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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Are Sikhs Really Hindus and does it really matter? Khalistan Movement

Published at Foundation for Pluralism

I am pleased to share an article below by the title "Are Sikhs Really Hindus and does it really matter?. " The article is really about parenting.

There is a lot of anger and pain expressed in this piece, that is not exclusive to Hindus and Sikhs, but to a larger Desi community of Christians, Muslims, Jains or others. This is the story of a young man born out of an interfaith couple. Shame on you, if you jump to bloody conclusions that is because parents are from two different faiths, no, it is not, the problem is same with any reckless couples.  

What I expect this article to do is for parents to take the responsibility to raise their children with lots of love and caring.  If you cannot listen to your child without interrupting, shouting down and getting angry, you are a real problem in his or her life.

I have listened to this young man for several hours. He was raised in Sikh and Hindu traditions, and he said, he couldn't carry a conversation with his father, raised with two (rather three) conflicting values in addition to the American values, he is angry at Sikhs and angry at Hindus. He called me off an article I wrote in Huffington post about how the unfinished social transactions keep messing people for years to come and what we need to do responsibly.

I was debating about giving so much time for him… then I remembered, before I could give time to a guy some 20 years ago, he hung himself in his house leaving behind kids who were classmates of my kids. So, I felt the responsibility to listen to him.  I believe it was a therapy for him, that someone listened to him, and someone gave him full value for his intelligence, and he is, as you read through this essay.

Everyone loses when there is no communications. I saw the movie American Sniper recently - the first scene in the movies is where the father shouts down at his kids. Should we raise kids who fear us, as if we are monsters? Sometimes the kids are your reflection and or go the opposite. We need to look in to the mirror and see if we are worth passing it on to the next generation.

The biggest shock to me was this young fellow knew his stuff and has virtually read everything I have written, the range of his reading threw me off completely. He was referencing to my Articles ranging from Atheism to Zoroastrianism and every one in between, to social issues of India, Pakistan and the United States.  

I know many parents who teach their children to hate the others, be it Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Sikhs or others… without realizing that they are slow poisoning their children.  When they grow up they may possibly marry the people you taught your kids to hate. Either you or they will live a miserable life for what you taught them.  

Conflicts erupt in a  society when there is injustice. Adharama is the root cause of all such movements be it Khalistan, Naxalite or other voices. There are many unfinished social transactions in India  between Hindus and Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims,  Hindus and Christians, Hindus and Jains, Muslims and Sikhs and other combinations. We cannot pretend or shout down that we don't have the problems that is non-sense, we do have the problems and some one among us need to restore dharma - and that comes when we all sit down and dialogue as equals. 

You will understand Khalistan movement if you can figure out why you want to quit your job,  or run away from the family or separate from other family members, or quit going to a Gurdwara or a temple or resign from an association. The usual answer is they were not fair to you or were unjust to you.

As far as movement is concerned, it is there because of the unfinished business of injustice done to the Sikhs, it will go away when all those Hindus who massacred Sikhs come forward and apologize, when the government gives an account for or locate the bodies of men, women and children who are missing... we have to close many transactions to have complete peace. We have to recognize and honor each faith for its uniqueness. Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism are distinctly different religions. There are many other transaction with different people... some day, if I am alive, I may want to be a reconciler of India, where no Indian has to live in apprehension or fear of the other Indian, nor do the have to hate the other. 

Please take time to listen to your kids and become their friends. Most of us do and few don't and as a result they live a life without peace. If you hate Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians or others, that is your choice, but a bad choice for your mental health.

I request you to study this before you start judging, you have a test to read through the end without foaming.

Link to this piece:

Mike Ghouse
                    Are Sikhs Really Hindus and does it really matter?
                                             By Anonymous

As a 1st generation Indian American my lack of understanding my own heritage has been due to many factors. First and foremost clearly I was born and raised in the United States. Secondly, I was raised in a household that differentiated between Indian and non-Indian as well was within Indian backgrounds. This meant that I was raised to really respect and admire all aspects of the South Asian culture. Thirdly and the most important I was raised both a Hindu and a Sikh.

All of these were wonderful in theory but proved to be a disaster in handling such issues as racism and discrimination by Caucasians, African Americans and others. This is so because when one is confused and uncertain of their own identity other parties and agendas may take advantage of that and further muddy the waters so  that they make it look as if it's purely one way or the other more decisive if you will. In so doing these agendas further alienated and frustrated me as an individual to my Indian heritage. My Grandfather was a great Sikh named Avatar Singh and today he would be in awe of how I felt and the world we live in. Dadaji I love you please forgive me.

One such movement was the Pro Khalistan movement. You see as a child I remember that one day we no longer visited the Sikh Temple. I want to discuss my anger as a 1st generation Indian American at Sikhs today as well as my love and the confusion and hate I have felt for many years towards my own. 

When Wisconsin happened as sick as it is to have thought and believed I felt glad even though it pains me to think that way and disgusts me yet I thought that perhaps maybe what good would come out of it is that the Sikh community would realize that the hate that was spread by the Pro Khalistan movement is so severe that not only innocent Sikhs are hurt wrongfully but the beauty of the teachings of Guru Nanak get lost.  They were lost on me.
Unfortunately, while it seems that peace is present the Sikh community did not really realize this. Otherwise, the anger at the Hindu community and other South Asian groups not being present would have been realized. As little has been shown in the press and amongst South Asian entities of love that should have been present in the wake of those shootings. Because many Hindus felt the way that I felt only they don't have the confusion because they never really were Sikhs.

As we recall in 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikh armed body guards over the decision to invade the Golden Temple in Amritsar in an operation known as Blue Star. All of us regardless of our political views felt that that was an awe shocking experience. Regardless of what religion in India anyone holds everyone can agree that the Rule of Law should be present.

As an American the separation of Church and State is the core of the US Constitution and the American way of life. However, the back and forth of this movement was such that Jar nail Singh Brindawhale may have threatened succession. Whatever one's views violation of law and not going through the correct process of succession we will never know given the history what really happened. I call upon the Modi Government to release all tapes dated Jun 3 - Jun 8 of 1984 of any conversations that took place amongst the Indian government leadership AND OR including Jar nail Singh Brindawhale.

If it is shown that in fact he did not threaten succession or was not charged with Federal offenses then unfortunately they had no right to do that. But let me remind Sikhs of 1950's. In the 1950's through peaceful protests Sikhs sought to have Punjab state carved out thus giving Sikhs a majority and that was done. The same group Akali Dal in 1973 asked for the following:

Wikipedia, "The Akali Dal led a series of peaceful mass demonstrations to present its grievances to the central government. The demands of the Akali Dal were based on the Anandpur Sahib Resolution, which was adopted by the party in October 1973 to raise specific political, economic and social issues. The major motivation behind the resolution was the safeguarding of the Sikh identity by securing a state structure that was decentralized, with non-interference from the central government. The Resolution outlines seven objectives:[42]

1. The transfer of the federally administered city of Chandigarh to Punjab.
2. The transfer of Punjabi-speaking and contiguous areas of Haryana to Punjab.
3. Decentralization of states under the existing constitution, limiting the central government's role.
4. The call for land reforms and industrialization of Punjab, along with safeguarding the rights of the weaker sections of the population.
5. The enactment of an all-India gurdwara (Sikh house of worship) act.
6. Protection for minorities residing outside Punjab, but within India.
7. Revision of government's recruitment quota restricting the number of Sikhs in armed forces.")  Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalistan_movement

In the same Wikipedia file the history of this Pro Khalistan movement is stated and that now as of 2001 most Sikhs now finally don't support a separate home state. Yet a group known as Bal bar Khalsa as late as 2008 sent operatives to train in the same camps as Al Qaeda but as luck would have it they were poorly trained and poorly financed. The source for this information is the same as the one stated above. In reading the Khalistan movement wiki site even Dr. Man Mohan Singh expressed concern that while he was in fact the most intellectual Indian Prime Minister of the 21st century with his brilliance in Economic matters that even he felt this was very damning and could set India backwards. Because this group once again was poorly financed and lacks any support from anyone we dodged a bullet but for how long?

Since Sikhs were given what they wanted by peaceful means in the 50's and 60's and 70's and the very Alkali Dai itself which was able to break off a Punjabi state so that Sikhs would be a majority and get protections for Sikhs as minorities in other parts of India were all achieved what was the purpose of all the hate and killing that took place for nothing between 1984-1991.  What was it all for? You see the reason Indian government gave in wasn't just peaceful protests because by the way Alkali Dai did not want succession overall was oddly enough for the same reason the Pro Khalistan Sikhs are annoyed and that is they  are thought of as Hindus. Isn't that an Oxymoron or Paradoxical that one would lead the charge for change against something in principle but when they get what they want not understand that they got it because of what they oppose?  It is striking to me and as you will see all these events in India did more harm to me in the United States than to others who were in previous generations because as I stated earlier they had their convictions and then to others who resided in India then and now because in my mind I was confused as to who I really am.

When one walks into a Sikh Temple there is no fight prayer is given, and it's a beautiful feeling.  Do the Sikhs teach the youth hate against the Government of India and to have a chip on their shoulders even though those kids live in America where the closest Indian in their school may very well be a Hindu it not only irks at me its repugnant and hypocritical as I will demonstrate momentarily.

Growing up this movement would not appreciate those who would tell them that the Pro Khalistan movement was incorrect in nature and was wrong and these same individuals would mistreat us for standing up to them. First of all as we saw with Pakistan and Jinnah when one starts a state solely on religion and its own perceived linguistic scenarios, religious extremism grows unintentionally. While Jinnah days before partition was quoted as saying GO TO YOUR TEMPLES GO TO YOUR MOSQUES I DON'T GIVE A DAMN I HAVE A COUNTRY TO RUN. The first law minister of Pakistan was in fact a Hindu and he was appointed originally by the British Jinnah did not fire him but he resigned in 1950 due to religious persecution which prevented him from doing his job.  Thus, one would think that all of us would have learned from History and we did only with bloodshed till the early 90's. Look at Pakistan today and the fact that they haven't learned from it.

However, many Sikhs who were leading the Pro Khalistan movement mistreated my father and our family. We would be chastised and disrespected. I remember a poster that talked about an exchange between Hindus and Sikhs where Sikhs killed Hindus. This made me sick. How the hell could my parents teach me that Sikhs were Hindus and were the same and yet when I read that article I was outraged? After complaint it was taken down. But it should never have to come to that.

These folks were warned about the dangers of these individuals. I believe they didn't take us seriously because we were the SIKHS who were the ANTI KHALISTAN that stood up to them. Sure enough the Sikh Temple lost quite a bit of money as well as another dear friend of my father's. All of these things coupled with the fact that these very same Sikhs would respect and treat Hindus who have nothing to do with them better and even allow their children to associate with such people better than they would someone like my father and I who were partially their own seemed very vicious and inconsistent to me. To them it didn't matter as long as you didn't tell them they were wrong. That hypocrisy really created a lot of hate inside me to them.

I respect an individual who stands by what they believe. If they were true to their cause then no Hindu should have befriended them.   Then I watch these same people allow their children to engage in marriage with those of the Caucasian and Hispanic persuasions even after they continue today to stand for such nonsense. Their hypocrisy is the micro and the political events are the macro picture as to why I personally have had contempt for the Sikh religion for almost 30 years. And in all of this nonsense what got lost was the beauty of Sikhism to me. In the Sacred Nitnem there is a quote that I find very much signifies that Sikhs are like Hindus. In English "The Status and Power of Shiva, God of Death, of Brahama, god of creation and of Indra, god of rain, are obtained by hearing the Name of God. Even a sinner begins uttering praises of God, after listening the NAME of God." Wow if that isn't Hindu I don't know what else is.

Those in the Pro Khalistan movement I defend one thing on your behalf. I do believe in the Jeffersonian right to defend to the top of my lungs that for which I spend a lifetime opposing. I ask not that you apologize even though you have hurt me dearly. I ask that you take your philosophies out of the temple. I ask that you find another forum for which as long as there is peace where we can have this argument. You see the very idea that in Punjab there no Hindu temples actually made what you wanted harder not easier. When Hindus prayed in the Sikh Temple all those years the assumption was that they were no longer Hindu on your  part. When Sikh men or Hindu men married the other woman and those marriages were accepted as the same again the assumption was by folks like you that the pure Sikh would emerge. No such thing. You see my father and I are products of such a combination. We did not adhere clearly to your agenda nor should we. We will not apologize for it.

No longer will I allow the Pro Khalistan movement to tell me that I can't pray in the Sikh Temple on Friday and still be in the Hindu Temple on Sunday or refer to me as a half breed or disrespect me on my face for differing values yet befriend the full-fledged Hindu that actually talks behind their back and doesn't agree with them at all. No longer will I allow that mistreatment or that hate to consume me.

My child has a learning issue and the other day the one thing I scorned him for was not paying attention yet the one time I wish he hadn't paid attention he did. He overheard me talking to his Grandmother about the past and about how when I was his age that Sikhs killed Hindus. I had to stop him and remind my son that love still is there. That the Sikhs my brother literally that he knew still had his best and that they loved him and that it was just the  actions of crazy people. I didn't elaborate on the back and forth. I taught him that his friends are his friends and to continue to love them. I will not allow you to create the hate PRO KHALISTAN movement that you have created in me and that you continue to create in young Sikh youth today because of the silence of the peaceful to crowd into my son. I will not allow you to do that. I will not allow you to continue to make me glad Wisconsin happened. I will not allow you to sicken me any further. I will love my Sikh friends more and more and more. YOU CANT TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME ANY FURTHER.YOU CAN'T QUESTION MY PUNJABI LOVE OR MY HERITAGE ANYMORE OR MAKE ME APOLOGIZE FOR WHO I AM. 

There are many great arguments pro and con about Sikhs being Hindus or not. Clearly both share the notion of Karma and Reincarnation and clearly as we have seen both also share the idea of the supersoul as notated that GOD is like mass it was never created or destroyed and certain Hindu demigods were in fact Sikh demigods as described. While Sikhs don't identify god as Ram or Krishna the concept of Vishnu (Krishna) as demigod is an incredible similarity. However, Sikhs do believe caste system of any sort is wrong like Muslims. Like Muslims they believe in a prophet system only they use the term Guru and try to claim it's not a prophet system but it is. Yet their prophets have nothing to do with Islam or Abrahamic traditions.

So yes those who make the case that Sikhism may be a different religion then Hinduism are correct on some points but are in correct in pounding the Government of India and they forget the similarities I have mentioned coupled with the fact that for hundreds of years Sikhs and Hindus have intermarried mostly Punjabis that when Hindus go to a Sikh and Hindu temple they feel at home in either one. Sikhs however don't feel at home at the Hindu temple but some do go to Mata every now and again. So yes a change in the Constitution of India can be had to say that Sikhs are a separate religion from Hindus despite maintaining key Hindu principles. Because they are also non Abrahamic as well they can be classified separately but may apply for any benefits given to Hindus and intermarriage may still be allowed should that Sikh wish to do so. 

I call upon the Modi government to start the process of redefining the concept of Sikh and Hindu in the Indian constitution. In other words, we are correcting everything in presentation so as not to confuse without changing tradition. These changes along with what occurred in the 50's and 60's as well as setting Hindi as a national language and Punjabi as a state language are all that's necessary not succession and that is why succession will never happen.

Pro Khalistan folks if  yall wish to argue this again do so with all of this in mind and in a proper forum where all can be involved. I welcome such debate BUT DON'T QUESTION ME AS A HALF BREED ANYMORE. If you can't love me or allow me to love you as a fellow Sikh don't hurt me or mine or individuals like me. You only disgrace the love of Guru Nanak further when you do. Mike Ghouse who will publish this may god be with him what a wonderful human being and a great mentor a Muslim that is the best I know reminded me in writing this article with love that Rajesh there is no liability to who you are. While Mr. Ghouse and I may agree about whether Sikhs are Hindus are not we do agree that it's not a liability. That Rajesh can be both its not just fiction. After writing this article I ask all Sikhs to forgive me for my hate. That ends today. While I can't walk into a Sikh Temple till the Pro Khalistan movement exits it and finds another home. I can finally let my anger at the Sikhs that did me  wrong go now. I can finally find love and peace. I wanted to just choose Amrit Vaani and go to the Hindu Temple and give my Sitnem away. I will do no such thing. I will continue to read my Sitnem while I go to the Hindu temple

I want to close with a thought of a beautiful movie entitled Silsila. This movie is special especially for its end. If you recall it was based on reality as Amitabh Buchanan actually did have an affair with Rekha in real life. If you remember Amitabh in real life is like me. His father was a poet of the most literary Hindi known with the strongest Hindu traditions and his mother was a very intelligent Sardarni with lots of love to her. Yet at the end of the movie when Amitabh was found to have committed adultery there was a voice that tried to steer him the correct way. Amitabh who was like me but better one day was in the Sikh Temple and the next day Holi more than any Hindu could finally listened to this voice. For it was the Sikh on the mountain of Mount Everest that reminded him of his moral compass.

I challenge all Sikhs even those who I hate or who hate me if there are any to be that Sikh the one with the moral compass. That's what I need and needed and didn't get through the most important years of my life. Lately in the last few years as my anger has evolved I too have found that Sikh on the Mountain. Maybe my dad had his but I never had mine till 10 years ago and I have a hard time enjoying it but no more. I have that Sikh on the mountain that you in the Pro Khalistan movement prevented me from having and I will not let that Sikh go. I hope that he and every Sikh who reads this can forgive me for my hate. As of today and forever it's gone.

Jo Bola Soni Hal Susrikal & Jai Shree Ram
Jai Hind

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