«AUTHOR’S INTRODUCTION O thou that buttest the high mountain, seeking to dislodge it with thy horns, take pity, not on the mountain but on thy head ...»
Guru Nanak asked his successor to settle at Khadur, the heart of Majha. How did Guru Nanak and his successor Guru Angad escape the pernicious influence of Jat-culture whose uncivlized postures and barbarism Hew McLeod so vehemently highlights. Guru Nanak lived, moved, preached and built his Apostolic centres mainly in this Majha region. Why did not the Jats enforce on Guru Nanak and Guru Angad the basic tribal features of Jat-culture ?
According to Hew McLeod, uncut hair and carrying the sword was a Jat custom and was observed by Hindu Muslim and Sikh Jats. Why then, is not Bhai Bala companion of Guru Nanak ever shown carrying a sword? Bhai Buddha had tremendous influence on Majha Jats. Why is he not shown carrying the sword?
Hew McLeod goes to the extent of saying emphatically that “the Five K’s reflect the complex of Jat cultural pattern.” He gives as evidence Guru Gobind Singh calling God “All-Steel” “Sarb Loh.” How ridiculous and far-fetched is this suggestion can be judged from the testimony of Guru Gobind Singh.
217 In his Bachiter Natak, Akal Ustat and a few other com-positions Guru Gobind Singh mentions all the prominent races of India, China and Europe as well as the Middle East.
But he does not mention the word “Jat” even once, because the Jat tribe had not acquired any prominence.
Guru Gobind Singh gave many new Attributive Names to God: Sri Tegh, Sri Asi (Glorious Sowrd), Asidwajh (He whose Banner is the Sword”, Sarb-Loh (All-Steel). These concepts are neither found in Jat-culture, nor in Hindu or Muslim culture.
Degh O Tegh O Fateh nusrat be-dirang yaft az Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh Guru Gobind Singh received from Guru Nanak The Sword, the Bowl and Victory Unfailing.
Guru Gobind Singh, Trans. Sir Muhammed Iqbal Edmund Candler has rightly said: “When Guru Gobind inaugurated the sacrament of steel he proved himself a wise and far-sighted leader. For, of all material thing which genius has inspired with spiritual significance steel is the truest and most uncompromising. Let humanitarians prate as they will, there never has been a race who have not been purged and refined by it. In some it is the only combater of grossness and the monster of self. To the Khalsa it gave a cause and welded them into a nation; and in the dark days of Muhammadan rule in the middle of the eighteenth century, when the Sikh was slain at night and no quarter was given, it drove them on those gallant crusades in which they rode to Amritsar in the dead of night, leapt into the sacred tank and out again, and galloped back through the enemies’ lines purified. Hundreds were slain, but not one abjured his faith or perjured his soul to preserve “his muddy vesture of decay.”16 This is the opinion of a scholar who was contemporary of Dr Ernest Trumpp, but unlike Trumpp made anunbiased indepth study of Sikhism and the military achievements of the Sikhs.
218 Ignoring all historical records based on contempo-rary evidence Hew McLeod arrogantly suggests that all this evidence of authentic Sikh documents should be wiped clean from the slate on which the irrefutable truth of Sikh history is prescribed.
All his distorted conjectural and perverted theories that have come as a demonic brain-wave to destroy the foundations of Sikhism must be inscribed. He always emphasizes on “must be rejected” and “must be accepted or inscribed”. No historian worth the name should fail to note that Mata Sahib Devi who ac-tively participated in the ordaining of the Khalsa lived for four decades after the incident. The Panj Pyaras, the Five who were first declared the Panj Pyaras, the Beloved Five Elect lived for at least two to three decades. The first twenty five to take Amrit included Bhai Mani Singh who lived upto 1734 A.D. All the original Rehitnamas were writ-ten on the basis of first hand experiences of these Apos-tles.
In order to explain the ordaining of Khalsa on Baisakhi he turns to the late eighteenth century. In order to understand Cromwell’s life and work he will ask the British historians to study the history of First World War. In order to understand Queen Elizebeth’s reign one must turn to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. This is Hew McLeod’s brand of scientific historiography which he is addressing to those scholars who are mature in western historiogra-phy: All historiography - western or eastern demands hon-esty, sincerity and love for truth in analysing and giving exposition of religions other than one’s own. No sensible and mentally as well as morally balanced intellectual, scholar or historian can ever give credence to such conjectural nonsense as constructed and presented by Hew McLeod in his books, unless, he has like him, avowed hostile attitude and malevolent intentions.
Hew McLeod presents the Jats as a highly and power-ful caste during the life-time of Guru Hargobind, but the author of Dabistan who met Guru Hargobind and Guru Hari Rai describes the Jats as “the lowest caste of Vaishyas”.
219 Waris Shah in the middle of eighteenth century describes the Jats as “low caste people, attractive physically but untrustWorthy morally.”17
SIKH TEMPLES, LANGAR AND RELIGIOUS FUNCTIONS CASTELESSUnlike Hindu temples, Sikh temples are casteless, raceless. Persons of every nation, every country, every religion can enter the Sikh temple and participate in the services. Without the slightest suspicion or objection they will be treated with as much respect as is given to the devout and orthodox. No special place is alloted to any dignitary or wealthy man, or even holyman.
Priests appointed for services in the Golden Temple sanctum sanctorium and other historical shrines are from all castes, and very rarely from Brahmin castes. The open kitchen attached to all Sikh temples are casteless and classless. One can see a poor coolie or rickshaw puller proudly sitting side by side with a minister and the wealthy person. Upto 1947 seven of the fiteen Kirtan singers in the Golden temple were Sahajdharis and Muslim bards having low status in Muslim society. On the question of mar-riages Sikh religion left the choice to the families. No laws were made to stress that one must or must not marry in a caste outside ones own. How many Christian mission-aries have married Black women just to show that Christianity prohibits colour prejudices. According to his own logic Hew McLeod should have married a Black lady. The Church has to leave these sensitive issues to individual choices. In Punjab a goldsmith’s daughter could not work with a farmer in the fields. AJat’s daughter could not sit in the house of a shopkeeper and serve in his household as he desired. For professional and other reasons the marriages were mostly within the same district and within known families of one’s professional or class. But in reli-gious functions, assemblies and temples there was no caste or class prejudice.
“Sikhism inspired all low caste people to rise to the highest social, cultural and political consciousness. In the 220 first battle of Guru Hargobind, many Muslims and Sikhs who were earlier Jats, carpenters, scavengers died fighting heroically.
But the names of those two who fought very bravely and laid down their lives are Bhai Ballu, grandfather of Bhai Mani Singh and Bhatta Kirat whose hymn are included in Guru Granth.
In the first few battles described by Guru Gobind Singh in his autobiograppy, we find the names of many heroes. There are Brahmin, Kshatriya, Muslim and other warriors of many social status (castes and tribes), but very few Jats are mentioned.
Bhai Gurdas has given the names of the prominent Sikhs of Guru Atjun and Guru Hargobind whose family indentifications are given. Hardly five percent are Jats. The suggestion that Jats dominated in the armies of the Sikh Gurus has no historical basis. It is a figment of Hew McLeod’s wild imag-ination.
During the Guru-period the battles were fought in a wellorganized manner. Diplomatic efforts for peace were never given up, because Aurangzeb’s son and prospective heir, Bahadur Shah was a friend. But Banda Bahadur ush-ered an era of total revolt and total revolution in which every person living in the rural area was involved. ‘The Creation of the Khalsa”, Says Dr Hari Ram Gupta the doyen of Sikh history, “was an epoch-making event in the religious and political history of the country. It marked the beginning of the use of a new people, destined to play the role of the high caste people over their brethren; the shudras were set at naught as soon one formed the ranks, of the Khalsa, where all were equal and rendered one another every help and useful service. Their only difficulty lay in destroying the organized oppression of the tyrannical despotism of the Mughal Government. Under the direction of the Guru, the Khalsa took up the profession of arms and the results were most surprising. The people lowliest of the low, who had lived for centuries under complete servility now turned into doughty warriors, the praises of whose physique and valour were sung by the whole world including the bitterest foes.”18 221 But Banda saw the Mughal Empire collapsing. As Professor Sri Ram Sharma puts it. “No wonder, therefore, that, “when the breath left the body of Bahadur Shah, no member of the house of Timur remained in India,” who was fit to take the helm of the ship of state, which soon drifted on the rocks.” The degraded wretches “that polluted the throne of Akbar deserve only a passing notice; the rest of our history is filled with the tragedy of the disruption of the splendid edifice reared and fostered by the great Mughals. The faineant Emperors appear only like ghouls in the thickening gloom of the night. The real makers of the history of the future, except in a negative sense, are no longer descendants of Babur, but their ri-vals and enemies.”19 The Spirit of the Khalsa worked a miracle. A people who, numerically were less than half a million, woke up from the sleep of centuries of submission to the mighty and powerful.
The phenomenon is aptly described by a contemporary Mughal Chrnoicler: “In his zeal for the emanicipation of the persecuted and down-trodden, he (Banda) earned the blessings of the poor and the desti-tute whose cries had not been heard by anyone for cen-turies past. He raised the lowliest of the low to the highest position under his government. The untouchables and the unapproachables, the so-called sweepers and pariahs, were raised to the position of rulers.” A low scavenger or leather-dresser, the lowliest of the low in Indian estima-tion had only to leave home and join Banda, when in a short time he would return to his birth place as its ruler with his order of appointment in his hands. The well- born and wealthy went out to greet him and escort him. Arrived there, they stood before him with joined hands, awaiting his orders. Not a soul dared to disobey an order, and men, who had often risked themselves in battlefields, became so cowed down that they were afraid even to re-monstrate.”20 Let it be noted that Banda was not a Jat.
Hew McLeod asserts that Hargobindpur and Kartarpur regions were overwhelmingly Jat areas, but throughout 222 the eighteenth century they were strong-holds of Jassa Singh Ramgarhia and Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. The Jat Sikhs did not hobnob with Muslim or Hindu Jats, but worked shoulder to shouler with Sikhs of other low caste origin like Tarkhans, Kalals, and among the heroes who per-formed memorable feats were pariahs of the lowest status, who were not only given equality in society but equal opprotunity to attain the highest position as leaders.
2. The learned historian Dr Fauja Singh wrote an article in Guru Nanak Dev University’s ‘Journal of Sikh Studies’ Vol. I, No. 1, Feb. 1974 entitled “Execution of Guru Tegh Bahadur”, based mainly on Siyarul-Muta’khirin, suggesting that the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur had nothing to do with the cause of the Brahmins, but was according to Mughallaws for raising armed struggle against the Mughals. My attention was drawn to it by Dr A.C. Banerjee. As Editor Prof Pritam Singh allowed only five pages, I sent a small Rejoinder-article which was not published as article but as letter to the Editor. But strong comments from the scholars published in other magazines set off a hot debate which lasted for two years when I was away in U.K. and U.S.A. The majority of the scholars supported by historically correct stand in my biography: Guru Tegh Bahadur : ProPhet and Martyr.
Sardar Kapur Singh’s article “Who Killed Guru Tegh Bahadur” and his subsequent lecture in Punjabi University in the presence of Dr Ganda Singh, Dr Fauja Singh and others, almost silenced the odd theories refuting many authentic documents. Recently a self-styled historian, Mr Sher Singh, LA.S., whose tendency is to go out of the way to please the Establishment and distort well established facts has criticized Sardar Kapur Singh’s article “Who Killed Guru Tegh Bahadur, on martyrdom issue in a Muslim paper, in which he projects Aurangzeb as a saint par-excellence and justifies the martyrdom as a just execution. He ignores the evidence of Guru Gobind Singh about his father’s martyrdom, and in order to show off his knowledge of Persian documents he gives utterly misleading 223 and untenable comments on these documents in his article in Sikh Review, Calcutta Feb. 1991. Mr. Sher Singh quotes a verse from Bhai Nand Lall’s Ganjnama and says, he does not mention the martyrdom of the Guru. This and other works of Bhai Nand Lall do not mention a single historical fact about the Gurus. Mr.