London [The United Kingdom], Mar.10 (ANI): A UK-based Indian-origin businessman has criticised what he called a handful of misguided and unelected Sikhs for claiming to speak on behalf of the wider Diaspora in making a demand for a "Kingdom of Khalistan".
In a letter forwarded to the editor of the London-based The Asian Voice, Raminder Singh Ranger, 70, Founder of Sun Mark, an international marketing and distribution company, and Chairman of the British Sikh Association, said that he is sad to see the demand for Khalistan rearing its ugly head once again in the West, "where some Sikhs can make statements about Khalistan without realising the consequences or feeling the effects of their actions on the Sikh community in Punjab, India, and across the rest of the world."
In his letter, he further states that, "It is disturbing to say the least when a handful of unelected Sikhs claim to speak for the wider Diaspora and demand a kingdom for themselves which the Sikh Gurus never did."
He said that these self-proclaimed leaders acting as greater visionaries than the Sikh Gurus, were damaging the interests and respect of Sikhs across the world.
"They project us (Sikhs) as anti-India separatists when most of us are not that at all and are proud to be Indians and Sikhs like the Hindus, Muslims and Christians of India are. Sikhs have always been, and still are, in the forefront of India's defence and integrity," Ranger, a recipient of the Commander of the British Empire (CBE) gong, said.
"Sikh Gurus were visionaries who led exemplary lives so that the world would respect them along with their followers. Sadly, some of their followers are now acting and behaving totally against the vision of our Gurus and bringing disrespect not only to themselves, but also, to us all with their actions. They are in fact diminishing the respect of the Sikh Gurus who dedicated their lives to upholding human rights, freedom and justice throughout India and not just in Punjab. The Sikh Gurus were always above territorial claims and taught principles that crossed borders and cultures," he added.
Ranger maintained through his letter that because of the efforts of the Sikh Gurus, India is a better place for everyone.
"Due to their contribution, we the Sikhs receive an unparalleled level of respect throughout India and abroad. More importantly, more and more Indians are now beginning to realise the vision and sacrifices of the Sikh Gurus for India, and more and more Indians are paying their respects to them and us. As a result, the Government of India has also started to celebrate the lives and teachings of our Gurus on a national scale. Recently, Guru Gobind Sigh Ji's 350th birthday was celebrated on a huge scale, led by the Prime Minister. No other religious leader has been accorded such high respect and place to date," Ranger said.
Sikhs, he said, can never get Khalistan just as Kashmiris cannot get Kashmir even with the support of Pakistan and aided in the past by the USA.
"Pakistan fought four fully fledged bloody wars to gain Kashmir, but to no avail. All Kashmiris have achieved to date is to turn a paradise into a no go area for tourists and in the process ruined the economy. If these handful of Sikhs are not careful, they will make Sikhs not only second class in India and beyond, but also, bring destruction to Punjab's economy and prosperity," he warned.
Ranger said that it is lamentable to see that only two percent of Indian armed forces personnel are Sikhs today, whereas prior to "Operation Blue Star" in Amritsar in June 1984, they formed approximately 20 percent of the three services.
He said that it was also sad to see and hear of Sikh farmers committing suicide due to lack of jobs in Punjab, not to mention the drugs epidemic.
"These misguided Sikhs are scoring own goals unwittingly and bringing disrespect not only to their fellow Sikhs around the world, but also to their Gurus by behaving in a manner which is totally incompatible with their teachings," Ranger said.
"Our gurus established the Brotherhood of Khalsa to liberate Indians from the religious oppression of the Mughal kings through immense sacrifices and not to break up India. They also gave us a modern and practical philosophy to make us the best amongst the rest and for us to use religion to get something for nothing," he said.
Recalling the horror of the Partition of India in 1947, Ranger said that then over a million innocent people were killed and over 15 million became refugees in their own country.
"The effects of an artificial man-made division of India are still being felt today and, I dare say, will be felt forever. Throughout their lives our Gurus worked to unite mankind and also gave us a religion based on inter-faith teachings by incorporating teachings of Hindu and Muslim holy men to bring people of different faiths closer to one another," he said.
"Sikhs will continue to enjoy respect in India and the world if they live as their gurus wanted them to. We should, as we have always done, rise on merit and, if we continue to spread the teachings and principles of our gurus through our actions, then every Indian will celebrate our gurus and respect Sikhs even more," he said.
"Our roots are in India where our Gurus were born .....To separate us from our roots will deny facts about our origin. We should be proud to say we have so much in common with Hindus, whilst also having our own distinctions, and, should continue to live together in a united India," he concludes. (ANI)