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"When all other methods fail, it is proper to hold the sword in hand" - Guru Gobind Singh Ji: A Response to those who Advocate Violence

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Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

 

Recently, there has been an assassination attempt on a man named "Kuldeep Singh" from Virginia, USA, over the desecration of the "Khand Di Phaul" Amrit Sanchaar ceremony of the Khalsa Panth. In May of 2016 a famous Sikh preacher named "Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale" was also faced with an assassination attempt, which was also carried out by not the Indian government or some external power, but by fellow Sikhs. Without going into the specific issues behind the motivation of their attempted assassinations or the issues themselves, I would like to discuss the very use of violence as per Sikhi.

I have seen some Sikhs, as well as some users on this sub, who openly advocate for violence. I would just like to remind them that although from a Sikh point of view violence has historically been advocated and used, the context under which it was used is very important. Guru Gobind Singh Ji himself says:

"ਚੁ ਕਾਰ ਅਜ਼ ਹਮਹ ਹੀਲਤੇ ਦਰ ਗੁਜ਼ਸ਼ਤ ॥ ਹਲਾਲ ਅਸਤ ਬੁਰਦਨ ਬ ਸ਼ਮਸ਼ੀਰ ਦਸਤ ॥੨੨॥"

"When all other methods fail, it is proper to hold the sword in hand. (22)"

-Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Dasam Granth, Ang 1471

As anyone who can read can clearly see the Guru very specifically states that the sword (in this case symbolizing violence) must only be used when "all other methods fail", the Gurus message is very clear, yet its some of those who claim themselves to be Sikhs of the Guru who are having a hard time understanding what the Guru himself is saying.

On the issue of those who manipulate or change Sikh practices, spread misinformation, and are disingenuous, the answer is not to go out and assassinate them or endorse physical violence against them, but to rather have an open dialogue and show them the errors of their ways, becuase dialogues are what really change peoples minds, not putting a bullet to their heads, becuase then their is no one to save. If you have to resort to violence in response to someones opinion, then you have already lost, becuase you have shown that you cannot win the battle of ideas, and thus must resort to your primal instincts.

The problem with killing someone, is that you dont necessarily kill their ideas, and in some famous cases, killing someone can even act as a catalyst to spread the idea even further. A prime example of this is the Shaheedi of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, which inspired Sikhs to take up arms and fight back against the Mughal tyranny. This doesn't go to say that all people who are assassinated are morally correct, it just proves that killing someone can have the opposite intended effect.

When you kill someone, you also take away their ability to later redeem themselves, and if after the fact you find out that they were innocent, you are not able to bring them back. It is only in the most dire of circumstances that physical violence should be used, becuase violence itself doesn't prove who is morally correct, only who is martially superior.

Lets also not forget that when you "kill" someone, as per Sikhi, you aren't killing them but rather just their physical vessel. On a deeper philosophical level, according to Sikhi, everything and everyone is just another form of ੴ, which is ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ (Akaal murat), meaning essentially beyond, above, not subject to ("A" prefix), death, time, end (Kaal), "Image" personified (murat), so in essence, "you" aren't killing anything.

The concept of Justice is often confused with Revenge. Revenge is one-sided, and motivated by self-interest, Justice is impartial. Revenge is more "An eye for an eye", while Justice provides a solution to the problem, and tries to resolve it. Revenge is often driven exclusively by emotion, while Justice is usually driven by logic and rationality. Often times people like to bring up the historical example of Guru Gobind Singh Ji ordering Banda Singh Bahadur to fight the Mughal forces. This was not done out of "revenge" for the brutal execution of the Chaar Sahibzaade, the 4 biological "sons" of the Guru (technically all Sikhs are his sons), but rather to deliver the long awaited Justice to the Mughals, to free people from their oppression, take back stolen land, and as a defense mechanism to prevent further conflict and oppression. Sikhi does not advocate the concept of revenge as many claim, however it does fully advocate Justice.

"ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਕੇ ਭਗਤ ਨਿਰਵੈਰ ॥"

"The devotees of the Supreme Lord God are beyond hate and vengeance."

-Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1145

One might ask, if unjustified violence and forms of revenge are not acceptable in Sikhi, then how should Sikhs deal with serious issues of those who attack Sikhs and Sikhi by manipulating traditions, spreading misinformation, being corrupt, etc? There are a verity of different ways Sikhs can deal with these issues:

  • Education: The most effective, and tired and true method to change people has allways been education. If you disagree with someone, instead of trying to assassinate them, its a better idea to get to understand their point of view, and change it. Check out this article on how to change peoples minds.

  • Ignoring: Oftentimes people just do stupid stuff for attention without having a hidden agenda or malicious intent, if this is the case, then just ignore them and deny them any attention. Check out this article on 10 tips to dealing with Trolls.

  • Denunciations, boycotts, or even excommunication: In the worst case scenarios (aside from using physical violence), denunciations, boycotts, etc are to be used when the individual refuses to change their ways despite every other effort. This has historically been used by the Khalsa Panth and even the Guru himself, it is reffered to as "tankhiya". However, a tankhiya is not the end, and their is allways an option for redemption, but that is up to the Khalsa Panth and Guru to decide.

These are just a few of many options, however the main idea is that there is a long list of protocols one must follow before physical violence can even be an option.

Edited by TheeTurbanator
edited to fix formatting issues and typos
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47 minutes ago, TheeTurbanator said:

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Recently, I have seen some Sikhs, as well as some users on this forum, who openly advocate for violence. I would just like to remind them that although from a Sikh point of view violence has historically been advocated and used, the context under which it was used is very important. Guru Gobind Singh Ji himself says:

"ਚੁ ਕਾਰ ਅਜ਼ ਹਮਹ ਹੀਲਤੇ ਦਰ ਗੁਜ਼ਸ਼ਤ ॥ ਹਲਾਲ ਅਸਤ ਬੁਰਦਨ ਬ ਸ਼ਮਸ਼ੀਰ ਦਸਤ ॥੨੨॥"

"When all other methods fail, it is proper to hold the sword in hand. (22)"

-Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Dasam Granth, Ang 1471

As anyone who can read can clearly see the Guru very specifically states that the sword (in this case symbolizing violence) must only be used when "all other methods fail", the Gurus message is very clear, yet its some of those who claim themselves to be Sikhs of the Guru who are having a hard time understanding what the Guru himself is saying.

On the issue of those who manipulate or change Sikh practices, spread misinformation, and are disingenuous, the answer is not to go out and assassinate them or endorse physical violence against them, but to rather have an open dialogue and show them the errors of their ways, becuase dialogues are what really change peoples minds, not putting a bullet to their heads, becuase then their is no one to save. If you have to resort to violence in response to someones opinion, then you have already lost, becuase you have shown that you cannot win the battle of ideas, and thus must resort to your primal instincts.

The concept of Justice is often confused with Revenge. Revenge is one-sided, and motivated by self-interest, Justice is impartial. Revenge is more "An eye for an eye", while Justice provides a solution to the problem, and tries to resolve it. Revenge is often driven exclusively by emotion, while Justice is usually driven by logic and rationality. Often times people like to bring up the historical example of Guru Gobind Singh Ji ordering Banda Singh Bahadur to fight the Mughal forces. This was not done out of "revenge" for the brutal execution of the Chaar Sahibzaade, the 4 biological "sons" of the Guru (technically all Sikhs are his sons), but rather to deliver the long awaited Justice to the Mughals, to free people from their oppression, take back stolen land, and as a defense mechanism to prevent further conflict and oppression. Sikhi does not advocate the concept of revenge as many claim, however it does fully advocate Justice.

"ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਕੇ ਭਗਤ ਨਿਰਵੈਰ ॥"

"The devotees of the Supreme Lord God are beyond hate and vengeance."

-Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1145

One might ask, if unjustified violence and forms of revenge are not acceptable in Sikhi, then how should Sikhs deal with serious issues of those who attack Sikhs and Sikhi by manipulating traditions, spreading misinformation, being corrupt, etc? There are a verity of different ways Sikhs can deal with these issues:

  • Education: The most effective, and tired and true method to change people has allways been education. If you disagree with someone, instead of trying to assassinate them, its a better idea to get to understand their point of view, and change it. Check out this article on how to change peoples minds.

  • Ignoring: Oftentimes people just do stupid stuff for attention without having a hidden agenda or malicious intent, if this is the case, then just ignore them and deny them any attention. Check out this article on 10 tips to dealing with Trolls.

  • Denunciations, boycotts, or even excommunication: In the worst case scenarios (aside from using physical violence), denunciations, boycotts, etc are to be used when the individual refuses to change their ways despite every other effort. This has historically been used by the Khalsa Panth and even the Guru himself, it is reffered to as "tankhiya". However, a tankhiya is not the end, and their is allways an option for redemption, but that is up to the Khalsa Panth and Guru to decide.

These are just a few of many options, however the main idea is that there is a long list of protocols one must follow before physical violence can even be an option.

Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh.

That's a really good article on changing people's minds. Shukria veer ji. 

I'll definitely be digesting that article for a while. 

I'm not sure much of a dialogue opportunity exists with grooming gangs,  but definitley what you've said has great application to many problems the Sangat face and definitely a lot of opportunity for application in life in general. 

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45 minutes ago, TheeTurbanator said:

On the issue of those who manipulate or change Sikh practices, spread misinformation, and are disingenuous, the answer is not to go out and assassinate them or endorse physical violence against them, but to rather have an open dialogue and show them the errors of their ways,

Right. Agree that non-violence should be countered with non-violence. If you had just left it at that, it would have been all good. 

46 minutes ago, TheeTurbanator said:

The concept of Justice is often confused with Revenge. Revenge is one-sided, and motivated by self-interest, Justice is impartial. Revenge is more "An eye for an eye", while Justice provides a solution to the problem, and tries to resolve it.

However, I have no idea what you're trying to say here. When the United States killed (executed) Timothy McVeigh, was that justice or revenge? (I'm not saying he shouldn't have been executed.) I'm just asking the question in accordance with your definitions.

Also, how did killing Timothy McVeigh "solve the problem"? By killing him, did the 168 people killed in the Oklahoma City bombing come to life?

52 minutes ago, TheeTurbanator said:

Revenge is often driven exclusively by emotion, while Justice is usually driven by logic and rationality.

Can you describe the way in which the process of deciding to kill Timothy McVeigh was driven not driven by emotion, and was driving by logic and rationality?

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2 minutes ago, GurjantGnostic said:

Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh.

That's a really good article on changing people's minds. Shukria veer ji. 

I'll definitely be digesting that article for a while. 

I'm not sure much of a dialogue opportunity exists with grooming gangs,  but definitley what you've said has great application to many problems the Sangat face and definitely a lot of opportunity for application in life in general. 

The belief is in the United States that capital punishment helps the healing process of the victims families and serves as a deterrent to future offenders, but it's effectiveness is the subject of much controversy. 

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20 minutes ago, BhForce said:

However, I have no idea what you're trying to say here. When the United States killed (executed) Timothy McVeigh, was that justice or revenge? (I'm not saying he shouldn't have been executed.) I'm just asking the question in accordance with your definitions.

Also, how did killing Timothy McVeigh "solve the problem"? By killing him, did the 168 people killed in the Oklahoma City bombing come to life?

I just learned about this issue, and I need to learn more about it before I offer my opinion.  

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1 minute ago, TheeTurbanator said:

I just learned about this issue, and I need to learn more about it before I offer my opinion.  

Just look at this guy, trying to use facts and stuff. That's not the way we do things around here on Sikhsangat, bro.

Around here, we spout off on things of which we have no knowledge, and certainly no references.

Get with the program!

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Quote

Just look at this guy, trying to use facts and stuff. That's not the way we do things around here on Sikhsangat, bro.

Around here, we spout off on things of which we have no knowledge, and certainly no references.

Get with the program!

Am I too machinery for you? 

Edited by TheeTurbanator
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Here is the full article for peeps who don't know what's going on:

https://www.sikh24.com/2016/05/25/breaking-american-gurdwaras-call-for-boycott-against-kuldeep-singh-who-changed-the-sikh-amrit-ceremony/#.WqonY-jFIbU

 

TL;DR: He changed the amrit sanchar. As per Sikh Rehat Maryada, the panj baania must be read, in the following order:

Japji Sahib

Jaap Sahib

Tav Parsad Savaiye

Chaupai Sahib

Anand Sahib

 

What he did was he took out Jaap Sahib, Tav Parsaid Savaiye, Benti Chaupai Sahib and replaced them with other hymns, which goes against Sikh Rehat Maryada.

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First of all, using violence to settle non violent dispute is never okay not allowed, there is no historical sikh precedence for it- no maryada for it, Contary to gurmat and gurbani teaching.

Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji bachan-

If all means have failed, its righteous to pick up sword.- Get ready for war

This is no where to seen or should be used as political weapon or gain or ego mechanism, self centrist ideology gain, factions infighting.

It could be only used for higher purpose of saving humanity when whole dharam is in threat thats a calling from all panj pyares and jathedars from takths - signed- its declaration of dharam yudh morcha or this can be also used on individual sikh basis as sikh is given full sovereignty by Guru- individual sikh life situations where his/her life is threatened-self defense and to save other lives.

Regarding pity sad state of affairs within sikh community where sikhs fighting against each other, CIA puts it perfectably:

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/jaspal-atwal-1.4563222

Canada's spies are bound tightly to their American counterparts, and respond to American priorities, and, says one of the ex-agents I spoke to, the Americans never really cared about Sikh extremists. As far as they were concerned, the Sikhs were just killing each other, which was fine with them.

Edited by N30S1NGH

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10 hours ago, TheeTurbanator said:
Quote

Just look at this guy, trying to use facts and stuff. That's not the way we do things around here on Sikhsangat, bro.

Around here, we spout off on things of which we have no knowledge, and certainly no references.

Get with the program!

Am I too machinery for you? 

Was joking, bro. I was taking a self-deprecating dig at how we sometimes operate on Sikhsangat.

Go ahead and do your thinking, and then come back with a reply.

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>♡VahigurooNAAMJANTAR,MANTAR,TANTAR>HAIJIO <♡withloveateycouragetokeepupthisbarosaourNAAMJORRHUMANBODYwillbelethalweapons>BRAHMGYANISAINTWARRIORS<♡<withoutneedforlethalweaponstouproot5bhootmayafromexistenceJio_/\_justasonecancercellseliminatedcreatesanotherasalizard'stail,likewiseeliminatingmatterovermind,WILLNOTENDCYCLEOFJANAMMARAM5BHOOTEVILMINDSJIO_/\_

myPaviterrCharnahathjorrBentitoBapuSuratSinghJiotofollow100%akjfaq.com♡GURUGOBINDSINGHJIONUPYARIREHIT♡vsadoptingstarvationofhindrss..ateyJaggiateyfamilydosameinsteadofbeggingworldforjusticeBEGVAHIGUROOJiowithADOPTINGSAMEBHAGTIATEYREHITLAHAJIO_/\_bhulchukmuaf_/\_♡♡VAHIGUROOJIORAKHABAHHDEHNPYAREYKHALSAPANTHNU♡♡

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9 hours ago, sitokaur said:

>♡VahigurooNAAMJANTAR,MANTAR,TANTAR>HAIJIO <♡withloveateycouragetokeepupthisbarosaourNAAMJORRHUMANBODYwillbelethalweapons>BRAHMGYANISAINTWARRIORS<♡<withoutneedforlethalweaponstouproot5bhootmayafromexistenceJio_/\_justasonecancercellseliminatedcreatesanotherasalizard'stail,likewiseeliminatingmatterovermind,WILLNOTENDCYCLEOFJANAMMARAM5BHOOTEVILMINDSJIO_/\_

myPaviterrCharnahathjorrBentitoBapuSuratSinghJiotofollow100%akjfaq.com♡GURUGOBINDSINGHJIONUPYARIREHIT♡vsadoptingstarvationofhindrss..ateyJaggiateyfamilydosameinsteadofbeggingworldforjusticeBEGVAHIGUROOJiowithADOPTINGSAMEBHAGTIATEYREHITLAHAJIO_/\_bhulchukmuaf_/\_♡♡VAHIGUROOJIORAKHABAHHDEHNPYAREYKHALSAPANTHNU♡♡

I cant read English Larivaar, can you please type your message properly so we can understand? 

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10 minutes ago, TheeTurbanator said:

I cant read English Larivaar, can you please type your message properly so we can understand? 

They seem to be pretending to be an esl speaker. Whatever persona they want to embody on the internet is cool I guess. It's a free world wide web. 

Edited by GurjantGnostic
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>>♡Vahiguroo NAAM JANTAR, MANTAR, TANTAR >HAI JIO<<♡with love atey courage to keep up this barosa our NAAM JORR HUMAN BODY will be lethal weapons >BRAHMGYANI SAINT WARRIORS<♡ without need for lethal weapons to uproot 5 bhoot maya from existence Jio_/\_ just as one cancer cell eliminated creates another; as a lizard's tail, likewise eliminating matter over mind, WILL NOT END CYCLE OF JANAM MARAN 5 BHOOT EVIL MINDS JIO_/\_

my Paviterr Charna hath jorr Benti to Bapu Surat Singh Jio to follow 100% www.akjfaq.com ♡GURU GOBIND SINGH JIO NU PYARI REHIT♡ vs adopting starvation of hind rss ..atey Jaggi atey family do same instead of begging world for justice BEG VAHIGUROO Jio; with ADOPTING SAME BHAGTI ATEY REHIT LAHA JIO_/\_ bhul chuk muaf_/\_ ♡♡VAHIGUROO JIO RAKHA BAHH DEHN PYAREY KHALSA PANTH NU♡♡

Edited by sitokaur

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Pranam  Gurjant SINGH JIO,

KIRPAN IS TO PROTECT YOU >FROM SPIRITUAL BHOOT< AS YOU DO BHAGTI AS >KIRPAN IS VAHIGUROO JORR IN SPIRIT<_/\_

prove to me you can get Jaggi out using offensive force with Kirpan, because that is just what our  adversaries waiting for...how many more Shaheeds, that has only made them  more corrupt, receive more support and manipulate justice  more?_/\_

MAAN JEETAI JAAG  JEET SINGH JIO!_/\_♡

Guru Nanak kirpa dya mehr karo Jio_/\_ 

Edited by sitokaur
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      And:

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      -Mohalla 1, Salok 32, ASGGS, Ang. 1379.

      In contrast to Farid, the Guru elaborates that via Divine Grace both the temporal and spiritual paradigms become successful for the devotees. The true spiritualist is one who pursues both fields rather than renouncing one over the other. Nonetheless, hypocrisy in both fields should be avoided."   "In Suhi Lalit, Bhagat Farid forewarns:

      'You could not construct a raft when required. Now that the ocean is full and overflowing, it is hard to traverse. Do not touch the saffron flower for it's color will depart, my beloved. Rahau.
      The bride is weak and her husband's command is too hard to bear. As the milk does not return to her breast, nor will the soul return to the body. Sayeth Farid, friends, when the spouse calls this soul departeth crestfallen and the body is reduced to ashes.'
      -Suhi Lalit 1, ASGGS, Ang. 794.

      Guru Nanak Dev Ji, prior to Farid's verse, expounds:

      'Make meditation and restraint the raft via which to traverse the flowing stream. Your pass will be comfortable as if there is no ocean or overflowing stream. Your name alone is the unfading matter with which this cloak is dyed; my Beloved Lord, this color is perennial. My dear companions have departed, how will they meet the Lord? If they are united in virtue, the Lord will unite them with himself. Once united the mortal does not separate if the union be true. The cycle of birth and death is nullified by the True, Eternal Lord. She who removes her own self-centrism sews herself a garment to please her spouse. By the Guru's words, she obtained the fruit of the nectar of the Lord's word. Sayeth Nanak, my companions, my spouse be dear to me. We be the Lord's handmaidens; he our husband.'
      -Mohalla 1, Suhi 4, Ang. 729.

      Bhagat Farid provides a picture of doom and gloom by lamenting lost opportunities. He focuses on old age, where mental and physical faculties are too frail to be attuned to Divine contemplation. Guru Nanak Dev Ji, instead, expounds that it is never too late to focus on the Lord (one should remember Guru Amardass Ji here) for the Beloved is not harsh nor his commands. Via the saffron flower, Bhagat Farid warns of the fleeting pleasures of the world -here today, gone tomorrow- Guru Nanak Dev Ji instead elaborates that all pleasures belong to the Lord and via merging with him, all pleasures become permanent for he is the highest pleasure of all. 

      For Farid, death is the final test; even the faithful, in his view, should fear it for the soul never returns to the body. Guru Nanak Dev Ji however believes death to be a joy and a privilege of the valorous, for it is via death that one perfects his/her union with the Divine.

      From a Nanakian perspective, Farids's words apply to the manmukh and not the Gurmukh. But even a manmukh is worthy of Divine Grace, provided he recants at the ultimate moment."   "Bhagat Farid, a Sufi, informs us:

      'My physical frame is oven-hot; my bones are the firewood. If my feet fail, I shall walk upon my head to meet my Beloved.'
      -Salok 119, ASGGS, Ang. 1384.

      Bhagat Farid utilizes the metaphor of a kiln to depict his love for the Lord. A Sufi, his ascetic concepts however were not in line with Gurmat. Guru Nanak Dev Ji refutes his call for such asceticism by commenting:

      'Do not heat your physical frame oven-hot; burn not your bones like firewood. What harm have they committed that you torture them such? Rather behold the Beloved within your soul, Farid.'
      -Salok 120, ASGGS, Ang. 1384.

      Bhagat Farid is of the mind that the human body is but a prison and the soul it's captive. The Sikh Gurus believe that the human body is a temple, a locus where the Lord resides and awaits his devotee. By utilizing this Shabad of Farid, the Gurus desired that their Sikhs imbue the same zeal as the Sufi did whilst also discarding his asceticism; hence the refutation. Throughout Bhagat Bani we find a similar concept at play. The Sikh Gurus initiate a written dialogue with the radicals of their time and provide an unalloyed picture of the Divine Truth. For Farid, creation is a falsity; for the Gurus it is a truth. Farid's asceticism renders the body as simply an object; the Gurus however perceive it to be divine and encourage their Sikhs to employ it in the service of the Divine by societal living." I printed all this out in pamphlet form and took it to a local Nagar Kirtan when I was in Australia and man, some of the Muslims burned. A few confrontations occurred, "how can you say Guru Nanak was a non-Muslim?!" "Gobind Singh made you anti-Muslim." "Your history is a lie, all Gurus were Muslims and they even married Muslims!" Basically they were clutching at straws. The pamphlets were enough to make the Sikhs ignore these idiots and they grew worried and left the scene. Later a famous attendant Gyani, from Taksal (and who I will not name), got hold of one of the pamphlets. After having it explained to him he called me over and asked me what jatha I belonged to. I told him none. Then he asked me where I got this information from. I told him my sources. Basically his problem was that I was not crediting any jatha on my pamphlet. He asked me to mention Taksal in them but I refused. Few days later all the pamphlets were thrown in the trash and I was told to abstain from publishing such (and here's how they described them) lies. The youth wanted more, but the Gurughar committee would have none of it. The main problem, here, is the liberal fuddu attitude our qaum has that respect all faiths at the expense of your own.  After this some of us decided to stick to the social media. There was veer Bijla Singh Ji with his Search Sikhism page which, back in the heyday of grooming, forced several Muslim preachers to quit their anti-Sikh proselytizing. There were a few more who set up Tisarpanth. Then there was The Truth of Sikhi and Shamshir Publications. Bijla Singh Ji advised us but out of the three initiatives set up, only one is going strong and the others were forced to close down. Why? Because they had to hit the streets and they faced the same problem which I did- our own elders were and still are shooting us down. If we had claimed affiliation with some jatha, then we would have been lionized.   
    • In that way you're right. It is a big deal. My heart would pain to see anyone lost to Islam especially on a large scale. And your cautionary message is well founded.  But in the fake news, shame Sikhi, propaganda way I feel it was being used. Pfft. In that context I feel more a response of "And? Big deal. Who gives a ****"
    • That's her father in law Tarsem Singh of Hushiarpur, he is the village Granthi.   Her father's name is Monohar Lal of Delhi and her name is Kiran Bala. Sikhs don't have names like Lal and Bala. These are typical Hindu names.
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