When All Peaceful Means Have Been Exhausted … T. SHER SINGH
Roundtable Open Forum # 152
“When all peaceful means have been exhausted, it is then righteous to put your hand on the sword-hilt …”
Guru Gobind Singh, Zafarnama
A video is doing the rounds which has somehow, within a span of one minute and a quarter, captured the essence of what India is all about, and what being a Sikh is all about.
The one is starkly contrasted with the other. The country and its majoritarian hooliganism is caught in a full display of its trade-mark boorishness. The Sardar, on the other hand, stands tall -- literally and metaphorically -- as a real-life, down-to-earth saint-soldier; not the over-blown, romanticized hero of myth and legend, but a reluctant but sure, larger-than-life hero. A shiva, brahma and vishnu rolled into a single living, breathing entity.
All the figures depicted in the video are ordinary and anonymous citizens and therefore easily representative of their respective traditions and heritage, and the collective quintessence of the respective communities they belong to. None are aware that they are under the eagle eye of the ubiquitous smart-phone camera.
* * * * *
An accident involving a motor vehicle in India is an instant signal for all those in the vicinity to turn into a mob which then, without any interest in finding out whose fault it is, or any desire to involve the police or authorities, storms the driver who is most vulnerable and within easy reach and lynches him.
The truck driver in the video was merely involved in a collision with a car. But he, the truck driver, stood out, being a Sikh.
The mob immediately goes after him.
He keeps his calm. He patiently reasons with them, explaining that it was not his fault.
The mob refuses to pay heed, and starts clawing at him, hitting him repeatedly in the process, trying to pull him off the truck and onto the ground.
I have personally witnessed these situations often during my early life in India -- in a couple of incidents, I came close to being the victim! I know what the truck driver knows would follow: death within minutes at the hands of a mob which, incidentally, has no nexus with anyone involved in the accident. It merely wants a spectacle, a lynching, a death. And then, it would scatter, each member getting lost in the anonymity of the crowd and getting back to whatever they were doing before the accident.
The truck driver, however, is prepared.
See what he does … what follows.
The mob scatters.
One man thus triumphs over the entire mob.
The cowards dissolve into thin air. The truck driver calmly goes back to his business of driving a truck.
* * * * *
THE ROUNDTABLE OPEN FORUM # 152
Please watch the video -- you can see it by accessing it below.
And share with us your thoughts … and your own experiences.
More importantly, what does it tell us -- especially those Sikhs who are living in today’s medieval India -- of the importance of being prepared at all times.
“Be prepared for war if you want to have peace,“ says an old adage.
Especially if you are in India, we would like to hear from you in particular.
Please CLICK here for the video.
July 13, 2015
Conversation about this article
1: Jasbeer Singh (New Delhi, India), July 13, 2015, 2:54 PM.
I saw that video. A friend of mine shared it with me a couple of days ago. And truly, that's the righteous thing to do when anyone is in a similar situation, at least in India. But we also analyzed that whosoever captured that incident, it was not his intention to capture what that Sikh had done to the mob. He just wanted to capture what mob was about to do to the Sikh! That's a common phenomenon in India outside Punjab. Our institutions don't even react to such incidents.
2: Hardev Singh (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), July 13, 2015, 3:59 PM.
I cut and paste my comments on an earlier article on Kamal Nath/ 1984: The real issue is not that of violence or non-violence; young men going on the offensive in Delhi or the micro-minority becoming easy targets of mob violence. The issue is one of living up to Sikh values and tradition, which includes putting up a defense for life and honor. In the face of a meticulously planned and executed genocide with extreme barbarity, the defenseless Sikhs were subjugated, humiliated, raped, tortured and encountered across the Indian landscape. The Kirpan is bestowed not without a reason ... a lesson worth remembering.
3: Gursangat Kaur (Los Angeles, California, USA), July 13, 2015, 4:18 PM.
To live with dignity, we must be ever ready to die. If we are not, then - to borrow a phrase from the English Bard -- we'll die a thousand deaths. This man in the video shows us how to live like a Sikh: he understands his predicament fully, but does not crumble under it. Instead, he grows taller and fiercer and becomes the very Chandi/Durga that haunts Hindus in their worst nightmares and scares them witless.
4: Rajvir Singh (London, United Kingdom), July 13, 2015, 4:22 PM.
You've got it right, Gursangat ji. This is Guru Sahib's Chandi in action ... the real Chandi before which all mythical and imagined Chandis shrink and flee!
5: Kaala Singh (Punjab), July 13, 2015, 5:23 PM.
Judging by the way the mob is speaking Hindi, I can tell that this incident happened in UP, Bihar or Madhya Pradesh, which in my opinion should be a no-go zone for Sikhs. This mob would have killed the Sikh trucker and looted his truck and vanished into the nearby neighbourhoods. The police and the local politicians also get a share of the loot and such incidents are very common in these areas. Had this guy been driving his truck after dark, he wouldn't have a chance.
6: Arjan Singh (USA), July 13, 2015, 7:59 PM.
Thanks to sikhchic.com for posting this video. While the Sikh community is well aware of the modus-operandi of the Indian society’s mob tendencies, now thanks to the Smartphone technology the rest of the world can also see this so-called non-violent Gandhian characteristic. I have several family members and friends who have tried to convince me of the ‘India Shining’ example, as to how industrialization and progress has finally arrived in India and changed Indian society for the better. I keep reminding them that one of the most basic tenets of a civilized society, i.e., Law & Order, is missing in Indian society. In my personal experience, while women were not safe in the majority of the Indian metros and states, today even in the state of Punjab incidents of chain-snatching and outright molestation of women in broad daylight are growing. One does not hear about such incidents because the media is too busy reporting the much more graphic acts of violence against women across the country. While I do agree with the title of the article that it is acceptable to use the option of offense when all means have been exhausted, I must admit the Sikh community stands alone as a micro-minority among the millions who lack even the basic sense of honor and integrity. These are the scenarios, where RESPONSIBLE gun-ownership is a right that might serve the Sikh community well. One can only imagine, if sufficient numbers of Sikh men/women were legally and rightfully armed during 1947 and 1984, how many innocent lives could have been saved from the mobs.
7: Arjan Singh (USA), July 13, 2015, 8:49 PM.
It is worth mentioning that all readers (irrespective of their religious affiliations) would agree that there are serious issues of Law & Order in Indian society. Most people will attest to the fact that in the event of an accident, most bystanders at the scene in India will do nothing but gawk at the victims injured in the accident. The number of bystanders could easily reach 50-60; but not one of them will step forward to help. In fact most bystanders may actually attack the driver of one the vehicles involved in the accident with utter disregard to the laws and by-laws of the city or the country. Sikh men are highly lucrative and easy targets as they stand alone among the mobs and are more often than not well to do comparatively to the rest of the Indian society. It is important to point out for the reference of non-Indian readers that there is a reason most Sikh men have a certain swagger and exhibit moxie: because to survive in the lawless jungle that India is, you need dollops of both. Else one could very quickly turn into road-kill.
8: Gurbux Singh (Chatsworth. California, USA), July 13, 2015, 9:48 PM.
The Sardar had no option but to use the Kirpan, as mandated by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Being a Saint Soldier means being prepared at all times to come to the aid of the needy and defend yourself from harm. Responsible gun ownership also dovetails into this category in this day and age. I own guns for protection and sports use and would not hesitate to use a Smith & Wesson as an equalizer if my family or I were threatened. Sikhs should follow the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh and be Saint Soldiers in real life and not just think that the 5 Ks are mere symbols.
9: Kaala Singh (Punjab), July 14, 2015, 12:52 AM.
Did this mob act in isolation? No, they had the standing support of the local police, administration and the politicians, all of whom get a share of the loot. One can see that it is a busy road leading to a highway (trucks are not allowed on all roads, but only on highways and arterial roads) which always have police posts and patrols and Octroi (border-tax) checkpoints and here we see that there is no police presence at all even after the collision took place and the commotion thereafter -- was that a coincidence or the police which is always in cahoots with the mobs were asked by these criminals to hide themselves somewhere until they are done with the Sikh? In India's history of 67 years, so many "riots" have taken place that they have perfected mob tactics. Hindu mobs are so used to murdering hapless minorities and looting and raping them -- that is easy money and fun for them -- we saw that in November 1984. They did not expect this response from this Sardar. The guy who made this video was also doing this for entertainment. Their modus operandi is simple, get the driver out of his truck, lynch him, steal his truck and change the registration fraudulently, sell it in the local market and share the booty. The truck and the dead body will never be found, so no crime took place, the police has nothing to do and everything is cool and dandy. If the information gets out somehow, the biased Indian media would show the Sikh as a terrorist brandishing his sword. My advice to fellow Sikhs -- avoid the badlands of UP and Bihar, you will not make any money doing business in these places and may end up losing your life.
10: Ajay Singh (Bakersfield, California, USA), July 14, 2015, 9:07 PM.
How do we know that he indeed got away? And that the mob didn't come back with swords and got him? Does anyone care or is it just cool enough to watch this video and discuss what it means to be a Khalsa and Guru's Sikh?
11: Arjan Singh (USA), July 14, 2015, 11:07 PM.
Ajay: good questions. Now you see the importance of a platform like sikhchic.com that enables constructive criticism and discussion of not only issues facing the Sikh community but humanity at large. I care for the driver not only because he was a Sikh but as a fellow human trying to make an honest living in a land of thuggee. It’s a bit comforting to know from all the comments that basic Humanism still exists. The fact that editors of this forum presented this video to enable a discussion, is the first step. Imagine how many such incidents must have taken place before the proliferation of mobile telephony; and we will never know of the crimes committed. Realistically speaking, this driver may have saved his life by finally, reluctantly, pulling out the kirpan. But the larger issue is that the Sikh community is like Sisyphus from Greek mythology, and they have been pushing a huge rock uphill since 1947 only to watch it roll back. To me the unsheathing of the kirpan and pushing a rock uphill is the same thing; the root issue remains unresolved.
12: Kaala Singh (Punjab), July 14, 2015, 11:11 PM.
@10: Agree, they could have easily got him at the next junction. I can see in the video that he has an old Tata truck that may not interest the mob. If he had a new Volvo or Scania, they would've got him for sure.
13: Kaala Singh (Punjab), July 15, 2015, 11:32 AM.
For those who don't already know, UP, Bihar (and its offshoot, Jharkhand) and Madhya Pradesh -- I call these areas "Bhaiyya Pradesh -- BP"; BP has an impoverished base of more than 300 million people -- almost equal to the entire population of US and Canada. There is absolutely no development and no jobs or economic opportunities available in BP. Most of the population depends on some kind of crime for making a living. Even decent Hindus escape from BP at the first opportunity. Ask any cab driver in Punjab if he is ready to take people to BP, he will refuse because he knows he will never return. So, if someone like the Sikh guy in this video thinks that he can make money in BP and come home safe and sound, he/she is living in a world of illusions.
14: GC Singh (USA), July 15, 2015, 3:02 PM.
Guru Gobind Singh had warned us that without the ability to defend oneself, one is like a lamb who will be led to slaughter at the will of his captors. Today, the Sikhs are captives in India which has disarmed the entire Sikh nation. Sikhs can only live with dignity and honor on the Indian sub-continent if they have effective levers of political, economic and military power under their own command. If the present situation continues, the 1984 Holocaust was not the first, and it will not be the last.
15: G Singh (Scottsdale. Arizona, USA), July 15, 2015, 8:12 PM.
The video brought a smile to my face! If you cannot defend yourself, how can you fight for justice and stand against tyranny - the very principles that Sikhi evolved into.
16: Kaala Singh (Punjab), July 16, 2015, 1:00 AM.
As rightly pointed out by the author, India is a lawless medieval jungle where the "bigger beast" is always ready to prey on the smaller one. This "beast" is more dangerous because it knows how to camouflage itself as a harmless, docile creature and attacks when you have let your guard down or you are in a hopelessly vulnerable situation like this trucker. There is no morality in this jungle and there can be no moral approach to deal with this creature. Unless this bigger beast is made to pay, there will be no end to such incidents or "riots" -- this term is another misleading camouflage behind which they hide their heinous crimes.
17: Kaala Singh (Punjab), July 16, 2015, 4:06 AM.
While travelling in Punjab and elsewhere, I have been questioned many times about my views about these Bhaiyyas who attacked this Sikh trucker and also played a major role in the genocide of Sikhs in 1984. Let me explain here. Take the example of USA, called a "melting pot" of people from all parts of the world. But if I was to ask one pointed question -- who really controls the USA? -- and the answer is, the Anglo-Saxon people of British ancestry who form more than 50% of the total population really control that country. Now, if I ask another pointed question -- who controls India? -- yes, hold your breath, the answer is -- these Bhaiyyas really control India and not the Maharashtrians or Tamils or the Assamese. Bhaiyyas form around 50% of the population, have the largest share of political power and are responsible for making India what it is today.