Memorial to ‘Operation Blue Star’,
No Threat to peace in Punjab
Extreme apprehension of ‘Monstrous consequences’ expressed by Mr. Kuldip Nayar on the Memorial to ‘Operation Blue Star’ in his write up ‘Playing with fire in Punjab’ which appeared on the editorial page of The Tribune, on Monday, June 18, 2012 was an unsubstantiated, expound expression and distorted version of the truth and essence of the entire event. It emanates out of the fear psychosis of the unseen, which is utterly ill-conceived notion of the paralyzed vision. Looking through the prism of the Indian State he committed a huge error in judging the veracity of the horrors of the ‘Operation Blue Star’. India’s secularism certainly becomes a fig leaf, when History is allowed to melt in mythology, pessimism overpowers the thinking minds and the link between head and heart is either totally diminished or turns in to crude distortion of factual reality. The existence of true religion and genuine politics, alone can tide over the social crisis created by crafty demagogy leadership of Society. Thinking people ought to present their views in the right historical perspective, sans distortions of any kind. Secularism does not mean that minorities in India abandon all their Theo-political aspirations.
It appears, as if Mr. Kuldip Nayar is somewhere nursing a sense of grievance, either against Akalis led by Badals or holds malice towards the Sikhs. Otherwise, why would a writer of his repute look through the prism of the Indian State alone and pen down such a contemptuously venomous write up, which is not only despicable in substance it contains seditious metaphor also? Mr. Kuldip Nayar has called upon the Akalis to explain their conduct on the issue of SGPC instituting a memorial to the ‘Operation Blue Star’ conducted by the Indian Army , under the direct command and control of the Government of India, then headed by Mrs. Indira Gandhi in June 1984. Mr. kuldip Nayar looks to be horrendously shocked as no Sikh organization or person of consequence from the Sikh Community condemned the honoring of ‘a killer’ and laying of the foundation of the memorial of the ‘Operation Blue Star’. He also stretched his wild imagination to the extent that Akalis are creating a Frankenstein which will one day, according to his figment of imagination; devour the peaceful citizens of Punjab.
I tend to pity Mr. Kuldeep Nayar who ventured to equate the event of simple foundation laying ceremony after the gap of almost 28 years, in the precincts of the Golden Temple, strictly in accordance with the religious ethos and traditions of the Sikhs, to that of the horrors of the curse of the Frankenstein and frightened the people of its ‘Monstrous consequences’ and perceive whole Punjab as ‘Dead Town’ one day. How can a person, who is fond of reading the ghost stories, can be qualified enough to comprehend the intensity of the aspirations and philosophy of the spirit born people i.e. The Sikhs, who draw their strength and inspiration from their glorious heritage, history , enamored with immeasurable acts of unparalleled bravery and sacrifices in the history of the Mankind.
If someone like Mr. Kuldip Nayar wishes to make any observatory statement on such a sensitive issue of the Sikhs then one need to study every single aspect of the Sikh tragedy, very carefully with unbiased and unprejudiced mind . After taking the holistic view with subtle care you may suggest things to the Sikh community, with objectivity in mind. This kind of savagery like commentary is very difficult to digest. No one is allowed to take the advantage of Geo-Political dis-positioning of the Sikh Community after 1947. The pain of the wounds of betrayals inflicted upon the psyche of the Sikh community, over the Years is still fresh and continues to simmer. Such wounds though lie consigned in the archives of History, but they never heal, rather they keep oozing and cause unfathomable intensity of pain for times to come. But the oozing wounds cry when someone likes Mr. Kuldeep Nayar try to bother the unhealed wounds with contempt and cruelty. His completely unwarranted pointed reference, in his invaluable piece of advice to the Government of India, suggesting the scrapping of the Sikh Gurdwara Act. Is the expression of his sick mind which speaks volumes of parochial and communal frenzy? Is that the way you treat the minorities in a secular Republic? There seems to be no rationale in his article accept spitting venom on the grandeur of the institutional glory of the SGPC and besmirch the image of the Sikh Community, which we reject out rightly. Besides all this his mischievous attempt to provoke the BJP to withdraw support to the Government led by Mr. Parkash Singh Badal, is devoid of wisdom, and does not qualify to be placed within the realm of reasonableness. Such a Move at critical juncture would vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of serenity in the State.
Sikhs would appreciate if the circumstances which eventually led to the ‘Operation Blue Star’, together with the subsequent eventful happenings such as Anti Sikh riots in Delhi and elsewhere, are to be revisited with subtlety and clinical precision.
Operation Blue Star was carried out by the Indian Army in a manner, as if army was invading the enemy’s territory; they killed one and all, whosoever was inside the precincts of the Golden Temple at that point of Time. Dead Bodies of the countless devotees including the women and children were taken away in the garbage Trucks and trolleys of the Municipal Corporation by the sweepers of the Amritsar Municipal Corporation, under the strict surveillance of the Army. Not even a single dead body was handed over to the relative’s or family members of the devotees who fell as victim to the bullets of the Army. The conduct of the Army was such, as if they were engaged in a conventional war against the enemy.
Army has taken away several load of Trucks containing the files and records of the Sikh History of almost 500 Years from the Sikh reference library which accommodated the invaluable treasure and records of the entire Sikh struggle that include the number of rare manuscripts, which can never be recreated. They even burnt several hundred Birs of Guru Granth Sahib, which were kept in specially designed and manufactured steel racks in one huge room. Army completely destroyed almost everything, that had a cherished value for the Sikhs. Who will take in to account, such immeasurable e fatalities of the Sikhs? Sri Akal Takhat was destroyed with vengeance using Tanks, rocket launchers and mortar Guns. Army tanks were moved in to the ‘Prikarma’ of the Golden Temple. The community had to rebuild Sri Akal Takhat and restore the prikarma and other badly damaged buildings to its original glory with great pain and efforts. Even the Holy sanctorum of Durbar Sahib (Golden Temple) was not spared from the intent of sacrilege spree.
Despite this unspeakable macabre, Sant Harchand Singh Longowaal, as President of the Shiromani Akali Dal agreed to come forward to sit across the table and negotiated a peace settlement with the then Prime Minister Mr. Rajiv Gandhi and signed an accord which is titled as ‘Rajiv Longowaal Accord’ and ‘the poor Saint’ eventually got killed. Unfortunately enough, Govt. of India violated almost every single clause and so unashamedly betrayed the spirit of the accord, sooner than later. Therefore I feel that the asymmetrical and one sided narrative of Mr. Kuldip Nayar, closing his eyes towards the massacre of the Sikhs in 1984 has impelled me put forward these views as a rejoinder to his article.
Now let us deal with the intent of the Sikhs to set up a memorial to the ’Operation Blue Star’. I wonder as to why Mr. Nayar is seemingly very displeased, on the count that no Sikh organization or person of consequence from the Sikh community has not condemned the laying of the foundation of the Memorial to ‘Operation Blue Star’. If the unity among the Sikhs on the issue of Memorial could cause such an enormous sense of disquiet to an Indian writer of the stature of Mr. Kuldip Nayar, who claims himself to be secular to the core, then God bless the Indian secularism.
Memorials are set up to remember the dead person, persons or events. There are thousands of commemorative Memorials world over almost in every country which pertain to important events of History. To quote some of them, there is Memorial to Vietnam War, a Memorial to the victims of the Nuclear Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, Korean War veterans Memorial in Korea, U.s war memorials and war memorial in German. There are well over thousand different memorial sites worldwide, honoring America’s overseas war time service. Like many small towns in U.S (especially in the South) many small towns and villages in Germany have war memorials. Americans even observe a ‘Memorials Day’ annually on the last Monday of May, to pay tributes to all the memorials of Americans heroes’ world over, and Memorial Day is observed as a Federal Holiday in America, so that people could pay obeisance by visiting such memorials. So why such a brawl, hue & cry over the memorial to ‘Operation Blue Star’, where thousands of devout Sikhs, including men, women and children, laid down their lives to the bullets of the Army, defending their faith. Why can’t the Sikhs raise a Memorial in the memory of all these valiant heroes, who sacrificed for the cause that was dear to them? Why point a finger of suspicion and mistrust? India’s secular ethos should be understood and followed in a much wider perspective. Minorities in the country should not be squashed and forced to abandon their religious and political aspirations. This kind of mind set has the potential to radiate serious aspersions on the secular polity of India and perusal of such a disdainful hubris in examining the intensity of the ‘Nightmares’ of the Sikhs and the minorities, may prove detrimental to the larger interests of the country in the long run.
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2012, All