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Location: Home arrow Library of Articles arrow Opinions/Letters arrow Strange Bedfellows: Sikhs Join Cause With Kashmiris

Strange Bedfellows: Sikhs Join Cause With Kashmiris   E-mail 

The Editor,

It was reported a few days ago that certain Sikh seperatist groups in Punjab had formed alliances with Kashmiri Muslims and other minorities to wage a joint struggle against "state oppression and terrorism."

While it is commendable that these groups are putting aside traditional differences to achieve their respective goals, it is also a cause for grave concern. The primal urge to gain victory has overshadowed fundamental differences in religious philosophy - philosophy which has guided both groups in how they conduct themselves in conflicts over the centuries.

Seperatists today, including Kashmiri fighers, have increasingly targetted civilians to further their cause. Random killings of 'non-believers' and bombings at crowded market places have become commonplace. Are we so far gone that we are going to associate ourselves with these attrocities? What will the Sikh groups in question say when their alliance partners wage a war without conscience?

During a period in history when the rulers were committed to eliminating all Sikhs, one eye-witness wrote this, "They (Sikhs) do not kill a woman, a child or a coward running away from the fight.  They do not rob any person nor do they take away the ornaments of a woman, be she a queen or a slave girl.  They commit no adultery, rather they respect the women of even their enemies.  They always shun thieves and adulterers and in generosity, they surpass Hatim".

For the Sikhs, the end has never justified the means. Traditionally, how ever pressing the circumstances, Sikhs have never raided or destroyed the place of worship of another religion, executed prisoners of war, forced conversion upon others or shed the blood of innocents and non-combatants. There is a reason why we are called 'sant, sepahi, sewak' - the alliance makes strange bedfellows indeed!

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