Punjab Research Group

The third Sikh ghallughara: ‘Terror in Punjab’ by Ram Narayan Kumar

Posted in Book reviews, New Publications by Pippa on July 5, 2009

Book review by Pritam Singh

June marks the 25th anniversary of Operation Blue Star, the fancy name given by the Indian state to the military action it took at Amritsar’s Harmandir Sahib, or the Golden Temple, the Sikhs’ holiest shrine, starting on 3 June 1984. A quarter-century on, how do we describe this action, and what meaning do we attach to it? Do we describe it, as the ideologists of the Indian state continue to do, as a holy task undertaken by the Indian military to clear the temple of the militants who had taken control of it? Or do we describe it, as some Indian nationalists and leftists do, as a sad and necessary action to defeat an imperialist conspiracy to disintegrate India? Do we celebrate it, as some Hindu nationalists do, as a successful assertion of India’s Hindu strength against the Sikh minority’s separatist aspirations? Or do we condemn it, as Sikh and Punjabi nationalists do, as a genocidal attack on Sikh dignity, assertion and identity? Perhaps we decry it, as most human-rights defenders and leftists do, as a human tragedy resulting in the deaths of thousands of human beings – pilgrims, priests, Sikh combatants and Indian army men.


%d bloggers like this: