03 September 2008


Ghalughara - Great bloodshed, a holocaust.

Three Ghalugharas are recorded in Sikh history,

(i) in 1746 about 10,000 Sikhs were murdered by the Mughal government forces. It’s called Chhota (small) Ghalughara.

(ii) Wada (large) Ghalughara took place in 1762 when Ahmed Shah suddenly took Sikhs in Malwa moving with children, women, and old people to the dry region. He murdered about 20,000 – 30,000 of them.

(iii) Under the orders of Indira Gandhi, Indian army attacked Golden Temple, Amritsar in June of 1984 and murdered 5,000 – 7,000 Sikhs visiting the sacred place in memory of the martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev.

You can check out Chotta Ghalughara and Wadda Ghalughara at the links at Skhiwiki - or you can do your own websearch, if you are so inclined. (I hope you are; Sikh history is both fascinating and inspiring!)

Theeja Ghalughara (also called the Bluestar Massacre or Operation Bluestar) has been extensively covered in this blog and elsewhere, with many links already provided. Just click on Bluestar Massacre and you'll find enough information to boggle the mind.

So now we have three holocausts, mass murders of innocent Sikhs, attacks from outside forces who were hostile to Sikhs and would, frankly, like to wipe us off the face of the earth. "Attempted genocide" might be a polite term for these atrocities.

Most Sikhs - I hope - are aware of these incidents in our history.

What about the Fouth Ghalughara?

The nature of this holocaust is quite different from the first three. It is not an attack by forces hostile to us Sikhs. The killers here have no interest in destroying the Sikh people, in fact, many profess their love of Sikhi and the Sikhs. This mass killing does not come from any enemy outside at all! Yet the numbers of innocent deaths is many times that of those killed in the first three ghalugharas combined. Untold lakhs of our people have been brutally murdered, virtually unnoticed both by ourselves and by the world.

You know what I am referring to.

Take a look at this little Sikh girl.

Picture removed at family's request.
Picture any cute little girl.

She is a real little girl. Her name is Anupreet Kaur and she is short of two years old. She is the cousin of a dear friend of mine. Isn't she adorable? Don't you find a smile on your face as you look at her? She has that irresistible something common to all little girls everywhere, the reason that they say that "little girls, like butterflies, need no excuse."

She is one of the survivors. Her parents love her and cherish her. Her cute and naughty antics keeps her whole family laughing and in chardi kala. She is their beloved daughter, as I am the beloved daughter of my family.

But how many little girls has Vaheguru sent to our families only to be slaughtered as unwanted, a social and financial drag on our families? Why are our hearts not breaking as we look at our dead daughters?

feeling triumphant you must be
not letting me see daylight..
a little bundle of joy i was
pulsating with life within you
did it not hurt you, me being torn
from within you with sharp edged instruments?
did your heart not bleed for snapping all ties with your own flesh and blood....
you sealed my fate and branded me unwanted
poor me turned into a lifeless mass of flesh
dragged by stray dogs or dumped in dingy well
to rot along with so many like me
did i deserve that???
i thought i was a daughter OR am i just a female foetus"....

from lavender

Right now, I am only briefly going to mention the very practical outcomes of the practice of female foeticide, such as the shortage of marriageable girls, resulting in the further commoditisation of women and even the practice of forced polyandry (a woman having more than one husband). Right now I am more interested in touching your heart than in putting forth logical arguments.
Just look at little Anupreet Kaur one more time and let yourself feel the joy of her existence.

She is my profile picture this month and the cause she represents - an end to female foeticide - is my highlighted Sikh issue for this month of September 2008.

I confess it pains me to know that this post will be picked up with search words "female foeticide." This issue is the greatest shame of the Sikh people at this time in our history. Nothing could ever make me ashamed of being a Sikh of the Guru/s, but this hurts deeply. I know I will be asked about the gender equality our Sikhi teaches. I am asking for trouble, I know, but this issue has to be addressed and RESOLVED.
Let us remain in chardi kala. That way we CAN resolve this and all our other issues.