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War on Terror: not just an issue for Muslims

Posted By Sunny On 14th June, 2007 @ 3:15 am In Current affairs, Organisations | Comments Disabled

Four days after the atrocities of September 11th 2001, a gas-station owner in Mesa, Arizona, was shot and killed by an American man claiming it was in retaliation to the terrorist attack.

The turban and full beard may have given him away but 52 year-old Balbir Singh Sodhi was not of Muslim but Sikh faith and the first such victim. Many more victims of racial harassment were to follow.

The ‘War on Terror’ (WoT) has never been an issue just for British Muslims. Bubbling underneath the national conversation around Islamist groups, anti-terror legislation and civil rights, a change has been taking place within minority communities in the way they interact with each other, identify themselves and become politically engaged.

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 and 7/7 inevitably exacerbated tensions between British Muslim, Sikh and Hindu families who lived in close proximity to each other. This has been reflected not only in local events but on a wider national level. It has also fuelled a drive towards faith-based identity while discarding the old solidarity-based identity politics of race.

It is vital for the Labour government to not only understand this shift in identity politics but be aware of the dangers of being sucked into them and compromise its own social cohesion agenda. It is also possible, despite the currently muddled discourse, to spearhead a much needed national conversation around citizenship, democratic engagement and better race relations, to help build a more cosmopolitan Britain in the 21st century.

A changing identity
Not long after 9/11 a group of Sikhs from around the country organised a vigil outside the American embassy in London to reiterate that ‘Sikhs were not Muslims’ in an attempt to distance themselves from the latter. It was mostly in response to the hate-crimes that followed 9/11, but partly fuelled by faith groups eager to assert their own religious identity.

In January 2002 Sunrise Radio, a popular station in west London, capitulated to pressure from hard-line Sikh and Hindu groups and stopped using the term ‘Asian’. It was designed to avoid putting them in the same category as British Muslims. Although the station later backtracked, the damage was done.

In the same year some extremist members of the Sikh gang Shere Punjab even allied themselves with the British National Party. The attempt to create an alliance against Muslims had little political impact but the BNP was undeterred, employing the same strategy in 2005 by using a Sikh man in their party political broadcast.

The atmosphere of distrust following 9/11 and 7/7 made it easier for Muslim, Sikh and Hindu religious extremists to openly express distaste towards other religious minorities. Groups such as Al-Muhajiroun published leaflets calling for Sikh and Hindu girls to be converted and brought into the fold of Islam, and organised events in central London openly berating other religions and calling for more conversions.

A documentary on BBC Asian Network radio station late last year titled [1] Don’t Call Me Asian laid out the divide in stark terms, citing statements from Hindu and Sikh organisations who wanted to discard the term Asian as a means to distance themselves from Muslims.

The presenter asks: “But are they saying ‘don’t call me Asian’ because the term is meaningless, or are they saying ‘don’t associate me with Muslims, because the movement against the term Asian is aimed at distancing themselves from Muslims in the eyes of the media, the politicians and the population at large.”

New community leaders
Although other factors have also influenced the shift towards faith identity, notably conflict in the Middle East and South-Asia[2] [1], the upshot has been the emergence and increased visibility of religious “community leaders”. The Labour party has no doubt played a part in the process, facilitating the development of the Muslim Council Of Britain, which led to copycat initiatives from the Hindu and Sikh communities.

But whereas earlier campaigners for equality and anti-racism from minority communities came largely from a secular and progressive-left background, emphasising solidarity and unity, the new generation bring with them a conservative-right brand of politics with an emphasis on religious segregation.

Although a great deal of light has been shed on the ideological influences and background of the members that drive the Muslim Council of Britain[3] [2] much less has been said of its counterparts such as the Sikh Federation UK and Hindu Forum of Britain, who are even more secretive of their agenda.

The Sikh Federation UK’s leadership is primarily composed of members from the International Sikh Youth Federation, which was banned in the UK in March 2001 for suspected terrorist activity in India. Although the body was disbanded, its members were free to set themselves up under a different name.

The Hindu Forum of Britain meanwhile shares ideological roots with the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, in India) and is affiliated with VHP-UK (an arm of Vishwa Hindu Parishad in India) both hardline Hindu militant organisations that are part of the same umbrella.

Given that the RSS is deeply distrusted both by Sikhs (for their activities in the Indian state of Punjab) and Muslims (for its role in the anti-Muslim pogroms in Gujarat state in 2002), all these organisations are ideologically opposed to each other.

The desire for identity separation at national level is closely linked to a grab for government funding and political influence. This in turn has sparked competition between faith-based organisations for attention, creating a perverse incentive for them to adopt a victim mentality and build controversies where they can thrust themselves into the media limelight as representatives of a community under attack. [4] [3]

Sikh and Hindu groups [5] constantly stress the need to become more vocal about demanding their share of funding and government support even when it isn’t made clear what that money will be used for.

The new Britishness
Given this context the government faces huge challenges. It needs to deal with home-grown terrorism and religious extremism while ensuring the vast majority of innocent Muslims are not alienated by its policies. But as political multiculturalism has come to the forefront since the WoT, i.e. the prominence given to Muslim bodies such as the MCB, it has indirectly encouraged Sikh and Hindu groups to make similar demands

Labour needs to reiterate its commitment to secularism and lay out guidelines for engagement with such groups, treating them as lobby groups as opposed to representative bodies.

On areas such as education for example it should consult with a wide range of scholars when formulating policy rather than simply the ones offered by such organisations. The alternative is that each body will seek to influence government agenda by offering experts that conform to their conservative views, putting more obstacles in the way of social cohesion and accusing the government of bias if their view is ignored.

Events since 9/11 have also presented the government with an opportunity to have a debate on modern Britain. There has always been a pervasive feeling amongst minority groups that their contribution has never really been recognised or appreciated; that they remain invisible in the national cultural and political conversation.

With the Muslim community now thrust into the limelight, their aspirations, interests and ideas discussed like never before, Labour can use this opportunity to create an informed debate on issues around ‘Britishness’, democracy and free speech.

While discarding the old politics of ‘take me to your leader’, it needs to emphasise a common thread of citizenship based on local civic participation, social duty and building relationships with national institutions - for all Britons.

The War on Terror has undoubtedly lead to British Asians asserting their religiosity more aggressively. This is not a problem in itself since religious identity need not trump a more national identity. Indeed most young ethnic minorities are commonly found to be comfortable living with multiple identities.

The trick is to allow a private space where those identities can be manifested while ensuring a public space where national identity is promoted and people are recognised only on that basis. Pandering to groups along ethnic or religious lines will inevitably create tension and foster competition between organisations.

The government has to push a message that says every Briton has an equal part to play in improving society or making their voice heard without focusing too much on their differences.

That is an agenda not just for Muslims but all Britons.

—————————————
This essay was first published by [6] Foreign Policy Centre in June 2007. Download full pamphlet: [7] Having Faith in Foreign Policy.

[1] The Gujarat riots of 2002 also antagonised relations between British Hindus and Muslims
[2] John Ware’s Panorama programme: ‘A Question of Leadership’ and Martin Bright’s report ‘When Progressives Treat With Reactionaries’.
[3] Two examples covered in the national media include the banning of the Sikh play Behzti in Christmas 2004, and the Hindu Royal Mail stamp controversy.

——-
Further reading: [8] Robert Sharp.


Comments Disabled To "War on Terror: not just an issue for Muslims"

#1 Comment By douglas clark On 14th June, 2007 @ 7:30 am

Sunny,

The government has to push a message that says every Briton has an equal part to play in improving society or making their voice heard without focusing too much on their differences.

Couldn’t agree more with that sentiment. It is though incumbent on us all, and I mean by that the white majority, to ensure that everyone is treated as an individual and not as a cipher. The comments on an earlier thread by people I consider progressive Liberals, folk I’d like to make common cause with, suggests that we are far short of that idea. In the sense that they are being discriminated against for no good reason.

I have more in common with them than I have with their persecutors. But that seems to me to be a minority position. What’s to be done about it?

How do we mutually identify, if you see what I mean?

There seems to me to be ever higher hurdles being put in place against a common bond. This site being an intelligent exception.

I’d like to come back to the idea of a common bond, rather than citizenship per se, at some point. Having taken the BBCs version of the test, and passed by the skin of my teeth, it seems to be a ludicrous misunderstanding of what citizenship represents to assume that knowing the dates of our Patron Saints days is in any way relevant. It is stupid in the extreme.

Perhaps being able to quote chapter and verse from the ECHR might be more relevant, though controversial. And we couldn’t have that now, could we?

#2 Comment By Refresh On 14th June, 2007 @ 8:31 am

Excellent piece Sunny. Long long overdue, or maybe its just that its time has come.

It points also to issues surrounding overseas political influences which go against our wish for an inclusive society.

#3 Comment By Leon On 14th June, 2007 @ 10:25 am

Couldn’t agree more about establishing a secular policy when dealing with these groups and Briton as a whole…

#4 Comment By sonia On 14th June, 2007 @ 11:31 am

Interesting article.

and why is it only vital for the Labour government to understand this shift? Because they are in power now? But they might not be for very long, so perhaps it is useful to suggest that everyone sit up and take notice?

#5 Comment By Muzumdar On 14th June, 2007 @ 12:17 pm

it needs to emphasise a common thread of citizenship based on local civic participation, social duty and building relationships with national institutions - for all Britons.

New Labour is probably the worst political party in this respect. Their obsession with the centralisation of power leaves many at the grassroots with a feeling of powerlessness and betrayal.

Also interesting is your section on New Community Leaders. You contradict yourself though. If the Sikh Federation, as you contest, is simply made up of old ISYF people, they are hardly ‘new’.

#6 Comment By Chairwoman On 14th June, 2007 @ 12:23 pm

Spot on Sonia and Leon

#7 Comment By sid On 14th June, 2007 @ 12:27 pm

But they might not be for very long, so perhaps it is useful to suggest that everyone sit up and take notice?

So true. But the Conservatives are clueless on this.

#8 Comment By Jagdeep On 14th June, 2007 @ 12:58 pm

The trick is not to engage with right wing communalists. There are plenty of Hindu or Sikh organisations that can rep concerns generally held by Sikhs and Hindus (regarding technical issues of religion, happy-clappy-smiley Diwali photo ops for politicians etc), who don’t subscribe or engage in ethno-religious nationalist politics. Basically, the government needs to be a bit more savvy and get as wide a bunch of advisors to help them see who is kosher or not.

As usual though Sunny you under-emphasised how this dynamic was already taking shape and in gestation BEFORE 9/11 and 7/7. Those events catalysed certain things — the roots though are 1989 and the rise of the Islamist Right, which is contiguous with the darker manifestations of that movement, that bore fruit on 7/7.

#9 Comment By Jagdeep On 14th June, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

It points also to issues surrounding overseas political influences which go against our wish for an inclusive society.

Yes! Refresh, at last, finally, you might be able to transfer some of this insight into the dangers of overseas shit-stirrers disseminating fascistic ideology amongst Muslim youths, as well as the dangerous ideological virus indigenous to Britain’s Islamic political movements, and not remain silent whenever this problem is raised, or dismiss its sinister menace to the making of a truly inclusive society! Surely you have had an epiphany and can recognise what everyone has been talking about, and you have been in denial of for so long! Hallelujah!

#10 Comment By Jagdeep On 14th June, 2007 @ 1:18 pm

I had an e-mail conversation with a guy who knows the Westminster scene, has links with the old Indian Workers Association, known in academia, and is up to date on that we are discussing. He pretty much said that government was moving in the right direction on these issues, at least as far as the shutting out of communalist groups like the Sikh Fed and Hindu Forum were concerned, although as usual, Ken Livingstone is the jerk who invites them for tea at the London Assembly, fills them with the hot pompous air of their own importance, then whines like a newt when told he is arse-licking reactionaries.

#11 Comment By Refresh On 14th June, 2007 @ 2:27 pm

Jagdeep, no epiphany. If you engaged in a proper and constructive at the beginning you might have got to understand a lot more about me and a lot of others here.

Your style is not conducive to a proper debate. In fact I have Mazumdar as a replacement for you in style of debate. Only he is unhinged.

#12 Comment By Rumbold On 14th June, 2007 @ 3:07 pm

Sunny at his best.

Sid is right; it is not apparent that the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats would behave any differently were they to get into power. Organizations like the MCB, the Sikh Federation UK and the Hindu Forum of Britain are beloved by politicians of all stripes. This is because these groups can guarantee a large turnout at an event where said politicians are speaking, which makes the MPs fell like they are connecting with minorities as well as looking good on TV. What can individual scholars offer in that respect?

#13 Comment By Jagdeep On 14th June, 2007 @ 4:59 pm

Rumbold, you really have a fictional idea of what the Sikh Fed and their ilk are and what they can achieve. If a politician wants to have a smiley happy clappy photo op they just need to go to any number of places and people will turn out and have a photo taken with them — because they’re friendly and want to shake hands with someone from the TV. They are not sheep being coralled into anything. The Sikh Fed and Hindu Forum are parasitical nationalists at the fringe of things, condemned to the margins and trying to use the rhetoric of multiculturalism and diversity as leverage for their agendas. In this, they have been singularly unsuccessful for the most part.

#14 Comment By Jagdeep On 14th June, 2007 @ 5:01 pm

I’m dissapointed Refresh, I saw a chink of light there. Stick around though I’m sure you’ll reflect more on things.

#15 Comment By Sunny On 14th June, 2007 @ 5:04 pm

you under-emphasised how this dynamic was already taking shape and in gestation BEFORE 9/11 and 7/7.

I’m showing how the divide was exacerbated since. There have always been religious nuts on all sides who prefer fights against others than unity. After all, Shere Punjab had become quite active in picking fights against Muslims prior to 9/11, as did the Chalvey boys in Slough against non-Muslims.

What we’re talking about here is institutional segregation.

The Sikh Fed and Hindu Forum are parasitical nationalists at the fringe of things, condemned to the margins and trying to use the rhetoric of multiculturalism and diversity as leverage for their agendas. In this, they have been singularly unsuccessful for the most part.

Calling them unsuccessful is now nearly redundant. The Hindu Forum recently got funded by DFID for Hindu Aid (it being another Kallidai front).. and now they’re going off to set up Hindu Forum of Europe to get money from European bodies.

The Sikh Federation have been less successful in London since their base is Smethwick Gurudwara but that doesn’t mean their people have not done their best to infiltrate Ken Livingstone’s team. Only last week Ken launched a group on religious expression that included Sikh Federation UK.

#16 Comment By Refresh On 14th June, 2007 @ 5:12 pm

Jagdeep, don’t be disappointed. I have to say your style has improved for the better. And long may the evolution continue.

#17 Comment By Jagdeep On 14th June, 2007 @ 5:23 pm

I mentioned the Sikh Fed being loved up with Ken Livingstone already Sunny.

What we’re talking about here is institutional segregation.

Ruth Kelly has already said that funding for organisations is going to be reviewed on the basis of universal rather than sectional need. All that is needed is further dissemination of this kind of information to ensure the ideological nature of these bodies is scrutinised in light of all we know. Certainly, the Charity Commision’s investigation of SEWA International and now this Andrew Gilligan article shows people are not sleeping on the case.

The Sikh Fed is treated like a leper by the government by the way, Ken Livingstone is just a clueless sap, I’m with you on that. Look at what he did with Qaradawi and all those Nuremburg Rallies, sorry, I mean Identity Conferences he holds. He’s a freakin’ idiot.

I’m showing how the divide was exacerbated since.

You’ve done that, by focussing on the activism of sectarian organisations, but it was a quickening that was happening already. To say that it is rooted solely in post 9/11 tensions is not true.

One more thing —- that of institutional segregation. I find it hard to locate the pre-existing unifying institutions that we didnt share with everyone in society anyway. Who are/were they? The CRE?

Ultimately, remedial institutions that existed on the basis of ‘common cause’ were given the cyanide bite by the aftermath of 1989, but just as importantly, by the increasing self-sufficiency of some groups in terms of general collective achievment and socio-economic levels and trends. That results in an inevitable loosening of bonds between ‘communities’ when there is a demographic or cultural change at a deep level over generations. These are things you have to realise happened over time, ie: the last 20 years, and it’s not going to keep changing in the future.

#18 Comment By saqib On 14th June, 2007 @ 5:32 pm

Hi Guys,

Unfortuntely my laptop died a few weeks ago the day after i last wrote something on PP.

Interesting article Sunny,

‘While discarding the old politics of ‘take me to your leader’, it needs to emphasise a common thread of citizenship based on local civic participation, social duty and building relationships with national institutions - for all Britons.’

The problem is Sunny that people’s idea of ’social duty’ is born out of certain values and beliefs and not out of an abstarct national theory which any government can actively promote. This is something which the government recognises, hence why the government has, actively at times, sought to work with faith based groups in the delivery of certain services. Too be fair faith communities themselves, particularly those engaged in ‘community organising’ were not always keen on these government overtures, as faith communities need to keep a separation from government to maintain their integrity in opposing some aspects of government policy.

One example of this is the Citizens Organising Foundation and it derivative in the capital…London Citizens.

The truth of the matter is Sunny that polictial engagement needs to come from the grass roots, however the nature of modern society is that voluntary associations are in general decline, including trade unions, party membership…even religious congregations…however they still remain amongst the strongest.

I would have to question Jagdeep’s assertion about 1989 being the defining moment so to speak, and would seriously advise that he actually speaks to educated, professional Muslims and understand from them about how they perceive themselves. Simply reading polemical works which seek to identify the rise of the ‘Islamic Right’(itself a dubious claim devoid of any rationality, for the right is a secular construct, and the rise of Islam is certainly not!)is doing nothing in dealing with the practicalities of how people choose, and yes they do, choose to identity both themselves, and setting their own terms of reference of how they want to both contribute and engage with wider society.

Rumbold & Douglas i apolgise for not replying back earlier to your posts, i will endeavour to do so speedily…i’m just at work at the moment doing telesales, and becuase the calls come through so slowly they have let us use the internet whilst we work. It’s my first week, and hopefully it won’t last too long.

#19 Comment By Jagdeep On 14th June, 2007 @ 5:36 pm

I’d like to add this to the last sentence of my last post which was a little mangled:

————> These are changes of self-perception, aspiration and achievment that have happened over the last 20 years, and they are going to keep changing in the future. Mainstreaming of various components of ‘Asian’ life is going to decrease ‘institutional reliance’ (sounds like mental hospitals doesnt it?)

Speaking of institutional unity beyond informal grassroots linkages or ostensibly cultural bodies (BBC Asian Network for example), is increasingly specious in a time of variation and collective social mobility; especially when we need to look in institutional governmental funded terms towards bringing people forwards under Universal mainstream rubrics. Under that kind of ethos, we instantly marginalise the need for various sectarian bodies to claim funds for their institutional needs as the starting point for ‘diversity’ and ‘equality’ anyway. Those should be treated with scepticism to begin with. Already this is a huge change of sensibility and governmental orientation on this issue that really has to be encouraged and supported.

You’re doing a good job, Hundal.

#20 Comment By Jagdeep On 14th June, 2007 @ 5:38 pm

Yes Saqib, Muslims did choose that identity, that’s my whole point.

#21 Comment By saqib On 14th June, 2007 @ 5:50 pm

Jagdeep you are absolutely right!!!

Yes Muslims have chosen that identity, in chosing Islam. Hence my point about 1989 being a bogus claim stands!

#22 Comment By neva4get84 On 14th June, 2007 @ 5:50 pm

Okay-
I’d just like to clarify a few points that have been raised, excuse if some may seem naive but I’d like to try and understand an alternative perspective to mine (pro Khalistani) as well as trying to break some misconceptions.

Why is it that all Khalistani’s are labelled as extremists? What is so extreme about trying to eradicate human rights violations in Punjab? The Indian Govt is both corrupt and murdering, they oppress all those that do not share their socio-economic status and ethnic cleansing ideals (whether this be Sikhs, so called “lower caste” Hindus or anyone else).

From my understanding their are many Sikh organisations that have the interest of forming a socially just and fair society, but some seem to be more concerned about petty squabbles with one another. Having said this I think their fight for justice and equality is worthwhile.

Not all Khalistani’s are extremists only wanting an independent Sikh state for the sake of it. I don’t understand why anyone anywhere should be tortured, raped or murdered. Khalistan offers ALL people of Punjab the opportunity to move away from being treated as second-class citizens.

Finally Khalistan is not only the interest of first generation Sikhs, “community leaders” or extremists. Surly from a humanistic perspective it is valid course to pursue.

#23 Comment By Kulvinder On 14th June, 2007 @ 6:08 pm

Why is it that all Khalistani’s are labelled as extremists?

Not all are, but its associated with the movement for the same reason people who call for the imposition of a Sharia state in Britain are thought of as extremists.

Regardless of how you define the border of Khalistan you’re taking an a priori stance that people within that region ‘want it’; some sikhs do but its hardly a massive political issue amongst sikhs within Indian Punjab let alone non-sikhs living there - or those in Pakistani Punjab. There isn’t even any intellectual development on what ‘Khalistan’ is beyond vague utterances of a ’sikh homeland’.

#24 Comment By Jagdeep On 14th June, 2007 @ 6:25 pm

Look Saqib, 1989 was the orgasm and nuclear blast that caused mass rapture and the move away from a more or less secular form of identity politics towards a virulent form of religious identity being priveliged above all others. It was the nuclear powered rocket up the jacksy of Islamists, Cheese and Onion Utopianists, and the underbelly of all this, the murderous ideology that has born fruit in 7/7, which the victimhood culture of aforementioned groups were wilfully blind to, or made excuses for, even though the warning signs were there for everyone to see. I am just reporting a historical fact, placing events in their proper context, which you have affirmed, for which I thank you.

#25 Comment By Jagdeep On 14th June, 2007 @ 6:26 pm

Excellent points Kulvinder!

#26 Comment By Jagdeep On 14th June, 2007 @ 6:35 pm

Why is it that all Khalistani’s are labelled as extremists?

Because many of them are extremists, are intolerant, even fascistic, apologists for violence, are wedded to extremely narrow interpretations of Sikhism that can be compared to a taliban mentality, brook no dissent, believe religious nationalist rapture is a self asserting and self evident reason for a political claim, are begetters of sectarianism, are contemptuous of democracy or secularism, have nothing to offer in teh face of the challenges of modernity for Sikhs in India or in the diaspora except a never ending tub-thumping cry of religious nationalism, it breeds a paranoid conspiracy laden mindset full of never ending searches for traitors, Uncle Toms, and enemies, it demonises non Sikhs as a natural corollary for its ideology to blame the other for all the ills of Sikhs…I could go on and on.

Now of course, maybe NOT ALL of them are extremists, maybe there are some who are jolly liberal and modern thinking non sectarian types, although I am personally yet to meet them, they might exist. If that is you then…..congratulations! So it may be unfair to say ALL are extremists, but most of them probably are.

But most of all, the overwhelming majority of Sikhs don’t want it, and so all claims for being the conscience or spokespeople for Sikhs are tenuous loudmouth and arrogantly wrong.

Apart from that….

#27 Comment By neva4get84 On 14th June, 2007 @ 7:22 pm

Well firstly thanks for the congrats….

Look at what the Indian Govt have done to social justice in Punjab. When people have legimately put forward the rationale for Khalistan they have been imprisoned, tortured and their families have suffered the consequences too. Do you not think this might possibly have an impact on people keeping their views private? How do you know that the overwhelming majority of Sikhs don’t want the same ideals that Khalistan can offer? Who doesn’t want to live in a free and just society where people are judged not by their religion or background but their actions and character? True Sikhs understand that everyone is equal and our Guru’s fought for the rights of other people’s faith.

Of course their are those who have their own agenda, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the past and current Indian Govt are inhumane and corrupt. Would you rather the Indian Govt continue their horrific crimes, with no challenge? As with any movement you have your Black Panther style of activists and your Luther-King activists. Does that make the concept of Khalistan less worthwhile?

#28 Comment By Rumbold On 14th June, 2007 @ 8:01 pm

Welcome back Saqib; I presumed the CIA had got you.

Neva4get84:

There is a reason the previous thread was closed. This article is not about Khalistan. Sunny, can’t you just open up a Khalistan thread every fortnight and let those who wish to discuss it frolic?

#29 Comment By neva4get84 On 14th June, 2007 @ 8:13 pm

Lol-fair enough! I just find it quite strange how when it suits people the same old Sikh Fed tripe comes up. But it seems your only allowed to express one opinion on the matter.

Anyway I take your point on board, I’ll leave it at that.

#30 Comment By Sunny On 14th June, 2007 @ 8:26 pm

Rumbold, I think that may be a good idea. I planned to do one about Israel/Palestine too. Maybe we could combine it? Thread for people who want to impose their religious views on others.

Look at what the Indian Govt have done to social justice in Punjab.

You haven’t made the link from how social injustice by the Indian govt automatically means Khalistan, however you define it, is the only option.

Neither the current Tony Blair administration nor GW Bush’s are too fussed about the ‘extraordinary rendition’ or torture practices they employing, or seem to bothered by the tens of thousands dead in Iraq since they attacked. Does that mean the only answer is bringing down this govt by force?

Who doesn’t want to live in a free and just society where people are judged not by their religion or background but their actions and character?

Again, how is this an argument for Khalistan? Given most who want Khalistan don’t like listening to liberal Sikhs (AKJ, anyone?), why should I believe that a Khalistan will be a free and just society?

The Tat Khalsa crew generally, nor the ones who wanted Khalistan in the UK and Punjab around 1984, seemed the most bothered about justice and freedom of speech who didn’t agree with them. Just look at how the Sikh Federation behave now. THESE are the face of the Khalistani movement. That is why they are no different from the Hizb ut-Tahrir movement.

#31 Comment By Kulvinder On 14th June, 2007 @ 8:31 pm

When people have legimately put forward the rationale for Khalistan they have been imprisoned, tortured and their families have suffered the consequences too. Do you not think this might possibly have an impact on people keeping their views private?

Could you link to some examples? I was personally unaware of any intellectual development on the idea of Khalistan; its news to me that all people putting forward any kind of argument are being tortured. With regards to the indian government, its worth pointing out that the PM is a sikh, and though you almost certainly think hes a sell out or something, he is still a sikh.

How do you know that the overwhelming majority of Sikhs don’t want the same ideals that Khalistan can offer?

Without a poll i don’t, but the lack of any real clarity on what Khalistan is about leads me to believe that either relatively few people are interested in it and/or the ones that are are incapable of developing the idea into an argument beyond vague ’sikh state’ proclamations.

Who doesn’t want to live in a free and just society where people are judged not by their religion or background but their actions and character? True Sikhs understand that everyone is equal and our Guru’s fought for the rights of other people’s faith.

Why have a ’sikh state’ that judges all religions equally?. If you’re advocating it you may as well have the intellectual honesty to admit it would be a sikh state. If the demographics changed to 90% hindu and 10% sikh and the population elected to rejoin india would you oppose them? You haven’t even decided what Khalistan means; are you advocating a theocracy or a pluralistic democracy? If the latter whats the difference between India and Khalistan?

#32 Comment By tyger On 14th June, 2007 @ 9:07 pm

Brilliant Sunny.

#33 Comment By neva4get84 On 14th June, 2007 @ 9:26 pm

FYI-
[9] http://www.petitiononline.com/Sikh5/petition.html

[10] http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/engASA200022003?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIES\INDIA (Amnesty Report- independent review The main reason for focusing exclusively on the continuation of torture in police custody in this report is that the majority of the armed opposition groups are today inactive in Punjab and AI has received no reports of acts of torture perpetrated by their members after the end of the militancy period. Similarly, the issue of impunity for abuses committed by these groups during the militancy period is marginal, as most of their members in the state were arrested or killed by security forces in counter insurgency operations in the early 1990s. However torture still continues today)

[11] http://www.sikhtimes.com/news_100705a.html

#34 Comment By neva4get84 On 14th June, 2007 @ 9:44 pm

Hopefully the above text will provide you with a clearer insight. Visit [12] https://www.ihro.in/?q=node/63 for a full review.

#35 Comment By Muzumdar On 14th June, 2007 @ 10:07 pm

neva4get84

Please give it a rest.

(1) These arguments are old, have been regurgitated ad nauseum and have got us nowhere fast.

There is no point flogging a dead donkey.

(2) People on these forums are 100% assimilated into their host community. They neither care about nor want to hear about ‘home’.

(3) Any intellectual discussion on the re-establishment of the Sikh State, in 2007, must take on a new dynamic (social regeneration, employment, infrastructure etc etc).

Reflect on the above and then get back to me.

#36 Comment By Saqib On 14th June, 2007 @ 10:21 pm

oh Jagdeep

I really do despair with you sometimes…you really do seem to get carried away with your own propaganda covered with your usual filthy remarks full of pointless sexual connotation…perhaps it reflects your own unease with your own sexuality. And on top of this we have your pathetic, self-created ‘onion crisps’ mantra, which is neither funny, witty or clever…just plain juvenile self-masturbation (Oh, I hope I haven’t got you too excited now)

The sad thing is, you, like Katie from the apprentice are an intelligent person whose arrogance is both nauseating and actually quite sad, I actually feel sorry for you.

On the substantive point, again where is the evidence Mr Jagdeep apart from the Satanic Verses affair? There isn’t.

Actually, the infamous Mr Honeyford made remarks similar to what we hear today about issues of integration back in 1985…perhaps the polemics you slavishly have read didn’t deem it necessary to mention this, as it would make more complex their narrowly defined and crude systematic understanding of the socio-political realities of our time.

The trust is there was no defined watershed period or one event, no ‘big bang’ moment (and no, I don’t mean anything sexual jagdeep).

The process of religion becoming a dominant part of the identity of Muslims in Britain was and is a process which has been in motion for a long time, however it was bubling underneath the surface, brought to prominence through events like the satanic verses, and not constructed by them.

It has been about working at a grass roots level, building partnerships across communities and local government to promote the well-being of people through enabling them to take greater responsibilities for their lives through strengthening their local communities…perhaps you may see this as a right-wing conspiracy, but actually most people on the ground actually appreciate different, indeed unique perspectives, as opposed to your one-size fits all approach to matters.

#37 Comment By Kulvinder On 14th June, 2007 @ 10:26 pm

Amnesty Report- independent review The main reason for focusing exclusively on the continuation of torture in police custody in this report is that the majority of the armed opposition groups are today inactive in Punjab and AI has received no reports of acts of torture perpetrated by their members after the end of the militancy period. Similarly, the issue of impunity for abuses committed by these groups during the militancy period is marginal, as most of their members in the state were arrested or killed by security forces in counter insurgency operations in the early 1990s. However torture still continues today)

Erm yeah, continuing on that link

a. Why does torture take place?

i. A substitute for police investigations

Torture is often used in Punjab to “solve” criminal cases quickly, without time-consuming investigations. It is widely reported that many police officers torture suspects or potential informants - or even persons totally unconnected with the case under investigation - in order to obtain a confession or the information needed to solve a case. Confessions extracted in this way are given by the victim sometimes just to stop torture, and there is no guarantee that they correspond to the facts…

ii. “Teaching a lesson”

Police officers in Punjab are frequently reported to use torture to pursue personal interests unconnected to the maintenance of law and order, to teach a lesson to personal enemies, to favour business friends or to assert their power…

iii. Extortion

The police often use torture or the threat of torture to extort money…

Your original posts implied the indian government are advocating the active torture of people who discussed a ‘rationale for Khalistan’. The AI article discusses human rights violations in terms of the Punjab police being utterly crap or at the broadest sense certain types of collective punishement against relatives/neighbours of ‘militants’.

Your first ‘petition’ link fails to mention ‘Professor Bhullar’ was convicted for a car bomb attack that killed 12 people (hurray for the AI link), but for the record im against the use of the death penalty. Mr Bittu (sikhtimes link) was convicted in relation to some murders (again not mentioned in article)

I don’t really know what you’re trying to argue, if you’re saying people shouldn’t be executed i quite agree, but it’d probably be more worthwhile clearing his name completely if you think hes innocent than focusing on the death penalty. All that aside its tres tres interesting he was deported from germany to india to face (even possible) execution. What on earth did the Council of Europe say?!

I didn’t ask you nor did i assume you were against people who comitted murder or acts of terrorism being brought to justice.

#38 Comment By Kulvinder On 14th June, 2007 @ 10:34 pm

Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar was deported to India after seeking asylum in Germany in
January 1995

In October 1997 a German court has ruled that his deportation violated Article 3 of the
ECHR.

Shock of the century there. And we thought germans were intelligent.

[13] Linky

#39 Comment By justforfun On 14th June, 2007 @ 11:17 pm

Saqib - In your opinion and in the round, has the increase in Islam as a dominant part of the identity of Muslims been a good thing for Britain and British Muslims. Is it win, win or win, lose or lose,win or lose,lose for Britons and British Muslims? Or is the jury still out? The reason I ask, is because you make a point I don’t see often (or maybe I have read to much into your words) - that the increase in the islamic identity is not a re-action to cliched external circumstances like Kashmir, Palestine Pakistan’s internal islamification, Soviet occupupation of Afghanistan etc etc, but rather a self help awakening to improve the lot of Muslim Asians in Britain ….It has been about working at a grass roots level, building partnerships across communities and local government to promote the well-being of people through enabling them to take greater responsibilities for their lives through strengthening their local communities .

Is this what you mean? If it is, I can see why you disagree with Jagdeep’s interpretation or memory of the past. For me personally, I remember the 80’s at Uni in London pretty much like Jagdeep has described over many posts during the last years.

Justforfun

#40 Comment By Sunny On 14th June, 2007 @ 11:27 pm

Saqib, what Jagdeep is saying isn’t untrue, but neither are you. Let me explain.

The Satanic Verses affair brought out all the “community leaders” who wanted to get heard but weren’t… so they started organising themselves and creating organisations etc that were all about a Muslim identity (the infamous Muslim Parliament is a good example). In effect the affair created the impetus for organisations, and then it became self-sustaining because they wanted grassroots support for these organisations that were created.

So in effect we had the organisations first, and the grassroots support later. That was built later due to other global events such as the growing fighting in Kashmir, Second Intafada and later 9/11.

What you also have to understand is one leads to the creation of the other. The organisations were formed… and then these orgs had to create controversies or campaigns in order to rally their base. So instead of focusing on the UK, they tried to get their people angry about international events… funelling money to Kashmir etc.

This is what the Hindu Forum of Britain is also trying to do. There is no evidence it has grass-roots support. So it does that by creating controversies and getting himself into the media to create a base and then rally it.

#41 Comment By neva4get84 On 14th June, 2007 @ 11:34 pm

But that is my point! Pro-Khalistani’s are framed for crimes that they have not committed. So that they can be put in prison for torture and made to give confessions under duress (hence these educated men signing their name with a thumb print and not an actual signature). Bhullar should never have been sent back to a country that would torture and violate him. You also fail to mention that Bhullar confessed under torture and later retracted his confession.

Paramjit Singh from Wolverhampton was arrested and tortured in Punjab against no real evidence. Oh yeah except that he sang about human rights in Punjab
[14] http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/article2350050.ece

The AI reports supports the fact that India has a corrupt social justice system, yes it is against everyone (including Sikh militants and their families-as mentioned in the report).

The IHRO link puts a case for Khalistan forward which links the various issues together.

Look my intention is not present a religiously fantical case for Khalistan, I myself am a shajdhari Sikh and not baptised. Nor am I deluded about forming a “Sikh motherland”. Just that it is a possible course of action that can erdicate a lot of ills in Punjab. I have found some comments truly thought-provoking but think it is an issue that neither party (pro/anti) will ever come to agree upon. But cheers for your views. I really will leave it at that!

#42 Comment By Rumbold On 14th June, 2007 @ 11:55 pm

Sunny, we can just have a nationalist thread; maybe get some of those Balochis and Kurds out of hiding.

Why does Jagdeep seem to rub everyone up the wrong way? I think that he is an excellent commentator (as is Saqib) who would be sorely missed if he departed. Save your ire for others.

#43 Comment By Kulvinder On 15th June, 2007 @ 10:30 am

Pro-Khalistani’s are framed for crimes that they have not committed. So that they can be put in prison for torture and made to give confessions under duress

The confessions weren’t the only pieces of evidence present. You’re coming across as the type of lunatic who thinks mohammed siddique khan was ‘framed’

The AI reports supports the fact that India has a corrupt social justice system, yes it is against everyone (including Sikh militants and their families-as mentioned in the report).

Well quite, so what exactly is your point? There is no conspiracy against sikhs, the Punjab police isn’t torturing on the orders of the Indian government but because they’re crap (AI link).

The IHRO link puts a case for Khalistan forward which links the various issues together.

Opera doesn’t trust that site, and since i trust opera i refused its certificates. I had to look at the google cache and ‘a case for Khalistan’ isn’t anything near a consideration of what Khalistan is. Are you advocating a theocracy or not? If the demographics change will you accept the will of the population to rejoin india?

I couldn’t care less about conspiracy theories i want to know what Khalistan IS. Its nonsensical to have a discussion on how life in blessed Khalistan ‘would be better’ unless you say why.

#44 Comment By Kulvinder On 15th June, 2007 @ 10:32 am

Out of curiosity (i need to know if you really are a lunatic) do you think sikhs were ‘framed’ for the Air India bombings?

#45 Comment By Refresh On 15th June, 2007 @ 10:54 am

Sunny, Have you taken to deleting me? I am sure I posted very early this morning.

#46 Comment By neva4get84 On 15th June, 2007 @ 7:33 pm

Nope I’m not a lunatic just one of the many that attended the rally a few weeks back
[15] http://solarider.org/blog/?cat=31

I also think it is quite childish to think that someone is a lunatic because they have a different perspective to yours. Whatever your views are please note that I have not made any condescending judgements of your character. You may have encountered “rude-boy” style Khalistani’s that glorify violence, but please don’t tar us all with the same brush. Despite disagreeing with you I respect your opinion and would appreciate the same courtesy.

Dismissing human rights injustice due to the crap police is a real under-estimation. The police could not carry these actions out over the decades without the Govt input.

Also for the record I am against the formation of Khalistan through violence or terrorism. I just think it offer’s one of a few courses of action to rid Punjab of an oppressive and corrupt regime.

My point is simple; the people of Punjab like any other deserve a supporting Govt that looks out for their interests. The Indian Govt has not done so. If their was a sudden miracle that eradicated the current human rights concerns and improved the justice system-great I am all for it and would whole-heartedly support it as a better action then the formation of Khalistan.

For me Khalistan could be an independent state that puts the right, equality and opportunity of its people first. I disagree with those who want it for the purpose of another fascist dictatorship.

#47 Comment By Muzumdar On 15th June, 2007 @ 7:40 pm

neva4get84

Your heart is in the right place.

But.

It is not enough to simply say that the government of a proposed Khalistan will automatically be a benevolent one. All the 1980s ‘ideology’ points to is theocracy - a place where women would be shot for wearing make up and men hacked to pieces for trimming their beards.

In order to move on from this, a complete and total break needs to be made with the 1980s struggle and all of its protagonists.

I don’t think that modern day Khalistanis are willing to do this. Are you?

#48 Comment By Kulvinder On 15th June, 2007 @ 8:56 pm

Nope I’m not a lunatic just one of the many that attended the rally a few weeks back
[16] http://solarider.org/blog/?cat=31

And your point is…? What was the argument behind that link?

I also think it is quite childish to think that someone is a lunatic because they have a different perspective to yours.

I think conspiracy theorists are lunatics and i make no apology for that.

Dismissing human rights injustice due to the crap police is a real under-estimation. The police could not carry these actions out over the decades without the Govt input.

The AI link you provided gave three reasons why torture takes place.

My point is simple; the people of Punjab like any other deserve a supporting Govt that looks out for their interests. The Indian Govt has not done so. If their was a sudden miracle that eradicated the current human rights concerns and improved the justice system-great I am all for it and would whole-heartedly support it as a better action then the formation of Khalistan.

This makes even less sense! At least before i understood the concept of the religiously observant wanting a sikh state; now you’re saying it isn’t even whats really wanted.

If an improvement in the quality of the punjab police, government institutions etc is whats wanted why even bring up Khalistan? I assume you’ve already joined/support organisations that desire judicial reform? Hows that going?

You still haven’t told me how Khalistan would put things ‘right’. Its as absurdly obscure as saying ‘Kulvinderstan’ would put right all the wrongs of the world…well how.

#49 Trackback By Robert Sharp On 15th June, 2007 @ 11:15 pm

Identity Politics and Multiculturalism…

As we debate ad nauseum the conflicting identities within the State, it often seems as if other aspects of multiculturalism are neglected. Specifically, the different and conflicting identities that exist within the individual. While a compromise wit…

#50 Comment By saqib On 18th June, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

Justforfun:
(…you make a point I don’t see often (or maybe I have read to much into your words) - that the increase in the islamic identity is not a re-action…)

Yes, my point is that the rise of Islam as being the dominant part in the identity of Muslims is not a reaction for foreign conflicts, though they have, exacerbated this process, and at times taken it down particular paths.

This process was inevitable, as within the inner consciousness of Muslim societies this feeling is quite strong. However due to many varied factors it was not made apparent.

In the case of Britain, most Muslim immigrants, despite the media coverage were fairly religious, however they were slightly selective, even apologetic and saw themselves as immigrants who were only here for a short period of time.

Their children inherited their basic values, ethics and assumption, however they appeared alien in an environment which was totally different. What this does is develop an interest in young Muslims to understand these ethics, values, assumptions and, indeed concepts from their source, i.e. the texts of Islam. This has generally led to the re-awakening of faith and in a Muslim identity.

I should say that this has been a good thing for British Muslims, in fact it is something which many of us have wanted, for the cultural definitions of yesteryear i.e. Asian, Afrian, Arab etc…were inadequate in expressing difference in lifestyle, ethics and values.

‘…Is it win, win or win, lose or lose,win or lose,lose…’

I feel, and i am trying to be objective about this, that this is a difficult question to address. The reason is that it would first necessitate having an idea of what the common good would be for British society, and this is not apparent in a liberal/utilitarian society where indivdiuals are pursuing their private interests.

Is the common good more freedom from the state, more social cohesion or social/economic equality?

I would say as a consequence it would be more prudent to suggest at the moment that the jury is out. However i believe it can be a win/win situation, as i feel one of the factors why we do indeed suffer from greater social defragmentation is that we don’t really have communities as such, people are living their lives as individuals with very weak local identities and grass roots interaction.

This puts greater presure upon both local and central government to provide services which should really be provided within voluntary associations at a grass roots level.

This is where i feel faith communities in general, and the Muslim communities in particular could, and in some cases are, able to contribute to community cohesion by providing social welfare services and by fostering a sense of local identity through involving members of both their own communities and other individuals in local associations. I am thinking of local associations in terms of covering areas such as youth work, taking care of the elderly, preventing and tackling crime etc.

Now, what i meant was not about a self-help of Asian Muslims, rather it was about the, if you like reawakening of the Islam as being the dominant part of the Muslims identity.

What I meant by working at a grass roots level was about how this identity has been made manifest, in the shape of youth work, providing social care, as well as outreaching to other communities in the region.

#51 Comment By neva4get84 On 18th June, 2007 @ 7:12 pm

Kulvinder-
If you read through my comments I have never said that I am completly religously observant in fact I think I mentioned that I am a non baptised Sikh. My argument has always had human rights as its focus. Nor have I said that Khalistan is the one and only course of action, I have said that I can see it as one of the valid courses to take.

Nor have I developed a masterplan of how Khalistan will unfold! But by devolving power to the people of Punjab, it offers a (note I didn’t say only)chance to create a better place. Maybe the word “Khalistan” is the problem, as with Hindustan. Perhaps it should be Azaadistan (Freedomland). Let the people create the constitution.

#52 Comment By Rumbold On 18th June, 2007 @ 11:34 pm

Is your blog still running Saqib?

#53 Comment By justforfun On 19th June, 2007 @ 9:30 am

Saqib - thanks taking the time for your reply.

I get a sense of where you are coming from and the themes that you are exploring. I probably share many of your conclusions, but have come to them from a completely different angle. I haven’t thought them through well enough to put into words, but I am sure we will have conversations that will develope these in my mind.

I know I asked you a difficult question with my win-win, lose win , win-lose etc question and appreciate your reply. The question its self is probably unfair as I think the question assumed people have fixed identities and we all know we are all capable of wearing multiple identies at the same time and it is how and why we chose to re-arrange their ranking in our minds that is the debate and probably is the core of many of the ills that we see around us. One only has to look at the IP debates where on all sides peoples’ multiple identities and POV being jostled and challenged, to thank God for fuel efficient engines and no longer having to land anywhere near the unholy land to refuel when on the way to the subcontinent.

I have a busy schedule coming up, and you have your re-takes. Good luck with them. The best always have to re-submit :-) I like to think it was whiskey and women that did for me, but in reality it was laziness and an uncanny ability to piss off at least one lecturer every year for 5 years, of which I am now very proud.

Justforfun

#54 Comment By Kulvinder On 19th June, 2007 @ 11:28 am

Perhaps it should be Azaadistan (Freedomland). Let the people create the constitution.

That isn’t the afterthought to wanting a new society its one of the first steps. When the United States unilaterally declared independence they wrote in that document the philosophical foundations of why they were doing what they did and how they would set up society to be different and better (they actually plagiarized parts from John Locke but nevermind). Their articles of confederation and the constitution were built from that.

At the moment you’re saying things are ‘bad’ in Punjab but aren’t saying how or why Khalistan would be better. And neither are any of the other Khalistanis. Those shitty policemen that torture people are going to be the Khalistani police, what would make them act differently in a new country?

If you’re trying to make a wider point about the nature of humanity (ie this isn’t about just nationalism) the need for a massive amount of theoretical work becomes even more important. Marx, Lenin et al wanted to go beyond capitalism and solve the fundamental problems of the world. In order to do that they broadened the scope of communism to an enourmous amount - it wasn’t just about solving the issues of the working class but juxtaposing that with imperialism, colonialism etc they were trying to find a common thread that unearthed the underlying problems of people as diverse as [17] russian peasants, black americans, the irish, muslims in arabia etc. From that they wanted to build a better society. It wasn’t just a vague dream, they tried to identify the problems with society and set out to construct a better society.

Now compare that to the Khalistan movement, noone can tell how Khalistan would be better. Infact people tend to say that it’ll either be a Bhindranwale inspired theocracy or an actual copy of india in minature. How would those two examples of Khalistan be any better than India?

There are no Khalistani intellectuals, the movement is little more than a vague brand of militancy. People are supporting or fighting for it without anyone knowing what it is.

#55 Comment By Saqib On 19th June, 2007 @ 4:02 pm

Rumbold

I haven’t updated my blog for a bit…I just have to deliver a talk tomorrow evening aimed at Muslim youth, after which I promise to reply back. In fact I promise to do no postings until I do so.

#56 Comment By TheFriendlyInfidel On 19th June, 2007 @ 4:31 pm

Its true, it effects us all … last week I was asked … *sniff* … I was asked to … remove my SHOES!!! The Humilation still stains my heart.

TFI

#57 Comment By neva4get84 On 19th June, 2007 @ 5:20 pm

Are you implying because there is no one definition, therefore it must never exist, and can never exist? That’s a pretty strange statement.

“Hindustan” they say is all areas that belong to southeast Asia that had originated from Hindu-religion. Surely, when Hinduism had started present-day Pakistan was not part of the land. So, does this mean India or Hindustan does not exist today?

Ask any person before 1947, what India was, and they would have all gave you different answers — therefore India should never have existed? Surely, it exists today and not based on a majority decision, but what a few people had given as its regional boundaries. As long as its a concept (like India pre-1947) it’s boundaries and theories will be debated upon by the community, but it takes a action and people power to create such a thing.

#58 Comment By Jagdeep On 19th June, 2007 @ 5:39 pm

But you repudiate theocracy and numb-skull religious tyrants breathing hell-fire nationalism and intolerance? Well that’s an improvement. So why don’t you just work towards the economic empowerment and agaisnt the social injustice and caste and gender oppression, drug abuse, feudalism, that blights Punjab? Oh I forgot, it’s easier to sit in your bedroom 7000 miles away in England and scream and shout religious nationalist slogans and sulk about the impure pollutions affecting Sikhi, that’s the way to do it, that’s how we work.

#59 Comment By Jagdeep On 19th June, 2007 @ 5:42 pm

By the way, if you really do repudiate theocracy and numb-skull religious nationalist tyrants, and I mean really repudiate those things, not just weasel words when cornered in an argument on a blog, then you have your work cut out, because the Khalistan non-movement is rancid and heavy with those people and their mindset.

#60 Comment By neva4get84 On 19th June, 2007 @ 8:45 pm

Grow up. Why would I lie about my views whether it be on the net or in person? You will notice from my first postings I said the point of an independent state for the purposes of a Sikh motherland are pointless and I wouldn’t support it. I don’t know how many times I have to say my main concern is human rights for all. And an independent state is not the ONLY answer just ONE POSSIBLE COURSE.

Yes their are militant-minded morons who want Khalistan for no other purpose but to enforce their own agenda. But I disagree with them as much as I disagree with you. Also that doesn’t detract from my opinion.

#61 Comment By Muzumdar On 19th June, 2007 @ 9:41 pm

Sunny

I know I said I’d stop posting here but I did add that if I was provoked I would be forced to respond.

That time has come.

Kulvinder and Jagdeep

Let me take a guess: you are both 30+ years of age.

This would explain your mind numbingly boring repetitive out-of-date opinions on the re-establishment of the Sikh State.

Your memories of the 80s and early 90s are littered with harrowing stories of rape, murder and unlettered thugs with beards roaming around the Punjab countryside…

Since then, you have got married, got fat, got a mortgage and had a sprog or 6. Congratulations.

While you have been wallowing in merriment, debt and private school fees, others have the taken the ’struggle’ onto different levels - while you haven’t been watching.

Harvard graduate Jaskaran Kaur’s ‘20 Years of Impunity’ is a point in case. Surely, you cannot compare her to unlettered religious thugs?

I agree that the theoretical foundations of the State are very, very far from being laid, but that is not to say that they never will be. In fact, the ideological groundwork, I can assure you, will be done by the diaspora.

In fact, both of you have been blessed with above average intellects, why not use them to be part of something spectacular: the creation of a state - a state that will look to ensure the safety of your own people. You should see the theoretical shortcomings of the Khalistan movement as a challenge, not a hindrance….

Alas, is it too late for you? Have you been assimilated into your host community to the extent that you care nothing for your brethren?

I hear you, on other threads, get agitated about how Palestinians/Jews/secularists/homosexuals/atheists/Muslims etc etc etc are persecuted and how they deserve justice..

What, then, of your own community? Flesh of your flesh, blood of your blood, bone of your bone.

Twice colonised: 1849 and 1947.

#62 Comment By Kulvinder On 19th June, 2007 @ 9:47 pm

Ask any person before 1947, what India was, and they would have all gave you different answers — therefore India should never have existed?

I’m not really sure what you’re trying to argue, obviously there was a great deal of thought on what the independance movement was about and what the desired outcome should be; the fact that a massacre took place after independance was pretty much down to the fact no consensus was ever reached.

If you’re asking if i think its better to try to reform indian politics than let an inconherent ‘freedom’ movement descend into genocide…uhm yes.

#63 Comment By Rumbold On 19th June, 2007 @ 9:49 pm

Thanks Saqib.

Muzamdar:

“Twice colonised: 1849 and 1947″

The Sikhs are not the historical people of the Punjab, given that Sikhism only really emerged in the sixteenth century and only formed into a coherent territorial entity in the late seventeenth century (at the earliest). Hindus and Muslims have lived in the Punjab far longer than Sikhs; therefore your constant recourse to nineteenth century history as a justification for Khalistan is just a bit strange.

#64 Comment By Kulvinder On 19th June, 2007 @ 9:51 pm

nb before you ask, i personally wouldn’t have had a problem with a progressive ‘cut off’ from Britain rather than a sharp bloody one. It is after all more or less that path taken by the likes of Australia, Canada and the West Indies where the Queen is still the head of state and where in some instances the House of Lords is still the highest court.

#65 Comment By Muzumdar On 19th June, 2007 @ 9:54 pm

Rumbold

The Palestinian Muslims are not the historical people of Palestine: Jews, Pagans and Christians have been there longer.

Does this de-legitimise their right to a state?

My recourse is to the pre-colonial state of affairs (a Sikh State) and the post-colonial dispossession that followed (the bi-section of that state).

If the Pals deserve a state because, as they argue, they were the rightful owners of the land before the Brits turned up, then so do we.

#66 Comment By Muzumdar On 19th June, 2007 @ 9:55 pm

Surely you agree with the principle, no?

#67 Comment By Rumbold On 19th June, 2007 @ 10:01 pm

Why not a return to the seventeenth-century Mughal Empire then Muzamdar (just not with those awful hodlums Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb in charge)? The Sikhs were not exclusively from the Punjab- especially the first ones.

#68 Comment By Muzumdar On 19th June, 2007 @ 10:09 pm

The Mughal Empire collapsed in the eighteenth century: in Punjab the Sikhs took control and to the south the Brits took control.

(Two key differences: Sikhs were indigenous, the Brits sailed half-way across the world to exploit, steal and kill).

The Mughals were a bunch of foreigners too (hence: I wouldn’t want to go back to them), or has that conveniently slipped your mind?

I never said Sikhs were exclusively from Punjab.

#69 Comment By Kulvinder On 19th June, 2007 @ 11:08 pm

If the Pals deserve a state because, as they argue, they were the rightful owners of the land before the Brits turned up, then so do we.

And if they don’t get that state (based on century old borders) then neither should we, amirite.

#70 Comment By Kulvinder On 19th June, 2007 @ 11:32 pm

Kulvinder and Jagdeep

Let me take a guess: you are both 30+ years of age.

Sorry i missed this; no mid 20s. I have a few years before carousel.

This would explain your mind numbingly boring repetitive out-of-date opinions on the re-establishment of the Sikh State…

…I agree that the theoretical foundations of the State are very, very far from being laid,

How the hell can it be ‘out of date’ when even you accept no conceptual work exists!?!?! There is ‘no date’ nothings been done.

In fact, both of you have been blessed with above average intellects, why not use them to be part of something spectacular: the creation of a state - a state that will look to ensure the safety of your own people. You should see the theoretical shortcomings of the Khalistan movement as a challenge, not a hindrance….

I think most people on this site would agree that any state based on ‘my thinking’ would be totally fucking awesome and unlike anything else in the world. But I doubt that most people who march for Khalistan actually want country with completely open borders (for one example)

Alas, is it too late for you? Have you been assimilated into your host community to the extent that you care nothing for your brethren?

I’m English (if thats what you’re asking). I don’t automatically count sikhs as ‘my bretheren’ - why would i want anything to do with the likes of Bhindranwale?.

#71 Comment By Jai On 20th June, 2007 @ 9:19 am

Let me take a guess: you are both 30+ years of age.

“Assumption is the mother of all f*ck-ups”, as an old friend of mine frequently used to say.

This thread has taken an interesting turn. However, it is curious how certain parties appear to be blind to the paradox of desiring an independent state based on the historical religious affiliation of a certain group, populated by many people who do not necessarily believe in or practice the fundamentals of that religion, and not governed according to some of the core principles of that religion either.

You cannot have a region called “Khalistan” if the principles behind its founding do not originate from Khalsa ideals at all. It’s an oxymoron.

So call it a different name, and certainly do not refer to it as a “Sikh State”, because it wouldn’t be. Sikhism has very litle to do with it. No hypocrisy, please.

And all this is before we even begin to discuss the potential political, geographical and economic feasibility of a viable nation located in a relatively small area of what is presently northern India.

#72 Comment By Jai On 20th June, 2007 @ 9:38 am

Incidentally, the whole basis for the pre-colonial Sikh Empire was hypocritical. Maharajah Ranjit Singh may have paid lip service to being a Sikh, but engaging in armed warfare to achieve territorial conquest is something which is against some of the most basic principles of Sikh teachings regarding permissible use of violence. And let’s not forget that large swathes of the Maharajah’s conquered dominions were populated by “indigenous” people who were NOT Sikhs or Punjabis; claiming any right to rule over them, based on historical factors, is not more justified than it would be for white British people to desire a re-establishment of rule over their former colonies.

And frankly, this mindset is as hypocritical as it was for colonial-era Brits to go around on their global “civilising mission” (based on the forcible subjugation of indigenous populations) whilst simultaneously claiming to profess (and evangelise) Christianity.

If you want a “Sikh” (I use the term very loosely) State due to a hankering for past glories and due to a desire for power, then at least be honest about it.

#73 Comment By Muzumdar On 20th June, 2007 @ 11:00 am

Kuli

How the hell can it be ‘out of date’ when even you accept no conceptual work exists!?!?! There is ‘no date’ nothings been done.

My point was that proponents aren’t going around slashing people up these days, things have moved on, particularly in the diaspora. For you to sit there and say ‘oh look at those unlettered bearded thugs who want Khalistan, they must be thick religious zealots’ is far too easy and definitely too simplistic.

But I doubt that most people who march for Khalistan actually want country with completely open borders (for one example)

So at least you do have some ideas about a potential Sikh State. That’s good, I want debate on the topic. I want more theories. I want suggestions and input from everyone.

I’m English

If you truly believe this (I don’t think you do by the way), then fair enough. Don’t you just love it when white folk ask you where you’re from?

Thanks.

Jai

My personal vision of Khalsitan is based on the original Zionist model (Herzl et al) - a Sikh State run on pragmatic political and economic philosophy, not a theocracy - hence strict adherence to Sikhi is optional.

You cannot have a region called “Khalistan” if the principles behind its founding do not originate from Khalsa ideals at all. It’s an oxymoron.

You are playing with semantics. Israel is not a ‘Jewish’ religious State. Khalistan will not be Sikh ‘religious’ State. Hence names are unimportant, especially at this stage.

If you want a “Sikh” (I use the term very loosely) State due to a hankering for past glories and due to a desire for power, then at least be honest about it.

Of course there is some Romanticism involved, all nationalism is based on some form of Romanticism. However, it is not blind Romanticism - eg I don’t want to return to monarchy, feudalism, high tax rates for the poor etc etc.

But, there’s more to it than Romanticism. Like I have said, there is the point of principle (#65), there is the point of utterly and consistently poor governance since 1947, there is the case of genocide, there is the case of a detrimental fiscal policy towards Punjab over the past 10 years and I could go on.

These are some of the things that I hope a progressive government of a neo-Sikh State will be able to rectify - of course I am being an idealist, but I really don’t see any other options.

Thanks.

#74 Comment By Refresh On 20th June, 2007 @ 11:24 am

“My personal vision of Khalsitan is based on the original Zionist model (Herzl et al) ”

What tragedies do we have to look forward to?

#75 Comment By Kulvinder On 20th June, 2007 @ 11:40 am

If you truly believe this (I don’t think you do by the way), then fair enough. Don’t you just love it when white folk ask you where you’re from?

Why would i lie about my sense of self? Were you born in Britain??

My personal vision of Khalsitan is based on the original Zionist model (Herzl et al) - a Sikh State run on pragmatic political and economic philosophy, not a theocracy - hence strict adherence to Sikhi is optional.

What happens when the demographics of Khalistan change?

#76 Comment By Muzumdar On 20th June, 2007 @ 11:58 am

Kuli

We are talking about here and now: Punjab is a Sikh majority State.

Thanks.

#77 Comment By Jai On 20th June, 2007 @ 12:41 pm

Mazumdar,

a Sikh State run on pragmatic political and economic philosophy, not a theocracy

In which case, it’s not actually a “Sikh” State, is it ? It’s a state populated and governed by people who may pay lip service to being Sikhs and are certainly descended from historical individuals who were Sikhs, but they are not actually Sikhs themselves.

I’m not even talking about the whole kesh-or-no kesh issue — I’m referring to Sikh humanitarian principles, which extend to attitudes towards non-Sikhs (and behaviour towards your fellow man in general, including here on this blog by the way), warfare, and the fundamental rationale for the establishment of any territory/political entity where Sikhs would be in control.

hence strict adherence to Sikhi is optional.

I would agree completely with you there.

Israel is not a ‘Jewish’ religious State. Khalistan will not be Sikh ‘religious’ State.

What Israel and/or proponents of Zionism do is irrelevant. It’s one option, but it’s certainly not the only one and in my view not necessarily the optimal one either.

Hence names are unimportant, especially at this stage.

Names are absolutely fundamental to the issue, because in this case it embodies the basic ideal behind what the state stands for. “Khalistan” is derived from “Khalsa”, which (at least in its Sikhi-related interpretation) has specific religious origins due to Guru Gobind Singh. I’m sure you already know all this. So you cannot separate the religious angle from a) the name which is being bandied around with such impunity, and b) the group of people who would potentially govern and live in the state.

You know that Sikhs are not some kind of “tribe” or regional ethnic group — the historical basis for the name is specifically religiously-related. So call the state “Punjabistan”, call it “Land of people who used to be strict Sikhs but aren’t necessarily practitioners or even believers in the faith today”, hell call it whatever you want, but it’s completely inappropriate to call it anything derived from the religious legacy involved. Which applies to the term “Khalistan”, because it has certain unequivocal religious connotations.

there is the point of utterly and consistently poor governance since 1947, there is the case of genocide, there is the case of a detrimental fiscal policy towards Punjab over the past 10 years and I could go on.

Fine, but secession should be an absolute last resort when all other legitimate options have been exhausted, as per Jagdeep’s suggestions earlier.

Since we’re speaking theoretically, bear in mind that Punjab would not be “released” without a fight. In which case, both your motivations and tactics in any such endeavour had better be ethically beyond reproach, at least if you’re going to add any Sikh-related caveat to justify your actions.

We are talking about here and now: Punjab is a Sikh majority State.

The “here and now”. Exactly. If you’re talking about a homeland for Sikhs (whether strictly-practising or not) as some kind of safe refuge, this would have been justified in 1947 or (post-Indira Gandhi’s assassination) in 1984. Are Sikhs at risk of genocide in India today ? I doubt it. They’re not necessarily always treated very well, there’s certainly a lot of distortion of Sikhism in the Indian media, but they’re not at risk of genocidal pogroms.

“But this might change in the future”, I hear you say. Correct. One never knows what could happen, especially in India where tempers can sometimes flare up very unexpectedly and people can be quite unpredictable in communal issues.

Which leads us to the question of the feasibility of a seceded Punjabi nation. The economic & political viability has a huge question mark over it as previously mentioned; but the location is a huge problem. You’re talking about a small country right next to what would potentially be a much larger hostile counry. You also have to consider the population exchanges that would be involved, and the bloodshed that could well ensue.

The establishment of a Sikh State somewhere outside India is, of course, an entirely different matter. People who know me from elswhere in the blogosphere will know that I already discussed the concept on Sikhnet and (in less detail) on Sepia Mutiny a while back. It’s an intriguing idea — consider how much of a global force for good it could be if its inhabitants really did make an effort to live up to the humanitarian ideals Sikhi represents — although deciding the proposed location in our over-populated world would be a huge hurdle to overcome.

And, of course, as several commenters have already mentioned, there’s the danger of the corruption present in today’s Punjab (Sikh majority, as you’ve stated) simply being exported to the new “Sikh State”. In which case, we’re back to square one.

Merely creating a new state won’t solve these problems. The critical factors are the principles the state’s founded on and what kind of people will inhabit it (and, especially, what kind of people are involved in the state’s creation). The American precedent is a very pertinent example indeed.

#78 Comment By Muzumdar On 20th June, 2007 @ 1:17 pm

Jai

Before I respond I’d just like to say thank-you. Thanks for engaging in the debate rather than dismissing it as a fascistic nightmare (as you did with neva4get84). Much appreciated (honestly).

It’s a state populated and governed by people who may pay lip service to being Sikhs and are certainly descended from historical individuals who were Sikhs, but they are not actually Sikhs themselves.

I see no problem with this. As long as what binds these individuals is a sense of shared history, loyalty to the continuation of the Sikh tradition and an absolute dedication to the betterment and progress of the Sikh people.

I’m referring to Sikh humanitarian principles, which extend to attitudes towards non-Sikhs (and behaviour towards your fellow man in general, including here on this blog by the way), warfare, and the fundamental rationale for the establishment of any territory/political entity where Sikhs would be in control.

Well, does Sikhi legitimise the nation state? There is an argument both ways here. In a world such as ours, I’d say Sikh philosophy allows for one.

I would agree completely with you there.

Thank heavens for that. At least we agree on one thing.

re name: Essentially, I haven’t had time to come up with a better name than Khalistan. However, I still don’t see the problem with it. You dismiss Zionism and Israel but as that is the theory I’m running with I have to bring it up again. Israel is the Biblical name for the holy land, yet modern day Israel isn’t a religious state.

But if you wish, I will simply refer to it as the Sikh State.

Fine, but secession should be an absolute last resort when all other legitimate options have been exhausted, as per Jagdeep’s suggestions earlier.

Let’s take the issue of 1984. When the government itself is culpable, which options do you suggest we exhaust?

both your motivations and tactics in any such endeavour had better be ethically beyond reproach

Realpolitik.

The establishment of a Sikh State somewhere outside India is, of course, an entirely different matter. People who know me from elswhere in the blogosphere will know that I already discussed the concept on Sikhnet and (in less detail) on Sepia Mutiny a while back. It’s an intriguing idea — consider how much of a global force for good it could be if its inhabitants really did make an effort to live up to the humanitarian ideals Sikhi represents — although deciding the proposed location in our over-populated world would be a huge hurdle to overcome.

This is most interesting. Do you know that some of the original Zionists considered parts of Uganda and Argentina as possible alternatives to Israel? Fascinating.

Are you the bloke who, on Sikhnet, posited the idea about setting up a Sikh State in Russia? I considered that idea too….but ultimately decided against it.

Btw, what’s your nickname on Sikhnet? I frequent there all the time, don’t post much though - too full of idiots.

The critical factors are the principles the state’s founded on and what kind of people will inhabit it

This is why people like yourself, Jagdeep and Kuli must come forward and share your thoughts - much valued thoughts - on the future. The diaspora is the key.

#79 Comment By Kulvinder On 20th June, 2007 @ 1:17 pm

We are talking about here and now: Punjab is a Sikh majority State.

Avoiding the issue is really going solve the problem of future instability; besides afaik the non-defined borders include pakistani-punjab

#80 Comment By Muzumdar On 20th June, 2007 @ 1:22 pm

afaik the non-defined borders include pakistani-punjab

If they are non-defined, how do you know which areas they do or do not include?

Thanks.

#81 Comment By justforfun On 20th June, 2007 @ 1:38 pm

Muzumdar
- The diaspora is the key.

You’ve metioned it twice.

Why? and the key to what?

Justforfun

#82 Comment By Muzumdar On 20th June, 2007 @ 1:44 pm

justforfun

Glad to see you’re paying attention.

The diaspora have the benefit of living in free societies, under the rule of law and under decent - non-genocidal - governance. Hence they should also want their brethren to live under such conditions.

Also, the diaspora is highly educated - yes, I’m generalising - and they should put their education to good use: the betterment of their people’s lot.

Thanks.

#83 Comment By Jai On 20th June, 2007 @ 2:41 pm

Mazumdar,

rather than dismissing it as a fascistic nightmare (as you did with neva4get84).

You appear to be mistaking me for someone else. As far as I can recall, I have never engaged in any discussions here on PP with neva4get84.

Before I respond I’d just like to say thank-you. Thanks for engaging in the debate…..Much appreciated (honestly).

That’s okay. I frequently disagree with many of the things you say here on PP, but for the record I do actually think that you’re a brilliant writer. Your sardonic style also always makes highly entertaining reading; however, I think you frequently make very personal attacks on other commenters, which is amusing to read in a “black humour” sense as the “wit” demonstrated is often very clever, but I doubt it’s much fun for the people on the receiving end. Just chill out a bit, mate; there are ways of getting one’s point across without resorting to nasty bullying tactics. There are real people on the other side of the computer screen, y’know.

As long as what binds these individuals is a sense of shared history, loyalty to the continuation of the Sikh tradition and an absolute dedication to the betterment and progress of the Sikh people.

That’s the problem. Unless these “traditions” are rooted in Sikhi, they’re not “Sikh” at all. And if this is the case, they’re not actually continuing Sikh ideals and traditions full-stop. Case in point is the fact that one core Sikh concept is working towards the betterment and benefit of the whole of mankind, not just for fellow Sikhs above and beyond everyone else. Sikhs are supposed to live within society and be a positive influence on it from the inside (if possible); it’s a different matter if, as a group, they’re under siege from hostile external forces as in the late Mughal era and various points in the 18th century (and of course ‘47 & ‘84), but if this isn’t the case then the former is what Sikhs as a group are supposed to strive for. Otherwise they’re not Sikhs — not really.

Well, does Sikhi legitimise the nation state? There is an argument both ways here. In a world such as ours, I’d say Sikh philosophy allows for one.

Yes, but not purely for Sikhs, and certainly not one which is not founded upon and governed according to Sikh principles.

Realpolitik

Again, a fundamental violation of Sikh ideals in this matter. One of the most basic principles involved here is that the means are as important as the ends — and one’s goal has to be ethically legitimate, otherwise the entire basis of your struggle is invalid. I’m sure you know enough about Guru Gobind Singh to be aware of this.

Are you the bloke who, on Sikhnet, posited the idea about setting up a Sikh State in Russia?

No. When I was involved, the issue was discussed a couple of years ago, and even then myself and the other commenters experienced difficulties in deciding exactly where outside the subcontinent would be a suitable location, especially one which wasn’t already heavily populated and also where it would be in a relatively safe neighbourhood.

Btw, what’s your nickname on Sikhnet? I frequent there all the time, don’t post much though - too full of idiots.

I haven’t posted there for several years, as it began being taken over by commenters who were far too conservative and tunnel-visioned for my liking.

The diaspora is the key.

Unless Sikhs back in Punjab (or India as a whole) really do encounter severe persecution from the rest of the population — as per several historical precedents — I don’t think I really have the right to start analysing whether Sikhs there should initiate some kind of secessionist movement. That decision lies with them, as they actually live there.

A hypothetical Sikh homeland elswhere in the world is a different matter, but even then I think my right to voice my opinions is limited, because I’m certainly not the strictest practising Sikh one would meet. However, my stance may change if — for whatever reason — Sikhs in the diaspora do become persecuted to the extent that Jewish people were in Europe during the first half of the 20th Century.

#84 Comment By Kulvinder On 20th June, 2007 @ 3:23 pm

If they are non-defined, how do you know which areas they do or do not include?

‘afaik’

#85 Comment By Refresh On 20th June, 2007 @ 3:38 pm

Jai, I too enjoy Mazumdar’s entertaining style.

My difficulty with him is he is all for ethnic cleansing and goodness knows what to deliver Khalistan, including Zionism. That is ethnic cleansing of muslims from Punjab. Not Hindus.

Opportunism of the first order.

I am a firm believer in self-determination but I am not sure we should allow that for Mazumdar. For his own good of course.

#86 Comment By Jagdeep On 20th June, 2007 @ 3:44 pm

Yes their are militant-minded morons who want Khalistan for no other purpose but to enforce their own agenda. But I disagree with them as much as I disagree with you. Also that doesn’t detract from my opinion.

So how do you envisage a theocratic ethno-nationalist state being carved out in the midst of a contested space in which a majority of Punjabis Sikhs and non Sikh are not interested in ‘Khalistan’?

#87 Comment By Jagdeep On 20th June, 2007 @ 3:51 pm

While you have been wallowing in merriment, debt and private school fees, others have the taken the ’struggle’ onto different levels - while you haven’t been watching. Harvard graduate Jaskaran Kaur’s ‘20 Years of Impunity’ is a point in case. Surely, you cannot compare her to unlettered religious thugs?

Yes I do have children, a gorgeous wife, a mortgage, but I’m not fat. You must be thinking of yourself.

Just 50 sit-ups a day keeps the flab away (as well as cardio 3 times a week for half an hour). Remember that.

You’re talking about Human Rights in Punjab. Organisations like Insaaf and Jaskaran Kaur do sterling work. I support them in their efforts. You have already said you’re sentient about the difference between the theocratic fascists and those who work under thr rubric of Human Rights and bring the atrocities of the state to light and seek recompense for that. But their objectives are to receive justice for the victims, not to set up a theocratic state in the mould of the Taliban or Khomeinist Iran. They are therefore not part of ‘the struggle’ in the sense of the creation of a ‘Pure Sikh State’.

#88 Comment By Jagdeep On 20th June, 2007 @ 4:10 pm

Alas, is it too late for you? Have you been assimilated into your host community to the extent that you care nothing for your brethren?

I love this bit, really made me smile! My favourite part.

Oh the plaintive appeal to blood loyalty, the limp and pathetic ‘Uncle Tom’ insinuations, the tragic pinch at the conscience and supposed insult of ‘race betrayal’ and assimilation, all because our man is irked by people applying scrutiny to ideas he is not comfrotable with.

Dostoevsky’s ‘The Devils’, with their basket case paranoiacs and hunters of supposed traitors, wouldnt do justice to this mentality — identify, mock, burn the heretics, purify, purify, purify and cleanse the impure of mind! Hilarious.

[18] Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

#89 Comment By Muzumdar On 20th June, 2007 @ 5:28 pm

Jai

I have never engaged in any discussions here on PP with neva4get84.

My bad.

Just chill out a bit

Will try my best.

Unless these “traditions” are rooted in Sikhi, they’re not “Sikh” at all.

You misunderstand me. When I spoke of the Sikh Tradition I meant the core Sikh philosophy (humanitarianism, egalitarianism etc) that got lost somewhere between the latter Misls and the Singh Sabha movement. But remember that the tradition is not fixed - it is pragmatic; hence, if the goal is statehood, then flexibility will be imperative.

Case in point is the fact that one core Sikh concept is working towards the betterment and benefit of the whole of mankind, not just for fellow Sikhs above and beyond everyone else.

Yes, but how can we work for the betterment of humanity when we haven’t worked for the betterment of ourselves? Let us help ourselves for once, before helping others.

Yes, but not purely for Sikhs, and certainly not one which is not founded upon and governed according to Sikh principles

Again, it will not be purely for Sikhs but it will be Sikh majority. As for Sikh principles, if these mean to you, as they do to me, egalitarianism, humanitarianism and democracy with universal suffrage I don’t see your problem.

Realpolitik is our main stumbling block: I realise the necessity of being a backstabbing duplicit bastard in politics to have aims realised and so do you, but you cannot seem to get away from some sort of imaginary idealism you have, out of nowhere, identified with my vision for a Sikh State.

being taken over by commenters who were far too conservative and tunnel-visioned for my liking

True. That’s what I meant by idiots.

I don’t think I really have the right to start analysing whether Sikhs there should initiate some kind of secessionist movement. That decision lies with them, as they actually live there.

Of course you do. You care about your brothers and sisters, no? If you care, do something about their plight.

A hypothetical Sikh homeland elswhere in the world is a different matter

The people who run Sikhnet, the converts, in my opinion have set up mini Sikh States (with a bit of yoga chucked in) in their enclaves in the US (Espanyol etc). If they were to run a potential Sikh State, I would be extremely happy.

#90 Comment By Muzumdar On 20th June, 2007 @ 5:29 pm

Kuli

‘afaik’

Tell me, oh oracle, what do you know?

#91 Comment By Muzumdar On 20th June, 2007 @ 5:39 pm

Jagdeep

Where to begin with a man like you?

At least you admit that you are 30+ years of age and have a mentality that refuses to allow you to leave the 80s. I wonder what your dress sense is like. Never mind.

You’re talking about Human Rights in Punjab

No. Read the entire thread, like Jai. HRs is only a small part of a complex list of reasons for statehood.

Oh the plaintive appeal to blood loyalty

My appeal was to your association, however small, with the Sikh people. I don’t care what blood type/skin colour you may or may not have.

the limp and pathetic ‘Uncle Tom’ insinuations,

You have confessed to being an assimilationist. I never mentioned anyone’s uncle.

the tragic pinch at the conscience and supposed insult of ‘race betrayal’ and assimilation,

Once again, race just doesn’t come in to it.

all because our man is irked by people applying scrutiny to ideas he is not comfrotable with.

Eh? Again Jagdeep, read the thread. Scrutiny and dialogue on the topic is what I’m after.

#92 Comment By Kulvinder On 20th June, 2007 @ 5:56 pm

Tell me, oh oracle, what do you know?

That the borders of Khalistan aren’t defined and could well result in a non-sikh majority.

#93 Comment By Muzumdar On 20th June, 2007 @ 6:02 pm

Kuli

Well, this is part of my point. If the ideological foundations of the State are to be defined then the perimeters of that State must also be defined.

For now, I am saying modern Punjab inclusive of Chandigargh as the boundaries.

If you were, hypothetically of course, asked to detail the perimeters of the Sikh State, where would you draw the lines?

#94 Comment By Refresh On 20th June, 2007 @ 6:14 pm

Mazumdar

“modern Punjab”

Is that a concession to Pakistan?

#95 Comment By Kulvinder On 20th June, 2007 @ 6:15 pm

If you were, hypothetically of course, asked to detail the perimeters of the Sikh State, where would you draw the lines?

I wouldn’t detail the perimeter. If the Khalistani movement wanted ’some land’ id support some type of agreement with india.

This is all hypothetical ofc, since noone even knows what Khalistan is about.

#96 Comment By Refresh On 20th June, 2007 @ 6:15 pm

Maybe not - just noticed the “For now…”

#97 Comment By Muzumdar On 20th June, 2007 @ 6:18 pm

Look fresh,

Let’s just put it like this: there is Israel and then there is greater Israel…

Today, on this message board, I am saying that the Sikh State should constitute Indian Punjab including Chandigargh.

Thanks.

#98 Comment By Muzumdar On 20th June, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

Kuli

I have given you, on this thread and many others, the bare bones of what constitutes my notion of the Sikh State (social democracy with universal suffrage etc).

Go by my definition.

Now draw the line.

#99 Comment By Refresh On 20th June, 2007 @ 6:31 pm

Mazumdar,

But that is not good enough.

Within your definition, there may well be the seeds of further discontent. Will you have settlements reaching into Pakistan?
:)

#100 Comment By Kulvinder On 20th June, 2007 @ 6:36 pm

I have given you, on this thread and many others, the bare bones of what constitutes my notion of the Sikh State (social democracy with universal suffrage etc).

Go by my definition.

Now draw the line.

Find out how many people agree with you and come to an agreement with india. Unless you supported Europeans drawing lines on maps of Africa and India why on earth would you accept me dividing land for others?!

#101 Comment By Muzumdar On 20th June, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

fresh

At this stage, I couldn’t possibly say. However, what I can say is that Pakistan has nuclear capability.

Although your sum total of 12 war heads aren’t really a match for anyone execpt Khazakstan, Zimbabwe and the like, I’m not stupid.

Your fair Pakistani maidens are safe.

#102 Comment By Muzumdar On 20th June, 2007 @ 6:39 pm

Unless you supported Europeans drawing lines on maps of Africa and India why on earth would you accept me dividing land for others?!

Time to get with the programme Kuli, time to stop being so hippy-fied and idealistic and take a step into the real world - lines get drawn, people die and countries are born.

#103 Comment By Refresh On 20th June, 2007 @ 6:49 pm

Actually Mazumdar, it reminds me of conversations I had with Sikh friends in 1985. And all of them said they wished they had gone with Pakistan at the time of partition and were very critical of the Sikh leadership of the 40’s. (By the way one very intelligent friend made the observation at the time that the Asian diaspora were the new jews).

Now we have you who still thinks there should be a Khalistan but now built on the Zionist model.

In the 80’s Sikhs wanted to ally themselves with Pakistan. Here on PP you started with the concept of ethnic cleansing of muslims to create Khalistan, on the false pretext that muslims had butchered millions in the partition. I shall repeat again that is a lie. It was one of the biggest tragedies of the last century. Many people died on both sides of that hasty divide.

As I understand it, you are a fan of Zionism because you’ve seen how succesful Israel has been in getting its way. Remember though you would need a very powerful patron to sustain the first 50 years of existence. That will be a heavy price and you will end up as a militarised state.

I suspect if we are to play this game, then the only possible reason why your concept state would be of interest to a powerful foreign power would be to undermine an up and coming threat (I say threat, but what it means in global terms is an economic competitor). There are only two that would be of interest to anyone - one is India itself and the other is China.

Hmm, its therefore quite possible that you could attract a patron power.

Welcome to the real world.

#104 Comment By Kulvinder On 20th June, 2007 @ 6:56 pm

Time to get with the programme Kuli, time to stop being so hippy-fied and idealistic and take a step into the real world - lines get drawn, people die and countries are born

Oh i see, this is the better future you’re advocating.

#105 Comment By Jagdeep On 20th June, 2007 @ 7:00 pm

Mazumdar

All you have to offer are half-witted camp gay-boy insults about someone’s age and their imagined dress sense? The despereate scratchings of a neutered rat. Hilarious.

In Khalistan you would be a great statesman — in the rest of the world, you are a dunce.

The Keyboard Tarzans making their blood curdling screams of Uncle Tommery and Blood and Fire Nationalism live on — sponging off their Mummy and Daddy.

#106 Comment By Jagdeep On 20th June, 2007 @ 7:04 pm

I have given you, on this thread and many others, the bare bones of what constitutes my notion of the Sikh State (social democracy with universal suffrage etc)

Sounds like Swindon County Council with Liberal Democrats in a majority and free milk and honey fountains on each street corner.

But what are you going to do about the murderous thugs with their gun in one hand and Little Red Book full of impure enemies of the Khalsa Taliban State in the other?

Awaiting petulant foot stomping and desperate wails of reply.

#107 Comment By Jai On 20th June, 2007 @ 7:08 pm

Mazumdar,

Will try my best.

I’m making a serious point here. You’ll get a much more positive response from people (especially those here on PP) if you lay off the personal attacks.

However, you obviously have a very good sense of humour, so I have a feeling that in most cases you’re just exercising your writing skills and joking around in the spirit of “blokey banter” (the same way that I’ve been known to occasionally pull Jagdeep’s leg and insinuate that he’s actually an ex-PP commenter now masquerading under a different username). You’re just winding people up and are not actually trying to maliciously hurt anyone. Am I right ?

The written word can be a tricky thing, and things can frequently get garbled over the internet (context, intentions etc), so it would be good for you to clarify this for everyone else’s benefit. Just so people don’t get the wrong idea about you and unnecessarily give you hassle.

if the goal is statehood, then flexibility will be imperative.

There are still some basic principles regarding motives and goals, where certain “lines” should not be crossed. An honourable defeat is far better than a dishonourable victory, especially if it’s anything Sikh-related. Otherwise you may as well stop calling yourself a Sikh at all, because such idealism is at the very core of what Sikhi is all about, even if one has a very liberal interpretation of the day-to-day practice of the faith.

Yes, but how can we work for the betterment of humanity when we haven’t worked for the betterment of ourselves? Let us help ourselves for once, before helping others.

There is frequently more than one “correct” way to approach a situation, and frequently more than one correct solution to a particular problem. To each his own; some people will focus on their “brethren”, others will not differentiate between Sikhs & non-Sikhs. And bear in mind that it is entirely possible to help “ourselves” and “others” simultaneously.

Different strokes for different folks. Follow your own path and do the best that you can. Other people’s efforts & contribution (or lack of it) are their own responsibility.

Realpolitik is our main stumbling block: I realise the necessity of being a backstabbing duplicit bastard in politics to have aims realised and so do you, but you cannot seem to get away from some sort of imaginary idealism you have, out of nowhere, identified with my vision for a Sikh State.

It’s because one cannot — or perhaps, should not — separate this idealism from the concept of the proposed Sikh State. Sikhism itself is founded on extraordinary idealism and extraordinarily high standards for ethical human behaviour. If one desires a state predominantly for Sikhs, based on the principles you mentioned, then my basic point is that it is morally completely unacceptable to attempt to found a state embodying extremely high-minded ideals by contradicting those very ideals beforehand. Such actions will taint the proposed state in the eyes of the rest of the world, they will taint both its inhabitants and the Sikh diaspora, they will corrupt the very ethos and culture of the new nation, and I’m sure I also don’t need to remind you about Guru Gobind Singh’s injunction that one should not do anything to “stain” Sikhism if one is going to claim to represent the faith and act in its name.

If people behave in corrupt ways, do you think it would be easy (or even possible) for them to relinquish those corrupt mindsets when they achieve power ? You must know enough about human nature — and about world history as a whole — to be aware of how slippery a slope this is. When people start really “breaking the rules” to achieve success, and they taste the intoxication of power, it is REALLY, REALLY difficult for them to go back to a more straightforward, humane way of living, with the associated greater degree of integrity.

The internal corrosion of engaging in such actions, and attempting to rationalise/justify it to oneself, has a very nasty effect on people’s psyches. Hell, I work in the City (I have the day off today, hence my ability to write these long posts on PP here), and I see this every day. Talk to anyone who works in the Square Mile or in Canary Wharf and they’ll confirm this. Or read up on global history. Or watch “Rome” tonight on BBC2 *wink*

You care about your brothers and sisters, no?

Technically I regard the entire human race as my “brothers and sisters”, but I understand your point.

If you care, do something about their plight.

I have a suggestion; I’m saying this sincerely and am certainly not being facetious. Firstly, hectoring others and appearing to bully and/or blackmail them is not a good way to inspire them (I’m speaking about your manner on PP in general here, this isn’t in response just to the quote above). You will be far more effective if you state your case — thoroughly but politely — and then leave the ultimate decision up to them. Furthermore, they are far more likely to be moved to action if you act as a positive role model and “take the initiative” yourself; if they respect you and agree with your motivations, goals, and behaviour, they are far more likely to subsequently be spurred into action.

It’s all about effective leadership skills, buddy.

The people who run Sikhnet, the converts, in my opinion have set up mini Sikh States (with a bit of yoga chucked in) in their enclaves in the US (Espanyol etc). If they were to run a potential Sikh State, I would be extremely happy.

I agree 100% with that. Frankly, I find them to be far better Sikhs in the true sense of the word — embodying the real spirit of Sikhi, the true humanitarian message of the faith — than plenty of Indian Sikhs one meets, both practising & non-practising. I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. They seem to genuinely be really nice people too.

#108 Comment By Jagdeep On 20th June, 2007 @ 7:24 pm

Mazumdar — you’re a keyboard Tarzan sponging off your Mummy and Daddy with fantasy visions of a Swindon Country Council Liberal Democrat Khalistan in which the raging murderous genie of theocratic fascists will be put down nicely by sending them to the local nick like a few boisterous cider drinkers at a summer country fair. Perhaps your cosseted life adds to the incredible naiveity you have, added to the chip on your shoulder — either way it suggests that getting out of the playground and into the real world would give you the perspective needed to realise that the clueless utopianism of ‘if everyone does what I say everything will be perfect’ marks you out in the same bracket of the Caliphate Cheese and Onion crisp debaters you so often deride yourself.

Here’s a start — go and sit in a room with just a random sample of hardcore Babbar Khalsa type foaming at the mouth fanatics with Khalistan and Blood in their red eyes, and try to persuade them about secularism, the subordination of the Sikh religion to a liberal democratic constitution in a proposed Sikh state — and if you come out without nothing less than a verbal bruising by those fascist maniacs you’ll be very lucky.

That’s the real world — away from your bedroom living off your parents money.


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URL to article: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/1195

URLs in this post:
[1] Don’t Call Me Asian: http://www.bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork/documentaries/dontcallmeasian.shtml
[2] [1]: #footnote1
[3] [2] : #footnote2
[4] [3]: #footnote3
[5] constantly stress: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/847
[6] Foreign Policy Centre: http://fpc.org.uk/
[7] Having Faith in Foreign Policy: http://fpc.org.uk/fsblob/858.pdf
[8] Robert Sharp: http://www.robertsharp.co.uk/2007/06/15/identity-multiculturalism/
[9] http://www.petitiononline.com/Sikh5/petition.html: http://www.petitiononline.com/Sikh5/petition.html
[10] http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/engASA200022003?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIES: http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/engASA200022003?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIES
[11] http://www.sikhtimes.com/news_100705a.html: http://www.sikhtimes.com/news_100705a.html
[12] https://www.ihro.in/?q=node/63: https://www.ihro.in/?q=node/63
[13] Linky: http://www.proasyl.info/texte/english/Country_Report_2002.pdf
[14] http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/article2350050.ece: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/article2350050.ece
[15] http://solarider.org/blog/?cat=31: http://solarider.org/blog/?cat=31
[16] http://solarider.org/blog/?cat=31: http://solarider.org/blog/?cat=31
[17] russian peasants, black americans, the irish, muslims in arabia etc. : http://www.marx2mao.com/Lenin/DTNCQ20.html
[18] Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!: http://youtube.com/watch?v=gldlyTjXk9A