Why a Sikh Regiment in our Army is NOT such a good idea

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by seabass, Nov 20, 2007.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. It is a bad idea for the modern British Army to be seduced by the sweet talkers from a certain extremist section of the Sikh community on this issue. I apologise for not using the existing thread on this issue, but I just want to highlight the overlooked background and some of the problems. I urge all who are interested in this topic to read this post in detail, because the background is important.

    It has been stated that 700 Sikh religionists are ready to sign on the dotted line if such a unit is created. How do we know that any of these people are any good? They haven't been through the selection process or assessed in any way. It is literally 700 blokes off the street, who could have any agenda whatsoever. In fact, they do have an agenda and I know what this agenda is, but most people don't...

    So, who in the Sikh community is pushing for a Sikh Regiment? It is the Khalistani separatist amritdharis who are proposing the idea. Specifically, persons who keep '5 Ks' and who have some association with one of 2 organisations: Damdami Taksal and the Akhand Kirtani Jatha. These are people who support the idea of the secession of Punjab from India, and the creation of a new independent Sikh state, by way of political and/or violent means. This idea has no support in India itself. It thrives only in the UK and Canada. The creation of such a Regiment in the UK is perceived to be a valuable diplomatic bargaining endowment to said secessionists. The creation of said Regiment would have implications for diplomatic relations with both Pakistan (which traditionally supports Khalistan because it believes that to do so undermines its enemy India) and India (which opposes Khalistan because of territorial integrity and accuses Pakistan of sponsoring terrorist outfits in Jammu-Kashmir and Punjab until the 1990s).

    There are banned Sikh organisations which are on the UK terrorist list. Specifically, the Babbar Khalsa UK, the Babbar Khalsa International, the International Sikh Youth Federation and the Khalistan Commando Force. All of these organisations are currently based and regrouping in the UK and Canada, after having been wiped out by judicial and sometimes extra-judicial means in India itself. In 1984 a Sikh leader, Jarnail Singh Bindrawale, holed himself up in the Golden Temple, the Sikhs' holiest shrine, and refused to submit to arrest on charges of murder. He and his supporters violently resisted the Indian Army, and were eventually killed. The attack on the temple itself (not so much the killing of this man) resulted in civil unrest in the Indian state of Punjab because it was seen as sacrilege. This was followed by the assassination of PM Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, and a reaction against the Sikhs ensued. In the following years up until the mid 1990s, the Sikh insurgents were wiped out or fled to Pakistan, the UK or Canada.

    These groups were mostly responsible for attacks in India, but have also assassinated a Sikh newspaper editor in Southall who opposed their secessionist agenda, and have beaten up and killed numerous others in the UK. They have also used Canada as a base for operations in hijacking an aircraft. In the UK, they receive their funding from Sikh gurdwaras (most of which, incidentally, take funds from the National Lottery) and from criminal activities under the guise of the gang 'Shere Punjab' consisting of drug dealing, facilitating illegal immigration and extortion.

    The connections between the aforementioned banned terrorist groups and the list of Sikh organisations based in the UK lobbying for this Regiment are clear. The Akhand Kirtani Jatha is a front for Babbar Khalsa International, the banned terrorist group. The other terrorist groups have disappeared in name only - otherwise they operate under different names or no names at all. For example, the banned International Sikh Youth Federation continues to operate in the UK as the Sikh Federation, and campaigns to have ISYF removed from the banned list.

    All of the above should suffice to show that the persons offering 700 people to make up this hand-picked Regiment of theirs do not come free of any baggage. They believe that it will get them something in return. They couldn't give a hoot about the interests of Britain. They have a hidden agenda.

    Another problem with the idea of the Sikh Regiment is that they will be deployed in zones across the world where there are large numbers of Sunni Muslims. This brings me back to the events of 1984. When the Golden Temple complex was badly damaged by the Indian Army in an attempt to arrest the person of Jarnail Singh Bindrawale, not all Sikhs were in favour of Bindrawale's opposition to the Indian government. In fact, only a small minority supported secession. However, after the damage was inflicted, the majority of Sikhs felt offended, and the secessionists gained a lot of support. In the reconstruction of the Golden Temple, a very small minority of Sikhs actually supported the Indian Government's attempt to restore peace, by helping rebuild the Golden Temple. These people were the nihang Sikhs under Baba Santa Singh. By supporting Indira Gandhi's efforts, these nihangs became hated by a large part of the Sikh community, most especially by the extremist sections (i.e. secessionists based in the UK and Canada). In the past 5 years, the nihangs have sent a mission to the UK to restore their standing in the Sikh community by giving 'martial arts' training to the Sikhs. This mission initially encountered great suspicion and even hostility, but by way of vilifying the Muslims and encouraging a view of history that reflected unity in opposition to the Muslim invaders, have managed to rejoin the Sikh mainstream.

    What does the above paragraph mean for the UK Sikh Regiment? Simply that the Sikhs of recruiting age in the UK have been conditioned with a hatred of the Muslims which runs many orders of magnitude larger than that held by any other British group, including the whites such as English, Scottish, Irish, etc. To put it very simply, if you were a young Sikh in the UK in the last 5 years and had any interest in the 'Sikh martial heritage', you would have gone to the 'Institute of Sikh Martial Heritage' (a National Lottery-funded charity run by the nihangs) to learn more. Under their auspices, your sense of righteous indignation against the Muslims would have been inflamed. So, why might you want to consider joining the UK army? Perhaps to be deployed in Muslim warzones such as Iraq or Afghanistan where you can be the 'Sikh warrior' you were born to be, rather than an average Brit nobody?

    Sikh = a private matter of conscience
    Neo-Sikh = bloody dangerous security and discipline liability

    On the subject of the Sikh as 'warrior', much has been made of the Sikhs' fighting prowess in the past. Some of this is true but some of it is not. For instance, the East India Company actually recruited far more Hindu and Muslim soldiers until the mutiny of 1857. Far more than Sikhs. The Company maintained a list of warrior races of India. Contrary to the beliefs expressed on this forum and elsewhere, this list consisted of more than one entry. It included various tribes and races which the majority of Britons today have never even heard of, and yet which gave service to the Crown at least on a par with those of the Sikhs.

    Are Sikhs loyal to Britain? This is actually quite an offensive question, but since we have a kind of speakeasy on these forums then we might as well look at some of the issues. The question of loyalty came about after 1857 and not before. Before the events of 1857, the Sikhs were not regarded as more loyal than others. The Second Anglo-Sikh war was provoked by the fact that Maharaja Ranjit Singh's heir, Duleep Singh, revolted unexpectedly. The defeat of the Sikhs by the British in this war was blamed by the Sikhs themselves on the Hindu Bengali allies of the British. The Bengali Hindus, a vast number of sepoys, did in fact aid the British against the Sikhs in the 2nd Anglo-Sikh war. So, when these Hindu Bengalis joined the Mutiny against the British rule in 1857, the Sikhs sided with the British. It was their hatred of the Hindu Bengali sepoys, and their fear of a return of Muslim rule, that caused them to side with the British in 1857. Not any cute sense of love and loyalty.

    After the 2nd Anglo-Sikh war and the Mutiny, the British decided to take control of the Sikh community at all levels, because they were considered useful in a divide-and-conquer strategy against other Indian groups who might revolt. The Sikh religion was altered a lot, to emphasise the difference rather than the shared heritage between Sikhs and Hindus and Muslims. The warrior books of Sikhism (Dasam Granth and Sarbloh Granth) which were followed by the nihangs (the Khalsa Dal who defended against the British annexation of Punjab) were removed from the temples because they were full of Indic references to gods and goddesses showing the shared heritage of Sikhs and Hindus. The policy was divide-and-rule. The '5 Ks' of Sikhism actually came up during the 19th century and not in 1699, when the East India Company insisted that Sikh recruits should maintain tokens emphasising their distinctiveness from others and in fact supplied these articles to their Sikh soldiers. Before the post-1857 Sikh soldier, the Sikhs believed in 3 mudreh (signs) of a Sikh, and in 5 weapons. Never '5 Ks'. Then, in the early 20th century British supported a group that took over control of the most important Sikh shrine the Golden Temple, from the nihangs, and imposed a British-sponsored Committee called SGPC, to take charge of all Sikh affairs. True to its original mission as a British front, this SGPC revised the Sikh heritage to diminish the importance and role of those Sikh institutions that tend to show a common Indic heritage, for instance cannabis, goat slaughter, the Dasam Granth and Sarbloh Granth, traditional instruments (replaced with harmonium).

    Despite all these strenuous efforts to completely pwn the Sikh community even at the ecclesiastic level, there was always the threat of insurgency, resulting in the General Dyer incident at Jallianwala Bagh and other, minor, acts of resistance.

    What all this means is that creating a Sikh Regiment in the UK means taking on a massive burden. The young Sikhs here are in fact post-SGPC neo-Sikhs. They are, in the vast majority, people who have been influenced by the imagery of blood and war (did you know that every Sikh gurdwara in the UK has sometimes bloody portraits of 'martyrs' who died post-1984 which are revered by all Sikhs especially the very young), conditioned by their hatred of an old enemy (Muslims), and at the same time utterly convinced of their own racial superiority as the elect of God to rule the earth ('Raj Karega Khalsa') in a Nazi sort of way. If they choose to join a UK Sikh Regiment, they will regard this as a natural part of the destiny of themselves to rule all of humanity. Ridiculous as all of these beliefs may seem, they do make up the psychological composition of the young Sikh 'warrior' in modern Britain.

    What will be the effect of putting these people in charge in a warzone in Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever we have to attack next? Simply, they will not suffer from PTSD. In an unruly neighbourhood of Sunni Muslims, they will not be averse to using a level of brutality in suppression which is completely foreign to the native Tom. They will be eager to go there and prove themselves by acts of violence against Islamic religionists. This is a dangerous attitude for unit cohesion, and the co-ordination of combat operations. It is likely that wherever they go, they will make the situation worse. To get some idea about their conditioning, you should consider that the nihangs teach them that in times of Muslim war, it is OK to rape Muslim women and put a boar's tooth in their mouths.

    The creation of a new Sikh Regiment will also have implications for wider Army morale. We have the Gurkhas already, and they are reliable. However, the proven Sikh battalions and regiments that were formerly under the command of the Crown were given to India intact at Independence. Those comprise Sikhs of the soil, who are used to very hard farm work and who are ready to enter service into a familiar Regiment with a very long unbroken history and officers who know how to sustain the unit. If you create a UK Sikh Regiment from British Sikhs, there will not be these sure-footed proven Sikhs. They will be modern urbanites from the UK, some with an identity crisis and others enamoured with the more bloody aspects of 'Sikh heritage' and long to fight Muslims in the manner of the stories they have been told since early childhood about Sikh heroes of the past. As soon as they join, they will regard themselves as head and shoulders superior to the British Tom.

    If you are a British Sikh, you are entitled to join the British Army wearing a beard, long hair, turban, kirpan, kara and kach in accordance with the tenets of your faith. That should be enough concession for Sikh recruits. So, said 700 persons should just head down to their recruiting office and sign up. They don't have to cut their hair or lose any article of faith, and they will be allowed to do their prayers. This is the same basis for everyone who joins up. One law for everyone. Everyone is respected equally and nobody is more special than anyone else.

    So, these are some of the reasons why I oppose the creation of a Sikh Regiment in the UK.
  2. sounds like a unit the spams would love to hire :roll:
  3. And lets not forget being Racist.
  4. Amazing for a first post, and so wrong, whats up BNP not got anything to do today?
  5. Didn't think the post was at ll racist. It simply propsed an alternate view, are we not allowed to do that anymore?

    Seabass - I think what you are getting at is the question of loyalties and where they lie? Religion/Country/Queen/Regiment/Section etc etc.

    I firmly believe that whilst deployed on operations the overwhelming loyalty (for the majority of people) will be the Section/Troop etc.

    So how is loyalty proven - operations? An oath of allegiance? Some would argue that in a few years time the Scottish Regiments could be in the same boat.
  6. "Another problem with the idea of the Sikh Regiment is that they will be deployed in zones across the world where there are large numbers of Sunni Muslims. This brings me back to the events of 1984. When the Golden Temple complex was badly damaged by the Indian Army in an attempt to arrest the person of Jarnail Singh Bindrawale, not all Sikhs were in favour of Bindrawale's opposition to the Indian government. In fact, only a small minority supported secession. However, after the damage was inflicted, the majority of Sikhs felt offended"

    I imagine that some white british troops were "offended" whne someone turned the tube nextwork into human guacamole, does that mean that they wouldnt be able to serve in areas where there are muslims?

    Just because you write a lot, doesnt make you an Intellectual. It just means you know lots of short words.
  7. 8 minutes to bring in the RACIST card, must be some sort of record
  8. very well written opened my eyes to a few things i didnt know..makes my first thoughts on the subject correct.. i still think its a bad idea.
    the more we put units ..north ,south, london, geordie the more inter unit problems arise. it was always fun in the 70s serving with a geordie, jock a paddy, a welsh man its what built friendships and pulled us all together..
  9. I detected a subtext, feel free to view in in another light.

    Wonder why the poster did not use his usual handle?
  10. Not EXREME by any chance is is?
  11. nicely written! You clearly know more than the average bod about Sikh history both here in the UK and on the sub-continent. Made me rethink my largely Flashman-inspired (rosy) viewpoint of all things Sikh...

    edited to add: I don't feel there is any BNP undercurrent in this post, just someone pointing out that things aren't as simple as we might like
  12. You must be joking. The BNP and the Sikhs support each other.
  13. I cannot see why we should object to religious Regiments. We had the UDR for years.
  14. ...To avoid the inevitable Violent Badgering?

    Seems just the thought of a Sikh Regiment in Afghanistan is putting the wind up the Jihadi's already.
  15. chrisg46

    chrisg46 LE Book Reviewer

    There is an element of racism there, ordinaryforces. Not all Sikhs are going to be militant psycho's, in the same way most muslims are not, nor all teenagers irritiating chavs.
    I dont think anyone has proposed a regiment in which we just hand out guns to any sikh who wants one. A sikh regt would (should) be along same lines as the gurkhas, who have undertaken the same training, taken the oaths and sworn allegiances.