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1984 Lessons from History - Intrigue and Conflict in Centre - Sikh Relations - Books by Harminder Kaur

Table of Contents For '1984 Lessons from History - Intrigue and Conflict in Centre - Sikh Relations' - By Harminder Kaur

  Preface ix
  Introduction xv
1. The Sikh Psyche 1
2. Independence Talks, Promises And The Sikhs 4
3. Struggle For A Linguistic State 26
4. A State Without Its Own Capital 57
5. The Abyss Of Realpolitik 74
6. A Graveyard Of Political Initiative 126
7. Lessons From History 158
8. Postscript 178
A. Sachar Formula 185
B. Regional Formula 187
C. Anandpur Sahib Resolution 189
D. List of reduced demands 194
E. Rajiv-Longowal Accord 196
F. SAD memorandum to the Sarkaria Commission 199
G. Text of apology of PM Manmohan Singh in the Rajya Sabha 205
H. Parliamentary Committee on Punjabi Suba 212
I. Punjab Boudary Commission Report 1966 218
  Glossary 224
  Bibliography 229
  Index 235

Introduction to the Book of '1984 Lessons from history' By Harminder Kaur

The traumas of 1984 were a culmination point of centre-Sikh conflicts that began even before India's Independence and erupted into a chain of conflicts each weaving into the next one as years passed by. They were triggered by the Congress Party's repudiation of its pre-independence promises to the Sikhs, complicated by total distrust of them and made more complex by its interventionist policies. The Centre-Sikh conflicts began to consume the state by the 1980s because by then the Congress party under the leadership of Indira Gandhi had set out to destroy institutionalised politics represented by the Akali Dal through a militant leader, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Instead of countering such politics the Akali Dal joined in to support him, as his popularity grew, to save itself from political extinction. The politics of the period cost the country gravely. Twenty five years after the tragedies of 1984 - Operation Blue Star, anti-Sikh pogroms and assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the book brings out the story of intrigue and conflict in Centre-Sikh relations and explores its cost to the nation to draw lessons for the future. The study examines the Congress party's policies towards Punjab and looks at the tragedies of 1984 in the perspective of the apologies offered by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Indira Gandhi's daughter-in-law, Sonia Gandhi, after she became the Congress President.

About the Author 'Harminder Kaur'

Harminder Kaur is a senior print and electronic media journalist with over 30 years of experience and acclaimed body of work behind her. She began covering Punjab as a Special Correspondent in 1978 and continued to report on the events until the close of the conflict in 1993. Over the years she has interviewed almost everyone who mattered or contributed in any which way to the developments in Punjab. She travelled extensively through the State after Operation Blue Star and at different periods after that to study its impact on the people. She has kept a close watch on the developments  in Punjab since and has specialised in Sikh studies and political analysis. she has written, directed and produced over a dozen documentary films on the problems arising out of the years of turmoil. Her book Blue Star Over Amritsar is an acclaimed work of scholarship and is followed  by the present book 1984: Lessons From History. Her other books include two opulent coffee table books 400th Gurupurab of Sri Guru Granth Sahib: A Universal Scripture for Mankind and Anandpur Sahib: A Miracle of the Human Spirit.

From the Backcover of the Book '1984 Lessons From History' By Harminder Kaur

Operation Blue Star and the tragedies it unleashed were the most traumatic happenings for the Sikhs and the country in the history of independent India. Over the years much has been said about the handling of the events in Punjab and their tragic fallout. Illustrious journalist and historian Khushwant Singh decribed it as the : "Most monstrous event in the history of independent India." KPS Gill, who has been credited with putting an end to militancy in Punjab, has said: "In hindsight Operation Blue Star was possibly the single most significant act of political overreaction and military incompetence that gave lease of life to a movement that could easily have been ended in the mid-1980's". Both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, have apologised for the tragic events of June 1984 and after. In view of the introspective reactions 1984: Lessons From History brings out the inside story of intrigue and conflict in Centre-Sikh relations. It studies the entire Punjab problem in a perspective that looks at the coflicts which  started even before India's Independence, were exacerbated by each Congress leader - Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and culminated in the tragedies of 1984.


Twenty five years after the events of 1984 - Operation  Blue Star on the Golden Temple in Amritsar, anti-Sikh pogroms and Mrs Gandhi's assassination it is time to take a look back at how and why the events unfolded the way they did in Punjab and the rest of India and pick up lessons from history.

'1984: Lessons From History', is necessitated by the fact that the year 1984 was the darkest period in the history of independent India. It was also the most traumatic period for the country , for Punjab and the Sikhs as a community. It was the beginning of the bloodiest phase of violence in North India that created a fertile ground for Pakistan to wage its proxy war. Since then, Pakistan has succeeded in extending its proxy war to the rest of the country by implementing its policy of bleeding India through a thousand cuts. The eruptions of 1984 have thus greatly impacted India, its national security and its people. Its tremors continue to rock India.

In 1998, fourteen years after the tragic events of 1984, Sonia Gandhi, the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi, tried to reach out to the Sikh community by expressing regret. By then, Sonia Gandhi had become Congress President and was trying to resurrect the party's fortunes that had dropped steeply. In the Lok Sabha election in 1996 the Congress party had won less than 150 seats. She was persuaded by Congressmen to assume  the charge of the party and rejuvenate it. In the 1998 mid-term poll, Sonia Gandhi took a whirlwind tour of the country and tried to connect with the people to improve the party's electoral prospects. Addressing an election rally on January 27, 1998, in Chandigarh she obliquely referred to Operation Blue Star and expressed her regret : "Jo Kuch June 6 Ko hua, uska  mujhe dukh hua" (I am sad over whatever happened on June 6). She tried to strike a chord of sympathy with the Sikhs when she said that she could "understand" their pain as she herself  had experienced it by losing her mother-in-law and husband. "There is no use recalling what we have collectively lost. No words can act as a balm on that pain", she said. This was followed by an apology by her and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the Golden Temple in 2004, after the Congress returned to power. Sonia Gandhi's regret reflects the party's introspection over the tragedies of 1984. Was Indira Gandhi wrong then in precipitating the crisis? This provides us an opportunity to take an insightful look into the polices and working style of Indira Gandhi. It also motivates us to study the impact of her policies on Punjab, the Sikhs and the nation and draw lessons for the future.



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