The gangsters who assassinated Moosewala come from the Singh is Kinng culture prevalent in Punjab. It is based on a violent assertion of the self. Those who adopt it are quickly brought to justice by the police as and when they break the law. But during the little time that they are able to have their run, an aura is created about them. It fascinates many young men and women. In the hothouse world of social media, for a few months in 2016-17, this culture even claimed to find inspiration from Sikhism. But its actions were far, far away from that honourable religion. Sikhism forms the core of the culture of Punjab. It teaches humility and compassion. But once that is given up, what is left is a detritus of ego and violence. It is this detritus which finds expression in these gangsters.
Every once in a while, organisations like the ISI of Pakistan reach out to them, provide them with logistical support in the hope that their activities would spark off some conflagration in India. It goes to the credit of the people of Punjab that they reject this culture of ego and violence. Even during the heyday of the Khalistan movement–Ramesh Inder Singh, a senior civil servant from Punjab–tells us in his recently published memoir, only six per cent of the people surveyed in Punjab had any sympathy for that violent movement. After terrorism had been finished in Punjab, one of its main leaders, Simranjit Singh Mann, vowed to continue with the demand for Khalistan, but within the framework of parliamentary democracy as is prevalent in India. He still professes that line of thought and people do not mind electing him to represent them in Parliament. The gangsters, though, are outside the pale of such politics. Theirs is a purely violent enterprise. That it is also criminal is something with which we have to learn to live, given the weaknesses of those who are tasked with enforcing the law in our peace-loving land.