image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

SIKH HOMELAND and Speeches in Parliament by Sirdar Kapur Singh

* Sikh Homeland was not a separatist move but would have strengthened Indian unity.

 

* Dedicated to Bhujangi Khalsa, the publication is a permanent contribution to the Sikh polity as it emerges from the uncertainties of the present.

 

      Historically, the Sikhs as the Khalsa Panth have always insisted that they should be approached and dealt with at state level as a collective group and entity. This approach was adopted by the rulers at Delhi before the partition and during the independence talks.

The Indian national leaders too recognised the Sikhs as one entity and promised them their Homeland while recognising the lead role played by the brave Sikhs in the struggles for freedom from foreign rule over the centuries. However, as soon as the colonial powers left India, Indian national leaders no longer felt any need to negotiate with the Sikhs as a collective group and entity nor to implement the pre-partition promise of a Sikh Homeland through the Constitution. The Sikh representatives did not sign the Constitution. Thenceforth, the relations between the Sikhs and the Indian State have remained strained leading to 1984, the events that followed and on to the present day.

Documents on SIKH HOMELAND and Speeches in Parliament by Bhai Sahib Sirdar Kapur Singh is the title of a recently published book edited by Prof Gurtej Singh. (Published by Satvic Media Pvt Ltd, January 2020) It places demand for Sikh Homeland in its historical context and gives useful pointers to the future direction of Sikh political thought and interface with the rulers of India. Below are some general points with quotes in italics from the book.

It was probably the 1965 war with Pakistan which resulted in the much truncated and grudgingly conceded Punjabi Suba. According to Gurtej Singh, most leading figures were against it: Nehru did not want it, Lal Bahadur Shastri too believed like him that it was dangerous to trust a Sikh majority state at the sensitive border with Pakistan, Indira Gandhi subscribed to the same view with more vehemence. &hellip.Sardar Hukam Singh was personally opposed to it and his Parliamentary Consultative Committee was equally divided about it.

The Sikh Homeland Resolution of Akali Dal, passed by its working Committee on July 20 1966, at Delhi, reminded the rulers of India of their pre-independence promises so that Sikhs could live as respectable and equal citizens of the Union of India. It was not a separatist move but quite the opposite! It was a statement of the just aspiration of the Sikhs as a distinct people in the Indian Union. It was conceived to be a demand which would strengthen the unity of India and will enhance its prestige.

In such a state to be a Sikh shall be a matter of pride, but at the same time all citizens without any distinction whatever shall be co-sharers in the rights and privileges which accrue from it. No-one conversant with Sikh history should doubt the fact that in any regime based on universal Sikh values, all are equal partners.

The Sikh Homeland idea as presented by Sirdar Kapur Singh in his Parliamentary speeches is his permanent contribution to the Sikh polity as it emerges from the uncertainties of the present. The Bhajangi Khalsa of the future can seek direction.

 

Gurmukh Singh OBE