Vinod Mehta of Outlook wrote that 1984 was the year that changed India. Jagmohan Singh (WSN) replied by saying that it was the year that did not change India. Har Jagmandar Singh takes the discussion further and asks whether the Sikhs have learnt their lessons or not. Readers are invited to share their thoughts. The anti-Sikh pogrom of November 1984 in Delhi and numerous other places in India, and the havoc at Darbar Sahib Amritsar five months earlier, came as horrible shocks to the Sikh nation, but placed in the historical perspective, these grisly events were neither unexpected, nor unprecedented, nor unrepeatable. The editor of World Sikh News, Jagmohan Singh has written an open letter to the editor of Outlook magazine, Vinod Mehta, challenging the contention of the magazine of India having changed and has concluded that 1984 did not change India. The view that the year 1984 has changed India is obviously false, provided we take it in the ironic sense in which Advocate H. S. Phoolka has remarked, “In 1984 this country’s politicians learnt the art of killing people, getting away with it and then going on to win elections in the aftermath. They have repeated that in Mumbai and Gujarat and somebody somewhere may be making the next preparations.” Now that we have observed the memories of the victims of November 1984 and we have cried over the last two weeks at India having not done justice to the Sikhs, it is time to ponder over a significant question, “Have the Sikhs changed since 1984?” The anti-Sikh pogrom of November 1984 in Delhi and numerous other places in India, and the havoc at Darbar Sahib Amritsar five months earlier, came as horrible shocks to the Sikh nation, but placed in the historical perspective, these grisly events were neither unexpected, nor unprecedented, nor unrepeatable. The repeated genocides of the original inhabitants (called Dasas or Dasyus) and the destruction of their centuries old civilization by the Aryans are mentioned at least five times in the Rig Veda. The Hindus carried out four mass murders of the Buddhists and almost eliminated them in India. Taimur, Nadir Shah, Muhammed Ghori and Aurangzeb, not to mention countless others, killed Hindus en masse. At the time of Partition there were indiscriminate slaughters of the Muslims in India and of the Hindus and the Sikhs in Pakistan. More recently, the Sinhalese mercilessly murdered 80 thousand Tamils in Sri Lanka. The pages of the world history are full of genocides of the people of one religion by the people of another religion. Nazis killed 62 lakh Jews because they were Jews. Pogroms of one nation by another have occurred in every country in every age. Examples can be multiplied endlessly. The genocide of the Sikhs has not occurred for the first time. In the holocaust of 1747 at Kahnuwan, Diwan Lakhpat Rai killed several thousand Sikhs. Fifteen years later, Ahmed Shah Abdali massacred 20 thousand Sikhs at Kup, near Ludhiana, and those numbers then were actually a large chunk of their small population. But the Sikhs were not dazed by these genocides. The reason was that they understood reality about themselves and about their enemies. They understood the intentions of their adversaries and were clear as to what they should do. They adopted the right attitude, struggled and achieved sovereignty. The events of 1984 have left the Sikhs aghast and bewildered. They continue to live in illusions. They have neither understood themselves correctly nor those who perpetrated the holocaust on them. They had not realized, but their opponents knew it, that they had a separate entity and hence separate interests. The Sikh leaders of present times have proved to be asses. The British, before they left India, wanted to give “political feet” to the Sikhs so that they could walk in the stream of history of nations and make their contribution. They wanted to make provisions to safeguard their future. But the stupid Sikh leaders, who suffered from umbilical fixation, refused to listen to them. Master Tara Singh declared, “While opposing the Pakistan scheme, some Sikhs have lost their heads and they are preaching the establishment of Sikh rule……Swaraj (self-rule) is the only solution of our country’ s misfortunes.” Jinnah warned the Sikhs, “You have known the Hindus as co-slaves but you will know their real character when they become your masters.” Even today, the Sikh leaders are not prepared to tell their followers how much right the great Muslim leader was. The Sikhs, after 1947, have been placed in a new situation, and they have to reorient themselves accordingly. History is a cruel teacher. The Sikhs should learn their lessons without receiving any more beatings. Learn they will have to----for their survival. According to a high police officer, who deposed before the Misra Commission, “The riots were organized to teach the Sikhs a lesson.” It was to be a lesson of slavish submission. God forbid the day should come when the Sikhs learn this lesson. What they really need to learn is the truth of history--- the truth that there is a permanent enmity and inevitable conflict between different religions and civilizations and survival and growth lies in being aware of one’s distinctness and constantly working towards the creation of an environment in which one’s nation can survive. The truth about the November ’84 pogrom of the Sikhs has been cleverly obfuscated by the media, leaders (Akali leaders among them), writers and other opinion makers. The whole blame has been laid on certain individuals like Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and H. K. L. Bhagat. It has been concealed that all this was, in fact, the result of the rancour which is inherent in Hinduism against Sikhism. Guru Gobind Singh was, in the course of 23 years, engaged in twenty battles. The Hindu hill- Rajas fought against him in twelve of these battles, either in alliance with one another or in co-operation with the Muslim rulers. The conflict was natural. The Guru has himself explained in ‘Zafar Namah’ that the conflict was due to the divergence between Sikhism and Hinduism: “I killed hill-men belligerent towards me because they worship idols and I am an idol breaker.” On the other side, Bhim Chand, a leader of the Hindu hill-Rajas, declared, “I cannot as a Hindu be on good terms with a man (the Guru) who hath discarded our holy faith.” Conflict between religions (and civilizations which are outgrowth of religions) is natural, as it is natural between living organisms. The law of “struggle for survival” applies to religions as well. It seems to be the intention of nature that there should be struggle between religions so that better forms of faith may evolve. The preaching of brotherhood between different religions is useful for the peace and stability of society. Sadly, it is only palliative. The deeper tensions continue and develop into clashes whenever there is sufficient stimulus. Such preaching plants confusion in the minds of people and disables them to understand and face reality. The tussle between Christianity and Islam is manifest in many ways in various developments in the modern world. Rise of anti-Semitism and intolerance towards Oriental religions in modern day Europe, with all its progressive ideals and practice is a reality. No two rival bands of animals or humans can peacefully share a tract of jungle. Urge for expansion is inherent in all living things; it is a mode of survival. Same is the case with religions. When a religion expands (expand as it must), it enters the territory of another religion; then conflict is inevitable. Before it is too late, the Sikhs need to be prepared to face reality as it unfolds itself, in India and the rest of the world. Respect for diversity should be developed but the underlying truth cannot be wished away. This is not a cynical observation but a stark truth of history. This is the bitter truth. Sikhs can ignore it only at their own peril for “---somebody, somewhere may be making the next preparations.” Har Jagmandar Singh is the author of A Story of the Sikhs –Pursuit of Sovereignty.