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Waris Punjab de, Dollar Canada de

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The dramatic rise of Amritpal Singh will give some sleepless nights to the keepers of the nation. While they stay awake to keep you from being awake, I rather want to wake you up.

Wake you up from the slumber of the assumed security and peace that you see tomorrow. This bubble will burst. Khalistan will be another Kashmir if you don’t wake up from your sleep. 

Khalistan is a secession movement that finds its roots in the early 1980s. In just 4 years it grew into one of the ugliest episodes free India had witnessed. Around 4000 innocent civilians and one Prime Minister lost their lives in this ignominious episode. Around 1000 were lost in the Gujarat riots, yet it garners all the interest of the snobs of Khan Market and little is left for the ‘non-issue’ of Khalistan.

For them all hate is bad, but some hate is more hateful than other hates. All smoke from the ‘84 riots was set out but the spark remained. That spark today is being stoked again. It has already brought some burns to the Punjab Police. The state police already refrained from playing with the fire, for they already fear the flame.

The Centre has also shown some caution in playing with this fire for the pains of Kisan Morcha burns haven’t gone yet. And why should they not? If the blowout is a bit soft the flame prevails. If it is too hard, it may engulf others and erupt into a full-blown fire. 

You are not safe from this fire, wake up. This is no fear-mongering, but a call to be cautious. And caution comes from a critical reading of past mistakes. The past again points us to be cautious with our eyes wide open. Khalistan can be a bigger issue tomorrow than any other secession movement in the history of this land and its people. Not convinced? Let me make an attempt, point by point.

Waris Punjab de, Dollar Canada de.

The Punjab diaspora, largely in Canada is the primary source of funding for the movement. Punjab happens to have one of the largest diasporas in the world and Canada being one of the most preferred destinations. Canadian Kahlistani diaspora managed to hold a referendum on Khalistan, the results of which are yet awaited. Over a hundred thousand Sikhs turned up to cast their vote, a testimony of the fact that Khalistan isn’t a fringe issue as it may be perceived by the Indian intelligentsia. 

Na Akhbaar Na TV, Keval Budhijeevi

Educated masses today have also turned their backs on traditional media for it has been tainted as the voice of the State. Public intellectuals and journalists have harvested this opportunity to present themselves as the keepers of the truth. Largely anti-establishment and with a soft corner for Kashmir, they provide dangerous intellectual justification for the movement.

Masses, unaware of the niceties and nuances of the happenings put their blind trust in them for their credentials seem incorruptible. This unchecked impunity enjoyed by the armchair activists, mobile journalists and instant journalists poses a severe threat to public opinion who resorts to ‘quick facts’ on social media than delving into books or trusted news sources.

Khaali CV, Andolanjeevi

Underemployment is such a vicious cycle that feeds itself. Unemployed and underemployed youth finds time for engaging in destructive politics, which hinders the growth of an economy resulting in more unemployment. Secession and Regionalism masquerading as activism for the ‘oppressed’ finds their voice in the masses, educated and uneducated alike. The mob rule becomes vox populi as per the convenience of the intellectuals.

Such is also a case for the Khalistan movement. A distorted narrative is being peddled where the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ elements have turned their coats and the State is a bad actor whom Bindrawale and his aides were ‘resisting’. Academic papers, op-eds and intellectual drawing room discussions seem to buy this narrative.

The West, as clueless about the Orient as they have always been are also being excited to contribute their intellectual labor for a cause that is not. These developments will provide intellectual justification for secession tomorrow, which wasn’t a very strong case in Kashmir. Beware.

Tussi Sanghi, te assi Dangai.

BJP has already borne the brunt of its undemocratic means to quash criticism. Falling democratic and press freedom indices have provided justification for secession to thrive. The West, the harbinger of democracy and peace* (Terms and Conditions apply) will coerce India to bend to these demands that Western intelligentsia has lost trust in BJP as a ‘democratic’ party.

There will be more Rihannas- who at best can only point India on the globe will come out to support the cause that liberates ‘oppressed’ Sikhs from the wrath of Modi. This contrasts starkly from Muslims and Kashmir since Political Islam & 9/11 has led the West to be as Islamophobic as it can be but Sikhs with their Aid and Humanitarian relief work have won hearts and political clout and will so enjoy the unquestioned support. 

These factors combined point to a dark future. If not checked today, these flames will engulf the nation. Peace and security will again be broken and brokered by the West. China and Pakistan will benefit from the gambit and assert Kashmir more aggressively. There is some homework to be done at our end.

Sarthak Ahuja

10th of March, 2023

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