Jasneet Kaur: Which One Is It Amitabh Bachchan - Sikhs Are Legendary Or Khoon Da Badla Khoon?
“Sikhs are legendary!” are the words Bachchan said last week when he donated two crore rupees to Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Covid Care Facility
May 17, 2021 | 3.5 min read | Opinion
Why do some Sikhs continue to glorify those who have targeted our kaum?
We forgive politicians who make grand promises to our people and instead steal our resources, lands, health, mother tongue, and even our identity.
We forgive the Bollywood industry who profit from appropriating our culture to parodying our historical dance forms. We religiously watch Bollywood movies, knowing that the same industry births sell-out actors who commodify our identities and stay silent during our struggles.
We forgive the media that purposefully stays neutral or silent, instead of exercising their platform and voices to make a change. Worse yet, many outlets, from Zee to OpIndia, spread propaganda to dilute any support network that challenges Hindutva and the government.
Most importantly, we forget our history, our religion, and our legacy. We forget that as much as our religion reminds us to treat everyone as equals, it also teaches us to fight against injustice and oppression.
Recently, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) President, praised Amitabh Bachchan for his donations to a Delhi Covid Care Facility.
Sirsa is famously known for his instrumental role in freeing political prisoners associated with the Farmers’ Protest and speaking up for the community during recent agitations. He has also been a BJP ally in the past, and on December 19, 2020, amidst the Farmers’ Protest, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was honoured with a siropa during his impromptu visit to Gurdwara Rakab Ganj in Delhi, sparking outrage across the Sikh world.
This past week a 1984 Sikh Genocide victim, Bibi Nirpreet Kaur, approached the Akal Takht Jathedar demanding the summoning of Sirsa to the Takht for praising Bachchan, someone allegedly involved in inciting the Genocide.
Bachchan is said to have famously called for the bloodshed of Sikhs after Indira Gandhi’s assassination. “Khoon da badla khoon” are the infamous words he allegedly used to cause division and instruct people to murder Sikhs, which he proclaimed on India’s media outlet, Doordarshan, in 1984.
“Sikhs are legendary!” are the words Bachchan said last week when he donated two crore rupees to Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Covid Care Facility.
It is often the case that these celebrities, and others who agree with the Hindutva regime, are more than happy to support Sikhs when we cater to others. When we fit the obedient model minority stereotype - holding langar, doing seva, cleaning up after others’ messes - everything is fine.
We are kind, generous, selfless.
But when we serve ourselves and start caring for our communities, those same people complain about segregation and manipulate the teachings of our Gurus to prevent us from helping our own.
This is not an article fuelled by spite - one of the many amazing things Sikhs repeatedly do is forgive. This is not an article about limiting our goodwill either - we should continue doing and being proud of our seva. It is an honour to keep Guru Nanak Dev Ji at the forefront of our actions and minds.
But we do not forget.
To those who say we should forget the suffering inflicted on the kaum and overlook crimes because Sikhi is about forgiveness and ardaas for sarbat da bhalla, I say: Zulm sehna vi paap hai - to tolerate injustice is also a sin.
Sikhs treat the human race as one, but that does not mean being so lenient with those who have never shown remorse or repentance. We have no issue with sharing our waters, as long as there is enough remaining for us - which has never been the case.
Yes, our Gurus taught us to remain in chardi kala, but they also instilled the warrior spirit in us. We are miri and piri - I humbly request us all to exercise this.
It would have been different if Bachchan openly asked for forgiveness for what happened during the 1984 Sikh Genocide. The donation is important for the people who need oxygen tanks and other equipment. But does the donation bring back those lives lost due to his alleged instructions of “khoon da badla khoon”? Does the donation calm the mourning mothers who have lost their children from the violence who said they heard Bachchan say those words? Does the donation help the wives who have lost their husbands to the same bloodshed? Does the donation absolve Bachchan of all wrongdoing?
Learn to exercise accountability. And learn to demand it.
Jasneet Kaur is based in London, UK, and is currently a funded Master’s student at Imperial College London, and is the President of Imperial’s Sikh Society. If you want to message Jasneet, please contact her on Instagram at @imperialsikhsoc.
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