image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

Anandpur Sahib Resolution Remembered

* As India moves closer to a unitary Hindu Rashtra.

 

    Whereas, the Sikhs of India are a historically recognized political nation ever since the inauguration of the Khalsa in AD 1699, and Whereas, this status of the Sikh nation has been internationally recognized and accepted by the major powers of Europe and Asia&hellip(preamble to Anandpur Sahib Resolution)

Anandpur Sahib Resolution of 1973 was triggered by continual Central Government interference in State matters. At the time of the partition, the Constituent Assembly was controlled by Congress leaders whose aim was a unitary national government. After 1947, the Congress Party in power continually engineered defections from the ranks of the opposition parties to bring down the State governments.

Let us take the example of Punjab and Sikh issues. Following re-organisation of Punjab in 1966, there were four Chief Ministers between 1967 and 1971 due to such political machinations. There were repeated defections and counter-defections. Presidential rule further weakened the State government.

The Anandpur Sahib Resolution was not a separatist move as stressed by Sikh leaders at the time. To quote one sources: Khalistan issue was raised by the agents of then []]central] government to give a reason to get the sympathy from rest of the India by making resolution a communal demand.

The backwas the prolonged language-based Punjabi Suba agitation and further truncation of Punjab through creation of the new states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The Resolution demands were rather basic needs of that time like water from Bhakhra dam, addition of Punjabi speaking districts to Punjab and giving back Chandigarh to Punjab as a capital etc. Also, in the post-independence years, even matters including state development projects, otherwise well within State powers, were interfered with to ensure Delhi control. Long-term misguided government agricultural policy: marketing restrictions on farm products, machinery and fertiliser costs etc became the main cause of rural grievances. Protests by farmers increased over the years and basic economic grievances became political and religious in nature. The latter included Article 25 related Sikh demand to be treated as a distinct religion in the Constitution and in law. Such grievances were politically exploited.

Anandpur Sahib Resolution was a statement of historical facts, aspirations and Sikh needs as also recognised through pre-Independence promises by Congress leaders. Sikhs had spear-headed the freedom movement making more sacrifices than all other Indian communities put together.

By 1947, Mahatma Gandhi, the successor of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the pujari of Devi Kalika disguised as Bharat Mata, and his favourite disciples, Nehru and Patel (as opposed to those like Subhash Chandra Bose), had already laid the foundation of a de-facto Hindu Rashtra. The Muslims had already been alienated and demanded Pakistan. Sikh leaders and the Dalit spokesman, Dr Ambedkar, had been brainwashed to surrender their future freedom to the Hindutva political designs.

Little did the Sikhs and other Indian minorities with own distinct identities realise that they were simply changing one colonial for another. For them independence proved to be an illusion. A weak Pakistan was created in two parts separated by over a thousand miles while millions of Muslims remained in India by default.

Today, Anandpur Sahib Resolution is a distant Sikh dream confined to history as India moves a step closer to a Hindu Rashtra.

 

Gurmukh Singh OBE