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How Khalistanis spread a corrupted version of partition to separate Punjab from its Hindu identity and further their agenda of geographical separation

It is shameful and outright poisonous how pro-Khalistanis use partition as a justification for their separatist demands. And this is being done in the name of farmers protests too.

It is a widely known fact that Sikhism has its roots in Hinduism. Many such Punjabi Hindu families exist even today where the elder son in the family is a Sardar. Not only Punjabi Hindus, but crores of Hindus across India visit the Gurudwara. Their devotion to Sikhi (roughly translates to ‘seeker of truth’) is rooted in their ancestral connection to the Gurus.

The 9th Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji’s three chosen companions Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das and Bhai Dayal Das were Mohyal Brahmins. They were publicly murdered in Chandni Chowk with the most unspeakable torture under the orders of Aurangzeb.

This is just one of the many stories of the strong dharmic bond between the Gurus and Hindus like the Mohyal Brahmin couple that donated their son Chaupat Rai to the 7th Guru, Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji. He came to be known as Bhai Chaupa Singh Ji and served under four Gurus including raising the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

Moreover, after Guru Tegh Bahadur’s martyrdom, Pandit Kirpa Ram, a Mohyal Brahmin, entered the fold of Khalsa and came to be known as Bhai Kirpa Singh and also played a role in tutoring Guru Gobind Singh Ji. He had approached Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji leading a delegation of Kashmiri Pandits to seek refuge against Aurangzeb’s tyranny following which the Guru made the ultimate sacrifice.

Centuries have passed, and the India of today is not the same, particularly for migrant Hindus from Pakistan whose identity has taken the biggest hit than any other community as a result of the dark day of partition of India on 14th August 1947.

The creation of the Islamic state of Pakistan carved out of the Indian states of Punjab and West Bengal (which was East Pakistan which is now Bangladesh) became a precedent for our neighbour, infested with jihadi terrorism, to attempt to incite separatist sentiments not only in Jammu and Kashmir but in Punjab too, ever since.

Thanks to Congress’s policies, Bhindranwale was born and now the words Khalistan and Khalistani are coined so much that for the uninitiated, the destructive imagination might sound like an actual country with actual citizens.

More dangerously, these words are a real world in the minds of several pro-Khalistanis. I say this because I have known some of them myself; simple, peaceful, Gurudwara-going who were enraged to no end when I called Khalistanis as terrorists. An average Khalistan separatist stakes ownership of Punjab as if the state has belonged to Sikhs exclusively; that very ownership is used for the argument that Punjab should be separated for Sikhs to form Khalistan.

But, this problematic belief that Punjab is equals to Sikhs prevails not only among pro-Khalistanis. In my nearly 30 years in Mumbai, every time that I introduced myself as a Punjabi to any non-Punjabi, on most times it was presumed that I was a Sikh who must be wearing the five symbols of Sikhism.

It put me in a conundrum as a child because I am not a Sikh, but a Hindu, whose great-grandfather migrated from Rawalpindi – a city which is now in Pakistan Punjab where Punjabi Hindus flourished along with Sikhs until they were butchered and raped in thousands by Muslim mobs in 1947. I am as Punjabi as it gets albeit without an ancestral hometown to establish a regional identity; so my answer to the question where I am from is India. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a natural understanding for many that I met.

While the lack of knowledge about the nuances of the damage done by India’s geographical, demographic and cultural partition has put Punjabi Hindus on the back foot, on the other hand, Khalistanis continue to inject the idea that Punjab is the personal property of Sikhs. Those Sikhs aware of their true history know better than to fall for it and share close ties with Hindus, moreso with Punjabi Hindus. But those blinded by a lack of context in their lives succumb to this vicious narrative. Like I said, I have known some of these people.

It is shameful and outright poisonous how pro-Khalistanis use partition as a justification for their separatist demands. And this is being done in the name of farmers protests too.

A video of a so-called farmer donning a Sikh turban was recently shared on social media from the farmers’ protest wherein he says that ‘90% sacrifice has been made by Punjab’, a common belief among pro-Khalistanis about the partition.

There are two problems with such optics, which mind you are very common. One, it implies that Punjab is equals to Sikhs alone, conveniently negating the historical association of Punjabi Hindus with the state. Two, it suggests that Punjab alone, as if as a separate nation-state in itself, and not India bore the brunt of partition.

They don’t think it was India’s loss, they don’t think it was a loss for Hindus; they peddle the narrative that Punjab sacrificed land and life so naturally, for them, Sikhs sacrificed land and life and hence Sikhs, as per Khalistanis, have a divine right to a separate state carved out of India of Hindus.

But in reality, INDIANS sacrificed their land and life…for INDIAN is the only identity that Hindus from Pakistan associate with because their part of Punjab wasn’t theirs anymore having lost their regional identity to Pakistan in 1947. Khalistanis don’t want Punjab to believe this as it counters their separatist foundation.

The message here is crystal clear. These Pakistan-backed Khalistani terrorists in Punjab are attempting to remove Hinduism from Sikhi, wherein the name Ram is mentioned at least 2,500 times in Guru Granth Sahib; Hari is mentioned over 1000 times and Gurmukhi script itself is a confluence of several Indian languages including Sindhi, Kashmiri Sharada, Landah, rooted in the Brahmi script.

This religious separation too I had experienced as a child once when I took Punjabi language lessons at a Gurudwara during summer holidays. I was too young to know this extensive history then but old enough to be hurt by how my Sikh teacher, an elderly woman, had mockingly told a story about how a Hindu Pandit was offering jal (water) to Surya Devta (Sun God) and was quizzed by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. She went on to make fun of Hindus for quite some time while other Sikh children laughed; I was silenced.

This didn’t happen in Punjab though. This happened in Mumbai. So I cannot imagine what must happen in Punjab if such a discrimination can be experienced in an Indian city far from Punjab. Of course, as a Hindu, my reverence towards the Gurus has been unbreakable irrespective of such experiences. That’s how strong the bond of Hindus is with their Gurus.

But this is to say just how sinister the attempts to separate Hinduism from Sikhi are. Similarly, on 12th January 2023, the members of the Sindhi community in Indore were forced to submit over 80 Shri Guru Granth Sahib at Gurudwara Imli Sahib after Nihang Sikhs demanded to remove idols from the temples where the Guru Granth Sahib is kept.

The Nihang group expressed displeasure over the fact that their holy book was kept at a place where idols are worshipped and called it sacrilege of the holy book. This happened despite the fact that the Sindhi community is one of the biggest devotees of Shri Guru Granth Sahib and are religiously very close to Sikhism what with their ancestral roots in Sindh neighbouring Pakistan Punjab.

In removing Hinduism from Sikhi, Islamist Khalistanis are denying the identity as well as existence of Punjabi Hindus and in a way, Hindus altogether, as they daydream about separating the idea of Punjab from India. They are desperate to strip Punjabi Hindus of their identity while they continue to demand exclusivity and privileges one after another. Their poison is as fatal as that of radical jihadis if not more.

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Pragya Bakshi Sharma
Pragya Bakshi Sharma
Journalist with a journey from print to TV to digital news. Multi-tasker. Unstoppable Type 1 Diabetic running on insulin.

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