By ALI SUKHANVER
The Sikhs and the Muslims were never ever at loggerheads but I personally have never been able to understand why the Sikhs joined hands together with the Hindus at the time of partition in slaughter and slay of the Muslims. It seems they had fallen into the dirty ditch of Hindu cunningness though they had realized their folly at a later stage. If today the Sikhs are leading a miserable life in India, there are two basic reasons for it; one is that they got late in understanding the true Hindu mentality and the second is that they lost their heart in the very beginning and could not keep alive their struggle for a separate homeland. But one thing is very much clear that this movement could once again get life if the Sikh community succeeds in finding a bold, honest and sincere leader for it. Unless they succeed in finding a brave leader for them, the Hindu extremists shall keep on violating their basic human rights. Recently another injustice and insult of the Sikh community at the hands of the Hindu extremists was observed when the Indian authorities returned empty the Samjhota Express sent for Sikh pilgrims from Pakistan. The train was sent to Attari, Amritsar, for Sikh pilgrims, so that they might come to attend the ‘Jor Mela’. The Indian authorities tried to calm down the Sikh community by saying that Pakistan had agreed on sending a special one for the pilgrims not the Samjhota Express. The Jor Mela is the death anniversary of Guru Arjun Das and Pakistan had issued visas to more than100 pilgrims. Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said in a statement that Pakistan had made all the arrangements, keeping in consideration the religious values of Sikhs but India never holds human values important. Indian policy regarding the people coming from Pakistan or going to Pakistan is based on callousness and cruelty, even the medical visa process has been made troublesome for Pakistanis. This all is nothing but violation of basic human rights violation. Such type of violation is not the problem of only the Sikh community in India; all minorities are meeting the same fate there. In a recent statement Thomas J. Reese, the head of USCIRF said commenting on the rights of minorities in Indian constitution, ‘India is a religiously diverse and democratic society with a constitution that provides legal equality for its citizens irrespective of their religion and prohibits religion-based discrimination.’ These words are really a salute to the constitutional freedom given to the minorities in India but in the later part of his statement he says, “However, the reality is far different. In fact, India’s pluralistic tradition faces serious challenges during the past few years; religious tolerance has deteriorated and religious freedom violations have increased in some areas of India.” Thomas J. Reese is very true in his analysis as life for the minorities in India is simply a hell on this earth.
India’s total population is somewhere around 1.2 billion. Among these1.2 billion people nearly 80 per cent are Hindus, with an estimated 172.2 million Muslims, 27.8 million Christians, 20.8 million Sikhs, and 4.5 million Jains. In most of the population surveys India is titled as the third country with the largest Muslim population all over the world. Indonesia and Pakistan are the first and second respectively. But practically it seems that the so-called ‘secular India’ is meant only for the Hindus; the rest are always in trouble. The story does not stop here; there are countless ‘Untouchables’ also in the Indian society commonly known as Dalits, formerly known as Harijans. These untouchables live a life worse than animals. Apparently the Dalits are ‘untouchables’ but factually the Upper caste Hindus love to touch their women frequently. Devadasi system is also a by-product of the same ‘cruel division’ on the basis of caste. The Hindus give it the name of a ‘Religious Tradition’. According to this brutally inhuman tradition low-caste parents marry their daughters to a deity or a temple. The marriage usually occurs before the girl reaches puberty and requires the girl to become a prostitute for upper-caste community members. The Muslims, Sikhs and Christians in the Indian society are lucky enough that the Hindus have no option of dragging these minorities into the brutal Devadasi system otherwise the women belonging to these three communities would also have been facing the same fate as that of the Dalit women. If the minorities are in trouble in India, the credit of it goes to Mr. Modi too. He could have stopped violence against the minorities but some critics say he did not do enough to stop the violence; others believe that he enjoys engineering the massacre of minorities. The Sikh community must not forget a reality that if they did not get united, in near future the Hindu extremists would simply treat them as Dalits.