«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 ...»
These Hindu Pundits were hell-bent on proving that Sikhs 292 were a low-grade sect of Hindus, not entitled to the uppercaste privileges, though they refused to accept the suggestion that Hindus should become Sikhs and show reverence for Sikh Gurus and Sikh Scriptures. This dirty game against the Sikhs continues with unabated Brahmanical fury and zeal even 45 years after British Raj has left this country leading to moral and political bankruptcy and unprecedented repression of all the fundamen-tal freedoms of the Sikhs in their own Homeland Panjab, and is openly used everywhere in the country where this notorious anti-minority policy works with the help of State Governments.
The Hindu Pundits of early twentieth century tried to capture the mind and thoughts of Maharaja Hira Singh of Nabha (1843-1911) and aimed at changing the Sikh State into a Hindu theocratic State. Maharaja Hira Singh was no doubt illiterate but he had a strong sense of discrimina-tion and he evolved his own methods of understanding what was right and wrong and also his own strategies of fooling those who tried to fool him. Once some Hindu Pundits came with an ambitious plan of building a Hindu School and College, with learned staff of Pundits of great knowledge, the generous Maharaja known for keeping his word listened to the detailed plans and its vast cost. Giving his assent to the costly project he said, “Leaving my residential palace, select anyone or two state building for the school. I will get them vacated immediately.
All the furniture and other material will be provided by the State within a month. And here is one hundred rupees for your miscellaneous expenses. Please see that the school starts immediately within three months. Appoint the best staff. Their pay will be given by the State.” That was the beginning and end of Hindu School and College in Nabha.2 Maharaja Hira Singh organized an open debate between Hindu Pundits who believed that Sikhism was a low-caste sect of Hinduism with a young Sikh scholar Bhai Kahan Singh, son of an eminent saint and scholar Bhai Narayan Singh who was not only a great theologian but 293 could read and recite the whole Guru Granth in one continuous sitting. Bhai Kahan Singh silenced all Hindu Pundits by basing his discussion on authentic quotations from the Sikh Scriptures. He subsequently published the debate in his book Ham Hindu Nahi.3 Kahan Singh’s arguments were logical and authentic. The arguments ptit forward by the Pundits were untenable and unsubstantiated. Maharaja Hira Singh rewarded young Kahan Singh with a grant of land which could be tilled by six pairs of bullocks. The family still owns this land.
This book of about 150 pages stemmed the tide of cultural erosion by Brahmanical Hindu Pundits who have never concealed their hatred for all that is best in Sikh history and scriptures. This is clear from the manner in which these Hindu Pundits consciously and deliberately misguided Browne, Nicholson, Trumpp and many others, who sought information from these self-style Hindu scholars of Sikhism.4 Just after the partition of the country there was a correspondence, now partly published, between Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and Home Minister Sardar Patel about finalizing their choice of a pro-government, or rather proCongress Sikh-cult or political group which could help them to run down the main Sikh leadership and in creat-ing chaos and confusion about the Sikh problems and demands. Pundit Nehru suggested “Nationalist Sikh Party” headed by Sardar Sant Singh M.P. Sardar Patel remarked that the Nationalist Sikhs were as good as other Akali Sikhs. He rejected them outright. Pundit Nehru then suggested the Namdhari followers of the great Revolutionary Baba Ram Singh, who have given up all revolutionary activities and were ready to act as prestigious white sheep of the Congress Party in white Namdhari dress. Sardar Patel rejected them. The fanatic Sardar Patel wanted black-sheep, with absolutely black hearts but with white holy robes of piety. His choice fell on Sant Nirankaris, who were willing to play the same anti-Sikh dirty game which the Niranjanias of Jandiala played at the hands of Mghan invaders Ahmed 294 Shah Abadali.5 They were given the same type of royal privileges and V.I.P. treatment which Ahmad Shah Abdali gave to Niranjanias and Mrs. Indira Gandhi used them as the sharpest weapon against the Sikhs. The blood curdling exploits of Ahmed Shah Abdali and Mrs. Indira Gandhi, ended in their organized attack on the Golden Temple, Amritsar, the most sacred shrine of the Sikhs. This attack on the Golden Temple also marked the beginning of the end of the dynastics rule of Ahmad Shah Abdali and Mrs Indira Gandhi in India. This also created a congenial at-mosphere for a hostile forces like various cults, Marxist, surrogate intellectuals and the Christian Missionary Group of Batala Baring Christian College to distort and denigrate Sikh Prophets, their religion and history provoking disas-trous reactions. We now give the comparison between Ernest Trumpp’s attack on Sikh history and religion be-tween 1870-1892 and Hew McLeod and his Group’s con-tinuing onslaught on the sublimest doctrines and irrefut-able facts of Sikh history and culture between 1970-1993.
The main interest of Ernest Trumpp and Hew McLeod in Sikhism is their missionary motive and the purpose of this missionary motive in the words of Professor Geoffrey Parrinder is “to gain as much knowledge as possible to discover the weak points and undermine the religious stud-ies. But a little reflection should show that a completely unbaised study is essential if the heart of the religion is to be unveiled, for religion is the dearest of human concerns and men will not reveal the secrets of the faith to the critical outsider, so that the propagandist can hardly have an insider’s knowledge of another faith, Nor can another religion be understood without complete sympathy.”6 Both Ernest Trumpp and Hew McLeod are so shrill and screeching in their criticism of Sikhism that even the holy academic garb which they put on of posing as scientific historians and critics to cover their malicious missionary intentions falls as soon as they stoop to violent denunciations of Sikhism and pass extremely vulgar and uncharitable remarks about profound and deep Sikh doctrines.
295 Both Ernest Trumpp and Hew McLeod claim to know the languages of Sikh Scriptures and medieval Sikh historical records which are in colloquial Punjabi, classical literary punjabi (various dialects), Braj, Avadhi and Persian. This is the impression carried by those readers of Trumpp and McLeod who do not have first hand knowledge of the original sources.
But those who have good knowledge of the languages of Sikh Scriptures and the primary sources of Sikh history are shocked by their stark ignorance of these languages except the colloquial Punjabi of the janamsakhis of Guru Nanak. Ernest Trumpp was a good scholar of Sanskrit of which Hew McLeod is completely ignorant, and the knowledge particularly his knowledge of Sanskrit prosody was useful to him at least in appreciating the hymns of the Gurus in popular Sanskrit and Prakrit languages. Being a linguistic he also vaguely felt that Adi Granth was a treasure trove of medieval languages.
Ernest Trumpp unlike Hew McLeod had worked in other fields besides Sikh Scriptures. In 1866 A.D. Ernest Trumpp translated the Sindhi mystic Shah Latifs poems for the first time. Shah Latif was one of the earliest poets in Sindhi literature who wrote his Sindhi mystical songs in Ragas and used loveromances of Sassi Punnu and Sohini Mahiwal to express his mystical ideas. His collected works are called: “Shaha jeo Risalo”: The Book of Shah”.
Annemarie Schimmel comments that the German missionary Ernest Trumpp who was the first to translate Shah Latifs poems “thoroughly disliked Sufism and thought they were too full of jingling rhymes and puns.”7 Neither Ernest Trumpp nor Hew McLeod can ever conceal their missionary arrogance and contempt for any religion or religious teacher other than those of their own religion. They use their limited knowledge of the language of oriental text as a weapon to censure and denigrate the sublime authors and subjects of their study.
Both Trumpp and Hew McLeod approach Sikh religion, history and scriptures with pre-conceived notions and an ingrained bias and prejudice. They are both consciously 296 guided by cheap and shallow motives inspired by their missionary zeal. Both have tried to prove that there is no original thought, no original and deep ethics or philosophy, and no original and unique mystical experience in the life and hymns of the Sikh Prophets. Yet both of them do not give a single factual truth about Sikh history, philosophy or scriptures.
While Ernest Trumpp gives a higher place to Guru Nanak than medieval saints like Kabir, Ravidas and Namdev and considers Guru Nanak, the Founder of the Sikh Religion, and even accepts his inner Call by Gpd when he disappeared in a river flowing near Sultan pur Lodhi, Hew McLeod concentrates all his energy, ingenuity and skill in distortions and misinterpretation of glaring facts to prove that Guru Nanak was not a prophet in any sense of the word. He unsuccessfully tries to prove by shifting sophism and quibbling subterfuge that Guru Nanak and his nine successors were in no way different from other medieval saints and Guru Nanak’s successors, one by one departed from his original teachings. To argue his points he resorts to unsubstantiated statements which are not only manifestly false, but calculated and well constructed lies and fabrications. In this book a number of chapters have been devoted to expose these false constructions and nail all his lies and fabrications one by one.
Throughout his books Hew McLeod never defines the word “prophet”, though he emphatically denies this status’ to Guru Nanak. I wonder if like many other missionary writers he considers Muhammed, Buddha Zoroaster proph-ets, or has he and his group reserved this word only for Christ. He never defines or names any prophet.
Both Ernest Trumpp and Hew McLeod surpass each other in their arrogance and false vanity of their intellectual and religious superiority. Considering Sikh ism to be quite an inferior religion and Sikhs an inferior people, both of them indulge in scornful condemnation of everything that is historically important and philosophically precious to the Sikhs. In every chapter they spill their 297 undiscriminating contempt for well-established Sikh historical truths and doctrines. They have tried to ridicule and distort all well-established Sikh social, cultural and political ideals which have given strength and cohesion to Sikh faith and Society throughout their history.
Both dismiss the irrefutable truths of Sikh religion and history as views of the orthodox Sikhs. They present their utterly false assumptions and conjectures as scientific history and rational academic portrayal of a religion other than their own, a religion for which they show no human sympathy and respect.
They present their unfounded concoctions as rational academic theories with impunity hop-ing to win laurels and admiration from other like-minded Christian missionaries or ignorant western readers. But there has never been a dearth of truth loving Christian scholars in the nineteenth century who exposed Ernest Trumpp mercilessly and there is no dearth of serious and sincere scholars of religion today who will in due course expose threadbare all the concoctions, conjectures and assumptions of Hew McLeod and his narrow-minded group.
Both Trumpp and McLeod write about Sikhs and Sikhism as if the votaries of this faith were primitive people and their learned works would be beyond the comprehen-sion and ability of the Sikhs. All they had to do was to pick up a few loyalists and personal admirers out of selfish and greedy Sikh intellectuals who were willing to win their praise as more civilized and learned than the rest. Among the agnostic, Marxist, atheistic and hedonistic intellectuals there was no difficulty of finding such sychophants. The Delhi Rulers have installed many such shallow intellectuals even in departments of Sikh Studies and Punjabi literature in our Universities.
Hew McLeod and his Batala-Berkley group of hostile critics of Sikhism have been holding Seminars in Berkley Toronto and other places where the genuine scholars of Sikhism are always kept absent. One or two ignorant and illinformed intellectuals who have no doubt distinguished themselves in some field of learning other than Sikh religion and philosophy are invited. These ignorant intellectuals turn a blind eye to the insult and abuse heaped on Sikh ism by this group, but other orientalists present there, feel confused and bewildered. Some have the courage to reject these views.
They go on publishing these hostile and semi-critical outputs of these seminars thinking that four-teen million Sikhs all over the world either have no scholars so clever and learned as Hew McLeod and his group or they are so absorbed in professional pursuits and material interests that they are by and large intellectually blind and morally and spiritually deaf.
This, however, is not the situation. Stormy reactions to their onslaught everywhere is the first evidence.
Ernest Trumpp had read Cunningham’s History of the Sikhs and some other British scholars who wrote about the Sikhs with sympathy and understanding. Trumpp gives in a remote corner a stray reference to Cunningham but he does not refer to any authentic findings of the eminent historian whose work received high praise even from his critics and political enemies.
Hew McLeod similarly gives a lengthy bibliography of works on Sikhism, which the reader feels he must have read and used. The majority of these books refute every-thing Hew McLeod has written. But he never refers to any of these books directly or indirectly. He never quotes them either in support of what he writes nor does he refute the findings of these scholars. Thus Trumpp’s methodology and style of presenting his distorted material resembles that of McLeod or vice versa.
Thus both Trumpp and McLeod ignore referring to authentic scholars of their own period for quite obvious reasons.
“Christian missionary critics of oriental religions are frightened if they find some doctrines in other religions which are not found in their own religion. They are even more shocked and shaken when other religions ignore or reject some doctrines of Christianity.” These points of difference evoke the same reactions against Sikhism in Ernest Trumpp and Hew McLeod.