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Khalistan (India)

Last modified: 2003-06-21 by rob raeside
Keywords: khalistan | sikh | khanda | india | quoit |
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[Flag of Khalistan] by Pascal Gross, 8 July 1998

See also:

Flag of Khalistan

Khalistan is not an independent country. It is the aspirant Sikh nation in India (possibly in parts of Pakistan, too).
T. F. Mills, 8 July 1998

 Is Punjab the same as Khalistan? Is there more than one within India, or across the border with Pakistan?
Nathan Lamm, 21 February 2002

Apparently, various offers were made to the Sikh community by elements in the subcontinent and by the British government itself regarding the setting up of an autonomous Sikh state, 'comprising areas lying in the west of Panipat and east of the left bank of the Ravi river'.

If the notion of Khalistan were birthed in adherence to the conditions stated above, then Khalistan would occupy the area in between the Ravi and Yamuna rivers, possibly extending to the seashore; Jarig Bakker is right in stating that Khalistan would consist of the 'present state of Punjab and the adjoining Punjabi speaking areas'. That would place the state below Jammu and Kashmir and just to the northwest of New Delhi. Incidentally (this is pure conjecture) I think the physical boundaries of Khalistan, as demarcated in the offers, were quite heavily based on the historical borders of the Sikh States, under Maharaja Ranjit Singh
in 18th Century.
Yow Hong Chieh, 22 February 2002

[Flag of Khalistan] by Jorge Candeias 7 October 1998

The Khalistan republic (in exile) has a yellow and blue vertical flag with the black Sikh symbol in the center (the symbol is a little different from the one drawn above by Pascal Gross). This image is based on a verbal description, and it is highly possible that it is no more than a misunderstanding.
Jorge Candeias, 21 April 2003

The Khanda

The symbol which appears in the flags is called a 'khanda'. Quoting from Hew McLeod's 'Sikhism', with my comments in square brackets:
This is the modern insignia of the Khalsa, [officially the title of the religious order founded by Guru Gobind Singh at the end of C17 but generally used to refer to all Sikhs who bear the five K's] comprising a vertical two-edged sword over a quoit (chakkar) with two crossed kirpans below the quoit. During the late nineteenth century the emblem appears to have comprised a cooking-vessel, a sabre and a katar dagger, corresponding to the eighteenth-century Khalsa slogan 'deg tegh fateh' [McLeod: 'cauldron, sword, victory'].  It seems this evolved into the modern insignia early in the twentieth century, the round cooking-vessel becoming a quoit. Today the emblem is displayed on the Khalsa flag, building decorations, buttonholes, turban badges, publications, car windows and many other places.
Incidentally, a quoit is an ancient Indian weapon that takes the form of a metal ring. Usually six to nine inches in diameter with a sharpened outer edge, the quoit is twirled on the user's upright index finger and thrown towards an enemy by the collapsing action of the finger - it is said to be accurate up to a range of 100 meters. The Sikh warriors of yore were supposed to have worn a quoit on top of their turban, for easy access in times of battle. As such, some quoits have inscriptions and engravings that indicate their partly decorative nature.
Yow Hong Chieh, 21 February 2002