BBC Sikh massacre documentary

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BBC Sikh massacre documentary

Postby Luke » Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:22 pm

The link for this media forum says that non-Buddhist media can be posted here also, so I wanted to post a great BBC documentary about the 1984 massacre of the Sikhs in India and its aftermath.

Most documentaries seem to present Bhindranwale (the leader of the Sikhs who were staying in the Golden Temple who were heavily-armed) as either a terrorist or as a saint. I think this documentary finds the middle ground and shows both sides of the story. But no matter which side tells the story, the large scale of the atrocities which were committed against the Sikhs can't be denied.

Watching this documentary made me feel great compassion for the Sikhs, and I see a parallel between the Sikhs in Punjab and the Tibetans in Tibet: both were heavily persecuted for their religious beliefs in their homeland; both struggle for cultural, linguistic, religious, and political autonomy against a much larger government; and both groups emigrated to many different countries around the world following intense persecution.

This video also contains some great footage of the Golden Temple.











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Re: BBC Sikh massacre documentary

Postby Lotus Lion » Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:44 pm

Hi Luke,

Thank you for creating this thread. Much of what has been written by yourself is infact true and I see the parallels also.

It was essentially the subjugation of anything that was related to Sikhi and wanting access to prime resources - be it money, water or land - which lead to this situation.

I watched this programme when it was first aired and despite a few points which made me raise my eyebrows, I felt it was a balanced documentary as possible given the topic.

what do you think of the two Sikh bodyguards who assassinated Indira Gandhi? Was their action "justified" in your opinion? Were they being "good Sikhs"?

[Moderators: If you would like to re/move this aspect of the post i am perfectly fine with it, especially since this is a Buddhist forum first and foremost.]

Understanding this aspect would require looking into the factors that lead to Indira Gandhi's death and it starts with the Partition of India.

When Partition happened the boundary ran right through the middle of Punjab and was felt most acutely there .

It was conceded by not only Gandhi and Nerhu, but Patel also,under pressure from Jinnah - The person who was the face of wishing to separate the country.

Master Tara Singh was the spokesman for this region and despite being firm in his faith, was not educated in the matters of Law in the same way as his colleagues were (Degrees from University College London, Cambridge, studying under the best magistrates in the world, being well travelled etc...) which lead to Sikhs not coming out of this chapter with a greater victory as they should have.

Prior to this, Punjabi's had been promised that if they placed their trust in Gandhi and Nerhu, they would have autonomy where their language, culture and values would be free to grow.

Sadly shortly after partition, this promise was overturned by Nehru who simply said "Times had changed."
People were obviously upset about this and protested but the political parties simply went further and created 3 states out of Punjab so it did not cover the same land mass as before.

Also the water that legally belonged to that region was diverted away to other states. Inherently there is nothing wrong with this, but so much was given away, there was not enough to water their own crops and no payment was given either leading to socio-economic problems as agriculture was the main source of income.

Partition, being "tricked", reduction in land mass and resources, subjugation of culture as well as The Dharma and now no prospects for Young people, all in less then 40 years, made the people feel pushed against the wall so they began demanding what they were originally promised which was the right to self govern and political autonomy in the hope that they could improve their lives.
However the political parties had other ideas and began killing Young Sikhs everywhere under guise of 'encounters' but this simply rilled people more.

Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was a Khalsa and was steeped in history also. Historically whenever Sikhs have had to fight, they rally at the Harmandir Sahib, The Golden Temple, and He was no different.

As a result he felt compelled to go to The Harmandir Sahib along with other Sikhs which happened to be on the anniversary of the 5th Sikh Guru's Martyrdom so there were even more people there then normal.

It was at that time that operation BlueStar was launched.

Not only was the Golden Temple attacked under the guise of driving Sikhs out, 37 other Gurdwara around the country were also desecrated at the same time.

The Sikh Scripture was also shot leaving a small hole in the pages, and the library where texts on philosophy had been developed and expanded upon over hundreds of years was also eventually looted.

Countless people were also shot during this period.

More can be read at:http://www.sikhs.org/1984.htm

I appreciate that we should control ourselves, but when act such as defiling sacred Temples, people being killed as they have follow the same path as you, and looting priceless material, people react on their instincts as they have been struck at heart of who they are.

This i feel is is what drove Satwant Singh and Beant Singh to assassinate Indira Gandhi.

It does not make it right, but i understand the conditions that lead up to this point.

The next day, between 3000-7000 Sikhs were killed in the streets of Delhi, lasting for 3 days.

This was then followed by Operation Woodrose where Sikhs in the Villages across Punjab were rounded up and killed.

Today Sikhs still continue to fight for their brethren who were killed in 1984, and due to the sacrifices made and by working hard, Sikhs are once again tolerant and spiritual followers of The Teachings that came through The Guru.

Luke, i hope that this has helped to deepen your understanding about topic.

My best regards,

Lotus
A Sikh studying the Teachings of The Buddha.
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Re: BBC Sikh massacre documentary

Postby Luke » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:30 pm

Hi Lotus,

Your reply sounds reasonable. Thanks.

May your Golden Temple remain safe and free from harm until the end of this kalpa.

If I'm ever in that region of India, I'd like to go and see it and eat at one of the public kitchens which are run by the Nihangs (as shown in the video in my other thread about the documentary about Indian religions).

Luke
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Re: BBC Sikh massacre documentary

Postby Lotus Lion » Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:46 pm

Thank you Luke,

You kind words are appreciated.

Lotus
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