March 25, 2020. The whole world was worried about the spread of coronavirus and busy planning on how to deal with this. Meanwhile, in a historic Gurdwara in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, a small Sikh gathering of about 200 men, women and children were peacefully singing and listening to Guru’s shabads. Little did they knew that it will be the last such gathering for many of them.
Guru Nanak visited Afghanistan around 1520 A.D. and many locals became his followers. Sikhs have been living in Afghanistan ever since and many of them were native Afghans converted to Sikhism and kept constant contact with Sikh Gurus in India. Their roots became even firmer in the ground during Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s era. Overall, the Sikh community along with the Hindu community in Afghanistan enjoyed a relatively wealthy lifestyle. Most of them were traders and living in good areas of major cities such as Kabul, Kandahar, and Jalalabad. During the 1970s, the combined Sikh and Hindu population in the country was about 250,000. Then the 1980’s Soviet-Afghan wars destroyed the country’s economy and infrastructure and many of the Sikhs and Hindus fled to India and some European countries. The 1990s were dominated first by civil war and then the rise of the Taliban. Most of the Hindus and some of the Sikhs fled to Germany and other countries during this time and only about 20,000 remained at the turn of the century.
Additional harsher economic conditions and conflicts in Afghanistan involving Taliban, al-Qaeda, and now ISIS have made living impossible for religious minorities and only about 600 people (about 100 families) of the Sikh community remain in Afghanistan now. However, this gruesome massacre on March 25th made it clear to those remaining now that they can’t call Afghanistan home anymore. The Sikh community worldwide wants to help them but we need to make a good plan to resettle them so they can thrive in their new homes. This web-site is set up to provide timely and accurate information and to connect the Sikh community with organizations who are directly working with Afghan Sikhs in their resettlement plans.
For more information click here and visit Save Afghan Sikhs website (Source: SaveAfghanSikhs.org)
Tell Congress: Resettle Afghan Sikhs and Hindus (Source: Sikh Coalition)
Blood in the Abode of Peace: The attack on Kabul’s Sikhs (Source: Afghanistan Analysts Network)
Sikh-Afghans: The Most Endangered Sikh Community (Source: SikhRI)
The Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation: https://www.themsbf.ca/
World Sikh Organization of Canada: http://www.worldsikh.org/save_afghan_sikhs