Attention – Due To Allegations of Plagiarism, This Article Is Highly Suspect 
One can only hope that the violent agitation ripping through Punjab will subside. There are uneasy precedents though. One of the earliest episodes in the Punjab insurgency was the 1978 clash between the Nirankari sect and the Akalis. The Akalis represented mainstream orthodox Sikhism and the Nirankaris represented a liberal (heretical in the eyes of the Akalis) face of the faith. The friction between the two led to the killing of Lala Jagat Narain of the Punjab Kesari group of newspapers and the subsequent polarization between the Hindus and the Sikhs. Besides this, there was politicization of religion with the Hindus siding with the Nirankaris and the Congress propping Sant Bhindaranwale who subsequently turned into a Frankensteinian monster.
This time, the Nirankaris seem to have been replaced with Dera Sacha Sauda, another quasi Sikh sect with liberal teachings and views a la the Nirankaris. Again this set, with its headquarters in Sirsa in Haryana is closer to traditional Hindu practice than orthodox Sikh concepts and ideology. Again there is political interference and it was well circulated in the media that the outgoing Congress government had struck a deal with the Dera Sacha Sauda hierarchy that in exchange for withdrawal of police cases against the Dera, they would issue an edict asking their followers, which is considerable in the Doab area of Punjab to vote for Congress candidates. By all accounts, the Dera delivered and in a significant reverse, the traditional Akali stronghold returned the bulk of the Congress candidates who made it to the State Assembly. But now that it is the Akalis who are in power, it seems to be pay back time for the Dera for having supported the wrong party.
How far the Akalis would be interested in giving a fair deal to the Dera Sacha Sauda is a good question. The Akali movement was born, not so much as a corollary of the Nationalist movement to free the country, but to free the Gurudwaras from the clutches of the hereditary Udasin Mahants who were generally considered corrupt and feudal in their outlook. The capture of power in the gurudwaras has been historically the main objective of the Akalis, and to exercise that power, the Akalis have at different times flirted with the idea of a separate Sikh state. In fact, although it is the Khalistan movement that people remember, it is a known fact that in British India too, there was a proposal for a time to grant a separate Sikh state as much as a Muslim State.
Sikh extremism has always been a genie trapped in a bottle, tamed by its compromises and adjustments with its Hindu neighbours, but only just about. The Sikh identity is a strong yet fragile one. The history of Sikhism is trapped in the historical reality of the Mughal rulers trying to stamp it out completely, the British trying to marginalize them politically, and the Hindus trying to dilute their identity socially and culturally – sometimes blatantly so by floating forums like The Rashtriya Sikh Sangat group, which is a branch of the main Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and also known as RS. This was formed in Punjab in 1986 claiming to promote Sikh-Hindu relations. Its main aim however is to attack and swallow the Sikh religion.
No one knows why the head of the Dera Sacha Sauda, Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh living in the socio cultural mileau that he does, chose to pose wearing an attire that is associated with Guru Gobind Singh and deliberately provoke, unless he has been struck by megalomania. His newspaper Sacch Kahoon lists out an elaborate code of conduct listed out for followers one of which is to treat elders as one would treat one’s own parents. Clearly this is an occasion when the head of the sect forgot to follow his own dictum.
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