15 August 2008


I was going to let Indian Independence Day pass without comment this year; I have been quite ill and didn't really feel I had anything new to say this year. Then, in good ol' IHRO (International Human Rights Organisation), I read this challenge:

Respected Friends,
On this wonderful occassion of 15 August, let us all contemplate
on one question.

"What can I do for India?"

And, then let us start action on those steps.

Continous contemplation on this question, and action, is perhaps
the only way to pay real respect to the soldiers who sacrificed their
families and lives, for us.

Best Wishes
and signed by the author, whose name I am not using, as he probably wouldn't be pleased to see his name here.

I am not one to let a challenge pass unanswered, so here is the answer I posted today on IHRO. (BTW, the last time I posted a letter expressing similar ideas and opinions, it was suggested that I be kidnapped, transported to Mata Bharata and put on trial for treason against the Republic of India, the idea being that I should be awarded capital punishment. Only problem with that is that I have never been a citizen of India, nor have I ever pledged any support for that country. But if that's what it takes...)

Here is my answer:


I am afraid that Mai is about to jump up on her soapbox and tell the
truth as she sees it.

First, I must make it clear that I speak only for myself. I do not
speak for any group or organisation. These are my own ideas and
opinions. Second, I currently reside in the United States of
America. The ideas I express are perfectly legal, protected speech
here. I am advocating nothing illegal.

I am not an Indian. My family is not Indian. My father was a
Punjabi; never once in his 97 years on this planet did he call
himself or think of himself as an India. To him - and to me - India
is an artificial construct invented by the British for their own

I am a Sikh - partially of Punjabi extraction. This country India
has been less than kind to me and my sisters and brothers. As a
group, we agreed to support the Nehru-MK Gandhi Axis in return for an
autonomous or at least semi-autonomous region in Punjab, only to find
that when independence came, we were told that 'the situation has
changed.' We were betrayed both by the Indian government and by our
own 'leadership.' Not only did we not get freedom, our home - our
Punjab - was divided between two warring countries amid
inconceivable bloodshed. Later, of course, our Punjab was further
divided in a futile attempt to weaken and silence our self-
determination movement. This tactic didn't work.

For all the years since then, we have lived under the harsh thumb of
the majority group of this country. When we made a move to regain
what is rightfully ours, circa 1984, the full force of the Nehru-
Gandhi family (different Gandhi, though) was thrust upon us. Each of
us has our own story to tell about this period, mine involves a short
detention and torture during the Bluestar Massacre and then the
murder of my entire immediate family in the Delhi Pogrom following
the execution of Mrs. Gandhi.

Since that time, I have become a bit radicalised - stumbling over the
dead bodies of husband, son, brothers, can have that effect. I have
not returned to 'India.' I will return for only one of two reasons:
to watch the executions of Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and their
cohorts - or to see the flag of Khalistan raised over our beloved

India is not and has never been one country. It is a ragtag
conglomeration of different states, different cultures, different
languages, different values. Like the Soviet Union and the Balkans
before it, it must and it will fall apart by its own weight.

So what can I do for India? I can sit here, half a world away,
unafraid, freely expressing my views, waiting. Waiting...

Chardi kala!

Mai Harinder Kaur

1 comment:

  1. Waheguru Ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji ki Fateh...
    I completely agree with you, and the thought of Indian independence does nothing but remind me of the suffering caused to Sikhs and the misacknowledgement of Amritdharis in the country as terrorists.
    What upsets me, though is the ignorance of most Sikhs anywhere in the world - some who can even call themselves Indian. We say "never forget 84" but if people no longer know anything - what have they to forget?



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