India: Oh Khalistan, My Khalistan: Article 370’s Implications for Sikh Separatism

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“We believe India faces a long-term terrorist threat from Sikh extremists that the government probably cannot eradicate…We believe Pakistan would significantly increase its support to Sikh extremists only if hostilities were breaking out with India over other issues, such as Kashmir

            – Excerpt from 1984 declassified CIA report “India and the Sikh Challenge”:

The Sikh separatist movement is again in the spotlight as US-based organization Sikhs for Justice promotes “Referendum 2020”, which asks Sikhs to vote on the formation of an independent country. Sikh unrest in Punjab has resulted in a crackdown on groups suspected of reviving militancy, using a new BJP anti-terror bill. Contemporaneously, Kashmiri activists are rioting against the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Under PM Modi, political power in India resides with Hindi-speaking Hindus in the center north; Kashmiri and Sikh activists have united in recent weeks to speak out against the status quo amidst a backdrop of rising tensions.

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When British India cleaved in 1947, Muslims got Pakistan, Hindus got India, and Sikhs, despite pleas for a homeland, wound up empty-handed.  Sikh identity had been broadly rooted in northern India, but the Punjab as the spiritual heartland and rallying point took on special significance once it became clear that Sikhs would not have a nation to themselves. During Partition almost all Pakistani Sikhs migrated to Indian Punjab, choosing to ally with Hindus over their historical Muslim territorial rivals. Sikhs and Hindus lived in Punjab in relative harmony until the 1970s, when calls for a Sikh homeland “Khalistan” (derived from Arabic “khalisa”, to be free from) resurfaced. Relations quickly soured: in response to a cancelled election, a charismatic (and heavily armed) Sikh leader installed himself in a sacred complex, setting off a chain of events that ended with the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the near-destruction of the most holy shrine in Sikhism. The assassination united public opinion against the Sikhs, and calls for a homeland died down- until recently.

The resurgence of interest in Khalistan has been led by the Sikh diaspora in Canada, the US, and the UK. Young Sikh members of the diaspora are linked to the movement via a robust online presence, which highlights human rights abuses and state repression. Canadian Sikhs provide significant financial support to Khalistan, leading to Prime Minister Modi’s widely publicized snub of Prime Minister Trudeau in 2018.

Since PM Modi and his BJP party were re-elected by a landslide in 2019, they have doubled down on “Hindutva”, the ideology defining India as a Hindu nation. The revocation of Article 370 last week was a significant step: though Article 370 has been acknowledged as a mere symbol of autonomy for India’s only Muslim-majority state, the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s regional authority sparked riots in India and condemnation from Pakistan and China.

The territorial claims of the Khalistan movement are not clearly defined: the annexation of Indian Punjab is a constant, but calls for Khalistan have sometimes included Pakistani Punjab and broad swaths of north India, including Jammu and Kashmir.  With this in mind, it is not immediately clear how Khalistan-supporters viewed Article 370’s revocation.

Most Khalistan supporters would acknowledge that Khalistan as a wholly independent nation is unlikely to corporealize: for one, even in Punjab, Sikhs are only 60% of the population. Despite its small size, Punjab supplies more wheat and rice than any other Indian state, making its independence a matter of national security for India.  The Khalistan movement is less about diplomatic recognition and more about a spiritual homeland and the “right to be different” in today’s India.  Sikhs have complained that under PM Modi their religious practices are being subsumed into a broader Hindu identity, part of a long-standing practice of absorption of religious minorities by dominant Hindus. It is clear that Punjabi Sikhs, like Kashmiri Muslims, want to retain a separate non-Hindu religious identity. With this in mind, the revocation of Article 370 is a direct threat to the notion of Khalistan.

The shared aspirations of pro-Khalistan and pro-Kashmir activists were demonstrated on August 3 as Kashmiri separatist outfits extended support to Referendum 2020, hosting a joint press conference in London. PM Modi and the BJP have attempted to brand the Khalistan movement as a ploy by Pakistan to sow division in India, limiting Indian popular support for the movement. There is little evidence that Pakistan currently supports Khalistan, though Pakistan trained Sikh extremists through the 1980s. Sikhism is positioned geographically and ideologically between Hinduism and Islam, resulting in a complex relationship between Sikhs, Kashmir and Pakistan. Both Punjab and Kashmir have familial pre-Partition ties to Pakistan that challenge contemporary framing of India-Pakistan relations. Pakistan’s decision to keep open the Kartarpur Corridor, which links Indian Sikhs to an important religious site in Pakistan, could be interpreted as a sign of goodwill.

The shared struggle for self-determination unites Khalistan and Kashmir, and the BJP and its supporters are united in opposition, girded by insinuations that Pakistan is behind both movements. By intensifying pressure on non-Hindus, PM Modi risks that the global spotlight on Kashmir may spill onto Khalistan, and onto India’s other independence movements, like Nagaland and Manipur. With the revocation of Article 370, PM Modi fuels the fires of the Khalistan movement and increases the likelihood of escalation.

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11 Comments

  • samgobo8@gmail.com'
    samir sardana
    August 25, 2019, 10:01 pm

    For those who ask Y Khalistan ?

    This is how the Dindoo Hindoos doomed the Khalsa

    Converting "Rajasthani Rajpoot trash rats". to Sikhism – with the caveat that the Rajpoot rats could worship the Whore Duo Doorga and Kali etc.
    Imposition of Nanakshahi and Jazia", on Kashmiri Muslims "Stealing 63 cartloads of gold", from Ranjit Singh’s treasury
    "Deserting the Sikhs", just before the Khalsa-British War
    "Mercury Poisoning of Ranjit Singh’s children" and converting them to opium addicts
    "Introduction of Dindoo Hindoo" worship, to Ranjit Singh
    "Destruction of Ranjit Singh’s Empire"
    "Killing of Mata Gujri,Zorawar Singh" and Fateh Singh
    "Killing of Maharani Chand Kaur,Kharak Singh and Naunihal Singh"
    "Forging of Sikh Scriptures"
    "Forging of "Bachetar Natak"
    Conning Sikhs to state that ,"Sodhi and Bedi clans", were linked to "Lav and Kush" !
    "Forging the vedas", to state that "Nanak was a Vishnoo" Gandoo avatar (Simple Dindoo Best Practice – Boodha was also a Vishnu avatar)
    "Killing of Tegh Bahadur"
    Conning "Tegh Bahadur". to Go to the Court of Aurangzeb – for the Pandits !
    Introducing "Randi Doorga and Randi Kali worship" and animal sacrifices to Nihangs
    "Operation Bluestar" due to wrong advice by Brahmin/Bania/ Kayastha scum- not Mrs Gandhi)
    "Installation of Idols" and Hindu Temple Priests, in the Golden Temple (by Brahmin scum),till 1930

    REPLY
  • samgobo8@gmail.com'
    samir sardana
    August 25, 2019, 10:02 pm

    How can a Sikh live in Hindooosthan in light of the following :

    Is it a fair surmise to argue that Sikh Theology and Scripture consider Hindoo Faith to a demonic faith as the Granth regards the Sikh Trinity as Demonic

    https://dindooohindoo.page.tl/Granth-Says-Dindoo-Trinity-%3D-Trash.htm

    JAITSREE, THE WORD OF THE DEVOTEES: ONE UNIVERSAL CREATOR GOD. BY THE GRACE OF THE TRUE GURU:

    || 3 || Shiva cut off Brahma’s head,and Gautam’s wife and the Lord Indra mated; Brahma?s head got stuck to Shiva?s hand, and Indra came to bear the “marks of a thousand female organs”. || 4 || “These demons” have fooled, bound and destroyed me.

    RAAG MALAAR, THE WORD OF THE DEVOTEE NAAM DAYV JEE:ONE UNIVERSAL CREATOR GOD. BY THE GRACE OF THE TRUE GURU:

    || 1 || In His House,the “insane Shiva”, the Guru of the World, lives; he imparts spiritual wisdom to expain the essence of reality.

    WADAHANS, THIRD MEHL, FIRST HOUSE:

    ONE UNIVERSAL CREATOR GOD. BY THE GRACE OF THE TRUE GURU:

    1 || The wise one, Shiva,pervades his own home, but he is “engrossed in dark passions and excessive egotism”.

    SOOHEE, FOURTH MEHL, SEVENTH HOUSE: ONE UNIVERSAL CREATOR GOD. BY THE GRACE OF THE TRUE GURU:

    || 1 || Pause || Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva suffer from the”disease of the three gunas”,the three qualities; they do their deeds in egotism. The “poor fools” do not remember the One who created them; this understanding of the Lord is only obtained by those who become Gurmukh.

    BHAIRAO, ASHTAPADEES, FIRST MEHL, SECOND HOUSE:ONE UNIVERSAL CREATOR GOD. BY THE GRACE OF THE TRUE GURU

    || 3 ||Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are “diseased”;

    BHAIRAO, THE WORD OF THE DEVOTEES, KABEER JEE, FIRST HOUSE:ONE UNIVERSAL CREATOR GOD. BY THE GRACE OF THE TRUE GURU:

    || 3 ||Shiva, Shankara and Mahaysh “are polluted”. The Siddhas, seekers and strivers, and those who wear religious robes, are polluted.

    If So , then why do referebces in the Bachetar Natak indicate a God with Hindoo features ? Is it Hindoo Osmosis or just a forgery and why do Sikhs regard themselves as Hindoos

    RAAG MALAAR, FIFTH MEHL, CHAU-PADAS, FIRST HOUSE:ONE UNIVERSAL CREATOR GOD. BY THE GRACE OF THE TRUE GURU:

    || 2 ||Shiva,Brahma, angels and demons, all “burn in the fire of death”.

    REPLY
  • samgobo8@gmail.com'
    samir sardana
    August 25, 2019, 10:04 pm

    How can a Sikh live in nation run by Brahmin/Bania/Kayastha trash in light of the Granth

    Does the Granth revile Brahmins or Brahminism or Hindooism ? If so, then why did Sikh Gurus die for the Brahmins and allow them to steal and forge sikh scriptures, as well as,place idols in the Takht and the Golden Tempke , besides their priests in the Temple ?

    Is it because a bulk of Sikhs being Hindoo converts and resident in a Hindoo Nation failing to fform their Nation – suffered from the Osmois of the Hindoo and the Effect of Hindoo Transcendence

    Sample the love for the Brahmins in Granth

    dindooohindoo

    You may stand and recite the Shaastras and the Vedas, O Siblings of Destiny, but these are just worldly actions. “Filth cannot be washed away by hypocrisy”, O Siblings of Destiny; the filth of corruption and sin, “is within you”. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 635)
    O Pandit, O religious scholar, “your filth shall not be erased”, even if you read the Vedas for four ages. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 647)
    The Pandits, the religious scholars, and the silent sages, reading and studying the Vedas, have grown weary. The Messenger of Death “hovers over their heads”; they are ruined by the deceit within themselves. ||7|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1277)

    REPLY
  • samgobo8@gmail.com'
    samir sardana
    August 25, 2019, 10:07 pm

    Are Sikhs Hindoos or Quasi Muslims ?

    What is the significance iof the word Allah in the Granth ? Why does it appear more often than the aggregate of all Hindoo Gods ? Is it a Quasi Islamic faith minus halal and circumcision and funeral rites ?

    https://dindooohindoo.page.tl/Allah-in-the-Granth.htm

    But the Granth Sahib itelf says “Pray to Allah”, the word Allah comes more often, than Limpdick Rama !
    ONE UNIVERSAL CREATOR GOD. BY THE GRACE OF THE TRUE GURU:SIREE RAAG, FIRST MEHL, FIRST HOUSE, ASHTAPADEES:

    || 1 || O Baba, the Lord Allah is Inaccessible and Infinite

    ONE UNIVERSAL CREATOR GOD. BY THE GRACE OF THE TRUE GURU:SIREE RAAG, FIRST MEHL, FIRST HOUSE, ASHTAPADEES:

    || 5 || He is Allah, the Unknowable, the Inaccessible, All-powerful and Merciful Creator.

    BHAIRAO, FIFTH MEHL, FIRST HOUSE:ONE UNIVERSAL CREATOR GOD. BY THE GRACE OF THE TRUE GURU:

    || 1 || The One Lord, the Lord of the World, is my God Allah

    BIBHAAS, PRABHAATEE, THE WORD OF DEVOTEE KABEER JEE:ONE UNIVERSAL CREATOR GOD. BY THE GRACE OF THE TRUE GURU:

    || 6 || 2 || PRABHAATEE: First,Allah created the Light; then, by His Creative Power, He made all mortal beings.

    BIBHAAS, PRABHAATEE, THE WORD OF DEVOTEE KABEER JEE:ONE UNIVERSAL CREATOR GOD. BY THE GRACE OF THE TRUE GURU:

    || 3 || The Lord Allah is Unseen; He cannot be seen.

    REPLY
  • samgobo8@gmail.com'
    samir sardana
    August 25, 2019, 10:11 pm

    This is for the fools who state that Hindoos and Siksh are One Race and One Nation

    How can Sikhs, Muslims and Hindoos live together in light if the undermentioned verses

    https://dindooohindoo.page.tl/Dindoo_Muslim_Sikh-Bhai-Bhai.htm

    ਮੜ੍ਹੀ ਗੋਰ ਦੇਵਲ ਮਸੀਤਾਂ ਗਿਰਾਯੰ । ਤੁਹੀਂ ਏਕ ਅਕਾਲ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਪਾਯੰ ।

    “Graves, Hindu temples and Mosques be destroyed” and that only Eternal, Hari is to be worshiped.

    ਮਿਟੇਂ ਵੇਦ ਸ਼ਾਸਤ੍ਰ ਅਠਾਰਾਂ ਪੁਰਾਨਾ । ਮਿਟੇਂ ਬਾਂਗ ਸਲਵਾਤ ਸੁੰਨਤ ਕੁਰਾਨਾਂ ।

    That all “Vedas, Shashtras and Puranas to be destroyed”. Destroy
    prayer call, circumcision “and Quran”.

    ਸਗਲ ਜਗਤ ਮੇਂ ਖਾਲਸਾ ਪੰਥ ਗਾਜੈ । ਜਗੈ ਧਰਮ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਸਗਲ ਦੁੰਦ ਭਾਜੈ ।

    In the whole world will roar the Khalsa Panth. Dharma will flourish and all else ‘Dund’ (Hindu and Islam) “will disappear.”

    REPLY

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