«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 ...»
The Muslims believed that as soon as they prostrated before Holy Mecca their sins disapperaed. Some low-caste sweepers and cobblers ac-cepted Christianity, which the Brahmins did not mind, but they appealed to the government no to raise their social status lest no one is left to do dirty jobs.27 Policies based on the self-righteous attitude of Rob-ert Cust were reversed. After Guru Gobind Singh, the Golden Temple was under the Collective Religious lead-ership of the Sikh Panth in which even militant leaders of the Misals never dared to interefere. They had their religious representatives but they could not impose their will or dictate any wish or proposal with their military strength or the gun. Ranjit Singh abolished this system to the misfortune of the Sikh Panth and his personal representa-tives controlled the Golden Temple and even some priests and functionaries. This encouraged the British Govern-ment to continue government control through Acts and Laws, and this has given a chance to the ruthless and anti -Sikh Delhi Rulers like Mrs Indira Gandhi and her multi-coloured successors to keep the Mecca of the Sikhs under the control of para-military and police force to this day and even deny to the Sikhs free participation in prayer and traditional worship. Administration was restructured by the British but the basic traditional worship and func-tions were preserved.
authorities were, however, attracted by two factors:
39 Sikh, Muslim and Hindu Jats as soldiers and the Guru Granth as source of inspiration for the Sikhs.
The British were curious to know what was there in this Holy Book which inspired the Sikhs with such cul-tural and moral qualities. An English translation was con-sidered 1essential. Strangely enough, it was Robert Cust who suggested the name of Dr Ernest Trumpp, who as Christian Missionary was not likely to be influenced to the extent, that he might, like Cunningham possibly became a devout Sikh. Cust considered Dr Trumpp qualified for it because he was a Sanskrit Scholar and he had prepared a commendable Grammar of Sindhi and Pashto.
Dr Ernest Trumpp, born in the year 1828 at Wurtemberg, was the son of a carpenter. He was consid-ered to be a simple devout man with considerable knowledge of Sanskrit, Prakrit and classical literature. As a boy he exhibited good talents and a desire for knowledge, which led to the church becoming his profession. He pro-ceeded to Tubinger University, and there studied oriental languages. Circumstances led to his becoming a Mission-ary of the “Church Missionary Society”, and was sent to India in 1848. He was stationed at Karachi. Ill-health com-pelled him to return to Gennany in 1858. On his return to India, he was sent to the Mghan frontier to study Pashto
language, which he mastered:
Dr Trumpp compiled Grammars of Sindhi and Pashto and also prepared Grammatical Note of Kafari, and Dardui and settled upon the texts sent to him by Robert Needham Cust, the position of Brahmi language.
In 1879 the Govt. of British India at the suggesion of Robert Cust, Commissioner of Amritsar requested him to again come to India and translate the Sacred Book of the Sikhs, the Adi Granth.
He went about this work exactly as he should not have done.
Although his knowledge of Sanskrit and Prakrit was commendable, he was quite ignorant of Panjabi language and its dialects used by Sheikh Farid and the Sikh Gurus. He was equally ignorant about the various dialects of Hindi used by medieval Bhaktas. It 40 would have been easy for him to know and appreciate these languages if he had studied Hem Chandra’s Apabhramsa Grammar, which opens the linguistic portals of Shiekh Farid’s and Guru Nanak’s Punjabi but his intellectual arrogance prevented him from believing that there was any civilized language and literature deserving his attention beyond what he had already mastered in his Sanskrit studies.
Obssessed by his Christian missionary bias and ex-treme imagined inferiority of the religion he was study-ing, and fully aware that the Imperialistic Government which had employed him did not wish to study or use authentic works of sympathetic historians like J.D. Cunningham, he was with great difficulty able to prepare a crude translation of hardly one-fourth of the Guru Granth. He completed the translation in 1877. In 1884 he became totally blind. In 1885 he died at the age of fifty-seven.29 For about ten years the scholars committed to Imperialistic policies went on praising Dr Trumpp for proving that the languages used in Guru Granth were vul-gar and the Holy Book was shallow compared to the Chris-tian Bible, but then a strong reaction set against him and the work was rejected by Sikhs of all shades and serious European scholars of Sikh religion, history and culture. Even now there are genuine and serious European scholars who are studying and writing on Sikh ism within the limits of their understanding of original sources, which still remain untranslated by and large, but there is also no dearth of agnostic, materialistic and communal writers or of small missionary groups who still keep on distorting and misrepresenting Sikh history and religion, which will also meet the same fate as the work of Dr Ernest Trumpp has met.
In the history of every religion we come across scholars who study a religion, which is not their own with such profound reverence and insight that their work receives not only admiration but the votaries of the religion are tempted to say “even our scholars have not produced such 41 remarkable work”. Such a scholar was Cunningham. On the other hand there are hostile scholars who devote all their talent and skill to condemn the religion they study, not concealing the sinister motives behind this attitude. Such a scholar was Dr Ernest Trumpp.
REFERENCES AND NOTES
1. Bhai Desu Singh and Bhai Sukha Singh descendants of the eminent saint, Bllai Bhagtu, disciple of Guru Arjan wrested the whole region near Kurukshetra in 1767 A.D. and created a small Sikh state. Bhai Uday Singh was the grandson of Desu Singh and suc-ceeded to the fief of the state. He was a patron of letters and built ashrams and religious shrines for yogis and saints of other reli-gions. As they were descendents of great saints they did not allow themselves to be addressed as “Raja”. They were addressed as “Bhai” Revered Brother.
2. Joseph Davy Cunningham was a brilliant administrator, a deep scholar and conscientious writer. His sympathy for the brave and simple-minded Sikhs was noticed by the Governor-General very early. Besides his History of the Sikhs (1849), his “Notes on Moorcroft’s Travels in Ladakh, and on Gerard’s Account of Kunawar (J.A.S.B., V, 13 pt 10) a brilliant account of 80 pages, and Notes on the Antiquites of Bhopal (J.A.S.B. August 1847) 740-62 P are essays which a genius with a deep knowledge and passion for history and archeology alone could write.
3. Born in a family of rural tailors, Kavi Santokh Singh was fortunate to get education and inspiration from his father Bhai Deva Singh who studied Sanskrit and Sikh Scriptures under the eminent Nirmala saint, Bhai Karam Singh. He came for further studies to Amritsar under Giani Sant Singh, a reputed scholar and the High Priest (Head Granthi) of the Golden Temple. Giani Sant Singh accepted Santokh Singh as his student. Kavi Santokh Singh trans-lated the Sanskrit Dictionary ‘Amar Kosh’, wrote a Tikka (commen-tary) on Japji, and also prepared a Braj verse translation of Valmiki’s Ramayana before he started writing Suraj Prakash early in the year 1835 A.D. and completed it in May 1843 A.D., barely five and half months before his death.
4. Kavi Santokh Singh, Suraj Prakash, Ras 2, Ansu 36.
5. Giani Sant Singh was son of a theologian named Bhai Surat Singh.
He was a deeply religious saint, who by virtue of his dignified position and well established traditions, refused to attend the court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh : Tradition forbade even the High Priest’s sons to attend the durbar of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, a Sikh Maharaja. When his politically ambitious son, started getting involved in the durbar activities the saints and seers of Amritsar 42 politely protested. Even the great saint Baba Sahib Singh Bedi raised ob-jection. Giani Sant Singh tried his utmost to dissuade him because his visits to the durbar reflected on his dignity and position. But he refused to listen to him. At last Giani Sant Singh explained his position and humbly said that his son will ultimately come to grief. His disobedience to his saintly father is considered one of the reasons of his ignominious death in 1834 A.D. Maharaja Ranjit Singh entrusted Giani Sant Singh with all the gold that was used on the Golden Temple. The fact is recorded on the entrance door of the Sacred Shrine. Giani Sant Singh died in the year 1832 A.D., seven years before the death of Ranjit Singh.
6. Bhai Uday Singh was respected as a religious divine by Patiala and other Sikh Princes. He was generally invited to perform religious cermonies. It was during one such visit Uday Singh and his Rani Suraj Kaur were greatly impressed and when Maharaja Karam Singh asked “What could he offer to the great descendant of Bhai Bhagtu? he got the reply “Give us Kavi Santokh Singh.” The Brahmin Pundits who dominated Maharaja Patiala to such an extent that the poet was reduced to penury and pushed to the extreme by borrowing petty sums for mere survival. He writes “I have lost all strength to fight misery and sorrow. My self-respect and honour has been destroyed by my detractors. My normal life and religious devotional and discipline has been shaken from the roots. In this sorrow and suffering of poverty I have had to abandon shame to spread my hands before the rich. Members of my family are angry with me. All friends, kith and kin have turned their back on me. My wife taunts me. Hearing her remarks my head hangs in shame. Friends turn away their eyes. They even do not talk politely. I have to go for help to those whose faces I would not like to see. At my door stand creditors who abuse and insult me. Without being able to earn my living, I daily face abuse, insult and humiliation (bin rozgar raz gar khaiyat hai). The necessity of earning a living even makes me roll in the dust at the door of the Rajas. I have to touch the feet of the morally degraded and mean people (placed in high position). There is no greater slavery than lowering oneself for the sake of needs. This poverty created by hunger and need is all consuming flame of sorrow.” Quoted by Bhai Vir Singh in Prastavana, Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granthavali, p. 87.
The malicious stand the Brahmin Pundits of Maharaja Karam Singh took was: “How can a man born in low caste family of a tailor became a poet and scholar of Sanskrit. All these Pundits felt humbled and self-defeated when Bhai Uday Singh gave him the highest respect and opportunity to write freely. Bhai Uday 43 Singh never interefered in his work and never asked him to write even a single verse in praise of his patron.
7. Bhai Vir Singh, Priistaviina, Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granthavali, p. 143--144.
8. Thus ended the rapacious, scheming and cold blooded life and activites of this Dogra chief Dhyan Singh brother of Gulab Singh.
He was as cruel and treacherous as he was physically good looking. He was the man who introduced murder politics into Lahore durbar to capture the Lahore kingdom or at least its treasures. Fate boomeranged on him within four years. His own son Hira Singh was killed as mercilessly as he organized the murder of his arch-enemy and critic Kanwar Naunihal Singh. The Sikh Prince was murderd when he was nineteen. His own son was brutally murdered when he was of the same age. Had Hira Singh been disposed off on the day Dhyan Singh was killed, the Sikh kingdom might have been saved from Dogra treachery.
9. The assassination of Bhai Gurmukh Singh and the loot and plun-der of his library is a historically well-known event of this turbulent period. Recently, Mr Siddhartha Shankar Ray, Rajiv Gandhi’s gov-ernor, and henchman in Punjab, paid about fortyfive thousand rupees for this historic residence of Giani Sant Singh, to his de-scendents, an amount which is insufficient even to buy land on which it was built. The building was razed to the ground, with the assurance that the surroundings of Golden Temple would be beautified. The buildings around the Golden Temple were forcibly acquired and destroyed to keep the holiest of the holy shrine under the shadow of the guns. The area now looks like a recently bombed region during war. Thus Mr Rajiv Gandhi and Mr. Siddhartha Shanker Ray have added insult to injury caused by Blue-Star ravages.
10. Robert Needham Cust, A Chapter in the History of the Conquest of the Panjab; Calcutta Review, Vol. 107, 1898, p. 266-67.
11. ibid., p. 278.
12. Bikrama Jit Hasrat, Panjab Papers, 1836-1849, p. 104
13. The author has photo-copy of this document.
14. Peter Penner, Robert Needham Cust, A Personal Biography, The Edwin Mellen Press New York, p. 207, 235.
15. ibid., p. 214, 223.
16. Calcutta Review, Vol. V, 12; 1849, p. 523-4.
17. ibid., p. 526.
18. ibid., p. 527-28.
19. ibid., footnote on p 527-28.
20. ibid., p. 529.
21. ibid., p. 530.
22. ibid., p. 541.
23. ibid., p. 555.
24. Bikramajit Hasrat, Punjab Papers, Dalhousie to Hobson, 6 Septem-ber 1849, Broughton (BM) op cit. p. 244.
25. ibid., p. 245.
26. Peter Cunningham : Preface to Second Edition of History of the Sikhs: From the Origin of the Nation to the-Battles of the Sutlej : Second Edition, with the Author’s Last Corrections and Additions: John Murray, London, 1953. All subsequent editions of this century have suffered alterations; and passages were removed from subse-quent editions which the editors of later distorted editions claim to have improved.