"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Rahul Gandhi, if you really want to keep India united, you must win over the hearts of the Sikhs Featured

 

To Rahul Gandhi, the Congress Party MP  

 

Dear Rahul,  

Welcome to Punjab. It is good to see you leading Bharat Jodo Yatra during these difficult times. This initiative was much needed ever since Narendra Modi came to power in 2014. It would have been better had all the non-BJP parties come together to start it. However, it goes to your credit for making the beginning.   

It is encouraging to notice that the people are giving a warm welcome to the march wherever it goes. It is a clear message to those in power in New Delhi. The current rulers, who had no historical role in the freedom movement, are today bent upon demonizing anyone questioning their sectarian politics as “anti-national” or the part of a so-called “Tukde Tukde Gang” (band of people determined to break the country). Bharat Jodo is a good answer to those who are actually dividing the nation in the name of Hindu supremacy.  

That said, you need to do some introspection over the present state of affairs. Modi and his party did not emerge out of nowhere. Your self-styled secularist party, which ruled India for most years since it gained freedom in 1947, has contributed to a situation that helped the BJP’s ascendance to power with a brute majority.  

You recently said that under Modi two kinds of India exist: one for the super-rich and the other for the poor and marginalized, besides the working people. That statement itself is flawed.  

You must first acknowledge that this was the case even under the Congress government that first introduced neoliberal economic policies, widening the gap between the rich and the poor.  

In fact, you could have said something else which you never dared to. Under Modi, India is divided between Hindu majoritarianism and the minorities. Since you are an intelligent man, it is hard to understand why you did not articulate like that. The only possible explanation is that you lack courage to challenge the Hindu majority which has been completely polarized by Modi.  

Honestly, I am not surprised, considering how the leaders of your own party came to the defence of Modi, when he was described as the butcher of Gujarat by a Pakistani leader, and rightfully so. What I couldn’t fathom though, was why Congress is being so kind to him, when your own mother once called him a merchant of death for his complicity in the 2002 Muslim massacre?  Is it okay to call a spade a spade within the country, and not to accept the truth being told by a neighbour? Why such hypocrisy?  

That brings me to my next point. The Gujarat pogroms were a copy of the 1984 Sikh Genocide engineered by none other than your father. It was funny that you tried to evoke his legacy when your march began. What sense does this make? On one hand, you are trying to mobilize people against Modi and his hate politics, while on the other you try to glorify your father who was a problematic figure. It was he who introduced the culture of impunity, giving Modi a chance to do the same to win elections by persecuting another minority community. 

As we head to 2024, the entire country faces what the two percent Sikhs faced in 1984. The toxic environment created in the last 40 years was the result of the actions of your dad and grandmother, who ordered the invasion of the Golden Temple Complex.  

Despite all this, the Sikhs in Punjab have been generous enough to acknowledge the appointments by Congress of a Sikh Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and that of Amarinder Singh as Chief Minister of the state. The latter’s appointment was considered more significant, as he had resigned from the Congress in protest against the ugly events of 1984. But beyond that, what? No honest soul-searching by the Congress as an institution was ever attempted. The senior leaders who were involved in the genocide continued to be shielded by your party shamelessly. No sincere apology was made, except a very weak one by Manmohan Singh. The accountability of your father was never fixed.  

You should be thankful to the Sikhs who took you into their embrace when your Yatra entered Punjab. The same community gallantly kissed the gallows during the freedom movement, chose to live with India after the 1947 partition, defended India's borders and served food grain to the entire country, even laid down their lives more than the Hindus during the Khalistani militancy while opposing the demand for a separate homeland. In recent times, they challenged the growth of Hindu nationalism in Punjab and never accepted Modi, and yet your eyes are shut.  

Maybe someone needs to tell you that the Sikhs follow the Guru Granth Sahib, a very unique holy book that includes the hymns of the saints of different faith groups from all over India. Your idea of United India might have enamoured many people, but the Sikhs understand better than anyone else what true unity and secularism means, because that’s what the Guru Granth Sahib preaches.  

It’s a shame that the Congress goons burnt down Sikh gurdwaras and did not even spare their scriptures during 1984. It is time for you to step forward and make a genuine apology on behalf of your father, instead of making a false hero out of him, abandon his buddies involved in the carnage, acknowledge the sins of the party, and ask for the immediate and unconditional release of the Sikh political prisoners whose lives were turned upside down because of what happened in 1984. After all, it was state violence that turned them into separatists, so why should they continue to suffer for taking up arms in the absence of justice? 

Sikhs are forgiving people if you only ask for forgiveness with a clean heart instead of taking their support for granted.   

It’s time to show some statesmanship.  

Take care and good luck with the rest of your march for a pluralist India.  

Gurpreet Singh  

 

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Gurpreet Singh

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