What do you think of the Sikhs who form the backbone of the Indian Army?

Well no doubt, Sikhs are one of the best fighters in the world. They form only 2% of the Indian population. At one time, 25% of soldiers and 33% of officers in the Indian Army were Sikhs. They have won major battles for India. It was under their command India defeated Pakistan in the 1965 and 1971 wars. Even today, Indian Army's chief is a Sikh (2006) and under him 15% of soldiers and 20% of officers are Sikhs. Indian Army relies heavily on this dangerous community when it comes to war. No commander in the world has ever made a decision to replace his soldiers if they were Sikhs. (Answer edited Aug 15th 2008).

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On the other hand......

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was killed by her own body-guards who were Sikhs, and the Indian state of Punjab is a hot-bed of Sikh nationalism, where the country side is not safe for government troops of any kind. The Sikhs have taken their revolution to many countries outside of India in an attempt to get independence for a country of their own.----this all the media. you hear sant bhindranwale, Sikh bodyguards killing indira, everyone assumes they are all extremists, militants, as far as terrorists. you want to know the facts-watch the youtube "1984 documentry on Sikhs part one".it is in English and it will explain everything. the Indian parliament run by Hindu nationalists, indira gandhi, they are the real terrorist.

The 1984 Air-India bombing, which killed 384 people was mainly due to Canadians of Indian ancestry was an act of Sikh terrorism. (edited language)

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Terrorists are COWARDS, and the bombing of the Air-India plane was an act of cowardice, carried out by Sikhs terrorists here in Canada. They are trying to bring about KAHALISTAN, an independent state for Sikhs only. The Indian Government is quite right to reject such a thing. (edited language Aug 15th, 2008)

As far as rating the Sikhs as soldiers is concerned, they are the best and no worse than any other. Of course, they can't be used for some tasks as their religious requirements would be compromised, such as parachuting or scuba diving. (edited Aug 15th 2008).

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Well, I agree with you. There was terrorism in Punjab but now it is all over. Struggle for freedom exists only among those who are patroitic and are brave.

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For Jim Bunting: Have you ever been to Punjab countryside? Or are you just basing these opinions on online readings? The truth is even though there is insurgency in the bordering state of Kashmir, the neighboring states like Punjab, Himachal have no internal problems at all. Prove me wrong with some facts that show government troops are not safe in Punjab. Punjab has military bases all over and if you didn't know Indian Army is de-segregated, which means you will have South Indians serving in Punjab and Punjabis in east India.

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Sikhs formed 67% of INA Army in Second World War. Population then was just 1% in the entire country. (edited July 28th language).

Maj. General M. Khan of Pakistan wrote in his book 'Crisis of Leadership' about the bravery of the Sikh soldiers during the Indo-Pak war.

Here are some excerpts from the book:

"the main reason of our defeat was Sikhs fighting facing us. We were helpless to do anything in front of them. Sikhs are very brave and they have a great craving for martyrdom. They fight so fiercely that they are capable of defeating an army many times bigger than theirs."

Tell who can be in such commanding positions with being such a minority status.

Reply with facts..

And Punjab Terrorism... who said Sikhs were wrong... check what INDIRA GANDHI was doing in Punjab.......

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Sikhs bravery is virtually unparalleled and cannot be duplicated. Existence of this community (approximately) since October 7th, 1708 (ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikhism) is mired wiith sacrifices which will literally curl your blood. Equating the existience of this brave and "proud" community with terrorism hardly does any justice. No community is insulated from injustice. When it comes down to sacrifice, this community has shown its capacity to surpass any other community. The incident about Indira Gandhi, whom I admired a lot represents an unfortunate part of India's own existence and identity. Sikhs though proud rarely have Id and ego restricting their pursuit for happiness. Sikhs represent the fifth largest organized religion. It is the only religion where a woman and women can particpate equally in community activties. And without doubt, Sikh woman has made as much sacrifices as Sikh man.

So when you ask a question, why this community has chosen a path of self-determination and sacrifice in a short time of 400 years? It is not in the blood they share but more so in the belief that truth alone will lead to salvation in godly sense. These saint-warriors still do proud in whichever community they serve.

From Battle of Saragrihi on September 12, 1897, fought by 21 soldiers against 10,000 maruding enemy (Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Saragarhi) and as recent to Battle of Longewala (ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Longewala) December 5th, 1971, shows that this community's determination has hardly been dented. This fierce and brave community even today sends shivers on anyone who dares to challenge as an army. There are many excerpts I can reference which show this community's valiant existence. There is no better, and I mean literally better honor to be credited by an ex-enemy about its fighting prowess. With 317 awards, Sikh Light Infantry is THE highly decorated regiment in the Indian Army. Today, Pakistan a religious state has recruited and included its first Sikh officer in its army. This honor is much appreciated.

Yet this brave community has fumbled to hate and discrimination. Many are killed by senseless murders as it happened in the U.S. after 9/11. In many instances, Sikhs were discriminated at airports, court-houses, and schools for no practical reason in a country which once prided itself as the cradle of political freedom. Modern Sikhs have taken this in their stride but seldom revolted as depicted in early notes. As recent as March 21, 2000, an entire village of Sikh men were killed without any motive(s). Many swallowed this pain as part of their existence. This event has only helped build the fortitude and courage of a Sikh man.

With 20-30% of Indian Army soldiers Sikhs and approximately 30% officers, (I have no facts to corrobrate but seems about right from reading several memos) it is a fearsome fighting force in the world. With 600,000 (30% of second largest army) well-trained and equipped fighting force, you better run for cover when it lands. This community does not know the word DEFEAT, and if history is any indication, Sikhs by themselves represent the fourth (fifth) largest army in the world, inspite the fact Indian Army has severly restricted recruitment of Sikh soldiers in the name of quota. Many Sikhs still defend as keshdhari, so the idea of parachute or Scuba shows poor judgment in appreciation. You are absolutely right, when this force is ready, even UNESCO considers this maruding army a better match for Spartans who were depicted in Spartan's fictional accounts. For UNESCO to honor Battle of Saragirhi reflects the true value of Sikhs as an army. Yet this force is so humble that during liberation of BanglaDesh, many Sikh soldiers gave their cover in form of clothes to protect the decency of Bangladeshi woman. No woman who has witnessed this will ever let go this fact from her eyes and mind for centuries to come.

That's not it. Sikhs are the bread-basket to the entire country of India and neighboring states. Punjab, the state in which Sikhs enjoy a majority provides 14% of cotton, 20% of wheat, and 20% of rice. In terms of world distribution, it represents 2% of cotton, 2% of wheat, and 2% of rice (ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punjab_%28India%29). For a community of 23 million which does not even represent .001 of world population, this feat is nothing but impossible for anyone else to duplicate. Punjab has the best and I mean best infrastructure of roads and transport.

Yes, this community's reprsentation in army is rated AAA+, 5 star, Top-Notch based on any metrics you can provide. Why? Is it behavioral science, image, or culture. I as a doctoral student have no answers. I could go no stop, but you do get the idea.

Why is a Sikh so revered by Hindus and many Americans be victims of senseless killing. Prejudice in form of ignorance has no parallels too. Facts as statistical data is true, but as a qualitative assessment its as absolute as it can get. Every community has good, bads and not so goods, but overall, Sikhs as soldiers are the very best and this is a real fact.

I hope U.S. which is currently going through its own identity crisis, takes into account the value of this community. U.S. as a driver of world economy needs to represent this community at its earliest.

(Pls. do not delete other responses. Let everyone has a chance to share their thoughts.)

Sikhs are learners and Sikhi is a way of life.