Never are editorial writers at pains for words on any subject to write on, but this time at the World Sikh News, we were at a loss about what to say on this one. What, possibly, has not been said so far on the issue of November 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom?
The world knows the reality. The Sikh community knows how the Indian state has proven to be apathetic. The Indian state knows that this is exactly what it wanted to happen, because had it not been the case, it would have acted. Then, may be, we may not have had the Gujarat riots.Men like H S Phoolka have been working like souls possessed. Politicians like Parkash Singh Badal are sworn to eternal non-action. And the community’s leaders are busy in calling each other an agent of the Congress or the Indian state.
Perhaps there is one thing that we do want to say. And that is that the communities which may be passing through a crisis must shore up all forces if they want to force the larger majority community and the rulers into any action. The strategy of calling anyone with any potential difference of ideology or action as an agent or a traitor to the cause cannot help.
We at the WSN have been throughout advocating a line of conciliation among the Sikh communities leadership. There is little hope from the ruling Akali Dal. The SGPC and the DSGMC have taken to calling each other names and trying to get each other’s leaders summoned at the Akal Takht over an issue which is totally an internal matter and should not have even made it to the media. The Jathedars are feeling stiffled. The youth are leaderless, and the names of martyrs are being bandied about by the crooks.
At such a time, the advice of a sage must be listened to. And Advocate Harvinder Singh Phoolka did speak like a sage when he said it was time to act, to act silently with a missionary zeal on the social front. We are destroying our heritage, not giving a direction to our youth, making every kindly soul an agent of the Congress and not recognizing that the real enemy must be chuckling at home.
What would our future generations say when they find out that this entire Sikh community, which has many millionaires and great activists in its ranks, never even thought of having a museum in the memory of those killed in the army attack on our holiest shrine? That we did not even discuss the idea of having a museum the way Jews have preserved concentration camps? The offspring of the 1984 pogrom victims will look askance at us and ask why their fate was not commemorized? What answers will we have?
That we were busy in calling each other agents of the Congress?
The Sikh community must think why no one has so far thought of a similar sting operation to bring out the real faces and reality behind the 1984 riots, just as Tehelka has done in case of Gujarat riots. Why have we not honored men and women, irrespective of their communities, who came out on the roads and landed in the pogrom hit areas to stem the beastly tide? And who were later brave enough to keep on stating their versions on oath before commission after commission, calling the bluff of the Indian government and its law and order and justice dispensing machinery?
There will be voices in future which will ask us questions. Be afraid of the future if this is the way we are acting. The present is in our hands. Pogroms only kill human beings. We must not kill our soul.