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Title: Re-Contectualizaing the sikh Quest for Khalistan
Authors: Ali, Amir
Keywords: Social Sciences
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: University of the Punjab , Lahore
Abstract: The partition of the Indian Sub-continent led to the creation of Pakistan and Bharat (India) in 1947 on the religious grounds. Yet, the Sikhs were deprived of getting their separate homeland, namely Khalistan, on the same religious grounds. However, the historians implied that the Sikh demand was met and they were placed under the Bharat Federation but the Sikh’s surge for Khalistan has been continued. In fact, the Sikhs were promised by the top leadership of the Indian National Congress that they would be given special status whereby they will be granted religious and provincial autonomy or homeland if they joined the hands with Congress. The British divided Punjab mainly because of the demand of the Sikhs for the Khalistan on a religious basis. When they supported the Congress, Punjab was ultimately divided and the Sikhs became a part of India because they could not get Khalistan and therefore still searching for it. Hereafter, the trajectory of deceptive political move was started with them. Instead of granting the Sikhs a separate homeland, the secular India’s constitution tried to merge their separate identity into Hinduism which was considered a blow to the Sikh ethnic consciousness. Therefore, the Sikhs started demanding a separate province for them, the Indian Establishment lulled them with a promise of giving them a union as the “Patiala and East Punjab States Union”(PEPSU). The Sikh struggled hard to achieve Punjabi Suba (Province in Urdu and Punjabi is called as Suba or Subah) based on dialect. Their struggle through peaceful means but the state machinery was used to diffuse their protests and by arresting their main leadership. The creation of Punjabi Suba in 1966 proved maimed and mutilated as Congress authorities played deceptive tactics by curbing their majority through carving out of Haryana and declaring Sikh majority area of Chandigarh as the union territory which aroused more resentment. The Sikhs passed Anandpur Resolution in 1973 making demands of their rights which the government rejected. they were facing the issue of limited religious identity. The seeds of secular India or secular one nation were proving fatal for the other minorities especially for the Sikhs as they were considered as the part of Hinduism and their separate religious identity was at the stakes. Hindus were successful in the nourishment of Hindutva in India and others communities’ identities were in doldrums so keeping that very aspect of Hindutva and religious identity consciousness, they Sikhs moved on for the cause of separate homeland. The Indian Government, relying upon its deceptive tools deceived the Sikh political authorities by creating conflict within 2 Akali Dal. The Sikhs vowed for a separate state where they could freely live but the authorities decided to snub them forcefully and ultimately the most traumatic incident for Sikh nation happened, the attack on Golden Temple, the most sacred sanctuary of the Sikhism. The pre planned but miscalculated Operation Blue Star mercilessly killed the Sikh activists as well as the innocents civilians. As a result, the Sikh bodyguards of Indra Gandhi shot her dead which led to the ethnic cleansing of the Sikhs with new operation code-named as Wood Rose. The Sikhs emerged as tortured body and they vowed for their separate homeland based upon the promises and affirmations given by the Bharat State. The Sikhs facing the genocide by the hands of Hindus, fled largely to foreign countries along with other states in Bharat where they felt they were safe. Ultimately this migration created an influential class of Sikh Diaspora who have been playing a very pivotal role for the quest of statehood, Khalistan. The Sikhs inside India and particularly in Canada, England Germany and Australia have been actively preaching the cause of the Khalistan and kept the issue of Khalistan alive. The policies of Indian Government and religious intolerance forced the Sikhs to struggle for separate state where they could protect their religious identity. The Indian government labeled charges against foreign countries particularly Pakistan for promoting the Sikh movement for Khalistan. Khalistan Movement was more based upon the natural causes, asking for Sikh nation’s rights, autonomy and their reaffirmations of all the promises which were committed to them by the Indian authorities from time to time. The Sikhs are an important nation in India and are playing a significant role world over, therefore their anxiety and uneasiness should not be overlooked by the social scientists. It is important to understand the dynamics of the Khalistan movement during the colonial and post colonial period. This study attempts to understand the factors which led to the Sikhs demand for a separate homeland in the Sub Continent, why they were denied in Bharat and how they have been struggling to achieve their goal of a separate homeland in India. The historians mostly have discussed the Khalistan movement by dividing it into specific events but there is no comprehensive study on the origin and development of the Khalistan movement to date. This study, by recontextualising the Khalistan movement in the post-colonial period, attempts to fill the important research gap by adopting a holistic approach. The study, hopefully, will help broaden the understanding of the causes and ramifications of the Khalistan Issue.
Gov't Doc #: 22423
Appears in Collections:PhD Thesis of All Public / Private Sector Universities / DAIs.

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