image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

Hindutva Politics of the Background of the Gurus and Panj Piaray

(Conclusion Part III)

Having completed his Panjabi book We Are Not Hindu (ਹਮ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਨਹੀਂ ) in 1898, Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha, signed himself off as Bharat Sewak. Thus, he asserted his true Sikhi spirit to serve all in the sub-continent of India, then under colonial rule.

Sikhs do not become separatists by asserting their inalienable right to own distinct theo-political identity earned over 500 years through massive sacrifices. There are threads to this topic which can be developed in the context of the Hindutva agenda for a Hindu Rashtra.

This week we conclude the current topic centred around Sikh Nash Doctrine as stated in the Sikh Reht Maryada (Code of Conduct). Under Sikh initiation of Amrit Sanskar, Article XXIV (p) states: Today you are reborn in the household of the True Guru&hellip.. Your Spiritual Father is now Guru Gobind Singh and your Spiritual Mother, Mata Sahib Kaur. Your place of birth is Kesgarh Sahib and your native place is Anandpur Sahib&hellip.You have become the Khalsa only []]none other] having given up all connections with your caste, descent, birth, country, religion.

According to a news report of the first Amrit Sanskar at Anandpur Sahib in 1699, sent to emperor Aurangzeb by a news writer, Bute Shah alias Ghulam MuhiudDin, TawarikhiPanjab, Guru Gobind Singh addressed the Sikhs as follows: I wish you all to embrace one creed and follow one path, rising above all differences of the religions as now practiced. Let the four Hindu castes, who have different rules laid down for them in the Shastras, abandon them altogether, and adopting the way of mutual help and cooperation, mix freely with one another. Let no one deem himself superior to another. Do not follow the old scriptures. Let none pay heed to the Ganga and other places of pilgrimage which are considered to be holy in the Hindu religion, or worship the Hindu deities such as Rama, Krishna, Brahma, and Durga but all should cherish faith in the teachings of Guru Nanak and his successors. Let the four castes receive my initiation (of the Doubleedged Sword). Eat of the same vessel, and feel no aloofness from or contempt for one another. []]Translation by Harinder Singh,, articles]

Yet, today, some Sikh themselves argue from a Hindutva perspective that not only were the Gurus and the Panj Piaray from Hindu backgrounds but that they were from all over the Indian sub-continent, as were the Bhagats honoured in Guru Granth Sahib. They prefer to ignore Sikh Reht Maryada and Sikh history dotted with sacrifices to push Sikhi back to pre-Guru Nanak Sahib times.

The Khalsa maxim is that state power and just rule based on dharam (righteous living) depend on each other ( ਰਾਜ ਬਿਨਾ ਨਹਿ ਧਰਮੁ ਚਲੈ ਹੈ॥ ਧਰਮੁ ਬਿਨਾ ਸਭ ਦਲੈ ਮਲੈ ਹੈ॥). As a last resort, Guru Gobind Singh instructed Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and his Khalsa generals from all over India to establish Khalsa Raj in the North-West. The pointer here is to ill-informed debates and not to argue for or against a Sikh state. Extreme right Hindu Rashtra politics fuel such debates.

We are simply saying that we are not Hindus, ਹਮ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਨਹੀਂ ! We reject Hindu practices as did our Gurus, the Bhagats and the Panj Piarary. By implication, all Sikhs born in Sikh families are Sikh and not Hindu, or any other religion of their pre-Sikh ancestry.

Gurmukh Singh OBE

Principal Civil Servant retd (UK)