B. Akhtar Hussain Sandhu, Historian of Pakistani Punjab
Akhtar Hussain Sandhu (21) of Royal Holloway, University of London, in his paper "Sikh Failure on the Partition of Punjab in 1947" published in International Journal of Punjab Studies (September, 2012) has presented an incisive survey of the Sikh failure. The main points of this study are summed up as follows:
1. Sikh leaders lacked political vision, therefore the Akalis were simultaneously anti-government, anti-Muslim League, anti-Congress, anti-Unionist, antiBritish, anti-Khalsa National Party and anti-Communist and other Sikhs who were not their allies.
2. The Sikh leadership sometimes would adopt aggressive approach but lost the fervour when ever some British agents approached them. Major Short and Sir Penderel Moon's activities prove this contention.
3. Sincerity of purpose was badly missing in the political creed of the Akalis, While dealing with the Congress, the Sikh leadership many times demonstrated compromising behaviour on political issues.
4. The Sikh leaders tried to purport themselves as nationalists which aggravated their confusion because their agenda in essence was communal. They were not clear what to do with the provincial and national politics. Nationalism did not suit the Sikhs and their political demands. Their struggle was purely of a communal nature while they kept on posing as nationalists.
5. Sikhism attracted the main bulk of the followers from Hinduism. The impact of this link remained intact and affected the political idealism of the Sikhs. The Congress repeatedly betrayed them on many issues but the Sikh leadership never thought to get rid of the undue influence of the Hindus.
6. The Congress gave word in the Ravi Pledge of 1929 during its annual Session held at Lahore that no constitutional package would be conceded by the Congress until the Sikhs approved it but practically they never honoured this pledge.
7. At every crucial moment, the Congress ignored the Sikhs but the Akali leadership did not dare to adopt an independent direction in their politics. The acceptance of the Congress' influence proved pernicious for the Sikh future.
8. They supported and secured support of the Hindu Mahasabha in the Punjab in the name of enmity with the Muslims.
9. Although Master Tara Singh repudiated the incident of brandishing kirpan on the stairs of the Punjab Assembly in a talk with Dr. Bhai Harbans Lal but he admits that his own lieutenants had misquoted it just to highlight the Akali courage and unremitting enthusiasm against the Pakistan scheme.
10. The Akali policy to sideline and humiliate the Sikh aristocracy, Communists, Mazhabi Sikhs, Congress-supporting Sikhs, and other groups proved detrimental in the long run.
11. Akali Dal itself could not avoid factionalism within the party. It was divided into Giani Kartar Singh and the Nagoke groups and the top Akali leadership had to back a specific group in the Gurdwara elections.
12. The dual membership of many Sikhs was another problem as many were enjoying affiliation with more than one party. A Sikh was a Congressite and the Akali member at the same time or a Communist and Congressite.
13.The political culture popularized by the Akalis convinced them that the sagacious policy for them was to support the Congress. Akalis won 23 seats, yielding 10 to Congress in the 1946 provincial elections in Punjab.
14. The Akalis brainwashed the Sikh masses through speeches and statements that the Muslims were their enemies and the Hindus were their friends.
15. Master Tara Singh undertook the anti-British stance while the Sikh community needed an opposite policy. He took the British advice and showed strong reliance on them but acted differently. The decisions and erratic postures at this critical moment meant a narrow role and a disaster for the Sikhs. Gurmit Singh  writes that Master Tara Singh lured by the false promises of the Congress leaders gave a wrong lead to the Sikh Community'.
16. Master Tara Singh remained unchallenged as the sole leader of the Sikhs during the period 1923 to 1947. The Sikh masses rendered their wholehearted support to him but at the most sensitive time he went into the background and left the Sikh panth at the mercy of Sardar Baldev Singh and Sardar Swaran Singh. One of the main causes of Master Tara Singh's aloofness was the severe opposition from within the Akali circles which convinced him to remain in the background
for the time being as a deliberate tactic.
17.He (Master Tara Singh) was headmaster of a high school who lacked the vision of a national or provincial political leadership.
18. The Sikh demographic pattern was such a critical disadvantage which could not be adequately addressed by the Sikh leaders. They did not form a majority of the population in any district of the Punjab. When the Sikhs tried to take an independent course like the Azad Punjab scheme or Sikhistan, the Hindus opposed them and forced them to reverse their stand on the schemes pledged with their community.
19. In March 1946, Surjit Singh Majithia opposed the separate electorates and Sikh state on the ground that by accepting the principle of Pakistan, the Sikhs would weaken their position and the task of the League would become easier while the Sikh state would even then be a doubtful phenomenon.
20.Sikhs issued every statement that could undermine the Muslim cause whether it helped their own cause or not. The Sikhs had rejected the Cabinet Mission proposals but even then they were pursuing a change in the plan which testifies to their weak performance in the political contest. Therefore, the Akalis' pro-Congress politics as a one item agenda throttled the possibility of their being workable alternatives for the Sikh future.
21.Sikhs trusted Jenkins, the Governor of Punjab, a lot but he gave them nothing. By using his friendly relations with the Sikhs, he obtained information from them regarding their plans and dispatched it to the Viceroy. Sikhs shared information, desire and even their secret plans with Jenkins.
22. Creation of a Sikh state or joining Pakistan or India were the main options available to the Sikhs but as freedom was coming closer the Sikhs started restricting their options. Their leaders were not talking to the Muslim leaders and were least interested in taking advantage of their bargaining position. They were pleasing the Hindu leadership by posing themselves as the champions of united India and protectors of the Hindus. They relied on the Congress which had betrayed them on every important political turn in their history. The Congress and the Hindu press gave a cold shoulder to the
Sikhs but still they did not take the independent course in politics.
23. The third option was Khalistan or Sikhistan which had no concrete foundation due to the scattered population of the Sikhs and dissent within the community, the attitude of the Congress and the League which were the main stakeholders.
24. The Sikh leadership also became victim of their traditional weakness in political parleys. Moreover, they had to deal with the competent leadership like M. A. Jinnah, M. K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru which put them in a defensive position.
25. Attaining Khalistan was the best option; joining Pakistan would have been the second best option while joining India was never a good option for them but they went for it in 1947 without paying attention to the British advice and the concessions offered by the League leadership
26.Sikh leadership, in the run up to partition, could not gauge the depth of the political issues confronting their community. They joined hands with the Congress and favoured united India in which they were only one per cent of the population. The main reasons behind this decision was their religious and cultural affinity to Hinduism, weak leadership, disunity, Mughal atrocities during the early centuries of the rise of Sikh tradition, and the Muslim onslaught in the late 1940s.
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