Today, the four survivors pay tribute to their fallen friends and of course others who were martyred during the bloodshed holly in Punjab. For the new generation, it is a sad story, but we had lived that life. We are the survivor and witness of the genocide. I was not born in Punjab, but I was raised on the land of warriors. In Punjab June 1984, the central govt of India had attempted to genocide the Sikhs. It was not only happened in the month of June. The bloodshed holly was continued for more than a decade. It didn’t affect only Sikhs but also the Hindu community, and the economy of the State. It was not only genocide of Sikhs but also it was an attack on the psychology of the Sikhs community. The blood of Sikhs was not only shed in Punjab but also in the rest of the country.
Materialism won’t have any value, so I won’t discuss the damage of economy in this article. Many people were killed. The women were raped. The children had become orphan. The biggest mistake of the central govt had done in the month of June when the heart of Sikhs, the holy shrine, the Golden Temple were attacked by the Indian army. The bloodshed holly had claimed 20000 deaths per official record, but the reality is different. The peak of violence had reached the highest level in 1991. Humanity and Justice were also lost.
The public was humiliated and insulted both by the army and the separatists. Whatever was happened that so was bad. It has raised the question marks of democracy of India in the world. The Sikhs had protested worldwide at that time. So far, the Sikhs have not received justice. I wonder why those wounds are still not healed.
The Sikhs are known as a warrior. They are fearless. They are the donors. They can take the food out of their own mouth to feed the hungry. They are fighters. The Sikhs never attack anybody, but they won’t sit quietly when someone attack on them. No doubt then prime minister of India was a great politician, but she had made the biggest mistake: messing with the Sikhs and attacking the Golden Temple. After 4 months of the attack, the warriors had taken revenge. Yes, we were a still kid. We celebrated the day when PM died.
The June 1984, I had seen when my mother and my uncle were left toward the temple with the rest of other people. Only young kids were left in the town, while another was gone toward the temple. Everyone was in anger. The shops and crops, of course, the heart of people were burning in the fire. The Sikhs without the weapons had become the weapon themselves. How much more damage we’re going to happen if the army had not blocked the bridge of Bias river.
The wounds are still raw which open time to time. It has influenced everyone. We were a young kid. It was the age when you are not a kid or teen either. Our parents were left toward the temple. We did not know if they would ever return home alive. Neither our elderly nor children were worried who would take care of the children.
All we could hear, Bhindrawala Jindabaad, Khalistan Jindabaad, or Bhale so Nihal or the sounds of bullets/firearms. The Sikh soldiers’ weapons were taken the night before the attack. As they heard the attack on the temple, they had left the barracks and run toward the temple. What would be the history today if the Sikh soldiers still had their weapons and Bias bridge was not blocked? I can give you a guarantee today the map of India could be totally different.
We were 11 friends who were grown up together, in which only five was survived in this bloodshed war. While our parents were gone to the temple, all of us were sat by the young soldier known as a warrior. He was not allowed to leave his post, so he held all of us there. Of course, he was my Abu, the true Muslim who fed us and protected us until our parents returned home.
Six of our teen friends were martyred during 10 years of war. Five of us were survived. The situation or karma or terrorism had separated the remaining five friends. One was able to hide and survive in Punjab, two were headed towards Europe, while two toward the west of the world. Later, one of us died in the USA. My Abu was martyred for India, but my friends were martyred for Sikhism. I stood confused in the middle because I could not decide whose side I should be taken.
We are alive but still lost. We still relate our life with the genocide. One of my friends has become a politician. While My European friends have become a civil engineer and businessman. All of us have talked with each other via Skype today. We might be in India serving our country if genocide never happened. Or I was not writing on this blog today. We did lose our identity. The genocide had taken our name and real date of births. We live but with other people’s identity.
Who was Baba Bhindranwale? You don’t need his introduction. You can find his picture any Sikh temple. He was martyred during the attack on the Temple, but he still lives in the heart of Sikhs. I had a chance of meeting him once. My uncle was his biggest fan, so I went to see him along with my uncle before the genocide. A tall skinny man with six fingers on one hand, blue turban and he held a Neja in his hand, of course, AK 47 was his physical identification. He did have some strange brightness in his eyes per my uncle. His enemies could not tolerate his facial brightness. I did not know that time who he was. I thought he was one of my uncle’s friends. People don’t talk about it but how a saint had become a fighter. It was the game of politics. You cannot manipulate the Sikhs or the warriors. The politicians had attempted to use the charismatic personality of the saint against other leaders. However, the politician did not know the Sikh is a Sikh. They are funny but not stupid. So, it did not take a long time for the saint to understand the game of politics. Yes, he had picked up the weapon against the government and army, and he had taught to all other Sikhs, “let’s fight back, we are the children of Khalsa”. It is very true that the Sikhism was reborn with the martyred of Baba Bhindranwale.
Of course, 35 years after the attack, the government still does not release the exact number or how many Indian army soldiers died in few days while fighting against just a few dozens of Sikh fighters in the temple. I am not sure if then PM was not aware of Sikh history before she granted the attack on the temple.
“This article is dedicated to my long-lost friends and of course others who were martyred during the Sikh genocide. I am thankful to my other three survivor friends who encourage me to write this article even though I am Sara Altaf Khan now”.