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Terror and Sikhism

Purpose of violence

India has the most religious and ethnic groups in the world. As a result, the country has been characterized by conflict based on religion more than any other country. Among the religious sects in the country is Sikhism. The group has been in tension with the Hindu religion experiencing violent clashes since 1980. In some regions of India for example Punjab, Sikhism is the main religion while the minority group is subscribed to Hindu (Deol, 2001). The reason behind the tension witnessed in regions where Sikhs are the majority is mainly based on economic and political demands. They basically call for religious-related issues to be included in the law. For instance, most of the radio broadcasts that are aired in the regions with majority Sikhs are controlled by the federal government and Sikhs are not comfortable with this kind of scenario. The broadcasting stations are expected to be airing religious matters relating to the Sikh religion (Mahmood, 2009).

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Sikh’s religious justification of violence

The Sikhs are calling for independence or secession from the rest of India. They want to become a sovereign state where they would have a government that respects their religion and bases everything on the principles of Sikhism. Legislations have got to be made to respect the religion’s shrines and practices. The members of the religion are also in political demands for greater power and recognition of their own. They want to be part of the process of decision-making even though they are a minority in the entire country of India. Being sidelined by the majority is seen as a way of injustice (Dilgeer, 2011).

Apart from making political demands, the religious group of Sikh is also struggling to make economic demands to the federal government. Greater majorities are agriculturalists and are involved in farming. They, therefore, want a share of the river water to make their irrigation schemes work. Their farms require water and they have to use the river water to irrigate them. They also want to invest in the industrial sector within their region of settlement. The Punjab area is predominantly Sikh however they are sidelined when it comes to investment in the industrial sector of their region. Most of the investments are done by the Hindus. The economic demands have continued to cause tension and religious war between Hindu and Sikhs in the region of Punjab. The region is designed in such a way that their industries are completely dominated by Hindus and agriculture is dominated by Sikhs. These two aspects of society (industry and agriculture) are tied together and therefore go hand in hand. They cannot be separated. The problem is the two religious groups that control the two sectors are not in agreement since the Sikhs feel as if the Hindus have invaded their place and taken control of a very important sector.

How the Sikhs legitimize violence

Essentially, the Sikhs use religion to legitimize their violent activities. Even though religion does not permit violence except for particular situations, much of the violent activities carried out are done under the cover of religion. The sacred text of Sikhism encourages bravery and fearlessness. Religion allows for violence when the defense is necessary. The Sikhs consider themselves as defenders of their faith because in most cases where they have been involved in violence, they did not invoke the violence but were only stopping the attack on them.


Deol, H., 2001. Religion and Nationalism in India: The Case of the Punjab. 1st ed. Routledge, London.

Dilgeer, H. S., 2011. Sikh History. 4th ed. Sikh University Press, Waremme.

Mahmood, C. K., 2009. Fighting for Faith and Nation: Dialogues With Sikh Militants. 1st ed. University of Pennsylvania Press, Pennsylvania.

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