«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 ...»
299 The German scholar Ernest Trumpp is a more seasoned thinker on Western philosophy and he tries to discuss some problems seriously but he finds it difficult to place Sikh ism in any of the “isms” like Deism, Monotheism of his days. He also finds some Sikh doctrines repulsive to his Christian missionary sentiments. Hew McLeod whose philosophic reflections on the thoughts and philosophy of Guru Nanak are quite superficial, literally follows Ernest Trumpp in emphasizing on the doctrines of Nam Dan and Ishnan, Name, Charity and Ablution and some other doctrines which he has not cared to find in Sikh Scriptures.
Hew McLeod has virtually lifted them from Trumpp’s Introduction to Adi Granth and put them in two of his books. He never goes beyond what Trumpp stated a century earlier.
Guru Amardas. In their struggle for independence the Sikhs suffered much molestation because of these people, whose one aim was to ingratiate themselves into the favour of Durranis. They would even point out the Sikh boys and women hinding in corn fields, so that the Durranis might drag them out and kill them. To enumerate only a few most important cases, it was on the information of a Niranjania that a very prominent Sikh, Sukha Singh was arrested in 1753; it was a Naranjani, Harmukh Das, who supplied information leading to the arrest of Taru Singh in 1746; it was a Niranjani who had supplied information leading to the persecution of the family of a prominent Sikh, Mehtab Singh in 1940".
N.K. Sinha, Rise of the Sikh Power, p. 33-34 (b) Sardar Patel, and subsequently Mrs. Indira Gandhi not only patronized Sant Nirankaris and gave them V.1.P. tratment but they pitted them against the Sikhs and Mrs Indira Gandhi openly helped them in armed attacks on Sikhs in Amritsar, Delhi, Kanpur and other places, leading to militant reactions, followed by Blue Star Operation, State-terrorism and persecution.
6. Geoffrey Parrinder, Comparative Religion, London, 1960, p.
12. 7. Annemarie Schimmal, Mystical Dimensions of Sufism, p. 393.
Soren Kierkagard, the eminent Danish religious philosopher said, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.” We Sikhs firmly believe that our past is not behind us. It is with us and within us. Our despotic rulers, our mindless oppressors, our open political and cultural enemies believe that we are a tiny insignificant minority. The Delhi Rulers with mighty police and military power behind them and criminalized party drum-beater to follow them can attack and even try to eliminate with impunity the religion, the shrines, the free-dom and culture of the Sikhs just as Hitler attacked the Jews. But Sikh history has revealed to the world, that the greater and sharper the provocation to their faith, culture and political existence the stronger and sweepingly revolutionary has been their reactions and counter-attack at all levels.
The Sikh people know better than any other ethnic minority in the world how to fight for the preservation of their faith and ideals and relentlessly resist tyranny and despotism 302 till the enemy is annihilated. In every Sikh temple big or small all over the world the Sikh congrega-tions stands with folded hands before the Guru Granth : the Throne of the Divine Word, and offer the following prayer;
Lord, give to the Sikhs, the gift of Charity.
the gift of sanctity of our Person.
the gift of moral and spiritual discipline, the gift of tolerance and trust, the supreme gift of His divine Name, the gift of ambrosial ablution, and a glimpse of the Holy City of Amritsar.
May the Abiding centres of Khalsa legions, And the Khalsa flag of freedom and justice, Ever remain upheld from age to age.
May victory ever be of Dharma. Righteousness Say Khalsa ji : Vah-Guru, Vah-Guru Wondrous is the Eternal Lord Congregation utters: Vah-Guru Vah-Guru Lord, grant to Thy Sikhs a humble mind, Grant to Thy Sikhs sublime Wisdom May God Himself be the Light of our thoughts.
Lord, our true King of kings.
Forgive us our transgression, Extend Thy Helping Hand to all human beings;
Give us the company of such dear Friends, Meeting whom we may remember Thy Name.
May the Spirit of Guru Nanak, And the holy Name of God, Inspire and exalt our mind and soul, With ever-increasing divine confidence and hope.
Lord, may Thy Will ever prevail For the good and welfare of all human beings. 1 About this congregational prayer of the Sikhs known as Ardas (Persian: Arz-dasht : Humble Supplication), Dr.
C.H. Loehlin says: “As a noted Sikh historian has said, in India only the Sikhs, the Muslims and Christians are interested in human history for they have only one life to live on this earth and so wish to make the most of it.
However, that may be the Sikh does have a keen sense of 303 its importance as bearing on the present is fostered. Jesus emphasized the working of God on this earth as the culmination of human history and mentioned the kingdom 125 times.
Perhaps our emphasis should be on the kingdom as we approach the Sikhs. Surely a realm where brotherhood, justice
and love predominate will appeal to those who daily pray:
“Help us to meet those beloved in whose fellowship Thy Name may come to mind. By Thy favour may there be welfare of all.” (Ardas). Aside from some local and ritual references, a Christian would have no difficulty in following in most of this prayer, which reaches lofty heights indeed.2 Sikh religion centres around deep faith in ultimate victory of truth, human freedom and supremacy of divine Justice which does not favour any race, religion or nation. The divine majesty of God shines in the hearts and souls of all Sikhs who live in prayer and obedience to God, and remember Him in their life and work. The Sikhs are convinced that God never spares tyrants, despots and murderers of innocent humanity, no matter to which religion or country they belong. The destiny of small nations, small cultures is not controlled by the dictatorial might of a Dominant Majority, but by the Almighty Lord who pro-tects and bestows moral and spiritual strength to God-fearing people of even small Nations and numerically small but dynamic Minorities.
From 1984 to the moment of writing this chapter in September, 1992 the Sikhs in Punjab and many other places in India have suffered ruthless tyranny and despotism of the type they suffered in eighteenth century. This tyranny can be aptly described in the words of Dostoevsky who describes these State torturers and killers thus: ‘There are people who are like tigers thirsty for blood. Anyone who has once experienced this power, this unlimited mastery of the body, blood and soul of a fellowman made of the same clay himself, a brother in the love of Christ - anyone who has experienced the power and full licence to inflict the greatest humiliation upon another creation 304 made in the image of God, will unconsciouly lose the mastery of his own sensations. Tyranny is a habit; it may develop, “and it does develop at last; into a disease. I maintain that the very best of men may be coarsened and hardened into a brute habit.
Blood and power intoxicate; coarseness and depravity are developed; the mind and the heart are tolerant of the most abnormal things; till at last they come to relish them. The man and the citizen is lost for ever to the tyrant, and return to human dignity, to repentence and regeneration becomes almost impossible. Moreover, the example, the possibility of such depotism, has perverting influence on the whole society; such power is temptation.”3 Delhi Rulers who were in power in 1984 are again in power. They are mortally ashamed to return to human dignity, to repentance and regeneration because Sikhs are still Sikhs, a tiny minority and they have started their fierce traditional resistance. So despotism, subtle and brute must be intensified.
Punjab is victim of this logic of State ter-rorism and unrelenting despotism.
This despotic rule out to liquidate the Sikhs, and other helpless minorities depends for its survival on surrogate in tellectuals, hireling politicians and journalists who are well paid to run down their own people, their own state and their own faith. Chesterton defines such despotism as a “tired and exhausted democracy. Sychophants, greedy politicians, writers fall in love with repression and misrule of highly despotic government, and offer their conscience, their services for all self-humiliating tasks of condemning their own people and bringing misery and bloodshed to the very soil of the State in which they live.” Today there is no dearth of such intellectuals, politi-cians and journalists who have placed their conscience, their talent to serve the interests of anti-Punjab and anti-Sikh Delhi Rulers in exchange for being projected as intellectual giants in State organized functions, free-travelling abroad to blackmail their own people in subtle and crude manner.
305 Tacitus pin-points “two types of such scholars and historians in whose hands Truth suffers in more ways than one.
Those who were inspired by a passion for flattery of the Rulers in power, and the other inspired by hatred and malice. One is bitterly alienated and the other is bitterly committed to hatred.” But says Tacitus “whereas the reader can easily discount the bias of time-serving historians, but detraction and spite find ready audience. Adulations bears the ugly taint of subversience, but malice gives the false impression of being independent.”4 To the first category belong our hired intellectuals to bureaucracy and to the second some popular journalists and academics presenting angular works in our universities.
Referring to these two forces, Justice Gurdev Singh who was the first to publish a book disposing the mali-cious distortions of Hew McLeod writes: “Some of our University professors under some temptations, greed or some other motives, have done irreparable damage to some wellestablished historical truths. He (McLeod) has been emboldened by the fact that in our universities even the scholars who are working in the Department of Sikh Studies have not cared to rebut or even examine his thesis and to place before the people the correct picture and real facts. The neglect has already resulted in considerable harm as even uncommitted scholars and without examination of the issues involved are prone to accept themselves, or availability of the other point of view.”5 While the tyranny and despotism of Delhi Rulers has been thoroughly exposed by a number of Human Right Groups and Independent observers, and Amnesty International, the truth of the situation in Punjab and plight of the Sikhs in Delhi has proved to be less than a voice in the wilderness and the Delhi Rulers are deaf and dumb to it. They are trying to hide the truth by new State propagated denials and lies. But for how long can they do that?6 Hew McLeod Group continues its game of denigrating the spiritual status of Guru Nanak as a prophet, and propagating without giving evidence that Sikhism relapsed 306 into Hinduism by accepting caste system and adding its own sects to countless Hindu sects. We have written many chapters on various distortions presented by Hew McLeod and his Group but before we close the last chapter we would like to explain what sects and castes really mean and reveal the truth about their existence in Sikhism.
SECTS IN PROTESTISM AND SIKHISMSects are generally breakaway institutional eccelesiastical bodies having their own religious ideals and principles. Thus there are 72 sects in Islam each having dis-tinct organization.
Protestant leaders like Luther (1483-1546) were contemporaries of Guru Nanak. Luther an ex-communicated Catholic monk married an excommunicated nun and formed a new Church. Will Durant in his Mansions of Philosophy writes “Protestantism is doomed. Look at its decay, it has broken into ten thousand frag-ments, little obstinate groups, each hugging its heresy till it becomes an immovable orthodoxy, each hating and despising 9,999 other varieties of Protestant. Here is a clipping from the New York Sun for November 1, 1928;
it speaks of Protestantism in the United States.
“Apparently there are five groups of Adventists, eigh-teen groups of Baptists, five groups of Brethren and German Baptists, six groups of Plymouth Brethren, three groups of United Brethren, six groups of the Eastern Or-thodox Church, eleven evengelistic associations, four groups of Friends, twenty
- three groups of Lutherans, seventeen groups of Minnonites, nineteen groups of Meth-odists, nine groups of Presbyterians, four groups of Re-formed Church and various other classifications from one to three groups each. There are e.g.
General Six Principle Baptists, Free Will Baptists, Regular Baptists, Primitive Bap-tists, Two-Seed-in-the Spirit Predistinarian Baptists, and Seventh Day Baptists; Primitive methodists, Congregational Methodists, Holiness Methodists and Reformed Methodists.”7 These are real sects of the Protestant Church to 307 which Hew McLeod and his group belong. Sikhism has a few missionary groups which have maintained their his-toric identity.
They are not sects. Their followers call them-selves Sikhs of the Ten Gurus. There are breakaway ex-communicated groups which have either melted away or have merged in the Sikh Panth or have bare existence in one or two ashrams. They do not call themselves Sikhs. They cannot be included in the Sikh fold by any stretch of imagination.
CASTE IN HINDUISM AND PROFESSIONAL CLASSES AMONGST SIKHSScholars like Hew McLeod who have not cared to study what Hindu caste system is wrongly describe professional classes like carpenters, goldsmiths and jats as different castes.
The eminent scholar Romesh Chander Dutt tells us in his well researched book “Civilization in Ancient In-dia”, that Yajnavalkya looked npon a large number of pro-fessions as impure, so much that the food cooked by people of these professions cannot be touched by the pure. At this point
Romesh Dutt proceeds: