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Vol 2 No.8

New Delhi, 20 April- 4 May 1987

Fortnightly

----------....--------------------------------------- --~-

A Faltering Second
Fro~t

in Punjab

NEWSHOUND

By Ra p

-----1

'R .. 'NHO 151HAT COMINC:r


-

\5 IT

.. ". - ~,.

~)

Extremist Campaign fizzling out

)I

\A

Satindra Singh
At present, Punjab enjoys
bout a fortnight ago, Sikh
1ft '
fundamentalists opened the dubious distinction of lead~'=another from in Punjab ing the country in the per
to strengthen their support capita consumption of liquor. If
base. They have launched an the ' . anti-liquor
campaign
aggressive and systematic cam- gathers further mom ent,um, it '
paign against what they call may well prove disastrous for
"accretion of the evil Hindu the state for two main reasons .
practices in the Sikh way of One, it will result in the relife." On the face of it, their emergence of illicit brewing of
crusade against drinking, meat hooch for which Punjab was
eating, ostentatious marriages, once
deservedly
notorious
use of cosmetics by Sikh throughout the country until
women and ' trimming of hair the e nd of the sixties, To e radiand beards by Sikh males is cate this evil the then chief
more or less unobjectionable. minister, Mr Pratap Singh
But the same cannot be said Kairon, not only ordered' the
about the motives behind their opening of more liquor vends,
move as well as its ramifica- but also reduced the price of
tions.
country liquor, to save Punjabis
I Take,
for instance, their from spurious liquor. His
"war" against drinking. No shrewd policy has been sc rudoubt, the Sikh fundamen- pulously adhered to by aU suc
talists enjoy scriptural support cessive governments in the
) . it. But their primary objec- state, whatever their political
~ .. e is to adversely affect the affiliations. The other reason Barnala . government s already \ which has even more dreadful
strained financial resources. implications - is that nonThere were not many takers availability of liquor, win surely
of the liqu9r vends when these result in a phenomenal growth of
were auctioned late last month drug consumption. Opium and
and most of those who had the hemp eating is already ramcourage to, bid for these have pant in the Doaba and Malwa
been ' forced to offer only regions of the state.
limited supplies. During my
Moreover, forcible converrecent visit to some of the sion in any form runs counter
towns of PUbjab and their sur- not only to the basic Sikh
rounding villages I noticed that tenets, but also against the
most of the liquor vends were heroic Sikh heritage. The Sikh
half empty and only a few po~ Gurus did not believe in proular brands of whisky, rum, gin selytising by sword but through
and beer were readily avail- persuasion, They fought agaable. For other brands one had inst those Muslim rulers who
to place an advance order, tried to , enforce Islamic fundeposit earnest money and damentalism by the sword.
pick up the stuff at an agreed Two of the Sikh Gurus - Arjun
time.
Dev and Tegh Bahadur - had
to lay down their lives in the
Supportj~mong
struggle to .ensure an individual's right to follow his/her
Women for Antiown conscience. Both Bhai
Liquor Campaign Nand Lal, the most prominent
codifier of Sikh heliefs and
There is no doubt that their
anti-liquor campaign has won practices and Kaura Mal, a
the Sikh fundamentalists instant highly respect~d personage in
support and sympathy from Sikh history were not ':Amrit
Sikh women, who, much to dharis" (baptised SinghsJ.
their mortification, daily witMeat Eating
ness the heart-rending scene of
the hard-earned money literally
the
"going down the drain" as it
Fundamentalists
were since the advent of the
The Sikh fundamentalists
Green Revolution in the state in
are on even more vulnerable
. the late seventies. Whether the
Sikh women's support will help ground for their move against
reduce drinking among their meat eating. For one, no Sikh
Guru has prohibited its conmenfolk is difficult to surmise.
sumption.
Only the other day,
Habits die hard, bad habits
seldom, if ever.
Continued on page 13, c~/1

and

I
I

'; i

MR CLeAN?

\
~~~~--------~~---,~~ ----.

.j

IT lIAs TO 13~ FOR);I Cip;'-- \ i

RA.JI~ HIMSI=t..F SAID 50 I

,/

I
I

I
. .\

I
. J

CONG-I CAUSING
DISC ORD IN U. P.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _~.'.:~,i;.: ..

By r\k hil Anand

The communal hysteria being w orked up in Ayodhya in particular an(t1


Uttar Pradesh in general, over the issue of Ram Janambhoomi and Babr!
Masjid is heading for a large-scale massacre of MusJims in Ayodhya This
stark destiny is not unknown to the parties involved: the state government, Hindu and Muslim communal leaders and also a sizeable sectio n of
the ruling Congress (I). In fact, they all seem to be callously unconcern ed
about the dangers inherent in the situation.
While the state government treats the issue as one of law and ord er
alone, both Hindu and Muslim leaders connected with the Ra ni
Janambhoomi Mukti Vagna Samiti and the Babri Masjid Action Com mitee
respectively, put fOIWard the' argument that one or the other temple or
mosque does not matter, but it is the place which is of emotional
significance, and claims to it cannot be given up.

.................................................................

The ruling Congre ss (I) has


contributed to this high dra m a
in a typically 'Indira style' by
providing general secretaries to
both the warring committees.
While Dau Dayal Khanna, a former UP Minister and Congress
(I) leader is the gene ral secretary of the Samiti, Chaudhary
Mohd Muzaffar Hussain Ka chhauchwi, a form e r legislator
and Congress leader is the
general
secre tary
of
th e
Committee.
Referring to this situation
Mohd Hashim Ansari, secretary
of Anjuman Mohafiz, Mazabir
Masjid Awadha says: "WE are
face to face with the state
government on the issue of
Babri Masjid. The government

~"

is mad afte r the majority. At


last the stage would be ours.
We will do everything to protect ourselves; even that which
should not be done."
Th ere is no hiding of the fact
tha t while saying this he
appears scared a nd there are
e nough reasons for him to be
fe aff ul 'of the future. Ror th e
Ra m Ja na m bhoo mi move m e nt
is be ing built a ro und the prem ise that no n-Hindus, obviously Muslims, h ave no place
in Ayodhya , M L1slim s in this
tow n number less than pn e
thousand, as aga inst a Hindu
population of 70,000. In view of
the state go ve rnment's poor
recOl'd 'in protecting minorities'
in a series of riots in the last

decades, Muslims don 't pI a!.,;


muc h fa ith on the enfOrCem p.ll f
age ncie s for th e ir protect jon.

Point of No Return
That the issue ha s reached fI
point of n o f'e turn becom e:;
obvious by the rem Mks of
Ma hant Avedya na th, 'ch airman
of th e Ram Jana mbhooll1i
Mukti
Yagna
Samit i
in
Gora khpur. The mahallt hn
lieves "th e Hin dus must unit"
in d efe nce of their rights ;!,,(/
forc e the government to r eaL ,.~
their agon y concerning Ha m 's
birthplace , Hindus wo uld nfl'
tolerate any un just decisioil nn
the i ssu ~. Th e so-caHed 5.1 hn
Continued on page 5 , col 1

-------------------------------------- ~-~ --"

M
__e_d_ia__vv_a_t_c_h____________________

~~~--------------~-------S-a~g~ff-S-W_o_r_d
The Psalm of Peace
An English Translation
of Guru Arjun's
'Sukhmani'

~ ..' 11'"

BalbInaU~ ",idn'P"
,,"0' atO
\0"
said \~~in&S ",et::S~\ated

t.

\'J

~d"pu,e .~V\~, QO'\(:e

~llIed two more persons, ~


mdulged in a number of
,looting incidents as shop~eeJX;rs" observed
a
bandh a$..Phagwara to-

L a;

a___rill aoU
ate Oft
..________________--_~,o~
..
,~~~~til~~I~~-----------da~------:-~~~----:=::~::::~-----J
,,\d.

The Press Falls In Line


By Jyoti Punwani
P Singh, Executive Editor,
Navbharat Times, described in
an interview, the recent spate
of sedition charges against journalists as a manifestation of
"aggressive Hindu chauvinism",
pointing out that so far, only
journalists
belonging
to
minority communities have
been charged.
"Aggressive Hindu chauvinism" has been building up as
the dominant mood of the
country over the last two years,
with Operation Blue St'lr as the
turning
point:
Today
its
manifestations are most visible
in the media and in the style of
the Rajiv Gandhi government :
in something as 'small as the
PM wearing a ceremonial tika
whenever he returns from an
official trip abroad; in the
Hindu symbols at the inauguration of Apna Utsav, supposed to
be a national festival; in the
decision to start Breakfast TV
with bhajans.
In the press, the "Hindu
ethos" operates far more
insidiously, on three levels. The
first is the most obvious: the
lengthy pisces written by top
journalists; the second is the
way news about minorities,
specifically
in
Punjab,
is
covered. Finally, the government's attack on minority
journalists.
The Hindu stand taken by
influential journalists like Girilal Jain, editor of the Times of
India, and Arun Shourie, recently shifted back to the Indian

El'press frOm the Times, has remained unaffected by the


been evident for the last two Hindu wave, like the Sunday
years, it has only grown more Observer's Vinod Mehta, who
aggressive now. From cate- has of late, started propoundgorising Indians into "us" and ing the argument that if the
"they" (ie, Hindus and non- terrorists ' continue with their
Hindus), these two writers have activities, the nonItally peaceloving and tolera'n t Hindus are
certainly come a long way.
Girilal Jain's new thesis bound to retaliate, and Hindu
these dClys is: proving that retaliation is no trifling matter,
Sikhs and Muslims played no as the November, 84 riots' have
part in the freedom movement; shown. Mehta makes a distincthat in fact, they sided with the tion between Sikhs in general
British. This distortion is easily and Sikh terrorists; he also ackaccepted by readers brought up nowledges the humiliation all
on the official version of the Sikhs have to face today, as
freedom movement, dominated well as their anguish at this by the Hindu-dominated Indian but asks them to bear with it,
as the price of their fellowNation~l Congress.

think: couldn't- these mad men


have spared a doctor at least?
"10 killed in Punjab" was
another headline: of these" 7
had been victims of the BSF,
part of its weekly quota of "intruders from Pakistan" who
must be killed. It was not
thought fit to spell that out in
the headline, why spoil the
impact by saying: "BSF kills 7,
terrorists 3"? Going by newspapers, one must conclude that
Punjab has become a -crimefree state; any murder/robbery
that takes place here is the handiwork of terrorists. No newspaper thought it necessary to
highlight the figures given

Journalists on trial
Journalist
V T Rajshekhar
Editor

Publication
DaHt Voice

Sukhdev Singh
EditOl'
Fr Benny Aguiar
Editor

Dignity

Krishnaraj
Editor
Harji Malik
Writer

EPW

Shahid Siddiqui
Editor

Nai Duniya

Examiner

KhaHd Ansari
Midday
Editor
Deepak Chopra
Printeli Publisher
' AI Haj Naz
Mashriqi
Ansari, Editor
Awaz
AI Haj Syed
Ansari, Printer

Charged under
For
Terrorist & DisArticle on DaHt
ruptive Activities view of Punjab &
Act
'Ma nuism'
Re productio'n of
above
(Promoting enArticle on RSS activities in Bihar,
mity between 2
groups)
Sedition
Article on army
action in Punjab

Month
Published in
March.1986 March '86

Terr& Disr.
Acts. Act
Terr& Disr.
Acts, Act

Sept. 1986

July '86

Oct. 1986

Aug. '84

Interview with J S
Chauhan on
Khalistan
Intervifw with G S
Dhillon on
Khalistan

Nov. 1986

Nov. '85

Nov. 1986

Oct. '86

Reproduction of
above

Dec, 1986

Nov. '86

An Ekta Trust Publication

Panel of consulting Editors


Justice V.R. Krishna lyer,
LK. GujraI, Madhu Kishwar,
Khushwant Singh, Jaya jaitly,
Rajni Kothari, Amrik Singh, ,
Kuldip Nayar

Chairman, Board of Editors


Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora (retd.'

managing Editor
Haljit Malik

Editors
Harji Malik. G.S. Sandhu,
A.S. Narang,

Associate Editor
Avtar Singh Judge

Circulation
Lt. CoL Manohar Singh (retd)

Business Manager
Jatinder Kaur Lall

Editorial (Camp) Office


4 Bhagwan Das Road
New Delhi-ll0001 .
, Phone : 385270, 385042
Tlx : 315220 HBLK FOR GAZETIE

20 April - 4 May 1987

If Girilal Jain seeks justifica- Sikhs' misdeeds. The next time


tion for his Hindu chauvinism there is a Muktsar or Khudda
in distorting history, Mun says Mehta, don't. be surprised
Shourie goes to the scriptures: if somewhere else, Sikhs are
those of Sikhs, Christians and taken out of a bus and lynched.
Muslims, of course, to prove
The significance of such
that
because these
three editors joining the mainstream
religions have one 'Holy Book' can be seen in the translations
as their ' base, their followers of Vinod Mehta's article in
are bound to be dogmatic and Gujarati and Hindi papers in
fanatical, unlike Hindus, who Bombay and the North.
have no one particular reWhat editors spell out in
ligious text to follow, and are ,their articles, the rest of their
therefore more tolerant and staff express through their
eclectic. Once again,
the choice of lead stories and
readers' scanty knowledge of headlines. First choice today
theology makes it easy to fall for a lead story is Punjab. In
into this trap.
December, terrorists killed a
BJP member, who happened to
Editors tFall Into
be a doctor, as well as his
Line'
patient. "Doctor, patient killed
screamed , the
A new development has in Punjab"
been the "falling in line" of headlines on the frontpage,
other editors who have so far making -the reader immediately

recently in Parliament, that UP


and Bihar, without any terrorists, have a higher murder rate
than Punjab does. Nor to point
oUl that except for malJS
massacres like the two bus
incidents, the victims of terrorisls have been mainly Sikhs.
Leave' alone pointing out all
this, newspapers take objection
even when Barnala, who is
more obedient to the Centre
than any Congress (I) chief
minister, questions the BSF version of having killed 10
intruders from Pakistan at one
stroke. On Punjab, anything
said against the security forces
is equated with encouragement
to e~tremists. Police atrocities
are investigated by the press in
every other state to some
Continued on page 14. col 1.

, Happy are the meek in spirit,


who efface themselves and are
poor.
The arrogantly great are effaced
by their own pride.
He who has in him the pride of
sovereignty
Shall be loweredi,jnto the pit of
. hell as a dog.
""
He who prides himself on his
beauty
Shali be turned into the meanest
worm that lives in dung.
He who esteems himself as a
man of works
Shall have . to work his way
through many a life and death.
He who is proud of his wealth
and land
Is a foot blind and senseless.
When God out ofHis mercy lends
humility to a man 's heart,
I
He gets liberation in this
nt .
and peace in the nel't.
If a man is puffed up with his
riches,
He w.illiose all; not so much as a
straw will go with him
If he sets his hopes on a multitude of men and anns,
They may melt away in the shock
ofa moment.
If he crows over others for his
personalbrave~,
_
Who knows his person may not
be reduced to ashes in a

WOi';U'

moment?

If he esteems nobody before his


presuming self,
The heavenly Judge wi/( lay him
lowforit.
Ifby the grace of the Guru he is
'able to efface his pride,
"
He will find acceptance in ~U
court of God:
A manmaydo thousands ofgood
deeds in egoism;
All are vain; he merely tires himselfout.
Or he mayfeed his pride by going
through various penances;
He will be haled from heaven
into hell, and from hell into
heaven.
By,no such devices can he soften
his soul;
How can he enter into the
kingdom of God?
As long as a man deems
himselfgood,
No goodness can approach
hiTlll.
But if he is humble in his heart
before eve~body,
, He will be known as a man of
unalloyed virtue.
As long as a man thinks he can
do something by himself,
So long he shall find no peace.
If he takes credit for anything done by him,
'
He shall have to wanderfrom life
to life.
So long as he holds some as his
enemies, and others as friends,
His mind will never be at rest..
So long as he is wrapped up in
the illusory joys of Iife,
He lays himself open to Divine
retribution.
But when God's mercy overtakes
him, his bonds are broken,
And, Guru-guided, he is released
from his pride.

-Fa~m

Fortnight Focus
~--_(iazette-

_ _ _-

Govt. suspected for undermining defence


HOW ARMS LOBBYISTS OPERATE
ew Delhi: WIN Chadha
had only unprintable
abuses to shout 'back
when contacted over telephone
by this correspondent. " Pardon
his language," said one defence
ministry official on hearing tIle
exchange. "He's havi'ng it real
bad. Arms lobbyists like him
are going to have a real tough
time from now on ."

WIN Chadha runs one of


the ' biggest of New Delhi's new
breed of liaison agencies, agencies with briefs from foreign
armaments firms. And bringing
him into limelight today is the
fact that his agency, Anatronics
General Corporation, is the
principal Indian representative
of Bofors, the Swedish firm
now in the eye of the cyclonic
controversy rocking the country.
Chadha, of course, won' t
talk to reporters, but if, as .
alleged by the Swedish State
Radio, certain Indians received
kickbacks totalling Rs 15 crores
from Bofors to influence the
government into buying its 155
mm .f ield howitzers, a sale
worth Rs 1,450 crore, it was
apparently he who handled
payments. Bofors has officially
denied bribing any Indian middleman, a denial supported by
the Swedish and Indian governments, but as Magnus Nielsson
of the Swedish State Radio
(~hich like the BBC and unlike
AIR is free from government
control) told the Statesman, it
was the company's agents and
not the company itself that
made the payoffs. Chadha
. could well hiive been one such
agent.
How
do
lobbyists
like

Chadha operate? Do they com- selves set up such agencies. here that lobbying by the
promise the nation's security in Commander M R A Rao of the liaison agents is the s!rongest
earning
large
commISSIOns Indian Navy, for instance, rep- and a great deal of money
from foreign arms firms they resented Bofors for a long time. changes hands. The money of
Besides
Chadha,
Bofors course is always deposited in
serve? Not consciously, and in
any case politicians and offi- currently has another agent in foreign, usually Swiss, bank
cials. who received the alleged Delhi, one Thomas Dalin who acco.unts and the sum could be
payoffs are equally to blame on has an office in the Maurya a very large one indeed for a
this score. But there is big Sheraton Hotel. But perhaps favourable report.
money in the arms business the largest liaison agent in the
Bofors Under
and the liaison agencies like capital is Eureka, which repSuspicion
Chadha's Anatronics are not resents a host of French firms
The Bofors' 155mm howitzer
unique to New Delhi. Most including SNECMA, aircraft
purchase had been under susnations with large defence engine manufacturers, Sagem,
picion almost' from the day
budgets have scores of arms the electronics giant, and till
(March .25,1986) the deal was
firms represontatives operating recently aircraft manufacturers
signed.
Doubts
had
been
Aerospatiale and Marcel Dasin their capitals.
expressed about the range of
sault. Eureka is owned by Rajiv
the artillery guns: while it had
and Sanjiv Chowdhrie who are
In Ne.w Delhi, arms lobbyists
been claimed the howitzers
nephews of Baljit Kapur, forset" up shop mostly in the late
could fire up to a range of
mer chairman of Hindustan
70s when the defence ministry Aeronautics Ltd.
30 km, it has reportedly been
began looking away from Mos- .
found not to exceed .21 km durcow to equip its growing
ing the OperatioI1 Brasstacks
The lobbyists really get into
arsenal. 'With New Delhi setting
exercise. If this be true, the
the act during what could be
its sights on arms manufacappraisal and testing reports
called the second stage of the
turers of France,
Britain,
were obviously far from acarms purchase process. InitialSweden and other ' Western
curate.
According
to
the
ly, when a decision is taken at
countries, agents and liaison
Swedish radio, two payoffs,
South Block regarding the
officers were soon mushroomacquisition of a' particular each of 8.4 million Swedish
ing in the capital. And there
weapon, the three service kroners (Rs.168 lakhs) and a
certainly was business at hand
third of 1.2.9 Swedish kroners
chiefs' offices are flooded with
with India's defence budget in
glossy advertisement booklets ' (Rs .258 lakhs) were deposited
the Seventh Five Year Plan
from the armament companies. into accounts in the Suisse
doubling over the Sixth Plan
Advertisement pamphlets also Banking Corporation on Novallocation,
to
more
than
reach the desks of senior ember 13 last year. Nine days
Rs 60,000 crores.
bureaucrats in the defence later, a further 2.5 million
ministry. Soon, technical ap- kroners (Rs 50 lakhs) were paid
Another Bofors
praisal teams comprising se['- into the Swiss bank account.
vice
and defence ministry This, of course is only a fracAgent - Wining
officers,
set out on tours abroad tiun of the total Rs 15 crore
and Dining
to inspect the armaments payoff.
The government opted for
The first targets of the arms advertised, tours on which they
supe['-salesmen are retiring are suitably wined and dined the Bofors 155mm howitzers
from an initial choice of 1.2
military officers. As on,e def- by the manufacturing firms.
field guns. Four of them were
ence ministry official puts it:
In the next or second stage, shortlisted in the penultimate
"Who can lobby better 'with
generals and admirals than the technical appraisal reports stage: apart from the Bofors'
these just retired seniors." are studied by the ministry's howitzers, there were the FhSometimes of course, retired R&D section, after which the 70, manufactured jointly by Brisenior military officers them- weapons are field tested. It is tain, Italy and West Germany;

France's Le Canon E E 15mm


tracte and Austria's GH N-45. A
further shortlisting eliminated
GH N-45 and Fh-70; leaving the
French and Swedish guns in
the race. What is not clear is
how the race was finally won
by Sweden's Bofors.
Suspicion in the Swedish
radio newsrooms about...iJlegal
payoffs in the Bofors deal wi,th \
the Indian government did not,
however, arise out of the blue.
Bofor.s does not exactly have an
enviable record and since last
year the radio had been investigating into its alleged illegal
dealings. Taking its name from
the small town where its factories are located, the firm is
known to have sold arms to
countries blacklisted by the
Swedish
government.
Only
recently, two of the company's
directors had to resign following media disclosures about
illegal dealings. Indeed, even
the much respected Swedish
prime minister Olaf Pal me,
assassinated last year, was
greatly concerned about Bofors'
unholy dealings, though he
assured Rajiv Gandhi that no
middleman was involved in the
howitzer sale to India.
The Bofors scandal has in
fact come as . a bit of an
embarassment to India since
New Delhi considers Sweden to
be among its few close friends
in the West. But mo'r e than
foreign relations, the payoff disclosures, coming on the heels
of the Fairfax fracas and the
resignation of V P Singh, has set
panic bulbs blinking in Rajiv
Gandhi's Congress-I, with the
inevitable talk of the foreign
hand and indirect references to
the United States. (NewscriptJ.

u.P. citizens want dialogue on Punjab


CALL TO INVOLVE YOUTH IN DISCUSSIONS

--------------------------------Public OpInIOn in Uttar Prade8h and Bihar favours a


dialogue with the extremist8 in Punjab in order to arrive at a
political 8OIution in the 8tate. The .F'orum Gazette conducted
a 8urvey in Kanpur, Lucknow, Fyazabad, Gorakhpur (U.P.)
and Chapra and Patna (Bihar). About 150 person8 were 8elected at random and asked to give their view8 on the Punjab
8ituation. Among the8e were 80me important political and
80cial activist&

The variety of replies and resentative of this viewpoint


attitudes expressed by this are the views of Dr M A
cross-section of persons reflec- Haleem,
a
Socialist Party
Vice-Chairman
in
ted their social roots. While the National
high caste Hindus favoured a Lucknow who told the Gazette:
tough, uncompromising stand ."While the killing of Sikh youth
based on the issue of national in encounters by police and
unity and integration, those para-military, and of Hindus by
belonging to the minority com- extremists, is condemnable, the
munities and scheduled castes central and state governments
were highly critical of the role should talk with the so-called
of the military and paramilitary extremists, so as to find a soluforces deployed in the state. tion to the problems of
Similarly, while Sikhs were Punjab."
generally critical of the -Barnala ,
Dr Virpen Saroha, who is in
government, others were ap- favour of the division of Uttar
preciative of its policies.
Pradesh, alleged that the PunSeventy per cent of the jab problem is the creation of
ordinary citizens favoured a leaders .from UP and warned
dialogue with the extremists to that a high degree of honesty is
sort out the issues and pro- required to keep the minorityblems and involve these youth dominated border states of
in finding a solution which can India satisfied.
restore peace in the state. RepChief Editor of the monthly

journal Pa~ivahan Yug, Mr Lalta .


was
more
Misra,
forthright in castigating the
Congress(l) for creating the tension in Punjab and wanted the
government to establish a
security belt to check terrorist
activity. But he w.as equally ce['tain that military action cannot
offer a solution. It is necessary
to create an atmosphere 'o f confidence and seek a political
solution with the co-operation
of all those sections which have
not succumbed to terrorism.

Prasad

.Hindu Religious
Leader Urges
Dialogue With
Extremists
A different viewpoint was
expressed by Mahant Avedyanath, the President of the
Ram lanambhoomi Mukti Yagna
Samiti, who recently visited the
Golden Temple in Amritsar in a
padyatra with a number of
religious heads, He said pointblank
"The . ,government
would ultimately have to talk

with the extremists for any


solution to the problem of Pun,jab. Both the sides should work
for creating an atmosphere in
which this dialogue is possible.
We had gone to Punjab and
Amritsar for emotional amity
betwe'en Hindus and Sikhs. But
since the problem is political, it
is for the influential people in
both communities to come fo['ward
and
pressurise
the
government to initiate a dialogue .
"The government must be
prepared to talk about Khalistan and also prepared to grant
such autonomy which does not
endanger national integrity and
is within the framework of the
Indian Constitution. Although
the Granthis are under the
influence of the terrorists, they
assured us that they favour a
solution within the framework
of the Constitution and in conformity with the needs of
national integration and unity."
The former chief minister of
Bihar, Dr Jagannath Mishra, '
interviewed
in
his
Patna
residence
commented . that
" .. the recent stand of Barnala in

delinking politics from religious heads has created the


proper atmosphere in Punjab
and all secular forces should
strengthen Barnala's hand in
solving the Punjab problem." In
the view of Mr Jaikuna Dalit, a
Congress(l) M.L.A and one of
. the most vocal critics of the'
Dubey government "though the
Barnala government has failed,
its sincerity is unquestionable. I
am in favour of giving life to
the Barnala government because it would mean giving life
to secularism and commitment
to the Punjab Accord. The fall
of that government would
mean direct success for the
extremists. "

All Terrorism
Condemned
"We are opposed to the killing of innocent people in Punjab by both the terrorists and
the police. We oppose both
terrorism and the methods
used by the government to curb
Continued on page 15 col 1

20 April - 4 May 1987

:The

I_n_t_e_rn
__
at_i_o_n_al_R
__
O_U_n_d_-U_P_______________~~~~--_____________________________

ARGENTINA: THE COUP THAT FAILED


By Partha S. Banerjee

o ry Aquin o co uld h ave


best appreciat ed Arge ntine
preside nt
Raul
Alfonsin's feelings last week as
thousands of people packed the
streets of Buenos Ail'es ina
show of support to his democratically elected government. It
was -a scene so reminiscent of
Philippines's ' peopl~ powe r'
revolution early last year that
toppled
dictator Ferdinand
Marcos and installed Aquino as
the nati0n's president. Last
wee k in Argentina, much as
last year in Philippines, the
threat to the government came
from sections of the army and
it was the general population 's
rallying behind Alfonsin that
really cut it short.
The army rebellion centered
in the north-western city of
Cordoba, some 500 miles from
Buenos Aires. On Wednesday
(April
15),
Major
Ernesto
Barreiro, i::Iefying a government
order to testilY before a court
trying cases of human rights
violations, took control of an
al'my base in the city. Army
officers in charge of neighbouring bases refused to lay se ige
on Barreiro's base and thus
declared open revolt against
the government.
Ever since Alfonsin was
elected to power in late 1983,
ending a repressive military
regime, human rights crimes
has been among Argentina's
most contentious issues. During the military ;;oule, thousands of people in the Latin
American coun try were killed
and tortured by the authOl'ities, a tr.a gedy most tellingly
brought home by the so-called
'Mothers of the Plaza', a group
of women who silently marched through the streets displaying signs with names of their
missing sons and husbands.
Alfonsin' s
government
brought an end to that brutal
repression, and indeed went
one step further. It constituted
special courts that would look
into the human rights crimes
'and already several gener-als
and admirals have been convicted. This has naturally
antagonised a section of the
army and the Cordoba revolt
was an expression of that outraged feeling.

Inste ad, president Alfonsin


trie d to defu se the revolt by
ope ning
negotiations
with
arm v office rs. It was not
i1l1~ediately cle ar if the Third
Corps officers had the support
of the rest of the army; what
was clear" however, was ,that
most of the country's population was behind Alfonsin. The
pl'esident in .a speech at the
National Congress declared his
gove rnment would not bow to
pressure from the rebels. L.it.er,
in a nationwide broadcast,
Alfonsin declared: "Democracy
in Argentina was not negotiable."
Meanwhile, even as people
poured into the streets of
Buenos Aires to voice support
for the president, the revolt
spread to an army base near
the capital with a colonel, supported by 150 officers, declaring support to Major Barreiro.
Alfonsin had a crucial meeting
on Friday with the army chief
of staff and other senior ranking officers and ministers at
Government House . The army
generals ple dged support for
Alfonsin's
government
and
orde red ge neral mobilisation to
suppress the revolt. In Cordoba, as troops moved into the
barracks held by the Third
Army Corps, Major Barreiro
made his escape and his subordinates surrendered.

Alfonsin Accomplishes Mission

Th e, rebe l officel's at the


Buenos Aires base, however
held out with Colonel Aida
Rico, who led the m, seemirigly
in a position of strength as
troops sent by th e government
to take over the barracks failed
in their obje c ti ve. On ,Sunday,
Pl'esident Alfonsin app'e ared on
the balcony of Government
House to announce, amidst
cheers from the crowds on the
street, a personal mission he
was about to undertake to win
over the rebel officers. A few
hours later be was back on the
balcony,
mission
accomplished. The mutiny had been
averted .
But apparently at some cost.
Col Rico had agreed to surrenRight Wing Bastion del' but the president was
Major Barreiro belonged to clearly conciliatory in his
the Third Army Corps which is speech from the balcony of
considered a rightwing bastion
Government House. He said the
of the Argentine military. TIle
rebel officers had not intended
lal'gest and most crucial fight- to topple his government,
ing unit of the army, it was the reminded the crowd that many
focus of oppos ition to the trial among the officers were heroes
of offi cers charged with com- of the Falkland war (against
mitting human right s crimes. Britain, in ] 982) and that they
Barre iro demanded a ge nera l had now changed their "misamnesty for all military person- taken" attitude. On Monday, it
ne l so accu sed , and re ports was announced that two servsuggested that at le ast 60 ing officers of the Buenos Aires
officers had joine d his revolt.
base, due to appear in a CorIn a statement release d to the doba court in a human rights
press, officers of the T hird crime case, have had their
Army Corps based in COl'doba summons
postponed. Court
said they would obey no o rders officials were quoted as saying
from Buenos Aires to cl'ack- they wel'e a cting on political
down on the insurrection. Not advice . Meanwhile,the chief of
that any such order came fl'Om army staff tendered his resignathe gove rnment though the tion and observers in Buenos
milital'y base at Cordoba was Aires believed that several
surrounded by police forces other generals are expected to
and troops.
fO.l Iow suit.

20 April - 4 May 1987

Arms Talks:
Shultz Success at
Moscow
The disclosures .came slowly, in bits and pieces. By the
end of last week, however, it
was apparent that U.S. secretary of state, George Shultz's
visit to Moscow earlier this
mbnth, during which he had
lengthy talks with his Soviet
counterpart Eduard Shevardndze and general secretary
Mikhail Gorbachev, had gone a
long way in advancing the
superpower's Duclear disarmament talks. Said President
Reagan OJl' Thursday (April 16)
after being appraised by Shultz
of his discussions with the
Soviet leaders: "I remain
optimistic of an agreement (on
eliminating intermediate range
missiles from Europe) this
year."
Later in the week it was
announced that at Shultz's talks
in Moscow, a new idea to solve
the verification tangle was put
forward by the Soviet ~ide
which the secretary of state
approved in principle. The idea
concerned
testing
nuclear
devices. The Soviet Union proposed that the U.S. conduct a
test on a Soviet site and the
Soviets at an American site.
This would allow both sides to
calibrate their seismic monitoring system and thereby tally
theit verification procedures.
Verification obviously is central
to any arms control agreement
and no pact can ever be signed
unless both sides can ensure
that the other is not violating
the terms.

Narrowing
Differences
The Moscow talks also
"helped narrow the differences between the superpowers
on the elimi.nation of intermediate range missiles (lNF).
These nuclear weapons, with
ranges of around 3,000 miles,
are targeted mainJy at European cities and military installations and the superpowers hope to reach an agreement on their dism'antling
within a year or two as a first
step towards arms control.
West European governments
are however insisting on linking the proposed INF deal with
the elimination of short range
missiles, a class of weapons
over which the Soviet Union
enjoys
an
overwhelming
superiority. Earlier this month,
in Prague, Gorbachev agree.d to
negotiate the removal of the
short range w eapons though
this would not be part of the
INF deal.
Judging by the lengths the
superpowers 'are going,to reach
an agreement on IIrms control,
it is evident that both Mo/?Cow
and Washington are keen on
concluding a t least the INF deal
before the Reagan presidency
ends in 1988. Still smarting
from the Iran arms scandal, the
U. S.
president
desperately
wants such a deal to crown his
eight years at tHe White House

while Moscow, keen on diverting funds from the defence


budget to developmental funds,
seeS the next few months as
the best chance to persuade
America slow down the arms
race. The U.S. in any case is
keen that the Soviet Union not
be perceived by the world as
the only peace maker, a notion
th~t Margaret Thatcher, the
British prime minister, tried to
quash at a rece nt visit to Moscow. In an interview that was
telecast live to Russian audiences, Thatcher said: "There are

more nuclear weapons in the


Soviet Union than.in any other
country in the world. You have
more inter-eontinental ' ballistic
missiles and warheads than the
West. You started intermediate
weapons; we. did not have any.
You have more short-range
ones than we have .... We in Britain destroyed our chemical
weapons toward the .. end of the
1950s, and the US did npt modernise theirs. But the Soviet
Union has modernised them
and has a large stockpile... "
(NEWSCRIPT)

20,000 EVICTED
INCALCUnA
Calcutta, April 8: Nearly 20,000
squatters 'on the banks of the
Palmer Bazar canal were evicted on the morning of April 8
and thei~ shanties bulldozed
in one of the city's major eviction drives. A team of about
1,200 corporation staff accompanied by armed policemen
asked the residents to vacate
their hutments and launched a
massive -eviction drive.
The evictions are being
executed to facilitate the dredging of the stagnated canal
which forms the backbone of
the city's drainage system: The
desilting operation will reduce
waterlogging in the city during
monsoon, a corporation official
said.
.
The slumdwellers did not
protest the sudden eviction
and, excepting an occasional
brickbatting on the policemen
on guard, the operation was
peaceful till noon.
At 6.30 am groups of corporation employees and armed
policemen gathered near the
backyard of the Entally slaughter house on S. C. Dey Road in
east Calcutta and asked the
poor dwellers to vacate their
hutments. The bulldozing started on the west bank of the
canal and people on the eastern side of the shallow canal
were given four hours to clear
out. Eviction on the east side
was expected to commence in
the afternoon.
Said Mehrun Bibi, a 60-year
old housewife living in the
area: "We have been hearing
about the eviction for years.
Just before the elections the
CPI(MJ candidate from Beliaghata had assured us that the
plan has been deferred. But
today, just two weeks after the
elections, we were taken by.
surprise. Groups of armed
policemen prevented us from
retrieving our belongings from
the huts as the huge machines
razed them to the ground." She
began weeping as she narrated
Qer plight, and added: "We
have been staying in this
locality for the last 23 years,
and the government has made
no alternative arrangements for
us. Some of my trunks and
utensils are dumped on the

road. Tell me, where are the


politicians who made the tall
promises before the polls?"

No

Protest,
No
Consolation

There was no organised protest whatsoever and none of


the party leaders of the
neighbourfng areas was pre. sent either to console the evicted or prevent the drive. The
poor residents were busy retrieving bamboo poles and
broken tiles of their shanties.
While some of the 20,000
dwellers earn their living by
selling plastic scrap, others
manufacture cheap rubber'
goods, recycle rags or are
engaged in distillation of
animal fat. Muhammed Shamim, 35, a settler in this area
from Motihari in Bihar) complained that with the demolition of his manufacturing shed,
he has no employment. He
said: "All the residents' in the
area earned their living from
, small units here . . Apart from
being homeless, we have
another acute problem of reestablishment."
He said, for the past two
days the police had been
announcing impending evictions which prompted them to
meet the Mayor on April 7 for a
sympathetic treatment. "But
the mayor turned us away very
rudely saying that the demolition had become necessary and
there was no reason to stop it.
Similar attempts to seek the
help of the local MLA of
Beliaghata proved futile."
The lnational forum of the
International Year of Shelter for
the Homeless termed the morning drive as a "brutal eviction."
In a press release, the forum
claimed that it was perfectly
possible to carry out the dredging without shifting the bulk of
"the residents. ,
A police officer said the day
long . demolition drive was
being carried out over a 2.5 km
stretch on each side of the
canal from the Palmer Bazar
end to the occupied area near
the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass .

_________________Gal~----------------Cong- I Causing Discord in U. P.


Continued from page 1 col 5

Masjid has been built on .the


debris of the Ram Janambhoomi and what justification
can there be for a mosque at
the birthplace of Lord Ram. "
Whi.l e decrying the suggestion of converting the disputed
place into a national monument. he retorted: " It would be
perpetuating the shame of the
majority community and a permanent source of humifiation
for Hindus. Explaining " Hindu"
liberalism he said: " Hindus are
not bothered about one or the
other mandir; neither do they
normally go about c1aimirg
places for
their temples.
Moreover. it is not material if a
temple is moved from one
place to another. But how can
the birthplace of Lord Ram be
different and how can we give
up a claim to this place ?"
Having taken part in the
joint deliberations held in
Delhi with Muslim leaders. the
mahant said: "It is not certain if
there would be further talks.
Shahabuddin is a politician and
even if he ' considers Hindu
claims just. how would his
interests in the politics of vote
allow him to accept a solution
and give it to the Hindus?"
When asked about the growing dangers to the life and property of Muslims in Ayodhya '
and the looming carnage of its
Muslim population. he said:
"Only the people inheriting
'Jaichand' culture are scared of
this danger. And even if it is
given up under such an
apprehension. would it satisfy
the Muslims?"

'\

'Evidence for
Apprehensions
The danger of a carnage is
not only an apprehension but
very
real.
This
becomes
obvious from the speeches of a
number of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh leaders at a series
of meetings in the districts of
Lucknow. Unnao. Barabanki.
Hardwar. Faizabad. Lakhimpur. Gonda. Balrampur. Sultanpur. Rai Bareilly. Pratapgarh
and others - all within a 150
km range of Ayodhya. The
speeches have proclaimed that
those who are not faithful to
the teachings of Lord Ram are
neither'patriots nor Indians.

Also significant is the fact


that every call given to the respective communities by one or
the other committee - either to
hoist black or saffron flags or to
organise a protest. has met
with total success.
It is worth mentioning that
the Ram Janambhqomi Mukti
Yagna Samiti's call for a UP
bandh on March 29 this year
met with absolute success
among Hindus. And so was the
counter bandh call by 10'c al
Muslim . leaders in Faizabad
and Kanpur. Untoward events
were only avoided by the prompt deployment of security
forces.
But are the Indian military
and para military forces dependable
in
protecting
the
minorities
on
such
an
emotionally surcharged issue
as that of Ram Janambhoomil
Babri Masjid? At least the
Muslims in UP do not believe
so. Dr MA Haleem, a vjce president of the All India Socialist
Party and one of the most noncommunal leaders from the
minority social background .
said in Lucknow: "There is
absolutely no law and order
and virtually there is a reign of
terror in the whole of Uttar
Pradesh, The state is against
everybody. but its main victims
are harijans. backwards and
minorities. Communalism and
sectarianism are being propagated by the state through
the official media by highlighting the rituals and practices of
the majority community. The
fanning up of the issue of Ram
Janambhoomi is a glaring proof
of the misdeeds of the state
government in this regard.

Denial of Civil
Rights
Alleging the total denial of
civil rights in Uttar Pradesh Dr
Haleem said:. "Since the return
of Mrs Gandhi to power. section 144 has been a permanent
feature in Lucknow and other
important places in . the state.
which has been converted into
a police state. The stale and
central governments ate denying
the
minorities
their
minimum religious and civil
liberties - the tax ::10 fo.reign
travel exchange. which would

NEWSHOUND

hit pilgrims most is the latest


example of this."
Mr Ibne Hasan. a Lucknow
advocate with Marxist views
believes "the issue of Babri
Masjid has generated unprecedented tension in UP and
this is the single issue which
has successfully electrified
both hindu and Muslim sentiment.
in
post-independent
India. . The organisers and
leaders connected with this
issue are just paper tigels. The
tensions have been so worked
up that ~eemingly there is no
solution to it. The only way to
ease the situation is a national
dialogue."

Growing Muslim
Insecurity
Analysing the causes for. the
development of dangerous
dimensions around the issue of
Babri Masjid. Mr Hasan siad
that consciously or unconsciously, Arun Nehru (who was
then Union Minister of State of
Horne) committed a Himalayan
blunder by manipulating the
opening of the locks of the
.m andir by a court order.
Muslims do not mind giving up
their' claims to one or the other
mosque, but tensions have
been so highlighted around
Babri Masjid, that giving it up
will only result in generating a
sense of insecurity among
them.
Mr Hasan added: "The
leaders of the Vishwa Hindu
Parishad have vitiated the
social climate in UP villages
through malicious propaganda
to a dangerous extent. For the
last three years Muslims, having faced ' the ordeal of being
dubbed as traitors, are living
under the threat of total
annihilation
in
Ayodhya.
Moreover, wherever communal
riots have taken place, be it
Moradabad, A1igarh, or elsewhere, they have suffered and
fought the police and the P.A.C.
Even at the present time something fishy is.being worked up.
A local resident of Ayodhya,
Mohd Abdul Hamid revealed
. that there are about 200 Muslim
families who live in Ayodhya.
Threats to their life and property are growing every day.
The Hindus are nursiI).g ideas

of freeing the birthplace of


their Bhagwan Ram from traces
of not only the Babri Masjid but
also the minority population.
Their targets also include 150
local
mosques
and
70
graveyards.

Ayodhya's Hindu
/ Ethos
Enquiries from adminlstraJ
tive sources revealed that in a
ten kilometre area of AyodhyaFaizabad there are about, 4 ,500
temples and plac'1s of Itndu
worship. Moreove~ out .of
Ayodhya's 750,000 inhabi~nts,
there are about 5 ,500 sadhus
and pandas, most of them 'with
unverifiable antecedents.
That the local law and drder
situation is far from satisfactory
is evident from a report in a
Hindi daily, Naye Log, published from Faizabad on March
3. The paper notes that. the
terror of goondas, anti-soCial
elements and criminals in
Ayodhya is growing out of
bounds. The use of country
made ' pistols,
thefts and
wayside robberies are becoming a routine affair. The local
police does get active after the
crime, but such cases are ~oon
. filed as untraced. '''The unpredictability of the
pre. dominatly
Hindu
religious
population's behaviour in any
outburst of tension can only be
highlighted by a seemhigly
unrelated fact. During the last
decade, the local , post offices
have become richer by about 13
crores
of
rupees.
Tltese
deposits have come from the
dormant and dead savings
bank accounts of untraced
sadhus of whom there is no
record: where they came from
and where they went.
Keeping in view that a number of bloody battles have been
fought 'between Hindus and
Muslims before and after
Independence, it is unfortunate
that the local population, both
in Faizabad and Ayodhya,
seems to be resigne'd to ' the
inevitable. As one citizen put it:
"Even in 1853 some ' 300
muslims were killed and 30
persons died in 1947; even now
some may die, but so what?
Who is' interested in defusing
the situation?"

On the contrary. instead of


seeking out a solution or
attempting to checf its drift
into an explosive affair all concerned parties are trying to add
to the confusion anQ surcharging the atmosplulre. This
would be evident from a book
"Shri Ram Janambhoomi ka
Ratranjit Hihas" (Tn'e bloody
history of Ram Janam'bhoomi).
which
says.
Lord . Ram
appeared on September 22.
1949 at the place called Babri
Masjid. The district authorities.
in accordance with section 145,
IPC. declared this piace as disputed and attached. anc1 then
Hindus went in a civil litigation
to prove their claim. In the
meantime. the then district
magistrate of Faizabad. KK
Nayyer refused to follow the
state government orders of
removing the idol of Lord Ram
from the disputed place and
sought retirment.
Later Nayyer and his wife
used this episode to begin a
profitable political career.

Opening of
the Lock
How was the lock of Ram
Janambhoomi opened? The
same book says: "The Vishwa
Hindu Parishad had threatened
to force open the lock on the
Ramnawa!Di day in 1986. The
state administration got active
and
a
local
advocate
Umeshchandra Pandey went to
the district and sessiops court
with the plea to open the lock
and allow him, as
Hindu.
freedom of worship; on wl}ich
plea the said court ordered to
open the lock." Siginificant is
the assertion in the book: "Just
as the order was passed, a ~
w.aiting city kotwal BP Singh
opened the lock on February

1986."

Quoting page 109 of the


book, a former Congress member of the Lok Sabha, who did
not want to be identified,
alleged: "The chief minister
was instrumental in the opening of the lock and is still supporting both Hindu and Muslim
leaders to fan up tensions on
the issue, so . as to keep his
gaddi intact. "

By Rap

RA11'1 HAS ASK~D HARYAN4


TO MAINTAIN 1H~ VALLJ~~ OF
tvtAAA~HARATA

20 April - 4 May 1987

. __&
fe_c_tl_o_n_S~
l
F&um
_R_e_Vl_e_W_S
__R_e__
____________(3azet~

Vivan Sundaram's' Journey'


By Srimati Lal
haps all my work is 'western' in forms from Chinese art. Matisa broad sense, because of the se, many moderns ... through
medium used, and possibly these processes emerges a conbecause I am an Indian and am sistent truth . I do not see the
not 'rooted' ... but I'd like to necessity to have a single style
think it's not really very impor- - to stick to that style alone,"
tant to me whet~er my style says the artist.
tilts one way or another."
Exploratory
What, then, are the artist's
Visions
primary concerns?
In Sundaram's 'Journeys'
':My concern is to doc ument
the process through which you exploratory visions of ship, sea
arl'ive at yourself - not to aI)d harbour seem to conexpress anyone philosophical, sCiously express a - world-view,
'Ganga's Pageant' to
~es th e ti c or political viewpoint. from
To be alert to my medium, to 'Crossing the Nile', 'Two Fisherbe sensitive to its nuances. To mel1 in China', 'Harb04r in
look at the way I .understnad Hamburg' and 'Cargo From
myself, 'lly location in history Two Civilisations'. In technique
and time, just as one would as well, east and west are itenexamine some phenomenon .... sely fused to create sinuous disI'm not interested in develop- . tortions and a cerebral absting a set 'style', one that can be raction of tone that is a noticeimmediately identified with a able departure from the artist's
more
figurative,
commonality of ideas, imagery previous
a nd medium. My teacher at naturalistic studies. Here, there
M.S. University in Baroda, K.G. is the same quality of poetry, of
Subramanium, to me epitom- deep mystery, that is Sunises a wide, varied look - a daram's hallmark, but more
look I have great admiration intensely so, as the artist
for. He upturns so many of our appears to be groping for a
conventional notions of'rooted- new form, a new language.
ness' by using diverse quota- This 'searching' imparts a
tio I? s, by parody, by employing further power, even a quality of
Continued on page 13, co/3

On Indian- ness' in modern Indian art


I

"I believe that the stereotyped, simplified notions of 'Indian-ness which we carryon the exterior can lack exploration . - this is a 'Iook'which can be conservative and
tyrannical. I'm critical of such strong neo-traditlonalism that
carries with it several loaded implications - for example, is
one 'national' or 'anti-nationa/~ .. ? It is not always possible to
have a shared language. And I cannot be a populist: to be
so would mean my death as an artist Western artists like
Delacroix, Matisse, Gauguin, Picasso, 'went outside' their
own cultures to evolve new idioms. The Indian artist too,
has a right to do so, and must assert this right He can taJse
any location as his startIng point If this is done more
actively, political intervention becomes more possible, a
new respect can be gained in the west II

On I Universality' in art

he political oppositions
of the 'traditional' and
the ' modern' in art .conities of choice among critics
Illes of choice among ClrtlCS
and artists. VYhile some talented and established cri tics like
Arany Banerjee of Calcutta
(who pa~sed away suddenly on
the April 22)
assert
the
vital necessity of a 'traditional'
component in modern Indian
art, others, like the Calcuttabased Punjabi painter Rajen
Bali, are vocal about the need
to break away from such
traditional idioms.
In the words of Arany
Banerjee, who was himself a
painter: "An Indian artist's
works, I am firmly convinced,
should proclaim his Indian
identity. This does not mean
taking resort to that wishywashy stuff that is, for some
reason or other, known as the
New Bengal School. Or shutting
up like a clam and remaining

20 April - 4 May 1987

isolated from the art isti c happenings of the world. Nor does
it make an artist a complete
Indian of today, for the chasm
of history can make a person as
distant as th e gulf of geography.
Jamini Roy was not a clam ...
not only did he make several
copies of French Impressionist
works, he also employed their
styles in his own pictures."
Rajen Bali, on the other
hand, proclaimed in a recent
interview in the capita l : " 1
have always been telling people to break away from tradition, -to dip into yoUI' own
minds for themes, and let your
own voice grow .. . a creative
medium should be universal in
its appeal and not restrict itself
by community, religion and
such like. What is 'Indian-ness'?
Am I not an Indian? What is
Indian art if it d e nies an artist
the freedom to express?" Bali is
of the opinion that "Tagore was
the first modern Indian pain tel'

to break the stranglehold of


tradition. " A ma jor aspect
which is, perhaps by necessity,
overlooked in Bali's statement
is that Tagore's art was utterly
original: it had no derivatives
whatsoever. Its ' univel'sality'
stemmed from the manner in
which it delved deep into the
inne rmost mind of . the post,
itself a world in mic roCOSIll.

Vivan's Journeys
Vi lIa II
Sundaram 's
most
recen t
e .\ hibilion ,
e ntitled
'Journeys', for ty ~vorks in soft
pastel on paper that were on at
the Gallery Aurobindo in April,
gropes towards an expression
of the latter idea l. Its content is
mystical, spirit ual, abstractly
elaborating upon an awareness
that " the world is large, and is
one. " In its m ediu m and form
of ex pression, however, one
cannot overlook the influence
of western modern art: as the
artist him se lf co nceds: " Per-

"Today, we can strike out with whatever baggage we


have: we can utilise all the richness of our own contribution, Jamini Roy, the Bengal School, Sher-GiJ, and also
incorporate western contributions. The previous generation, Akbar, Souza, Padamsee, went to the west to 'discover
the avant-garde: as it were, but today's Indian artist is more
capable of being accepted in the West on entirely his own
terms. But this should not stop the .process of .selfquestioning that's vital to a new language. It's this which
can liberate, not all the lingams and the so- called
Indianisms. "

On the Indian in his own art:


"I would like to. believe that my palette is not entirely of
western origins, that much the same colours may be found
in Indian miniatures and eastern illuminated paintings. .. in
my pastel work 'The Orientalist: a non-rational, nonperspectival (hence non-western) use 0; space is
employed. The blue here is an 'artificial', Indian blue; the
orange is Indian and decorative. A 'flat' Indian perspective
is used to the left of the picture."

On art and contemporary reality:


"I have given visual form to Pablo Neruda 's poems and
expressed the injustices of the Indian Emergency in 197577. I have also set up the Committee for Communal Harmony in Delhi to counter growing communalism. I am a
topical artist, I do take up certain immediate themes; but
ye~ one goes beyond these. Historically art takes time to be
comprehended and it is necessary to work in relative isolation... I'm not at all in favour of the Apna Utsav kind of popularisation - this has to be a slower, educative process;
indirect methods are much more effective."

.'

o___________
f&u
m
fl e_c_tl_o_n_S
d R_e__
_R_e_v_ie_w_s__a_n___
(3azet~

An Allslralian Looks At India


Jats, which made every Sikh a
leader!

Australian academic Robin Jeffrey ha s made a valuable contribution to India watching chronicles with his WHAT'S HAPPENING TO INDIA (The .Macmillan Press Ltd, London, 1986: pp.
249 .. price not listed). Jeffrey taught in a government high
school in Chandigarh in 1967-69, spent time in Kerala doing
research for a book OTT Nayar dominance, and is a Senior Lecturer in politics at La Trobe University, Melbourne. His varied
experience and his confessed fascination with India, par-ticularly Punjab, invests this highly readable, informative book
with an understanding often lacking in drier academic works.
This is not a scholarly
treatise. Nor is it a journalistic
'quickie'. Well researched, it is,
in a sense, contemporary history, in which the human p e rsonalities come alive. The
author has relied heavily on
newspaper ana magazine sources, and this injects a sense of
immediacy into the work. But
the character of the study compels the writer to deal in a
somewhat perfunctory manner
with some aspects of what is
happening to India.
He explains in his preface
th .. t he decided to write the
book in answer to the question
(which he has made the title),
which was repeatedly being
asked in November 1984 after
Mrs Gandhi's assassination. He
gives his answer through an
analysis of events in Punjab
over the past two decades, an
analysis he extrapolates to
cover events in the rest of the
country. For in spite of factors
unique to Punjab, the author's
view is that in essen'ee developments "in other states are dictated by similar forces and
pressures. These he traces to
the impact of certain components of modernisation increased government activity,
expansion of communications
in every area, both in transport
and media, spread of ideas of
competition - on the older
cultures.

Impact of Modernisation on Punjab


In Punjab, which he knows
well, Jeffrey traces how such
modernisation has sharpened
ethnic differences (as it has in
other parts of the country),
how, when exploited by short
term political considerations,
ethnicity can lead to violence.
" For national politicians to
encourage aggressive, ethnic
assertion - as the Congress (I)
party did in Punjab between
1978-80 - simply to undermine
political rivals, is fraught with
dangers. It ought to be regarded as the equivalent of poision gas in the second world
war or nuclear weapons ... " .
These are strong words from
the author.
He argues these points convincingly in discussing ,the
growing assertion of Sikh identity, in analysing Mrs Gandhi's
electoral arithmetic after 1980
and while explaining the
events leading up to the assault
on the Golden Temple. The
book is divided into chapters
on "Ethnicity", " Punjab", "Sikhs", " Innovations", "Politics
1947-1977", " Faction", " Explosion" and finally "What's Happening
to
India?
Besides

presenting in detail Punjab


developments to illustrate what
is happening in the rest of the
country, Jeffrey's "pook is a
strong, almost impassioned
plea for federalism, as the only
way to preserve the Indian
nation-state with its enormous
population,
its five
major
religions, 15 official languages,
thousands of caste groupings,
22 (s ince then 24) states with
their dozens of sub-regions.
Again Punjab is the glaring
example of the dangerous consequences of Mrs Gandhi's
desire " to hold all the reins in
her hand" . But Jeffrey warns " If
voters are constantly frustrated
- if central governments disregard local pride, aspirations
and opinions - the possibility
exists for secessionists to
acquire popularity. " Punjab is
only one example, Andhra
another, and no state is
immune.
Jeffrey's relation of the Punjab story to the larger Indian
perspective ensures him a large
readership oQtside India . What
is of greater interest to Indian
readers perhaps is his analysis
of specific developments, of the
interacti on of various factors,
such as the revolution in communications with the traditional violence inherent in Jat
culture, and the rapid spread
of literacy in the state with the
politicisation of Sikh youth.

one of th e lowest figures in the


country. Betwe en 1961-66 only
2,280 kilometres of road were
built. But in one year, 1969-70,
the added lengt h was 1,920
kilometI'es, and by 1975 there
were 25,000 kilometres of road.
By 1980, 9.'> per cent of villages
wen~ linke d by sealed roads.
By 1974 seventyeigh t percent
of the primary age c hild ren in
Statistics on Punjab Punjab were in schoo ls, the
second highest figure in the
His statistics on Punjab as a country. More than 80 per cent.
cQmplete picture will come as of the rural population h ad
secondary schools within eight
a surprise to many Indian
kilometres. The number of
readers.
In 1980, Punjab's
students ' increased
estimated Gross Domestic Pro- college
duct per person was Rs 2528, from 35,000 in 1964-65 to 1, to,nearly 20 per cent greater than 000 in the mid-1970s. Not that
the education was progressive.
second placed Maharashtra.
the
contrary,
literacy
including Bombay. Occupying On
50,400 square kilometres, 1.5 increased from 27 per cent of
the state'li population to 41 per
perce nt of India's land area,
Punjab, in recent years, until cent in 1981 , 47 per ce nt for
males and 34 percent for
1984-85, produced more than to
million tonnes of foodgrains females. So eliminating boys of
annually, about seven per cent ten and under from th e statis. tics, this meant that in 1980
of the national total.
The stat~ has 10 per cent of three out of every five males in
India's TV sets, 19 per cent of Punjab could read and write.
Circulation of all lang-uage
its tractors (1985 figures), Punjabis use more than twice as daily newspapers pub-Iished in
much electricity per hour as Punjab I'egistered a 312 per .
the "average 'Indian", and since cent increase from 1967- 1979
1976 the state claim!! that every with a 541 per cent increase in
village has electriCity. Punjabis Gurmukhi script papers.
These significan t figures
put more than three times as
much fertilizer for each hectare directly influenced people's
of land as the average Indian attitudes a nd reactions a nd
farmer, and of that la nd more
played a vital role in the sociothan 80 p er cent is irrigated economic an d political devagainst the national average of elopments Jeffi'ey . desc-ribes.
28 per cent. The average Pun- Coupled with the low GDP
from industry, this also helps
jabi has a life expectancy of 65
years, for others the figure is explain the deep-seated frustraiion of yo ung, literate Sikhs,
47. But with all this, less than
2S per cent of the state's GOP. many of them in the All India
Sikh Students' Federation.
comes from industry. This is

The Revolution in
Communications

Resentment Against
Centre
Jeffrey
touches on
th e
sensed injustice in Punjab and
m entions t hat for politicians
Punjab sends on ly 13 members
to Parliament, while Uttar
Pradesh sends 85 . So party
majorities cannot b e based on
Punjab's strength, a p la in fact
which controls the distribution
of natio na l resources. In 'centra l planning too Punjab gets
the thin' edge of the wedge,
being a border state, and in
both cases the Government,
which, as the author points out
earlier, js playing . an increasingly active part in people's
lives; one of the components of
modernisation , becomes the
focus of resentment. Jeffrey
touches on ot h er im portant fa ctors - the legacy of Ranjit
Singh's Si kh kingdom, and the
glo.-ies of th e past, the trauma
of Pal'tition in which Sikhs
were esse ntially the greatest
sufferers, the importance of
river water etc ..
In his profile of the S!khs,
Jeffrey stresses the tradition of
sacrifice, th e organisation of
th e misls, the mobility derived
from military service which
cont ributed immensely to the
exposure of the community to
new ideas fmm foreign experiences
all of which
influence con temporary developments. Tracing the growth
of th e Akali "Oal and SGPC he
comments on the relative lack
of political
foresight
and
sophistication of the Sikh
leadership before Partition and
after, and highlights the tradition, particularly true of the

In the author's view the


revolution in ommunications
has made the most important
impact on developm~nts . in~
India. His contention "i s that
today more Indians ate exposed to more ideas than ever
before, through travel, through
media, through mutual exchange of ideas . . This has produced a great ferment. He cites
many relevant illustrations the November 1984 killings
when TV and radio repeatedly
identified Sikhs as Mrs Gandhi's
killers and TV showed her body
lying in state day after day; the
December 1984 elections with
Congress (I) exploiting to the
full, posters of a bleeding Mrs
Gandhi - the author has used
this on his cover - along with
cassettes of her speeches; the
Bhindranwale cult was spread
through cassette tapes while
the vast mad network in the
state facilitated not only Bhindranwale's travelling cum preaching,
but later allowed
terrorists to use motorcycles
and jeeps for rapid assaults
and get-aways:
- - He explains the change in
the . nature of violence which
ha s always been characteristic
of Punjab, (because he says he
sees it as essentially still a peasant
society) through
the
technical innovations in weap:ons and communications. In
the past, killings were personal. the man who killed his
personal enemy recognised the
value of life, and often risked
his own. People's movements
. were limited areawise, weapons were simpler, identification easier. To-day's indiscriminate killings occur because
"Expanded
communications
networks now bombard Pun-
jabis with information that
enables them to treat other
people as abstractions" and
"mass hatl'ed" has replaced
p ersonal enmities.
The outline of 1947 to 1977
politics lays emphasis on the
.delibe rate denigration of the
Punjabi
language, .on
the
struggle between Sikh leaders,
how the rise of Jat influence
under Sant Fateh Singh changed the character of the Akali
Dal. Congress party machinations to split the Aka lis,
culminating in the 1977 elections. The coverage of these
years is perforce, relatively perfunctory, inevitable in such a
study
and
many
Punjabi
watchers may disagree with
the author's interpretation of
events.

Factional Politics
His account of the factional
nature of Punjab politics makes
absorbing reading, particularly
when he traces Bhindranwafe's
rise and the SGPC elections. He
sees a parallel between Bhindranwale and N.T.H. , both in
their separate ways, invoking
the glories of the past. Equally
Continued on page 15, co/3

20 April \:' 4 May 1987

:The

_____________________________Gf~~--------------------v-i-ewp---O-in-tn,e

Forum
Gazette

Minority Rights
Civil Liberties
Equality for Women
Democratic Values
Environmental Protection

Hypocracy Unlimited
Let us put an " nd to this hvpocracy and s top talking about assuaging Sikh feelings. about the" h ea ling touch." These have become
cliches, d eva lu ed, ))ow calcu lated to provoke Sikh ange r, rather than
instill confidence. The ruling p arty's noisy int erruptions in the Rajya
Sabha to Akali M. P. General J.S. Aurora's reference to the Misl'a Commission report and th e Congressmen w h o m even Justi ce Misra. fe lt
com pe lle d to imlict for the ir rule in the i\:ove mber 1~184 carnage, b e tra vs th e real s(~ntinwnts of th e c() untr~! s ruling part y. Inst ea d ot th e
fu 'lI disc u ss ion iJn th e H(~po rt which all thos(~ int eres t( ~ d in seeing justice don e, irres peCtive of party or community, had hoped for and
expected in this Parliame ntary session, eve n comme nt on, and
quot a tions from th e Report itse lf were objected to.
One of th e Nov(~ mhp.r 1 ~184 widows re'm<;lrk nd aft e l' th e Repol't was
re leas(~ d " E\'I~ n ifon p. p (!rso n is Jlll nished Olll ' h ea rt s \vould he more at
peace. " If tlw go\'(~rnment is seriolls, is sincere, ahout applying balm
to Sikh wounds. all it ha s to do is to bring th e guilty to hook, to perform
its simple duty under law. But the govel'nment is not serious, not sincere and it appears that Congressmen are beyond th e law, even
when murder is involved. The Prime Minister was prese nt in the
Upper House during Genel'a) Aurora's speech . He sat in silence whil~
his fellow party members created an uproar, his silence a tacit
approval.
The excuse for not having a full discussion on the Misra report during this Parliament session appears to be that " more important matters" -President-Prime Minister controverse\', Fairfax, Bofors - took
up Parliament's lime. But is th e re anything"more import3lnt in.'he
larger perspective than justice for an estranged, alienated part ot the
population? Parliament sessions have been prolonged for much less.
Whv not for this discussion')
Anotheropen wound for' the Sikhs is the continued detention of the
Jodhpur prioners.'Before Baisakhi. April 14, there was much talk of
their release as a gesture to th e Sikh comMiunity of the Centre's
bonafides. The d e tenus "'(.jll complete three long years of imprisonment nex t month. Even though the government has admitted that
many of them are co mpletely innocent. pilgrims tl'apped in the
Golden Temple complex by the army operations. But Baisakhf has
come and gone. The d e te nus are s till in jail. Screening of -innocents
continues, ' we are told, hence the delay. But the truth is that the
detenus, innocent or othenvis~have become a convenient human
bargaining fa ctor in a " pa'tkage aeaL" which the Centre knows well
the Barnala government, handica ppe d by its total loss of credibility
in Punjab, cannot accept. The fate of these men and women, the
impact of their continued incarceration on the Sikh community,
are irrelevant.
Sceptics - they make up th e vast 1l1a jority of pe rsons - had predcted all a long that nothing would happe n befOf'e th e Haryana e lections. And nothing has. Now th e important qu es tion is : \-vill anything
happen after the Harya na poll on June 17? We doubt it. The detenus
are in for a long innings. The Sikh wounds will continue to fester.
Unless by some miracle - and in this country of godmen and godwomen, miracles cannot be ruled out - New, Delhi gets itself a Punjab policv aiIned a t solution of th e Punjab prdblem. Pres"ently such a
policy do es not exist. Instead there has been, for the past six years at
least, an ad hoc strategy di ctated purely by Congress (II electoral considerations and drawn up by mep who have no understanding of the
factors which have created the crisis. In this srratet,'Y Haryana's poll is
the decisive factor to-day. Tomorrow it will be something else.
Meanwhile the Punjab crisis is fast b ecoming chronic. The tl'Ouble
with chronic crisis, as with chronic illness, is thai evervone, in man\'
cases the patient included, tends to tak e the condition for granted.
Boredom sets ir~ . So.metim es the primal')' cause is forgolte~. All sense
of urgency is lost. Everyone learns to live with the crisis, or illness. So
we have a situation today where politicians of all parties, the Akalis
included, are no longer concerned with resolving the crisis on a
prlOl'i ty basis. They are only concel'l1ed with the ir own interests
and sutviva I.
So Punjab's Finance Ministel: c reats an impos'sible situation for his
government by asking for the d e parture (jr. the D,G. of Police, who
according tomany reports has achieved a degree of success in combatting terrorism to the satisfaction of the people of the state. The
Centre, which is suppol,ting thp...D. G. , does' not counsel him to avoid
giving press inte rvi ews in which-' he makes highly controversial
statements s uc h as the n eed for a poli ce official in his position to be
given the powers of an army commander. The Centre continues to
treat Punjab's Chief Minister like a vassal. telling him what he should
and should not do. No other Chief Minister, even ofCongress( IJ ruled
states, IS given his "Of'ders", headlined in the media, in such a
manner.
And MI'. Bal'l1ala accepts the situation, with only a mild protest
now and again, such as attending the meet of Opposition Chief Ministel'S, and is reported as "commuting" between Delhi and Chandigarh
in order to survive. His opponents in the other AkCfIi faction continue
to play their political games, at times supporting the extremist youth
groups, at other times remaining silent. And Professor Darshan
S1ngh Ragi blows hot and cold about the terrorists and others, speakingthe lanugtiage of reason' to individuals who are still hoping to find
. the road to peace with honour in Punjab, and speaking tbe language
of extremism while addressing people's conclaves, supposedly
meant only for religious preaching. untroubled by J)is ambiguity.
'11' the drift is not to e nd in disaster, and the chronic illness in the
final solution, people's pressure must be mobilized to force 'a n end to
these political games and demand that public interest be made the
priority. The tragedy of the much vaunted Indian democracy is that
such people's pressures I'e main dormant. Delhi Sikhs, with the support of all those men , women and children who seek justice, could
give the lead by organising a massive protest march against the Misra
Commission Report through the capital concluding ih a pul~lic meetingto demand justice, not forthe \'ictimsofNovember 1984 alone, but
for victim's of injustice anywhere and everywhere in the country.

20 April- 4 May 1987

Religion Politics & the


Indian Ethos
By Balraj Pu.i
Despite ih stout d e fian ce of
Ihe hllk ,/T;lIlama of th e Akal
Takht. II)(~ ,\kali Dal ILl. has
refuse d to folio'.\-' tbe ca ll of th e.
Prinw Ministel' and national
parties to separate religion
from politics. Inst e ad il has
d(! c id! ~ d
to launch a pure lv
religious campaign of amril
pra c har
among
the
Sikh
. lIlass(~ s . Yet it is also supposed
10 le ad Ihe current campaign of
sec ulal' forces against communalism in Punjali.
ThtH'(! shouhl be nothing surprising about th(~ Akali stand.
The Akali Da l was after all bol'll
,.a nd has grovvn in gurudwaras.
Far from c riticising th e I'eIigion-base d Akali move menl ,
the national leaders had th e n
hail.ed it as a vanguard of the
fl'eedom move m en t..
In a similal' way, another
stalwal't of the frendom movement. Sheikh Abdulla Ii, fou ght
his decisive battles againsi th e
Mlislim League and its slogan
of Pakistan fl'Om th e mosqu es
and shrines of Kashmir.
(\gain , tlw e ntil'e tribe of
l/Iem le d by Mau lan a Azad
use d th eological ilrgum e nts in
support of its concept of a co mposite nationalism V\'hereas
leaders lik e Sir S~{ e d Ahmad
Khan, Dr Mohammad Iqbal a nd
M.A. Jinnah argue d th e case for
a separate Muslim id e ntity on
the basis of secular d e mands .
like an adequate s hare ill job's
and
political
powe rfor
Muslims.
Above all it was Gandhi who
not only made th e most potent
mixtul'e of I'eligion and politics
but also said that those who
demanded their separa ti on did
not know what religion was.
Indeed, before starting a discussion on the relationship between religion and politics, it
must first of all be clarified
what . religion is . . As a set of
ideas and values it has a role as .
a source of inspiration for
many of its followers . It is
neither possible nor justified to
deprive theI11 of this source.
Moreover, religious theories
and dogmas, however deficient they may be in rational
content, are not known to
have caused any contlict between religious communities in
India. The contlict is more due '
to communal than religious
causes.
Heligion , however, is not
m ere ly a matt e i' of e thical
values and spiritual beitel's.
Those who insist that religion
shou ld be a matter betw~en a
man and his maker betray an
inadequat e understanding of
the I'Ol e of religion. For, most
re ligions also have a social
. philosophy and provide a basis
1'01' identitv formation.
Everv
religion is ;1 social communi";.
Even tho~e \I\;ho do not shal:e
its ideological beliefs 01' ' are
agnostic, 1'01'111 a part of th e
community by virtue of tneir
family and social ties.
Most communities te nd to
acquir() socio-politi ca l aspirations. Various' forces of illodernisatioll have the effect of
sharpening tl wir urge foj' iden-

titv. Development. mobility,


m edia expansion, politic isation
and adult franchis e further
encoUl'age a sense of selt~
awareness among .th e p e ople,
As class, political and ideological identities have not grown
fast e nough , re ligiolls identities
have stepped in to fill the
vacuum .

ca l identity of a community
wou ld not only be a negation of
the entire history of religious
' COmmUl1ltles
in . India but
would . also retard its gl'Owth,
To seek unity of;,p community
on the .basis of cQ,qlplete politica l agl'eement would. imply a
19S5 of political fre e dom fOl' its
individual
111embers.
Such
' unity can be maintained only
Common Franchise by regimenta tior' and arousing
As the; franchise of gur- ' , the passions of th e community
to a hysterical pitch vvhich candwaras and legislatures is the
not be in its inte rest.
same and as th e former have
T he hllkamnama of the Akal
greater m~bilisationaJ capacity
than political institutions, an Takht has b ee n critiCised for its
inevitable
overlapping ' of attempt to subordinate politics
to re li gion . But it can be view~d
religion and politics has taken
1'l'Om another iingle as an
place in the case of th e Sikhs,
UncleI' th ese cil'l;umstances, attempt to ac hieve panthic
no seculal; system ca n be built . unit~~ on the basis of political
unit\', In this sense it amounts
in India by dismissing altoto th e subordination of religion
gether the reality of communal
identities and their claims to to politic!!. It is not ' m e r~ly a
eco nomic and political in- qu es tion of whether l'eligioll. or
politics should domiliate over
fluence and powe r.
th e other but more importantly
The rea l qu estion, is whal is
whether unity of a religious
the legitimate field fOl' th ese
ide ntities and the degree of commullitv ciln be maintaine d
their autonom\'. For an answer hy a co mmon political party.
Ihe western e .xpe ri e nce may The ve ry fact t!1at th e hukamnot be e ntire ly I'e leva nt. FOI~ .nama does not apply to th(~
Sikh m e mbe rs of. say, th e Conunlike India. most. th e western
gress
pal'ty, Janata party, Comcountries are inhabited bv a
munist
party
and
othei's,
single re li gious communit\'.
implies
admission
of
its
limitaMoreover, Christian political
tion . It is clearly not possible to
parties e xist in Illany of them
bring all th e m e mbers of the
eve n nov" and almos-! all of
community on a single political
the m have a history of dominaplatform . Further, the fact that
tion of th e church over th e
a' large num.ber of Sikh, within
State.
and outside Punjab, have not
India's o\-\' n past experience
responded to th e call of Prof.
is perhaps more I;e levant .and
Darshan
Singh Ragi to join the
he lpful. For unlik e th e West,
united Akali Dal and to bov.cott
India does not ha\'e a historv of
th e ruling Akali Dal leaders,
a theocratic state . As far as Hinindicates that th e h Ilk am na ma
dus are concerned, th ere is no
has not achieved the desired
treatise of politics that is regarobjective of Panthic unit\'.
ded by them as an infallible
If all politica l pal'ties were to
scripture, In fact th e tradition
be organise d exclusively on a
of raja and rishi repre sents a
religious basis and all Vbters
clear distinction between a
followed
their
respective
spiritual and a temporal I'Ol e,
religious parties, the system of
though both share an equal
election would become redun. status.
In the case of 800 ' yeal's oJ dant and the political balance
Muslim. rule in India, there was . would be frozen in proportion
always a clear supremacy of to the respective numerical
strength of variolls parties. This
th e secular authority. The king
lead
to
exclusive
and not the ulema was 'vl/ould
domination by a permanent
supreme.
_majority over ' permanent minLesso'n of Sikh
orities alld to total exclusion of
the latter from political power.
. History
Thus a complete merger of
Sikh history has almost a
instiiutionalised religion and
sirililar lesson. The fact that
institutionalised politics into it
spiritual and temporal affairs
mOJ1olithic forum wOllldcreate
were conceptualised in Sikh
as anamololls a situation as
.tradition by two terms of peeri
their complete se paration. In
and mceri. symbolised by two
pl;actice, memhers of every
swords and .the two separate
community
need
to
seek
forums of Harminder Sahib and
association with members of
Akal Tak ht. c learly implied a
other communities to pl'Omote
duality. The tVI/O concepts were
th e il' class, professional and
closely
related
but
were
cultural
interests
th l'Ough
separate. After the g uru s, the
organbations
of
peasants,
leadership and institutions of w.orkers, occupational groups,
spil'itual and temporal act ietc. So far no religious leader
vi ties
became
more
dishas objected to the autonomy
linctively autonomous. The
of these
institutions from
Akal Takht at no stage assumed , religion. \;\I hy should not th e
a political role nor any Sikh
same apply to politics also in
ruler a religious rol e. The tw o
the interest of intellectual
roles were neither completelv freedom of th e members of th e
separated
1101'
com pt!l(!!P 1\' cllml11unit ~ and , as pointed out
merged .
ahove, of its own unity'! These
Any ' attempt 10 projm:t a
areas of activity canno t he put
monolithic ndigilllls and politi- Continued on page 10, col 5

. :The

_o~p_e_n_F_o_r_u_m______________________ G~~~_______________________________

Discrimination against Sikhs


in U.P.
unjabi
farmers
have
tra n sformed the dangero u s and swa mpy jong les of th e Terai into th e
second granary of India and
Punjabi bus iness m e n ha ve built
up th e ir s u ccessful commercial
e nt erpr ises th e l'e after mig r a ting fl'om Pakistan, throu g h
shee r h ard work and initia lly
minimal re tUl' n s. T h e il' s uccess
ca ug ht th e evil eye of Congress
politicians who found here an
o ppo rtunity to go in fo r rabble
rousing against th e Punjabis.
'Rep rese nt a ti o ns to th e Ce ntre \",'ere m e t with empty
assurances but no m eas ures
were taken.
Discrimination bv th e UP
governme.nt aga in s t th e Sikh s'
of th e Tend da tes back to th e
ea rly J ~J70s, Freq u en t c irc ul a l's
we re se nt .ou t by th e s ta te
(- ' gove mm en t to th e loca l ad" - minis tration .to discollf'age Sikh
settl ers, Now, takin g full advanta g(~ of the prese nt s itua tion in
Punjab, th e UP governme nt has
aga in issu ed instructions to th e
loca l administrat ion which are
discriminatory against Sikhs,
m a king it ope n to the c h a rge o f
abetting and e nco ura g ing d estabili sa tion of th e Sikh co mmunitv.
Bageshwar Sa hib Gurud\\' ara was d e m o li s h e d a nd
looted an d a statu e of Mrs
Indira Ga ndhi \vas reported to
ha ve been in s ta ll ed on th e spo t
wh e re Guru Nana k had sat in
Sa madhi
Im editation).
T his
statue h as now been removed ..
But compensa ti o n for
th e
damage is s aid to be denied by
th e UP c hi ef minist er, on th e
'~ round that th e re is now no
" Sikh p o pula ti(,Jn th ere,
At Gurudwara Na nak Malia ,
. police is ' post e d outside th e
gurlldwanl, but they move
a ro und frequently \,v ithin th e
g urud wa ra pre mises by cour-.
tesy of th e loca l g urudw a ra
managing committee, which
w as impose d on the Sikhs after
o usting th e pro- Akali m a n agin g
committee heade d by S Harind el' Singh,
Sikhs are not allowed to stay
in gllrudwaras, To Sikhs, lhe
gUI'udwara is like a home and
th ey ha ve eve ry right to s tay
th e re, Denial of th e Ijght' to stay
in gllrud wa ra s is direc t interfe l'e nce in the religious affairs
of th e Sikhs,
Sikh houses are be ing co nstantly searched und e r Lh e
excuse that te rroris ts are be in g
sheltered, - Sikh passe n ge rs are
s ingl ed out from buses a nd
th e ir luggage ransacked, Body
searches are carri e d out oli
Sikh ""omen by male poli ce,
adding to their hu niliation ,
In th e matt er of jobs there is
total discrimination against
~ikhs by th e UP govef'f1m e nt.
T h e s am e is tru e in th e mailer
of granting a rm s lice nces. Very
rare ly is a li ce n ce' given to a
Sikh , while li ce nces are g iven
to others quit e free ly,
Compensation for d es troye d
propert~ ' . is not be ing . given.
\\'h eJ'(~ it is be in g offered , it is
so dispropc)I'ti o nat e ,to tlw
actual loss that th e pe opit! af'f~
n ~ fllsin g to acce pt till! clai_ln
Hald\\'ani aloIW,. 200 shops ,'

;t....

The following note on the situation of ~ikhs


in UP Terai was distributed to all MPs from
Punjab by Inderjit Singh Jaijee, MLA 'Punj:lb
Assembly. We reprodtIce it here and ","ould
welcome any further detailed information on
the subject.
h~JlIses a nd abo ut 50 tru cks a nd ,
cars were destroyed a nd ransacke d und e r tIH-~- ve ry nose of
th e ad minis tra ti o n in Novembe r 1984.

Non-Action by State
Governments
Und e l' th e Rajiv-Longowal
acco l'Cl. th e Aka li Dal had
agme d to limit e nqui ries into
th e comm un a l ca l'llage Lo
Bokaro, Kan pur a nd De lhi. T hi s
\\' as a li agree ment be tween th e
Akali Dal and th e Ce ntre. T his
did not. ho weve r, absolve s ta te
govern m e nts from making their
own inquiri es a nd ta kin g ac ti o n
aga in s t th e m isc rea nts , aga in s t
politi c ians who aided and a betted th e m and against e rr in g
officers a t places like De hradu'n , Hald\\'ani. e tc. Sh o p s and
houses were burnt ,md loo ted
be fOl'e th e eyes of th e SDO,
Ha ldwani IBhatnagar). Suc h
officers ha ve mere ly bee n
tralls fe rre d , but no ac ti o n h as
bee n ta ke n against th em.
In th e p as t. Co ng ress e lection cam paign s in Te l'a i w e re
\'irtuall v finan ced by th e Sikh s.
T his was a SOl' t of prot ec ti o n
money g ive n to the r ulin g pa rty T h e Hald vvan i s hopkeepf!rs,
apart fro m g ivi ng m o ney for
the Co ngr ess e lec ti o n fund ,
were fish in th e Co ngress III
pond . This did no t s a ve th e m
from th e Co ngress III anti-Sikh
ve nd e tta after Mrs Ga ndhi 's
assassination .
Rece ntl v a DIG o f th e l iP
police came' out w ith s tatisti cs
about th e I'ecove rv o f arms
.from Sikhs in th e Te rai and
a bput the un earthing o l: o ll e
g un factory produ ci ng 12 bore
p is tols, Wh~/ did h e not m ention compara tive figures of
w e apo ns reco ve re d from distri c ts like Morena , Mora dabad ,
Jhansi. Meerut and KanpUl,'?
Hard Iy a da y passes w h e n g un
fa c to ri es of th e ty p e d escribe d
by th e DIG a re no t dis cove re d
in th ese dis tri c ts.

Inderjit Singh
Jaijee's Advice
Addressing meetings o f res-

ponsible Sikh. c iti ze n;" in 1:"erai'J


/",Ir inderj i t Sin g h Jaijee ad-

BAJRANG BALI
He is a s turdy Hindu Sa tn am i
Jat from Ha ryana. Ilis real na m e
is Chaudhri Bajrang Si ng h .
Besides being an M.A LL.B. , h e
has innumel'able acade mi c distin c ti ons includin g two go ld
m edals. He is prac tising advocate of th e Sup re m e Court. It is
because of th e exe mplary
co urage h t! s howed in fa c ing
ra mpagin g mobs thirsting for
hum an blood that I prefer to
think of him as Bajrang Bali. th e
warrior
monk ey
of . th e'
Ramayana.
In th e flood of h a te and w ickedn ess that eng ul fed Delhi
following Mrs Gand hi's ll1urde'r,
Ba jrang s tood out aSA beaco n o f
lig ht s h ow in g pe opie th e way
Gandhi had s h ow n in ri o t-Lol'll
Indi a. H e a nd h is fa mil y 1I1f'ew in
a ll th e ir I'eso urce s to fee d ,
c lo th e, a nel ho use Sikh famili es
w hi c h had bee n uprooted fl'om
th e ir hom es. He go t th e m jobs
and acco mmod a ti o n : h e arra nged re mar ria ges of w id ows.
He was a mon gs t th e h a ndful
w h o ig nored th rea ts to his .. life
and \'o lunt eered to g ive evide nce be fore th e Misl' a Co mm iss ion against kn ow n kill ers and
police officers w h o collud ed
with th e m , T h e police ha ve no
love 1'01' him , Two a ttempt s ~' ere
mad e to kiII him. He rema in ed
und a unt e d . A gra tefu l COI11munitv honou re d him as bes t as
it co uid wi th siropas (robes of
ho n o ur); on the las t Rep ubli c
Day th e P.unjab Govern m e nt co n,
fe n'e d o n him th e hi gh es t Stat e

awal'd w ith a don a tion of Rs 5


vise d th e m to sort ou t th e ir
lakh s- all of which he put in
eco nom ic a nd political prot rus t for I'efugees,
bl e ms th e m se lves. In th e matT h e kind of assista'n ce he rente r of religion, h e sa ici , Sikhs a ll
d e r e d to beleagu e r e d Sikhs, he is
over th e' world are one.
, now e xte ndin g to Hindu refugee
"Vhil e a lal'ge majol' ity of th e
fami li es w h o have fl e'd from th e
20 lakh Tel'a i Sikh s favo ur th e
Punjab. Anyo n e with any conAka li DaI IBI, h e advis ed th e UP
scie nce wo uld ha ve thought that
Sikh s to d e ve lop loca l politi ca l
a m a n like him would be
roo ts liy jo ining secular pal,ti es
accla im e d a th e Mahatma relike .I ana ta, Lu k Dal and CPM,
in ca m a te d. Not so in th e India of
which are sy mp a th e ti c towards
1987. He is ill jail. He h as been tOf'th e Sikh pro bl em, He ' a lso
Lured, He is brought to co urt in
advised th e m to Jorge close r
handcuffs. He is s uffering from
links ~\' ith other minoriL v co mth roa t a ilm e nt s u s p ected to be
munities, sche dul e d castes and
cancerous. T h e doc tor of th e AIlschedul e d tl'ibes ,,,id throu gh
India In s tilut e of Medical Scienth e ir o\'\'n p e rsona l cond u c t
ces h as reco mme nde d that h e be
demonstrat e that th ey are
flown to Am erica for surgery.
m e mb e l's o f a ca s te less re ligAm erican s u rgeo n s h ave agreed
iou s bod y, wh ic h ha s, at h ea rt
to opera te o n hIm if h e co m es on
th e we lfa re of a ll mankind.
tim e . He has not ";Iske d th e
He ' sugges te d th e id ea of
Govel~nment or anyonp e lse for
dual
political
part y memfinancial assis tan ce but his
bers hip - o n e for Punjab and
application for release offol'eign
one i'o r th e a d opt(~d s ta te.
exc h ange remains unanswered.
Acco rdin g to him , this has
Does thi s make sense to yo u?
iJecome necessan ' as th e Co nKHUSHWANT SINGH
gress has c ummunalise d the
politi cal env ironm e nt. He al so
s ugges te d th a L Si khs se t u p
lega l cell s to he lp ot he r Sikhs in
In a displ ay of co mmuna l har- K irpa n em bl e m struck to 'th e
di s ll'ess.
llIony
rare th ese d ays, a Hindu , a chass is. This Muslim partne r
He also calle d o n Sikhs to
-diversify asset s and dive rt Mu s lim an d Sikh pool e d th e ir fin a lly too k th e ve hicle to hi s
resources to bu~' a three-wJl ee ler mosque, had th e Imam Sahib
bu sin ess - farm surpluses to
tax i. They agre e d to d ecorat e it 'read th e Fa lih a over it a nd th e ,
Punjab and to non- Co ngI'esslD
non-Hindi states, Those living with symbols of the ir res p ecti ve h o ly num eral 786 painte d on the
faiihs - two of eac h . Firs t, th e mirror. Ca n anyone guess what
in
communally
disturbe d
Hindu took it to th e temple to be was th e second Muslim ritual
loca liti es, should move over to
bl eesed by a p ri es \. T h e n he h ad , perform ed on the three-wheeth e safety of sllch localities
"Om " a nd "J ai ,'>Jata Di " painte d
ler? Only when it came bac k it
~.here Sikhs have a sizeable
popula tion and take protec- o n it s front. Nex t came th e Sal'- was making a lot more noise
darji. He too k th e three-w h eeler th an it did before it was taken for
tion throug h numbers ill the
absence of s u c h protection by to a g Uf'dwara , m ade it bow th e ope ration,
be for e th e Gra nth Sa hib IMaltha
the state law and order enforcT ik aa n al , had a "E k Onk a r " pain(Contributed by Harjeet KaurI'
ing mac hinery,
te
d
in
front
a
nd
a
KhandaNew Delhi)
Mr .laij ee re minde d th e UP
gove mm e nt of it s olJli~ation ' to ca nt .manner.
The
wealth a nd Kashmiri, which have a
tak e
actioll
aga in s t
th ose ge n era ted by th e m h as gOI1f:
negligilJle represe ntation in the
news papers which are sprea d- into ci rcu lat io n in UP it self to s ta~e, . Very few schools are I
ing anti-S ikh fee lings, He a lso th e adva nceme nt an d better- e n co urage d to opt for Punjabi.
point ed o ut to th e UP govel'll- m e nt of th e ir adopted s't a te.
He has asked the Congress(l)
In th e m a ll e I' of lang u age l ea d er~hip to cast aside narrow
m e nt that th e Si,khs have
d eve lo pe d th e eco nomy of th e. policy, h e not ed that while e lectora l considerations and in
Te rai and th e SLate a nd unlike
Punja bis a re clearly th e third the national interest become
o th er com muniti es h ave not larges t li ng u a l gro up in th e more tol era nt of other faiths
tra ll sfe rre d th e ir eamin gs to stil te, th e Punjabi la n g uage h as and ling ual groups and other
th e ir pare nt state in any sig nifi- been . bracke ted with Te lug u
party governments,

EWSHOUND
WAAT\'t451He MAIN 1HPfAT
10 L-AW ANJ> o.RD';RiJIHJ)A lUf. TtRffORI5T?

Communal Hannony

ByRap

MURDA

H~

POLJCEMA

20 April - 4 May 1987

_A_M
__a_tt_e_r_O~f_p_e_o~p_le__________________~~________________________________

K.R. Gouri .misses

again
By Mukundan C Menon

rivandrum : The veteran


Marxist leader of Kerala,
Mrs K R Gouri (67), has
once again missed the chief
ministership. . The decision of
CPM's . Kerala State Committee,
taken on March 26 after consultation with its Politburo, in
favour of E K Nayanar for the
post, once again surprised
many. During the hectic poll
campaign, the news that Gouri
would become the chief minister was spread by CPI(M)-led Left
Democratic Front (LDF) Which
could comer the votes of the
lower caste Eazhava community,
to which Gouri belongs. Because
of the same reason, the Eazhavas political outfit, the Socialist
Republic Party (SRP) belonging to
the Congress-l led UDF, failed to
win a single seat. .
Gouri's chief ministership in
the event of the LDF victory was
so certain that the popular
Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi
displayed a three-column picture on its front page on March
25 along with the details of the
popular mandate achieved by
LDF. The picture, showing the
Marxist leader walking to the
Secretariat,
was captioned
"Marxist leader K R Gouri onto
the chief minister's chair within
the Secretariat". On the same
day, the other popular daily,
Malayala Manorama, also predicted in its front page that K R
Gouri would become the chief
minister. It also said that
although Nayanar was re-elected
to the Assembly, l:te was unlikely
to head the LDF cabinet.

the case in 1967 when Gouri


became the food and revenue
minister in the first LDF ministry,
headed by Namboodiripad.
. While the recent victory was
Gouri's seventh term in the
Assembly, Nayanar was elected
only for the fourth term.

Nayanar's Rebel Document


One of the main reasons for

Forward caste communists


There is yet another interesting factor A Majority of the rankand-file of undivided communist
party and, later, both of CPI and
CPl(M) belonged to the backthis strong opinion being spread ward caste Eazhavas. yet, all the
against Nayanar was his being hitherto communist chief minisondee of the nine sign~tories, ters of Kerala - EMS Namboodialong with the now discredited ripad, C Achutha Menon, P K
Communist Marxist Party (CMP) Vasudevan Nair and E K Nayanar
leader M V Raghavan, to put - belonged to the forward
forward the rebel document in castes. Therefore, the less expethe CPI(M) state party confer- rienced E K Nayanar's chief minence at Eranakulam in 1985, istership over the much expearguing for alliance with Muslim- rienced Gouri in 1980 did create
League and Kerala Congress to some minor ripples and internal
defeat the Congress-I led UDF. debates in CPI(Ml.
Although the compulsions of
While Nayanar later shifted his
position to narrowly escape CPl(M) to qhoose Nayanar again
from party punishment, Ragha- for the post are yet to be spelt
van consistently persued his out, it is believed that his perrebel document, and broke away sonal and political qualities
to form his own political outfit weighed against Gouri. The
CMP in July last year, which major consideration was said to
faced total rejection from the be the wider acceptance of
Nayanar by the other LDF
electorates in the recent polls.
Even earlier, there were mur- partners. His experience in
murs when Nayanar was chosen heading the 1980-81 LDF
with
troublesome
to head the 1980 LDF Cabinet in Cabinet,
which K R Gouri was agriculture partners like the Congress-S
minister. This was because, headed by A K Antony and the
when Gouri was the revenue Kerala Congress (Mani Group),
minister in the ' first-ever com- favoured him again this time,
munist ministry headed by EMS since the CPl(M) leadership
Namboodiripad in 1957, Nayanar wanted to see that the present
was only a journalist in the par- cabinet would at all cost comty's Malayalam daily. So also was plete its five-year term. Thus, E K

Nayanar became the third communist leader of Kerala to


become the chief minibier for a
second term - the other two
being Namboodiripad and AchuthaMenon.

for Gouri "Sal).adu" and for


Thomas "Rose House". Being
adjacent blHlglows, they kept a
wicket-gate between the two,
converted one of them as their
living quarters and the other as
I\alathilparambilRaman Gouri residential offices of the ministehad a chequered history with rial couple.
Gouri and Thomas again
many ups and downs. Born pn
became
occupants of 'Sanadu'
the soil of hectic agrarian struggles of Alleppey district, Gouri's and 'Rose House" in 1967 as minfather, kalathilparambll Raman, isters but this time they were
was a poor peasant tilling the ' members of two separate parlalld of the local Hindu temple ties. The communist party had
devaswam. Yet he struggled split three years earlier, and
hard to educate' Gouri, least while Gouri had joined CPl(M),
knowing that she would one day her husband stayed with the
implement the stringent land- CPl. Thus, although they were
reform bill as revenue minister once again occupants of
in 1957 to liberate the millions of "Sanadu" and "Rose House", the
was
closed
peasantry from the YOke of feu- Wicket-gate
permanently.
dalism in Kerala.
From 1969,'when the CPl with
The Gourl Thomas Marriage
Congress support pulled down
Gouri graduated in law and the CPM-Ied LDF government, I
married T V Thomas, one of the till the death of Thomas in 1977, foremost CPl leaders of Kerala. the frozen and cold relationship 'Both being leading activists of between the two communist
the undivided communist party, parties also affected the Gouritheir comradeship led to Thomas couple. When Thomas
was on his death bed, the CPI
matrimony.
Committee
formally
While practising in Shertalai State
informed
the
CPI(M)
State
leadcourts in 1952, Gouri was first
elected to the then Travancore- ership about Thomas' last desire
to meet Gouri. CPl(M) allowed
Cochiri Assembly. She has since
been
continuously
elected her for a fifteen-minute meeting
except in the 1977 polls when with her husband, but only in
she tasted her first defeat at the the presence of .a comrade
hands of a CPl candidate with deputed by the party.
Had Gouri been selected for
Congress-l backing.
the chief ministership by' the
It was in the first uRdivided
CPI(M) State Committee, she
communist lcabinet headed by would have created history as
Namboodiripad in 1957 that
the first famale chief minister of
Gouri became revenue minister south India. (NEWSCRIPT)
and Thomas the industrial minister. Both of them then had
separate ministerial bunglows -

~========~------------------~----------------------~-----t,.~)

Sport

Indian Hockey: Moving Backwards


By Gurbax Singh

two years. But where does


Indian hockey go from here?

I remember the national


hockey championships held
nearly ten years back in 1978
at Madurai. The tournament
was thoroughly mismanaged
and the living and playing conditions were deplorable. Indian
hockey has been dlrough
man}' ups and downs since
then, but the recently concluded national hockey championships at Pune took the
game to the lowest depths. A
tournament in which nearly
30 teams participated was
rounded off in eight days ! The
fall-out of the tournament
which passed off as the
national meet was that the
Indian Hockey Federation secretary, K L PassL submitted his
resignation which the IHJ" president, M A M
Ramaswamy
promptly tore up, and thal the
Maharashtra Hockey Association has been debarred from
holding any tournament for

10

20 April - 4 May 1987

I remember the na tional


hockey championships held
nearly ten years back in 1978 at
Madurai. The tournament was
thoroughly mismanaged and
the living and playing conditions were deplorable. Indian
hockey has been through many
ups and downs since then, but
the recently concluded national
hockey championships at Pune
took the game to the lowest
depths. A tournament in which
nearly 30 teams participated
wa.s rounded off in eight days!
The fall-out of the .tournament
which passed . off as the
national meet was that the
Indian Hockey Federation secretary K L Passi, submitted his
resignation which the IHF president M.A.M.
Ramaswamy
promptly tore up, and that the
Maharashtra Hockey Association has been ' debarred from
holding any tournament for
two years. But where does
Indian Hockey go from here?
The
recently
conducted
Pune Nationa ls were deplorable
in 'every aspect. Lack of funds
caml0t be an excuse for the
w ay the Nationals were conducted because the ITC had contributed Rs 2. 5 la khs to the
tournament. The teams were
mostly put up in army barracks

without even fa ns, and w er:e


asked to playas much as fou r
matches in three days after
travelling from extreme corners of the country.
Most astonishing, now, is
that when no recognised form
of hodtey anywhere in the
world is played on natural surfaces, we have our Nationals
played on surfaces worse than
grass. The failure to mould our
players on astro turf and
polygrass is the main reason
~for our failure at the international level.

Start From
Grassroots
Now the hockey planners
are involved in talking of tactics
to be adopted at the inteI'national level. I feel, it is a typical case of putting the cart
befOl:e the horse. Why don't we
sit togethe r and plan out
things re-orga nise hockey from
the grass root level and have
better fields and living 'conditions. Tactics should come
only after we have the basic
amenities. What is the point in
making our boys slog in gravel
fields and then expect them to
take on European teams ?
Everything abol,lt our hockey
now is lopsided.
The ne xt major national
meet is the Junior National

from where a junior team to


play in the Australasia meet to
be held in Delhi will be selected. The Junior Nationals, if I
remember right, is scheduled
to be held once again on
natural grass - in Bhopal. I
strongly fe el that event if it is
delayed by a month it should
be held on .astra turf. Three
teams from the Delhi tournament w ill qua lify for the Junior
World Cup and if we manage
to qualify, it will go a long way
in forming a strong second stI'ing team. But nobody seems to
be thinking along these lines.
The government's attitude to
the game is .also not encouraging. MoSt of the time Mr Passi,
who is the Indian representative to the FIH, is not able to
attend crucial meetings because
he is not cleared in time by the
government. Our public relations e xercises at the international level have also plummeted. The result is that the
former world champions have
no say in crucial matters like
choosing of ve nues or change ot
rules. Passi's trip to Kuala Lum-'
pur to attend a FIH meeting has
till now not been cleared. Even
if it is cleared at the eleventh
hour, as is usually the practice,
it does not he lp much. Everything it seems is rotten in the
state of Indian hockey.

(Gurbux Singh was the joint


captain of the Indian hock ey
team to the Tokyo Olympics
and along with the late
Prithipal Singh, formed the
famed deep defence of Indian
hockey for long. He was also
member of the national selection committee and is actively
involved in hockey as coach,
referee and administrator.).

Religion, Politics
and The Indian
Ethos
Continued from page 8, co/5
into wateI'-tight compartments.
Nor can they be merged into a
single monolithic entity without emasculating them.
Instead of posing the question in, either/ or terms; a more
fruitful line of approach would
be to debate the appropriate
nature of the relationship between religion and politics in an
institutional and . ideological
sense and to define the spheres
of the ir autonomy. In undertaking ...thiS task, India's own historil!1I experience and current
realities should be ignored.

:The

_T_h_iS~r_o_rt~.n_~~h_t_S'_S_to_ry__________________~~~~~__~______~, ----------------------I ~,

SINDBAD THE SAILOR.COMES TO INDIA

(PART - I)

By Mujtaba Hussain
entlemen, I am Sindbad,
Sindbad the sailor, who
travelled little but wrote
many
travelogues.
Actually
many of these travelogues had .
been written without undertaking any journey whatsoever.
But as luck would have it my
travel books became so popular that my publishers brought
out dozens of editions to
meet
an
ever . increasing
demand for them. But the
beauty of it was that every
new edition was brought out
in
such
a
surreptitious
manner that I was the only
one not to know about it. So
when
I received another
request to write another travelogue for them I was not at
all surprised. Their only inter, est was to get hold of the
manuscript as earl:y as possible so that they could bring
out its golden jubilee edition
and load their wives with all
the golden jewellery in the
world while I remained poor
and uncared for.
So, I told my publishers
that the possibility of undertaking such a venture was
remote. To. begin with, I had
become so old and feeble that
seeing me holding my walking
stick it was difficult to tell
whether it was the s.tick
which was supporting me, or
if it was the other wav round.
The second thing that I told
them was that I had lost the
knack of travelling without a
ticket; and to travel with a
proper ticket would not only
hurt my self respect but also
\- nit my reputation as a self\ tufficient Fakeer. So, what I
.' suggested to them was to
allow me to use myoid technique and write yet another
travelogue without doing the
travelling. But this time they
argued that I had already
written
enough
imaginery
travel books, so, it was high
time that I produced a travelogue by experiencing a real
journey.' .
Having committed myself to
do as my publishers wished, I
started thinking about the
possibility of going to an
interesting country. I was still
raking my brain when report
after report of communal riots
in India started pouring in. It
was stated that communal
riots in India had become the
order of the day. The seeds of
such riots, it was reported,
were sown every year, and
every year crop after crop of
human heads was harvested.
Having read such fantastic
descriptions about the Indian
riots I developed an overpowering desire to see them for
myself and give my sinful eyes
the satisfaction and the intoxicating joy' of enjoying a rare
spectacle.
Ultimately, when I shared
my desire with some of my
unemployed friends, one of
them suggested lhat if my
sale aim was just to see the
riots, I should go to America
where
racial
riots
were
u.ncommonly
common.
Another one inte,,,ened and

said, "But if you want to see told me it was easy to reach


a hundred percent pure and Inma safe and sound, but
unadulterated riot" then you almost impossible to come
must go to India. The riots back intact. Consequently, I
there are so pure . that you kept my entire luggage in a
state of reamness so that 'I
won't find a trace of humanity
in them. The finesse with could just pick it up and
which the heads of human dash out of Inma on receiving
beings are chopped off, and the first danger signal.
Once in Inma I found that I
the knives thrust- into their
bodies, defies description." I was unable to make any permanent arraflgement for my
was also ' told by a friend that
rioting was a kind of support board and lodging. But as I
in India and has been there came to know later it was
since ancient times. He went quite a normal thing in that
so far as to say that anyone country. Most of the Inmans
who hasn't seen the Indian had no permanent roof over
their heads ' and no steady
riots has lived his life in vain.
Another friend came forward source for earning their daily
with the opinion thai though bread. In fact, most of them
the Taj MahaL Ajanta and used the whole country as a
Ellorawere certainly wOlth temporary abode - a Serai,
seeing, India's communal riots and in the end they went
were unique and were not to straight for their heavenly
abodes without . clearing their
be missed on any account.
debts and rent arrears. So, I
That settled the r'natter, and
too selected a spacious and a
I started borrowing the things
necessary for the journey. Hav- lively place under a railway
ing done so I set out for my bridge and began to live there.
trip
to
India.
Facing . a I shared . this . place with four
hundred hazards of overland local wanderers who ' went out
journey and escaping the begging ' during the day ' and
watchful eyes of the ticket when they came 'back in the
inspectors I reached India safe evening, they spent their ' time
relating the interesting things
and sound. But the moment i
they had observed during the
reached there a strong anxiety
day.
gripped my heart. Friends had

..... ...

.'..,

....

In Inma a wandering men- also get some food to eat. BUl


dicant, like the ones I have they refysed my offer and told
mentioned, is called a Dervish. me thai being a foreigner I
was their honoured guest.
It hardly took me any time to
become a part of this group Inmans were known for their
of Dervishes, and I got mixed hospitality and indulged in . it
up with them as sugar mixes so much that they had
with milk. We were so much become notorious all ov~r the
alike that it was mfficult to world_ They never allow~d a
mstinguish one from the guest to beg for his . food.
other. But as sorm as these Instead they went. out themDervishes came to know that I selves and begged for him.
was a foreign traveller, and Frankly speaking I felt .that
that my name was Sindbad being hospitable in such a
the Sailor, they gave loud guf- manner was easy as it cost
the host absolutely nothing. I
faws and said, "Every traveller
was told that doing things in
who steps on this land thinks
that he is Sindbad. You this way was prevalent in
happen to be the eighth one. Inma from top to bottom. I
But you don 't have to worry! was also told that whenever
Just stay here for ' some time the people of Inma asked for
and we are sure you will assistance from their govern~
ment, the latter met their
come to your senses." Anyway
being incognito suited me fine. demands by securing aid from
I had no desire to remove foreign countries. One thing
their misconception as
I cancelled out the other, and
wanted to protect the huge all the business transactions of
amount of money hidden the Indians were settled in
under the rags I was wearing.
this manner. Anyway, I spent
a long and happy time in the
Soon these Dervishes started
treating me as one of them. I company of these Dervishes.
too came forward to show my
During this time I had a
solidarity with them by offer- chance to gain mastery and a
ing to accompany them in .rare expertise in the use of
their
daily
excursions.
I s~ch rel&Xing and inspinng
thought that it would give me
things as hash, rr:.iJ'ijuaoa and
an opportunity to relax and smack.
All along I had deliberately
. avoided telling these Dervishes
the purpose of my visit to
India. The reason wis that I
soon "found out that ' Indians
were great masters in the art
of spenmng !ife without a
purpose. They had no desire
to search for a purpose in
their own lives and they rarely
tried to know what . purpose
others were living for. One
fine day, thinking the time
oppartune, I opened my heart
before the Dervishes. "Brothers," I said, "I want to tell
you that I came all the way
to your country to see with
my own eyes . the faqtastic
riots of your fantastic country.
So, I request you to do something so that I can fulfil my
wish."
The very mention of riots
agitated the Dervishes. One of
them .was so upset that he
said, "Listen Sindbad, you
seem to be an agent of .some
foreign power. I am afraid I
have begun to doubt your
intentions. I warn you not to
mention this word in aLII'
presence. Perhaps you don't
know that it is because of
these very riots that we have
become Dervishes, and .are
now spending the remaining
part of our lives under this
railway bridge. Before we
came here we too were Hindus and Muslims like the others. By chance we happened
to be neighbours and when
rioting began, it is with our
own hands that we set fire to
each other's houses and
attacked each other with
sticks. It was only when we .
had lost everything the
members of our families our
wealth and property - that
we realised that we had
remained neither Hindus nor
Muslims. We were reduced to
'

..
'

Continued on page 13 col 4 '

20 April- 4 May 1987

11

:the

_H_e_r_it_a~g_e_&__H_is_t_o~ry~________________~~~________________________________

TEGH BAHADUR THE "NINTH GURU


egh Bahadur, the youngest son of the sixth Guru,
Guru Har Gobind, . was
born on April 1, 1621. According to tradition he was named
"Tegh" because his father
foresaw that he would be
powerful eriough to endure the
"tegh", sword. As a young man
Tegh Bahadur had been so
withdrawn into himself and a
life of contemplation that Guru
Har Gobind did not namehimas
his successor. However when
the young eighth Guru, Guru
Hat Krishen; the grand-nephew
of Tegh Bahadur; was dying in
Delhi, stricken with small pox,
he indicated to the people
around him that the next guru
was .to be an older "lan living
in the village of Bakala. :'Baba
Bakala" were alleged to be hiS
words.
Kushwant Singh writes in
his History of the Sikhs : "Tegh
Bahadur was a man of retiring
habits who did not wish to
fight for his rights. But his very
reluctance to press for recognition turned the Sikh masses in
his favour" . Tegh Bahadur's
love of meditation is expressed
in his own words:
"0 brother, nothing in this
world can be thine forever;
Therefore think of Him
alone and live alooffrom the
sorrows of life.
Plunge "thyself again and
again in this thought,
And see what little the ~rld
contains that can promise
augh~
,
The
illussion of magic
colours, bewitches you again
without purpose,
Therefore turn within and
see
the
Truth
within
ihyself"
Having "be e n calle d by the
community, the 40 years old Tegh
Ba hadur left Baka la for Amritsar.
But when Guru Ha r Go bind
had shifted his seat to Kiratpur,
most of his disciples had
followed him and the temple at
Amritsar had fallen into the
hands of the " masands. They
refused Tegh Bahadur entry
and shut the doors of " the
Harimandir against him.
So from Amritsar the Guru
went to Kiratpur. But when he
left the Harimandir for the
village of Wadala where he
stayed in the simple home of a
devout disciple, the people of
Amritsar hearing what had
happened, came to meet him
and, it is said, the women of
the c~ty took the lead "and
accompanied him, singing all
the way.

him back to Punjab. It was not


considered advisable for the
mother and child to take the
long journey with him so they
stayed at Patna whe.e the
young Gobind passed the first
seven yearS" of his Ii.e.

The Founding of
"Anandpur
He founded the town of
Anandpur, when his envious
cousins and nephews troubled
him so much in Kiratpur that
he was forced to retire"into the
wilderness. He bought a hillock
near the village of Makhowal,
five miles north of Kiratpur,
and built a village for himself.
Here he hoped to find peace
and solitude, and he named it
"Anandpur" , the haven of bliss.
But even there his quarrelsome
kinsmliln would not leave him
in peace and he decided to
leave Punjab un"til the atmos phere changed.

12

20April-4 May1987

Aurangzeb and
Punjab

.~ ~t t

With his wife and mother he


started on his extensive travels
eastwards, a kind of missionary
tour spreading the message of
Sikhism. He visited Kurukshetra, Agra, Prayag, Varanasi and
Gaya. 'Khushwant Singh says:
"Wherever he went, the Sikhs
acclaimed him as their guru.
When he arrived in the vicinity
of Delhi, Ram Rai, (the ' elder
son of the seventh guru, Guru
Har Rai)' who was still in attendance at the Mughal court. had
him arrested as an ' imposter
and disturber of the peace.
After investigation the charge
was dropped and the Guru
allowed to proceed on his
way." (Khushwant Singh explains earlier that when Guru
Har Rai sent Ram Rai to
Empp-mr Aurangzeb's court to
represent
him,
Aurangzeb
decided to keep Ram Rai in
Delhi believing that with the
Guru's future successor in his
power, he would be able to
decide the future of the Sikh
community. When Ram Rai'/!
"sycophancy" at the Mughal
court turned his father against
him, ' the latter announced the
succession would pass to his
younger son, Hari Kfishen.)

The Guru's Political


Mediation
TElgh Bahadur finally reached Patna in Bihar. By then his
wife was in an advanced state
of pregnancy and could npt
travel further, so the Guru left
her with his mother in Patna
and continued his journey
eastwards to Dacca and Kam-'
rup. Wherever he went, he
resurrected the memory of
Guru Nanak who had been
"there before him, and given his
message to the peQple. From
Patna, Raja Ram Singh accol'J1panied the Guru whose blessings and spiritual support he
sought for an expedition to
Bengal on which he had been
sent by Aurangzeb.
When Tegh Bahadur reached the "banks of the Brahma-

In Punjab the Guru found


that Emoperor Aurangzeb had
started his policy of religious
persecution. In his History of
Aurangzeb, Sir IN Sarkar quotes Kharif Khan: "Aurangzeb ordered the temples and the Sikhs
to be destroyed and the Guru's
agents (masands), for collecting
the tithes and presents of the
faithful, to be expelled from the '
cities. "
To quote Khushwant Singh:
"There were stories of the
demolition of temples and forcible conve rsions; taxes had
been reimposed on Hindus
visiting their places of pilgrimage. Tegh Bahadur's rivals had
discreetly disappeared from
the scene. It was left to him to
instil confidence among his
own people and the Hindus,
who had now begun to look to
the Sikhs to protect them from
the tyranny of officials"
Tne Guru ultimately sent his
fa mily to Ana ndpur. But he h imself did not stay the re long. He
tra velle d exte ns ively a round
Punjab exhorting pe ople to take
a firm stand in the face of the p e rsecution. Whereve r he went
large crowds flo cke d to him.

Kazi's court. Khush~ant Singh


writes: "Emperor Aurangzeb
was not in Delhi at the time.
But there is little doubt that the .
policy of persecution of the
non-Muslims had been renewed at his personal command, and the execution of
Tegh Behadur, who was looked
upon as the leader of the Hindu s, had his tacit approval.
Two followers of Tegh Bahadur
were also beheiided; the others
haq escaped." .'
Having refused conversion
the Guru' s fate was sealed
Sikh historians recorded that
when the Guru refused all persuastion, the jailors turned to
one of his followers, Bhai Mati
'Das, and offered him the choic~
between Islam and a horrible
death by being sawn alive into
" two like of log of wood. Bhai
Mati Das refused to abjure his
faith and died a martyr's
death. The other disciple, M
staunch in his faith as Mat...
Das, was, boiled alive in a'
cauidron of water, . before
Tegh Bahadur's eyes. But the
Guru could not be shaken and
was sentenced to be publicly
beheaded.
Khushwant Singh gives the
version of Ratan Singh Bhangu,
who, in his Pracin Panch
Prakas states that on the Guru's
refusa l to accept Islam, the
Chief Kazi asked him to save
himself by some of the
mirac ulous pow ers he was
alleged to possess. The Guru
wrote some thing on a piece of
pape r and tied it with a string
round his ne ck. This, he told
the Kazi, would prevent the
executer from c utting his head.
When the Guru's head was
severe d, the piece of pape r wa ~ I
opened. It read "Sis Diya pa? ,
sirr na diya" - " I give my head .
but n01 my secret" .

putra river, the Raja of Kamrup


came to pay homage to him
and on this occasion the Guru
was able to bring. about a
peaceful settlement between
the Raja of Kamrup and R'aja
Ram Singh, thus avoiding a battle between them.
In memory of this event, and
in sacred memory of the Guru's
visit, a high mound was raised
According to Sikh historians,
at Dhubri by the .soldiers of
Sher Afghan, the Subedar of
both sides. The village and ,
Kashmir, had already convergurudwara of Dhubri have an
ted more than half the people
interesting legend. It is said
under his governance to Islam
that across the Brahmaputra
and was continuing his conver.where the Guru stopped there
sions. His main efforts came to
lived a -'dhoban', possess ing
be concentrated on the high
magical powers. She would not
caste Hindus, the Pandits of
allow any man of god to stay
To Anandpur and
Kashmir. He offered them the
anywhere near her home and
choice between Islam . and
Rakab Ganj
when Guru Tegh Behadur
death. They prayed for time to
came, she threw the trunk of a
Tegh Bahadur was executed
think over his ultimatum and
big peepul tree at him. But the
in Chandni Chowk on Novemthey went' to Anandpur and
peepal did the Guru no harm
ber 11 , 1675. The court had
told the Guru their terrible
and began to grow there . . She
ordered that the body should
predicament. then threw an enormous rock,
be quartered and exposed to
Khushwant Singh,citing Macbut the Guru was not hurt, and
public view and his followers
auliffe,gives this version: " .. . a
she gave up. -She crossed the
were not allowed to take ifaway.
delegation of Kashmiri Brahmriver to meet the man who was
Gurudwara Sisganj stands on
ins had approache d the Guru
not affected by her magic and
the place of execution. Sikh
to help them out of their preexplained that she would
tradition has it th~t on that day
dicament. (They had 'been
follow him but wanted her
a great duststorm swept the
ordered to accept conversion to
name to be remembered. The
city and the sky became blood
Islam!. The Guru is alleged . to
Guru agreed to her request by
re d. Under cover of the storm
have advised them" to tell the
naming the place 'Dhubbri'.
the daring Bhai Jaita, a devoted
Mughal officials that if Tegh
The tree and the rock can be
disciple, picked up the Guru's
Bahadur would accept converseen near the gurudwara,
head, and escaped with it to
sion they would follow suit.
where, every " year, on the
The Guru was consequently Anandpur, whe re it was cremaanniversary of the Guru's marted by Tegh Behadur's son,
summoned to Delhi.... "
tyrdom, thousands of people
Gobind Rai. The extreme devogather from the whole eastern
tion of the low caste BhaUaita
Summons to Delhi so
region to celebrate.
touched Gobind Rai that he
The emperor's emissaries flung his arms around Bhai
The Guru visited Sikh cencame to Anandpur to summon Jaita's neck and blessed him
tres in Sylhet. Chittagong and
the Guru to Delhi. He did not
Sondip. During this journey the
and his community.
go with them but promised to
Raja of Assam invited the Guru
The martyreg Tegh Bahafollow . He wanted to see some dur's body was removed" under
to his state "and, according to
of his diSCiples on the way to _ "cover of darkness oy another
tradition, became his disciple.
Delhi and he took his own time devout Sikh, Bhai Lakhi, whose
While Tegh Bahitdur was in
and his 9wn route. But the convoy of carts was moving out
Dacca,news came of the birth
Mughal officers declared him of Delhi Fort towards Chandni
of his son, on December 26,
missing and named him an Chowk after having unloaded
1666. Bllt he spent nearly three
absconder and issued a war- supplies. While .the storm was
years in Assam before returnrant for his arrest. ' At Agra, still raging, Bhai Lakhi lifted
ing to Patna to be with his
along with fi ve of his disciples, the body on to the carts and
family. However, ' h e was unathe Gu ru gave 'himself up to the drove the 9arts sw iftly to his
ble to spend much time with
empe ror's m e n:
the child, na m ed. Gobind Rai.
hom e at
Rakab Ganj . He
From Agra he was taken to liremated the body imm'e diUrge nt m essages summoned
Delhi a nd brought" before the
Continued on page 14 col1

--------~~--~---A Faltering Second Front


Continued from page 1, col2

This crusade has also begun


to reveal its disastrous economic consequences. Thousands of small and marginal
farmers, who used to supplement their meagre incomes by
poultry farming, are now finding it extremely difficult to sell
eggs and table birds in the
nearby markets and they do
not have the requisite resources to market their goods in
far off metropolitan cities.
They are being, therefore, con
strained to make distress sales
both to retrieve some of their
capital and escape a shadowy
assassin's builet

Anti-Tobacco
Campaign
For their campaign against
the sale and consumption of
tobacco, the Sikh fundamentalists do have scriptural sane
tion. They also do enjoy' a great
measure of support amongst
the Sikh masses. But the use of
force to stop the sale and consumption of tobacco cannot be
justified by reference to basic
Sikh tenets. A majority of Sikhs,
especially,
the enlightened
section, therefore, favours that
like the sale and consumption
of beef, the sale and consumption of tobacco too should be
done in private so as not to
hurt the religious susceptibilities of the Sikhs.

Mai Bhago
Regiment .
On Baisakhi, which fell on
April 14 this year, the Mai
Bhago Regiment, the women's
wing of the Sikh extremists,
threatened "to open another
front against the use of cosmetics, "bindi" and sarees from
May 1. It was not, ,however,
made clear whether the campaigners' directive was addressed to Sikh women only or to
all Punjabi women. This move
cannot but antagonise women,
whether educated or not, as it
did in neighbouring Pakis
tan when general Zia tried to
impose "austere Muslim dress"
and "Purdah."
Indidentally, this move is an
extension of what the extremists during the lifetime of the
militant Sant, Jarnail Singh
Bhindranwale had been exhorting the Sikh youth and
intellgentsia to do. During one
of my sojourns in Amritsar du!'ing that period, Bhai Amrik
Singh, who was the Sant's official spokesman, told me that
recitation of "Bani" (Sikh scriptures) and wearing of "Bana"
(the traditional Sikh attire) are a
MUST for a devout Sikh.
When I pointed out to him
that the Sikh Gurus, especially
from the fifth to the tenth, did
not wear the traditional Punjabi dress of long "Kurta" and
"Tehmad" but the dress made
popular by the Mughal emperors, he murderously looked
at me and said: "You intellectuals can find some historical
justification for all your lapses
from the Guru's Grace."

A 'Double Life'
During my recent tou r of
England, Canada and USA,

Sindbad the Sailor


Continued from page 11 , col5

I was surprised to find a large man and woman's basic quest plain and simple human
number of Sikh youth wearing to be archit ects of th eir own beings. There was nothing left
"Bana" when off duty. But destiny has invariably m ade to hate between us. All that
before going to work, they them tear to shreds the strait- divided us had been deswould change into western jacke t of religious or ideologi- troyed. Poverty brought us
clothes. They could offer no cal fundamentalism. Th e end together and gave us a new
convincing argument for lead- of the Presbyterian Cromwell's bond. Now we live under tlus
ing a "double life", Their rule in England in the 17th cen- bridge as good neighbours
sheepish reply was: "This is tury is a case in point. We have because the walls that divided
necessary for the furtherance only recently witnessed the us are no more! We have
of the 'cause' in a hostile socio- failure of the "Cultural Revolu- become good friends because
political milieu". Some of them tion" in contemporary China. A the very notion of being rugh
also referred to an incident in similar march towards com- or low, wruch made us hate
Guru Gobind Singh's life when parative individual fr eedom, each other, has been dishe disguised himself as "Uch which ' started with de-Stalin- . carded. Sindbad, never talk of
da Peer" to give a slip to his isation in the Sovie t Union in riots in our pJ;esence. We are
Mughal pursuers and carry on the late sixties, has gathered so happy in our poverty. It has
his struggle against the bigoted much momentum that its pre- enabled us to understand and
sent rulel', Mikhail Gorbachev, know each other better. "
and tyrannical Mughal rulers.
I had hardly recovered from
Some others said that has been forced to initiate
what
they- told me when the
democratic
reforms,
though
wherev'e r they "w ent wearing
"Bana", hundreds of curious admittedly limited, in the coun- chief Dervish came forward
and said sternly, "Sindbad,
passersby accosted them and try' s political structure.
staying with us no
It is therefore, only a ques- your
enquired about their dress.
longer
seems desirable. I fear
time
when
Sikh
funtion
of
That gave them an opportunity
to enlighten them about the damentalism will boomerang. the time has come that we
Sikh religion and their current Until then the country, especia- may be unable to control our"struggle against injustices lly Punjab, will have to pass selves and start a riot against
being perpetuated against their through a traumatic experien you . Now, your safety lies in
leaving trus place forthwith
co-religionists in India, es- ceo
and
vacating
this
bridge
pecially Punjab". They reimmediately. Otherwise, you
mained unconvinced \'Yhen I
Vlvan SUndaram's
won't find anyone worse than
bluntly told them that "you
the. four of us."
were. only making yourselves a
"Joumey'
Sensing a threat to my life I
laughing stock Moreover, it is
was so frightened that immewell to remember that ~lJriosity
Continued from page 6, eol5
diately picked up my things
does not take much time to
the
strong
palette
and
fled. After covering a long
violence,
to
wear out. Live in Rome as the
of
Fauvistic
primary
colours,
distance
on foot I happened
Romans do is a hoary, sound
with a repeated use of rich to reach a city wruch presadvice".
blues and reds heightening the ented the veiy picture of desThe assertion that wearing
ambience of fantasy to a near t:'Uction and devastation. Peoof "Bana" makes the Sikh funpsychedelic level.
pIe there seemed terribly
damentalists either better huIn fact, the influe nce of the frightened and depressed. At
man beings or super humans is
pop art of the 60 s on the artist last I got hold of a man and
also specious. There are scores
at a formati ve period when he asked rum, "How come your
of reports fro"m Batala, Ludhwas at London's Slade School city has assumed such a
iana and Jalandhar that these
on a Commonwealth schola- pathetic look?" With difficulty
"Banadhari" extremists have
rship between 1966 and 1968, is the man replied, "A riot shook
started extorting money from
clearly evident in these works. trus city to its very foundaSikh industrialists on the plea
The symbolic journeys draw tions only two days back."
that they are "making sacrifices
the viewer into theiT depths,
Hearing rum mention a riot
to ensure them complete proand the majority of the works I jumped for joy and appealed
tection against their more
has a certain haunting quality, to the man to take me immeadvanced and crafty Hindu
but there is also a problematic diately to the 'riot'. Disclosing
counterparts in the proposed
repetitiveness in the collection, to him that I had travelled
Khalistan". These extortions
which both intrigues and dis- thousands of nliles just to see
have, once again, aroused th e
appoints: intrigues, in its subtle a riot, I requested him not to
dormant hostility between Jat
re-emphasis on unity, -a strand waste any more time and
and non-Jat Sikhs for one simof oneness; disappoints, in its show me one.
ple reason: while most of the
fa i:I ure to explore form to
The man gaped at me in
'extremists belong to the Jat
further depths. It seems, wonder and said, "You are a
caste, the latter are mostly rathe r, as if Sundaram has strange man! A . riot is not a
Ramgarhias,
Khatris
and
painstakingly created several thing that one goes to see. A
. Aroras.
minor variations on a single . not comes like wind and
lofty theme or symbol; \hese " passes away like a tornad."
Fundamentalists
remain variations, in the mllure
I asked rum, "When are you
Div i sive Impact
of charming fi ve-finger exe!'- likely to have another riot in
In . sum, if in their. zeal to cises, rather than scathingly this city?"
His reply was: "Well, for the
impose their obscurantist ideas new creations.
The works that cling most to time being the riot has
on their co-religionists, the Sikh
fundame 'ltalists are re-kindling the memory are those with ploughed this City like a field.
hostility among educated Sikh intricate detailing, reminiscent For as long as trus city does
wome n and the Sikh inte lli- of colonial engravings, which not flou rish again and those
gentsia, by the ir ex tortions th ey recall the fine delicacy of pre- living in the city do no t
are alienating the non-Jat vious works of genius like 'The regain their former prosperity,
She!'-Gil Family' (1984) and there is absolutely no chance
~ ikhs. Instead of unitin g the
Sikhs under "N ishan Sahib" 'Ten-foot Beam' 11985) --- as in of a fresh riot in this city .
(th e Sikh bannerl they a re tend- the muted, classical dyptich, Consequently, if you are looking to divid e the Khalsa frat er- 'Colonial Landing: Where Rail- ing for a riot you should go
nity w hich had come toge ther road Meets Sea' and the Whis- to a city w ruch is prosperous
as never before, after their tlerian, erased work, 'De luge'. and pulsating with life. Right
traumatic experience of Ope ra- A succession of smaller works now the riot has sqeezed out
tion Blue St ar. Meanwhile, Pun- which have a distinctly Cubist life from trus city like YOll
jab's economy, w hich has bee n quality, from 'Boat Journey of squeeze ' out juice from a
in the doldrums for the last fi ve Mack the Knife' to 'Art Cargo lemon. Here the crop of
years, is oe ing dumped into an Across Foaming Seas', seem human s heads had been harv.ested and those who speciaabyss and the Akali govern- derived in comparison.
But there can be no doubting lised in the art of perpetrating
ment s unenviable position is
the quality of idealism in Vivan riots have also left and gone
becoming pitiable.
But all is not lost. Histo ry ' is Sundaram's works, and his to the cities which are still
witness to severa l such tra n- articulation on a variety of sub- flourisrung."
compelling
and
I was terribly disappointed.
is
sitory successes of the 'bigots in jects
So, as advised I headed
the past. But sooner or lateI'- thought-provoking: _

towards an'other city. But it


seemed that luck was not in
my favour. Wherever I went
the riots eluded me. Everyday
I read reports in the newspapers that there were riots in
such and such a city; so
many houses were set on fire;
so many people lost their
lives. But sadly by the time I
managed to reach an affected
city, I came to know that the
destruction unleashed by the
riots had already . come to an
end and the damaging disservice done by the so-called
peace committees had begun.
I kept asking every person I
met the possible location of
the next riot, but it was all in
vain. The time came when I
began to lose all hope. In this
mood of despair I felt terribly
homesick, and was almost on
the verge of leaving for good
when I had a chance encounter with a man who was
known to be a leader, and
outwardly
seemed
to
be
greatly respected. When I
introduced myself to him he
led me to believe that he was
overjoyed to meet me. But r
came to know later that it
was his habit to say this to
everyone he met, and this
formed a part of rus political
strategy to win over people. I
also came to know that the
favourite pastime of this leader
was to collect Ius henchmen
around rum every morning
and hear them shoult 'long
live' along with rus name. His
afternoons were spen t in
enjoying the flattery lavished
on rum by some of Ius touts,
and he passed his nights
doing all those th!ngs for
wruch the night is meant for.
When he found out tha t I
was Sindbad the Sailor he
straightaway went to
hi s
secretary's room and collected
all the information he could
on me. He then came back
and started praising the traveIogues that l~ had written .
When I asked him which one
he had liked the best, he'
'again dashed back to rus
secretary and came back saying "My secretary does not'
remember which of your traveIogues I liked the best. But r
have now ordered. rum to go
through your works once
again,. to choose the one that.
L liked and inform you at the
latest by trus evening."
The more I talked with this
leader the more I realised that
my conversation with rum was
not only interesting, but also
full of surprises. During one of
these conversations I disclosed
to him that the very purpose
of my coming to India had
been defeated. To give vent to
my fru stration I gave him a
piece of my nlind saying,
"Why don 't you people stage
your
w orld-famous
riots
according to a set time schedule, so that a foreign visitor
can reach the spot in time
and enjoy ' the spectacle with;
out any hastles!" I told him
my sorry story. and said, "Having failed to acrueve what I
came for, I am now leaving
your country carrying with me
the heavy burden of my unfulfilled desire." i

20 April - 4 May 1987

13

F"&rum
________________________Gazet~,-----------------------,The Press
Falls in Line
,

Rap and.the last fortnight

Continued from page 2, col4

extent, in Punjab they are


regarded as necessary, perhaps
not even as evil - except when
Rebeiro himself is forced to
admit that the secruity forces
did go too far. Rebeiro himself
has admitted, that too on lV,
that "half-a-dozen" innocents
may have been killed by
security forces on suspicion
alone, but for our press, anyone
voicing such a statement would
be branded as 'pro-extremist'.

who have been waiting for a


trial for over two years now, is
considered outrageous. But
then neither is it considered
worthwhile
to
cover
the
activities of those Sikhs who
are fighting terrorists in Punjab, through cultural activities.

By

NEWSHOUND

..'<OUR C\<DWD5 CoNSIST OF


PLAINCL.Oru~SM~

LlNDERSTAI'U> IT-I G~T

t.ARG~CRO~S BUT f~ VD~S!

N~V~R \}OT~!

Reference to Press
Council

Fortun a te ly, p e ople a re less


inlo lemnt a nd vio le nt th a n ' o ur
ne wspape rs give the m c re dit for,
Re ta liatio n ' d oesn' t com e so
This bias operates right na tura lly to th e m . Even in De lh i,
across all reporting on Sikhs it is because th e BJP and s uch
and Punjab. Gen Vaidya's mur- organi sa tion s find ready fodd e r
der made headlines for days; in th e Hindu m igra nts from Punthe resultant murder of one jab that ba ndhs are s uccessful
Sikh and attacks on 13 others a nd reta lia tion thl:e ate n ed. After
warranted no mention: viol- the rece nt 'moc k hijack' of an IA
ence against Sikhs is apparen- pla ne , for wh ic h Sikh names
tly regarded as an inevitable
we re u sed by th e a utho rities to
fallout. Newspapers who, when
the 8pate of bank robberies was id e ntify the 'hijacke r s', e ditorials.
taking place in Maharashtra an grily as ke d, w h a t if the re ha d
and Gujarat, six months back, bee n re ta liatio n aga inst the
revelled in describing the rob- Sikhs') Nobod y th o ught it shockbers as "clean shaven, fair and ing th a t the Cent re could h ave
Hindi speaking", didn't have dare d to use Sikh n am es fo r the
the grace to put the news of h ijackers, the re by officially
their arrest on the front page bra ndi ng on e co mmunity exclufor they turned out to be Hinsively. Le t's n o t forge t tha t in the
dus, nat Sikhs. The Sikhs are all
p ast. hij acke rs have managed to
the time called upon to prove
ge t Congress (I ) ti cke ts . What
their bonafides .
I
The Centre's deliberate a bout the ,bomb blasts in Ta mil
delay in implementing the Pun- Nadu, w hich ha d become so
jab Accord is explained as ro utine a.. month or two back?
"political comptdsions", not the Would th e Centre h ave d a re d to
deliberate keeping alive of brand Ta milia n s as responsible
communal tensions. If there is for a ll su ch incid e nts?
anything the Centre is berated
Th e on e ray of h op e is tha t a
for, it's for being too "soft" .
few read e r s h ave starte d ta king
Going into ' the origin of the
p arti cularly offe n s ive a rt icles to
Punjab problem, and Indira
Gandhi's and Zail Singh's role the Press Counc il, a nd that
in it, is considered irrelevant w ithin newspa p e r establishtoday; demanding the release, me nts, opposition is be ing
or at least the transfer to Pun- voiced aga inst the e ditors' comjab, of the Jodhpur detenus munal sta nd .

Biased Reporting
On Sikhs

.. You

CAN MAKE:: DAIL.Y

NEWsrAP6R$

FOP.

ADlJ1-TS OMl..Y.'

I'Ve A

~TORY

N~WS
Bl1T I HAVE:: A PROBLeM
WI'TI-I 1H& TITl..~ ,

FAN!4Srf c

1--1" -

WHAT.9

, t,

YDLJR

PRDB~};M ?

JUNIOR HOW \\k)lJl..P You ~IKS TO HEAR


, ABOUT A~19A6A ANI> 40

1H1f.vt:S?

WHY ~DN'T )t)U RFAJ> 1H1i


~PJ;RS AND TEl-I.. M& )gOUT .

FATlY 5A9A ANl> 4oo-mImS 1

Guru Tegh Bahadur


Continued from Page 12, col. 5
ately by placing it in his house
and setting fire to the house
and all his belongings, to' give
the impression that the fire
was an accident. Gurudwara
Rakab Gan j was built on the
site.
On his father's martyrdom
Guru Gobind wrote in the
ijicira Natak
"To protect their right to
wear their casle marks and

He suffered martyrdom for


the sake of his faith,
He lost his head but
revealed not his secret.
He disdainec!. to perform
miracles or juggler's tricks
For such fill men of God
with shame.
He burst' the bonds of mortal clay
And went to the abode of
God
No one hath ever performed
an act as noble as his.
sacred threads,
Did he, in the dark age, per- . Tegh Bahadur passed, the
world with sorrow stricken.
form the supreme sacrifice.
To help the saintly he. went A wail of horror rent the
earth,
to the utmost limit.
He ga ve his head but never A victor's welcome given by
the hosts of heaven .
cried in pain.

Announcement
The Ekta Trust has decided to terminate the services of the managing editor and editor of the
Forum Gazette with effect from the issue dated
May 5,1987.
A new team will be taking over the editorial and
business operations of t,h e paper.
.
.
- Managmg Edl tor

Please note that all enquiries concerning the


Forum Gazette should, now be addressed to:
The Editor, The Forum Gazette, 2/ 26 Sarvapriya
Vihar, New Delhi-110017 _ Phone: 660738.
"

14

20 April

~ 4 May 1987

WHO vAll>
'ANY11HNG
ABOUT. /TRLlSf.. ?

~e5~&IL.IZSD

HAND'

fYiJI'IJI

IT"

AR~ you SLJRE:


11$ A FO~I<iN
HANP ""?

IT !lAs TO B~ FOR~IGN

RAj'I~ HIM5~~F 5AID tX:> (

~t

:The

__------------------------Gfa~~------------------------Punjab and U. P. Citizens


Continued from page 3. col S

them . Because whatever antiterrorist laws,and measures are


experimented with in Punjab,
are later implemented in other
Indian states, " said Mr Rajaram
the General Secretary of Indian
People's Front which is fast
growing into the largest massbased organisation in Bihar.

Hostility To Local
Sikhs
In spite of the growing support for a political dialogue
with the extremists to solve
the Punjab problem, the distrust against the local Sikh
population continues unabate(l both in U.P. and Bihar. In
Bihar the word "Sikh" includes everybody coming from
Punjab, irrespective of religion. This distrust is very
obvious in the various forms
of taunts h~rled at Punjabis,
and is more hurtful than
physical attacks. Referring to
this a Patna businessman. Mr
Joginder Singh. told the
Gazette: "Though there is no
danger to life, it hurts our selfrespect and disturbs our mental state. The local population
does not differentiate between
Sikhs and other Punjabis.. this
was evident from the burning
of Punjab Electricals, as an
aftermath to the bus [Muktsar]
killings. No one was bothered
that this shop belonged to a
Hindu from Punjab."
Such attitudes among the
local population undoubtedly
are causing a sense of uneasiness which has led to the
exodus of almost 50 per cent of
Sikh business units from Patna
and Muzzafarpur. Even at
Chhapra where about thirty
shops were burned during the
November 1984 events, the
prime accused, Udit Raj, a
Yadav gangster, parades freely
as a Congress(1) leader. He is
emboldened by the. fact that
during these events the district administration bluntly
announced that it was only
concerned with saving . lives,
and had no resources with
which to protect properity.

SRILANKA
Continued from page 16 colS

Eelam, which was raised by the


TIJLF to win the 1977 elections
in the Tamil areas, lead to an
intesifying of Sinhala chauvinism. This culminated", n widespread violence during JulyAugust, 1983, which was described later even by the Sri
Lankan President as "genocide".
The proximate cause for the
islandwide pogrom, in which
elements of the Sri Lankan
security forces joined Sinhalese
hoodlums, was the death of 13
soldiers in an explosion of a
bomb planted by Tamil extremists. The attacks seemed, however, too well organised to be
spontaneous and resulted in
more than 1000 deaths, rapes,
arson, the the destruction of
Tamil businesses and properties
worth several billions of rupees.
Large numbers of Tamils fled
abroad, of which India has so
far received 125,000. Soon after-

Sikh

Community's
Attitudes

However. the leaders of the


Sikh community here remain
unconcerne d about such matters, at least thi~ is what an
average Sikh in Bihar feels, and
quite naturally he has resentment against the Barnala
government, which he feeis has
done nothing for him, and is
somewhat sympathetic to the
extremists.
. In contrast to this silent
resentment in the Bihar Sikhs,
the Sikhs in Uttar Pradesh are
not only very vocal, but are
ready "here to stay, here to
fighL " This is in spite of the
migration of a few ' families in
early 1985. While Bihar Singh
Sabha leaders avoided discussion about the November 1984 '
happenings, Dr Gurmeet Singh,
President of the u.P. Sikh
Pratinidhi Board, was extremely critical of the fact that not
a single person guilty of
violence in November 1984 had
been punished in U.P. He
called the Mishra Report "only
an eyewash". Blaming the
national media for not projecting the correct image of the
Sikhs, he commended the
Janata Party chief, Chandrashekhar, for his correct and
bold stand on Punjab. But he
added: "Why is Barhala not saying that the Longowal Accord is
dead, and only doing what
pleases the central government. "?
Mr Bhag Singh, President of
the
Lakhimpurkhari
Guru
Singh Sabha, summed up the
reasons behind the Sikh resentment " against the Barnala
government when he said:
"The atmosphere in Punjab
makes a .difference to us here.
Although the Sikhs have made
such a significant contribution
to the agricultural develop'ment
of this district. they now have
to face a climate of distrust.
Even the Punjab government
does not put its weight in
"favour of a political solution.
which alone would normalise
the situation for us." Mr Bhag
Singh and his son were kept
under MISA after the November
anti-Sikh violence .
wards the Sri Lanka Parliament
passed the Sixth Amendment to
its constitution, which required
all M.P.s to abjure separatism.
The 16 remaining T.U.L.F. Members of Parliament refused to do
so, and instead resigned their
seats. They had campaigned
against extending the tenn of
Parliament the previous year.
Later most of them fled to
India.
From the early 1970s young
Tamils had been organising themselves into armed groups, the
most powerful of which was the
Marxist oriented "Liberation
Tigers of Tainil Eelam" (L.T.,T.EJ
These grew rapidly after 1977.
The moderate Tamil leadership
lost its authority and is now
greatly discredited, for many
Tamils in the North and East
now support the idea of an
independent Tamil state won in
an armed struggle. Until July
1983 most seemed to want to
remain part of a United Sri

Lanka.

An Australian's India
Continued from page 7, col 5

interesting are his references to


the alleged Sikh separatism
and the Congress (I) links with
the call for a separate Sikh state
and with Bhindranwale. He
points out that while in 1978
Akali leaders, reviving the
Anandpur Sahib Resolution,
went out of their way to "dispel
fears and misconceptions about
their connection with separatist elements". the only talk of a
separate Sikh state came from
an unknown organisation called
the Khalsa Mukti Fauj, whose
members attacked the AkaliJanata ca-alition and praised
Nehru and Mrs Gandhi.
In August 1978 a "Dal '
Khalsa" . was formed, pledged
to achieve an independant Sikh
state, and Jeffrey mentions that
. the first meeting was "widely
belie ved to have been financed
by Zail Singh and Congress (I)".
He also points out that in the
SGPC elections dissidents against the Akali Dal ' included
Jagjit Singh Chauhan, New
Delhi Jathedar Santokh Singh, a
staunch Mrs Gandhi supporter,
and Nihang Baba Santa Singh,
used by the Congress government after Operation Blue Star.
For Jeffrey, the foreign hand
obssessively talked about in
India is the presence of the
Western media, which he sees
as adding a new dimension to
internal politics. Apart from
foreign media building up a
phenomenon like Bhindranwale, he describes how international media events like
ASIAD and NAM. influenced
important polit;cal decisions in

Punjab. His "account of the tion can only deepen the proseries of aborted talks between "blems created by modernisathe Akalis and Mrs Gandhi and tion in a multi-'ethnic, multiher men, is highly critical of lingual, multi-regional state like
the latter. as is his interpreta- India. But it is his thesis that
tion of Mrs Gandhi's deliberate while even parties demandinl!
projection
of anti-Congress secession change their stance
regional forces, including the whpn in power, the "option of
Akali Dal, as "anti-national."
secession" will probably come
up from time to time.
Akali Weakness
Ultimately Jeffrey turns to
But he does not spare the the brighter side of the collivacillations and weakness of sion between moderni~ation
the Akali Dal vis-a-vis the "gun- and traditional cultures. This is
men". The development lead- . the springing up of activist
ing up to Operation Blue Star organisations
at
grassroots
make interesting reading. as level all over the country,- comdoes the account of how the . mitted to what he calls
Punjab police were demoral- "humanitarian change". Chipko
ised and politicised. Necessari- and the KSSP - Kerala Sastra
ly, .. because of the rapidly Sahithya Parishad, a people's
changing situation, there is a science movement, are two
short section only on "Who are examples. "The hope of the
the Extremists?". Jeffrey opines poor" according to him "lies in
that non-Jat Sikhs have taken to their own burgeoning political
terrorism as a "way of making awareness, product of the modup for their loss of influence in ernising fennent that penetthe Akali Dal" but he fails to rates even the remotest comers
support this with .any solid of India".
evidence. Nor is his comThe postscript bringing the
parison of Sikh extremists with book up to date to November
the Janatha Vlmukti Perumana' 1985 concludes with the hope
(JVP) , who were important in
that the insensitivity and short
the 1971 revolt in Sri Lanka, term
politics
which
preadequately followed up.
cipitated the Punjab crisis will
Jeffrey .describes the mani- not be repeated and that the
balance between regional aspfestations of centralisation irations and national integrity
the needs of any ruling party,
the use of President's Rule (bet- will be preserved.
A sensitive book, worth readween 1950 and Nehru's death
in 1964, President's Rule was ing for its provocative intel'imposed six times, while bet- pretations. its refreshing views,
w een 1966 and 1984 the num- of immense relevance when
be r of times was 50), and the the battle of states' rights, . for
new states. is fiercely engaged,
declining role of chief ministers. His ' argument is that and the Punjab imbroglio is;
sadly. far from solution.
attempts at greater centralisa-

Book Review: Adh-Chandanl Raa'


By Gurdyal Singh
Cha mbal. Bunde lkhand. parts
of Rajastha n - these are only
some of the areas of o ur co untry whi ch have becom e not~riou s for family fe ud s a nd
ve ngeful killings. The l'e is
some thing in the soil of these
region s, it is said. tha t niakes it
impossible for p eople to forget
the w l'O ngs don e to the m and
th ey are willing to give up all if
only they can get even with the
'ene m y'. This m ay only be a
convenie nt way of expressing
the various socia-e conomic and
cultural factors tha t have been
be hind the e no rmous violence
in these part ~.
More recently, in the context
of the trouble d times in Punjab,
the question of the p sychology
of Punjabi, spe cia lly Sikh, youth
has bee n ' raise d from time to
time. In this Sa hitya Akade mi
award w inning nove l, the
famou s Punj a bi writer, Gurdyal
Sing h, prese nt s a very a uthe ntic portraya l of this psychology
- through the life of a Sikh
peasant yo uth Modak. How
various
circ um stpnces
and
characters of his village . interact in the making of this psychology is also shown in a
rem a rka bly perceptive way.
Full of earthy humour in some
parts and deeply touching at
other times, this nove l grips
the attention of the reader right
till the end.

Punjabi classic,
but there
are other m e rits of the book.
so m e of which mav be misse d
unless the reader ;eads it cal'efully and thoroughly. For
instance, in the beginning of
the book. whe n Modak returns
to his village from jais, the way
in which he tries to carve out a
new life also reveals the
various changes which have
occured in the landscape of
many Punjab villages. Changes
caused by factors such as landconsolidation. deforestaion etc.
Again as Modak tries .. to set
himself up as a small fanner.
the difficulties he faces reflect
the general disadvantages that
small farmers face vis-a-vis the
big farmers in Punjab specially

in the changing economic and


technological conditions of
farming. Factors like the COl'ruption of officials keep recul'ring in the book from time to
time. All this makes this book
something more than an intensely human document. This is
certainly the most outstanding
quality of the book but in addition this slim novel also tells
the cIJreful reader a lot about
the social, economic and
cultural life in Punjab.
Bharat Dogra

Rajkamal Paperbac~
142 Pages
Price Rs 10/-

Changes in The Forum Gazette


Since the new team hellded by Dr. Amrik Singh. responsible
for editing and Business operation of The Forum Gazette is taking over after this issue, the present team Baljit Malik, Harji
Malik and Jatinder Kaur Lall thank all their readers for valuable support during the last year.
Following the changes in the Gazette management. Khushwant Singh. Jaya Jaitly and Madhu Kishwar have resigned
from the panel of consulting editors.

All these are w e ll known


fact s about this ce le brated

20 April- 4 May 1987

15

:The

_Sp~o_tl_i~g_h_t_________________________ ~~~__________________R_._N._4_57_6_3_/8_6_;~_S_E_)_15_/8_6

The Origins of Sri Lanka's Ethnic Strife -.


By Karan Sawhny

Sri Lanka's developments


make front page news but
the origins of the SinhalaTam!! conflict tend to be
forgotten in the rapidly
changing situation. In the
first of two articles Karan
Sawhny traces the growing
alienation of the Tamils.

the drawing in of the 'Plantation Tamils' into the conflict and the rise of the milItants. In our next issue the
concluding article describes
the negotiations between
the Jayewardene governme!'.t and the Tamils.

CO,."NTIIATIOI<. OF
I>OPVL.ATlON

ost historians are ~d even today exports of tea from


that the first Sinhala these plantations bring the ismigration to Sri Lanka land half its foreign earnings.
When Sri Lanka became an
took place some 2500 years ago
and that perhaps within another independent dominion in 1948,
100 years !lie first Tamils also the country's new Citizenship
started aniving. These migra- Act made these "Tamils of
tions, as also Tamil invasions recent Indian origin" stateless.
from South India, continued This legislation was passed wi~h
in six months of independence.
until 1200 AD.
In the third Century B.C. mis- At one stroke the new political
sionaries sent by the Indian masters of Ceylon spilt the
. Emperor Ashoka converted the Tamils and disenfranchised 1/3
Sinhalese to Buddhism. Today rd of them. After prolonged
the countIY. is acknowledged as negotiations India and Sri Lanka
Lenghier discussion on these reached an agreement, in Octoof Buddhism (followed also in ber 1964 to deal with the result
Burma and Thailand). This is ing problems. The Stateless were
more austere than the Maha- then estimated at 975,000. India
yana School (followed in the agreed to confer citizenship of
north Asian countries).
525,000 and Sri Lanka on 300,000,
The Tamils who migrated to in the ratio of 7:4. The fate of
Sri Lanka were Hindus, which the remaining 150,000 was to be
most of them remained. Several decided later with the apporkingdoms flourished on the is- tioning taking care also of the
land during the next 2000 years. natural iRcrease. This process
These included Tamil dynasties was to be completed over 15
such as the Cholas who ruled years.
also in South India. But the
In January 1974 an agreement
Tamils remained concentrated was reached apportioning the
in the north .and east of the remaining 150,000 . equally betisland. Nevertheless, as might be ween the two countries and
expected, 2500 years of living subsequently the 15 years validtogether on the same island did ity of the 1964 agreements was
result in some intenningling, so extended by another 2 years.
that Sinhalas have some Tamil But due to a delay in Sri Lanka
blood and most "indigenous" adopting an Implementation Act
Tamils some Sinhala blood.
along with more people seeking
Buddhism continued to flour- Sri Lankan Citizenship than the
ish and is acknowledge today as country's quota of 375,000 and
their religion by the majority of .others reasons, 94,000 persons
the Sinhalese, who make up 74 remained stateless.
per cent of the population. This
The leader of the plantation
is partly because a deliberate Tamils, S. Thondaman, who is
policy was followed from the also leader of the largest trade
mid 1950's to promote Bud- union (the Ceylon Workers Condhism and give it the status of gress) and a Cabinet Minister in
the State Religion. .
the Government since 1978, was
Consequently, the . Buddhist 'able to get the Sri Lankan
clergy and Sinhalese national Cabinet to agree to the granting
feeling are strongly interlinked. of citizenship to the remaining
This . linkage has developed 94,000 on the 15th January this
chauvinistic aspects, and since year. He had broken with the
60 million Tamils live across the main Tamil Party in 1978 mainly
Palk Straits in India, something to protect the interests of the
of a minority complex. The plantation Tamils. The problem
President of Sri Lanka, describ- of the Stateless Tamils could be
ing the priests said "they learn said to be solved. However a
only Sinhalese. To them the his- great inany of them became.
tory books always speak of a drawn into the conflict between
war between the Sinhalese and the "indigenous" Tamils and
'Demaeas' (Tamils) for 2,500 the Sinhala majority.
years".
Tamil Apprehensions
In British Times
The Plantation TamllsIn the early 1920's the British
Innocent Victim
colonial rulers. began transferThe British ruled the island ring some political power to the
for nearly 200 years (the Portu- native inhabitants of Ceylon (the
gese and Dutch were there ear- name by which the island was
lier). In the 19th Century they known until 1972). Tamil leaders
imported into Sri Lanka inden-. at that time began to fear that
tured labour to work in new they would have a subordinate
plantations set up by them in position in the island's politics
the Central highlands of the because of their numerical infe- .
island. Most of these persons riority. Some of their leaders
were Tamils, from what was therefore advocated a federal
then called the Madras Presid- constitution for Ceylon, or one
ency. They were vital to the in which there would be balgrowth of production and ex- anced representation for the.
port from the plantations and minority.

16

20 April - 4 May 1987

TAMILS IN
SRI LANKA ~
D~'t.

T~I~c;,

ro 00;.

ll~nw (ro",
" I"oit T""'~'

When they granted independence to Ceylon, the British left


behind a Constitution with two
safeguards for the Tamils. These
were a clause preventing Parliament from passing laws bestowing a benefit~r imposing a
disability on .any community
without doing so on other '
communities and a system of
demarcation of electorates based
on population and area which
would give weightage to minorities. These safeguards were
annulled in the 1972 and 1978
constitutions.
UNP and SLFP Compete .
for Sinhalese Vote Bank
Tensions began to grow when
the two competing Sinhal parties the United National Party
(which represented land-oweners and a westernised elite)
and the Sri Lanka Freedom
Party (SLFP) campaigiled for the
votes in the 1956 elections. The
leader of the SLFP Solomon
Bandaranaike won the election
by raising the slogan that "Sinhalas and Buddhism were in
danger". This made more credible the socialist rhetroic of his
party to Sinhalese peasants and
urban workers who had missed
out on the fruits of the limi~ed
development ' of the colonial
period.
After winning the election the
SLFP restricted the entry of
Tamils into jobs, into universities and into the professions
so that the Sinhalese could get
a "just" place in their own
country. Sinhala was made lite
sole official language. The old
Eqglish speaking elite (based on
diverse ethnic groups) was destroyed. Between 1956 and 1970
the percentage of Tamils in the
Central seIVices fell from 30 to
5. In 1956, 1958 and 1961
pogroms against the Tamils in
Colombo and other places were
organised in which many persons were killed, women raped
and property destroyed.

Dlscrlmlnltlon IIIInst Tlmlt.


The Si~ese deeply reSented
the more educated Tamils from
the island's North who had
risen in the British period (they
learnt Elij(tish, got on with the
rulers and converted to Christianity, which they had to in
order to progress, for they lived
on less fertile land). In 1972 Ceylon became the Republic of Sri
Lanka and the SLFP Government under Mrs. Bandaranaike
(widow of S.w.R.D. Bandaranaike
who had been assassinated by a
Buddhist priest in a still unexplained murder), introduced differential conditions for university entrance so as to allow
young Sinhalese to gain admission at the expense of Tamil
children with better grades.
At this point the Tamils began
their own numbers game and
demanded regional autonomy
in the north and east so as to
ensure fur themselves education
and jobs. The SLFP Government
responded by settling Sinhalese
peasants . in the eastern province to alter its ethnic balance.
Thirty five years ago the Tamils
constitued 70 per cent of the
population in the East, today
they are about 35 per cent and
the rest are Sinhalese and Muslims. Muslims speak Tamil, and
are mainly of Tamil ethnic
origin but prefer to be called
Moors. (There are also 40,000
"Burghers" in Sri-Lanka- partly
desended from early Dutc~and
Portugese settlers.) ,
In 1977 the authori,tarian Mrs.
Bandaranaike who had ruled
with , emergency powers was
defeated by the United Nation
Party U.N.P. won 142 seats out
of 168 with 50.6 per cent of the
vote. Mrs. Bandaranaike's SLFP
won 8 seats with 30 per cent of
the vote. She herself was , ex-'
pelled in 1980' from Parliament
and deprived of civic rights for
seven years, for "abuses of
power" during her 1970-77 ad-

ministration. The Tamil United


Liberation Front (TULF) which
was associated with the UNP
won . 18 seats and it seemed
possible that. it would reach
agreement with the UNP to
solve "the Tamil pr:oblem". The
TULF had fought 'the election
on the basis of a -demand for
Eelam (Homeland).
UNP rejects TULF
demand for EELAM
The UNP, however, instead
embarked on major constitutional changes, abandoning the
westminister style Parliamentary
democracy in. 1979, for a Gaullist Presidency, and installed its
leader J.R. Jayewardene as its
first executive President. There
was meanwhile another pogrom
in August 1977 aimed at the
defenceless plantation workers.
About 200,000 Tamils" of recent
Indian origin" sought safety by
migrating to the North and East.
The TULF leadership stated that
the riots were organised "to
punish the Tamils for demanding Eelam."
.
Mr. Jayewardene rejected the
TULF demand for Eelam. Much
of the. next three years were
spent by him in consolidating
his position and that of the
U.N.P. He sought and won reelection as President in October
1982 with 53 per cent of the
valid votes cast. T!rls was followed by a referendum (held
under an emergency) to extend .
the life of the 1977 Paliament
1989 (3 million plus voted yes,
2.5 million said no). Meanwhile,
in 1981, yet . another pogrom
took place in the plantation
areas. Separatist sentiments
among young Tamils became
stronger and were increasingly
expressed in violence. Tamil
militancy .had been growing
since January 1974 when nine
Tamils were killed during a
charge by police on a large
crowd . in Jaffna, . during the .
fourth
international
Tamil
conference.
This militancy was not assuaged by the moves Mr. Jayewardene's Govemment made,
while amending the ' constitution in 1978, to make Tamil a
national ~e and to abolish the di!iCriininatory system of
university admissions devised
by Mrs. Bandaranaike in 1972.
seven years after it was given
the status of the language of
administration and litigation,
Tamil is still not being used
because of "the paucity of Tamil
typewriters". And the university
admissions system was yet again
modified to the benefit of Sinhalese children. In the area of
employment absolutely no progress was made so that in the
1st 7 years no Tamils were
selected for the higher Civil service. And since 1981 (the date of
the last census) a further 90,000
Sinhalese have been settled in
the Eastern province so that its
ethnic balance continues to be .
altered.
Tamil Militancy provokes
Sinhalese Chauvinism
Meanwhile Tamil militancy
and especially the demand for .
Continued on page 15 , col1

.printed and published by A.S. Narang for the Ekta Trust. 2126 Sarvapriya Vihar. New Delhi ~ 100007 and Printed at Paredise Printers, Naraina Industrial Area. New Deihl

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