- A rejoinder to Dal Khalsa's Reference in Kuldip Nayar's autobiography
-by H S Dhami
President, Dal Khalsa, Amritsar
The great Sikh personalities and the Dal Khalsa continue to bear the burden of the sophisticated malign campaign of the Indian authors and writers. Contemporary historians and columnists starting from Arun Shourie to Kushwant Singh to Kuldip Nayar all have contributed in a big way in spreading vilified propaganda.
In his recently published autobiography veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar has alluded to the role of Dal Khalsa while writing about the genesis of the Punjab problem. Nayar in his 16 page (from Page 281 to 297) chapter titled “Punjab in flames”, has mocked at the Panthic groups and our value systems. Excerpts of his autobiography have been published in various English dailies.
Dal Khalsa was founded on 6th August 1978 at a meeting held at Chandigarh Gurdwara organized jointly by several Sikh youth organizations. However, the founding members made it public through a press conference on 13th August. The nomenclature ‘Dal Khalsa’ was provided by former ICS Sirdar Kapur Singh. The organization stood for the glory of the Khalsa Panth and defied the mainstream political parties including the Akalis.
The controversy relates to the press conference at a Chandigarh Hotel where the formation of the Dal Khalsa was announced on 13th August 1978. Gaini Zail Singh happened to hold his press conference at the same hotel and virtually at the same time. Nayar has leveled allegation in his autobiography that Giani Zail Singh paid for the bill amounting to Rs 98 (ninety eight) of Dal Khalsa press conference.
It was this incident on whose basis Nayar had linked the creation of Dal Khalsa to the Congress. This rumour was circulated ad nauseam that it became a reference point for all writers including Nayar who do not make efforts to shift the chaff from the grain. Even now, after 3 decades later, the blinkered vision continues.
Nayar has claimed that the formation of Dal Khalsa was to "needle the Akalis". After 3 years of its formation, the Dal Khalsa men hijacked an Indian Airlines plane to Lahore to seek the release of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale and lodge their protest against the killings of 16 Sikh protestors, who fell to police bullets at Chowk Mehta on 20th September 1981. At the time of hijacking, the Punjab was ruled by the Congress and the same party was ruling the Centre. Following hijacking, the Union government led by late Indira Gandhi banned Dal Khalsa, which continued till 1994. I wonder how come the activities of the Dal Khalsa became the cause of embarrassment for the Akali Dal?
As far as we are concerned there is nothing further from truth. There is no iota of truth in Nayar's accusation. The senior journalist and former Indian Express correspondent Jagtar Singh is witness to this controversial episode.
While leveling wild allegations, Nayar has crossed all limits. He has not only passed derogatory remarks against Sikh leadership of that time but had also attempted to do character assassination of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale and Bhai Amrik Singh.
In his book, Nayar has quoted an MP Kamal Nath who claimed that they provided "money to Santji off and on to challenge the Akali government". Kamal Nath is alive and minister in UPA government. He must speak out when he interviewed Santji as written by Nayar, who others were present and the amount he gave to Santji and for how long. I challenge Kamal Nath to provide a single concrete evidence to prove his baseless allegation.
Nayar did not end his avalanche on this and went on to dub Sikh Student's Federation president Bhai Amrik Singh, who embraced martyrdom during the army attack, as "IB's agent" (last para of page 291). It’s a senseless allegation that no sensible person can believe.
In the nutshell, Dal Khalsa and Damdami Taksal, which are working for the Panthic cause in a democratic manner, continue to face the ire of the malafide and vicious campaign launched by pseudo-sympathetic Panjabiat lobby in Delhi.
One thing is for sure, Nayar needs community’s reprimand. After all, for how long, Sikhs would tolerate insult to their martyrs? Enough is enough. The irony of the situation is that neither the media nor Indian authors and columnists have learned any lessons from the past happenings. Unfortunately, they refuse to rectify themselves.