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Friday, June 20, 2008

Badal finds new love, it’s Rajiv Gandhi

Akali Dal patron lays foundation stone of campus named after Rajiv Gandhi. With what face will he ever face a widow of the 1984 genocide? What next? A project named after Indira? Abdali? Aurangzeb?

EERIE is the feeling one gets from such action. Just twenty years ago, no one, not even Sukhbir Singh Badal, could have believed that such a thing can happen, will happen. And the perpetrator will be none other than the supreme of the Akali Dal, a Sikh Chief Minister of Punjab who has dabbled in panthic politics for nearly five decades now and whom the community has helped elect a Chief Minister repeatedly.
Every single victim of the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom has been doubly humiliated. The trauma and the sense of shame have been re-visited. The souls of those who were burnt alive, garlanded with burning cycle tyres, could not have been cursed in a worse manner.
The joint national agenda of the Hindu ultra-right wing Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and the now-soft-now-hardcore communalism-propagating Congress are being implemented in Punjab by Sardar Parkash Singh Badal. Welcome! Please step in, and meet the new Indian National Hero: Parkash Singh Badal. God save the Panth.
On June 12, Parkash Singh Badal thought it fit to lay the foundation stone of the new campus of the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law (RGNUL). There was not a murmur of protest from the Akali Dal-BJP leadership at the nomenclature of the Institute, and this when the same government was creating so much of fuss over the nomenclature of the upcoming international airport at Chandigarh.
So much so that Parkash Singh Badal was writing one missive after the other to the Prime Minister to name the Bathinda refinery after the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh and the Chandigarh airport after Shaheed Bhagat Singh.
At a time when activists like advocate Harwinder Singh Phoolka and journalists like Manoj Mitta have done so much to push for the course of justice for 1984 genocide victims and demands for a memorial to the victims has been raised by Mitta and many others -- Mitta even suggested the Trilokpuri block in Delhi, the worst site of the massacres -- the Parkash Singh Badal government, the SGPC, the Akali Dal, and even our clergy have remained silent on the issue.
Till, of course, only that moment whne they decided to make the silence more deafening. Not one statement from not one organization, except some honorable exceptions like the Dal Khalsa and a few radical voices, have been heard on Badal backing the Institute named after Rajiv Gandhi.
This is the man whose "When a big tree falls, the earth shakes" shook the subcontinent with an extreme form of display of lack of humanity.
Or does Badal Sahib have a hidden agenda to make the path smoother for the Sikhs in the Indian nation-state? After all, India is a nuclear power nation state with a rising economic clout in the world and a burgeoning middle class. What good will come out of a continuing inimical relationship with New Delhi, particularly when the top two parties with cross-country presence, the Congress and the BJP, agree on their anti-Sikh stance? So, this is his way of mending the relationship with the Congress, headed by Rajiv Gandhi's widow Sonia Gandhi.
After all, Rajiv Gandhi was a young leader and could have made a mistake. Did he not sign an accord with the Sikhs and helped factionalized Akalis to gain power again? Is that Badal Sahib's argument? Then, will it not be better to go the whole hog and name a few institutions after Indira Gandhi. After all, why not show magnanimity, the one thing in abundance that a victim should possess?
Or, better still, at a time when the world is trembling at the thought of Osama bin Laden, and the West is fond of talking about Islamic terrorism, why not iron out the civilisational faults of history and the bitterness of the historical past, and name a college in Badal village or the many new upcoming ventures in Sukhbir Badal's current baby constituency Bathinda after Ahmed Shah Abdali or Nadarshah?
That Badal's backing and foundation stone laying ceremony with a huge portrait of Rajiv Gandhi in the background comes at a time when the Akali Dal and the SGPC seem to have washed of their hands from the issue of raising a memorial to the 1984 Operation Bluestar martyrs is all the more sad.
At the same time, it has filled the average Sikh with rage.
Rage that Badal has gone a step further after tying up his electoral and family fortunes with the Indian establishment represented by the hegemonic forces of Congress, BJP and their many avatars. The silence at the anniversary of Operation Bluestar has been followed up by paying floral tributes to Rajiv Gandhi and naming Law Institute campus after him.
It would have been a different matter if Badal had protested, or even suggested, that a wholesome policy for naming of public institutions be evolved. It is no one's case that we should stop using the airport at Delhi because it is named after Indira Gandhi, but we must demand that airports naming should have a uniform policy.
From attending havans to visiting temples of Lord Parshuram to wearing Mukats to performing aarti on the occasion of Ram Navmi to defending BJP's line on Ram Sethu, Badal is going a step ahead every week. Only a fortnight back, he actually chanted Hare Krishna Hare Rama and asked the rest of the sangat to repeat the chant after him.
As we wrote recently, any quom that disowns its legacy is condemned to live in a denial mode. Badal is pursuing a dangerous luxury. This is a well thought out effort to erase collective memory. Assassins of memories must be pointed out, and it is now up to the Sikh intelligentsia and the sangat to come out in the open and call a spade a spade, a hero of the brahamanical forces a Parkash Singh Badal.

Kalam Nishan Singh


Anonymous said...

what can we say now, may Guru bless these leaders with some thinkin power and humanitarin work.

Jatinder Pal Singh said...

One thing is for sure that Sikhs lack a genuine & devoted Leader and this has been the case for almost a century now.

We don't have anybody to look forward to. We have to accept Badals , Sarnas & other incompetent and flip-flop leaders.

Moreover, these "leaders" are so dangerous that they are delibrately pushing the new sikh generation away from politics.

Sikhs don't have a Leader and that is plain fact. We are going nowhere without a leader.

God help Khalsa Panth