«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 ...»
xvi From the vantage point of outside spectators of the drama looking on a century and more later, we can see the pathetic agony of both sides. The Sikh scholars were at the lowest point of their humiliation just before the Singh Sabha and other movements arose to revive their chardi-kala (undefeatable optimism like.the waxing moon). This un-speakably arrogant outsider exhibited his disdain for them and their Gurus and their Holy Book. They showed their own good manners and restraint by not striking him down. They withdrew in silent dignity. Oral tradition at Amritsar still tells the story of Trumpp and his cigars and his feet on the table. Dr Trilochan Singh retells the story in terms by which a foreigner is able to grasp its full horror and shame. Macauliffe was able to write early in the twentieth century of his work on the Holy Book as “a kind of reparation.” The work of reparation is still by no means complete.
On his side Trumpp who had thrown away one of the noblest possibilities of foreign scholar has ever been grant-ed, and having guaranteed his own failure, turned back to his IndoGermanic book etymologies and brahminical Sanskrit helpers.
He was too good a scholar not to have realized the inadequacy of both sources for the purpose in hand. Far from home, tired, frustrated, going blind, in the grip of a breakdown, he again turned towards home broken in spirit and body. His pride and arrogance had postponed for a whole generation one of the finest opportunities any scholar can have.
St. Paul says although we may have every brilliance and skill and wisdom, even if we give up our lives, it profits nothing if we lack love. The Gurus says if we wish to play the game of love we must bring our head in our hand. Love includes humility, surrender and submission.
On his return to Germany Trumpp recovered enough to achieve promotion to the Professorship of Oriental Languages at Munich. He continued important research into Indian languages, Arabic and Ethiopic. Before the Royal Bavarian Academy he delivered a lecture on Guru Nanak xvii which was published. In 1871 he published his Adi Granth, in which his Preface speaks for itself, as Dr Trilochan Singh so ably shows us. Probably it contributed to the refusal of the Government in India and of Max Mueller to publish the finished work. (Mueller’s series, Sacred Books of the East, made the world’s Scriptures, except the Guru Granth Sahib, available in English translation in University libraries throughout the world.) Trumpp complains in his Preface that his eyesight was failing. His behaviour at Lahore indicates his other prob-lems as well. The German reference sources conclude by saying he was a founder of the new Indian philology and gain an honorable place in the ranks of the orientalists of the century. They add that he died blind and deranged in 1885.
The second persona or prosopon (Latin and Greek for the actor’s mask and thence of the “personality” presented in a drama) is Dr W. Hewat McLeod who is presently Professor of History at the most senior University of New Zealand. Dr Trilochan Singh speaks of this gentleman’s personal modesty and quietness. Indeed this is true. He is exemplary in his personal life, a loving friend, father and husband, a householder generous in service and hospitality. He loves the Punjab and has devoted his life to Sikh studies. To be unable to travel freely in the Punjab is to him the bitterest of exiles. How does he come to be the monster- figure who as Dr Trilochan Singh points out is how he appears to be in the sight of many honest and distinguished Sikh scholars? How can he appear to so many learned scholars to be undermining the very foundations of the edifice they are trying to build? That edifice is a joint intention to build an international academic structure of sound learning able to prosper amid the buffets and storms of the next centuries. Or to vary the metaphor, Sikhism is leaping the gap between old and new, between oriental and ecumenical. Apart from the innate difficulty of the task, there are many who are inimical to the attempt. One has to xviii ask, why does a self-professed friend, servant and lover of Sikh teaching and culture appear to join the deadliest enemies just at this most hazardous moment?
Dr McLeod cannot see the situation in these terms. He is devoted to Sikh studies and for that reason he seeks the truth according to the methods of critical scholarship as he understands them. It is not possible for him to allow that the methods in the hands of outsiders and without the considered co-operation of the community to which these truths have been committed, cannot lead to the wholeness of truth. All he sees it, to compromise would be to betray the truth and those Sikh scholars who agree with him against what he considers a militant segment who have chosen to oppose his work by means which jeopardise the whole enterprise.
As the chorus in this drama we will take some steps to right and left and in unison call upon the divine for help and bewail the human condition which makes our strengths into weaknesses and makes us victims of our fatal flaws. Other clues to the mystery may be discovered by looking at the third persona dramatis Dr Trilochan Singh presents. This third persona is what he terms the Berkeley-Batala missionary group. By this one must suppose he means a few scholars who were at Batala a quarter of a century ago when Dr McLeod was there. Some of them met again at conferences held at the University of California at Berkley in 1979 and 1985 and published their papers from there. But Dr McLeod has in a recent statement said “I have not been a missionary for many years,” probably since that same quarter century which has gone by. He continues: “I am not a Christian, nor even a believer.” Certainly there is no one competent to do deep research into Sikhism at Berkely at the present time or indeed for some time past.
Few Sikhs have studied in detail the history of the Christian missionary movements. The Batala people of the old days came mainly from the Presbyterian and central Anglican background. The Presbyterian Church in South xix Island New Zealand from which Dr McLeod came has been with occasional lapses notably liberal, academic and nonprosletyzing. The tradition of Alexander Duff of Calcutta and Charles Forman of Lahore is also in the back-ground of his time as a missionary. In the late 1960s this kind of missionary had realised and repented for the mistakes and sins of the nineteenth century. They were seeking to be “a Christian Presence Among Other Religious.” Dr. C.H. Loehlin was a staunch exponent of this school but was reaching the age limits for service in the field and indeed his academic limits. Hew McLeod was sent for deeper study to the School of Oriental and African studies at London. Some young Sikh scholar would do well to study the interweaving of high academic achievement, imperialism, missionary in-terest with post: Jewishness, postChristianity and Marxist theory (among other things) which has ebbed and flowed there. Thus Dr McLeod re-entered the main stream of the western University and European (including British and American) thought. He remains a clear-sighted, hard-working, immensely able devotee of the ideals of the.
western University. He is obedient to the truth as he sees it from within that point of view.
Western thought as summed up in the western University has for two hundred years boasted of an “Enlightenment.” There is no need of a God-hypothesis. To this view-point everything said about the divine and revela-tion must be a human artefact and explained in non-supernatural terms. Community belief and tradition cannot discover historical truth in the way that critical and analytical scholarship can. Everything must be critically studied. Things were seen in terms of problems which could be Isolated and analysed by the human itellect. But below all this high academic endeavour the most deadly features of the clerical medieval University remain. These include the desire to remake others in one’s own image the conviction that there is one truth and its servants have the only methods for reaching it, and the need to bring all others by all means to that truth.
xx In this atmosphere it is hard to believe in any religion. At times it seems everything traditional and religious must be a construct of the human mind, analyzable and to be evolved beyond as we become modem. Christianity has two centures of this kind of modem critical scholarship and I have myself watched the process closely for half a century. Dr McLeod found himself unable to be a believer. One respects and admires his honesty and understand the logic of his position. In my own case I have sometimes had to put belief and criticism in watertight compartments but more often I have found it good to call pure intellect to a tempo-rary halt and seek the company of people living out the religious life and giving it meaning. They encouraged me to go on with the critical path for if it were really true it must lead to the truth itself. More recently the latest up-to-date critical methods have begun to lift us out of textual and historical analysis into trying to grasp large issues for in- stance of discourse, of narratology, of overall inner meaning and intent, of the importance of the community and its vocation and beliefs and traditions. The western University has had a bad habit of being monolithic and killing other ways of higher education. It has tended also to obliterate religious belief.
But these things need not be so. If religious people turn their backs on the University they themselves will suffer from their own seminary-like lack of cross-fertilization. The University also suffers if it refuses to include the highest spiritual dimensions of knowledge and the fer-ment they bring. There is a way for them to live together. It is in the light of all this that one must appeal to all concerned to give heed to the needs of the young.
What- ever else Dr McLeod and his friends and many Sikh well-wishers of the University idea have achieved or not achieved, four posts at least in Sikh studies have been set up in the North American Universities. Studies of any sort related to religion are hard enough to get into and maintain in the system. The position of a young scholar without tenure xxi fulfills the hazards of the siege Perilous of King Arthur’s rough table. Let us be careful not to endanger the future of these hardwon positions, let us not embitter the lives of incumbents with any needless hullaballoo. In the Universi-ties of the Punjab many young scholars may be scared away from vital religious research. The present ferment and flour-ishing of Sikh studies could be lost. Sikhs have their own ways of settling matters despite the too easy sad recourse to creating a public tumult or appealing to an outside tribu-nal. There is a middle way between extreme western-style critical study and the kind of fundamentalism which has grown up among certain Christian groups in America. This can be created by a grafting of the home-grown, deshi, or-ganic, traditional community type critical and exegetical heritage and stock onto a selective and critical use of western method. Dr Trilochan Singh’s work puts before us a vision of this way ahead.
So I commend to you Dr Trilochan Singh’s thought provoking and powerful study. He comes into the struggle in a manner reminiscent of his chivalrous forebears repel-ling the invaders in the eighteenth century, raining blows on all sides. It is a glorious effort and Dr. Singh is seen for who he is, a true scholar gentleman and a noble Knight of the Order of the Honourable Khalsa, the lion-hearted Professor Emeritus of History and Comparative NOEL Q. KING Religion in the University of California at Santa Cruz, USA.
8th Feb. 1993 xxii
PREFACESikhism was born in the age of crisis. During the life time of Guru Nanak-Guru Gobind Singh (1469-1708) and during the successive eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Sikhism and Sikhs have faced vigorous internal and external attacks not only on its history, doctrines and culture but on its very existence, The history of the Sikhs blazes with their passion for religious, cultural and political freedom. The story of every decade is the story of heroic martyrs and relentless fighters for complete freedom and indepen-dence in their Homeland, Punjab. Time and again they have faced internal treachery, external betrayals by machiavellian Delhi Rulers. Worst sufferings have been heaped on them when their Holiest of the holy shrines the Golden Temple Complex have been desecrated in a bar-baric manner ruthless attacks are mounted on their Sacred Books and Culture, The last two decades in the so called free and democratic India has been the most crushing an-tagonistic period in our history. As I have been eye-witness to everything that has happened between 1943-1993, the sorrows and sufferings of the Sikh people, particularly Sikh youth has left deep wounds in my heart and soul. Honestly written history will not fail to record them.
Sikhs are a National Cultural Minority who have been taught by their ten Prophets that their religion and culture cannot survive without complete political liberty and their political liberty cannot survive without the humanly and. Spiritually elevating moral values of their faith. Equally worst and, shocking have been the ideological attacks on Sikh religion and history by Sant-cults, Christian missionary groups and Hindi-Hindu Imperialists who have even burnt their xxiv secular robes and masks of democratic postures. I repeat what I wrote in my book Responsibility of Sikh Youth in 1982 (reviewed by all National English Dailies). “Every young Sikh must know that in history, even the daggers of oppression have strengthened us. Even our suffering has protected us. There always have been and there still are slanderers, apostates, and traitors of truth and righteousness. No one should ignore one great fact: “We Sikh are anchored to our destiny and our destiny is in the hands of our ever-living Guru Nanak-Guru Gobind Singh. They were prophets of hope and vision and from their prophetic vision we have to recast our future.” During the period 1870-1894 British Imperialism cre-ated conditions congenial for hostile writers and scholars like Dr Ernest Trumpp and the various Hindu Cults like the Arya Samaj. During the period 1970-1993 Nehru dynasty which became synonymous with Congress Party has supported the anti-Sikh Sant-cults of North India, Marxists, Materialists, unscrupulous opportunists in our Universities to create conditions quite suitable for self-style scholars of Sikh religion and history like Dr Hew McLeod. The damage. done by Dr Hew McLeod and his Christian Missionary group 1 is staggering and stupendous. Hence the need of this book.
In 1963 Swami Nityaswarupananda invited me to the East-West Philosophers Conference held jointly by Ramakrishna Mission and UNESCO at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Gol Park, Calcutta, the opening session of which was addressed both by Dr S. Radhakrishnan and PunditJawahar Lal Nehru. In this week long seminar it was a privilege to meet many eminent scholars from East and West. It was during this seminar when I asked Dr RC. Majumdar the reasons why he gave up the government project of writing “History of Freedom Movement”. Dr RC. Majumdar told me a startling story of how Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru tried to impose his policy of deliberately eliminating the major Role of Punjab and Bengal in the official history of Freedom Movement during xxv British Raj.
Fortunately Dr RC. Majumdar has put on record all he
said in his Lecturers: “Historiography in Modern India:
Me-morial Lectures in honour of Rev Henry Heras SJ, Spanish historian and Indologist. Dr RC. Majumdar writes, ‘The attitude of the British Government towards Cunningham who dared include unpalatable truths in history, has not quitted India along with the British, and an Indian historian today is not always really free to write even true history if it is likely to offend the ruling party. I know from personal experience that any expression of views not in consonance with the officially accepted views is dubbed as anti-national and is likely to provoke the wrath of the Government.” (p. 52) Dr RC. Majumdar adds, “The real purpose of history is to report correctly the progress of events which did not in all cases mark the progress towards liberty. When all this is coupled with a definite instructions for avoiding mention of violent deeds or even such facts as militate against the con-cept of National solidarity or international peace, we cannot but feel that Gandhian philosophy which sought in vain to regenerate politics by infusing morality into it in inoculat-ing history with moral ideas.
It may be a laudable project, but then, I would humbly suggest that history as a subject of study be omitted from our curriculum, and replaced by books containing Gandhian philosophy and morality. The lack of knowledge of history may perhaps be made good by development of moral character.” (p.54).
Referring to the attitude of Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru’s Government, Dr RC. Majumdar writes: ‘They (the govern-ment) are not willing to tolerate any history which mentions facts incompatible with their ideas of National integration and solidarity. They do not enquire whether the facts stated are true or the views expressed are reasonable deductions from facts but condemn out-right any historical writing which in their opinion are likely to go against their views.
All these things are done in the name of National Policy. But it xxvi violates the only national policy which cannot be challenged by any party namely ‘’Truth Shall prevail.” (p 55) During Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru’s regime, the Sikhs continued to hope against hope that this National policy of Free India will give to the Sikhs and other religious, linguistic and tribal minorities their minimum political and cultural rights.
But National policy of integration and solidarity put into practice by Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Mr Rajiv Gandhi culminating in Blue Star Operation, Delhi Riots and mass-murders by continuing police and para-military Raj have completely shattered these hopes. For nearly two decades Punjab and a few other states have not known what Rule of Law and Justice of Central Govt is ? A whole generation has grown with deep scars on their minds, hearts and soul. India today faces the same situation which Soviet Union faced before its total collapse.
Bengal and some States in the South have succeeded in preserving their regional history and culture, because they had dynamic scholars and historians. Many of them have been my personal friends. But in Punjab, Delhi and the Hindi Belt politicians, professors, writers, historians, and journalists have been cheaper than Australian sheep and Spanish mules. Some of them boast of their importance in terms of the patronage and the money they receive and they are.not ashamed of writing against their own people, their own Home-State, and their own mother-tongue and mother-culture. They are richly rewarded for helping in National integration and National solidarity by blindly help- ing repression and wanton destruction of all that is precious for the history and culture of our people.
Our newly created Universities have become well orga-nized intellectual centres for contamination of language and literature, corruption of authentic philosophy and, shameful distortions of Sikh history and Scriptures. Although voices were raised from the outside, these perverted but glamorous academic balloons have started exploding from within. It is not incidental that Dr Hew McLeod’s xxvii books written with a professed motive of mutilating and falsifying Sikh history and religion established a nexus with like mind-ed professors and scholars in two Universities of Punjab only in the eighties.
In all my books and research papers, and even in newspaper articles my stand has been quite consistent. In the context of all that is happening today it can be summed up in the words of an eminent historian thus: “I would not mind in the least whether Truth is or is not a blow to the glory of my country. If necessary, I shall bear with patience the ridicule and slander of friends and society for the sake of preaching Truth.” But still I shall seek Truth, understand Truth and accept Truth. Neither the present policy of the Indian Government, nor the equally sinister future programmes of the Communists and Hindu fundamental-ists like BJ.P. nor isolated but virulently hostile coterie of Christians like Dr Hew McLeod Group in Berkley and Toronto having some support from like minded accomplic-es in our Universities can ever succeed in clouding the truth about Sikh people, their religion, and history for long.
The darkest clouds of false-constructions and mischievous lies published to slander the Sikhs and Sikhism cannot succeed in either demoralizing or crushing Sikhs and Sikhism.
E,462 Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, TRILOCHAN SINGH Ludhiana-141 001, Punjab (India) 12th Feb. 1993 xxviii
A TRIBUTE TO THE AUTHORDr Trilochan Singh’s life was dedicated to the sadhana (spiritual discipline) of scholarship committed to spread the light of the message of the Sikh Gurus as contained in the Sikh scriptures. He established his command over Sikh history, philosophy, theology and scriptures and the fruits of his intense labours and researches have come to us in the form of wellresearched biographies of Guru Nanak, Guru Hari Krishan, Guru Tegh Bahadur, authentic translations of Adi Sri Guru Granth Sahib and Dasm Granth and 20 books in English and over 200 learned research papers on the same subject.
In. his mother tongue Punjabi, he had written much on literary criticism and had produced remarkable translations of classical writings of Plato, Confucius, Spinoza, Vivekananda, Tagore and Dr Radhakrishnan.
His first-work - The Sacred Writings of the Sikhs, a UNESCO publication of which he was the chief translator and editor (Allen and Uniwin) published in 1960 was the first real presentation in English of the hymns of the Sikh Gurus and medieval Saints and Bhaktas. It stimulated in-terest of the Western Scholars in Sikhism.
Dr Trilochan Singh was the first scholar to present the true lives and times of G uru Nanak, Guru Hari Krishan and Guru Tegh Bahadur. The creative power, the originality of his method, the courageous confrontation of unsolved historical problems, the acute analysis and exposition of historical evidence and careful marshalling of all available details were collated into stirring narratives of the lives and times of Guru Nanak, Guru Hari Krishan and Guru Tegh Bahadur. These biographies make the xxx readers feel as if they have established a holy communion with the Gurus and their divine compositions.
Dr Trilochan Singh was the first scholar to present to the English speaking world the Hymns of Sikh Gurus with detailed commentary in 1975 with the publication of his book “Hymns of Guru Tegh Bahadur : Songs of Nirvana”. Professor K.R Srinivasa Iyenger, Vice-President, Sahitya Akademi (National Academy of Letters) writes” “The com-mentary is redolent of the panorama of the global land-scape of the spirit... One light reinforces another, rivers meet and mingle many colours from a variegated spec-trum and so Guru-bani becomes in Dr Trilochan Singh’s hands a series of magic casements opening on the infin-itudes of the spiritscape”.
Professor Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, President, Nation-al Academy of Letters India, writes: “Dr Trilochan Singh knows not only the language of the scriptures, his own mother tongue Punjabi, but also Udru, Persian, Sanskrit, Hindi and several other languages and I can testify to my personal knowledge of his very close acquaintance with the Bengali language also.
His is a rare accomplishment”. Dr Trilochan Singh had also the distinction of having delivered lectures at nine Indian Universities, six Uni-versities in Britain and various Universities and institu-tions in U.S.A. viz. Bucknell, Washington, New York, Pitts-burgh, Kingston, Boston,.Hanover, Portland, Modesto, Stockton, Yuba City, Los Angeles, Berkeley on Sikh religion, history, philosophy and culture. He also read learned papers at International Conference held in Britain in 1976. His Calcutta University lectures were published as “Ethical Philosophy of Guru Nanak” and his learned paper read at the Annual Conference of the Standing Conference on Inter-faith Dialogue in the Field of Education in Bedford in 1977 was published in the book “Death” edited by John Prickett.
Dr Trilochan Singh was the only scholar who during his stay in U.K. in 1976-77 successfully pleaded for the xxxi rights of the Sikhs to wear a turban (Turban case), first by appearing as defence witness in Aylesbury Crown Court of the Honourable Judge Lawrence Verney then by writing an authoritative book “The Turban and Sword of the Sikhs” and later on in the final stages by pleading the case with the British M.Ps., and when Lord Avebury, the liberal member presented the bill in the House of Lords on 5th October, 1976, Dr Trilochan Singh was present in the House of Lords as a special invitee. I would like to quote from the report of House of Lords, the speech of Lord Avebury: “My Lords... I have had the benefit of advice from one of the foremost & distinguished scholars of the world, Dr Trilochan Singh... To quote from a book of Dr Trilochan Singh shortly to be published” ‘The Turban of the Sikhs is not merely a head dress.
It is inseparably connected with Sikh baptism and the Sikh Code of Conduct. That is as authoritative a statement and interpretation of the scriptures as you will get, as in the Sikh religion there is not hierarchy of derics who can add to or embellish the doctrine as time goes by”. He also witnessed the glowing tributes paid to the integrity, heroism and character of the Sikhs in British Parliament by members of the Parliament namely Mr. Kenneth Marks, Mr. Cyril Smith, Mr. Frank Hatton, Mr. John Ovenden, Sir Geroge Sindair, Mr. Winston S. Churchill (grandson of Wartime P.M. Mr. Churchill), Lord Mowbray, Stourton, Earl Grey. The ‘Turban Victory’ in U.K.
helped the Sikhs to win the same battle in Canada.
Dr. Trilochan Singh has rendered a great service to Sikhism by writing his last book titled “Ernest Trumpp and William Hewat McLoed as Scholars of Sikh History Religion and Culture”, exposing threadbare the evil intentions of Chris-tian Missionaries, Ernest Trumpp and W.H. McLeod and Sikh scholars of their ilk-Pashaura Singh and Dr Piar Singh who have intentionally misrepresented Sikhism. The book is the result of author’s tireless exertions, careful study of historical documents and interpretation of scriptures in xxxii an unbiased manner. The learned scholar has demolished the edifice of distortions and misinterpretations of Sikhism faulted by Dr Trumpp, Dr McLeod, Dr Piar Singh and Pashaura Singh with malafide intentions. Dr Noel Q. King has rightly opined in the Foreword: “This is a work to be likened to the genre, a Mirror to Princes. An honest, clean- thinking Sikh somehow still unbrainwashed by western academic method, with his mind saturated with tradition-al Sikh scholarship and his life permeated with a praxis which goes back in unbroken succession to the Gurus themselves in telling us something. He may seem innocent of our kind of critical demolition of the tradition as received but he is logical. in his own kind of logic and he is steeped in an understanding of the whole literature in the original which no foreign scholar can hope to equal. He is holding a mirror to certain persons, certain groups and saying, ‘This is how you look to a beholder’. Dr Trilochan Singh’s book is not only ‘A Mirror to Princes’, it is the presentation of a tragedy after the fashion of Kalidas, Aeschylus and Shakespeare... He comes into the struggle in a manner reminiscent of his chivalrous fore-bears repelling the invaders in the eighteenth century raining blows on all sides. It is a glorious effort and Dr Singh is seen for who he is, a true scholar gentleman and a noble Knight of the order of the Honourable Khalsa, the lion hearted”.
My acquaitance with Dr Trilochan Singh was short lived, only of four years. He was invited to USA in 1990 to deliver a lecture in a seminar. He expressed his inability to attend that conference, instead he told me of the damage which had been done by Dr McLeod and Christian Missionary group distorting the Sikh philosophy. He wanted to write a book giving a befitting reply to them and to save the honour and dignity of the Sikh Panth. These words appealed to me and I promised to help him in every way for writing, publishing and printing of a valu-able book on this subject. How much Dr Trilochan Singh xxxiii
laboured, made researches in different libraries including the National Library Alipore, Calcutta, spend days and nights to complete this voluminous work and crossed other difficulties is indescribable. But, ‘Alas’, he could not see this book in the hands of Mr. McLeod in his life time, to touch his inner soul for having shamefully distorted the Holy scriptures of the Sikh i.e.
Adi Sri Guru Granth Sahib deliberately and with malicious intension.
On the evening of the 15th February 1993, Dr Trilochan Singh was discussing the book with the Editor of ‘The Sikh Courier’ London at his resident, when he breathed his last, with pen in his hand and the final manuscript in his lap. Before his death he had gone through the proofs of the entire book, except the Appen-dixes, which were written, completed and found with orig-inal manuscript just three days before his death.
The Foreword was received from Dr Noel Q. King, two days after his death. The whole Sikh community is indebted to the great scholar for his valuable contribution, as a part-ing gift, which will surely become a source book to deal with hostile critics like Dr. W. H. McLeod.
Editor, Daily Navi Parbhat BACHITTAR SINGH GIANI Calcutta-Chandigarh Advocate.