தமிழ்த் தேசியம்

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

Home

 Whats New

Trans State Nation Tamil Eelam Beyond Tamil Nation Comments Search

Home> Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Fourth World - Nations without a State  > Discourse on the Sikh Homeland - Darshan Singh Tatla

THE FOURTH WORLD - NATIONS WITHOUT A STATE

Discourse on the Sikh Homeland

Darshan Singh Tatla 
in * The Sikh Diaspora - the Search for Statehood
[* indicates link to Amazon.com online bookshop]
[see also Khalistan website ]

"... India of today is a superficial state imposed from above by the transfer of power from the British Raj and in a sense is a continuation of that Raj .... several nationalities of India in their territorial units, which like Khalistan, should be able to form their own sovereign states of Mahrashtra, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Sikkim, Nagaland, Mizioland, Kerala, and Jamnu Kashmir come together in a new economic union as the European Economic Community with full freedom for self-development in unity and mutual regard for each other... (This) has become imperative as the only satisfactory primary answer to end the perpetual conflicts with the underground movements that have constantly engaged the police and the army in the several nationalist states since 1947 at great economic cost and loss of life.."
 

A cursory examination of the Sikh diaspora’s literature since 1984 provides ample proof of how the “crucial event” in the Golden Temple has turned a secure ethnic group’s outlook towards a search for a homeland. The anguish was translated into a cry for “Sikh homeland” and a need for independence was elaborated; thus Ganga Singh Dhillon pleaded:

We are not looking just for a piece of land. We are looking for a territory where Sikhs can protect their women and children. Where a Sikh can become a master of his own destiny - where our religious shrines are not allowed to be run over by army tanks. You can call it an independent Punjab, a sovereign state or Khalistan. What we are asking for is a homeland for the Sikh nation. (Ganga Singh Dhillon -   Give us Khalistan and leave us in peace, Illustrated Weekly of India, 21 July 1985)

A mythological case was advocated by K. S. Sihra, a British Sikh:

"God gave the Sikhs their land, a rich and fertile land blessed with much sun and irrigation, the land of five rivers, the Punjab. . . Maharajah Ranjit Singh gave the Sikhs their state, later handed in trust, first to the British then to the Hindu raj - but the Sikhs never surrendered their ultimate sovereignty to any power other than their own. Today after forty years abuse of their trust, the Sikhs are ready to create again their independent, sovereign state. (Sihra - The Sikh Commonwealth1985: 55)

In another book, he set out a charter for the new Sikh state, and his analysis of contemporary India ran like this:

"...The growing togetherness of the Tamil people, is but a step in the growth of a larger unity. We know that in the end, national freedom can only be secured by a voluntary pooling of sovereignties, in a regional, and ultimately in a world context. ... we recognize that our future lies with the peoples of the Indian region and the path of a greater and a larger Indian union is the direction of that future. It is a union that will reflect the compelling and inevitable need for a common market and a common defence and will be rooted in the common heritage that we share with our brothers and sisters of not only Tamil Nadu but also of India. It is a shared heritage that we freely acknowledge and it is a shared heritage to which we have contributed and from which we derive strength..." Nadesan Satyendra at the Thimpu Talks in 1985  and also in Tamil Nation & the Unity of India, 2001

"It is abundantly clear for all to realize that the India of today is a superficial state imposed from above by the transfer of power from the British Raj and in a sense is a continuation of that Raj by trickery and perversion in many ways and is an un-natural outcome... . several nationalities of India in their territorial units, which like Khalistan, should be able to form their own sovereign states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Sikkim, Nagaland, Mizioland, Kerala, and Jamnu Kashmir come together in a new economic union as the European Economic Community with full freedom for self-development in unity and mutual regard for each other. The reorganization of India on the basis of regional ethnic nationalities with distinct ethnic language and cultural background has become imperative as the only satisfactory primary answer to end the perpetual conflicts with the underground movements that have constantly engaged the police and the army in the several nationalist states since 1947 at great economic cost and loss of life." (Sihra - Sikhdom, 1985: 10)

Elaborating on the community’s predicament, a Canadian Sikh S. S. Dharam visualized three alternatives: (a) to accept the status quo, “which will ensure a certain death for the community”; (b) to campaign for the Anandpur Sahib Resolution, which would only lead to being “entrapped by the government’s false promises”; (c) to campaign for an independent homeland. This last alternative, he suggested, was the “most realistic option”. He also noted how the 1984 events have contributed to the idea of a homeland:

"The concept of Sikh homeland which appeared to exist only in imagination has now taken a turn for reality, which will certainly be attained in due course of time. Khalistan, a dream of some, and fanciful wish of many, has now become the demand of all Sikhs. The voice of the people is the voice of God." (S.S.Dharam - Internal and External Threats to Sikhism 1986: 90)

The international platform has also made Sikh leaders aware of how self-determination for national minorities is an acceptable dialogue. The WSO and the Council of Khalistan leaders have advocated self-determination for Sikhs in many resolutions:

"The UN Charter recognises every nation’s right of self- determination. On the basis of this recognition of the fundamental human rights of liberty and freedom by the world body, Sikhs living in occupied Khalistan have the right of self-determination in their homeland. We the American Sikhs support their just and legitimate demand for self-determination and renew our solemn pledge to continue to support their just and legitimate demand by all legal means so that our brothers and sisters living in occupied Khalistan can also enjoy the same glow of freedom as we enjoy in our great nation of the United States of America." (Text of Resolution passed at Sacramento, 28 July 1991)

While a Sikh homeland is meant to create an environment to safeguard the religious traditions, paradoxically, this theological argument has also been used to oppose this demand. Gurutej Singh Khalsa (1985: 84), an American convert to the Sikh faith, asked fellow Sikhs to reconsider their commitment, as the creation of a Sikh homeland will only restrict the Sikh faith’s universal appeal:

"This cannot just stop with putting on an orange turban and calling for a homeland. True spiritual education is needed. We must develop public relations tools and skills so as to correct this damaged view of what a Sikh is. Next, we must seriously bridge this gap between Indian origin Sikhs and other Western Sikhs. This religion belongs to no one na­tionality. It is not to be confined to a homeland, for the nature of the Khalsa is a sovereign, spiritual nation which knows no physical boundaries. Then this religion will be viewed as a lifestyle that the rest of world not only wants but has a right to..."

This theological vision would also appeal to some Sikh sects such as Namdharis, and perhaps to a section of Ramgarhias.

Maluk Singh Chuhan, a British Sikh, was surprised at the mild tone of the “controversial” Anandpur resolution:

"It describes Sikhs as a religious minority and protection of religious rights is demanded for the sake of national unity. The fact is that Sikhs are not a religious minority of the Indian nation. Sikhs in India are one of the nations of India, India is a multinational country.... The question that Sikhs constitute one of its nations is not negotiable. .. . it is an internationally known principle that all nations have a right of self-determination, be they Palestinians, Basques, Jews, Kurds, Welsh or others."

A liberal vision of Sikh nationalism has come from student intellectuals. Thus the Khahistan Society at the London School of Economics called upon all Punjabis, not just Sikhs, to struggle for “freedom, prosperity, justice, equality, liberty and human rights”. The struggle is for an “independent Punjab” and for equality for all religious minorities within its “secular and democratic political system".

Mail Us up- truth is a pathless land - Home