Tuesday, 25 January, 2022
HomeOpinionThe FactivistAs if hounding Muslims wasn’t enough, BJP is now giving same treatment...

As if hounding Muslims wasn’t enough, BJP is now giving same treatment to Sikhs

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By unleashing the propaganda machine against the Sikhs on Kartarpur Sahib issue, BJP is playing with fire that patriotic—and smart—Indians would rather not.

For several years now, the BJP has vicariously used its hyper-patriotic commando-comic channels as a strategic asset. One objective is to create an environment of hostility and distrust about Muslims, and Kashmiris in particular.

Every evening you can find more than one of these channels putting either a maulvi, a Kashmiri activist/politician or a retired Pakistani general in the dock, in an abusive manner. At least the Pakistani veterans are handsomely compensated for suffering such ‘nationalist’ admonition. The rest are just fodder for the TRP mill.


Also read: Why is Harsimrat Kaur Badal so angry?


It is useful politics. You can see it written all over the preening BJP spokesmen’s smirking faces. The implication is that unless proven to be a patriot, an Indian Muslim’s loyalty is suspect, Kashmiris are in Pakistan’s pocket; Pakistanis, in turn, are all terrorists. You can then draw a straight, diabolical line. You can see how cornered Indian Muslims, 20 crore of our fellow countrymen, must feel.

This morning on, it seems even the Sikhs, a much smaller minority, have been marked out for the same treatment. In unleashing the same propaganda machine against the Sikhs, especially as it pertains to an issue linked to one of their holiest shrines, the karmabhoomi of their founder, Guru Nanak Dev, the BJP is playing with fire that patriotic—and smart—Indians would rather not.

Since Sikhs are only about 2 per cent of India, we need to understand what Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan means to them. This is where Guru Nanak Dev lived, tilled the lands, and, as Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu reminds us, gave Sikhism its leitmotif, or its three pillars: naam japo, kirat karo, vand chhako (work hard, chant God’s name, fairly divide and enjoy the harvest). Guru Nanak spent the last 17 years of his life here. The Gurudwara, Kartarpur Sahib, was built at the spot where he died. For the Sikhs, as well as several crore Sindhis who pray to Guru Nanak, this is among their most hallowed shrines.

Founded at the end of the 15th century, Sikhism is the world’s youngest major religion. Its founders were the most liberal and large-hearted saints who drew what they saw as the best from all religions, especially Hinduism and Islam, and the teachings of other Sufi contemporaries. Because the faith is so young and vibrant, it is given to rapid transformations, even upheavals, and revivalist streaks. The last time it happened was in the 1980s under Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

Sikhs are also a little like the much older Jews, in that remembering their martyrs, victims of (mostly Mughal) excesses and the many holocausts is central to their prayers. As is the wish to visit/reclaim the holy places they left behind in Pakistan because of the Partition. Sikh pilgrim “jathas” (groups) are organised to these places. Some, like Nankana Sahib and Panja Sahib, are deep inside Pakistan, near Faisalabad and Attock, respectively.

Kartarpur Sahib is next door to our Punjab, just across the Ravi. On clear days, devotees climb to any little mound along the Ravi for a “darshan” of the shrine across the border. A proposal for the construction of a causeway and visa-free access to pilgrims has been floating between the two governments for decades. If the borders were opened here, literally millions of Sikhs and Sindhis would go for just a few hours’ pilgrimage. This is what Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa promised Sidhu, who duly wrote to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to move it forward.

In Punjab, this unleashed competitive politics. There’s no way the Akalis, the BJP’s allies, would let the Congress run with this credit. Their leaders, the Badals, would do anything to thwart it, but without seeming to look like they are denying their fellow Sikhs this opportunity. And “jealousy”, as the most recent Sidhuism goes, “is the jaundice of the soul”.


Also read: What explains the Muslim silence in the face of BJP’s aggressive Hindutva?


Therefore, the strategy of making it out to be a giant Pak Army-ISI plot, Sidhu their gullible pawn, if not an agent. Then it grows into a Vikram aur Betaal kind of fantasy: This is a ploy to make our Punjab release more water in the Ravi (Punjabis would kill if you ask for water), that the Sikhs going for pilgrimage will be brain-washed by the ISI. The vaults of the intelligence agencies have suddenly been opened, Official Secrets Act lifted, and “files” opened up to prime-time patriots. Of course, our James Bonds, Jack Ryans and Agent Vinods already have all foreign conspiracy plots well-documented.

Now, calling the Indian Muslims names, raising questions on their patriotism is bad enough. But you think you can get away with giving the Sikhs the same treatment? And really, do you want to teach the Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular the virtues of patriotism? You need to go see a shrink. A really good one.

You are playing with fire that could burn you, and much else. That an experienced party like the BJP, in power, is falling for this, is disappointing. It could lose Punjab for a long time. Worse, the temptation of also pitch-forking the devout Sikhs in this idiotic “patriotism” debate has “self-destruction” written all over it. A quickest possible retreat is called for. So please call your commando-comedians back to the barracks.

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28 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Dalal,
    Do you feel proud of NaMo who went on an unscheduled visit to Lahore to attend a family function in then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ‘s residence ? Did not Pathankot Air Base Attack follow ” this cordial ” visit ?

    By the way, whose duty and responsibility it is to take decisions to arrest insurgency in J&K, sinister and nefarious designs of ISI to trigger off mischief and trouble in India ?

    It is pleasing to learn that you served the defence forces ! Would not it be in the fitness of things on your part to offer some valuable tips and intelligent feedback to NaMo and Ms.Nirmala Sitharaman to outsmart ISI and for some sort of course correction in India’s policy towards Pakistan as well as ISI ?

    NaMo and Ms.Sitharaman – “poor fellows” appear to be at their wits end so far as India’s Policy towards Pakistan is concerned !
    You will be doing the nation a great favour if you please come to their rescue in this phase of “their confusion and nervousness” as you did as a defence officer in the yesteryears!

    Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist
    Pom Anm Nest,Barnala(Punjab)

  2. Mr Shekhar Gupta. Surprising that you are a journalist. It is the policy of the ISI of Pakistan to club Dalits, Sikhs with radicalised Muslims to act against the interests of the Indian State. They are really succeeding all thanks to corrupt Politicians and the Paid Media. ISI created Khalistan Movement in Punjab and Hurriyat in Srinagar valley. You can watch interview of Ex-ISI Chief General Assad Durrani at Oxford conducted by Al-Jazira and may kindly read his latest book. Get your facts right on the number of Hindus who visit Gurdwara as compared to Sikhs ,anywhere in India, especially in North India. Therefore , why was this this stupid guy seeking permission only for Sikhs. Simple, if the permission is refused from Indian side then paid Media says that Modi is against Sikhs (like you have drwn tangential conclusion on ISI lines) and if it is granted then there will be lectures by Khalistanis inside the Kartarpur Gurdwara. Hope you remember that couple of months back the Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan was refused permission to meet Indian pilgrimmes in Pakistan. Here guys like you write articles when ISI created Hurriyat leaders are stopped from attending Iftar parties at Pakistan Embassy at Delhi. Mr Gupta , are you really a journalist or a paid journalist. i am a retired defence officer and I am ashamed of you.

  3. Shekhars comments disgusting. Bajwa whispered in Sidhus ear
    How are you or welcome which having his ears plugged heard go and spread the cannard that Pak will open the border and incite the Indian Nationalist Sikhs to derail and derail Modi’s progressive target to make a Strong India.

  4. Abhorrent piece by @ShekharGupta Earlier he tried to create a wedge between the Supreme Court judges.
    Before that he cried that Army tanks were approaching Raisina hills. Now he is trying to divide Hindus and Sikhs. Shame! #Disgust 4 ShekharGupta

  5. Mr. Arora,
    Please let me know from the core of your heart ” objectively ” did you come forth with your reactions in the same fashion when Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on an unscheduled visit to Lahore all of a sudden to attend a family function in the then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ‘s residence ? Were not the brave Indian soldiers then killed on the border in Jammu and Kashmir ? Why was Mr.Navjot Singh Sidhu accorded permission to visit Pakistan knowing well that he had deserted BJP too ? Why was he offered entry in the BJP – a party of patriots and nationalists to begin with ? Were not politicsl interests dearer to BJP than anything else then?

    Kindly think over my questions very coolily and calmly !
    Time to introspect and ponder over in the best national interests !

    Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist,Barnala(Punjab)

  6. Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist,Barnala (Punjab)

    The BJP and its allies in NDA are non-plussed and panicky and will remain so because the ” credit ” factor is alluding them very badly!
    Naturally, it is so because when every now and then, they find and will feel ” political ground ” slipping under their feet !

    In the run up to the assembly polls in Rajasthan,Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh this year, Mizoram and Marathon- Lok Sabha Polls due next year, they will have to face this music !

    Mr.Shekhar Gupta has been sounding a notion of caution as usual to the powers that be on burning and sensitive issues, the nation is face to face with objectively from time to time – a part and parcel of his sacred duty ! He did so very freely and fearlessly on the issue of NCR(National Citizens Register) in Assam where the BJP supremo Amit Shah asserted that Ghuspaithyas(Infiltrators) will be dealt with sternly ! Now Mr.Gupta has come forward with Corridor Opening Proposal to the holiest shrine-Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan-” alongwith the ifs and buts” of the tale !

    Amazingly, neither BJP leadership nor Shiromani Akali Dal leadership has taken Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu’s visit to Islamabad spiritedly
    and apolitically because both see actions and reactions only through coloured glasses in terms of political- electoral gains spectrum all the time ! Where BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal failed miserably to set the ball rolling, Navjot Sidhu has taken the lead to push the ball towards the boundary !
    Astonishingly both NDA allies BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal are envious of this “gentle push”.

    Falling short of ideas and issues, BJP is helpless and constrained to coin issues to make its presence felt in the political circles whether those may last only for a short while like “a bubble of water ! ” Sometimes, for want of issues BJP has mastered the craft of making “non-issues” as issues !

    The distresses of different categories in the country go on mounting every day adding more and more to the woes, worries and difficulties of the authoritarian regime ! If it succeeds in recovering from one headache then another is waiting in the wings to make it feel more restless !
    The farmers distress, poverty distress, unemployment distress, Demonetisation distress, GST distress, foreign policy distress,
    Bank NPAs distress,Rafale Fighter Aircraft deal distress, insurgency-transborder terrorism distress, dalits- minorities in distress,
    confidence and credibility distress make those at the helm of affairs of the nation spend restless -sleepless days and nights !

    The complacency, superiority, whimsical and impulsive complexes are playing havoc with the nation !
    But even then the totalitarian rule believes in day dreaming and feeling “All Is Well “(The Three Idiots film refrain) !

    Time to introspect, think and wake up from deep slumber in the best interests of the nation !

    Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist
    Pom Anm Nest, Barnala(Punjab)

  7. शेखर जी आपके लेख के सन्दर्भ में।
    आप एक अच्छे पत्रकार हैं इस लिये कड़े शब्दों का प्रयोग नहीं करूंगा।
    घर में आग लगती है घर के चिराग से, नवजोत सिंह सिद्धू के विगत को खंगाल डालिए सब कुछ आइने में साफ है,क्यों कि इन्सान की जैसी सूरत है वहीं तो वह दिखाता है।हमें कुछ इनसे दुश्मनी नहीं है,कभी आप सोचें,पर इन के गलत कर्मों को आप सही ठहराने का जो कोशिश कर रहे हैं इस लेख से वह आपकी बचकाना हरकत है।
    हम आपसे कुछ पूछने की हिमाकत एक बुजुर्ग होने के नाते कर रहे हैं तो सूनीये:
    न स सि कहता है, उसकी इमरान से ३५ साल की दोस्ती है, उसने ३ शादी की इसको नहीं बुलाया, इसने भी शादी की उसे नहीं बुलाया। अच्छी दोस्ती थी!
    सुनील गावस्कर कपिल देव,इस से बहुत सीनीयर खिलाड़ी हैं , उनके आगे इसने बल्ला पकड़ना सीखा , इमरान खान को दोनों व्यक्ति गत तौर अच्छी तरह जानते हैं इस के मुकाबले। दोनों ने देश हित में उसके बुलावे को कोई अहमियत नहीं दी।यह दोस्ती का गलत दम भर कर वहां जाता है इसके जबरदस्ती इमरान के साथ चिपकने और उसके ठन्डे रवैये का वीडियो वायरल है।
    देश के सैनिकों का कतिल सेनाध्यक्ष बाजवा, इससे नहीं वल्कि यह उसके साथ जबरदस्ती चिपकने का ढोंग करता है ,फिर उस गलती पर पर्दा डालने के लिए ,,,करतार पुर कारिडोर ,,की गलत बयान बाजी करताहै,आप सोचीये एक देश के सेना प्रमुख को यह मालूम नहीं कि यह भारत सरकार का नुमाइंदा नहीं , बल्कि राज्य सरकार की इकछोटी सी पोस्ट पर है,इस तरह के मसले सरकारों के नुमाइंदे करते हैं ।और अब दोनों सरकारों के नुमाइंदे यह साफ कर चुके हैं कि इस कारीडोर पर दोनों तरफ से कोई बातचीत नहीं हुई है।
    आप को यह बात अच्छी तरह मालूम है , पाकिस्तान की बदनाम खुफिया एजेंसी आईएसआई किस तरह से काम करती है,।इन को क्या लालीपाप दी गयी है,या किसी तरह के ब्लैक मेल टैरप में फंसाया गया है,यह वक्त बताएगा। पर इस में आपको कोई शक नहीं रहना चाहिए कि अब ये आईएसआई के पेड़ मोहरे है,और इस जाल से कभी नहीं निकल सकते।जब भी खालिस्तान का भूत खड़ा होगा ,ये आईएसआई के पी एम कैंडिडेट होंगे खालिस्तान के।
    अपने कैरियर को हर आदमी बनाता है,, इन्होंने यहां तक पहुंचने के लिए कितनी-कितनी गुलाटियां
    कहां और कैसे मारी है आप से छुपी है तो बताइए,अब आप को खुद निर्णय देश हित में लेना है किसी राजनैतिक दल के नेता के हित में नहीं ।
    नियती का चक्र रुकता नही अपने पथ पर चलता है,जो करता है सो भरता है,यह प्रकॢति का नियम है, इससे इस संसार में कोई नहीं बचा।
    धन्यवाद।

  8. This has to be one of the biggest jokes I’ve read in a while. Shekhar “NDTV” Gupta is so blinded in his BJP hate that he will go to any extent to prove his childish gimmicks. But what else can you expect from someone who has openly declared Owaisi as his best friend and insulted a feminist like Taslima Nasreen!!

  9. To doubt Sikh’s patriotism only shows poor knowledge of history. These Sanghis have their own sense of history which is far from the truth. Sikh Guru and Sikhism are revered for their patriotism. I feel sad that political discourse has fallen so low.

    • Absolutely. BJP has really hit an absolute low. It is hard to believe that these fellows are actually true Hindus! God save us from these self-serving people.

  10. Our PM has always been practicing the Indira Gandhi doctrine.
    Are we seeing Khalistan II to happen? BJP has gone crazy .

  11. Facilitating year round, visa free access to Kartarpur Sahib would be a “ punya “, like giving water to a thirsty person. Even General Bajwa is willing to put aside his military mindset to make this possible. To see an ISI conspiracy in all of this is laughable.

    • Sir,
      There is no such proposal, Pakistan has officially rejected this claimed proposal from Mr. Sidhu.
      Indian govt too has clarified that there is no such proposal from Pakistan.
      Mr. Gupta clearly attempts to fan divisiveness among Hindus & Sikhs, this after they have caused a deep divide amongst hindu-muslim & dalits.

      • Why is Sambit Patra calling names in that case? If there is no proposal, why does the BJP simply not say that instead abusing people? What can harm the nation, if the people of Punjab can go to Kartarpur. Shri Guru Nanak Dev as more Indian than the fake nationalists who shout on the TV everyday. He was a true saint, man of God. Unlike the broadchested man whose only concern is power, even if it means destroying the economy and the social fabric of our great country. Mr Guptas is not dividing, he is only highlighting the sinister plans of the shouting brigade. May be he has a source who has leaked the plan. How do we know that? A journalist will not announce that in public – am I right?

  12. this is how these self styled press men r misusing their job there is no such problem with Sikh community but this man has just to be in news isn’t thus the same man who projected Zamir Nalayak as hero on NDTV these narrow minded sense less god fathers of every body reste a wedge and jate among communities he was dead when KPs were bounced out of mother land and he advocates for muslims being harassed whereas it is all reverse they vomit poison. against RSS which has much more followers than total muslim population In India it is possible only because there r god father’s like She khar behind then leave aside khangress it’s survival and fodder is Rss bashing what else name other than anti nationale do they deserve they more dangerous than identified traitors

  13. Mr Gupta, thank you very much. I also thank God that we still have sensitive people left in the country. BJP and its cronies in the media are becoming sickening to say the least. I used to watch the evening new without fail for years. We have stopped doing that for about 3 years now – we channel surf once a while. What I noticed yesterday was a coordinated effort to malign Mr Sidhu – all the bhakat channels were showing the same set of visuals at the same time. I always wonder how the editors in these channels show and discuss the same story at the same time. It cannot be a coincidence. In all probability it is coordinated and it is part of the propaganda. BJP/RSS spokespersons are getting more and more desperate as the elections are nearing. my sense is that they are realising that their game is up and therefore they are resorting to the ‘last resort of modern day scoundrels’ shout your way. Everyone in Punjab for sure knows what Badals stand for. When the Punjab youth as being supplied drugs with impunity, these fellows were sleeping. BJP and Badals have adopted similar tricks – liquor smuggling in Gujarat and drug smuggling in Punjab. Keep your eyes shut and pretend that nothing is happening. Go the friendly channels and shout from the rooftop that you are honest. It is a joke, at best. you have a government under whose nose the smuggling takes places and we are made to believe that the CMs and rest of the government is honest. How does it work? BJP and its partners spend thousands of crore on elections, bring in bearer bonds and they tell us they are honest. Same way, they spread hatred and if you challenge they call you names. How does Mrs. Badal know that the MEA has reprimanded Sidhu and what basis does Sambit Patra call that Sidhu is talking like a Pakistan agent and get away with it. The broad chested man keeps quite when people are abused for nothing. It was about a couple of years ago that someone told me that some members of the Sikh community think that BJP will go after them once they have demonised Indian Muslims and Christians. It was one of those corridor conversations. It seems to be coming true, unfortunately for our great country. Calling others names and labeling them seems to be the hallmark of BJP fed nationalism. I fail to understand how can a human being be so insensitive.

  14. Dear Sekhar/The Print,

    It seems the basic objective of this article is to spread or spark hatred among Sikh population. Accordingly you have chosen an overhyped subject. Your propaganda is more serious and harmful for communal harmony of the nation than that of BJP.
    Most of your articles are designed to increase hatred and spread negativity among people and you just name BJP and modi for all these.
    Boos to you…

    • Dear Kool 14,
      It seems the basic objective of your comment is to side step the valid issues raised in the article and accuse the author of being anti national. This formula is getting old. It was a hit formula in 2015 and even 2016 but it’s getting tired now and even a 10 year old can see through the sponsored comment the likes of you make. Patriotism is truly the last refuge of the scoundrel.

    • Shame to Shekhar Gupta for stooping so low to create hatred among our brothers and to perform the agenda for which he has been hired by the Royal dynasty.

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