I am aware that I write a speculative piece about a hypothetical situation, namely, what I would not have done, in the event of death of general K. S. Brar in an attack (if that was an attack). That is supposed to have happened, (if it did happen) in London recently. I have heard Brar on the ‘Day & Night’ and another TV channel and of course I have read how Hindutava forces have poured their heart out for him in print media. He is the shorn slave of the forces of Hindutava and is the darling of the permanent cultural majority (pcm) which, being barely a billion in number is naturally scared to death of the two percent armed Sikh population of India. In the context of history of conquest of Hind by invaders, two percent is a huge number. It is indeed a cause for alarm. Remember they were 17 only but were armed to teeth with sharp swords and long deadly spears when they attacked Bengal,. Raja Laxman Sena, belonged to the illustrious solar dynasty that had been ruling for thousands of years. This band of 17 was lead by an eighteen year old lad and still such was its striking power that the king had to make an unceremonious exit from the rear door of the palace neglecting even to wear his slippers. That was a wise act for sure as the palace guard and thousands of other brave functionaries who were left behind, were massacred by the cruel intruder within minutes of their being discovered from their hiding places, Mohammad-bin-Qasim repeated almost the same feat in Sind, The pcm lead by Indira Gandhi concluded that these matters could not be left to chance.
A. B. Vajpayee, the doyen of Hindutava forces, saw a conquering goddess Durga in Indira Gandhi after the attack on the Guru’s Darbar. Shrewd as she was, she knew she was playing on the hyperconsciousness of a race obsessed with ‘bravery, conquest and subduing’ that sprang from the nagging knowledge of innate, extreme cowardice displayed by its ancestors which had again and again resulted in abject defeat and being colonised. Of the Greeks, Sakas, Jats, Huns, Mongols, Arabs, Persians, Afghans, Portuguese, French and British who attacked India defended by the Hindus, no one was resisted and none failed to conquer. Hind remained slave until the British decided to call it a day and quit voluntarily. For centuries the Hindu psyche had been bearing the burden of slavery, of consequent self-degradation and of inferiority complex. It desperately needed a ‘victory’ to bolster up its self confidence. It gained (?) it through the instrumentality of the army, pitted against lay priests, temple servants and pilgrims.
Consequently, general Brar who not only saved India from the fate of Bengal or Sind but also restored its self-confidence is now being eulogised. He is being presently projected as a super-general (along with the super-cop butcher) and is being caressed by the doting pcm. He has been hailed as a ‘hero’ and the ‘architect’ of the army operation. He was up against much heavier odds than either Lakshman Sen or Dahir Shah had ever been. He had to contend with a holy man who although is never known to have fired a weapon, but nevertheless menacingly held a deadly steel spear more than three feet long. As for supporters he had almost three times the number that that Bakhtiar Khalji had brought to battle that fateful day in Bengal. They were almost as many as had attacked Sind, killed its ruler and had enslaved his harem. A photograph of the entire lot taken a day before the June 1984 attack was published by a magazine on its cover that month, shows how deadly these people were. Even from the picture it is obvious that each one of them could have easily swallowed a dozen whole soldiers at one go without batting an eyelid. To top it all they were surrounded by thousands of pilgrims, temple servants, women and children including a two week old child. The rumour was that this infant was born with a pistol in hand and binoculars to his eyes. So very wisely the then prime minister had provided a dozen battle tanks, several armed personal carriers, helicopters. poisenous gases (the Geneva Convention be damned) and other inflammatory material of the kind that was used to set the Sikh Reference Library on fire. There were stun bombs 2 inch mortars, cannons and what have you, The enemy was spread out in a four square acre temple complex. Standing shoulder to shoulder the attacking army would have required more space than that. No precaution was spared to flush them out. Hero Brar went to battle with just about 90.000 brave soldiers (excluding of course the para-mitary forces and the police).
So brave was the general that he went into the lions den just a day before the contest. He went along with devotees and was spotted at the darshani deorhi and was photographed there. He came back walking on his two feet. From that adventure he concluded that the enemy was spineless and would surrender when the first cannon boomed and when the first tank rolled. That they resisted the armed might of a modern state for 72 hours and according to the commander-in-chief (Sunderji) decimated the invaders twice over (‘they killed 20 percent of our army’) just goes to show that the careful planning was just right for the attack. How evenly balanced was the battle may be guessed from the single fact, that had the Indian army even one tank less and had it not been allowed to burn the library and to destroy the Akal Takhat, the battle could have been lost. Not only the battle. With powers like Pakistan waiting in the wings to make best use of the opportunity, India would have been lost too.
Just to establish how brave a hero Brar was, we must recall some of the bravest deeds that were accomplished on the battlefield. That deadly infant to whom reference has already been made, was despatched with a single machine gun fire. Just as the mighty Kans had killed the new born sons of his sister Devki by holding them by the legs and flinging them head first on a stone. The peacefully protesting members of the Akali party who had come to offer arrests in the ongoing agitation, were collected in a closed space and in an economy so rare on the battlefield, were all killed with just a few hand grenades that a brave soldier lobbed from the rooftop. Thirty school boys were captured their hands were tied behind their backs and were killed by another brave soldier of the Indian army single-handedly with just one burst of the machinegun. The brave general took thousands of unarmed pilgrims as “prisoners of war.” Many of them ranged from five years to 17 years of age. Show us a single army in the world ridden with conflict that has accomplished such a deed. Bhagat Puran Singh says in a letter to the president of India that women pilgrims were raped by the army men. Every dead body was plundered, living quarters of the temple servants were ransacked thoroughly, and not even a single ceremonial cloth coverings for the Guru Granth Sahib was left in the premises. The president of India had to order some at his own expense when he came visiting a few days after the great victory. When it came to that, Brar even killed his senior colleague in the Indian army who had won the Battle of Bangladesh for the country. By that act of unsurpassed bravery he showed that he was completely without emotions when he entered the enemy territory. Another fact that points to the same is that he attacked the place at which he had worshipped just the day before. It must however be admitted that this was an inherited trait coming straight to him from his grandfather who had Kartar Singh Sarabha arrested and hanged for fighting the people’s battle.
We may now examine the strategy followed by the general. No general is worth his salt if he does not employ a befitting strategy. He took care to attack the Darbar on the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan. He was not afraid of numbers. He knew that the crowds would be the thickest that day. He wanted to make an impact. It is a monument to his bravery to recall that he relaxed the curfew for two hours just a day before the attack to let in many more pilgrims. He was so sure of himself. Then in a quick Napoleonic manoeuvre, he went attacked without sounding a word of warning. He later lied to his commander-in-chief (the president of India) that a warning had been issued. Dharamputra Yudhister had done it before him. That was all in the line of duty. Some may have spotted the thickly veiled strategy he was using. It was simply to use the unarmed civilians as human shields for the brave soldiers he was leading to battle. It is possible that some will also have noticed that despite his superiority in every way the general was still shaking in his boots and was, in all probability wetting his pants also. It is not as if the brave know no fear; it is just that they overcome it like Brar did.
Brar also displayed completely secular spirit. He killed the hymn singers inside the Guru’s Darbar, pierced the Guru Granth Sahib and set fire to the administrative office of the shrine that is, the Teja Singh Samundari Hall several days after the resounding victory. He knew what he was doing. It has already been said that religion, after all is the opium of the masses.
It is true that he was given so many thousand bottles of whiskey to dull the perceptions of the soldiers under him. The prospects of tonnes of laddus being fed to them by the Hindu population of the town after the annihilation of the Takhat, must too have been dangled before them. These appear to be some integral parts of the strategy that he followed to win the battle. Such a genius is rare indeed.
The army under his command shut up innocent pilgrims in the small rooms of the inn and denied them water, thus killing hundreds by thirst and heat in a truly non-violent, in a truly Gandhian way. This great combination of strategy and ideology is bound to be noticed some day and the doting media will surely reveal the true Gandhian in the general for the world to emulate.
He must also be given full credit for every act of bravery that he displayed after capturing the complex. One act that will go down in history is his burning down the Sikh Reference Library. He thus earned a unique distinction. If we have to locate a parallel we have to travel more than five hundred years back in history to 1453 when the library at Constantinople was burnt. The excuse then was that it was a barbaric age and such a barbaric measure was only to be expected. The general worked under no such constraint. This was not the custom of this age of enlightenment and yet the general bashed on regardless. He set the library on fire and did not wink an eyelid. He burnt many precious manuscripts of the holy book and reduced to ashes the documents that had been touched by our Gurus and several of which bore their signatures. No ordinarily brave person, but only one firmly committed to genocide of a people could have taken that step. It will be remembered that these documents had survived the Mughal. Afghan. Persian and the British colonial rule of five centuries but perished under the pcm’s empire within five decades.
The last attack on the shrine had been by Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1762. The Punjab then formed a part of his empire, having been ceded to him by Ahmed Shah the emperor of Delhi. Even Abdali did not inflict as much damage as Brar did although he was no sovereign like Abdali but just a minion of a woman aspiring to sovereignty. So he clearly scores over Abdali in more ways than one.
Now we may go into the question of motives. Indira Gandhi was trying to establish the perpetual rule of her dynasty. This was great as the country needed such a rule to survive as a modern vibrating democracy (the world’s largest at that). She made a bid with dismemberment of Pakistan which was at that time the most hated entity in the entire Hind. The Emergency debacle however boomeranged upon her. That was the fault of that despicable mass leader Jai Parkash Narayan who was too dense to understand her purely patriotic measure. The Sikhs too went on courting peaceful arrests to oppose the wholly benign measures. She was desperately looking for newer solutions, in the country’s interest of course. She decided to exploit the liberal dose of fear and hatred in the mind of the pcm that has nursed upon the anti-Dalit sentiment for centuries. She targeted the Sikhs whose prosperity and probity was hugely resented by the masses. For the execution of her policy she identified and handpicked media persons, civil servants, army men and politicians, even cronies and hangers-on were identified. She did a good job from her point of view. In the last phases she required a lap dog who would execute the manoeuvre of attacking one of the holiest spots in the world. No self respecting soldier was prepared to perpetrate that enormous monstrosity upon his own people. General S. K. Sinha declined. This is where Brar came in. He wanted nothing more than a pat of a dictator behind his ears and the addition of a coloured ribbon to his uniform. Integrity as a soldier counted for nothing with him, killing his own people was a game for him and to desire their enslavement was an ancestral occupation.
He pretends to have prevented the declaration of Khalistan by attacking the shrine. Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa had no political organisation or independent agenda. He all through said he was supporting the agenda of the Akali Dal and that did not include Khalistan. Three independent people including two journalists met the Sant just a few days before the attack and asked him to propose a compromise formula. His answer to all of them was, ‘let the government come to an honourable agreement with the Akali Dal. Let it release the people incarcerated unjustly and I will go back to my seminary and resume my preaching.’ The general, no matter how apolitical he is, is expected to know now that there was no such danger. He is instead going on repeating that lie ad nauseam in the press and visual media. If other lies that he has told to justify his butchery are all added up they will weigh a tonne at least.
Law is clear that the Sant and his friends in the shrine had the right of self defence.
An apostate’s claim that he went to restore the sanctity of the shrine that was violated by the preacher of the faith is both ridiculous and preposterous. It is also said that the statue of goddess Soma consecrated at Somnath had been thrown out of Mecca along with 365 others by the prophet of Islam and Mahmud of Ghazni had come to restore the sanctity of the Hindu shrine by ridding it of the condemned statue. Have not we had enough of those burlesques and tongue in cheek statements, that general is going on adding another to them every day?
To put his eagerness to lead the attack in perspective we may refer to recent history. The ‘iron man of India’ (PC Chidambram) chalked out a strategy to break the backbone of Maoist insurgency in India. The Indian army was to do the job that it had done in 1984. General V. K. Singh would have none of it. So it fizzled out and nobody talks about it anymore. Had there been a debate, it would have come out that at Nuremberg the civilised world had decided that no public servant was under an obligation to obey an inhuman and illegal order. General Brar was on the other hand an incarnation of immorality, brutality and inhumanity befitting a true soldier of Indira Gandhi’s personal army. It may be said again, that he bashed on regardless.
Being a secular man who has said goodbye to the faith of his ancestors, his ideals could not have been, Banda Bahadur, Nawab Kapur Singh and Jassa Singh Ahluwalia who confronted the Mughals, Nadir and Abdali. He emulated Tiloka who led the armies of Mahmud against Somnath, His ideals were Aziz Koka, Malik Amber and Malik Kafur the eunuchs who converted to Islam and subdued the bulk of the Indian sub-continent for their masters to rule. He has chosen well to be in the company he is in and I do not grudge him his choice.
I do not mind him being eulogised as a hero. Wavell, the governor-general of India, found M. K. Gandhi to be a “malevolent old man” and yet he did not grudge the status of a saint bestowed upon him by our civilisation. His explanation for not grudging was that such people in such (perverse) civilisations are often referred to as saints. On that trodden path I tread and accept Brar as hero of the Hindutava forces for the new “sexed up” civilisation that Hindutava is trying to bring into existence, will certainly produce heroes like him.I do not wish death to Brar although I know that such people are always a burden on mother earth. I would not lift a finger to kill him even if I could; just as I would not lift my little finger to save him if that would. At the same time, I confess, I would not have mourned for him had he been killed in that latest attempt on his life. That is regardless of who made the attempt. Left to myself I prefer this man to be hauled up at The Hague and tried for crimes against humanity as many of the same feather have been tried in the recent past.