Why Do We Need Akhand Bharat?

(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)

Whether or not we accept it, but it is a reality that world powers, like USA, try to interfere in our (India and Pakistan etc) internal matters. Very recently, a few American leaders saidthat if needed, they would not hesitate attacking targets within Pakistan even if Pakistan does not allow US to do so. Similarly, US’s view on ocean between Sri Lanka and India (Ram Setu Area) is a kind of US interference in our matters. A strong Akhand Bharat will be able to stop much kind of intrusion.

Every province in Pakistan is associated with a different racial group. Pakistan’s multilingual and multiethnic nature has never been addressed by its leaders. The ethnic conflict peaked in 1971, when Bengalis revolted and Pakistan split in half with the formation of Bangladesh. Sectarian clashes between Shias and Sunnis are common in Pakistan. A leading British journal ‘The Economist’ has described Pakistan as ‘the world’s most dangerous place’. There could be some truth in this report. Unrest among different ethnic groups in any country can turn it into a dangerous place. The present trends in Pakistan’s politics suggest that our leaders have not learned the lesson yet. As a result, we see separatist movements in Pakistan.

The case of India is not different either. Unrest in Kashmir and Assam etc are harmful to peace in the region.

We see India and Pakistan blaming each other for separatist movements in their regions. A big portion of annual budget is being spent on armed forces and weapons.

For example, the Indian defense budget for 2006-07 was to Rs 89,000 crore. On the other hand, as Admiral J G Nadkarni (retired) writes in his article Defence Budget Blues : –

The annual human development report of the United Nations invariably ranks India a lowly 136th or so amongst the 173 countries listed. Even Bangladesh has now overtaken us. Pakistan is not much better placed, securing the 132nd place. After 45 years of Independence, India has made tremendous progress in many areas of human development. Life expectancy has increased form 44 in 1960 to a respectable 60 by 1990. Infant mortality has decreased from 165/1000 in 1960 to 90/1000 30 years later. More people have access to safe drinking water and the literacy rate is climbing steadily.

Yet amidst all this good news the basic statistics make depressing reading. More than half of the population (470 million) still lives in absolute poverty. As many as 220 million Indians do not have access to safe drinking water. A staggering 750 million live without access to sanitation facilities! There are 73 million malnourished children below the age of five.

It is a fact that both the countries are in a race of getting weapons, only because of each other. Pakistan and India seem to be suspicious about each other. If a confederation of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh comes into existence, the huge amount of tax-payers� money being spent on weapons can be used for other areas.

The Akhand Bharat can definitely be a peaceful solution to problems of separatist movements in Pakistan and India. A confederation of India and Pakistan itself can be a permanent solution to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan was formed on religious grounds. When India was divided into two countries in 1947, not only land, but the British Indian Army, the Indian Civil Service and other administrative services, the railways, and the central treasury, and other assets were also divided between India and Pakistan. But they forgot to divide Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Sheikh Fareed Ji Shakkar Ganj, Sai Mian Meer Ji, Baba Bulle Shah and many more.

Guru Nanak is though Guru of Hindus, but he is a ‘Peer’ (Muslim saint) for many Muslims as well.

Nanak Shah Faqeer.
Hindu Ka Guru, Musalmaan Ka Peer.

Even Iqbal, the national poet of Pakistan, paid tribute to Guru Nanak in these words: –

Phir Uthhi Aakhir Sadaa Tauheed Kee Punjab Se.

Hind Ko Ek Mard-E-Kaamil Ne Jagaaya Khaab Se.

Nanakana Sahib of Guru Nanak is situated in present Pakistan. Sikhs in India long for Guru Nanak�s Nanakana. Muslims in Pakistan long for Ajmer Sharif and Roza Sharif in India.

From Rai Bular and Nawab Daulat Khan to Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan, there is a long list of Muslims who served Sikh Gurus with devotion.

Not only ordinary Pakistani Muslims, even top leaders in Pakistan visit Sri Harmandir Sahib, Sri Amritsar Sahib to pay their respect for Gurus. I remember Maulana Fazul-ur-Rahaman, a pro-Taliban Islamic leader from Suba Sarhad and the chief of Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam, visited the holy shrine of Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar Sahib. Even a Pakistani President sent a �Galeecha� (carpet) for Sri Darbar Sahib Amritsar out of his devotion toward Sikh Gurus.

The then Law minister of Pakistan Syed Afzal Haider, a descendant of Baba Farid, transliterated Sukhmani Sahib (a composition included in Sri Guru Granth Sahib) in five scripts, including those in Persian, Roman, Shahmukhi and Gurmukhi. Famous Pakistani Singers, for example late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Shaukat Ali etc, sang the Gurbani.

Pakistani Muslims took part in 300th anniversary of the Khalsa in 1999 in Sri Anandpur Sahib Ji in Indian Punjab.

During his visit to Pakistan, my father Bhai Avtar Singh (late) asked a Pakistani Muslim, “Why don’t you allow Sikhs to visit Sai Mian Meer�s Dargah freely?”

He smiled and replied, “You Sikhs will start claiming the Dargah as a Sikh shrine because Sai Mian Meer Ji was a very close friend of Guru Arjun Dev Ji”.

A common Sikh does not feel that Sai Mian Meer Ji and Shiekh Fareed Ji belonged to ‘another’ religion. The annual festival of Baba Sheikh Fareed Agman Purb in Faridkot is a SIKH festival. Sikhs organize even ‘Nagar Keertan’ (Sikh religious procession) there on this occasion. Both Tilla Baba Farid and Godri Sahib are Gurdwaras, and not mosques. On the other hand, Sheikh Farid’s holy place in Pakpatan (in Pakistan) is a Muslim Dargah.

Descendants of Bhai Mardana Ji chose to go to Pakistan in 1947 as they considered themselves Muslims. They still visit India and sing holy hymns of �their� beloved Gurus in Gurdwaras.

A confederation in shape of Akhand Bharat is needed for Indian Sikhs to allow unobstructed visits to, and free management of, Sri Nankaana Sahib and other Gurdwaras and places of Gurus from which they have been separated.

These words are a part of daily prayer of Indian Sikhs: –

“Hey Akaal Purkh apney Panth dey sada sahaayee daataar jeeo! Sri Nankaana Sahib te hor Gurdwareyaan Gurdhaamaan dey , jinhaan ton Panth noon vichhorheyaa gya hai , khulley darshan deedaar te sewa sambhaal daa daan Khaalsa ji noon bakhsho “.

(O Immortal being, always helpful to your Panth! Sri Nankaana Sahib and other Gurdwaras and places of the Guru from which the Panth has been separated bestow on the Khalsa the beneficence of unobstructed visit to and free management).

Historic Gurdwaras are situated in Bangladesh as well.

Such a confederation is needed for Pakistani and Bangladeshi Sikhs as well, so that they can have unobstructed visits to Gurdwaras situated in India.

Hindus and Muslims in this region will in the same way benefit, as they will be able to visit their sacred shrines within the confederation. Famous Hindu shrine Katasraj and many other shrines are now in Pakistan. Famous Muslim shrines of Ajmer Sharif, Roza Sharif and Dargah of Hazrat Nizzamuddin etc are in India.

Many Muslims were converted to Sikhism in 1947. They grew up believing in Waheguru, whilst their families across the border believed in Allah. They want very much to meet their relatives in Pakistan. In the same way, a lot of Sikhs and Hindus were converted to Islam and they too want to meet their relatives in India. Also, there are thousands of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs who were not converted but could not cross border in 1947. They too desire to meet their relatives living the other side of the border. Emotions and tears of such people need Akhand Bharat.

The confederation (Akhand Bharat) will be good for economic growth of the region. (A separate article is needed to explain economic point of view). There is potential for many advantages under such an India-Pakistan-Bangladesh confederation.

Note: – A separate section Akhand Bharat will be added on this site.