Posts Tagged ‘Khalistan’

13
Mar

The Hindu BusinessLine: Hide and Sikh Politics

   Posted by: aman    in Punjab

The week the Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visited I watched the blown up controversy between two friendly nations with increasing dismay. The word that caused the controversy was Khalistan. Honestly, I felt cheated of my own decision in the mid 1990s to not opt for a PhD abroad and choosing to stay in India and deal with issues here. I felt now, a quarter century later, the very people I believed in had betrayed me by going silent.

This is a piece written with a weary heart. I am very thankful to Aditi Sengupta for carrying it without cuts, it gives me hope. After all one friend be one’s reason to stay, find home.

Please read here …

Later Punjab Today also carried it with original headline. Please read here … 

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Canadian Prime Minister had barely finished a successful meeting with Panjab Chief Minister when another controversy erupted: a past offender Jaspal Atwal showed up at Trudeau’s dinner previous, his pictures with Sophie Trudeau and Amarjit Sohi splashed in newspapers. He had a dinner invite to the Canadian High Commission. Canada rescinded the invite.

This is why it is so hard to arrive any simplistic, black and white understanding of Panjab, Sikhs, Khalistan. As I said in the earlier interview – Panjab remains a landmine. By themselves the pictures are not conclusive, but the questions are:

a) How did Atwal land a dinner invite with Trudeau?

b) How did the Indian government allow Atwal entry?

Could this controversy have been avoided? YES. YES. YES. Especially at such a sensitive time, by all parties: Atwal himself by not coming, not going around getting photographed, MP Sarai by not recommending Atwal, Canadian High Commission by doing due diligence, Canadian PMO by not inviting Atwal. Now, of course, they have rescinded the invitation. Again, too little, too late. I do believe that after conviction, imprisonment, and release people should be allowed to merge with society with dignity. After all, we must not be prisoners of our past. But that is the razor’s edge of liberal politics: has Atwal adequately distanced himself from Khalistan? Has Atwal committed himself to peace? I do not know.

However, through all this I noticed one man, former Liberal and Premier of British Columbia Ujjal Dosanjh, play a role on social media: he was blaming Khalistan, Trudeau and over-liberal politics. I have a few questions for him.

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Friends, if you heard about the Sarbat Khalsa near Amritsar November 10 you may want to read my report on the proeedings and critical remarks. If you have not heard of it because regular media managed to blank it out, you must now get acquainted with how Punjab is inching towards risky times. It needs your attention. Also read for the resolutions passed at the plenary meet. In spite of one and a half days now, I have not found them anywhere on the web in English.

‘I do not know what to derive from the resolutions as they put me squarely back into the dilemma: am I first a Sikh, and then an Indian, or vice versa, or only one of the two?’

Please read …

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Friends, here is my translation of Daljit Ami’s column on how the politics of Punjab is now informed and even controlled by voices outside Punjab. How these moves reduce the issue to sloganeering and not much else.

Please read …

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A day ago I put up a mock post on Facebook saying I was starting an Indian Grocery store in Germany. I got over 75 comments and 275 Likes. Friends were so encouraging. It is nice. I felt a lot of people have by best interest in their mind.

Yet, I have a different interest. I want to write. I want to write to get reviews like this one Sakoon N Singh did for ‘Roll of Honour’. To be reminded of greats like Amitav Ghosh and Agha Shahid Ali in a review by someone who has been an insider to Punjab all these decades and is a Professor of English literature. Thank you Sakoon. I am touched.

‘… here is an attempt to unearth Punjabiyat as a more valid marker of identity as opposed to religion. Sandhu does a good job with deconstructing a lot of Punjabi lore, Sikh shabads and mannerisms in an attempt to take the wider readership into the heart of Punjab.’

Please read, you will relish this review.

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18
Jun

Comment on the Golden Temple skirmish in Tehelka

   Posted by: aman    in Punjab

On June 6, 2014, as the world watched the Sikh community mark the 30th anniversary of the Army attack on Golden Temple, Operation Blue Star, factions pulled out swords and there was a free for all  in the holy premises for one and a half hour. My piece in Tehelka on one of the deeper reasons behind this event.

‘Though Punjab has largely been peaceful after the violent 1980s, it remains a land with deep fissures. One of the reasons is that the Sikh community’s management body, the cash-rich SGPC, has over the past two decades been converted into an extension of the SAD (Badal). Instead of practising inclusive Sikhism, solving the community’s problems, furthering education and healthcare, and raising and solving the identity issues that had led to the separatist movement, the SGPC has become rife with nepotism and dynasty politics. It manipulates Sikh sentiments for political and commercial gains.’

Read more here

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18
Jun

New Asian Writing Interview

   Posted by: aman    in Roll of Honour, Sepia Leaves

Thanks to Margerie from Ireland for chasing me to to this interview. It has come out well.

‘I battled my own self for the longest period, even went through clinical depression for a few months. There are issues like masculinity, sodomy, gay sex, my own views on the events of 1984, the code of honour among schoolmates, communal violence and so on. All of them troubled me when I wanted to write about them. I felt I will earn enemies. It is best to stay silent rather than invite criticism. But I could not sleep. I felt I was cheating by not writing. This is my truth of communal violence and of public schooling in our country. I needed to write it, put it out, to gain some semblance of equanimity in my life. I am very thankful the people have accepted my truths. The book has been lauded, nominated for awards; I have earned a good scholarship from it. The acceptance is a validation of my effort.  I feel, in our world, we have space for truth. Let us work to bringing out those truths.’

Read more here

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So, the book is getting around. Around the 30th anniversary of the attack on Golden Temple, Operation Blue Star, I received this review of my novel Roll of Honour from a US based Sikh website.

‘Sandhu’s story is full of shocking brutality, and definitely not for younger audiences. Unfortunately, so are many of the stories of 1984. For those who are willing to give this book a chance, however, Roll of Honour offers a lesson that readers are not likely to forget.’

Read more here

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This is what happens when you have been roaming the Dargahs and tombs of Sirhind and get late keeping your appointment with dear friend and contemporary intellectual from Punjab Daljit Ami. By way of penalty, he calls you to the studio and forces a brief interview on you. My first in Punjabi. Interview by Jaideep.

Please see here …

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7
Sep

On the Punjab Policeman’s Confession

   Posted by: aman    in Other

My piece in Tehelka on how the path of ethics in Punjab is not merely some abstract but is directly linked to progress through inflow of capital. A policeman has confessed to having killed 83 people without trial. Will the government(s) have the will to pursue this and other accounts by policeman and victims and seek closure to the violence in Punjab? Please read here …

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