Khalistan Referendum 2020

Justice Markandey Katju-

A Canada based pro-Khalistani organization called ‘Sikhs For Justice’ has organised a Khalistan Referendum 2020, ostensibly for garnering support for the demand for a separate and independent Sikh state called Khalistan. I wish to express my views on this.


Justice Markandey Katju

The test of every political system or activity is one, and only one : does it raise the standard of living of the people ? Does it give them better lives ?

From this standpoint it is evident that independence cannot be an end in itself, it can only be a means to an end. If independence leads to raising the standard of living of the people and giving them better lives, its demand should be supported, but not otherwise.

In my opinion creation of a separate state for Sikhs ( called Khalistan ) will not benefit the Sikh community but will greatly harm them. It will be like Partition of 1947 and creation of Pakistan as a separate Islamic state, which has done great harm to Muslims of the subcontinent, instead of benefiting them.

Creation of theocratic states is a reactionary step, and only helps the feudal and clerical groups. It does great harm to the vast majority of people, as it throws them back into the Middle Ages. We have to move forward into the modern scientific age, not backward, but the creation of Khalistan as a homeland for Sikhs will take Sikhs, who are mostly a hard working and relatively modern community, backwards.

As it is Punjab is a small state, and it was divided in 1947 between India and Pakistan. To further sub divide it and create a separate state for Sikhs is totally unsustainable, unworkable, illogical and preposterous. To progress, modern large scale industry must be set up in the country, and this requires a large market. So instead of breaking up India we need a reunited India, i.e. India reunited with Pakistan and Bangladesh under a secular government with modern minded leaders like Mustafa Kemal of Turkey ( see ).

This alone will provide the large market for modern industry to grow.

Our subcontinent is a region of great diversity, with several religions, castes, languages, ethnic groups, etc. Sikhs, like their Hindu, Muslim, Christian and other brethren, have to live alongside people of other religions, and not separated from them. The Khalistan Referendum, to my mind, is only a wicked attempt by some vested interests to harm India, and it has nothing to do with the welfare of Sikhs. It should therefore be condemned by all, even by Sikhs.


[Justice Markandey Katju, former Judge, Supreme Court of India. The views expressed are his own]