image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

About Sikh Bravery & Betrayals

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         Whether it is through ignorance, pragmatic short-term tactics which compromise principle, or intentional betrayal of community interests for self-promotion, the end result is always the same. Historically, lasting damage to Sikh rights, theo-political objectives and progress as a qaum &ndash a nation and not just a religion - has been done by the very people entrusted with Sikh representation. Sikh Qaum naal visah-ghaat &ndash Betrayal of the Sikh nation - has become an oft repeated expression in Sikh history. If not direct temptation to betray the Sikh cause in return for personal gain, sometimes compromises are made for apparent short-term gain. The principle is sometimes sacrificed for a pat on the back by the establishment.

Yet, the Sikhs have survived all attempts to destroy their miri-piri sovereignty. That is due entirely to the unyielding spirit instilled in them by the Guru Jote, from Nanak Sahib setting the pre-condition for treading the path of Sikhi as theo-political system - the Panth (Jao tao prem khelan ka chaao&hellip) to Guru Gobind Singh setting the Khalsa political goal (In gareeb Sikhan ko deeun paatshahi&hellip&hellip).


The spirit of theo-political sovereignty instilled in the Sikhs by Guru Nanak Sahib was summarised by Guru Gobind Singh ji in an instruction: Sutantar vicharna. Raaj Kaaj dian kamaan tae doosrae mataan dia purshaan noo huk nahee daenaa. Interpreted as: Maintain political sovereignty. Do not give the right to govern to people of other faiths who would decide your political matters. (This is one of the last 52 commandments (Bachans) of Guru Gobind Singh Ji quoted by Sikh scholar Dr Tarlochan Singh Nahal of US in discussion on an open forum &ndash Sikh News Discussion.)


Thus, the scene was set for perpetual conflict between the Sikhs and any super state which lays claim to rule over the bodies and minds of men (ref. Sirdar Kapur Singh). Such a state loses its right to demand Sikh allegiance.


Recent events show that despite internal divisions about strategy and tactics, the Sikh collective-will to survive as a distinct community remains as strong as ever. The Punjab Assembly speeches during the debate on Justice Ranjit Singh Commission Report showed that the Sikh sardars have not forgotten their Guru and Khalsa tradition nor the countless Khalsa martyrs. Nevertheless, they remain prisoners of a politico-administrative system which ignores the minority rights in a democracy guaranteed by the secular Constitution. Sikh allegiance to any state is conditional on the sovereign Sikhi miri-piri principles towards which the world order is aspiring.


Sirdar Kapur Singh clarified these issues starting with the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev ji onwards in his scholarly study Sachi Sakhi (True Story). Recently, well-researched articles have appeared in the Panjab Times by Jathedar Mohinder Singh Khera under the heading Sikh Qaum di Vilakhanta. Elsewhere others like Justice Anup Singh Choudri and scholars like Dr Tarlochan Singh Nahal of US have also written about Sikh qaumi identity in connection with the British Sikh need for a Sikh ethnicity (distinct qaumi) tick box in 2021 Census.


Lasting damage to Sikh interests will be done if British Sikhs restrict their theo-political qaumi identity to a religion only. Once again, the choice is there for Sikh leadership.


Gurmukh Singh OBE