«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 ...»
27. For a close study of self-confident aggressiveness of Christian Missionaries of nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the following works are noteworthy: 1. G.R. Gagg : The Church and the Age of the Reason. 2. Alec R. Vidler, The Church in the Age of Revolution. 3. Kenneth Scott Latourette : A History of the Expansion of Christainity (7 volumes). 4. J.H. Gense : The Church at the Gateway of India (on history of Roman Catholic missions).
5. George Bearce : British Attitude towards India, 1784-1848. 6.
Thomas Mitcalf : Aftermath of Revolt in India 1857-1870 and 6.
Dr John Kent: The Age of Disunity; Essays on Modern Church History, From Darwin to Blatchfort.
28. On the British Control of the Golden Temple Complex, important
(i) Memoranda on the Sikh Temple, Amritsar, Home Public A.
Proceedings: Confidential Feb. 1881 (ii) Punjab Govt. Record Office: Lahore Political Diaries 1847Vol. Ill.
(iii) Punjab Govt. Home Confidentail File A.
(iv) Dastur-ul-amal (Rules and Regulations for the Administration of Golden Temple Complex). It was drawn up on 15th Sep-tember 1859, by Sardar Jodh Singh, Bhai Lehna Singh, Bhai Parduman Singh, Sardar Jaimal Singh, Sardar Daya Singh, Sardar Shamsher Singh, Sardar Teja Singh and signed by prominent Sikhs and Pujaris.
(v) India Office Records: Home Miscellaneous Series, Vo!. 760, pp. 1-21.
(vi) I learn Dr lan J. Kerr has written a dissertation on “The Punjab Province and Lahore Districts 1849-1872’A Case Study of British Colonial Rule and Social Change in India” in which there is a chapter on the subject. I have not seen this thesis in published form.
General Nicholson’s Sikh regiment, and armies of Patiala and other Sikh states, played a decisive role in saving Englishmen in Delhi from being mercilessly slaughtered to the last man, woman and child. Nicholson had virtually become a Sikh. He had studied Cunningham. learnt daily Sikh prayers, and led such a religious life, that Sikhs of his regiment revered him as a Sikh saint, and after his death, they perpetuated his memory for half a century, by what began to be called Nicholsonian Sikh sect. He showed the utmost reverence to Guru Granth. Secretly, everyone started reading and admiring J. D. Cunningham who was loved and greatly respected by all his contemporaries; and even those who recommended his dismissal expressed profound admiration for his talent, bordering genius, his loyalty, his honesty, and above all, his integrity.
It was Robert Needham Cust, who suggested to the Court of Directors on 12 August, 1857, that India office should make arrangement for getting the Adi Granth translated into English but unfortunately he suggested the name of the German scholar Dr Ernest Trumpp, Professor Regius of Oriental Languages at the University of Munich, and member of the Royal Bavarian Academy of Sciences.
Dr Ernest Trumpp had visited India as, Christian Missionary and his Grammar of Sindhi and Pashto had impressed him.1 As there were no printing presses except some litho-presses, the Punjab government was in search of an authentic copy of Guru Granth.
D.F. McLeod, the financial commissioner of Lahore, 46 consulted some religious minded Sardars and they sug-gested that, Sodhi Sadhu Singh of Kartarpur was compe-tent to procure or get prepared authentic copies of the Sacred Scriptures. The Govt. promised to pay for it. Sodhi Sadhu Singh got prepared a copy of Adi Granth and Dasm Granth and sent them to D.F. McLeod. He got them beau-tifully bound and fitted in boxes, and sent them to London with utmost care and reverence, through R.H. Davies, Secretary to Govt. of Punjab. He writes, “He (Sodhi Sadhu Singh) also since informed me, that so great a privilege has been always attached by him to the possession of the only true original, that although Maharaja Ranjit Singh had expressed a desire to obtain a copy taken from them, he had refused to give one to him. The Sodhi wanted some recognition for this favour done to the Government”.
It was sent to England under the charge of Mr. Prinsep and presented to Oriental Section of the London Library.2 In the mean while, two crude lithoprint copies of Adi Granth, and one copy of Dasm Granth had been procured by the govt. and sent directly to Dr Ernest Trumpp, on which he had started work.
Dr Trumpp was a learned, Grammarian of Sanskrit. On the pattern of Sanskrit Grammar he wanted to fix the rules of Punjabi Grammar as it was in the text without actually learning Punjabi and other languages and dia-lects used in Adi Granth. He spent a year on it, with the notion and false intellectual pride, that there was no Sikh scholar who knew anything about the Grammar or Linguistic in terpretation of the hymns in Adi Granth. The Lithoprint copies of the Adi Granth were crude and even incorrect. He came to know that the Dadu-panthis had prepared a commentary on Adi Granth, and a copy was lying in Asiatic society. He was not able to trace it. On 5th October, 1870 Dr Trumpp wrote to India office: “In reference to the two lithographed copies of the Sikh Adi Granth (of the Daswen Patshah de Granth no
lithograph copy seem to exist). I beg to state:
“As far as I have hitherto been able to compare the 47 copies with each other, and the manuscript at my diposition, I have found that both the lithographed copies are different, as to its technical execution, the print being now and then unclean and sullied. That, some sheets in it are incorrectly stitched by the binder is of no consequence as, the full index attached to the work and the numericals, with which every page is provided as a safe guide. The second lithographed copy lately received, is superior to the first; the print being much clearer and better, more distinct. But in all other respects, both copies are the same, upto the very letter, and hitherto, I have not been able to detect any distinction, except a few mistakes have been corrected on the stone, as stated by the Sikh Committee, at any rate, the second copy is prefer-able.” “But of both these lithographed copies, it must be stated, that their text occasionally differ from the manuscript authority, and that, especially, the final vowels are frequently dropped, because they are now no longer pronounced by the Sikhs, though they are very important for the right understanding of the text and grammatical struc-ture of the language which the Bhais do not seem to be aware. Some good old manuscript
must ‘he prepared.”3 Two points are clear from this letter:
(1) Dr Trumpp was a scholar with remarkable per-ceptions. There are orthographic signs which are used in Adi Granth only for indicating whether the word is singular, plural, noun, verb or adjective; and these signs also indicate the case and other grammatical fixations. These orthographic signs and even some final vowels are not pronounced. It appears that the printer of one of the litho-print copies of the Adi Granth had removed these important orthographic signs, and Dr Trumpp, even with-out a mastery over the languages of Adi Granth, was able to detect, that, these very important orthographic gram-matical signs were essential for the knowledge and study of Adi Granth.
(2) Dr Trumpp did not know that besides ordinary 48 Granthis, Bhais and Priests, there were many eminent schol-ars and interpreters of Adi Granth in Amritsar and some Ashrams of some saints who were shocked and disgusted by the British attitude to the management of sacred shrines of Amritsar and other holy cities of Punjab. He lived un-der the false impression that there was no greater scholar of north Indian languages than him, and this intellectual egoism and arrogance, was the greatest hinderance in his efforts to learn and study the languages of Adi Granth. A Sanskrit scholar like him could have mastered all these languages if he had with humility and open mind cared to learn these languages, and he could have gained profi-ciency in them within one year. With his stiffnecked Chris-tian missionary attitude, he had already concluded, that, there was no philosophy worth the attention of a learned Christian like him in this heathenish religion, Sikhism.
After studying the English language for a number of years and after working on the English translation for seven years, Dr Trumpp writes in the Preface to his work, “The English reader will no doubt detect in this volume many an expression that will appear to him more or less unidiomatic. For all such shortcomings, I must beg his pardon, which he will surely grant, when he bears that English is not my mother-tongue, and that I was, therefore, often at a loss how to translate such abstruse philosophical matters, clearly and correctly, into an idiom, which, since I no longer hear it spoken, is gradually re-ceding from my memory.” It did not occur to Dr Trumpp, that, if he could not grasp English idiom and grammatical structures of the English language (as is clear from his work and correspondence) how could he grasp or understand the lan-guages based on the mother tongue of the Sikh Gurus, Kabir and Ravidas (who lived in Benaras) and Jayadeva of Bengal and Namdev of Maharashtra, without properly studying them from the proper learned teachers of these languages, of which there never was any dearth at any period of our history. These languages had emerged out 49 of different Prakrits and Appabhramsa in India.
In Punjab, the anxiety to study an authentic transla-tion had increased in official circles. J.D. Cunningham, who died as a martyr to authentic history of Sikhs and Sikhism, was once more alive; and he began to be read not only secretly but was even quoted in official corre-spondence to stress the importance of Guru Granth as an important sacred scriptures.
As nothing had been done upto 1869 even the Gov-ernorGeneral expressed his keenness in a despatch: “It is highly desirable that a really English translation of this work should be very useful, not only to those who are interested in enquiries concerning the manners and cus-toms of the East, but also to such, as have constant offi-cial intercourse with the Sikh race.
If, however, there be any difficulty in having a translation effected in Europe, the work should certainly be undertaken here without delay. Some account of the ‘Granth’ will be found in the Appendix to Cunningham’s History of the Sikhs. There can be no doubt of the importance of a translation.4 Earlier when the copies of old manuscripts were dispatched, Mr. D.F. McLeod, Financial Commissioner of Lahore had written: “I would now suggest that these two volumes which I have had fitted into suitable boxes, be sent to England for deposit in the Oriental Library be-longing to Her Majesty. By their being thus disposed of, not only will be valuable addition be made to the manu-scripts of the above Library, but the very best opportunity will be afforded to the Oriental scholars of Europe, who may so incline to study the books, and translate it into English or other European tongue.
In India, the Gurmukhi language and characters do not appear to have been taken up by any of our oriental scholars with interest, and I know no one here who possesses the requisite knowledge, inclination and be sure for the task of making the trans-lation. I would strongly recommend, therefore, as the preferable courses that the scholars of England and of Continental continue to be invited to undertake the task 50 on which they would bring to bear philosophical appli-ances and opportunities, and an amount of oriental re-search and learning to be looked for here. “5 Thus, British interest in this translation in Punjab at all levels was genuine. But unfortunately, the missionary German scholar who was selected for this stupendous task was neither linguistically equipped nor did he had even a rudimentary respect for oriental doctrines, religious philo-sophical and mystical thoughts, which were different from or contrary to dogmatic Christian ideas. After wasting about a year on superficial intellectual exploration on the basis of his knowledge of Sanskrit and to some extent of Prakrit, when he realized that he was not able to move a step towards a correct translation of Adi Granth, he came to India.
He was first given some ordinary Granthis (priests) of Lahore to help him. But they failed to communicate with him as they did not know Sanskrit or English and he did not know Punjabi. He was told that there were learned scholars in Amritsar.
Baba Sham Singh was a great contemporary saint who lived to the age of 123, and died in 1923. He has written a book: “Bhagat Prem Prakash Granth” in which he has given brief notices of eminent saints and scholars who lived in Amritsar for over a century. He had first hand information of earlier period from his teacher Bhai Ram Singh whose father and grandfather were bodyguards of Guru Gobind Singh. The names of eminent saints and scholars who lived in Amritsar and their brief life and influence is concisely given. None was better informed than he because he performed early morning Kirtan in the Golden Temple on his Saranda (a specially designed stringed musical instrument)” for nearly half a century.
When Trumpp visited Amritsar he was there.6 His student Bhai Manna Singh could recite the Guru Granth from memory and was a living authority on pronounciation and interpretation.