Dhaka, Bangladesh
Sikh resentment

Off the track

Sikh resentment

Adeela Naureen

The month of June reminds us that Sikh resistance against Indian oppression is not only alive and kicking but also entering a new paradigm. Few days back Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ajay Bisaria was confronted by Sikh activists at Punja Sahib Hasan Abdal. Sikh community feels that Indian government and her agencies were involved in production of a controversial film, which amounted to desecration of Sikh culture and religion. Unfortunately, charged Sikh pilgrims from India who were visiting Gurdwara Panja Sahib also refused to meet Indian diplomats. In April 2015, Sikh community in UK was displeased at release of a film Nanak Shah Faqir, as it personified the revered Sikh Guru, Baba Guru Nanak Sahib, something disallowed in Sikh religion. Indian government who claims to follow secular principles has failed its diverse communities at various occasions and Sikhs are no exception. Whether it is the physical attack on Akal Takht and massacre of Sikhs in droves in the eighties, the sponsorship of dubious characters like Ram Rahim Singh or the question of separate Sikh identity in the Indian constitution, Sikh community has been gradually pushed to the wall. Sikh diaspora across the world and especially those living in Europe and North America has found a new spirit to contest Indian hegemonic attitudes and browbeating of the proud Sikh community. The Hasan Abdal episode has highlighted that Sikhs would not allow Indian government to bluff the world by posing as a secular republic. Many Gurdwaras across the west have put serious restrictions on Indian diplomats to visit or offer supplications as they believe that Indian façade of secularism has outlived its shelf life and India cannot bluff the international community . As the Sikh community has themselves clarified, the objection to the entry of Indian High Commissioner Mr Ajay Bisaria was affected by the Sikh activists due to the resentment of Sikh community on the issue of the infamous movie, Nanak Shah Fakir. Sikh community within and outside India is not ready to allow desecration of their holy lands and gurus, just because Hindutva mindset wants to degrade the Sikh identity. Unfortunately, Indian media and the government was quick in blaming Pakistani government for the embarrassment caused to the Indian high commissioner. It may be highlighted that Indian Supreme court has cleared the movie Nanak Shah Fakir for release across India in April this year and had criticized the apex Sikh body Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee for putting restrictions on the release of the movie based on the life and teachings of the first Sikh Guru.

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