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Can Khalistan Successfully Become A New Country?

Khalistan is a Sikh movement to have a homeland for Sikhs to support their people and culture. It was started in 1940 and earlier intensified during the 1990s. The Indian government’s promises to them were not kept, which was their main concern. It led to the deaths of a lot of people, including the former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who was assassinated by a supporter of Khalistan because of the Operation Blue Star mission. This movement was instigated and supported by Pakistan for years.

Until British rule, Hinduism and Sikhism weren’t differentiated, and people considered Sikh gurus as great Hindu leaders. Sikhs had identified with Hindu culture and causes. They were considered a Hindu faction by the Mughals and Afghan invaders. A Sikh-majority country, as proposed by Khalistanis, has never existed in the history of India or Punjab. The parts of Punjab that came to India only did so because Hindus and Sikhs were counted together. Pre-partition Punjab did not have a majority Sikh population.

Khalistanis want Indian Punjab, which on a large scale includes Pakistani Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Lahore as its capital. The possibility of this movement being successful is very slim. But if it happens, it would lead to a partition just like the one that happened in 1947. Many people might be sacrificed for some people’s greed. An Indian Army report from 2022 reports 8% of its soldiers are Sikhs. If they leave, it would put India in a dangerous position and make it susceptible to attacks. Khalistanis will probably want all the people of other religions in the proposed states to leave their ancestral homes, work, and everything else for the other Indian states, which are already overpopulated in terms of India.

The newly formed country had to bring in Sikhs from abroad to increase its population and power. They have to heavily rely on India or Pakistan for their needs. And Pakistan’s economy is facing a severe crisis, so India would be their ideal choice. If it is not managed well, it will put itself in an excess debt position. That could increase militants, looting, and drug cases.

Protests like this could have been avoided if the pro-Khalistan Sikhs had understood that staying with India was their best option, and for 10 years, India had a Prime Minister who was Sikh. And the Indian government should try its best to understand the sentiments of the Sikh people, fulfil the rational promises that were made to them during independence, and work for the betterment of the state of Punjab.


 Edited by Fahima Afrin



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