sant jarnail singh ji

anonymous asked:

I'm sorry if this is asking a lot but would you be able to summarize the events of the 1984 riots? Also what is happening in Punjab and India today, are Sikhs still being treated unfairly?

Hi there! No need to apologize! I can certainly help you out. :) One thing I would like to get out of the way is that it was NOT a riot. It was deliberate genocide and calling it anything but that is letting perpetrators who still sit in government positions off the hook. Also, my knowledge is limited, so if I get anything wrong, I am asking my fellow tumblronians to chime in and correct any mistakes by reblogging it with your additions/corrections. :)

Essentially this conflict began wayyy back in the day. Hindu nationalist elements have attempted to co-opt Sikhi into their own faith so they can continue their hegemony over the subcontinent, like what happened to Buddhism. 

Essentially, during the time period when the Akali Singhs were in exile in the jungles after the Sikh Empire’s fall, the temples were handed over to Hindu pandits who completely turned the institution of the Gurdwara upside down and introduced anti-Panthic things like restriction of lower caste people (and keeping the caste system in the first place). In order to recover the Gurdwara Sahibs from this corrupt administration, a revolution was started called the Singh Sabha Lehr, where the entire Sikh Panth united to free Gurdwara Sahibs from these oppressive admins.

Then later on when talks about independence and separation were going on, Sikhs were recommended to ask for their own sovereign state, as the Muslims had, called Sikhistan. The Sikh representative was essentially schmoozed by Jawaharlal Nehru, and Sikhs decided to side with India. Little did they know though that half of our motherland would be split from us and given to the new state of Pakistan, with countless places of pilgrimage, like the holy sites of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s incarnation, now off limits to the Panth (which is why we include a supplication in our daily prayers for the Panth to be regained access and control of those pilgrimage sites).

So post-1947, Punjab is divided in half. Then, it’s further divided by India with the northern corner becoming Himachal and the bottom corner becoming Haryana. Punjab derives its name from the five rivers that run through it, giving the land fertility. However, 2.5 of these rivers are now in Pakistan, with only 2.5 left in India. Now with this further divide of our motherland, 0.5 rivers went to Haryana, and 0.5 went to Himachal, leaving Indian Punjab with only 1.5 rivers, much of whose water is off limits due it being sent to the two new states. 

Punjab is an agrarian state, so this created an uproar and a new revolution was struck. Sikhs who raised their voice were ignored day in and day out, so one day the Sarbat Khalsa, essentially the Parliament of the SIkh nation, got together and passed the Anandpur Mattaa (Resolution), which had a detailed list of the needs of farmers in Punjab and a petition for the Indian government to provide for farmers’ needs and listen to Punjab, as it was essentially ignored. The Mattaa also contained a warning that if India did not head to the Mattaa’s requests, the Sikh Nation, would pursue autonomy and independence (dun dun dun dunnnn).

Long story short, the Indian government obviously doesn’t give a flying eff about the Sikhs, and to calm the uproar they put a man into the seat of power in Sikhi that they believed would keep things quiet, Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale. Sant Ji realized that the government is corrupt as hell, and uses his authority to oppose it. Government doesn’t like this, and as any state, calls those opposing it “terrorists." 

At this moment Sikhi was in a phase of revival. People were coming back to the faith in HUGE numbers and this was seen as a threat to the Hindu (be it religious or cultural) hegemony. PM Indira Gandhi and her army pick a day that the Golden Temple, Sikhi’s epicentre of faith and politics, was its busiest to barricade the sanctum and begin shooting and bombing to catch "terrorists.” Thousands and thousands of innocent people were killed, our Sikh Reference Library was burnt, with countless handwritten copies of scriptures (some of them in the Gurus’ handrwriting) burning or going missing, and above all, our beloved Akal Takht Sahib was bombed with an attempt to destroy it. Not only that, but 36 other Sikh shrines across Punjab were invaded and attempts were made to destroy them.

This desecration shook the Sikh nation, and on October 31 1984, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, two of Indra Gandhi’s Sikh bodyguards, exact revenge on her for the desecration of our Holy of Holies, and the blood shed of innocent people by shooting her point blank as she left her office in her quarters. 

In responsethe entire Congress party gangs up and essentially says that if the SIkhs killed Indira, we will kill all the Sikhs. That night and the following day, government charter busses came in with men from out of the state. Each man was equiped with identical weaponry- metal rods to beat and bludgeon people, kerosene and matches to burn men, and truck tyres to put around the burning man’s neck so he is weighed down and doesn’t run far.

From Oct. 31 to Nov. 5, Delhi was ransacked. People used the voter registry to find every SIngh and Kaur in the city and they systematically tortured them and killed the family, starting with forcing the family to either watch their women being raped, or men being burnt alive, then beating up every member of the family, or burning their car with them inside it. During this time, eye-witness accounts tell of ministers and party staff inciting mobs to kill Sikhs, and police herding up Sikhs to make it easier for mobs to kill. Not only that, but Amitabh Bachchan even went on the media to call for blood in revenge for blood. Genocidal massacres also occured during these days in other cities in Punjab.

After the Delhi’s genocide, the Sikh genocide overall continued, as Punjab police would arrest and torture innocent Sikh men and women and try to get them to confess to be a “terrorist.” Whether they got a confession or not, they were killed and their deaths were used to increase the police’s ranks.

Police stopped committing genocide in the mid-90’s, but Sikhs still face subjugation. For one thing, any mention of the atrocities committed against us are derailed with people calling us terrorists. Men and women unrightfully arrested are still in prisons today, many of them who have finsihed their sentence bu not have been let out (Bhai Gurbaksh Singh is currently on a hunger strike to free them). The media has taken the Sikh indentity and turned it into a joke. For one we are concidered Hindu, which we are most cerainly NOT. We are the butt of many jokes. Also, you know those Santa-Banta jokes people tell one another? Well they were a way to desecrate the memory of Satwant Singh and Beant Singh. Also, Bollywood caricaturizes Sikhs as these big idiotic fat people who are socially inept and do not know how to talk. They are fat, jolly, and not to be taken seriously. 

Now before someone chimes in and goes, “oh but it’s just Bollywood! Movies don’t do anything.” Let me say this: bull. effing. shit. Bollwood and Indian television has shaped how Indian society acts. One big case in point is the worship of the Goddess Santoshi. Santoshi is a goddess whose genesis really came in the 60s amongst women, and when the story was picked up by Bollywood, all of a sudden Santoshi temples pop up all across the country, even though prior to the movie no one knew the goddess existed. 

After the Ramayan (story of the most ideal king, Ram) aired on TV, there was a renewed sense of Hindu-nationalism, and this caused an uproar where the old Juma Masjid in Ayodhya (which had existed for centuries) was destroyed by mobs and reduced to rubble. Bollywood and Indian television have power and they are using it against us. 

And if generations dying in 1947 and 1984 isn’t enough, drugs have been introduced into Punjab and now 70% of Punjabi youth are either alcoholic or drug addicts and the government isn’t doing ANYTHING about that. Instead, they’re building more liquor stores! So if you’re grandmother survived, and your mother survived, here’s a way to make sure YOU’RE dead!! :)

Moreover, our mothertongue Punjabi isn’t being taught in schools anymore. It is shown as a vulgar language, only to be used to tell dirty jokes and make caricatures of village bumpkins. 

The sovereignty of the Sikh identity in India isn’t respected. Rather, attempts are being made to dissolve it, and if you speak against these attempts, you are shunned. Jagmeet Singh, and NDP MPP from Ontario was BANNED ENTRY INTO INDIA for speaking up against the Golden Temple invasion and the SIkh genocide.

We are being treated like strangers in our own motherland.