All people irrespective of their distinct cultures and lifestyle aspects, have certain aspirations – like us Sikhs who wonder when our aspirations will be truly fulfilled and respected. Certain events highlight these aspirations, creating a yearning for liberty with which we look to universal human rights. It is understandable that we feel so insulted when these are not accorded to us.
The recent unfolding of the Hondh Chiller village incident has once again created a rude awakening for us. As is told in reports, the demise of this village came 26 years ago and although we are projected as a vibrant community, we had no clue whatsoever. Thanks be to BBC News which at least had the courage to report on it in the first instance, but still mainstream Indian media has tried to downplay the findings. The people of the said village had seen partition in 1947 and now within the free India had once again witnessed another violent partition in 1984. It is so sad that nobody had a clue about this incident. I am sure the affected people must have tried to tell the powers that be of their sorry state, but nobody who mattered listened or paid any heed.
Now everyone who has tried to be more aggrieved and wronged than their neighbour, especially the so called elected saviours of our community, and also once again people from other religions and political parties, have kept an indifferent attitude to this news. I believe this proves Huntington’s thesis from his famous essay of 1993 ‘The Clash of Civilizations’, that cultures and religions create different types of mindsets in human beings. The celebrated Punjabi comedian and writer Bhagwant Maan wrote recently that political parties especially those of the Sikhs, have a tendency to arrange big crowds to gather and listen to them, but make no effort to understand the underlying yearnings and feelings of pain amongst the crowd. The Hondh Chiller incident, should at least I hope, make us rise from our false sense of dignity and create a basic understanding that we should not be swayed by the false tears of leaders. Instead we should make an effort to stand behind people from within our midst who have endured pain and suffering, so that they can lessen these ills that continue to afflict us today.
I too have undergone a long period of detention and suffering to stand up to the tyrannies of rulers and the state; now being lucky enough to have withstood that challenge, I am standing on the same crossroads to find a path of self sustenance and dignity with pride. I do hope that our society will rise above cultural and religious divides and make a strong stand against those very political parties and leaders who instigate these kind of massacres. It is up to us to help sway a ruling under which these type of parties are banished from the political system, as unfortunately, by punishing certain individuals it will not ensure that this incident will not happen again. There should never again be an incident like that at Hondh Chiller.