image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

Gaza Blockade, a Reminder of State-Backed Sikh Genocide of November 1984

ਜੇ ਸਕਤਾ ਸਕਤੇ ਕਉ ਮਾਰੇ ਤਾ ਮਨਿ ਰੋਸੁ ਹੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ 

There is no regret when a strong person fights an equal. ||1||Pause||

ਸਕਤਾ ਸੀਹੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਪੈ ਵਗੈ ਖਸਮੈ ਸਾ ਪੁਰਸਾਈ 

But if a strong tiger attacks a flock of sheep and kills them, then its must answer for it. (SGGS 360)

The earlier topic of this column was the Hindutva agenda of assimilation for the Sikhs. It can be linked to the horrific sequence of events which have unexpectedly unfolded since the Hamas terrorist action against Israel of 7 October, 2023.

Israel has rejected the UN Humanitarian Truce Resolution for Gaza of 28 October 2023. UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, condemned attacks by Hamas while reminding that they did not occur in isolation. To quote an observer, they were rooted in the past 75 years of oppression and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

Israel is the creation of the Zionist movement and the colonial powers led by the UK in 1947. Regrettably, British colonial past is the background to many conflicts and massacres in the Middle-East and the Indian sub-continent. This week, the Sikhs are reminded of the November 1984 genocide in Delhi and parts of India (see footnote**). Once again, as the world watches on in horror, following a complete blockade of the Gaza strip, heavy bombardment and large-scale military operation, mass killing of a people is ongoing.

As a persecuted community themselves over the centuries, having survived three ghalugharas, (pogroms backed by the state) the last in 1984 and the years that followed, and often living at the edge of survival, the Sikhs have much in common with the Jewish people. The more the Sikhs have suffered, the more they have become sensitive to the plight of persecuted communities. Despite all their suffering and sacrifices while fighting impossible odds, the Sikhs have always been compassionate and generous towards all communities. During the Khalsa halemi regimes of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and Maharaja Ranjit, all were equal citizens. The lowest from any community could rise to the highest ranks. There was no parallax between egalitarian Khalsa values of those regimes and universal human rights. Those are the values towards which the human society has always strived but, it seems, has a long way to go as yet.

Today, it seems the people of Gaza have been shut off from the world and are suffering. A United Nations representative appearing on BBC believes that Israel has already crossed the line of reasonable force, the principle of proportionality and precaution. The pointer is to war crimes by Israel. However, that will be for the appropriate international authorities to decide in due course.

The point here is that the Jews, themselves victims of the most horrendous genocide in history at the hands of the Nazis in World War II, are now themselves behaving like their oppressors. Increasingly, Gaza looks like a killing-field while the overwhelming Israeli force is not only destroying Hamas hideouts but, in the process, also killing thousands of civilians trapped in what has been called the largest prison in the world. This is not a war but collective punishment of a people.

Sadly, once again, the Jewish community risks even more isolation than that suffered by them over the centuries if they do not heed UN resolutions.

** See book review: I accuse&hellip by Jarnail Singh

Gurmukh Singh OBE

Principal Civil Servant retd (UK)