Operation Bluestar: Why The Horrors Of 1984 Must Not Be Forgotten | Madras Courier

I would advise every young Sikh to learn about 1984.

Five hundred years ago, a gentle prophet returning to his home in the Punjab came upon a terrible scene. The residents of the town of Sayyidpur had been put to the sword by a mighty Uzbek conqueror who had swooped down from the highlands of Afghanistan. The carnage was unbelievable, and the anguish of the survivors tore the prophet’s heart to shreds.

Four centuries later, another horde took to the streets in the city once called Ramdaspur, now known as Amritsar. Directing it was the haughty doyenne of the Nehru clan, who perhaps aspired to create a dynasty rivalling the mighty Mughals. Its helmsmen were the leaders of one of the most powerful armies in the world. They bore down upon a place of great calm and repose that over time had become the visible heart of the faith that Guru Nanak was on his way to establishing. The end result was no less gruesome than the depredations of Babar. We know this today.

As I reflect on the thirty-fifth anniversary of Operation Blue Star, Mrs Gandhi’s ill-considered attack on the Sri Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, Guru Nanak’s powerful words spoken to Babar, who would go on to establish the mighty Mughal empire, echo in my mind.

Khorasan he laid to waste                 To India then he turned his gaze
How can you be blameless my Lord   Herald of death did you not raise
Slaughter death and cries of pain      How can you from pity refrain

Lord you are of all there is                    Surely this you too can see
If warriors mighty two do fight            Reason for grief there none will be

But if the lion slays the lamb            Answer for it his master must
Dogs defile this precious land           The dead forgotten in the dust
Your mysteries are beyond our ken    Let us praise your glories then

Deem themselves the mighty high    Filled with pride the foolish preen
But in your eyes, master, lord         Naught but lowly worms they’re seen
Forever blest, the humble, meek      Forever Nanak His name seek

These words of Guru Nanak’s were a powerful rejection of tyranny and became the bedrock of the Sikh principle of fighting oppression in every form. They were to shape the destiny of the Sikhs for generations to come.

I wonder what the generation of young Sikhs born after 1984 make of Operation Bluestar. Do they even know what happened? Do they need to know? And if they do learn about it, how should they feel about it? More importantly, how should they react?

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