image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE and old poster of AISSF About Sikh State discussion 1946

Connecting the Dots & Setting the Record Straight

 

        The idea of a Sikh state or Khalistan, goes back to the pre-partition of the Indian sub-continent. However, following certain assurances, the Sikh leaders were persuaded to stay with secular India. The betrayal of promises soon after Indian independence triggered the Akali morchas.

 

Following the ill-advised decision to carve up India on the basis of language, the question of Punjab state was disputed: about 10 million Punjabi Hindus lied about their language and ensured further truncation of Punjab after the partition. That and what followed through 1984 to date, is part of Sikh history and not the topic this week. The topic, triggered by an old pre-partition poster is to set the record straight about the demand for a SIKH State called Khalistan because it is often misrepresented as a more recent demand pushed by diaspora Sikhs. The exact wording attached to the discovery of this poster is as below:

 

        A fascinating & important pre-partition poster (1946) that was preserved after being used as a book cover. It announces the first All India Sikh Students Federation in Lahore, under the leadership of Master Tara Singh. Some of the names on it are : Flag Hoisting by Ujjal Singh the chief guests are listed as Gyani Kartar Singh, Principal Ganga Singh, Jathedar Mohan Singh (president of teh SGPC), S Ishar Singh Majhail, S Amar Singh Dosanjh (Gen Sec of the SGPC), Hon Baldev Singh, S Mangal Singh MLA, S Swaran Singh MLA, Dr Gopal Singh Dardi, Principal Gurmukh Nihal Singh, Prof Sardul Singh Khalsa College, Lyallpure, Prof Jagjit Singh - Sikh National Colege Lahore, Sampuran Singh MLA, Prof Gurbachan Singh Talib, S Joginder Singh Mann Kirtan BY Bhai Santa Singh Dhadi Jatha Sohan Singh Sital Speeches and resolutions by Sabar, Kundan, Maan, Bachan, Nekki, Dardi, Teer and others.

 

"SIKH STATE" is prominently mentioned in the bold heading of the poster. Having seen this poster, at least two impartial Sikhs have commented about the times and the circumstances. Prof Nirmal Singh was in Delhi on the dates mentioned, 9-10 March 1946. He wrote: It would be good if the authenticity of this poster&hellip is looked into because it might help connecting some dots in reconstructing the accounts of events and the organizations that were working on getting the Sikh youth involved in historic changes then afoot. 

 

When approached with a copy of the poster, elderly Sikh statesman, Sardar Tarlochan Singh ex-Indian Minorities Commissioner replied on 19 July 2018: I was school student at that time but I can say this movement was started by Sikh Students Federation. Even processions were taken out. Akali Party was also supporting this demand at that time. Among the Federation leaders of that period luckily Dr. Shamsher Singh of World Bank is living in Washington.

          So, let us get the record straight regarding the demand for a Sikh Sate: no matter what the arguments for or against, the Sikh political aim to have own independent state is not recent. In fact, it has always been a Sikh aspiration which has manifested itself when the community has felt threatened. That has been the case since 1947 and especially since 1984.

 

 

 

Gurmukh Singh OBE and old poster of AISSF About Sikh State discussion 1946