By- Harnidh Kaur
You literally can’t talk about dera sachha sauda violence without discussing why deras were created in punjab and how their role and warped and changed over time. There’s no point to being ‘horrified’.
DSS has given thousands of people across north india an identity away from the historical oppression they’ve known. It’s given them safety. a huge number of its members are from backwards castes, who had converted to Sikhism, but found the same upper caste oppression there too. Sikhism is, in theory, casteless. The ground realities, however, are sobering and unfortunate. The jat-khatri coterie has taken over religious politicking, especially representation in sgpc and other gurudwara committee. They’ve systematically kept new converts out of the loop and have actively oppressed them because they represent a status quo shakeup.
This (along with other factors) has led to people being angry, helpless, disillusioned. They see no way out, no way up. They turn to drugs. Punjab and nasha have become synonymous, and this has been worsened by economic insecurity+lack of education. They’re a lost people. So when the dera sachha sauda comes up as a saviour organisation, they’re interested. Of course they are. The dera promises them dignity. they dera educates its people, feeds them, keeps them off drugs, gives them jobs, gives them a purpose. It gives them a dignity of being. A lost man doesn’t care if a rapist gives him direction. A hungry man will take food from a murderer’s hand. Never forget this.
What you see isn’t just an expression of misogyny and religious fervour. That too, yes, but it’s actively an expression of insecurity too. What you and i see as justice, a large number of people see as a possible slide down to the pits they’ve barely emerged from. What you see on the today has been simmering over a generation and a half. In our race to appear developed, we forgot that development, as understood by very rudimentary economics, is unfair, unjust, unequal, and problematic. If nothing else, this should serve as a lesson. If we try to climb up by stepping on someone else’s broken back, those people will rise.
Politicians understand this. They know a votebank when they see one, that’s why they’re politicians. they’ve been allowing these deras to flourish and mutate. Think of this as a very messed up, but immensely effective delegation system. They support the deras in their bullshit knowing the votebank will be appeased by them. this allows deras a free reign. The deras will fight each other, they will fight within themselves, and they will go to any lengths to ‘win’. The politicians allow this because it also makes deras comfortably indebted to them. Think of divine right of rule. Same principle applies.
What you have is a reckless product that feeds off people’s insecurities and replaces their drugs with a more potent one- faith&security. Religion might be an opiate, but faith? Man, that’s a trip if i ever saw one. DSS has a veritable army of people willing to kill for it. And we made this.
We allowed this with our apathy. When you look down on the protestors, remember this. We’re culpable too, massively so.