RIVERS ON FIRE: Khalistan Struggle
Rivers on Fire: Khalistan Struggletells the story of the militant struggle in Punjab that was triggered by the events in 1978 and took the lives of about 50000 people during the period of about a decade and a half. The spectre of its revival continues to haunt the political and security establishment in India. The job of the journalist is to tell the story on the basis of available facts. This book is the first such attempt to tell the people as to waht sparked this struggle, who were the people in the beginning and how this discource shaped up as fight for a separate Sikh state. This story of Punjab is based upon the interaction with the people who were part of that struggle. The effort has been to cross-check the information that forms the basis of the narrative. The dynamics of the involvement of pakistan has been revealed by talking to the people who had stayed there for long.
Historically, the Sikh religio-political discourse is synergy of both the peaceful and the militant struggles from the earlier days. Besides going to the roots of the present militant struggle, this book also details the peaceful struggle of which the Shiromani Gurdwaara Parbandhak Committee is the outcome. What is common in the peaceful as well as the militant religio-political discourse is the brutal state repression.
Only selective militant actions have been taken up. These were the incidents that shaped the discource at crucial moments. This book shatters several myths about the struggle and the players involved.
Jagtar Singh is a journalist and columnist with career spanning more than four decades. He has worked with Chandigarh centre ofThe Indian Expressfor about two and a half decades covering religio-political dynamics and economy of Punjab. He joined this profession after doing post-graduation in Economics from the Pubjabi University, Patiala.
The professional career of the author as a journalist and the rise of radical politics and militancy in Punjab are co-terminus. The author joined The Indian Express in Chandigarh in 1978 and was transferred to Amritsar in early 1979. That was the period when the radical political discource was getting shaped up. The author has the distinction of being the eyewitness from the very beginning of this fight for the Sikh homeland. Even after return to Chandigarh, the author covered almost every major event in Amritsar including Operaion Bluestar.