if I am wrong but the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor has brought the Sikh
and Muslim communities closer. The partition and the aftermath that had brought
in friction and creases between the two communities were evident until efforts
of few individuals who tried to bridge the gaps.
Khushwant Singh telling me that when the Rockfeller Foundation gave him the
Fellowship grant to write on the history of the Sikhs, he deliberately chose
the Aligarh Muslim University. Why? To quote Khushwant: “I could have chosen
the Delhi University or Jawaharlal Nehru University but I chose the Aligarh
Muslim University …Why? because, I wanted to do my bit in bridging the gap that
had come between the two communities, Sikhs and Muslims because of the
partition and the havoc it brought along…It was very important for me to write
on the Sikh history and also important to write it from an educational institution like the AMU…After I finished writing the two volumes
on the history of the Sikhs, I added in Latin- Opus Exegii- my life’s work is
done…To write on Sikh religion and
history was my life’s ambition…Having done that I felt like one living on borrowed time, at peace with
myself and the world. It did not bother me if I wrote anything else.”
definite pointers to the Sikh-Muslim bonding can be witnessed in the Kashmir
Valley. Right from the early 1990s, I have been a witness to this bonding and
it’s always been heartening to see the hapless finding shelter and solace and
food in the various Gurudwaras of the Kashmir region…And, even as one travels
to the interiors of the region, one can be sure of spotting and meeting Sikh
families who call themselves Kashmiri Sikhs. They bond with the Kashmiri
Muslims to such an extent that they are living in complete compatibility.
Needless for me to write that the tough ground realities prevailing for decades
in the region has only made the bond grow stronger, more connectivity than
before between the Sikhs and the Muslims.
Srinagar-based lawyer, Hardev Singh Oberoi had shared with me, “Though my home
was partially destroyed during the 2014 floods that hit Srinagar but I didn’t
even think of moving out from here. We, Sikhs, will always be here…no one from
my family moved out from here even
during the turbulent in 90s.” He even went
on to tell me that not just he but his entire clan has been “at ease
living in the Valley”. He then added, “Mohammadans are better friends than your
kith and kin. They can give their lives for you…the only thing is that they are
very sensitive about their faith.”
And, in the
backdrop of this, today, there stands out much bonding between the two
communities in other locales of the country. This time, with the opening of the
Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, it got members from both the communities emotional to
such an extent that several of my Sikh friends hugged me tight and greeted me
with salaams (salutation) and more salaams!
touching to see this bonding between the communities who share so much of
common history and turmoil. And, of course, both the communities have been
victims of communal violence. I recall that after the horrifying anti-Sikh
riots in 1984, many of my Sikhs friends told me that they could visualise what
the Muslims go through each time they are attacked and targeted during communal
Muslims were deeply affected by the 1984 anti-Sikhs. I recall the late activist
Safdar Hashmi’s mother, Qamar Azad Hashmi, telling me that those riots had
deeply affected Safdar. To quote her: “The1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi had
really affected him. For days, we were witness to the horrifying carnage. It
was shocking to see the brutality of it all.”
Is A Place for All
connect human beings in more than one way. They feed the hungry, they provide
shelter to the hapless and above all, relay hope of that vital human togetherness. That human
bond that has to hold out, no matter what the circumstances could be.
occasion when I’d been inside a Gurudwara, I felt peace and tranquillity being
spread out. I must mention that I went there with Khushwant Singh and one of
his friends from America, Surjeet Kaur, who was visiting New Delhi.
recall that whilst we were in the midst of some discussion on Sikh history,
Khushwant asked me point blank, whether I had been inside a Gurudwara?
haven’t been inside a Gurudwara,” asked Khushwant. He then even asked whether I
would like to. After hearing the expected yes from me, one late afternoon, he,
Surjeet Kaur and I headed towards the Connaught Place situated Gurudwara,
Bangla Sahib. And, whilst Khushwant sat on the marbled steps leading to the
Gurudwara in a rather introspective mood, Surjeet and I had gone further ahead
and sat inside the Gurudwara for a longish stretch, ate and prayed.
On our way
back, Khushwant was in the same introspective mood, telling us of the
significance of the gurudwaras. In fact, it was amazing to hear him telling the
the significant details.
Now, I am
impatiently waiting for the day when I can visit the Golden Temple and Gurdwara
Darbar Sahib Kartarpur.
Headline: Kartarpur corridor brings Sikhs and Muslims closer
Source: The Tehelka