Nana ji Deshmukh article on 1984 Sikh mascare.jpg
Nana ji Deshmukh article on 1984 Sikh mascare.


abhee tak zinda hae,

hone per sharminda hae!

Human beings are still alive,

they are ashamed to be alive!

[Shahid Nadeem’s Urdu couplet on silence of civil society against communal violence. He received forty lashes for writing and singing these lines by Zia regime in Pakistan]

In more than last three decades, on every
anniversary of the 1984 massacre of Sikhs, this author has been reminding the
Nation how Indian State and judiciary did not bother to punish the perpetrators
of this horrendous mass killing of the innocents of the second largest
religious minority of our country. On every anniversary the author hoped that now
justice would be done and he would not have to write the painful story once
again as a reminder. It has not happened in last one year also; the saga of the
criminal betrayal by the Indian Republic has no end and author continues to cry
before a deaf and dumb Indian State.


After giving free run to the killer gangs
the government appointed one man Marwah Commission to find out the perpetrators
of the 1984 ‘riots’. As this exercise was proving inconvenient, it was asked to
disband itself within short period of its existence and a sitting Supreme Court
Judge Ranga Nath Mishra was asked to conduct inquiry into 1984 ‘riots’ who
submitted his report in 1987. Shockingly, this fact finding (or fact-hiding)
commission headed by Misra observed that

“riots which had a spontaneous origin
later attained a channelized method at the hands of gangsters”.

The massacre was reduced to ‘riots’ as if
Sikhs equally fought against the others. It was a brazen lie. The ‘apostle of
justice’, Mishra, champion of the theory of spontaneity was not, naturally, able
to find out from where these gangsters came! According to Jarnail Singh author
of the book I Accuse: The Anti-Sikh Violence of 1984 for this service to
the State he was awarded a berth in Rajya Sabha.

Next two decades, not less than nine
commissions of inquiry were instituted. For Indian State it became a routine to
announce constitution of some new commission or some more compensation to the
families of victims in order to deflect the mounting anger at the times of
elections. Highlighting the anti-minority bias of such commissions, H. S.
Phoolka, a renowned lawyer, commented that instead of getting convicted many of
the political perpetrators get promoted as rulers.

In the latest development Supreme Court of
India on August 16, 2017 ordered the constitution of a panel comprising two of
its former judges to examine the justification for closing 241 anti-Sikh riot
cases probed by SIT in next 3 months. It is November 2018 (15 months since the
order was passed) and these three months are yet to be over!


RSS claims to have always stood for
Hindu-Sikh unity. It occasionally expresses its gratitude to Sikhism for saving
Hinduism from the Muslim aggression. It may not be irrelevant to note here that
RSS does not treat Sikhism as independent religion, which discarded Casteism
and Brahmanical hegemony, but part of Hinduism. The RSS/BJP leaders blamed
Congress for anti-Sikh violence Modi while addressing a public rally during
last parliamentary elections at Jhansi, UP (October 25, 2013) asked Congress
leaders to explain who “killed thousands of Sikhs in 1984” and
“has anyone been convicted for the Sikh genocide so far”. Modi during
Punjab elections and 2014 general elections kept on referring to ‘qatl-e-aam’
or genocide of Sikhs.

Modi after becoming PM in a message
(October 31, 2014) said that anti-Sikh riots in the aftermath of Indira
Gandhi’s assassination were like a,

“dagger that pierced through India’s
chest…Our own people were murdered, the attack was not on a particular
community but on the entire nation.”

Hindutva icon, RSS whole-timer and PM Modi
lamented the fact that culprits were yet to be booked and tried for this
massacre. However, Modi did not tell the nation what NDA governments which
ruled this country from 1998 to 2004 did to persecute the culprits. Modi also
forgot to share the fact that as per the autobiography of LK Advani (page 430);
it was his Party which forced Indira Gandhi to go for army action infamously named
as Operation Blue Star which killed
large number of Sikh pilgrims.

Renowned journalist Manoj Mitta,
author of the book When a Tree Shook Delhi: The 1984 Carnage and Its
straight forwardly tells that

Despite the BJP rule, there has hardly been any will
to enforce accountability for the massacres that took place under the Congress.
It’s as if there is a tacit deal between the sponsors of 1984 and 2002″.

It was no over-sight that 2019
parliamentary elections 1984 massacre was totally forgotten. This is not what
outsiders or critics of the RSS have been telling. The perusal of the
contemporary RSS documents show that major focus was on condemning the Sikh
extremism, eulogizing Indira Gandhi and welcoming the crowning of Rajiv Gandhi
as new prime minister.


The most important proof of such a
dehumanized attitude towards the massacre of Sikhs is a document circulated by Nana
, a prominent whole timer and ideologue of the RSS [now deceased].
This document titled as ‘MOMENTS OF SOUL SEARCHING’ was circulated by
Deshmukh on November 8, 1984, may help in unmasking the whole lot of criminals
involved in the massacre of innocent Sikhs who had nothing to do with the
killing of Indira Gandhi. This document may also throw light on where the
cadres came from, who meticulously organized the killing of Sikhs. Nana
Deshmukh in this document is seen outlining the justification of the massacre
of the Sikh community in 1984.

This document also shows the true
degenerated and fascist attitude of the RSS towards all the minorities of
India. The RSS has been arguing that they are against Muslims and Christians
because they are the followers of foreign religions. Here we find them
justifying the butchering of Sikhs who according to their own categorization
happened to be the followers of an indigenous religion. In this document we
will hear from the horse’s mouth that the RSS like the then Congress leadership
believed that the massacre of the innocent Sikhs was unavoidable.

This document was published in the Hindi
Weekly Pratipaksh edited by George Fernandes, who later
became Defence Minister of India in the NDA regime, in its edition of November
25, 1984 titled ‘Indira Congress-RSS collusion’ with the following editorial

“The author of the following document is
known as an ideologue and policy formulator of the RSS. After the killing of
Prime Minister (Indira Gandhi) he distributed this document among prominent
politicians. It has a historical significance that is why we have decided to
publish it, violating policy of our Weekly. This document highlights the new
affinities developing between the Indira Congress and the RSS. We produce here
the Hindi translation of the document.”

Deshmukh in his document ‘MOMENTS OF
is seen outlining the justification of the massacre of the
Sikh community in 1984. His defence of the carnage can be summed up as in the

1. The massacre of Sikhs was not the handiwork of any
group or anti-social elements but the result of a genuine feeling of anger.

2. Deshmukh did not distinguish the action of the two
security personnel of Indira Gandhi, who happened to be Sikhs, from that of the
whole Sikh community. According to his document the killers of Indira Gandhi
were working under some kind of mandate of their community.

3. Sikhs themselves invited these attacks, thus advancing
the Congress theory of justifying the massacre of the Sikhs.

4. He glorified the Operation
Blue Star
and described any opposition to it as anti-national. When Sikhs
were being killed in thousands he was warning the country of Sikh extremism,
thus offering ideological defense of those killings.

5. Sikh community as a whole was responsible for violence
in Punjab.

6. Sikhs should have done nothing in self-defence but
showed patience and tolerance against the killer mobs.

7. These were Sikh intellectuals and not killer mobs
which were responsible for the massacre. They had turned Sikhs into a militant
community, cutting them off from their Hindu roots, thus inviting attacks from
the nationalist Indians. Moreover, he treated all Sikhs as part of the same
gang and described attacks on them as a reaction of the nationalist Hindus.

8. He described Indira Gandhi as the only leader who
could keep the country united and assassination of such a great leader such
killings could not be avoided.

9. Rajiv Gandhi who succeeded Mrs. Gandhi as the PM and
justified the nation-wide killings of Sikhs by saying, “When a huge tree falls
there are always tremors felt”, was lauded and blessed by Nana Deshmukh at the
end of the document.

10. Shockingly, the massacre of Sikhs was being equated
with the attacks on the RSS cadres after the killing of Gandhiji and we find
Deshmukh advising Sikhs to suffer silently. Everybody knows that the killing of
Gandhiji was inspired by the RSS and the Hindutva Ideology whereas the common
innocent Sikhs had nothing to do with the murder of Indira Gandhi.

11. There was not a single sentence in the Deshmukh
document demanding, from the then Congress Government at the Centre or the then
home minister Narsimha Rao (a Congress leader dear to the RSS who later
silently watched demolition of Babri masjid by Hindutva goons as PM of India in
1992) remedial measures for controlling the violence against the minority
community. Mind it, that Deshmukh circulated this document on November 8, 1984,
and from October 31 to this date Sikhs were left alone to face the killing
gangs. In fact November 5-10 was the period when the maximum killings of Sikhs
took place. Deshmukh was just not bothered about all this.

12. It is generally believed that the Congress cadres were
behind this genocide. This may be true but there were other forces too which
actively participated in this massacre and whose role has never been
investigated. It could be one of the reasons that actual perpetrators remain unknown.
Those who witnessed the genocide were stunned by the swiftness and military
precision of the killer/marauding gangs (later on witnessed during the Babri
mosque demolition, burning alive of Dr. Graham Steins with his two sons, 2002
pogrom of the Muslims in Gujarat and cleansing of Christians in parts of
Orissa) which went on a burning spree of the innocent Sikhs. This, surely, was
beyond the capacity of the thugs led by many Congress leaders.

13. It is shocking that Deshmukh presented
1984 massacre of Sikhs as an issue between Sikhs and Hindus. He wrote: “I
feel proud of all those Hindu neighbours who protected lives and property of
troubled Sikh brothers without caring for their lives. Such things one being
heard from all over Delhi. These things have practically increased the faith in
natural goodness of human behavior and particularly faith in Hindu nature.”
These were not only Hindus but Muslims, Jains, Buddhists, Christians, Atheists,
Communists who defended Sikhs’ lives and properties. 

Deshmukh document did not happen in
isolation. It represented the real RSS attitude towards Sikh genocide of 1984.
It may be relevant to know here that the RSS cadres did not come forward in
defence of the Sikhs. The RSS is very fond of circulating publicity material,
especially photographs of its khaki shorts-clad cadres doing social work. For
the 1984 violence they have none. In fact, Deshmukh’s article also made no
mention of the RSS cadres going to the rescue of Sikhs under siege. This shows
the real intentions of the RSS during the genocide.

The RSS English organ, Organizer in
its combined issue dated November 11 & 18, 1984 carried an editorial titled
‘Stunning Loss’ which praised Indira Gandhi in the following words: “It
will always be difficult to believe that the Indira Gandhi is no more. One had
got so used to hearing her myriad voices for so long, that everything looks so
blank without her. The violent manner of her death is the most shocking horror
story, giving the nation the creeps…It is a case of treacherous fanatics
stigmatizing the whole nation by butchering a remarkable specimen of Indian
womanhood…She literally served India to the last drop of her blood according to
her own lights.” The same editorial ended with the words supporting newly
installed PM, Rajiv Gandhi who “deserves sympathy and consideration”.

Organizer also carried statement of RSS Supremo, Bala Deoras
titled ‘Balasaheb condemns assassination, Delhi carnage’ in a single column. He
mourned and condemned the carnage but not even once referred to the fact that
Sikhs were under attack. For him it was “infighting in the Hindu
Samaj”. He also overlooked the fact that it was not only Delhi where Sikhs
were butchered/burnt but in many other parts of India. According to this
statement “swayamsevaks have been instructed to form or help in forming
Mohalla Suraksha Samitis” for restoring peace and rehabilitation of the
sufferers. However, there are no documents available in the contemporary RSS
archives to show how these Samitis functioned. It is a fact that RSS which is
fond of displaying photographs of its cadres doing social work did not publish
any visual of the activity of these Samitis.

In the same statement Deoras reacting to
the assassination of Indira Gandhi stated, “It is shocking beyond words to
express the feelings at the murder of PM Mrs. Indira Gandhi by some fanatic
elements. She had been carrying on almost the entire burden of the country
since 1966. She was loved and respected not only in this country but all over
the world. Her passing away at this critical juncture will create a void in
India and also in the world.”

According to the above mentioned Organizer
“RSS Sarkyavah, Rajender Singh issued instructions to all the branches
in the country to hold a special meeting in Shakha condemning the dastardly
murder of the PM and paying homage to the departed soul. He also issued
instructions to cancel all public functions to be held by RSS during the period
of mourning”. Of course, RSS archives do not contain any instructions from
RSS top brass ordering to mourn the Sikh martyrs.


The RSS continues to downplay 1984 Sikh
massacre will be clear by the perusal of charter of demands submitted to the
National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in last July. The
senior RSS ideologue, Dina Nath Batra on behalf of RSS-affiliated Shiksha
Sanskriti Utthan Nyas submitted five pages containing list of items to be
removed from school text-books. Batra demanded that any reference to violence
against minorities in the text-books should be removed which included
references to a simple apology tendered by the former PM Manmohan Singh over
1984 violence. It is to be noted that in an apology in Parliament on August 12,
2005, Manmohan Singh, the then PM of India stated:

“I have no hesitation in apologizing to the
Sikh community. I apologize not only to the Sikh community, but to the whole
Indian nation because what took place in 1984 is the negation of the concept of
nationhood enshrined in our Constitution.”

So the search for finding the perpetrators
of Sikh massacre of 1984 continues endlessly. The present RSS/BJP rulers who
claim to be co-religionists of Sikhs prove no different from Congress. The only
hope is that those Indians who have stakes in continuation of democratic-secular
Indian polity will come forward to force the Indian State to identify and
punish the killers. The scholars who have been involved in the study of
religious violence are unanimous in the conclusion that if 1984 massacre was
not allowed to happen, there would not have been 1992-93 (violence against
Muslims in pre/post Babri mosque demolition period), 2002 (massacre of Muslims
in Gujarat), Kandhmal 2008 (cleansing of Christians) and many other massacre of
the minorities of India. Allowing the 1984 massacre the Indian State, let it be
known to all the majoritarian fascist organizations that in such criminal
happening the former would remain silent!


As if it was not
enough injustice to the martyrs and survivors of the 1984 massacre, on the eve
of the last Republic Day (January 25, 2019) RSS/BJP rulers of India, bestowed
the highest national award BHARAT RATN (gem of India) on Nanaji Deshmukh. PM
Modi praising Deshmukh said, “He [Nana Deshmukh] personifies humility,
compassion, and service to the downtrodden. He is a Bharat Ratna in the truest

If anybody wants to
understand the exact meaning of the proverb ‘to rub salt into the wound’ this
Bharat Ratna to Deshmukh would be the fittest example!

Shamsul Islam

November 1, 2019.

Must read the full English text of the RSS ideologue Nana Deshmukh’s document, link: