A man stands amid the burnt-out ruins of the Gokulpuri tyre market in Northeast Delhi | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A man stands amid the burnt ruins of the Gokulpuri tyre market in Northeast Delhi | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
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What do India’s Sikhs have to gain by supporting Muslims? Why do Sikhs even care to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, when their citizenship in India is guaranteed?

Many asked these questions after two Sikhs, Mohinder Singh and his son Inderjit Singh used their trusty Bullet bike and Scooty to transport over 60 Muslims to safety during the northeast Delhi riots. In the same city, Akal Takht jathedar constituted a six-member committee to go on the ground and get a first-hand account of what happened in the riots and set up food counters for displaced people.

Even at the anti-CAA protests in Shaheen Bagh, Sikhs and Muslims prepared langar together. There were videos of Sikh and Muslim men exchanging their headdresses and clicking selfies together.

Naturally, these raised several questions about the Sikh community’s solidarity with India’s Muslims. To them, I say one thing: we’re united by grief. And we don’t want to precipitate another partition of the minds.


Also read: When Delhi rioted, Sardar Patel busted fake news and wanted a Hindu newspaper banned


Remembering without hating

When I was a child, my mother used to boast of the havelis her family owned in Pakistan. She told me about my Sikh grandmother, the jewellery she was unable to wear and the train she was never able to take back.

On some days, she recalled the sacks of sand my grandmother had to hide behind during train journeys. My grandfather often joked about how he is well-versed in Urdu but has no friends to talk to in that language anymore.

I once asked one of my uncles why he didn’t wear a turban. I still remember his very matter-of-fact answer: “I had to cut my hair during 1984.”

After years of pondering on all my relatives’ seemingly detached narrations of gruesome incidents, I understood exactly what my family wanted to convey. To remember, but without the hatred.


Also read: What data and history of India and its capital tell us about Delhi’s riots


Futility of hate 

India’s Partition uprooted families, disrupted lives, communalised harmonious neighbourhoods. Sikh families, apart from Bengalis, were the worst affected by its aftermath and unarguably so. My ancestors picked themselves up only to fall back again in 1984. We faced extreme brutality at the hands of our fellow countrymen after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her trusted Sikh bodyguards.

This is not to say that there wasn’t a backlash from the Sikh community. The Khalistani terror movement ended up killing more of our own. Through the course of time, we were harshly taught the futility of hatred.


Also read: Why Delhi riots are different — what ThePrint’s 13 reporters, photojournalists saw on ground


You will not have our hate 

When I asked my family about why they don’t feel vengeful of their violent past, there were a scurry of replies: “We forgive and don’t forget?”; “It’s our sense of humour?”; “Hatred doesn’t help anyone”; “Our Gurus taught us self-defence?”

The Dasam Granth, whose compositions are attributed to Guru Gobind Singh states: “When all peaceful methods have failed to bring justice, it is righteous to draw the sword”. Moreover, it asserts that Sikhs must never be the ones to draw the sword first.

Our collective history has been witness to violence, disruption, Partition, detachment, harassment. At the same time, asking one generation to pay for the faults of another is simply nonsensical at best and unacceptable at worst. And if history ever teaches you a lesson, it’s that you never repeat it.

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34 Comments Share Your Views

34 COMMENTS

  1. Enough of the violence from the government. It’s only going to get worse. Its time for the Balkanization of India!
    Carve out a new country from India to create a new homeland for the Muslims, called Urduistan. Along with a homeland for Sikhs as well, called Khalistan.
    Urduistan Zindabad!
    Khalistan Zindabad!

  2. If some sikhs saved their muslim neighbors from attacks, they did what their religion ordains them to do in such a situation. They would do the same to hindus caught in a similar situation. Koi bole ram ram koi khudai……………

  3. LOL at the paid trolls, deshbhakts and RSS stooges crying in the comment sections. I am proud to be Sikh and til there is blood in my veins, will save every victim of majoritarian violence

    • We know how to protect our land .. n dont need ur advise.. u can go to pak n serve more muslims in miserable state there..

  4. Sikhs should have behaved differently if Muslims from Indian Punjab side were not ethnically cleansed by same Sikhs , let me explain, before 1947 partition and subsequent partition of Punjab at the same time , Sikhs used to be around 30% in present day Pakistan Punjab and 10 present in sind(Pakistan)and other North East frontier areas , after 1947 partition violence Muslims wiped out Sikhs & Hindus from Pakistan side , Hindus as usual dint retaliate due to their cowerdness, but Sikhs who migrated from Pakistan side started attacking Muslims in Indian Punjab side , remember around 40% of Punjab population were Muslims before 1947 ,( Now2%) , Amritsar , Ludhiana, used to have around 50% Muslims , it was mandatory to send at least one male Sikh per family to attack Muslim villages ( watch recent BBC documentary, spoken by a old Sikh) Sikhs wiped out 40 % of Muslim population to just 1% after partition and occupied their Mosques ( turned in to Gurudwaras) occupied their land and homes, just imagine how Sikhs will be behaving if Muslim population is around 40% of pre Partition Punjab!!!
    It became fashionable in certain sections of Sikhs to be anti Hindu and pro Islam .

    • Mr Reddy you are factually right and wrong in few places, however the worst things is the conclusion that you have drawn or suggested. Distribution of pre partition Punjab was more like 54, 30 and 14 % Muslim, Hindu and Sikhs respectively. Properties, lands and homes being occupied happened on both sides of the border and that was what governments did. Evacuee boards, WaQF boards etc were created by governments to do all that. There are lot of Mosques in Punjab even today, please try looking in youtube.
      But all that apart, the conclusion that you seem to be putting up is the worst. You seem to imply that the author, a Sikh doesnt know her history (which
      as per you included ethnic cleansing – apparently from an article published somewhere) is doing this article out of fashion to be pro Islam. Thats sick to say the least. Every Punjabi – Muslim, Hindu or Sikh remembers partition as a horror enforced upon them. Also conveniently skipped is the fact that being anti-governments (Indira or Modi or whoever) is somehow equated to being anti Hindu. Good luck as Sikhs would continue being a prick for RSS and likes as well as governments.

    • Exactly, today there are not much muslim in punjab, so may be the community feel it’s interest is not in conflict them. Else the fact is Sikhs also know that Islam is problematic religion.

      • @ Rajvir Singh: Specify “problematic religion”.

        And let’s analyse how “problematic” it’s vis-à-vis other organised belief-systems.

        Avoid as much buzzwords as you can, eh?
        I can’t stand being a subject of ‘DS Olympics’, eh?

    • Hindus retaliated in some areas of Haryana but not everywhere that was the problem. We should be kicked Ms out back then.

    • Sikhs should remember, hindus also, for that matter, how they have been butchered by muslims before make friends with muslims. the dreaded people.

  5. It is shameful that Some sickmindes Sikhs have forgtten how a young Sikh girl was kidnapped by MUSLIM in Pakistan and forcefully converted to Islamism and married her! 99% of Muslims all over the world are aggressively sexy and traitors and their motive is to convert entire world into a Islamic ? Sikhs on the other hand never ever tried in the conversion and are very faithful to their country wherever the live! It is in their best interest to understand the worst kind of attitude of muslims? Becareful?

      • @ Son of Sardar: Verily! 👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾

        Nailed it in the shortest of words! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

    • “SEXy” 😉😉😉🤭🤭🤭🤣🤣🤣

      Dear ‘Anonymous Cowardice’, you’re just exhibiting your mental-occupation by the venom of ethnocentrism.

      It would be in your self-interest if you would rather polish your social-skills, so as to cloak your lovable hobby à la innumerable like-minded fellows rather posing as a Victorian-era Neanderthal who paradoxically can’t even stably convey something in Modern English, let alone Old English( the oldest).

  6. Muslims burning sikhs shops,houses is their brotherhood according to idiots like the author.Have the author forgotten how aurangzeb tortured & killed their sikh gurus?

      • Bsdk to India main psk se ma chudane says ho, 1947 main sare tags kuo aaya apna ghar chhod.. delhi main sari pausch area kabja kar aish mar rahe ho..
        .

  7. The Glorious Sikh History starts much earlier and the persecution of Sikhs and the barbarous treatment to the Gurus by the Muslim rulers is a matter of recorded History.
    Gurudwara Shish Gunj in Delhi is a testament to the treatment bestowed on the ninth Guru
    Teg Bahadur.
    The tenth Guru Govind Singh Fought all his life with the Muslim rulers of Delhi.
    His four young sons were buried alive in a brick wall at Sir-hind in Punjab
    Yet Sikhs are large hearted enough to provide safety for suffering humanity.
    Sikhs in general are extremely Patriotic and trying to link them to Any subversive and anti national activity is mischievous and condemnable.
    After the Congress led massacre of Sikhs in 1984 in Delhi, some Sikhs, especially living abroad, were enticed by Pakistani ISI to start a militant terrorist activity in Punjab. That chapter is now closed in India but some remainents From time to time are proped -up by ISI.
    Watch out for agent provocateurs trying to ignite a dormant fuse!

      • It was a tradition in Punjabi Hindu families that the first born son (the eldest) was baptized as a Sikh.
        I have personal friends, here in Canada, who bear witness to this tradition ( their eldest brothers are keshdhari Sikhs).That is why you have ‘Kapoors, Mehras, Malhotras, Aroras. etc as both Hindus and Sikhs and they freely inter-marry.
        The attempt to drive a wedge between Hindus and Sikhs, as your comment implies, started in earnest after the operation Blue Star, assassination of Mrs Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, Murderous Massacre of Sikhs and Pakistani ISI fishing in troubled waters.
        Your attempt to equivocate Muslim rulers treatment of Sikh Gurus and the Hindu calamity on Sikhs is at best full of ignorance or more likely mischievous!

  8. Will this vindictive Establishment of Modi-Shah listen? Will our literate (not educated) Twitterati screaming jingoistic war cries FOR the right-wing and AGAINST every “other” learn? When will our Republic see reason?

      • Brother, this is India – a secular country by constitution. What is allowed in Arabia may not be allowed in India. Here everyone is supposed to be treated equally, fairly and justly.

        I would urge all my hindu brothers to wake up. This government, through its propaganda and fake news, has poisoned the minds of Hindu and made them believe that a muslim massacre can come anytime soon. Tell me honestly, how many times in your life have you been threatened by muslims?

        There are much bigger threats in the country, for e.g. women can’t step out at night- perhaps if someone who molests women turns out to be a Hindu, then as per your logic, should be categorize all Hindus as rapists? So I would seriously urge you to stop grouping people by identity and instead treat individual on a case by case basis. And instead of blaming each other, we need to hold the governments accountable – for providing weak police, weak surveillance and an ineffective judiciary.

        Tell me which Hindu literature provides justification for killing people of other religions? What kind of a Hindu are you, if all you are talking about is killing and subjugating someone from other religions, something that cannot even be justified in any Hindu literature.

        The muslim identity has suffered because of radicalization of Islam through terrorist groups. Don’t let that happen to Hinduism. I see strong similarities in how Al-Queda and Taliban would brainwash their youth to how Raja Singh and Pragya Thakur and Bajrang Dal influence their youth – to pick up arms and fight back in the name of historical injustices.

  9. Yes! This is unity of Indians.This is the answer of religious fanaticism and hatred created by BJP people!!This is the true picture of Secularity in India ! By doing the good job of saving and protecting the muslims the Sikh community has slapped in the face of those goons and politicians of BJP!!

  10. It is great that Sikhs are helping Muslims now. During partition in 1947, though, as per “Freedom at Midnight”, a lot of the violence in Punjab was initiated by the Sikhs. Perhaps they convinced themselves that they were only retaliating and the Muslims initiated the violence. But now they don’t want to give that same benefit of doubt to Hindus that maybe they too were retaliating for a riot initiated by Muslims.

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