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"As a Punjabi I empathized with Sikhs’ pain", says Kuldip Nayar

Discussion in 'Inspirational Stories' started by spnadmin, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

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    By Dr Amrik Singh




    SACRAMENTO:


    The syndicated columnist Kuldip Nayar has found fault in center government in most of the internal skirmishes in India. In an interview here Nayar said the central government has not sorted out any issue satisfactorily whether it was reorganization of states, water sharing, Rajiv-Longwal Accord and protection to minorities.

    Kuldip Nayar was in Sacramento, California on a special invitation to attend 10th Ghadar Memorial Foundation Conference. The Foundation’s president Charan Singh Judge arranged a special appointment with the noted columnist. It lasted for several hours and touched sensitive issues like Hindutva, terrorism, politics, foreign policy and NRI affairs.

    Nayar who remained Press Officer of India's first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru said that Nehru was vehemently opposed to the division of Punjab.

    Reminiscing Longowal - Rajiv talks in Delhi, Nayar felt proud that Akalis had lodged full confidence in him. Balwant Singh, the former Finance Minister, had proposed to the then PM Rajiv Gandhi to make him (Nayar) the arbiter in resolving all nagging issues. Bajpai consulted him quite often on Pakistan affairs, but not on Punjab. In Sonia Gandhi’s eyes, Nayar was a staunch opponent of s Indira Gandhi. It might have been the reason that Dr. Manmohan Singh didn’t accept Nayar’s offer of help in domestic and foreign policies.

    Nayar also felt dissatisfied with the role of foreign missions which have failed to perform their primary duty. He was told about exploitation of Punjabis who got citizenship of the US. Nayar made it clear that the purpose of Indian Missions in foreign countries is basically to provide help and not create obstacles. He promised to take up issues with the Consulate General, Home and Foreign Ministries. Nayar was informed that protests and demonstrations are integral to democracies, therefore, shouldn’t be used against people of Indian origin.

    "During mystint as the High Commissioner London, the first thing Nayar noticed was that very few Sikhs frequented the office. The main entrance and reception remained closed to the Sikhs for security reasons. When on his intervention it was opened for them, he received warning from the office of the Foreign Minister of India to be held solely responsible for any untoward incident", Nayar revealed while taking questions.


    Nayar further said that similar caution came from the British Scotland Yard Police expressing their inability to provide protection to the Indian Mission if the High Commissioner insisted on giving free access to Sikhs. " WhenI sternly told that the protection of British Embassy in Delhi could be withdrawn as a reaction to it, they relented from raising imaginary fears of Sikhs’ violence. As a Punjabi I empathized with Sikhs’ pain", he stated.

    Nayar said he too faced many threats in his life. Threats came in the form of angry letters and phone calls to shoot him and his grandchildren.

    Nayar also shared his experiences when he went to a Sikh Gurdwara in London. He said he was disturbed at being greeted with epithets like “Indian dogs, go back. Khalistan Zindabad” He remembers granting an appointment to a delegation of Sikhs who wanted to get the Black list revised. Some of the names on the lists were without any rhyme and reasons. Nayar made observation that the Indian bureaucracy most of the times has its ways to impose its will on the functioning of public offices.

    Nayar said he still had no words to describe pain of the mass massacre of Sikhs after Indira Gandhi’s assassination. He said he worked with Human Rights organizations to hold the guilty responsible for crimes against humanity. The report “Who are the Guilty?” records whatever little evidence remained after Rajiv Gandhi assumed office of the Prime Minister with a massive mandate.


    To a question how India would have been today, had the collapse of Janta Party not taken place. Nayar clearly stated that India would have been much stronger and more civil than it is today. Jaiparkash Narain revolutionized Indian politics, but the installation of Morarji Desai as the Prime Minister of India proved counterproductive. The name of Jagjivan Ram had also come up for it, but was dropped because he was associated with Emergency resolution. JP was a man of principles and values.



    At 86, Nayar is nostalgic about his childhood years in Sialkot, now in Pakistan. Guru Granth Sahib occupied a proud place in their house. His mother hailed from a Sikh family. She read Guru Granth Sahib and prepared Parshad on every Sangrand. He reminisces how restlessly they would wait for savoring it. He earned Honors in History and a law degree from FC College Lahore.

    He said he had no intention of becoming a journalist. But partition had given deep wounds that only his writing could have healed. Old ones were not healed fully when the new had sprung up in the shape of 1984. He still hopes something could be done to win back the lost confidence of the Sikh community.

    Speaking about Dr. B. R. Ambedkar to a question of Prem Chumber, Editor of ambedkartimes.com, Nayar said that Dr.Ambedkar's contribution in creating Indian Nationalism is tremendous, but unfortunately his writings were not promoted after independence. That is why still many people in high offices feign ignorance about his works. He remembered that Ambedkar didn’t favor the modern version of reservation, because according to him, it was like providing crutches to people who otherwise could be strong both in body and mind. His goal was to remove the disabling conditions of economic, social and emotional slurs and smears which are woefully continuing uninterrupted even today. It was more for politics than for actually improving the lot of Dalits that reservation was introduced initially for ten years.

    Referring to Durban conference and his criticism of the lot of Dalits, Nayar regretted that India remained in denial mode about questions of their discrimination and degradations. But international community was kept in dark due to India’s reluctance to admit subhuman treatment to certain sections of society. Nayar said that Kanshi Ram’s contribution will remain invaluable and revolutionary.

    To a question how India would have been today, had the collapse of Janta Party not taken place. Nayar clearly stated that India would have been much stronger and more civil than it is today. Jaiparkash Narain revolutionized Indian politics, but the installation of Morarji Desai as the Prime Minister of India proved counterproductive. The name of Jagjivan Ram had also come up for it, but was dropped because he was associated with Emergency resolution. JP was a man of principles and values.

    [​IMG]Book presented to Kuldip Nayar


    Replying questions, Nayar said Arya Samaj movement initially was a reformative and progressive. The animal and idol worship was condemned and at times caste discrimination was sought to be ended. However, it became reactionary due to politicization of the freedom struggle.

    Kuldip Nayar disclosed that as a member of the Upper House of Indian parliament, how had he tried to awaken the dormant conscience of the Indian politicians. He had prevailed upon the then vice president Krishan Kant to tender an unconditional apology for what had happened to Sikhs in 1984. He rued how the very idea was spurned then, and how after a decade of his proposal, Dr. Manmohan Singh had to perforce tender it in the parliament. The pain of 1984 tragedy will remain profound and hard to heal. Talking about his stint as Press Officer of the PM JN Nehru, he recalls how Nehru had listened to his briefing patiently.

    Nayar made a fervent appeal to all Punjabis for building a strong society.

    Nayar had a very successful career. He is the strongest witness to the pre and post partition politics of blood and gore. Nayar is very concerned about the widening gulf between countries’s rich and poor.

    http://www.punjabnewsline.com/conte...d-sikhs’-pain-says-kuldip-nayar/22176?cpage=1
     
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