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Found 20 results

  1. I am looking for the english translations of Bhavrasamrit Granth and Vivek Pradipika by Bhai Tirath Singh Nirmala. Can anyone please share where I may be able to find them?
  2. The SGPC, as the trendsetter in the Sikh world, has ratified Dr. Sant Singh Khalsa's transliterations of Gurbani which are highly erroneous and lacking the spirit of the original Gurmukhi. Unfortunately, since the green light from the Committee, one finds Khalsa's works all over the internet and in popular literature. For those interested in utilizing proper transliterations, I suggest perusing the Mahan Kosh and older Punjab simplifications which are still available even to this day. Below I present the proper transliteration of a Shabad which is usually employed by Islamic apologia to disparage the Sikh faith. Please note that Khalsa's erroneous transliteration was also used by Basics of Sikhi whilst they were debating whether Guru Nanak Dev Ji asks Muslims to be Muslims as per their own coda or as per Gurmat. 'Salok, Mahalla 1 To call yourself a Muslim is difficult... (here the original Gurmukhi reads 'Je hoye' i.e. if one is a Muslim- an individual who has submitted to Sri Akal Purakh) only then can you call yourself a Muslim. (In the next line, Khalsa has erroneously added in 'Prophet' whereas the original Gurmukhi has no mention of any preceptor:) To be a true Muslim, accept the primal "deen" (faith- by adding primal it means the ever-existent and unsullied truth as elaborated upon in the mool-mantar) as being sweet. Akin to a maskal (a file) scarping away rust, distribute your possessions among the needy. (Here Khalsa adds in 'Muhammad.'It is crucial to note that in the Bachittra-Natak 'Muhammad' is rendered 'Mahudin' whereas the term here is 'Muhanni.') Becoming a Muslim thus, tread via the edicts of deen and all delusions of life and death will be effaced. Accepting the Doer's will and surrendering to the Creator, discard your ego. Only then will your become merciful to one and all; only then can you call yourself a true Muslim.' -ASGGS, Ang. 141. A similar sentiment is again echoed, by the first Guru, on the same ang: '(In Islam) there are 5 prayers performed at 5 times having 5 nomenclatures each. (Vis-a-vis Gurmat the five prayers are) First prayer is of truth, the second of integrity in thought and deed, the third is of wishing prosperity upon all (and not just upon the Dar-al-Islam). The fourth is of possessing clean motives and the fifth is of praise (i.e. praise of Vaheguru). With these particular 5 prayers (as elaborated upon by the Guru), utter the confession of faith, good deeds and way of living; then you are a true Muslim. Oh Nanak, the false (who do not accept these figurative prayers) obtain falsehood.' -Ibid. The structure of this particular Shabad is a 'Pauri.' For a proper understanding of the idea conveyed in a 'Pauri,' the entire passage has to be read before passing any judgement (we do not expect Muslims to know this). The conclusive Shabad, by Guru Ramdass, summarizes the 'Pauri's' main concepts: 'If an individual forsakes aggrandizement, anger, falsehood and slander- if they discard maya and efface their "I-ness." If they discard their lust and hypersexuality- then even whilst residing in the shade of illusion they can obtain the blemishless Lord. If they forsake hubris and attachment to the spouse and progeny; if they abandon the thirst for worldly possessions- if they submerge their consciousness into the giver of bliss. Says Nanak, the True One will reside in that individual's mind. Through the true Shabad, they merge into the name eternal.'
  3. Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh! I made this thread as a way to give my own personal tips on how someone can limit the influences of massive increase in Kaam, these being pornography and masturbation, (Note: not doing these 2 does NOT mean you beat Kaam, but that's where the problem is started.) This is also the male version of the problems, I don't know the causes of females going towards these things, so I won't discuss too much on it, but; hopefully I can assist them as well. Also I'm not an expert on any of this stuff, just felt the need since it's a big topic to provide legit assistance. I will be adding more on, the first post is just intro. Some important things to note: 1. Why does someone have Kaam? Since the beginning of time, you have been carrying the power of Haumai, and from Haumai comes the 5 evils, one of these being Kaam and Kaam especially effects us, because of we have usually wanted to stay productive with reproduction and so in possibly many animal lives, we've been having sex like crazy people, these traits carried on till we became human, (which in a way tells us why some people have crazy fetishes). 2. Is Masturbation and Pornography related? My experience on this has been that they are only slightly related, but the reasons for them are different. Porn acts as a depresent; which means it's meant to take something from you; while masturbation happens due to circumstance-based. You can do both exclusively, but due to the nature of porn both usually go together. 3. Is there hope? This is the good news, and something we can be grateful for. That is the blessing of the greatest Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji holding our hands and freeing us from all our past deeds, and gives our life true meaning instead of being Ghulamis to our own problems. The greatness of being a Sikh can not be comprehended into normal thoughts or words, and even Kaam himself surrenders at the name of the blessed Guru. This is just a tiny intro on the basis of the issue, I plan to delve further into it, what my experience has been, why it's not going to be easy, and why there is hope for anyone if there can be hope for someone like me.
  4. Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh! Is there a reason why death is something hard for many to accept, even when it will happen to everyone? Why do people forget it? Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh!
  5. Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh! How different is the Bhagti movement from Sikhi? It seems like there are lots of overlaps and the only real difference I could find was the need for Gur-prassad, (among the entire movement not the 15 bhagats, who did believe in Gur-prassad). Also if they are really very similar, what prevented those from the Bhagti movement from being Sikh during the Hindu mass conversions to Islam? Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh!
  6. Are there any good Shastar makers out there who produce high quality products, at a reasonable rate, and also deliver overseas? If so, please post their details here. Thank you very much.
  7. I am asking this question as I am unsure as to whether Shaheed Singh's or Kaur's actually get mukht/liberated from becoming shaheed, as Gurbani provides no evidence of this? I understand that the Chali Mukte got liberated by Satguru Sri Gobind Singh Ji, and other shaheeds like Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. But lets forget puratan times because I know all the shaheeds then were brahm gianis but what about from 1984 and ownards? The reason I am asking this is because I recently attended an akath katha where the guy was standing up and explaining how to meet Vaheguru through Gurbani. He even went to explain what manmat is, showing a presentation slide full of manmat 'tools' like a mala and presented Gurbani pangtiya which state and show that using a mala is wrong. However what struck me most is when the guy doing the katha clearly stated that someone who becomes 'shaheed' will not get liberated and not meet Truth, as they have not recognized naam. As before, he presented the Gurbani pangti to prove what he is saying. I can't remember the pangti in Gurmukhi but it translates in English to something like "and they who die on the battlefield, will also not become liberated". It translated to something along those lines. I personally think that he misused the pangti to suit his own needs for the sake of the presentation. But thats what I want to know, is it true that a Shaheed won't get mukht? Is he just dying for the sake of the panth? However before I heard many times that Guru Gobind Singh Ji said something along the lines of "He who dies fighting for the panth will instantly get a throne in my kingdom, or God's kingdom" even though I haven't found a direct source to this. Is this true? Did Satguru Ji say this? I'm surprised nobody in the sangat spoke out against this, they all seemed to be under some kind of control as they guy seemed pretty intimidating to say the least.
  8. Today's hukamnama got me thinking about the parlok or next world as mentioned in the Punjabi translations. Can anyone provide insight as to what they think Guru Sahib says about the next world after this by citing bani. The Punjabi interpretations are great but I felt like I didn't get the answer still. Would be much appreciated.
  9. "Sabẖ ṯe vadā saṯgur Nānak jin kal rākẖī merī. ||4||10||57||" Ang 750. Does anyone know what the meaning of this line is? I've heard it be translated as 2 different things from various people. 1. "Guru Nanak is the greatest of all; He saved my honor in this Dark Age of Kali Yuga" 2. "The greatest is Satguru-(Vaheguru's formless way), Nanak, he has saved my honor". I do assume they both mean about the same, because "Joth Roop Har Aap Guroo Naanak Kehaayo ||" Ang 1408 "The Embodiment of Light, the Lord Himself is called Guru Nanak."
  10. ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕਾ ਖਾਲਸਾ, ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਫਤਹਿ ਜੀ । When I jap naam for a long time, then say do Ardaas, my head automaticaly randomly twitchs sometimes etc. Do others experience this? If so why does it occur?
  11. This was an issue that I was thinking about and felt like that Waheguru sometimes ignore the simple Ardas that we can say. Does anyone have an answer as to why that is?
  12. This was an issue that I was thinking about and felt like that Waheguru sometimes ignore the simple Ardas that we can say. Does anyone have an answer as to why that is?
  13. I recently researched some facets of Sikh history and here is what I have concluded. Please feel free to comment and criticize me. For the full article please see: http://tisarpanth.blogspot.co.nz/2014/09/dichotomy-and-de-evolution.html?view=magazine. I have also listed my sources, if in doubt please feel free to pursue them and get back to me. 'History is written by the Victors.' -Sir Winston Churchill. (1) History is never static but perpetually subject to fluctuation. Maybe then, what we call the past is nothing more than an adjective to catalog the notion of the commencement of an ideal or perception subject to later rereading. If the latter is taken to be true, then an imperative exists for a necessary re-defining of history (and it's trailblazers) every so often. Where would this leave us? An individual who was ratified as a hero five decades ago, may now become a genocidal villain (we have already witnessed this in the life of Prophet Muhammad) whereas a genocidal villain, of yesteryear, may soon be vindicated as a modern hero. Then again maybe there are some characters who will always inspire dichotomy. It might serve us well to study both Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, if not for a crash course in human rights violation ('the how to do it and escape') than for their military and political stratagems. Below is an abstract of pivotal figures in Sikh history who have undergone a similar evolution for political, and ethno-social means. Their past has been circumspect to fluctuation and here we attempt to dissect the truth and if possible elucidate why some were forgotten in light of others who historically triumphed. Rama and Ravana- Rama and Ravana are not exclusive to Sikh historicity, nor do Sikhs subscribe to their pantheons or religious observances. They however reflect the primeval Good Versus Evil (or more bluntly us and them) psyche over which many cultures/religious parcels construct their own foundations-Sikhs alike. The Ramayana, despite it's prevalence, cannot be accepted as being an authentic account in light of it's fantastic claims. Written in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the sub-continent's first great empire (2), the ode of Rama and Ravana can easily be interpreted as being an attempt to accept political loss, and the ascension of a new empire and a new way of life. Preliminary texts of theRamayana (the tale of Rama) often construes Rama to be lustful ('the son of Dasratha is indeed lustful' (3) ) forgetful of his own divinity ('the Gods reminded him...' (4)) and often imperfect in conduct. Ravana's only failing is his hubris. If perceived, in light of history and historicity, Rama can be delineated as being an amalgamation of the various conflicting powers attempting to succeed the fragmented Mauryan's. (5) Ravana then is a Mauryan; an embodiment of the past empire and it's failures. The latter perception pans out especially since it is believed that the Ramayan's birth spanned from 750 BCE-200 CE. It's contents are replete with the motif of Kshatiryas (warriors in exile) thus reflecting an internecine conflict of sorts between Kshatiryas and the higher Brahmins. Was Ravana truly the rapist which the Ramayana inaugurates him to be? Or was he a monarch beset on all sides by fragmentation and factionalism who ultimately confronted hopes of a foreign progress via his farsightedness? History is silent on this matter, yet several Indian communities still venerate him as a noble emperor. (6) This dichotomy indicates that maybe the truth is more subtle. Ravana, or his real life counterpart, might as well have been an indigenous ruler confronted by Vedic (borrowed from the Ramayana) hordes which threatened to engulf his empire. Whatever the religiosity orbiting Ramayana it should serve as a lesson for ruler, scholar and layman alike. It is not the tale of Rama as commonly promulgated, but the tragedy of Ravana and through him revolution and utopia. Orwellian in approach, theRamayana confronts a post-revolution empire attempting to construct an utopia but teetering on the brink of collapse itself. Ultimately with the demise of it's monarch, history is re-written and the latter banished to infamy. From fame to infamy and back. The curious case of Banda Singh Bahadur and Binod Singh- Sir John Malcolm in his Sketch of the Sikhs observes: 'though the Sikhs, from being animated by a similar feeling, and encouraged by his first successes, followed Banda to the field, they do not revere his memory; and he is termed, by some of their authors, a heretic ; who, intoxicated with victory, endeavoured to change the religious institutions and laws of Guru G6vind, many of whose most devoted followers this fierce chief put to death...' (7) Banda Singh Bahadur is often officiated as being the primary Sikh ruler. To him we will apply the template which we birthed in our previous discussion regarding the Ramayana. Important points to acknowledge are: *The genesis of a mythos. * The marginalizing of any opposing history or historic figure. *The politics behind such actions. In 1708 A.D. Guru Gobind Singh Ji dispatched both a newly converted Banda, and the chief custodian of the Akal-Takhat, Akali-Nihung Binod Singh to subdue the Mughals in Punjab, wreck mass havoc and if plausible establish territorial supremacy for the Khalsa. Up till the Khalsa's sudden surrender of the Punjab (8), relations between Banda and Binod Singh were icily cordial if not fully warm. It was in the aftermath of Banda's declaration of a pseudo-Guruship that the real conflict commenced. (9) Incensed by certain 'reforms' propagated by the now vain Banda, Binod Singh and a mass body of the Khalsa parted from him under the aegis of Mata Sundar Kaur Ji and commenced harassing Mughal and 'Bandai' (Banda's own apostles) alike. (10) Curiously however by the dawn of the Sikh Empire, under Ranjit Singh, Banda's image had undergone a mass variation. No more was he a traitor, but an embodiment of Khalsa sovereignty and the latter's prolonged bloody history. Binod Singh meanwhile was marginalized as being nothing more than a minor inconvenience. (11) The latter situation is an obfuscating one, especially in light of the fact that a Nihung under Ranjit Singh-Ratan Singh Bhangu, author of the Sri Gur Panth Prakash- ardently criticizes Banda in his biography of the Khalsa nation. Ironically in lieu of any substantial academic vindication on the propagation of a 'Banda like no other' myth, during this era, we can somewhat amateurishly conclude then that this rebirth of Banda was probably politically oriented. Banda Singh's figure however prophetically boomed during the post-Singh-Sabha colonial era. The ascension of a radical Hindu movement, oriented towards establishing sole Hindu supremacy sub-continent wide, lead to a parallel Sikh offshoot which attempted to battle it and pursue ethnonationalism simultaneously. Banda became the bone of contention between both parties. Several prominent Hindu scholars attempted to cast him as a Hindu assisting his 'weakened Sikh brothers;' whereas Sikh academicians fought back with historic proof establishing Banda to be autonomous of Hinduism. Criticism of Banda during this time was heavily ignored and even vilified by a 'colonialised' Sikh academia which desired to circumvent his imperfectness altogether. The result? The image of a perfect 'Banda like no other' became ossified in Sikh thought and any criticism was (and is) 'academically refuted' or dismissed as being nothing more than a 'political, social or even religious conspiracy.' (12) Let us now summarize all of the above via the criterion which we mentioned in this sub-section's beginning. *The genesis of the mythos: 'A Banda like no other,' commenced under Ranjit Singh and was later ossified by colonial and post-colonial Sikh and non-Sikh scholars. *The marginalizing of any opposing history or historic figure: Even today Binod Singh is asserted to have betrayed Banda Singh in pursuit of parochial goals. Other then in Nihung Dals, no mention is made of him and many authors have discarded him altogether from their works. Historians such as Dr. Ganda Singh, despite acknowledging the fluidity of their field, continually (and often myopically) asserted any criticism of Banda to be a produce of an overbearing and radical mentality. Binod Singh meanwhile was vilified as the real traitor who betrayed the 'Sikh cause.' *The politics behind such actions: Ethnonationalism, and maybe a discomfort at the first Sikh sovereign's temporary transgressions. Rereading Jassa Singhs' Alhuwalia and Ramgarhia. Realpolitik versus theocracy- Modern-era, and Jassa Singh Ramgarhia is a humanitarian like no other; his name-sharing counterpart ( an eerie-similarity) on the other hand, Jassa Singh Alhuwalia meanwhile has been marginalized, maybe due to his historical adherence to the Nihung order? Lets flip a few pages back to 1748 A.D. and we see Ramgarhia besieging the fortress of Ram-Runi under the command of Adina Beg Khan. (13) The besieged are composed of two-hundred Sikhs sitting among their deceased, and now rotting, two-hundred companions. Frustrated, they finally lambaste Ramgarhia and threaten to expel him from their socio-cultural, and religious, ranks if his defiance against them continues. Ramgarhia is chastened and immediately capitulates. His actions buy temporary peace for the Sikhs who in this uneasy ceasefire prepare for a mass offensive against the Mughals. A new hero has arisen. No more is Ramgarhia the bane of the Sikhs. He has now become a pivotal leader in their affairs. But Ramgarhia's rise to power, and his realpolitik, earn him many foes in the succeeding years. The most ardent, and overbearing, among the latter is Akali-Nihung Jassa Singh Alhuwalia, 4th Commander-In-Chief of the Budha-Dal and paramount custodian of the Akal-Takhat. Both men are trailblazers but internecine friction ensures mass hostility on both sides with the result that Ramgarhia is forced to go into exile for over 12 years. (14) The latter is but a short sketch of a pivotal, and often icy, political relationship which foreboded the internal decay and fall of the Khalsa Misls. Both Alhuwalia and Ramgarhia were valued generals of their era, yet the fact that both often communicated with each other via their swords begs the question, why? Let us attempt to slay this multi-headed hydra via a point-by-point basis. 1.) What in the blazes was Ramgarhia doing in cohort with the Mughals? Sikh-Mughal relations, in the seventeenth century, were not a close-cut matter of 'kill, kill, kill!' Complexities, and anomalies, existed and Ramgarhia was only one of many of the latter. The need to create a territorial, and political, state brought the fledgling Sikhs in direct confrontation with the already hostile, and religiously incensed, Mughals. Ramgarhia's father was a pivotal player in the early Sikh sovereignty campaign headed by Banda Singh. Several theories exist over as to why he deserted his brethren, although recent research defiantly refutes this notion and instead indicates expulsion. It seems that Ramgarhia senior committed infanticide and was subsequently revoked of his privileges and ousted by the Khalsa. (15) Incensed- for him events were not as black and white as they were for his judges- Ramgarhia senior offered his services to the Mughal governor at Lahore and was subsequently accepted as a Captain in the latter's forces. Ramgarhia junior would soon inherit this position along with his three brothers. 2.) But weren't the Mughals thirsty for Sikh blood during this era? Ramgarhia's capitulation, at Ram-Runi, indicates two things. One, he was contemplating striking it alone and two, it seems pressure was increasing on him day by day to preserve his integrity in the eyes of suspicious Imperialists. How did Ramgarhia survive and gain employ in such an ambivalent era? Let us cast a glance at the contemporary Mughal empire, our subject's long-time employer. It's administration had become decentralized in the absence of any effective leadership, and all outposts outside Delhi had announced a subtle autonomy. Adina Beg Khan, and other governor-generals, were not only tasked with subduing the Sikhs but also confronting hostile third parties such as the raiding Afghanis, marauding Persians and occasional Mujhaideen incensed by the state's support of one Islamic sect. (16) Men like Khan, in order to preserve their own skins and defy their masters, formed coalitions with various Sikh chiefs and often enrolled them in their own ranks, thus Ramgarhia's survival. 3.) Wasn't internal forgiveness and pardon a part of the then Sikh structure? It was, but the demands for an autonomous empire were ever-growing and transgressions were hard to sweep under the carpet. Ramgarhia, despite being situated in the middle of the Sikh influence, was often at odds with colleagues such as Baghel Singh KaroraSinghia and any other critics. His brothers' impunity however often embroiled him in trouble and this point soon became a beating stick to assault his credibility. Matters finally came to a head when he attempted to gloss over his brothers' unprovoked offensive against Alhuwalia and the latter's entourage. The succeeding year, he was expelled from Punjab and a mass portion of his territory taken over by the Kanihyaas. Chief, Warrior, Politician, Ruler and forever Accused. Ala Singh of Patiala and his defence- Reviled as a traitor to the Sikh cause, was Ala Singh of Patiala truly the inimical tactician he is being made out to be currently? Or were there more poignant powers at work which made him adopt a divergent course from that of his fellows? Whilst the Sikh Misls were fighting for their survival in the 1730's, Ala Singh (with occasional assistance from the Shahida Misl) (17), was laying the foundation for the future state of Patiala. The son of a petty landlord, under Mughal rule, he had arisen to Goliathian prominence and even been recognized as a regal persona by both his brethren and their inimical foe, Ahmad Shah Abdali. 1.) Was Ala Singh not subject to the stringent measures self-imposed by the Sikhs upon themselves? Ala Singh resided in the Malwa and had emerged as the latter's pontificate cultivator. Various political incentives, and marriages, often buttressed his leadership ambitions and offered him an insurance not available to his fellows. The fact he was related to imminent men such as Bhai Ram Dayal, befriended by me such as Bhai Gurbaksh Singh, and enjoyed the support of pedagogues such as Baba Mool Chand also worked well in his favor. (18) 2.) What was Ala Singh's defense? Even though Ala Singh's ability to call upon his kin, and brethren, played a pivotal role in his rise to power; realpolitik also played a decisive factor. Malwa was more prone to repeated Afghani incursions than it's neighboring Majha. This not only placed Patiala right in the grasp of the foe, but also placed ardent stress upon it's logistics; Ala Singh's defense often orbited these points. His ironic situation juxtaposed with his ardent support of his brethren (though subtle) and grasp ofrealpolitik was enough for most Sikh chiefs to forgive him. 3.) So how did perceptions change? Maharajah Ranjit Singh's interference in Patiala's affairs-in the early nineteenth century- ultimately lead to the Cis-Sutlej treaty which guaranteed the state extensive support from the neighboring British protectorate. Authors, and historians, such as Ratan Singh Bhangu took this as a cue to cast Ala Singh in a dis-favorable light. Sources: (1) Accessed from: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/97949-history-is-written-by-the-victors (2) Doniger, W; (2009) The Hindus: An Alternative History, Oxford University Press, NY, USA; pg. 213-216. (3) ibid, pg. 225. (4) ibid, pg. 222. (5) ibid, pg. 216. (6) Sadasvia, S; (2000) A Social History of India, S.B. Nangia A.P.H Publishing Corporation, New-Delhi, India; pg. 165. (7) Accessed from http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Criticism_of_Banda_Singh_Bahadur (8) See The Anachronistic Sovereign 1, Tisarpanth Blogspot for a full exegesis from the Sri Gur Panth Prakash. (9) ibid, from Bhangu. (10) ibid, from Bhangu. (11) ibid, from Bhangu. It is important to note that Bhangu is extensively critical of Banda whilst praiseworthy of Binod Singh. (12) Rise of the Khalsa, animated film directed by Prabhjot Singh Makkar; produced by Vismaad. (13) Dhavan, P; (2011) When Sparrows Became Hawks. The Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition. 1699-1799. Oxford University Press, New-York, America, pg. 74. (14) Singh Kazan; (1920) History of the Sikhs, New Delhi Press, India, see section titled Sikh-Misls. (15) Dhavan, P; (2011) When Sparrows Became Hawks. The Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition. 1699-1799. Oxford University Press, New-York, America, pg. 82. (16) See Gandhi's Sikhs in the Eighteenth Century. (17) Reiterated from: http://tisarpanth.blogspot.co.nz/2014/04/a-short-sketch-of-khalsa-confederacies.html (18) Dhavan, P; (2011) When Sparrows Became Hawks. The Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition. 1699-1799. Oxford University Press, New-York, America, pg.107.
  14. I recently researched some facets of Sikh history and here is what I have concluded. Please feel free to comment and criticize me. For the full article please see: http://tisarpanth.blogspot.co.nz/2014/09/dichotomy-and-de-evolution.html?view=magazine. I have also listed my sources, if in doubt please feel free to pursue them and get back to me. 'History is written by the Victors.' -Sir Winston Churchill. (1) History is never static but perpetually subject to fluctuation. Maybe then, what we call the past is nothing more than an adjective to catalog the notion of the commencement of an ideal or perception subject to later rereading. If the latter is taken to be true, then an imperative exists for a necessary re-defining of history (and it's trailblazers) every so often. Where would this leave us? An individual who was ratified as a hero five decades ago, may now become a genocidal villain (we have already witnessed this in the life of Prophet Muhammad) whereas a genocidal villain, of yesteryear, may soon be vindicated as a modern hero. Then again maybe there are some characters who will always inspire dichotomy. It might serve us well to study both Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, if not for a crash course in human rights violation ('the how to do it and escape') than for their military and political stratagems. Below is an abstract of pivotal figures in Sikh history who have undergone a similar evolution for political, and ethno-social means. Their past has been circumspect to fluctuation and here we attempt to dissect the truth and if possible elucidate why some were forgotten in light of others who historically triumphed. Rama and Ravana- Rama and Ravana are not exclusive to Sikh historicity, nor do Sikhs subscribe to their pantheons or religious observances. They however reflect the primeval Good Versus Evil (or more bluntly us and them) psyche over which many cultures/religious parcels construct their own foundations-Sikhs alike. The Ramayana, despite it's prevalence, cannot be accepted as being an authentic account in light of it's fantastic claims. Written in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the sub-continent's first great empire (2), the ode of Rama and Ravana can easily be interpreted as being an attempt to accept political loss, and the ascension of a new empire and a new way of life. Preliminary texts of theRamayana (the tale of Rama) often construes Rama to be lustful ('the son of Dasratha is indeed lustful' (3) ) forgetful of his own divinity ('the Gods reminded him...' (4)) and often imperfect in conduct. Ravana's only failing is his hubris. If perceived, in light of history and historicity, Rama can be delineated as being an amalgamation of the various conflicting powers attempting to succeed the fragmented Mauryan's. (5) Ravana then is a Mauryan; an embodiment of the past empire and it's failures. The latter perception pans out especially since it is believed that the Ramayan's birth spanned from 750 BCE-200 CE. It's contents are replete with the motif of Kshatiryas (warriors in exile) thus reflecting an internecine conflict of sorts between Kshatiryas and the higher Brahmins. Was Ravana truly the rapist which the Ramayana inaugurates him to be? Or was he a monarch beset on all sides by fragmentation and factionalism who ultimately confronted hopes of a foreign progress via his farsightedness? History is silent on this matter, yet several Indian communities still venerate him as a noble emperor. (6) This dichotomy indicates that maybe the truth is more subtle. Ravana, or his real life counterpart, might as well have been an indigenous ruler confronted by Vedic (borrowed from the Ramayana) hordes which threatened to engulf his empire. Whatever the religiosity orbiting Ramayana it should serve as a lesson for ruler, scholar and layman alike. It is not the tale of Rama as commonly promulgated, but the tragedy of Ravana and through him revolution and utopia. Orwellian in approach, theRamayana confronts a post-revolution empire attempting to construct an utopia but teetering on the brink of collapse itself. Ultimately with the demise of it's monarch, history is re-written and the latter banished to infamy. From fame to infamy and back. The curious case of Banda Singh Bahadur and Binod Singh- Sir John Malcolm in his Sketch of the Sikhs observes: 'though the Sikhs, from being animated by a similar feeling, and encouraged by his first successes, followed Banda to the field, they do not revere his memory; and he is termed, by some of their authors, a heretic ; who, intoxicated with victory, endeavoured to change the religious institutions and laws of Guru G6vind, many of whose most devoted followers this fierce chief put to death...' (7) Banda Singh Bahadur is often officiated as being the primary Sikh ruler. To him we will apply the template which we birthed in our previous discussion regarding the Ramayana. Important points to acknowledge are: *The genesis of a mythos. * The marginalizing of any opposing history or historic figure. *The politics behind such actions. In 1708 A.D. Guru Gobind Singh Ji dispatched both a newly converted Banda, and the chief custodian of the Akal-Takhat, Akali-Nihung Binod Singh to subdue the Mughals in Punjab, wreck mass havoc and if plausible establish territorial supremacy for the Khalsa. Up till the Khalsa's sudden surrender of the Punjab (8), relations between Banda and Binod Singh were icily cordial if not fully warm. It was in the aftermath of Banda's declaration of a pseudo-Guruship that the real conflict commenced. (9) Incensed by certain 'reforms' propagated by the now vain Banda, Binod Singh and a mass body of the Khalsa parted from him under the aegis of Mata Sundar Kaur Ji and commenced harassing Mughal and 'Bandai' (Banda's own apostles) alike. (10) Curiously however by the dawn of the Sikh Empire, under Ranjit Singh, Banda's image had undergone a mass variation. No more was he a traitor, but an embodiment of Khalsa sovereignty and the latter's prolonged bloody history. Binod Singh meanwhile was marginalized as being nothing more than a minor inconvenience. (11) The latter situation is an obfuscating one, especially in light of the fact that a Nihung under Ranjit Singh-Ratan Singh Bhangu, author of the Sri Gur Panth Prakash- ardently criticizes Banda in his biography of the Khalsa nation. Ironically in lieu of any substantial academic vindication on the propagation of a 'Banda like no other' myth, during this era, we can somewhat amateurishly conclude then that this rebirth of Banda was probably politically oriented. Banda Singh's figure however prophetically boomed during the post-Singh-Sabha colonial era. The ascension of a radical Hindu movement, oriented towards establishing sole Hindu supremacy sub-continent wide, lead to a parallel Sikh offshoot which attempted to battle it and pursue ethnonationalism simultaneously. Banda became the bone of contention between both parties. Several prominent Hindu scholars attempted to cast him as a Hindu assisting his 'weakened Sikh brothers;' whereas Sikh academicians fought back with historic proof establishing Banda to be autonomous of Hinduism. Criticism of Banda during this time was heavily ignored and even vilified by a 'colonialised' Sikh academia which desired to circumvent his imperfectness altogether. The result? The image of a perfect 'Banda like no other' became ossified in Sikh thought and any criticism was (and is) 'academically refuted' or dismissed as being nothing more than a 'political, social or even religious conspiracy.' (12) Let us now summarize all of the above via the criterion which we mentioned in this sub-section's beginning. *The genesis of the mythos: 'A Banda like no other,' commenced under Ranjit Singh and was later ossified by colonial and post-colonial Sikh and non-Sikh scholars. *The marginalizing of any opposing history or historic figure: Even today Binod Singh is asserted to have betrayed Banda Singh in pursuit of parochial goals. Other then in Nihung Dals, no mention is made of him and many authors have discarded him altogether from their works. Historians such as Dr. Ganda Singh, despite acknowledging the fluidity of their field, continually (and often myopically) asserted any criticism of Banda to be a produce of an overbearing and radical mentality. Binod Singh meanwhile was vilified as the real traitor who betrayed the 'Sikh cause.' *The politics behind such actions: Ethnonationalism, and maybe a discomfort at the first Sikh sovereign's temporary transgressions. Rereading Jassa Singhs' Alhuwalia and Ramgarhia. Realpolitik versus theocracy- Modern-era, and Jassa Singh Ramgarhia is a humanitarian like no other; his name-sharing counterpart ( an eerie-similarity) on the other hand, Jassa Singh Alhuwalia meanwhile has been marginalized, maybe due to his historical adherence to the Nihung order? Lets flip a few pages back to 1748 A.D. and we see Ramgarhia besieging the fortress of Ram-Runi under the command of Adina Beg Khan. (13) The besieged are composed of two-hundred Sikhs sitting among their deceased, and now rotting, two-hundred companions. Frustrated, they finally lambaste Ramgarhia and threaten to expel him from their socio-cultural, and religious, ranks if his defiance against them continues. Ramgarhia is chastened and immediately capitulates. His actions buy temporary peace for the Sikhs who in this uneasy ceasefire prepare for a mass offensive against the Mughals. A new hero has arisen. No more is Ramgarhia the bane of the Sikhs. He has now become a pivotal leader in their affairs. But Ramgarhia's rise to power, and his realpolitik, earn him many foes in the succeeding years. The most ardent, and overbearing, among the latter is Akali-Nihung Jassa Singh Alhuwalia, 4th Commander-In-Chief of the Budha-Dal and paramount custodian of the Akal-Takhat. Both men are trailblazers but internecine friction ensures mass hostility on both sides with the result that Ramgarhia is forced to go into exile for over 12 years. (14) The latter is but a short sketch of a pivotal, and often icy, political relationship which foreboded the internal decay and fall of the Khalsa Misls. Both Alhuwalia and Ramgarhia were valued generals of their era, yet the fact that both often communicated with each other via their swords begs the question, why? Let us attempt to slay this multi-headed hydra via a point-by-point basis. 1.) What in the blazes was Ramgarhia doing in cohort with the Mughals? Sikh-Mughal relations, in the seventeenth century, were not a close-cut matter of 'kill, kill, kill!' Complexities, and anomalies, existed and Ramgarhia was only one of many of the latter. The need to create a territorial, and political, state brought the fledgling Sikhs in direct confrontation with the already hostile, and religiously incensed, Mughals. Ramgarhia's father was a pivotal player in the early Sikh sovereignty campaign headed by Banda Singh. Several theories exist over as to why he deserted his brethren, although recent research defiantly refutes this notion and instead indicates expulsion. It seems that Ramgarhia senior committed infanticide and was subsequently revoked of his privileges and ousted by the Khalsa. (15) Incensed- for him events were not as black and white as they were for his judges- Ramgarhia senior offered his services to the Mughal governor at Lahore and was subsequently accepted as a Captain in the latter's forces. Ramgarhia junior would soon inherit this position along with his three brothers. 2.) But weren't the Mughals thirsty for Sikh blood during this era? Ramgarhia's capitulation, at Ram-Runi, indicates two things. One, he was contemplating striking it alone and two, it seems pressure was increasing on him day by day to preserve his integrity in the eyes of suspicious Imperialists. How did Ramgarhia survive and gain employ in such an ambivalent era? Let us cast a glance at the contemporary Mughal empire, our subject's long-time employer. It's administration had become decentralized in the absence of any effective leadership, and all outposts outside Delhi had announced a subtle autonomy. Adina Beg Khan, and other governor-generals, were not only tasked with subduing the Sikhs but also confronting hostile third parties such as the raiding Afghanis, marauding Persians and occasional Mujhaideen incensed by the state's support of one Islamic sect. (16) Men like Khan, in order to preserve their own skins and defy their masters, formed coalitions with various Sikh chiefs and often enrolled them in their own ranks, thus Ramgarhia's survival. 3.) Wasn't internal forgiveness and pardon a part of the then Sikh structure? It was, but the demands for an autonomous empire were ever-growing and transgressions were hard to sweep under the carpet. Ramgarhia, despite being situated in the middle of the Sikh influence, was often at odds with colleagues such as Baghel Singh KaroraSinghia and any other critics. His brothers' impunity however often embroiled him in trouble and this point soon became a beating stick to assault his credibility. Matters finally came to a head when he attempted to gloss over his brothers' unprovoked offensive against Alhuwalia and the latter's entourage. The succeeding year, he was expelled from Punjab and a mass portion of his territory taken over by the Kanihyaas. Chief, Warrior, Politician, Ruler and forever Accused. Ala Singh of Patiala and his defence- Reviled as a traitor to the Sikh cause, was Ala Singh of Patiala truly the inimical tactician he is being made out to be currently? Or were there more poignant powers at work which made him adopt a divergent course from that of his fellows? Whilst the Sikh Misls were fighting for their survival in the 1730's, Ala Singh (with occasional assistance from the Shahida Misl) (17), was laying the foundation for the future state of Patiala. The son of a petty landlord, under Mughal rule, he had arisen to Goliathian prominence and even been recognized as a regal persona by both his brethren and their inimical foe, Ahmad Shah Abdali. 1.) Was Ala Singh not subject to the stringent measures self-imposed by the Sikhs upon themselves? Ala Singh resided in the Malwa and had emerged as the latter's pontificate cultivator. Various political incentives, and marriages, often buttressed his leadership ambitions and offered him an insurance not available to his fellows. The fact he was related to imminent men such as Bhai Ram Dayal, befriended by me such as Bhai Gurbaksh Singh, and enjoyed the support of pedagogues such as Baba Mool Chand also worked well in his favor. (18) 2.) What was Ala Singh's defense? Even though Ala Singh's ability to call upon his kin, and brethren, played a pivotal role in his rise to power; realpolitik also played a decisive factor. Malwa was more prone to repeated Afghani incursions than it's neighboring Majha. This not only placed Patiala right in the grasp of the foe, but also placed ardent stress upon it's logistics; Ala Singh's defense often orbited these points. His ironic situation juxtaposed with his ardent support of his brethren (though subtle) and grasp ofrealpolitik was enough for most Sikh chiefs to forgive him. 3.) So how did perceptions change? Maharajah Ranjit Singh's interference in Patiala's affairs-in the early nineteenth century- ultimately lead to the Cis-Sutlej treaty which guaranteed the state extensive support from the neighboring British protectorate. Authors, and historians, such as Ratan Singh Bhangu took this as a cue to cast Ala Singh in a dis-favorable light. Sources: (1) Accessed from: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/97949-history-is-written-by-the-victors (2) Doniger, W; (2009) The Hindus: An Alternative History, Oxford University Press, NY, USA; pg. 213-216. (3) ibid, pg. 225. (4) ibid, pg. 222. (5) ibid, pg. 216. (6) Sadasvia, S; (2000) A Social History of India, S.B. Nangia A.P.H Publishing Corporation, New-Delhi, India; pg. 165. (7) Accessed from http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Criticism_of_Banda_Singh_Bahadur (8) See The Anachronistic Sovereign 1, Tisarpanth Blogspot for a full exegesis from the Sri Gur Panth Prakash. (9) ibid, from Bhangu. (10) ibid, from Bhangu. (11) ibid, from Bhangu. It is important to note that Bhangu is extensively critical of Banda whilst praiseworthy of Binod Singh. (12) Rise of the Khalsa, animated film directed by Prabhjot Singh Makkar; produced by Vismaad. (13) Dhavan, P; (2011) When Sparrows Became Hawks. The Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition. 1699-1799. Oxford University Press, New-York, America, pg. 74. (14) Singh Kazan; (1920) History of the Sikhs, New Delhi Press, India, see section titled Sikh-Misls. (15) Dhavan, P; (2011) When Sparrows Became Hawks. The Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition. 1699-1799. Oxford University Press, New-York, America, pg. 82. (16) See Gandhi's Sikhs in the Eighteenth Century. (17) Reiterated from: http://tisarpanth.blogspot.co.nz/2014/04/a-short-sketch-of-khalsa-confederacies.html (18) Dhavan, P; (2011) When Sparrows Became Hawks. The Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition. 1699-1799. Oxford University Press, New-York, America, pg.107.
  15. I recently researched some facets of Sikh history and here is what I have concluded. Please feel free to comment and criticize me. For the full article please see: http://tisarpanth.blogspot.co.nz/2014/09/dichotomy-and-de-evolution.html?view=magazine. I have also listed my sources, if in doubt please feel free to pursue them and get back to me. 'History is written by the Victors.' -Sir Winston Churchill. (1) History is never static but perpetually subject to fluctuation. Maybe then, what we call the past is nothing more than an adjective to catalog the notion of the commencement of an ideal or perception subject to later rereading. If the latter is taken to be true, then an imperative exists for a necessary re-defining of history (and it's trailblazers) every so often. Where would this leave us? An individual who was ratified as a hero five decades ago, may now become a genocidal villain (we have already witnessed this in the life of Prophet Muhammad) whereas a genocidal villain, of yesteryear, may soon be vindicated as a modern hero. Then again maybe there are some characters who will always inspire dichotomy. It might serve us well to study both Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, if not for a crash course in human rights violation ('the how to do it and escape') than for their military and political stratagems. Below is an abstract of pivotal figures in Sikh history who have undergone a similar evolution for political, and ethno-social means. Their past has been circumspect to fluctuation and here we attempt to dissect the truth and if possible elucidate why some were forgotten in light of others who historically triumphed. Rama and Ravana- Rama and Ravana are not exclusive to Sikh historicity, nor do Sikhs subscribe to their pantheons or religious observances. They however reflect the primeval Good Versus Evil (or more bluntly us and them) psyche over which many cultures/religious parcels construct their own foundations-Sikhs alike. The Ramayana, despite it's prevalence, cannot be accepted as being an authentic account in light of it's fantastic claims. Written in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the sub-continent's first great empire (2), the ode of Rama and Ravana can easily be interpreted as being an attempt to accept political loss, and the ascension of a new empire and a new way of life. Preliminary texts of theRamayana (the tale of Rama) often construes Rama to be lustful ('the son of Dasratha is indeed lustful' (3) ) forgetful of his own divinity ('the Gods reminded him...' (4)) and often imperfect in conduct. Ravana's only failing is his hubris. If perceived, in light of history and historicity, Rama can be delineated as being an amalgamation of the various conflicting powers attempting to succeed the fragmented Mauryan's. (5) Ravana then is a Mauryan; an embodiment of the past empire and it's failures. The latter perception pans out especially since it is believed that the Ramayan's birth spanned from 750 BCE-200 CE. It's contents are replete with the motif of Kshatiryas (warriors in exile) thus reflecting an internecine conflict of sorts between Kshatiryas and the higher Brahmins. Was Ravana truly the rapist which the Ramayana inaugurates him to be? Or was he a monarch beset on all sides by fragmentation and factionalism who ultimately confronted hopes of a foreign progress via his farsightedness? History is silent on this matter, yet several Indian communities still venerate him as a noble emperor. (6) This dichotomy indicates that maybe the truth is more subtle. Ravana, or his real life counterpart, might as well have been an indigenous ruler confronted by Vedic (borrowed from the Ramayana) hordes which threatened to engulf his empire. Whatever the religiosity orbiting Ramayana it should serve as a lesson for ruler, scholar and layman alike. It is not the tale of Rama as commonly promulgated, but the tragedy of Ravana and through him revolution and utopia. Orwellian in approach, theRamayana confronts a post-revolution empire attempting to construct an utopia but teetering on the brink of collapse itself. Ultimately with the demise of it's monarch, history is re-written and the latter banished to infamy. From fame to infamy and back. The curious case of Banda Singh Bahadur and Binod Singh- Sir John Malcolm in his Sketch of the Sikhs observes: 'though the Sikhs, from being animated by a similar feeling, and encouraged by his first successes, followed Banda to the field, they do not revere his memory; and he is termed, by some of their authors, a heretic ; who, intoxicated with victory, endeavoured to change the religious institutions and laws of Guru G6vind, many of whose most devoted followers this fierce chief put to death...' (7) Banda Singh Bahadur is often officiated as being the primary Sikh ruler. To him we will apply the template which we birthed in our previous discussion regarding the Ramayana. Important points to acknowledge are: *The genesis of a mythos. * The marginalizing of any opposing history or historic figure. *The politics behind such actions. In 1708 A.D. Guru Gobind Singh Ji dispatched both a newly converted Banda, and the chief custodian of the Akal-Takhat, Akali-Nihung Binod Singh to subdue the Mughals in Punjab, wreck mass havoc and if plausible establish territorial supremacy for the Khalsa. Up till the Khalsa's sudden surrender of the Punjab (8), relations between Banda and Binod Singh were icily cordial if not fully warm. It was in the aftermath of Banda's declaration of a pseudo-Guruship that the real conflict commenced. (9) Incensed by certain 'reforms' propagated by the now vain Banda, Binod Singh and a mass body of the Khalsa parted from him under the aegis of Mata Sundar Kaur Ji and commenced harassing Mughal and 'Bandai' (Banda's own apostles) alike. (10) Curiously however by the dawn of the Sikh Empire, under Ranjit Singh, Banda's image had undergone a mass variation. No more was he a traitor, but an embodiment of Khalsa sovereignty and the latter's prolonged bloody history. Binod Singh meanwhile was marginalized as being nothing more than a minor inconvenience. (11) The latter situation is an obfuscating one, especially in light of the fact that a Nihung under Ranjit Singh-Ratan Singh Bhangu, author of the Sri Gur Panth Prakash- ardently criticizes Banda in his biography of the Khalsa nation. Ironically in lieu of any substantial academic vindication on the propagation of a 'Banda like no other' myth, during this era, we can somewhat amateurishly conclude then that this rebirth of Banda was probably politically oriented. Banda Singh's figure however prophetically boomed during the post-Singh-Sabha colonial era. The ascension of a radical Hindu movement, oriented towards establishing sole Hindu supremacy sub-continent wide, lead to a parallel Sikh offshoot which attempted to battle it and pursue ethnonationalism simultaneously. Banda became the bone of contention between both parties. Several prominent Hindu scholars attempted to cast him as a Hindu assisting his 'weakened Sikh brothers;' whereas Sikh academicians fought back with historic proof establishing Banda to be autonomous of Hinduism. Criticism of Banda during this time was heavily ignored and even vilified by a 'colonialised' Sikh academia which desired to circumvent his imperfectness altogether. The result? The image of a perfect 'Banda like no other' became ossified in Sikh thought and any criticism was (and is) 'academically refuted' or dismissed as being nothing more than a 'political, social or even religious conspiracy.' (12) Let us now summarize all of the above via the criterion which we mentioned in this sub-section's beginning. *The genesis of the mythos: 'A Banda like no other,' commenced under Ranjit Singh and was later ossified by colonial and post-colonial Sikh and non-Sikh scholars. *The marginalizing of any opposing history or historic figure: Even today Binod Singh is asserted to have betrayed Banda Singh in pursuit of parochial goals. Other then in Nihung Dals, no mention is made of him and many authors have discarded him altogether from their works. Historians such as Dr. Ganda Singh, despite acknowledging the fluidity of their field, continually (and often myopically) asserted any criticism of Banda to be a produce of an overbearing and radical mentality. Binod Singh meanwhile was vilified as the real traitor who betrayed the 'Sikh cause.' *The politics behind such actions: Ethnonationalism, and maybe a discomfort at the first Sikh sovereign's temporary transgressions. Rereading Jassa Singhs' Alhuwalia and Ramgarhia. Realpolitik versus theocracy- Modern-era, and Jassa Singh Ramgarhia is a humanitarian like no other; his name-sharing counterpart ( an eerie-similarity) on the other hand, Jassa Singh Alhuwalia meanwhile has been marginalized, maybe due to his historical adherence to the Nihung order? Lets flip a few pages back to 1748 A.D. and we see Ramgarhia besieging the fortress of Ram-Runi under the command of Adina Beg Khan. (13) The besieged are composed of two-hundred Sikhs sitting among their deceased, and now rotting, two-hundred companions. Frustrated, they finally lambaste Ramgarhia and threaten to expel him from their socio-cultural, and religious, ranks if his defiance against them continues. Ramgarhia is chastened and immediately capitulates. His actions buy temporary peace for the Sikhs who in this uneasy ceasefire prepare for a mass offensive against the Mughals. A new hero has arisen. No more is Ramgarhia the bane of the Sikhs. He has now become a pivotal leader in their affairs. But Ramgarhia's rise to power, and his realpolitik, earn him many foes in the succeeding years. The most ardent, and overbearing, among the latter is Akali-Nihung Jassa Singh Alhuwalia, 4th Commander-In-Chief of the Budha-Dal and paramount custodian of the Akal-Takhat. Both men are trailblazers but internecine friction ensures mass hostility on both sides with the result that Ramgarhia is forced to go into exile for over 12 years. (14) The latter is but a short sketch of a pivotal, and often icy, political relationship which foreboded the internal decay and fall of the Khalsa Misls. Both Alhuwalia and Ramgarhia were valued generals of their era, yet the fact that both often communicated with each other via their swords begs the question, why? Let us attempt to slay this multi-headed hydra via a point-by-point basis. 1.) What in the blazes was Ramgarhia doing in cohort with the Mughals? Sikh-Mughal relations, in the seventeenth century, were not a close-cut matter of 'kill, kill, kill!' Complexities, and anomalies, existed and Ramgarhia was only one of many of the latter. The need to create a territorial, and political, state brought the fledgling Sikhs in direct confrontation with the already hostile, and religiously incensed, Mughals. Ramgarhia's father was a pivotal player in the early Sikh sovereignty campaign headed by Banda Singh. Several theories exist over as to why he deserted his brethren, although recent research defiantly refutes this notion and instead indicates expulsion. It seems that Ramgarhia senior committed infanticide and was subsequently revoked of his privileges and ousted by the Khalsa. (15) Incensed- for him events were not as black and white as they were for his judges- Ramgarhia senior offered his services to the Mughal governor at Lahore and was subsequently accepted as a Captain in the latter's forces. Ramgarhia junior would soon inherit this position along with his three brothers. 2.) But weren't the Mughals thirsty for Sikh blood during this era? Ramgarhia's capitulation, at Ram-Runi, indicates two things. One, he was contemplating striking it alone and two, it seems pressure was increasing on him day by day to preserve his integrity in the eyes of suspicious Imperialists. How did Ramgarhia survive and gain employ in such an ambivalent era? Let us cast a glance at the contemporary Mughal empire, our subject's long-time employer. It's administration had become decentralized in the absence of any effective leadership, and all outposts outside Delhi had announced a subtle autonomy. Adina Beg Khan, and other governor-generals, were not only tasked with subduing the Sikhs but also confronting hostile third parties such as the raiding Afghanis, marauding Persians and occasional Mujhaideen incensed by the state's support of one Islamic sect. (16) Men like Khan, in order to preserve their own skins and defy their masters, formed coalitions with various Sikh chiefs and often enrolled them in their own ranks, thus Ramgarhia's survival. 3.) Wasn't internal forgiveness and pardon a part of the then Sikh structure? It was, but the demands for an autonomous empire were ever-growing and transgressions were hard to sweep under the carpet. Ramgarhia, despite being situated in the middle of the Sikh influence, was often at odds with colleagues such as Baghel Singh KaroraSinghia and any other critics. His brothers' impunity however often embroiled him in trouble and this point soon became a beating stick to assault his credibility. Matters finally came to a head when he attempted to gloss over his brothers' unprovoked offensive against Alhuwalia and the latter's entourage. The succeeding year, he was expelled from Punjab and a mass portion of his territory taken over by the Kanihyaas. Chief, Warrior, Politician, Ruler and forever Accused. Ala Singh of Patiala and his defence- Reviled as a traitor to the Sikh cause, was Ala Singh of Patiala truly the inimical tactician he is being made out to be currently? Or were there more poignant powers at work which made him adopt a divergent course from that of his fellows? Whilst the Sikh Misls were fighting for their survival in the 1730's, Ala Singh (with occasional assistance from the Shahida Misl) (17), was laying the foundation for the future state of Patiala. The son of a petty landlord, under Mughal rule, he had arisen to Goliathian prominence and even been recognized as a regal persona by both his brethren and their inimical foe, Ahmad Shah Abdali. 1.) Was Ala Singh not subject to the stringent measures self-imposed by the Sikhs upon themselves? Ala Singh resided in the Malwa and had emerged as the latter's pontificate cultivator. Various political incentives, and marriages, often buttressed his leadership ambitions and offered him an insurance not available to his fellows. The fact he was related to imminent men such as Bhai Ram Dayal, befriended by me such as Bhai Gurbaksh Singh, and enjoyed the support of pedagogues such as Baba Mool Chand also worked well in his favor. (18) 2.) What was Ala Singh's defense? Even though Ala Singh's ability to call upon his kin, and brethren, played a pivotal role in his rise to power; realpolitik also played a decisive factor. Malwa was more prone to repeated Afghani incursions than it's neighboring Majha. This not only placed Patiala right in the grasp of the foe, but also placed ardent stress upon it's logistics; Ala Singh's defense often orbited these points. His ironic situation juxtaposed with his ardent support of his brethren (though subtle) and grasp ofrealpolitik was enough for most Sikh chiefs to forgive him. 3.) So how did perceptions change? Maharajah Ranjit Singh's interference in Patiala's affairs-in the early nineteenth century- ultimately lead to the Cis-Sutlej treaty which guaranteed the state extensive support from the neighboring British protectorate. Authors, and historians, such as Ratan Singh Bhangu took this as a cue to cast Ala Singh in a dis-favorable light. Sources: (1) Accessed from: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/97949-history-is-written-by-the-victors (2) Doniger, W; (2009) The Hindus: An Alternative History, Oxford University Press, NY, USA; pg. 213-216. (3) ibid, pg. 225. (4) ibid, pg. 222. (5) ibid, pg. 216. (6) Sadasvia, S; (2000) A Social History of India, S.B. Nangia A.P.H Publishing Corporation, New-Delhi, India; pg. 165. (7) Accessed from http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Criticism_of_Banda_Singh_Bahadur (8) See The Anachronistic Sovereign 1, Tisarpanth Blogspot for a full exegesis from the Sri Gur Panth Prakash. (9) ibid, from Bhangu. (10) ibid, from Bhangu. (11) ibid, from Bhangu. It is important to note that Bhangu is extensively critical of Banda whilst praiseworthy of Binod Singh. (12) Rise of the Khalsa, animated film directed by Prabhjot Singh Makkar; produced by Vismaad. (13) Dhavan, P; (2011) When Sparrows Became Hawks. The Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition. 1699-1799. Oxford University Press, New-York, America, pg. 74. (14) Singh Kazan; (1920) History of the Sikhs, New Delhi Press, India, see section titled Sikh-Misls. (15) Dhavan, P; (2011) When Sparrows Became Hawks. The Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition. 1699-1799. Oxford University Press, New-York, America, pg. 82. (16) See Gandhi's Sikhs in the Eighteenth Century. (17) Reiterated from: http://tisarpanth.blogspot.co.nz/2014/04/a-short-sketch-of-khalsa-confederacies.html (18) Dhavan, P; (2011) When Sparrows Became Hawks. The Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition. 1699-1799. Oxford University Press, New-York, America, pg.107.
  16. Sangat ji, I'd like to know who uses the word "Waheguru" or "Vaheguru". It would be very interesting to see who says it differently with the W sound or V sound. I know there's really no difference but just wanted too see why SIkhs tend to choose to say "Waheguru" instead of "Vaheguru" or the other way around.
  17. Wanted to start Sahej Path, but felt it would be better to start with common vocabulary used in Gurbani and listen to full katha of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Does sangat have any suggestions or links for favorite full katha or the best source to memorize Gurbani meanings. A while back I tried to listen to Sant Gurbachan Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale's recorded katha but some portions were not 100% clear. Does sant Singh Ji Maskeen have a recording?
  18. Guru Pyaari Sadh Sangat Jio...Vaheguru Ji Ke Khalsa! Vaheguru Ji Ke Fateh! After having many deep conversations with other Amritdhari's and non-Amritdhari's dass is intrigued to know how fellow Amritdhari Singh's and Singhnia do Vaheguru Jaap/Simran. Each person's journey and connection differs as well as their preferences, so it would be nice to hear and share these. Svaas svaas Simran is something we all try to do (well we should - even if it means we have to keep reminding ourselves) but what techniques and how do you do meditation when you take time out to do it properly? What method/technique is used? What do you think about? How do you sit? What do you wear? Do you sing, speak or remain silent? What tune or speed do you recite to? How do you feel before, during and after? These are basic questions but I think it will help Sangat that maybe don't have Naam or don't know how to go about it. Admin ji, maaf karna if similar topics have been posted previously. Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa! Vaheguru Ji Ke Fateh! "Saas Saas Simro Gobind, Mann Anthar Kee Uthray Chindh".
  19. With Guru Sahib's kirpa, an article on Gurmantar has been completed for the benefit of the sangat. It was a bit long to be pasted here. Here is the link: http://searchsikhism.com/gurmantar.html