Anti Sikh Riots 1984 – No Justice for Sikhs in India
Across the world next month, a lot of Sikhs will be getting together and marching, shouting slogans, making speeches and holding up Placards saying “Sikhs want Justice”, “India stop killing Sikhs” and “Freedom is our Birthright”.
Conversely, many young, educated, practising Sikhs born and brought up in the West who are leading lights in their communities will be shunning these same demonstrations and marches and will state “I don’t do rallies”. What’s going wrong here?
This maxim applies here “If what you are doing is not working, Change what you’re doing”. Can we be honest about these rallies. They are not working. Don’t get us wrong, it’s a great day out, lovely to see all the sangat together, united in their pain. But let’s face it:
(1) We are not achieving Justice.
(2) We are not getting Freedom.
(3) We’re not even spreading awareness. Most of the people are Sikh Punjabis who already know what the march is about. The speeches are in Punjabi and even if we told a few hundred people, we would have been better off buying a double page spread in a national newspaper stating the facts of 1984.
(4) In spite of knowing the above facts, we keep on spending time and money on doing these marches. We have no definition of what would be success.
(5) The problem facing us is so big, we either run away from it, or stick to what is easy, i.e., demos. There are no large scale debates about what would be better. Becuase there is no definition of success to be achieved by a rally for 1984, then we cannot have an action plan that actually achieves that.
If we can just address the main point here, its that we are not thinking or approaching this in the right way. Let’s address the approach and then lets come up with a few better ideas.
Firstly, ‘Sikhs’ should never ‘Want’ Justice. Can you just imagine Dhan Guru Gobind Singh ji, on his blue horse, with his plumed turban, weapons overflowing, saying that he ‘wants’ justice? No, we cannot. Justice is something that Guru ji would ‘Deliver’. To want is to be left wanting. Applying the principle of “Vand ke Shako” to Justice would be to give everyone else Justice and get it for yourself. For the Khalsa to be walking around like beggars asking for justice is a shame, shame upon us that we think this is what the Guru’s own body should be doing. The Khalsa for which Sarbans Daani (the 10th Master) sacrificed his mother, father and all four beautiful sons and he did so with a smile, what is that Khalsa doing now walking around asking others to give it justice. We are the deliverers of justice, “Sri Sahib ji Sahae”, let the respected sword always remain by our side. Never ask for Justice O beloved Khalsa. Don’t be offended O Khalsa jio, please read on. We would kiss the feet of the Khalsa, drink the water after washing them, put our heads on the ground for it to walk upon, please let that Khalsa never bend its head to anyone else but to Vaheguru or Guruji.
Lets ask ourselves, What is this ‘Justice’ that we seek? Do we expect that the Western Governments, after putting pressure on India, and even if the Indian Government suddenly decided to prosecute those have killed, raped and destroyed Sikhs in 1984, do we honestly expect that at the end of those trials that we would get Justice? No, we won’t and we shouldn’t. It would not be the justice that we seek and at the end of that process, we would be marching again. The ‘Justice’ we seek should always be that of our own choosing and that which is done in line with the principles and actions of our Gurus and the Granth and Guru Panth. True Justice can only be delivered by Vaheguru and since the Khalsa Panth is the form of Akaal Purakh (see Puratan Rehitname) upon the earth, then it should work out what would be justice and then work to deliver that justice.
If you read our post on ‘Why does India persecute Sikhs?’ you will see that it’s pointless to ask India to ‘stop killing Sikhs’. As long as Sikhs do what they are meant to do, the 1% that control India will always try to kill Sikhs. The real answer of ‘When will India stop killing Sikhs?’ can only ever be, ‘When the Sikhs are in charge of India’. When the Guru’s army itself sits on the throne of Delhi, then will India stop killing Sikhs and everyone be reconciled to the rule of the Khalsa.
It’s also pointless to say Freedom is our birthright. Freedom is our aim, it’s what we plan to deliver to the world, not just ourselves. The price of freedom has always been paid in blood. It’s not our birthright, its our ‘death cry’. We need to be the Braveheart crying out Freedom as they chop us from joint to join and saw us in half. Freedom needs to be lullaby we sing to our kids, the whispering chant in our head when we awake and the constant throbbing in our heart. Freedom. To be free of falsehood, to be free of Fear and Hate, to be free of the shackles on the mind, to be free of caring what others think, and to be free to do what is right and required and to that ourselves. Freedom. Fiercely Free and Fiercely independent. To Death. Even Death will not part us from Freedom.
What then of 1984? What would be the right approach?
Perhaps we should start by not moaning about all those that died? Who died and where did they go? The eternal soul, which migrates, doesn’t die. Why would a Sikh cry about death? We are wedded to death and it must consume us all, but very few live immortal lives. Lives such that Guruji himself comes for them at the end. As much as we ourselves have cried about the sorrows of 198 and after that, the fact is that this is simply our mind talking, not the Guru. Injustice needs to be destroyed but once someone is dead, we can do nothing for them. Our job is to serve the living, not to bemoan the dead. Celebrate the dead, the fact that they gave their life for Guru. They will all either come back into Sikhi or go onto Eternity.
So why cry for them and yet ignore all those who are living? Surely at every rally, we should be getting all the sangat to pledge big. A minimum amount of £100 each to up to £1000 each towards those loved ones that were left behind by the shaheeds and now need help. A multi-10’s of millions pound/dollar fund, supporting orphans, single mothers, old parents, through education and illness. Just like a Son, Daughter or Parent would want to themselves. That should be our first approach. If every person who gives a speech at an 84 rally starts off by first pulling out a £1000 wad of cash and says,” I pledge this money for the living victims of 1984 and I ask that you do too”, they would have said enough. As they say, put your “money where your Mouth is” or also, ‘put your offerings to the Guru, in the mouth of the poor and needy’. This would bring much respect to the Panth and would alleviate the guilt that is endemic in the Panth. The guilt that makes us turn away when we see the photos of these families suffering in India. The guilt that we are not doing what we should be doing. So let’s start.
Let’s turn to the right approach for Justice. As we said, let’s deliver justice, but how. Here is a proposal. Why dont we set up a Sikh International Criminal Court (SICC) and then set up trials of all those named as the perpetrators of 1984 and after. We have so much evidence readily available regarding the Nov 1984 killing sprees. Let’s prosecute Sajjan Kuman and Jagdish Tytler ourselves. With all the lawyers, solicitors and judges in our Panth, we are fully able to run such a trial. Put the evidence and trial on youtube and if these people are found guilty, let the Panth and Punj Piare judges give them a sentence. Such a sentence should only refer to Sikh history for precedents and not pay any heed to what the world may think about it. If such a sentence is death, then the hukamnama (order) should be given that any Sikh, where they may be, has been commanded, that if they are able to kill those sentenced to death by the Panth, then they should do so straight away.
Before everyone starts with the “oh that just sounds nuts” let us cover some points.
(1) Trials can be run in absentia. We assume that most of these will have to be since I doubt they will come willingly. Many governments run trial in absentia. The best example is that of Israel. They have held many Nazi War Criminal Trials and having examined the evidence in front of them, sentenced people to death. These deaths have been carried out by Mossad.
(2) This does not violate the sovereignty of India. These people being prosecuted are Criminals and Murderers. If the Indian political and judicial system is unable to deliver justice for Sikhs that are citizens of India, then the Sikhs have already been guaranteed their rights in the speeches of both Nehru and Gandhi (the founding fathers). We have the sword and we shall be using it. Killing criminals doesn’t change the politio-social democratic system of India, affect its economy or its education system. All it does is deliver Justice for Indians. In this way it is a force for good and one that acts against corruption. All Indian Independence fighters, now national heroes did the exact same thing. Even now we can look at the USA, launching missiles against Al-Qaeda leaders, no matter what country they are in. They do this, because they see these people as enemies of liberty everywhere. Why shouldn’t we Sikhs also see things this way?
(3) Why do we need the permission of the SICC? Just get on with it. We know they are guilty so if you want to do it, just go and kill them. Indeed we are sure that some readers will claim that we should do it ourselves rather than writing about it. This approach misses the point somewhat. Look at the killing of Osama Bin Laden by the US Navy Seals. The whole of the US and Obama administration are able to hold their heads up high that they killed Osama just like they said they would. The Navy Seals carried out their job but the fact that it was ordered by the US president, acting with the authority given by the US people, means that its not just a lone bunch of Navy Seals that killed Osama, its bigger than them. If you wanted to launch an investigation into Bin Laden’s death, you would start from Obama, not from the Seals.
Effectively what we are saying is that if the SICC found Jagdish Tytler or Sajjan Kuman or KPS Gill or Sumeedh Saini guilty of crimes again humanity/Sikhs and sentenced them to death, then any Sikh who carries out that death sentence can simply point to the SICC and say, ‘I was just following the orders of the Panth’. Otherwise, that individual becomes a terrorist and criminal. If we do it through the SICC then that Sikh is a soldier of the Khalsa Panth, doing his duty as per the hukamnama of the punj piare. He/She will not need to be eloquent in their own defence rather they can point to the SICC trials as their main motivation for the killing. Effectively it would mean the Panth would be on trial, the evidence used in the SICC hearings would be on trial and the decision making process of the SICC would be trial. If the SICC was watertight in these, it would become a very interesting debate about sovereignty, justice and international law.
Plus, just imagine the media flurry that would happen if the Punja Piarey of the SICC were citizens of western Countries and thus were able to use those rights of citizenship.
(4) This is tantamount to inciting terrorism or ordering murder: Not terrorism, this is merely Justice but yes, it may mean ordering Murder. But when Guru Gobind Singh ji put to death all the masands who were stealing the sangat’s money, what was that? When the Khalsa Panth gave Sukha Singh and Mehtab Singh the order to go bring back Massa Ranger’s head, what was that? The Khalsa has to administer its own justice. This is what all sovereign nations do and exactly what Obama did by making the killing of Osama Bin Laden one of his key priorities. You need a good justification of this, one that can stand up to scrutiny. I cant think of one much better than a bunch of educated, qualified Sikhs, critically examining the evidence and then passing judgment whilst giving the historical justification for that order. Especially when all the evidence and deliberations are on youtube.
(5) The SICC judges will be arrested and prosecuted! What better seva that to get prosecuted for something so chardikala? Something that achieves both Justice and great awareness of the injustice in India. The Indian press are not going to print this stuff, so the western press will have to cover it. The SICC judges will get to defend themselves in Court. Again the debate will have to focus on their justification of judging an individual who has committed heinous crimes and walked scot free. The funny thing is that Pandit Nehru himself was a lawyer who defended the Indian Liberation Army soldiers that were being prosecuted by the British. The arguments used to defend the ILA leaders were that they were not mercenaries, (or terrorists) but rather“bona fide soldiers” that did not recognise the British Sovereign. Therefore they were to be treated as political prisoners. Surely a Sikh that carries out the hukam of the Khalsa is also saying he recognises the Khalsa Panth as his Guru and can point to the historical precedents which back up his actions. He too is not a lone mercenary lunatic, but a soldier and the Panth itself should be tried in his defence.
(6) No-one would put themselves up to be a SICC Judge–Khalsa jio, we respectfully state that IF, in our entire Panth, we can’t find 5 educated people able to serve judges, (plus prosecutors etc), then we should forget 1984 and go home. What’s the point of shouting slogans and thousands marching if we cant find five to actually do something. There is no more panth left saving then. We are no longer Nirale, or unique, we are the same as everyone else. It seems pertinent here to remember that the Khalsa needs to embrace death, forget about the consequences or don’t bother taking amrit. Pehla maran kabool, jeevan ki chad aas. “First accept death and leave the desire to live!”This is the requirement of being a Sikh and especially being a Khalsa. We need to be fearless as long as we are doing the right and honourable thing. Look at Bhai Rajoana, he is not scared come what may. We are being harsh now, but only because we know that the Five do exist and will come out. But how many people reading this article will then join our facebook page and like this post? How many will then say out loud, I support the establishment of the SICC? That’s what those Five will need, the feeling that the Panth is calling for this and therefore they will step forward. Yes, we are anonymous right now, but also there is a good reason for that, as what we plan to bring to the table is much bigger than just this and requires us to stay unknown for now. If the SICC is something you like, then join us in this movement and say so.
(7) No one will carry out the Hukamnama of the SICC: This is impossible Guru Piarey jio, just look at the shaheeds who gave their live for the Panth. Their spirits have come back to the Panth. Again, they look to serve the Guru Khalsa Panth. From Bhai Mehtab Singh and Sukha Singh, to Sukha and Jinda to Bhai Dilawer Singh and Jathedar Balwant Singh Rajoana, they acted. But they acted in small groups without backing. Now the panth needs to unite and think big. And the Panth needs to believe that its own members will answer the call. Think of the thousands of ardaasa done every day for the chardikala of the panth. Think of the thousands and millions of chaupai sahibs that people do for the chardikala of the panth. After all this, do you think that the call of the Panth will go unanswered? No Khalsa jio, if the Guru Roop Khalsa in the SICC gave even 30 days for the order to be carried out, we have full faith that the Panth would deliver the justice we choose for ourselves. If it doesn’t then its because those people will go into hiding. Read below for other options too.
(8) But this is the job of the Akaal Takht: We agree, but we also know the state of the Akaal Takht right now, its been hijacked by the 1% who hate Sikhi. So, we bow to the Akaal Takht, but when the Khalsa of old was on the move, then the Panth made decisions on the move. Guru Gobind Singh ji themselves never went to Harimandar Sahib or the Akaal Takht, even though they founded the Khalsa Panth. In any case, IF the Jathedaar of the Akaal Takht was free from all outside influence, even then, we would still need a SICC to examine the evidence and give its recommendation. It would be the job of the Akaal Takht Jathedaar to endorse it. So why don’t we focus on getting the SICC established? Why not unite and call for this to happen? Allow people to put their names forward to be the prosecutors, the judges and let’s get on with delivering Justice. So no longer do we remain ‘Wanting Justice’.
Here are some other proposals to how we may need to change our approach and action plan regarding 1984.
(1) For those who do not wish to carry out the trial of certain people and believe them already guilty by the evidence seen, maybe we should open up a reward fund for anyone who kills or captures those responsible. Every year at the marches, people should openly pledge money into a fund and in doing so, openly violate the law and court arrest. A large fund would make it viable to hire a Private Military Company or Assassin to do this with minimum damage to other people. The US already have a reward for kill or capture on most people they want to catch or kill, and are avid users of para-military assassins for taking out their enemies, and we don’t mean for dinner.
(2) Kaurs, please get involved. Most men just seek to build their castle in their house, protect it and take responsibility for being the defender of their family. In doing this, first they look for the foundation stone, i.e. a woman. As Dhan Guru Nanak Dev ji writes, men are tied to women. It’s also the fact that Women have a role to play in the upcoming battle for the panth’s honour. Let’s spell it out. The Panth is dishonoured. Our women have been raped, our children killed and the perpetrators walk about free. What more dishonour could there be on a man, or on a Panth?
It’s the women who will need to get involved if the honour of the Panth is to get restored. Women need to give men both the impetus and the strength to sacrifice all. It should no longer be the case that a man feels he has to choose between his responsibility to his family and his responsibility to the Panth. It should be that the women tells the man, fulfil your responsibility to the Panth or you’re not welcome in this family. That’s how we used to roll.
Where are the Mai Bhagos who tell the men to go back into battle and not return without their Guru? Where are the mothers who tell their sons to avenge the Panth’s honour or to marry the daughter of a shaheed? Where are the mothers who tell daughters to trust only the man who is willing to give his life for Sikhi? Who tells their daughters to marry a son of a Shaheed. Who encourage encourage their man to be a shaheed? Don’t think that we should shy away from the word Shaheed just because of a recent fanatical Islamic suicide bomber trend. Our shaheeds are different, we celebrate them even if they die to save someone else’s religion. See Guru Tegh Bahadur, shaheedan de sirtaj Dhan Guru Arjan Dev ji, the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh, the Shaheedi jathas who held up cannons with their shoulders, each shot of the cannon burying one Singh into the ground only to have another willingly take his place. These are our shaheeds and we salute them, in every single Gurdwara, four to five times a day during our ardaas. Why do we salute shaheeds and let not encourage our family to become shaheed? What could be more beautiful to know that your child died in that glorious tradition and will come back to this earth even more blessed? Why do a nation of people who sing songs of “Purja Purja Kat marei, Kabhoon na chade khet”, “let me be cut into little little pieces but let me not leave the battleground”, why does this nation get scared of death? It’s because we have forgotten Guru’s promise, that death will not even touch one who is in his sanctuary. We fear death like the West fears death, as a great unknown. If we did Simran and Kirtan and experienced the divine one, felt ourselves dislocated from our body, we would realise that death is nothing and that Guru himself will come for those who die in his love. Wasn’t death what Guru Arjan and Guru Tegh Bahadur embraced? Isn’t Death what Guru Gobind Singh sent his sons towards? Isn’t death what we are asked to accept when stepping onto Guru’s path and playing this game of love? O Mothers, Daughters and Sisters of and in the Khalsa, teach us not to fear death but to feardishonour. Tell us how dishonoured you feel and then tell us to regain the honour of the Panth.
Where are the women who would refuse to share their husband’s beds until these monsters are killed? Why not set up a pledge website where Kaurs pledge that until and unless these criminals are brought to justice, they will not be sleeping with their husbands. Why does this scare the readers but not the fact that those men who raped our honour walk around another day scot-free. Make this a Kaurs’ solidarity issue. Look at the Colombian women who did exactly this just to get their men to fix a road. Just for a road! Here the honour of our beloved Panth is at stake. Why should men get their marital rights when the Panth doesn’t even have the men to hold its head up? You might wonder why this option has not being aired before, but guess which gender is doing most of the speeches at these rallies. This call cannot come from the men, it has to come from the united Kaurs.
The time has come for us to do things bigger, more globally and more connected. This is the Panthic way. For the Indian born Sikhs, let us give you the example of Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas. When she is dishonoured, what does she do? She swears not to wash her hair until she washes that hair with the blood of the one who dishonoured her, Dusshsana. Bhima vows to do this for her and he carries it out. Where are those Sikh women who have such morals now? Why are our mothers and sisters looking for an easy life and conform rather than being fiercely independent and honoured Sikh warrior princesses? We don’t need every women in the panth to do this, even a hundred or a thousand would be enough if they take this pledge, openly and on social media. It would shame the Singhs into doing something about this dishonour that hangs over our head.
Finally, a point regarding the SICC. Obviously the initial trust in a SICC will only come when its orders are carried out. However once that does happen, it is vital that the vision of the Court does not remain just Punjabi Sikh orientated. It should look at cases such as Narendra Modi (buther of Gujrat) and other Indian politicians. It should not shy away from prosecuting “Sikhs” either. And it should look outside India as well. Perhaps every Gurdwara could one day have a top twenty most wanted list, ten people wanted for crimes against the Sikhs and also ten people wanted for crimes against humanity. The Khalsa Panth’s hukamnama should be issued, to destroy each of these wanted individuals so we can show we care about other people and other atrocities. Put tyrants, despots, criminals on the list and say “We, the Sikhs, are going to get you!” Make a fund of money for this so we can put a reward next to each head. Once this SICC actually starts delivering the Justice that Sikhs are meant to, then perhaps we will once again have the situation as that existed in Guru Tegh Bahadur’s time, when people approach the Sikhs and say, “O Khalsa of the house of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh, we ask you to give us Justice”. Then maybe our slogans will change to “Ask us for Justice” and we will be the strength of those who have no strength, the shelter for those who have no shelter and the honour of those who have no honour. We are not here to ask, we are here to give and the only thing we ask from our Guru is that he blesses us with both the right approach and the strength to carry out the right actions. In doing so, if we have to die a thousand deaths, we only ask that he sends us back a thousand times to carry on that mission that he was given. And that each time, our Guru blesses us with that inner connection to our Creator, by which we know his Word to be true and what the world tells us to be less true. That is faith and that is justice. Dhan Guru Dhan Vaheguru.