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USA Prof. Nirvikar Singh: Attacks On US Sikhs Hard To Classify Into One Category


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
'Difficult to classify attacks on Sikhs in US into one category, NRI Nirvikar Singh says

by Amaninder Pal Sharma


PATIALA: Eminent Punjabi economist, Prof Nirvikar Singh, teaching at the University of California, Santa Cruz in US for about 30 years, said in Patiala on Thursday that not all incidents of hate crimes committed against the community, in the past few years, were due to mistaken identity as some of these were assaults targeting the outsiders.

He, however, added that it was difficult to classify as to whether the occurrences of attacks on Sikhs were cases of mistaken identity or conscious targeting of a particular community.

"For instance, if you take case of recent attack on a Sikh professor in New York, the assailants were shouting 'Osama Osama'. This clearly shows that it was a case of mistaken identity. But if you look at the Oak Creek gurdwara massacre in Wisconsin, it was a case where Sikhs were targeted. So you can't completely classify such incidents into one category," he told TOI.

An alumnus of the prestigious London School of Economics (LSE), Prof Nirvikar did his PhD from University of California and is currently serving as an advisor to the Union ministry of finance.

Nirvikar, whose grandfather Bhai Mohan Singh Vaid was an eminent practitioner of ayurveda and remained a member of Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee (SGPC) before Independence, however said that one should not get the impression that Sikhs were the only community that is being consciously targeted.

"Attacks like Wisconsin were executed by persons who hate outsiders. Not only Sikhs but outsiders, especially Asians, could be singled out by such fellows," said Prof Nirvikar, who was here to deliver a keynote address on the prevailing financial situation in Punjab.

Although his family hailed from Tarn Taran district, where his grandfather remained active in various reform movements, Nirvikar was brought up in Delhi before he moved to England for graduation and post graduation from LSE. The entire library of his grandfather, Bhai Mohan Singh Vaid, was donated to Punjabi University, Patiala after its establishment in 1962.

Punjab moving towards 'slow death'

In a scathing remark against the political establishment in Punjab, Prof Nirvikar, who is also on board of members serving as advisors to G20 nations, said that political competition in the state is not robust enough for good governance.

"Corruption is the single biggest barrier for growth in Punjab. In the absence of political competition to deliver the goods, parties here don't feel threatened of being thrown out of power in case they don't perform better," he remarked. He also said that if things are not rectified soon, the only possibility left for Punjab would be "slow death." The need of the hour was to invest more in higher education so that Punjab could generate high quality human capital, he added.