Khalistan means the land of fully initiated Sikhs. Khalsa means 'to be pure' or 'to be clear' or 'to be free from' or 'to be liberated. Ninety-one percent of the world's 27 million-plus Sikhs live in India. Seventy-seven percent live in Punjab, followed by thirteen percent in Chandigarh, six percent in Haryana, five percent in Rajasthan, three percent in Delhi, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh, and two percent in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Sikhs comprise two percent of India's population, but their literacy rate is over 77, and their representation in the Indian army is 26percent.
A substantial number of Sikhs seek to create a homeland for their community, Khalistan. The proposed sovereign state would comprise Punjab and parts of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and several Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh districts.
With India marching towards a militant and violent Hindu Rashtra, the demand for Khalistan is gaining momentum. Under a Hindu nationalist government, India would have to face a vibrant Sikh movement with support from Europe, North America, and Australia for a separate homeland for Khalsas.
Regardless of the relevance and feasibility of the demand, if any religious community deserves a separate state, it is the Sikh community. The 26 million community has outpaced all other religious groups in its concern for humanitarian issues. During the last few decades, there has not been a single humanitarian crisis that the Sikh community did not respond to with its resources.
Christians generally expect the beneficiaries of their social work to convert to their faith. Jews are primarily concerned about Jewish life. Hindus are interested in the welfare of their upper castes. Liberals come to the aid of only those who believe in their ideals. Only the Sikh community has shown during the last few decades that it can rise above its interests and serve humanity as a whole.
Recently, the Sikh community has proven that their service to humanity is selfless and without any expectation. Its 24-hour food service through places of worship for strangers is unmatched. It feeds more people in the world than most NGOs with huge budgets. Its free food services to the participants of the world parliament of religions is a testimony of its dedication to a plural world.
Imagine how much good this community would bring to the world if it had its own country. The community knows how to utilize its resources for the betterment of life, and through its own country, it can offer a new approach to strengthen the ideals of the unity of humanity.
While other religious communities have failed to live their ideals, the Sikh community has shown its commitment in actions to its core values. They include love for all, selfless service, humility, compassion, equality, and justice.
During the last 100 years, no religious community acted in defense of human dignity, despite tall claims. Muslims, with 56 majority countries, could not live their commitment to justice while ranting about Medina or the Islamic state. Christianity failed to distance itself from racism and white supremacy, and Judaism refused to see the humanity of Palestinians regardless of their faiths. Through their organizations like VHP, RSS, and BJP India, Hindus promoted a worldview built on hatred and violence.
The world awaits the emergence of a religious community that views humanity as one and proves through its action that its commitment to service is selfless. During the recurring crisis the world has faced in the last few decades, the Sikh community has demonstrated its ability to take the lead and put its money where its mouth is.
The world needs to support Khalistan. If a Jewish state was possible to rehabilitate the persecuted followers of Moses in Palestine in 1947, a Sikh national state could also become a reality for a better world. As a Muslim, I feel compelled to support Khalistan because my religious scripture reminds me to stand for good wherever I find it. At present, the Sikh community has proven that it symbolizes good among all other religious groups as far as social morality is concerned.