H C Singh

Sajjan Kumar’s Case before High Court and 1984 Anti Sikh Riots

  It is more than 25 years that thousands of Sikhs were mercilessly butchered, their houses burnt and looted in anti-Sikh riots of 1984. The rioting, killing and looting went on for four days as the Congress Government of Rajiv Gandhi did not call the Army from Delhi cantonment, part of the capital itself. The looting and killing were encouraged and led by Congress politicians of Delhi with the help of Delhi Police which did not prevent or even intervene. It was blemish of extreme lawlessness and murders of thousands in the capital of India, the so called biggest democracy of the world: worst of all, not even one criminal out of hundreds and even one Congress politician like Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, out of untold numbers, was arrested, not to speak of being sentenced.

So many commissions were appointed to probe, hear the evidence and decide about punishment of guilty. Hundreds of crores of rupees were spent or wasted but to no result. But because of our political system and our politicians and political rulers, even when there were tangible evidences and recommendations, particularly before Nanavati Commission, not a single arrest was made. Infact proceedings and recommendations of all the commissions were put in cold storage.

Latest case, though not before a commission, but before Delhi High Court is that of Sajjan Kumar, an ex congress MP. He was found guilty by a Distt Court and as such non-bailable warrants were issued against him. Had Sajjan Kumar appeared or surrendered before the court he would have been arrested then and there and ordered to be put behind bar. But Sajjan Kumar, though found guilty, went missing with the help of his guard.

 The case came before the Delhi High Court on appeal.

 The High Court taking severe note of his ‘missing’, but it is noteworthy, that while giving anticipatory bail to Sajjan Kumar in two 1984 anti Sikh riot cases against him, learned Justice Pathak termed the charges against Sajjan Kumar of ‘grave nature’. However the court added that as “25 years have gone by and the delay undoubtedly tilts the balance in favour of politician”. The High Court even questioned the “CBI move to arrest Kumar now that charge sheet has been filed while it never felt the need while investigations were going on for the past five years”. It is virtual indictment of CBI, which is government appointed agency for investigation.

It will not be out of place to recapulate some facts that led to torture, massacre and burning of thousands of Sikh men, women and children during four days, when hell itself broke out on the Sikhs of Delhi, killing as per official figures 3000 but actually many times more unarmed and innocent, mostly poor Sikhs who had no knowledge of politics or were absolutely unconcerned with politics .

Hundreds of men were burnt or killed in the presence of their parents, their wives and children. Some were put to death by putting burning tyres in their necks.

Hundreds of children were taken away from the lap of their mothers or snatched from their fathers and killed in the presence of their parents and their grand parents. Also hundred of women were molested before their husbands and children.

In many families more than five persons were done to death. In a rare case there were seven widows from one family and many orphans.

It is not known in Indian and in world history of at least more than hundred years that such atrocities were committed by citizens of the same country on their own country’s citizens and that, too, in the capital.

There is much more to be said and has been recorded by many commissions and by few Sikh survivors who could have the courage to appear before commissions despite threat to their lives.

It is hoped that now, after long last, gap of 25 years, there will be justice in the present case of Sajjan Kumar. Which may set an example for others. The learned Judge has already said that charges against Sajjan Kumar are of “grave nature” and has even indicted CBI for inordinate delay “while investigations were going on for five years”.

Who is to be blamed for delay of 25 years in convicting hundreds of guilty, politicians and policemen? As explained above, it is country’s politics and politicians who care only for vote banks to get into power and remain in power, irrespective of political party or combination of political parties to which they belong.

March 5, 2010 Posted by | Anti Sikh Riots 1984, Corruption, India, Indian History, Political Commentary, Punjabi, Religion, Sikhism, World History | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Little Known Facts about Jallianwala Massacre

  Very few people in India, perhaps none abroad, know as to why General Dyer ordered massacre of innocent men women and children on April 13 1919, the Baisakhi day. Here are some important little known or unknown facts which resulted in the massacre of more than 500 and serious bullet injuries to more than 1500, mostly citizens of Amritsar who had gathered there to listen to Gandhi and other leaders against what Gandhi called “Devilish” piece of legislation ie. two Bills under Rowlett Act.

 Arthur Herman, the author of Book “Gandhi and Churchill, describes the event before massacre of hundreds of innocent Indians gathered in Jallianwala Bagh as under:

‘ Winston Churchill told the House of Commons , “Never has there been a time when people (Indians) were more disposed to turn to courses of violence or show such scant respect for law and custom , tradition and procedure.” To ally the fears of men like Churchill Indian government officials decided to act.’

In February 1919, as the Defense of India Act was to expire six months after the war; two bills by Sydney Rowlett, reached the Legislative Council in Delhi; “an outery began. Even with every Indian member (of legislative council) voting against it the bills were passed in March and became law. The two bills contained two controversial provisions. One allowed judges to convict suspected terrorist or subversives without a Jury, the other sanctioned interning those same suspects without trial.”

Gandhi thought by supporting British war effort India would get independence (Swaraj) or at least Home rule. So Gandhi had enthusiastically supported the British Empire in their war against Germany. He even went so far as to recruit 20 able-bodied persons from each village in Gujarat and walked for hundreds of miles. At the end he could recruit only forty instead of more than a thousand. He justified his war effort to the annoyance of his close associate (Sardar) Patel, who refused to be a party to that effort of Gandhi, due to twist in his philosophy of Ahimsa- Annie Besant sarcastically called Gandhi “Recruiting sergeant” of British Empire. Even many villagers felt ashamed of their Gandhi’s support to British and left his meetings or showed their back.

Gandhi justified his pro British stand. Gandhi went so far as to say “Of all my activities I regard this (recruitment) as the most difficult and the most important.”

It is surprising that there is no mention of Gandhi being pro-British upto 1919 in the ‘Advanced History of India’ by Dr R C Majumdar and others, and also Gandhi going to many villages to recruit as soldiers for British-Indian Army and the sarcastic remark of Annie Besant, that Gandhi was “Recruiting Sergeant” for the British.

It is noteworthy that Gandhi’s pro-British views in 1914 to 1919 were in absolute contrast to Annie Besant’s views…. Annie Besant a British citizen who came to India and after seeing extreme poverty in villages and the conditions of vast majority of Indians, the repressive imperialist rule by the same British who were just and democratic in their own country, got so perturbed that she started ‘Home Rule India’ party. She wanted British to concede independence to India. She said “The moment of England’s difficulty is the moment of India’s opportunity.” But Gandhi differed with her and wanted India to support British war effort “unconditionally, spiritually and physically.” Lokmanya Tilak was released from jail after the 1st world war started in 1914. Tilak wanted like many other Indians British to concede ‘Home Rule’ to India, if not independence, just now. He therefore joined Annie Besant’s Party. As a result within one year, Annie Besant’s ‘Home Rule League’ had more than 60,000 full time members while “Indian National Congress had only 20,000 members.”

However after the end of war with Germany, British Government and in particular imperialist Winston Churchill went back from their promise of conceding Home Rule to Indians. This made Indian National Congress furious and Gandhi, too, felt betrayed by British. So he joined the independence movement of Congress and was going to address congress sponsored meeting at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, just, adjoining the Golden Temple the holiest Sikh Gurdwara. But on way Gandhi was taken out of train before reaching Amritsar, arrested and taken to Bombay. Punjab Government, as well as the British Government of Delhi kept this and Jallianwala massacre and meeting as top secret and did not let anyone know for couple of months.

In brief here is sequence of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre on 13th April 1919: Dyer entered (Amritsar) city central with a convoy of Armoured cars, his troops following. With him was the Amritsar town “crier.” He was shouting Dyers order in Hindi and Punjabi, English and Urdu. “On reaching his temporary headquarters, he learnt that a demonstration was under way in Jallianwala Bagh. He became furious, rather lost balance, at the “deliberate violation” of his order and immediately marched with “ninety Baluchis and Gurkhas towards Jallianwala Bagh where thousands of citizens had gathered to protest against the ‘devilish’ provisions of Rowlett Act. With Dyer were only four British, two officers and two security guards. ‘Otherwise there were no white soldiers at all.’

Arthur Herman describes the order of Dyer as under:

“Dyer barked the order to open fire. For ten minutes Dyer encouraged his soldiers to keep shooting unless bodies carpeted the ground.” Dyer and his troops had marched off after completing the massacre in Jallianwala Bagh leaving about a thousand dead and more than 2000 wounded. “Cries of pain and moans rose to the roof tops, bodies lined the entire wall around the Bagh. In many places the eyewitnesses said, they were ten feet deep.”

Where an English woman had been pulled from her bicycle, “Dyer ordered every citizen of Amritsar to ‘crawl on all fours”. He also set up a whipping post where any ‘native’ who refused to crawl was to be flogged.

‘Gandhi did not hear of this massacre and cruelty at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar ‘until June’. For almost two months there was complete clampdown. But as the news of worst ever British tyranny trickled there were unceasing protests and cries all over India.

Jallianwala Bagh massacre united all Indians against British, for the first time. Rabindra Nath Tagore returned his knighthood in protest, Gandhi returned his Kaisar-e Hind medal that was awarded for his pro-British services in South Africa. Jinnaha relinquished his membership of imperial legislature. Motilal Nehru collected his British furniture, suits and ties and made bonfire in his home garden and started wearing hand span Khadi clothes.

“The evidence was harrowing. Eyewitnesses who had watched the Jallianwala Bagh killings from the rooftops had seen “blood pouring in profusion…even those who were lying down were shot….Some had their head cut open, others had eyes shot and nose, chest, arms or legs shattered.” Some witnesses had sat all night in the Bagh with dying husbands and brothers. Others remembered the bodies of those who had been shot, but managed to escape, being left in the street for dead-including the bodies of small children.”

 “At one point an entire wedding party had been flogged for failing to follow the crawling order.”

 The pain and cries because of more than a thousand deaths in Amritsar “united Indians as never before and after”. More than any other events “Amritsar and its aftermath solidified national support for Indian independence.

February 26, 2010 Posted by | Achievers, Biography, India, Indian History, Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa, Political Commentary, Politics, Punjabi, World, World History | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Gandhi in South Africa- Success, Failure and Firmness

 Gandhi had led agitation against registration of Indians who were required to be finger printed. Many were arrested including Gandhi for reentering Transval without registration. Gandhi had talks with General Smuts, Transval’s colonial secretary. After negotiations Gandhi, in exchange of release of all Indians agreed to the “condition” of finger printing to which earlier Gandhi had called “Block Act” that led to agitation by all Indians. This made many Indians furious for Gandhi’s surrender before General Smuts. Here is the violent reaction of some Indians to Gandhi’s surrender as detailed in book ‘Gandhi and Churchill’ by Arthur Herman (page 157)

“On Feb 10, 1908, Gandhi took a walk to the Johannesburg registration office in order to be the first to be voluntarily finger printed and registered as a resident Asian.” A man named Mir Alam stopped Gandhi as he had been active in Satyagraha Campaign that was led by Gandhi himself. “Where are you going?” he asked Gandhi in a cold tone, “I am going to take out a registration certificate” Gandhi replied and offered to take Alam with him. Instead Alam struck him across the face. Gandhi went sprawling, Sheing open his face on the sharp rock on the ground. Alam started kicking him and was joined by three or four others, cursing and shouting. Finally Gandhi’s friends managed to push them away, carried him to nearby shop and called for a doctor. “On March 5 he was again assaulted in a mass meeting in Durban….” The police had to escort Gandhi to safety” and much booing and hissing.

Young Gandhi who had studied Law in England was not able to defend his first case in an Indian court in fact he could not utter a word and walked out of court in agony. Then he left for South Africa when he helped many Indian businessmen in local courts. But finally where he led an agitation against what came to be called ‘Block Act’ he miserably failed, was beaten and humiliated. But young Gandhi did not loose heart, he stuck to his mission of getting justice for India from arrogant British imperialists. He had seen in England how the common British citizen was cared by law and justice but in contrast how, in India and to perpetuate their imperial rule the very Britishers became arrogant rulers without a bit of Western culture and justice that he had witnessed in England.

Before leaving for India, after the failure of Gandhi inspired and led agitation, he did not regret, as many Indians in South Africa expected. Gandhi was firm in his principles and philosophy of Ahimsa. All Gandhi could cling to was the most cherished faith as he put it “that all activity pursued with a pure heart is bound to bear fruit, whether or not such fruit is visible to us. Because of this philosophy of being of pure heart in whatever one does, Gandhi in due course, after leading Indian independence movement, through Ahimsa i.e. non violence, became to be known as Mahatma Gandhi.

February 17, 2010 Posted by | Biography, Indian History, Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa, Political Commentary, Punjabi | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hinduism-Its Origin and Philosophy

 The word Hindu is derived from river Sindhu. All those living around this river were called Hindus, originally by the Persians. Accordingly the country where Hindus lived came to be known as Hindustan. The place where Hindus live, where Hindu culture and Hindu language like Sanskrit and its offshoots like Hindi are spoken and written.

Hinduism is the oldest religion of the entire world. When the ancient caves of Mohenjodaro were unearthed in 1920’s, the first evidence of existence of Hinduism was also unearthed. It showed, Hinduism existed about 2000 to 3000 BC ie, 4000 to 5000 years ago. These also clearly showed the mode of worship of Hindu deities by the Hindus of ancient times.

It is significant to note that unlike the other major religions of the world, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Hindu Dharma was not founded by one guru or prophet. Hinduism evolved and developed gradually over many thousand years. Similarly Hinduism has not one but many sacred books like Rigveda, Dharam Shastras, Ramayan and Mahabharat expounded and written at different during periods of history.

Ancient Hindus, as outlined in Rigveda, worshiped nature and great objects of nature like earth, sun and waters particularly the sacred rivers like Ganga and Yamuna and their joining together (Sangam) at Haridwar ie, abode of God. Millions of Hindus even in these days go to Haridwar to pray and take dip, reciting rhymes or simply Ram Ram.

Followers and philosophers of Upanishads (around 700 BC) named the Supreme spirit that created earth, sun, water and mountains as Brahma. Brahma was omnipresent but formless. Followers of ancient Hinduism could not worship a formless entity so they invented various gods in humans and animals which they started worshiping. There are three male deities of Hindus viz Brahma, the creator of the universe, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva who is both the destroyer and regenerator. These three deities are also called Trimurthi.

The female goddesses of Hindus are Saraswati, the goddess of learning and the arts and crafts, Laxmi, goddess of good fortune and wealth and Shakti also known as Parvati and is called mother goddess. It is Shakti who in her destructive mood is known as Durga or Kali (mostly worshiped in Bengal). The other deities that Hindus worship, and there are Temples or Mandirs in their names, are Ganesh and Hanuman. In South India, Kritkaya and Subramania are worshiped more than the north Indian deities.

All Hindus, just as followers of other religions like Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism believe that it is only the body that dies, the soul from the body is reincarnated in another being and it never dies.

Ramayan and Mahabharat are the most prominent epics, that are read, recited and worshiped in modern times by all Hindus. Ramayan, as the name suggests, deals with the life of Lord Ram, Mahabharat with the life of Lord Krishna. In Gita (Geet Govinda) philosophy of Hinduism is apparent in dialogues between Krishna and Arjun. Here is one of the most significant passage from this epic, which will ever inspire all humanity even today:

 “The raft of Knowledge ferries the worst sinner to safety.” Bhagwat Gita

 “Knowledge is wealth” Vedas

Devotion and Ahimsa are the two main tenets of Hindu philosophy. Devotion in Hinduism means worship of chosen deity, chanting its name like Ram Ram or Jai Jai Ram. Doing good deeds, after visiting and praying in the chosen temple, like giving food to the hungry and helping poor and needy. Devotion’s ultimate aim is merger of soul in deity.

The other important tenet of Hinduism is Ahimsa. Ahimsa means non-injury to others, human as well as animals, because all living creatures have soul. It is now known as non-violence. Mahatma Gandhi made it driving force for struggle for independence of India from British rulers in early 20th century. Non-violence made, British to quit India in 1947. This philosophy has become relevant in the world to end imperialism or to get equality for coloured with the whites. This philosophy of non-violence and its success facilitated for the first time a coloured American (Obama) becoming President of white dominated USA.

It is pertinent to state that during 20th Century, because of the British policy of Divide and Rule and encouragement to Muslim League to fight for a Muslim dominated country of their own when they quit India, a sect of Hindus like Rss transformed itself, to an extent, abandoning Ahimsa ie, non-violence. These Hindus emulated Bhagat Singh and Raj Guru and later Netaji Subhash Bose, who being a Hindu differed with the Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non violence and took arms as leader of INA to compel Britishers to quit India. But vast majority of Hindus, particularly because of Vajpayee, founder of BJP, still believe in Ahimsa.

Basic purpose of brief analysis of Hinduism and Hindu philosophy from ancient times to present day is to emphasize that Hinduism does not advocate violence against followers of any other religion. Hinduism and Hindus have been peaceful for thousands of years. For last 1000 years or so they have suffered silently but have not, as a religious philosophy, indulged in violence even in retaliation. They have largely followed the Hindu philosophy of devotion and ahimsa for their own and others well being for peace and harmony.

February 5, 2010 Posted by | Hinduism, India, Indian History, Muslims, World History | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Need For a States Reorganisation Commission

It is high time Government of India takes necessary constitutional steps to accede to the demand of separate state of Telengana out of present Andhra state. The demand for Telengana state was accepted by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, perhaps without consulting the cabinet as well as Congress Government and leaders of Andhra Pradesh. Accordingly there has been prolonged agitation and strikes, making Andhra government ineffective, besides loss of hundreds of crores of Rupees. It has affected the economy of the state as well as the common man. Controversy about Hyderabad going to Telengana or becoming a Union Territory like Chandigarh has affected the work and progress of Information Technology, as Hyderabad is one of its main centres in South. Already 139 MLA’s belonging to Telengana region have submitted their resignation and on 27th January they have appealed Supreme Court, through IPL, for speedy acceptance of their resignations.

Besides demand for separate Telengana state there have been demands for carving out 2 to 3 states out of unmanageable Uttar Pradesh. Demand for separate state of vidarbha out of Maharashtra has also been raised quite often. There are demands for more new states elsewhere in the country. It is pertinent to point out how Andhra State was conceded so that there is end to agitations and peace and harmony prevails in the entire country. In 1952 Shri Potti Srirammulu, a peace loving Mahatma Gandhi’s follower who had gone on indefinite fast unto death died after 25 days of fast. Pandit Nehru was PM then. He did not bother about his fast unto death. But soon after he realized his mistake and within few days after his death concealed to the demand of separate Andhra Pradesh.

The way out seems to be setting up of a new States Reorganisation Commission with clear and unambiguous terms of reference so that there is fair play and no further agitations.

Government of India should be aware, while prescribing terms of reference to new SRC that First State Reorganisation Commission had clubbed Maharashtra and Gujarat into one state though their language and culture differed. This mistake had to be rectified after prolonged agitations.

Similarly the First SRC had not recommended separate State of Punjabi speaking area of East Punjab (after position). This mistake, too, had to be rectified after agitation and fasts for more than a decade.

It is not enough to concede to the demand of separate Telengana only. Government of India should act speedily so that there are no more agitations for separate states.

January 29, 2010 Posted by | India, Indian History, Political Commentary, Politics, Religion, Sikhism, World | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teachings of Guru Nanak – Founder of Sikhism

Nanak was born on 15th April 1469 in village Talwandi, close to Lahore, now called Nankana sahib (in Pakistan). His father was Mehta Kaalu, a devout Hindu. Nanak as a child was precocious and exceptionally intelligent. Though he studied Punjabi and Sanskrit he was not interested in normal schooling. He was often found in the company of holy men both Hindus and Muslims. He listened to them very attentively and even questioned them quite often. Nanak was about 10 year old when he astonished family priest Pandit Hardyal that ‘there is no Hindu, no Mussalman. At the age of 11 Nanak openly revolted by refusing to wear the customary Janeu. Not only that, boy Nanak recited his own views before the Pundits and guests of Mehta Kaalu’s family in Punjabi. (English Translation) is as under:-

Out of the cotton of compassion,

Spin the thread of contentment,

Tie the knot of continence,

And the twist of virtue,

Make such a sacred thread,

O Pandit, for your inner self.

Pandit Hardyal then predicted and told the guests and Nanak’s parents and others that Nanak would be a great philosopher and learned personality as he is gifted by Ram (God) to be a teacher of men. He would have many followers, both Hindus and Muslims. At this young age of 11-12 his teachers were impressed by Nanak’s efforts for spiritual enlightenment.

Mehta Kaalu wanted his son Nanak to be good in studies and thereafter attend to family business. So to divert Nanak form his spiritual quest he sent him to mind the cattle and thereafter to sit on the shop. Nanak was not interested in worldly professions like farming and business.

Nanak always wanted to do something good for all. So he did not like to remain under the protection and guidance of his father. The only member of the family who understood Nanak was his sister Nanki. Thus after marriage and two sons, Nanak left his home quietly, like Sidharath Gautam, a thousand years before. He commenced his long journey with two companions (disciples) one Muslim Rabab (Rebeck) player, Mardana and the other a Hindu, Bala who would also recite Nanak’s sayings and poems to the gathering of devotees. Wherever Nanak went people listened to him attentively and were so impressed that they stared calling him Guru (Teacher) Nanak. Guru Nanak never discriminated between Hindus and Muslims. Babar, while invading India and capturing parts of India killed, if not lakhs, thousands of Hindus who refused to abandon their Hindu religion and become Muslims. Babar the Mughal tyrant even imprisoned Guru Nanak. After his release Guru Nanak complained to Almighty Lord, Allah or Ram, as to why he allowed Babar to commit such atrocities on peaceful people of Hindustan. Here is the famous couplet:-

There was so much bloodshed and crying by innocent victims Oh Lord! didn’t you feel the pain?

The people of Hindustan were wailing under tyranny of Mughals.

Why Oh Lord you didn’t take pity on them.

Nanak concluded – If powerful were to slay another powerful I would not grieve

Inspite of being imprisoned by Barbar and inspite of having been witness to his cruelties on people of Hindustan, Guru Nanak did not become anti Muslim. He always considered Hindus and Muslims alike.

After visiting holy places all over India in North, South, East and West, Guru Nanak turned towards Muslim holy places in Arabia, Baghdad and Mecca. In Mecca, Nanak ‘Darvesh’ (Holyman) was questioned by Quazis and Maulvis as to why he was lying with his legs towards West, Allah is in the West. So Muslim pray and bow towards West. Guru Nanak replied Allah is every where on all the sides of earth. Thereafter Baba Nanak was asked: which of the two religions is better Hinduism or Islam. Darnesh (as he was called by Muslims) replied: Without good deeds (Shubh Ammal) none is better. Without good deeds both Hindu and Muslim would cry.

Then to the surprise of all the Muslim gathering, without fear, Darvesh Nanak advised Muslims to be courteous and truthful, as under:

 Make love thy mosque

Sincerity thy prayer carpet

Modesty thy circumcision

Courtesy thy Kabba

Truth thy creed

Rosary thy will of God

Guru Nanak’s advice to all, Hindus, Muslims alike was to work, even also do hard work as first priority, then remember Allah and Ram and thereafter out of earnings from work set aside one-tenth of earnings for poor and needy.

Guru Nanak was against caste system which was and, even after 500 years, is prevalent in Hindus. Guru Nanak explained: The Hindus say there are four castes, but they are all of one seed. It is like clay of which pots are made in diverse shapes and forms. Yet the clay is the same. How can one amongst them be high and other low?

Guru Nanak felt very sad that women were being discriminated by both Hindus and Muslims. Guru Nanak proclaimed:

Why should we consider women cursed and condemned. When from women are born leaders and rulers. From woman alone is born a woman. Without woman there can be no human births.

 Guru Nanak speaks about good conduct and good manners

To all his advice, even today, is universal truth:

If one is rude or harsh to another,

Not only the one who is treated harshly,

But even the one who utters harsh words,

His body and soul suffer.

And further

Sweetness in speech and behaviour,

And absence of pride and ego

Says Nanak, is the essence of all goodness.

To sum up Guru Nanak worked for, spoke, wrote for harmony between Hindus and Muslims, two dominant religions in India during his times and even today, in the Indian subcontinent.

January 29, 2010 Posted by | Achievers, Biography, India, Indian History | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Maharaja Ranjit Singh The Great

Ranjit Singh was born on 13 November 1780 and was named Budh Singh but the moment his valiant father Mahan Singh returned after subduing Pir Mohammad and his brother Ahmed Khan, capturing their forts at Sayyid nagar, Kot Pir Mohammad and Rasulnagar, first he did was to change the name of his son to Ranjt, which meant victor of battles. Mohan Singh was chief of Sakerchakia Misl, foremost of the 12 Sikh Misls.

Mahan Singh’s father’s great grand father was Desu, a cultivator who owned 25 acres of land. He belonged to village Suker Chak, near Gujranwala and so the name of Misl came to be known as Sakerchakia Misl. At the age of 50 Desu decided to meet Guru Gobind Singh as, himself being giant of a man and fearless fighter, he had heard about the great Gurus Khalsa and Khalsa’s fight with cruel Mughal rulers who had massacred lakhs of innocent Hindus during their rule. Seeing Desu touching Gurujee’s feet, Guru Gobind Singh was impressed by his strong personality. As soon Desu expressed his desire to become Sikh, Gurujee himself baptized him and named him Budha Singh. He joined the Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib and participated in many battles. Budha Singh became martyr in 1715 at Gurdas Nangal, fighting along with Banda Singh Bahadur. When Budha Singh died, his body had seven ballet wounds and 29 scars of arrows, swords and spear cuts. Similarly Ranjit Singh’s father Mahan Singh died when Ranjit was boy of 10. He was immensely inspired by his grand father Charat Singh, who fought many battles with notorious Muslim invader Ahmed Shah Abdali who had destroyed the sacred Darbar Sahib Amritsar twice. During fierce battles in 1761,1764 and 1766 Afghans tried his level best to subdue Charat Singh but after every fight the Misl’s head emerged stronger than before and annexed more territories.

By the time Ranjit Singh became Chief of the Misl at the age of 15, he had become expert horse rider, knew perfectly how to handle sword and spear as well musket. Thus in another five years by the age of 19 he had conquered Lahore. He was such a valiant person with immense self confidence that he did not care for his illness at he age of 6 when he lost one eye because of severe attack of smallpox. As C H Payne, a historian puts it: “The gifts which nature lavished on Ranjit Singh was of the abstract rather than concrete order. His strength of character and personal magnetism (were to be) the real source of his greatness.”

In December 1795, Ranjit Singh, when he was just 15 years old, wrote to Maratha Chief, Daulat Rao Scindia, who was at the time in Aligarh, to join the Sikhs so as to expel the Afghans from India once for all. But Ranjit Singh received no reply from Maratha chief and was very much disappointed as he had hoped if Marathas, another valiant people of India, would join him to complete the mission of expelling Afghans from India.

Ranjit Singh also tried to get full support from Sahib Singh Chief of Phulkian Misl, which was quite well known. Ranjit Singh invited Sahib to join him for expelling Afghans from the Sikh homeland. It was not a big surprise that Ranjit Singh received no reply from Sahib Singh Earlier, the founder of Phulkian Misl Alla Singh had betrayed the Sikhs as it was Ahmed Shah Abdali, with a view to cause split in Sikh Misls, who made Alla Singh as Raja of Patiala in 1763, though only a year back in 1762, the same Abdali had attacked and destroyed the sacred Harmander Sahib killing thousands of Sikh pilgrims and “filled the sacred sorovar with dead bodies of Sikhs and carcasses of cows. He also made, to scare Sikhs once for all, pyramid of Sikh’s heads on the site of devastated Harmander Sahib.” The two incidents of young Ranjit Singh’s approach to Maratha Chief and also Phulkian Misls Chief are very significant and demonstrate the efforts of Ranjit Singh to have alliances against Afghan invaders and destroyers of Holy Harmander Sahib.

It was 17 years old Ranjit Singh who had crushed furious Zaman Shah who had attacked Amritsar. This humiliating defeat demoralized Afghan descendent, Sikhs blood thirsty, Ahmed Shah Abdali. Thus Zaman Shah was not only defeated at Amritsar but his Army was chased to the gates of Lahore by Sikh Army of Ranjit Singh. While running back to Afghanistan Zaman Shah had lost 12 crucial guns in Jehlum River. He appealed to Ranjit Singh to rescue his guns and in return he would not oppose Ranjit Singh’s taking over Lahore. Ranjit Singh proved to be a diplomat. He readily agreed so as to become ruler of Lahore. Thus young Ranjit Singh laid the foundations of Sikh Empire, through bravery and diplomacy. Such a diplomacy proved useful and helped Ranjit Singh in dealing with British East India Company after a couple of years, as it required give and take and not obstinacy with the opponent who may or may not be more powerful.

Conquest of Lahore by 19 year old Ranjit Singh was very significant because it made him Maharaja or Ruler of not only Lahore but vast territory of Punjab. Lahore had been invaded and conquered by Muslim rulers from 1014 when Mohammad of Ghazni and thereafter it became home of many dynasties including Ghoris, Mongals, Tugh laks, Khiljis, Lodis and Suris. Even Mughal Emperor Akbar had made Lahore as the capital of his vast Empire of India in 1584. He built famous Lahore Fort which after 1799 became Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s principal residence.

Despite rivalry between Misls of Sikhs, Ranjit Singh at the young age of 19 demonstrated his and his Misls superiority by conquering vast area of Punjab and becoming ruler of Lahore as Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It is apt to compare Ranjit Singh with Alexander the Great. Though Alexander conquered vast empire from Greece to Punjab he did not or could not consolidate and rule over it. In contrast Ranjit Singh Lion of Punjab, conquered vast areas as the valiant Sikhs of Guru Gobind Singh never showed back: they, to last man, died fighting. He himself had led the Khalsa Army from the age of 15 to demonstrate that he was though chief of Misl and ruler, he was one amongst them. It is strange and painful that no Indian political leader or historian has developed on the greatness of Ranjit Singh or compared him with Alexander or Napoleon. Napoleon ultimately lost all his conquest. Neither Alexander nor Napoleon lost by treachery or conspiracy against them by their rivals. Alexander could not consolidate and had to retreat to Greece. Napoleon lost the war fighting and was defeated. Maharaja Ranjit Singh never lost in battle in 30 years of his rule. That is why he was and is known as Lion of Punjab.

In 1830, the population of Sikhs Empire was about 25 lakh of which 50% were Muslims, 42% Hindus and 7 to 8% Sikhs. This is rough estimate based on perhaps the first ever census of Punjab in 1881. Based on 1881 census Punjab’s population was placed at 2.2 million ie 22 lakhs. In 1881 Punjab included whole of west Punjab, East Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, Sikhs accounting for only 7% ie about 2 lakhs of the population against 50% Muslims, 42 % Hindus and 1% Christians and others (quoted by Patwant Singh) in ‘Empire of the Sikhs’. It becomes clear that Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Empire extended from Satluj River to Khyber Pass near Peshawar and in the west from Jammu to Kashmir which included ladakh and Gilgit.

Perhaps it is unknown in the world history that 7% people conquered and ruled over 93% and that, too, without any religious or political turmoil. Napoleon to an extent Ranjit Singh’s contemporary tried to conquer vast Empire extending to East Europe and Russia but got defeated. Similarly during 1st World War Germany tried to repeat what Napoleon failed but faced ultimate defeat and humiliation as Germany itself was conquered and divided. It becomes, to a great extent clear, that Maharaja Ranjit Singh alone in world History of last two centuries or so conquered and ruled for 30 years over a vast Empire which included NWFP ( which was till then part of Afghanistan. Thus whole of modern world must recognize Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s greatness and also of valiant Khalsa Army. 

Maharaja Ranjit Singh despite being a Sikh Ruler was absolutely secular. There were Sikhs, mostly generals like Hari Singh Nalwa nd Akali Phoola Singh, there were Hindus like Dhyan Singh who was PM and his brother Gulab Singh, and Muslims like Faqir Azazudin who was Foreign Minister. After Ranjit Singh’s demise traitors like Teja Singh became prominent ministers. That is how the Sikh Empire was lost.

I shall just quote from my memory a few lines from Shah Mohammad’s poem on First Sikh War with British East India Company. Shah Mohammad, a Muslim poet of Punjab, who wrote many poems in Punjabi and recited them in Punjab says:

“Teja Singh see Yaar Farangian daa”

 After mentioning in brief Teja Singh’s treachery of being friend of Britishers, Shah Mohammada writes:

Shah Mohammada Singhan Ne Gorian De

Wang Nimbuan Lahu Nichor Ditte

Je Kar Hondi Sarkar Taan Mul Paandee

Jehrian Khalse Ne Teghan Morian Ne

Shah Mohamada Ik Sarkar Bajon

Faujan Jit Ke Annt Nuun Horian Ne

In simple English translation Shah Mohammad says:

Sikh soldiers squeezed British soldiers blood, as one squeezes lemon.

If  Maharaja Ranjit Singh had been alive,

He would have appreciated and honoured the Sikh soldiers for bravery

As some Sikh soldiers fought with just swords in their hands.

Shah Mohammed concludes:

But for Sarkar (Maharaja Ranjit Singh) Sikh having won ultimately lost.

Sikhs lost first Sikh War and Second Sikh War because of treachery of men like Teja Singh and Dogras like Dhyan Singh, who was Prime Miniser during Ranjit Singh’s lifetime, and his brother Gulab Singh and conspiracy of British East India Company.

January 8, 2010 Posted by | Achievers, Biography, India, Indian History, Muslims, Politics, Punjabi, Religion, Sikhism, World History | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Decline in Indian Economy During Nehru’s Socialism From 1951-52 to 1965-66

The study is based on the book “India The Emerging Giant” by Arvind Panagariya, particularly the statistics provided therein Indian economy seems to have been led by Demand-Supply principle from 1951-52 to 1987-88 so it suffered particularly upto 1965-66. Connection Patris analysis has been followed to an extent half heartedly.

In this connection it will be pertinent to quote from Arvind Panagoriya book ‘India the Emerging Giant’ as under:

‘Demand verses Supply- If the economy is demand led the development and progress is slow. “Therefore the success of demand driven approach often depends on the governments taking necessary action to relieve the bottleneck stiffing the supply response” Accordingly Patrick in 1966 refuted this concept. Thus the supply-driven or supply-leading approach assigns the government a more active in building institutions and creating inter mediation instruments ahead of the demand… India actively employed this approach in second half of 1970’s and the 1980’s with respect to both the expansion of rural bank branches and what came to be known as priority sector lending” of course there are limitation to this approach of lending money by government to private entrepreneurs and firms who may siphon the amount for personal use and in due course declare the company bankrupt, Govt has to be vigilant, more vigilant than in other fields.”

Because of Nehru’s Socialist pattern of economy on to an extent in USSR model, economic progress right upto 1980 was very slow, if not negligible, for a newly independent country with very high hopes. Between 1951-52 to 1987-88 the economy grew at 3.8%. In contrast economy of Korea and South East Asia grew at rates of 8 to 10% per annum. I pursuit of socialism, 5 year plans were prepared in detail in all the spheres of economy by the Panning Commission which laid out detailed map of policies and ways to implement them. First Plan was for the years 1951-52 to 1956-57. With hopes of making Indian Socialism very successful and productive in all the economic fields so that other newly independent countries in South East Asia and Africa follow Indian model for their progress and economic development. Unfortunately for India in the Indian Variety of Socialism there was virtually no increase in per capita income. Instead of increase in employment opportunities there was decline. At the end of all three 5 Year Plans from 1951-52 to 1965-66 there has been, instead of rise, there was decline as per statistics. The lowest ever GDP recorded pulled down the growth rate for entire 3rd Plan period ending 1965-66 to miserable 2.8 percent while population was growing at the rate of 4 percent per annum.

To demonstrate the contrast between Socialist Economy and its the abandonment for free economy following figures of Poverty ratios as per Planning Commission from 1951-52 to 1995-96 are given. Rural, urban and National Ratios are given below:-

 Year                 Rural              Urban              National

1951-52            47.37            35.46                 45.61

1966-67           64.30            52.34                  62.90

 Poverty fell down remarkably in the decade after Socialism was completely abandoned and there is improvement in the condition of rural and urban Indian in all fields, agriculture, industry , service and electronic and management

         Year                                             Rural                        Urban                  National

July 1995 – June 96                      37.46                      28.04                          35.00

There is marked decline in poverty ratio in rural areas from 64.30 to 37.46 but in urban areas poverty has also declined significantly from 52-34 to 28-24 virtually down by 50%.

 In contrast when Socialism was abandoned for Free trade under Narsimha Rao with Dr Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister the economy grew quite fast as GDP in 88-89 was the highest at 10.5. While average GDP in 88-89 to 2008 has been 7% that means almost double the average population growth, thus improving the living standards of all below poverty line the middle class and of course much more of Upper Classes, Entrepreneurs, Technocrats and Business Managers.

 It will be seen what havoc to Indian economy was brought by Socialist Economy during 15 years of 3 Five Year Plans from 1951 to 1966 and in contrast what and how much Indian Economy improved when GDP rose from 3.5% to average 7 to 8 percent India, thus became Emerging Giant only after abandoning Nehru’s Socialist Pattern of Economy. The reason as to why Indian Socialism failed to usher in economic and social improvement of vast number of Indians below poverty line and unemployed was that controlled economy led to Inspector Raj in India—meaning increase in corruption all round which remained uncontrolled particularly in Rationing Department, Income Tax Deptt and Industries Deptt. There was all round neglect so there was all round decline in GDP, increase in poverty and unemployment.

 

December 30, 2009 Posted by | India, Indian Economy, Indian History, Political Commentary, Politics, World History | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Problem of Kashmir and Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits

Jawaharlal Nehru, though he himself was a Kashmiri Pandit the first Prime Minister of Independent India proved to be a weak PM particularly as long as Lord Mountbatten was Governor General of Dominion of India. He continued to be ineffective and docile till Sardar Patel, iron man of India,was alive. Nehru committed many blunders in the case of Kashmir as outlined by Vidya Bhushan in South Asia Today:

The first and biggest blunder was to make Jawahar Lal Nehru PM instead of Sardar Patel and another blunder was to assign Deptt of Kashmir Affairs to Nehru while all the other State Affairs were under Ministry of State under the charge of Sardar Patel.

Another blunder was to name the head of government of Kashmir as Prime Minister and not Chief Minister as was the case of hundreds of other Princely States. Also to name Srinagar Radio as Radio Kashmir and not All India Radio Kashmir.

But the greatest blunder was to let Mountbatten include a clause on the Instrument of Accession on Kashmir to India, that “will of the people” will be taken into account, which led to one crises after another viz referring the Kashmir question to UN, agreeing to cease fire when entire Kashmir could be conquered by Indian Army within a week and finally agreeing to plebiscite.

It is unfortunate that all these blunders on Kashmir were committed by Pt. Nehru, directly or indirectly which cost India thousands of valiant Indian Army personnel’s life and also of Kashmiris besides lakhs of crores of rupees during 62 years besides 1965 war with Pakistan Kashmir and also Kargil war, without any solution to Kashmir problem.

Before the conquest of Kashmir by Muslim Afghans, entire population of Kashmir was Hindu. But now there is absolute majority of Muslims in the Kashmir Valley but in Jammu area majority is of Hindus and in, Ladakh Buddhist before and after independence. It was Maharaja Ranjit Singh in early 8th century who conquered and ended Muslim (Afghan) rule after about 700 years. Just as he captured NWFP from Afghans, made both Kashmir and NWFP part of his (Indian) empire. B.N Sharma’s views in this context are touching so these are reproduced below:

” Have we ever tried analyze the course of almost complete demographic swing in favour of Muslims as the ethnic cleansing of Kashmir Pandits was going on under the benevolent gaze of the previous secular government at Delhi so aptly described by a Kashmiri Muslim Khurshid Vani—‘when bullets, blood and fundamentalism made their first inroad into the valley, 1.5 lakh Kashmiri Pandits left their paradise in fear, but 3000 families stayed back to fight, to survive and to live or die in their homes.’ Sadly more than a decade and a half later, the staying power of these gritty Pandits stands diluted by joblessness, anxiety and loneliness, not to talk of nagging fear. There are no grooms for daughters, no relatives to share family with, no hope of the return of exiled and, of course distress sale of ancestral properties. And the plight of Those who stayed back against all adversity.”

During Ranjit Singh’s reign over Kashmir and there after British rule by Dogra rulers Kashmir was quiet—no apparent Muslim dominance. But since independence because of Nehru’s follies and Pakistani indirect and direct intervention Kashmir problem has arisen and has got intensified. It is true and shocking but the secular government of India could not prevent it or do anything for return of Kashmiri Pandits which seems a remote possibility now. It may be possible, either after final agreement in black and white with Pakistan or after disintegration of Pakistan (NWFP becoming an independent state or joining Afghanistan) or when the Taliban menace is over either by peaceful settlement or by intensified war by USA as US President Obama has claimed by mid 2011 when all US Forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan. If one of this possibility becomes reality, as it is hoped and peace returns to Kashmir after few years then and then alone it may or will be possible for Kahmiri Pandits to return to their homes in Kashmir and become integrated Kashmiris as before independence of India.

December 25, 2009 Posted by | Cold War, India, Indian History, Muslims, Pakistan, Pakistan's Origin, Creation and Turmoil, Political Commentary, Politics, Punjabi, Religion, World | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hindutva – Its true meaning and implications

After defeat of BJP in the 2009 elections, there is much talk about HIndutva, whether it should be diluted to keep the RSS with BJP as its cadre party and source or to abandon it altogether to make BJP a truly secular so that it also attracts Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and other small minorities of India to make BJP truly All India Party and an All India challenge to Indian National Congress.

 The word Hindutva was coined and used first of all by V.D. Savarkar. “Hinduism is a religion that all Hindus follow with all the rituals and worshiping all the Hindu Gods, Lord Rama, Krishna, Hanuman and other regional gods whose statues are all over India and worshiped by devout Hindus. It also means respect and if possible knowledge of Ramayana, Mahabarat, Vedas, Shastra and other many millennium old Hindu or Vedic Literature. Hindutva also means that India Civilization embraces all those who live in India, to whatever religion they belong but they have to love Indian Civilization in contrast to Muslim Civilization as propagated in Mecca and Christian Civilization as explained and propagated by Pope of Rome.”

 RSS Chief K S Sudarshan in 2201 while addressing a large gathering in Hardwar said ” The time has come when both Muslims and Christians who are living in India should Indianize their religions. They should sever their links with Mecca and Pope and instead become swadeshi.” (The Tribune Chandigarh March 9, 2001) An extremist Hindu Brig B N Sharma (Retd) in his book, ” A Nation on Fire,” defines Hindutva as: Hindutva collective essence of ” Hinduism and is the end product of three elements, cultural nationalism, intense patriotism, and a pride in the collective memory of India’s past glory.” But Brig Sharma, as the title of book reveals, is not moderate but fundamentalist. He has ridiculed so called seculars who are more concerned with vote bank than with nation’s interest.

 If BJP follows fully and faithfully what K.S Sudarshan says then BJP can never become all embracing Indian Political Party where followers of any religion will be welcome, just as Hindus, without any discrimination. It is pertinent to quote Dr Chaudhary as under.

 “The seeds of pathological antipathy and diabolical hatred against Muslims and Christians in India sown by Savarkar have now fully fructified, thanks to the constant watering and manuring of seeds at the hands of the Sangh Parivar. It resulted into the shameless act of demolition of Babri Masjid at Ayodhya in 1992 followed by communal holocaust all over the country in which hundreds of innocent citizens lost their lives. Then came the systematic persecution of Christians resulting into the horrendous act of burning alive of an Australian Christian doctor engaged into healing lepers, along with his adolescent sons in Orissa.” (South Asia Today)

 If BJP follows Hindutva, in its full form with all the implicayions, it may attract towards BJP more and more Hindus with the active help of more than a dozen RSS volunteering organizations in virtually all fields like student and teacher organization, workers of industrial and academic fields, women and in tribal sphere etc,etc… But still it will remain only a Hindu Communal organization. To be a Secular All India Party BJP will have to dilute HIndutva and make it appear truly an Indian Civilization and part of all comprehensive Indian Cultural, linguistic, religious and ethnic groups of whole of India.

 It was mainly Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s farsight and determination that transformed Bhartya Jan Sangh a Hindu Party like RSS into BJP an All India National Party like Indian National Congress and captured power in 1998 and ruled the country for full term of 5 years without virtual alliance with any party except Akali Dal as in Punjab. If BJP tries to be a truly secular party lot of uncommitted voters from religions and regions will support it.

 Since Advani’s praise for Jinnaha, when he visited Pakistan, without bothering to go deep into Jinnaha’s thinking in 1940’s and actions in 1946 to instigate West Bengal Government of Muslim League to abandon the rights and rules of and go ahead with ‘Direct Action’ which led to Kolkata Killings—it was certain that Advani should either quit BJP Presidentship and as leader of opposition, Lok Sabha, or would be ousted. Accordingly during early December 09, on the advice of RSS Chief, virtually little known in national politics, Nitin Gadkari 52 years old was chosen to replace Advani as BJP president. In Advani’s place Sushma Swaraj, who once contested elections against Sonia Gandhi in South India though lost but proved to be both daring and well-versed in parliamentary affairs, was nominated as leader of opposition while another prominent BJP young leader Jaitley was to continue BJP leader in Rajya Sabha.

 All these developments had to be stated in brief because both Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely are moderates and not enthusiastic about Hindutava. They are more interested, like Vajpayee, to make BJP an All India Party to include all Indians of all castes and religions. It is heartening to note that in his first interview on 20th December 2009, Godkari, new BJP Chief has said ” I would like to involve more Dalits, Tribals and Muslims in the BJP” He father said: “I would like to concentrate on youth workers and farmers. I will concentrate my polities of development at the national level.” If Godkari sticks to what he has said in this interview, it would mean dilution of Hindutava for BJP.

No doubt Muslim terrorists, jehadis of many hues and Taliban by their incursions and killings through suicide bombing like 9/11 in USA and 26/11 in Bombay have encouraged RSS followers, Israelis and some Christian Countries to give befitting reply. But for peace of the world and peace in their own country tact, patience and action are required as and when necessary. So far as India is concerned because of Indian farmers, skilled and unskilled labourers and since last two decades Indian technocrats and managers being in limelight particularly in USA, it is imperative that Indians shun fundamentalism of Hindutava. India must remain secular and India’s image should be that of biggest democracy in the world.

December 22, 2009 Posted by | Corruption, India, Indian History, Muslims, Pakistan, Pakistan's Origin, Creation and Turmoil, Political Commentary, Politics, Punjabi, Religion, Sikhism, Terrorism, World History | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment