Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Letter to Madame Sonia Gandhi
Madame Sonia Gandhi
President,All India Congress Party
Mr. Rahul Gandhi
General Secretary,All India Congress Committee
I would like to direct your mind to an urgent and critical matter. As you are aware, India is a highly diverse nation. As such, we should acknowledge and respect the diversity. The regional races in India include Dravidum, Aryans amongst religions and cultures. India does not currently support its diversity.
Under Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, Freedom to Religion, Sikh persons are denied their right to religious freedom as a separate and distinct group. Sikh persons are grouped with Hindu, Buddhist and Jain persons, which effectively deny Sikh persons their own separate religious identity. This clustering reflects India’s historical wrong doing of failing to recognize certain members of its population.
In 1954, the Indian Government abolished the Sikh Anand Marriage Act of 1909, thereby forcing Sikh persons to register their marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act. The Government of India’s actions effectively forced the assimilation of Sikh persons with Hindu persons; thus, denying the Sikh persons their right to freedom of religion. In 2003, the Government of India set up a Commission to investigate Article 25, Freedom to Religion grievances of Sikh persons. The Commission recommended and advised amendments to Article 25 in order to acknowledge Sikh persons separately and distinctly from Hindu persons.
Recognizing India’s diversity will heal wounds. Making India a unilingual State will radicalize minority groups. India will become a stronger and united nation if it recognizes minority rights. Operation Bluestar reflects the shameful decisions of the Indian Government. Mr. Rahul Gandhi has already expressed that the events of 1984 were tragic and appalling wrongs of the Indian Government.
As a leader of India, you must find the courage and moral strength to stitch the old wounds and reconcile the lies of the past with the present. As a result of the injuring the dignity of the Sikhs, you must rebuild their trust. You must offer an unequivocal apology to the Sikh persona and appeal for their forgiveness for the previous Government’s acts of condemnation. This healing package by you will defeat the rule of darkness of broken trust. By forging to heal past wounds, you will defeat the past acts of ignorance and prejudice that divided India. Further, recognizing and protecting minority rights instead of forcing assimilation and integration will undo past betrayal and mistrust. Recently, the Canadian Government issued an apology for its past wrongs of prejudice and betrayal to certain minority groups. We therefore urge you to
1-adopt the recommendations of the 2003 Commission to investigate Article 25, Freedom to Religion to acknowledge Sikh persons separately and distinctly from Hindu persons;
2-reinstate the Anand Marriage Act of 1909; and
3-mandate that the Indian Ministry of Broadcasting adopt the Punjabi national greeting of “Sat sri akal” along with “Namaskhar” on state controlled radio and television stations in Punjab. Presently, the Sikh greeting is banned.
We look forward to the action outlined above to encourage diversity we believe in through out India to reflect 21ST century. We sincerely know that the Sikh persons will greatly support and appreciate these corrections. We look forward to hear from you at your earliest convenience.
Harbans Singh Aujla