India is partitioned, with the Sikh population and holy sites being split into two. Punjab the historical province itself is also split in two as regions with Muslim majorities were given to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, despite some having sizable Sikh and Hindu populations. This would begin the diaspora of Sikhs to India and other British Commonwealth countries and reignite Sikh culture as a common identity.
Instead of being divided along linguistic lines, Punjab was expanded through the incorporation of the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU.) Territory consisted of Patiala, Jind, Nabha, Faridkot, Kapurthala, Kalsia, Malerkotla, and Nalagarh.
Punjab Reorganization Act
September 18, 1966
As both the Hindus and Sikhs demanded for separate states which were divided across linguistic lines, Indian Parliament responded on September 18th, 1966 by dissolving the former State of East Punjab through the passing of the Punjab Reorganization Act. The territory was divided into the new Hindi-speaking State of Haryana and the new primarily Punjabi-speaking State of Punjab. Himachel Pradesh and the city of Chandigarh acted as Union States to serve both Haryana and Punjab. The Punjab Reorganization Act went into effect on November 1st, 1966.
The idea of a sovereign and independent Sikh-State named Khalistan becomes popularized. This first took place among Sikh men who lived outside of India, particularly in London led by the efforts of Jagjit Singh Chohan and Davinder Singh Parmar. After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Chohan visited Pakistan and spread the notion of an independent Khalistan which disseminated through the Pakistani press. This resulted in the introduction of Khalistan to the people of India as well as the international community.
Anandpur Sahib Resolution
After losing the 1972 election by a significant margin, the Akali Dal puts forward the Anandpur Sahib Resolution in 1973. The resolution called to reduce the power of the central government in favor of more powerful State governments. It also asked for recognition of Sikhism as a separate religion from Hinduism. The resolution's influence would hold until the 1980's when Indira Gandhi viewed it as a secessionist document.
Failed attempt at suppressing the Khalistan movement, seen by many Sikhs as a purposeful desecration of their most holy site. It was planned as an attempt to flush out Sikh extremist lead by Bhindranwale. Bhindranwale was killed, along with a disputed number of Sikhs dying as well in a siege of the Golden Temple. While the central Golden Temple suffered minimal damage, many of the surrounding buildings were destroyed by tank fire, as commando efforts to take the building were rebuffed by entrenched followers of the Khalistan movement. As a result, both sides of the conflict felt that grievous loss was done to them at this battle. Sikhs in India and in immigrant communities around the world felt that the Indian government was now waging war against their religion, pushing more international support and followers for the Khalistan movement.
Assassination of Indira Gandhi
Culmination of the crackdown that began with Operation Blue Star. The daughter of Jawaharal Nehru, the next leader of India would be Indra's son Ravij Gahndi. The succession by a family member tied to the Nehru/Gandhi family will be yet another episode in the nepotism and corruption that is present in the highest levels of India's Democratic institutions. Immediately after the assassination, over 3000 Sikhs were killed in riots across India
In January 1986, radical Sikhs organized a Sarbat Khalsa, which over two hundred thousand Sikhs attended. Under secessionist militants’ initiative, the Sarbat Khalsa passed the resolution for an independent state of Khalistan, elected a Panthic Committee, and formalized the Khalistan Commando Force. The Panthic Committee made a formal unilateral declaration of independence on April 29, 1986.