeing of the entire universe. The Sikhs have historically fought for the goodwill of innocent people, the downtrodden, and victims of oppression like the Dalits and Tibetan monks. It was Sikhs who helped displaced Tibetan Buddhists with relocation to Dharamshala in Northern India. Sikhs, although they comprise only 2% of the Indian population, have historically served between 40 and 50% of the Indian army. But not only do they have martial traditions, but humanitarian, environmental, and egalitarian. Sikhs promote equal rights for all people regardless of their social class or caste, and work to abolish racism, sexism, and oppression.

The Khalsa was created as the "Army of God" in the sense of helping, protecting, serving, and inspiring all living beings. They do not try to convert others to Sikhism, nor do they discourage others from following their own faith. Instead, they denounce corruption and tyranny, and promote universal love and harmony. Given these core values and ideology, the support for Khalistan would be the least that India and Pakistan could do to repay the Sikhs for their contributions and sacrifices. They were massacred in 1984 by the government, but they have still not received justic for the crimes against them.

Just like Buddhists support Tibet, Jews support Jerusalem, and neither of these groups are labelled "Terrorist," the Sikhs should also be free to support and promote Khalistan, and not be labelled. Instead the world community should be brave enough to put pressure on their trading partners India and Pakistan to allow the Sikhs to be free from oppression and have political autonomy. They are not fighting for land, but for principal. And their principals are very righteous and something to learn from.

We should all support Khalistan as it is a beacon of hope for our world. One country which would allow Sikhs to have resources and authority to serve the world. Sikhs were sent to this world to love, serve, and inspire. To show the light of truth. To encourage people to follow their own faith with compassion, love, discipline, courage and grace. These values are admirable and part of the teachings of the Sikh scriptures. These values would be part of the core of the Sikh political agenda.

At 12:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khushwant Sinh is an enemy of the Khalsa panth. The Khalsa panth declared Khalistan in 1986, so how can the panth be an enemy of itself? Khushwant Sinh is a moron.


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