I happened to read observations of Charanjit Teja on 6 May seminar on Ajmer Singh's books that attempt to interpret the Sikhism and the related recent developments vis-a-vis role of ultra-nationalist Indian State--- a ruling apparatus controlled and run by an elite section of the society using 'democracy' as its political tool. ( I feel sorry for not being able to respond here in Punjabi since I have not acquired requisite typing skill in Gurmukhi script-- a handicap I am suffering from).Since I am away from Punjab and could not attend the seminar, despite my strong yearning to be an active participant in the interaction there, I was looking for some reporting on that event.First of all, I am happy that a long due and belatedly the much required discussion has taken place between the ardent Left and those who vouchsafe a rethinking in the changed economic and political scenario within and outside India (world over). I have not read Charanjit Teja before and do not know much about him. But from his report on the seminar, I could judge, that he is for an aggressive discussion between the two camps of thinkers ( many would not like to call them intellectuals ).
Correctly,Pirthipal Kapur must be interested in pinpointing some historical discrepancies in Ajmer's books and Amarjit Paraag should be highlighting ethical aspects of Sikhism shorn of its political implications.And, a classical Marxist ( rather a mechanical Marxist) like that of Sumit whose interpretation should have been closer ( on the same pattern) to KPS Gill's interpretation of the Sikh ethos. And in describing Left thinkers' approach to the Punjab events of 1980s and onward as 'nationalistic one' he was able to put a finger on their mindset ( Classical Left thinkers rarely visualise why their approach comes closer to that of the ruling elite which is evidently more interested in keeping India as a bigger economic unit for imperialistic plundering of its vast natural and human resources, thus, the latter raise the slogans of 'Unity and Integrity of India'). And in overlooking the nationalities question they reduce their political positioning near to that of the BJP and Congress and CPI and CPI(M) for that matter.Charanjit also aptly pinpointed that the Left thinkers conveniently pick-up a few lines from Bhinderawale's speeches which fit them in their logic or exaggerate the killings of Hindus pulled from buses just to cover -up all excesses of the Indian State, killings of thousands of innocents and humiliation of womenfolk in villages. Perversion and butchery of professional police and paramilitary killers, unheard in the Indian history, thus, conveniently ignored by these classical thinkers.
They seem to be ended up as satisfied as the ruling elite and look like sounding that those political naive Sikh youth who dared to pick up gun against the Indian State,have rightly met their fate they deserved to. Otherwise, some such 'intellectuals' heard saying that the Indian State's excesses in Punjab and against Sikhs are nothing as compared to killings of thousands of Armenian Christians by Turks, genocide in Bosnia and butchering of Jews in Holocaust and so many other violent happenings in Europe and around. By implication, they seem to suggest that Indian State had proved to be 'a soft one' in Punjab and should have acted more ruthlessly against those who dared dismember the country and challenged ' Indian democratic set -up". And, they seem to suggest that the Sikhs are lucky to have escaped a fullest fury the Indian State was (is) capable of wreaking on the dissidents.
They are unmindful of the fact, their nationalist standing is nothing else but corroboration of the political positioning of Congress- BJP that (Arya Samaj version) ultra-nationalism laced with religious pandering and Vedic era Indian great golden past. In fact, the nationalistic positioning of a bigger section of the Left inadvertently supported and upheld the Verna-Ashram and wretched Indian caste system since days of S.A Dange , the founder member of the Communist Part of India.Here I would like to quote Arundhati Roy that "despite all the rhetoric about working class solidarity that CPI did not find objectionable that "untouchables " were kept out of the weaving department because the work involved using of saliva on
Hence, turning blind eye to Indian state excesses as if those pursuing identity struggle deserved that,can not be justified at all. If the Sikh struggle was identity politics which, according to them, cannot produce or herald social and economic justice, how Indian nationalism or Indian nation state could bring about social and economic equality. But they support the Indian unity and integrity? But that section of the Left is mum on the Indian State sponsored butchery and killing. if they are not vocal against the Blue Star Operation