«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 ...»
Sher Singh is only misleading those readers who have not read Bhai Nand Lall’s Ganjnama and other works. Sujan Rai Bhandhari in his Khulasatut Tawarikh gives lengthy chapters on jahangir, Shah jahan, and Aurangzeb, but in the end sums up a few incidents of Sikh history. He begins his work with Bismilla and tries to be orthodox Muslim in his approach to an extent that Eliot doubted a Hindu could write this. He gives martyrdom as murder and through this state-ment Sher Singh wishes to prove that Aurangzeb is a saint. Accord-ing to him the Guru was imprisoned and murdered by his court-iers and Aurangzeb was ignorant about it. He gives a news report about Guru Tegh Bahadur’s travel to Assam but asserts that as there is no mention of Tilak and janju, Guru Gobind Singh’s statement about the cause of his father’s martyrdom is wrong. This self-styled historian does not know that these news reports were sent about sporadic incidents from distant regions. They do not contain any information either about the martyrdom of Sarmad or of Guru Tegh Bahadur. Bakht Mal gives many aspects of Guru Tegh Bahadur’s martyrodm, but his original manuscript was lost. This is a brief summary. He precludes that Aurangzeb was in Delhi. So do a number of other Persian documents.
Mr Sher Singh gives quite misleading information about Koer Singh who refers to Bachiter Natak in a number of passages. He thinks without assigning reason that he must have forgotten what Bhai Mani Singh told him about the Gurus when he stood guard as a Mughal sentry on the imprisoned saint. He is also wrong when he says that Bhai Mani Singh does not say anything about the Guru’s martyrdom. Bhai Mani Singh’s elder brother suffered martyrdom with Guru Tegh Bahadur and he gives correct histori-cal facts in his appended stories to Sikhan-di-Bhaktmala, the old-est manuscript of which dated two years after his death is available. In it Bhai Mani Singh clearly supports the Bachiter Natak version of Guru Gobind Singh.
Mr Sher Singh quotes a few lines from Haqiqat-i-Binawa Uruji-Firqa-i-Sikhan written by some Mughal Courtier who like other Persian documents quoted were written for the East India Compa-ny. He attributes the orally heard stories of Guru Gobind Singh that he would make sparrows prey in hawks to ninth Guru and calls him founder of “Khalsa”. He makes Guru Tegh Bahadur meet Bahadur Shah. How Can Mr. Sher Singh expect him to know 224 about his martyrdom at the hands of Aurangzeb. Other Persian documents of the British period quoted by Sher Singh are also equally ill-infonned, but those who fix his execution in Delhi state that the Emperor was there and asked Guru Tegh Bahadur to show him a miracle. They blame Ram Rai for poisoning Aurangzeb’s mind. Mr Sher Singh completely avoids even men-tioning authentic contemporay or near contemporary documents because they are not Muslim or Hindu detractors of the real issues and facts. By reporting what are universally condemned opinions about Aurangzeb’s responsibility of executing Guru Tegh Bahadur, Mr Sher Singh may be serving his own interest of pleasing the Establishment and his Masters for personal materiar benefits but he is certainly not serving the cause of authentic history. Even Dr Fauja Singh retraced his steps after historical investigations and tendered his apology.
My son has written a detailed book on martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bilhadur to be published shortly. Re-cently Mr. Sher Singh has written a nasty article in Sikh Review against Guru Hargobind on the basis of Trumpp’s views and many learned readers have roundly condemned it. To add insult to injury Sher Singh has also criticised all Human Rights Organizaions investigating into police and para-military excesses in Punjab and Kashmir where there is no Rule of Law for the last decade. It is a shameful thing that the Indian government is using such Calcutta based Sikh IAS. officer against the Sikhs. I do not blame the government so much as these servile and sychophantic Sikh I.A.S. officers.
3. Guru Gobind Singh has given the details of this historical incident in his Autobiography. Bachiter Natak.
4. (i) Dr. A.C. Banerjee, “An Aspect of Guru Gobind Singh’s Ca-reer”, Indian Historical Quarterly, Vol. I, 1945.
(ii) The author of this book read a paper on this theme at the Punjab History Conference entitled: Political &lations Between Aurangzeb and the Sikh Gurus published in Punjab History Con-ference Proceedings 1966, p. 100-117
5. murda hoe mu rid na galin hovana Sabr sidq shahid bharam bhau khovana Bhai Gurdas, Var 3, Pauri 18
6. Puran Singh, The Spirit of the Sikh, Vol. 2, part 11, p. 7.
7. Dr. D.T. Suzuki, Zen and the Japanese Culture, p. 89.
8. Pothi Panjah Sakhian.
9. R.D. Ranade, Mysticism in Maharashtra, p. 368.
10. Sri Aurobindo, The Foundations of Indian Culture, p. 377. 11.
ibid., p. 380.
12. ibid., p. 380.
13. (i) Isiah Berlin: Historical Inevitability, p. 76-77.
225 (ii) D. Knowles, The Historian and Character, p. 4-12.
14. Bendetto Croce: History as the Story of Liberty, p. 47
15. Information on racial and cultural history of Jats is based on:
(i) Qanugo, History of Jats, 2 Vols (ii) Ibbetson, McLagan and Rose, A Glossory of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and N. W Frontier Provinces (iii) Eliot’s History of India Vol. 1 (iv) Punjab Ethnology (v) Alberuni’s India Tr, Sachan (vi) Dabistan-i Mazahib
16. Edmund Candler: The Mantle of the East, p. 120-21.
17. Waris Shah, Hir, Ed. Sant Singh Sekhon, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, p. 37-39.
18. Dr Hari Ram Gupta, Guru Gobind Singh’s Creation of the Khalsa in Perspectives on the Sikh Tradition. Ed: Gurdev Singh, p. 175S.R. Sharma, The Crescent in India, p. 693.
20. William Irvine, Later Mughals, I, 98-99.
“The Adi Guru Granth presents an ideal human life founded upon religious truths, ethical principles and mystic experiences which have been conceived and intuitively recognized as the highest standard which mankind can and must attain. The kind of life described in it has been the guiding star of all living cultures and civlizations. It is humanistic, liberal, dispensational and profoundly ethical and spiritual. It is the first Scripture of the world which has accepted the writings and wisdom of the Sages of the two mighty religious and philosophic traditions: Vedic and Semitic, and has shown their inner unity in apparent diversity.
Although fifteen pre-Nanak Muslim and Hindu Saints have contributed to the Adi Guru Granth, it can be regarded as a single, surpassingly great Book, in which there is remarkable unity of outlook, sincerity of purpose, beauty of poetry and realism of vision. It has really but one theme, man’s search for God, an intense eagerness to understand God’s ways, to realize His nature, to feel His presence and live a mentally, spiritually and culturally healthy life on earth. Though the authors of Adi Guru Granth lived in different periods of our history and were heirs of appar-ently different philosophic traditions, they were all men who were not only passionately in earnest and inspired by a pure and lofty faith but they had achieved the same highest Truth and Light through different religious and spiritual disciplines. Consequently, the language of these Sages, ranging from Prakrit, Apabhramsa to Persian, Hindi and Punjabi, is simple and clear, and their thoughts are 227 direct and fundamentally alike. Their experiences of God, Truth and Beauty, and their vision of the world and humanity is the same. Their philosophy, in all its essentials is so universal in its spirit and expression, that no one who goes so profoundly deep into life can escape sharing these great truths.”1 “Take Guru Granth, the great Sikh Scripture. I have a personal relation with it” says Puran Singh, “As a Sikh, it is my belief, and my faith that all the great gifts of Divine poetry, of the Realized Being to mankind, the most fascinating is that we Sikhs in the Punjab call Guru Granth. It is the Scripture of all nations, for it is the lyric of Divine Love, and all people of this earth subsist on such glowing lyrical prayer! Guru Granth is but one song, one idea, one life. Immensity is the substance of the sublime. Is not the sea much simpler than land? Touch it at any point, it is but water. Look at it from any place, it is the sea whose billows capped with white foam dance eternally. It is like the smile of the Infinite. Guru Granth is not full of repetition; it has a thousand blank pages with the one song of His heart, copied on every page.”2 It is the misfortune of all prophets and mystics whose faith is based on pure and simple love of God, and God’s love for such devotees, to become merciless targets of hostile and demeaning criticism of prejudiced and fanati-cally opposing thinkers.
Junayd the leader of the Sufi School of Baghdad, was accused of being atheist, infidel and along with his friends he was publicly accused of heresy. The main accusation against them by theologians was that they discussed the Love of God.
The teaching that “I love God and God loves me” was considered intolerable.”3 Ibn Hanbal car-ried his persecution of Al-Muhasibi to the point of banning his writings and banishing him. The influence of bigots and fanatics forced him to live in retirement, keeping in seclusion and living in great poverty, in his own house. Owing to the hostility of the Hanbalites, only four persons attended the funeral of Al-Muhasibi to offer the 228 ritual prayers over his body.”4 Similar has been the attitude of fanatic Hindus mostly Brahmins, Mullas and prejudiced Christian missionary scholars like Ernest Trumpp and Hew McLeod towards not only Sikh history and doctrines but even towards Sikh Scriptures. However, eminent a scholar may be his prejudiced attitude, malafide intentions backed by the type of arrogance one finds in Ernest Trumpp and Hew McLeod dries up their moral and spiritual sensitivites, blunts their perceptions of Truth and Beauty in religions other than their own.
But there are some rare persons even among the ordained missionaries in other religions, whose moral and spiritual sensibilities are so refined and pure that they look on other religions with the same reverence as their own. They show as profound respects for prophets and saints of other religions, as they do for their own. And when they read the scriptures of other religions they see the same revelation and the same Light which they see in their own sacred works.
Nearly two decades before Ernest Trumpp’s work appeared and even a year before Davy Cunningham’s History was published, a Christian missionary, Sister Charlottee Marie Tucker learnt Punjabi and Hindi, studied Guru Granth in the original and wrote in 1848,” As far as I have read, the Guru Granth is wonderfully pure and spiritual. If you could substitute the name “Almighty” for Hari and Lord Jesus for Guru, it might almost seem the composition of hermits in the early centuries except that celibacy is not enjoined. There is something touching in the longing and yearning after God... the intense love for the Name. One might call the Granth the Book of yearning and I feel humiliated that I, with Gospel Light should in spiritual contemplation and longing for doser communion with Deity, come so far behind these poor Sikhs... Guru Granth is the scripture of all nations for it is the lyric of divine love, and all the people of the earth subsist on such glowing lyrical prayer. Guru Granth is but One Song, One Idea and One Life.”5 Two decades before Hew McLeod’s book appeared, the eminent Roman Catholic savant Duncan Greenlees wrote one of the best and a very comprehensive book, 229 “The Gospel of Guru Granth” in 1952, concludes his book saying: “Where the pupil is, there too is the Teacher, and ever more will the Sikhs be alone or deprived of that holy Guru.
For He who cannot lie has given the promise that His will always be where only five faithful to His teach-ings and that He will manifest to them through all the councils of His faithful Church.
And where only one single Sikh is found? There too is He, abiding in the heart, and residing also in the hymns sung by Him through the hallowed bodies of the Ten - now gathered for the delight and enlightenment of all the ages in the Guru Granth Sahib. In the holy presence of the Guru’s Book, the Guru Himself is manifest. Those who love the Book, who clingdevotedly to the God whom it proclaims in words of match-less beauty, who seek to spend their every moment at His feet, will be free from every fear, will enter the Heaven of God’s own presence and there attain to everlasting union with the Beloved.”6
HEW MCLEOD’S IRRELEVANT AND DECEPTIVE COMMENTS ONGURU GRANTH Hew McLeod does not give any authentic comments either on the history or structure or doctrines of Guru Granth.
His sporadic comments in his books are not only highly misleading, but irrelevant and deceptive, so far as the authenticity of text and structure are concerned. We will briefly discuss the irrelevant and deceptive statements, a craft in which he has surpassed all previous hostile crit-ics of Sikh ism and Guru Granth.
the Guru Granth. These have a particular singificance. The
following are the types:
GOD MAKES HIMSELF FELT IN SHAPING THE DESTINIES OF
KINGDOMS AND CIVIUZATIONThere are innumerable hymns describing the rise and fall of kings and kingdoms and the ultimate destiny of the people on earth being controlled by God’s Will. Some-times examples are given from ancient history. Classic example of the fall of Ravana is given. But the upheavals that took place are vividly described. The cruelty of the kings and ministers, the corrupt judgements and inhu-man behaviour of the Qazis, the Brahmins and the priestly class are given just as the Gurus saw them.
Babarvani hymns of Guru Nanak are monodies of historical experiences of Babar’s invasion, which find their confirmation in the history of the massacre of Eminabad, the plunder and rapine in Lahore and the Battle of Panipat. Guru Nanak describes them as an eyewitness; his lamentation at the fate of the poor and the oppressed are based on eye- witness experience. In that sense they are historical hymns.