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Important Information

DATES and EVENTS

April 15, 1469 The Birth Of Guru Nanak, The Founder Of Sikhism

1507 Guru Nanak Proclaims, 'There Is No Hindu, There Is No Muslim' And Sikhism Is Founded.

1601 Guru Arjan Completes The Compilation Of The Adi Granth (Or The Guru Granth).

1604 The Adi Granth (Or The Guru Granth) Is Installed At The Darbar Sahib (Or Harmandir; Now Also Known As The Golden Temple).

1704 Guru Gobind Singh Releases A Final Edition Of The Adi Granth And Announces An End To The Line Of Succession Of Personal Gurus To Be Replaced Jointly By The Adi Granth And The Panth (The Collective Will Of The Entire Sikh Community).

October 22, 1909 India's British Rulers Pass The Anand Marriage Act, Thereby Reinforcing A Distinct Sikh Identity.

April 13, 1919 Jallian Wala Bagh Masaccar

1963 Damdama Sahib Becomes The Fifth To Be Added To The List Of Sikh Takhts (Seats Of Authority).

Famous Personalities

Bhagat Singh – One Of The Most Influential Revolutionaries Of The Indian Independence Movement

Bishen Singh Bedi – Indian Cricketer

Dara Singh – Indian Wrestler Turned Actor

Fauja Singh – World’s Oldest Marathon Runner

Gurbax Singh Malhi – First Ever Turbaned Politician To Be Elected In The Western World

Gurdas Maan – Notable Personality In The World Of Punjabi Music

Gyani Zail Singh – Seventh President Of India

Jagjit Singh – Ghazal Singer Also Know As The “Ghazal King”

Khushwant Singh – Well Known Journalist And Writer, Recipient Of Padma Vibhushan

Manmohan Singh - India’s First Sikh Prime Minister

Milkha Singh – Famous Athlete Also Known As The “Flying Sikh” Recipient Of Padma Shri

Painful Memories

In the course of history, there were events of significance which had a lasting impact on  the Sikh community. These unfortunate events have caused extreme hurt to the Sikhs, and the painful memories remain etched in their minds to this day.  The events are 1919 Jallianwala Bagh Incident, 1947 India- Pakistan partition, Operation Blue Star (1984) and the subsequent 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots.

1919 Jallianwala Bagh

In 1919 the massacre of thousands including women and children in Amritsar’s Jallianwala Bagh, near the Golden Temple on the order of Reginald Dyer. The people had gathered there on the occasion of Baisakhi which is the Sikh New Year. The place was surrounded by houses and buildings and there were narrow entrances, most of which were kept closed. On the orders of Reginald Dyer the soilders opened fire on the unarmed gathering killing thousands.

1947 Partition

The partition of India and Pakistan in August 1947 left bitter memories for Sikhs as well as the Hindus. As many as one million civilians died in the accompanying riots and local-level fighting, particularly in the western region of Punjab which was cut in two by the border.

During partition, horrible atrocities were committed on both sides. Convoys of refugees and trains (full of with escaping refugees )were attacked as thousands of Sikhs were slaughtered mercilessly. No consideration was given to the sick or the aged or even to infants. Gurdwaras were desecrated as stabbing and small incidents spread out to become arson and murder.
Over ten million people changed homes between India and Pakistan, and approximately 400,000 to 500,00 people were killed on both sides of the border. Thousands of Sikhs (& Hindus) were cruelly murdered, property looted, their women folk abducted, raped and compelled to marry Muslims. Many women jumped in the wells to save their honour after their men folk were killed. In the March 1947 riots, the Sikhs of Rawalpindi faced annihilation and large number of them left the district.

Sikh leadership opted for India and millions of Sikhs migrated to East Punjab and Delhi. Time may have healed the wounds of partition but the scars remain, resulting in dislike of the Muslim community by many Sikhs.

 

Operation Blue Star
 

'Operation Blue Star' was an operation carried out by the Indian Military forces in June 1984, on orders of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in order to remove Sikh separatist leader Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale and his armed followers from Gurdwara Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) in Amritsar, Punjab.

Bhindranwale, labelled a militant by the government due to his attempts to start a major armed uprising in Punjab, had made 'The Golden Temple' his headquarters in April 1980 and amassed dangerous weapons in its premises.   

'Operation Blue Star' was carried out by the Indian Army troops with tanks, artillery, helicopters and armoured vehicles. According to eyewitnesses, innocent and unarmed Sikh youth were lined up against a wall in the Golden Temple complex and killed point blank (with a machine gun) by the angry army personnel. Unfortunate pilgrims, trapped inside the Gurdwara complex, died in the crossfire between the army and Sikh militants.

This military action led to extreme anger and uproar among the Sikhs worldwide. In protest, several Sikhs resigned from military and civil offices, and many returned awards and honours they had received from the Indian government.

Later, operations by Indian paramilitary forces were initiated to clear the separatists from the countryside of Punjab state.

1984 Anti-Sikh Riots

In an act of extreme vengeance, two of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's Sikh bodyguards, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, assassinated her on 31 October 1984 for ordering 'Operation Blue Star'.

Following the Hindu Prime Minister's assassination, India erupted in riots against the Sikh community in November 1984. Frenzied mobs - triggered by Congress leaders and Hindu fanatics - committed murder, loot, arson and rape, across India for over a week, with Delhi being the worst affected. Innocent Sikhs were butchered as the police and administration deliberately chose to remain inert to the crime.   

Mobs carrying iron rods, knives, clubs, and kerosene swarmed into Sikh neighbourhoods, arbitrarily torturing and killing any Sikh men or women they could find. Sikh shops and houses were ransacked and burned. In other incidents, armed mobs stopped buses and trains, in and around Delhi, pulled out Sikh passengers and burnt them alive after dousing them with kerosene. Burning tyres were also put around the necks of Sikhs. 

The official figures of those who died were over 4000 and 60,000 were rendered homeless in Delhi alone, these figures do not incorporate those “missing”.

The Akal Takht, the governing religious body of Sikhism, considers the killings to be an act of  'Genocide'. In 2011, Human Rights Watch reported that the Government of India had "yet to prosecute those responsible for the mass killings"; though determined Sikhs still continue to fight for justice to prevail. 


 
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