Gurpreet Singh: Sikh Canadians try to shame Indian government with blood donations

About 700 people donated blood at camps organized by the Sikh Nation across B.C. in memory of the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom in India.

The Sikh Nation has organized annual blood-donation camps to mark the anniversary of the massacre during the first week of November since the assassination of Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.

The supporters of Indira Gandhi's so-called secular Congress party led mobs who mobbed, robbed, raped, and murdered Sikhs across India. Prominent Congress leaders involved in the mass murders have not been punished even after 28 years have passed.

Ironically, India had its first turbaned Sikh president, Zail Singh, during the pogrom. The country is currently led by its first Sikh prime minister, Manmohan Singh.

Defying rain, many people showed up at the blood-donation camps on Saturday. There was a wait of at least two hours at one camp, according to Dr. Barjinder Singh of Sikh Nation.

A moment of silence was also observed across B.C. at 6 pm. on November 1, 2012, in memory of the victims. I too went silent on air for a minute before my evening news broadcast.

Sunil Sharma, a volunteer associated with the blood-donation campaign, noted that the violence started around 6 p.m. on November 1, 1984: "It was therefore fitting to hold a moment of silence at sharp 6.''

The organizers have sent another message to shame the Indian government by commending Brian Murphy, a U.S. police officer who was injured during recent racial violence at a Wisconsin Sikh temple in which six Sikhs were murdered. The U.S. has recognized it as its own tragedy and lowered its national flag to half-mast.

"The idea is to tell the world that the Indian establishment, too, could have saved many lives if it had a political will," Barjinder Singh said.

Notably, such a massacre did not happen against Sikhs or Muslims in the U.S. even after 9/11, despite isolated hate attacks. At no point in time did U.S. politicians go on a 1984-like rampage against any minority group.

It is a separate matter that the U.S.-led imperialist wars against Afghanistan and Iraq brought deaths and massive destruction.

It is sad that the Indian government, which has repeatedly raised its concerns with the Canadian government over the increased activities of Sikh separatists in this country, has not taken any strong political initiative to bring the culprits of the 1984 violence to justice.

Such indifference and arrogance is actually legitimizing the cause of the Sikh separatists and strengthening their hands. This leaves those who care about social justice with few options besides protesting or organizing events to shame the secular establishment of the world's largest democracy.

Gurpreet Singh is a Georgia Straight contributor and the host of a program on Radio India. He's working on a book tentatively titled Canada's 9/11: Lessons from the Air India Bombings.

Comments (15) Add New Comment
Canadian Tire
Everyone very well knows within Indo Canadian community that the Indian Government does not ever get ashamed for ANY of its actions.

The Sikhs were killed in the most inhumane and bone chilling ways, with the MP's and M.L.A's and other major politicans in major cities personally supervising the killings on the streets in broad day light for a full week.

The police were fully involved, so were ALL television news and media involved as government was full owner, celebrities would be brought on Indian T.V and would call for more blood for Sikhs as did famous actor Amitabh Bachan on Doordharsan Channel. (And Remember not a single arrest till date)

The Indian Govt. doesnt care for its own people- be it Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus. They are a self serving group.

Gurpreet is misguided and incorrect cat in saying the Sikhs # 1 priority is to shame the indian govt, infact is probably last on there list for this blood donation drive.

First thing first is to donate blood for all fellow human beings.

The Sikh faith asks its followers to find that juicy silver lining in its many tragedies within its short existence and convert into a positive force for yourself and others.

Thank you Sikhs for giving your blood for others in return of those who so painfully lost theres 28 years ago 2day.
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David L.
I think it is laudable that the Sikh community has come together and put forward a huge effort to donate blood . I do take exception to the terms used , ie "Sikh Nation" they are no more a "Nation" than the man in the moon. They are Canadians from India , some recently , some from several generations ago. There is NO Sikh Nation nor is there a Welsh nation or a Scottish nation ,etc , there is a Canadian nation and that is what these people are.
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Tera Singh
Sikh Nation actually refers to Sikhs living all around the world who believe in the principles laid out by Guru Nanak Ji (founder of Sikh religion) and the 9 Gurus (phrophets) after him.
So a Canadian Sikh, an Australian Sikh an American Sikh and all others are part of the Sikh Nation. This is the context the word Nation is being used here.
One very important principle of Sikhism is "sarbat da bhalla" i.e. " doing service for the betterment of all society". By organizing the campaign we are putting that principle into practice. The Canadian Sikhs are proud that this campaign was started in British Columbia and today it is spreading to other provinces and countries. Thank you David for raising this very valid point.
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Obamaz Momaa
David,

The defination of a "nation" is A community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, or history.

So it makes perfect sense for it to be called Sikh Nation.

Heck I dont care if they called themselves the dildo and vibrator nation, they are donating blood for all Canadians - and thats great, especially when we are so low on blood locally and at a national level.
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Roman
Love for humanity is in the teaching, culture, prayer and every part of Sikhs. Blood Donation is just extension of all of this like popular free kitchens in western world.
You are right David that there is nothing like Sikh Nation in Canada specially in the way you mentioned. In fact it's the reference that Sikh's have identified themselves from centuries. Moreover; Sikhs were killed, raped, looted for just been Sikhs and now Sikhs remember victims and survivors around the world, from one end of globe to other, Sikh Nation translation of word " Sikh Qoam " is the most appropriate for global campaign against genocide; especially it's been used for helping humanity from so long and original word has much deeper meaning for Sikhs then one feel.
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Tera Singh
The main goal of the campaign is not to shame anyone, it is to take a stand against a genocidal mindset. When we donate blood, we do it so we can save lives. We are making a statement that lives should be saved and not taken. This way of thinking is a direct challenge to anyone or any group with a genocidal mindset. Hopefully there will be a time when there are more life savers than life takers.
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Robin S
The term Sikh Nation, in this prospective, is simply a translation of the Punjabi term 'Sikh Quam' which truly means all the Sikhs living on this planet. For sure, here it is done by Canadian Sikhs and similarly in States it isdone by American Sikhs and so on.
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Sardar Singh
Great article, Sikhs are donating blood to remember blood shed in the Anti-Sikh genocide of Nov. 1984. Note over 4000 people were killed by mobs led by politicians, the police stood by, this state sanctioned bloodletting went on for 5 nights until Rajiv Gandhi finally agreed to send the army to restore order. Rajiv's Gandhi initial response to the rioting and killing "...well if a big tree falls, the ground will shake". Please remember - nobody has been convicted and imprisoned for these murders in the so called 'biggest democracy.
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Sukhdeep Singh
As a Canadian, I can't think anything better than this. Donating blood in return to spilled blood. What a beautiful application of Canadian core values - right to live, human equality and standing against all oppressive forces and powers . Live and let live.
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Kanwal jit Singh Gill
I agree with writer Gurpreet Singh that Sikhs have started a very good drive of donating blood to save lives. And also to let the world know about the 1984 Sikh Genocide when thousands of innocent persons were killed by mobs led by ruling congress party leaders. The ruling Congress Govt. has always justified those killings by saying it was reaction of people for Indira Gandhi's death. But we have seen many tragedies in the world but the ruling Govts. have never allowed innocent killings as a reaction. The big 9/11 tragedy when thousands of innocent persons lost their lives, there was no reaction of mobs killing minorities. There were a few isolated hate crime incidents against minorities, but Govt. acted quickly and punished the guilty persons. But India is the only country where thousands of innocent persons were killed by mobs led by congress leaders, and Govt. has fully justified those innocent killings and so far in 28 years has failed to punish the guilty persons or provide any justice to the victim families. We'll like to thank all the volunteers and participants for making this Blood donation drive a huge success. And we need such good drives and writers like Gurpreet Singh to make the world aware of 1984 Sikh Genocide and Indian Govt's failure to provide any justice to the victim families.
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Delhi India
Shame, indeed on our government on its failure 28 years down. The gathering here in Delhi a few days back had immense non-Sikh support and that was heartening to me! This issue needs to be relentlessly pursued as any further delay will only see it getting further diluted and eventually extinguished.... it's already 28 long years now.
The Delhi High Court has already slammed the system for letting the culprits roam scot-free and the government for doing little since 1984. I just hope the Sikh witnesses stay firm by their statements and bring success to trials against culprits. We need a fresh insight into the 1984 violence. I wasn't born upto 6 years after that, but I can feel the pain that my city must have gone through.... needless stuff!

Agree with the author that without justice given, demand for Khalistan will continue emerging and will keep getting vindicated. But I sincerely request all Sikhs across the world, some diplomatically proficient, to put aside this demand for Khalistan, for now and join arms to pursue the case of injustice towards 1984 victims and other such legitimate issues. This will certainly draw favor from non-Sikh Indians since the Khalistan movement has clearly overshadowed any legitimate demands leading to feeble support from the common Indians! Of course, people who have Sikhs as friends will know that not all Sikhs support the secessionist movement, but most who aren't in touch with the Sikh people will perhaps only generalize them as separatists.
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noknok
All this is going to be so laughable when one day people wake up to realize there is no god and all beliefs are based on nothing but superstitious nonsense.
You can be nice and caring for your fellow human being without being a sikh or hindu or christian. you don't have to have one these labels attached to you to give blood. Be human(e) for the sake of being humane.

By the way, why do sikhs celebrate diwali (a hindu tradition) ?

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Harry Johal
Bandi Chhor Divas ("Day of Liberation") is a Sikh festival.

The Diwali festival took place during the life of the sixth
Sikh Guru Hargobind Sahib. The Muslim Emperor Jahengir, imprisoned the Guru at Gwalior in 1619 (800km away from Amritsar), where he met 52 hindu Kings . The Guru when being released would not leave without the 52, as they were illegally jailed for being hindus. Emperor made a deal who ever would touch the Guru would be released alongside with him. A special coat was made with 52 long strings so all hindus got free. When the Guru made his way to Amritsar the Sikhs threw a pretty Rad party for him with fireworks and firecrackers and the entire city was lite, the Hindus who were terrified for years(scared from Muslims) for celebrating their own diwali festival also joined in, upon seeing Sikhs celebrating.

Sikhs dont believe in superstitions at all. Period. I know u learned a thing or 2 noknok. Good Boi.
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Sunil
Sikhs are trying tio give a dignified memory to the victims of 1984 Sikh Genocide and also challenging the Genocidal mindset prevailing in India and other parts of the Globe by donating the gift of lives through Blood Donation.The caravan is gettting bigger and will bring like minded people together to work for Liberty Equality , Fraternity and Humanity by raising awareness among people.
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Sundeep
There were a LOT more than 4000 people killed in the pogroms (not riots), which occurred in ALL Congress controlled areas of India, and not just the capital. The worst part is that the familes of victims never received adequate recognition or compensation and many currently live in poverty in slums. The perpetrators remain free, hidden by false judicial processes like ''truth commissions'' that were designed to cover up the bloodbath.

For a detailed examination of how the Indian govt. tried to cover up the mass killings, please read The Lie of the Truth Commissions at http://khojee.wordpress.com/2010/10/24/1984-sikh-massacre/.
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