- Subject index
The Punjab crisis, a two-decade long armed insurgency that emerged as a violent ethnonationalist movement in the 1980s and gradually transformed into a secessionist struggle, resulted in an estimated casualty of no less than 25,000 people in Punjab. This ethnonationalist movement, on the one hand ended the perceived notion of looking at Punjab as the model of political stability of independent India, and on the other raised several politico-social questions which had a great effect on Indian politics for decades to come.
The Sikh Separatist Insurgency in Punjab-India provides an authoritative political history of the Sikh separatist insurgency in Punjab by focusing on the “patterns of political leadership”, a previously unexplored variable. It describes in detail the events which led to the emergence of the “Punjab Crisis”, the various means through which the movement was sustained, and the changing nature of political leadership and courses of military action which necessitated its decline in the mid-1990s.
Providing a microhistorical analysis of the Punjab crisis, the book argues that the trajectories of ethnonationalist movements are largely based on the interaction between self-interested political elites, who not only react to the structural choices they face, but whose purposeful actions and decisions ultimately affect the course of ethnic group-state relations. It consolidates this theoretical preposition through a comparative analysis of four contemporary global ethnonationalist movementsthose that occurred in Chechnya, Northern Ireland, Kashmir, and Assam.
This book will be a good reference source for students and academics studying political science, history, South Asia and the Sikhs and also for public policy practitioners in multi-ethnic societies.
Chapter 6: Failed Political Compromises and Re-marginalization of Sikh Moderates (1984–1986)
Failed Political Compromises and Re-marginalization of Sikh Moderates (1984–1986)
Political Role of the “Head Priests” and the Congress (I)'s Attempt to “Capture” Sikh Institutions
A “surface calm” prevailed in Punjab after Operation Bluestar. Indian Express described the atmosphere as follows:
A deep anguish pervades in the countryside. People say they have been humiliated but at the same time express their helplessness. They simply do not know how to react. For the time being they have come to terms with the situation. Every villager this reporter talked to…expressed strong views.… [they] do not know whom to look to.1
Operation Bluestar stunned the Sikh community, and large segments of it—from rural peasants to the urban elite—felt humiliated. Sikh civil servants, government officials, ...