Madam Badal, stop distorting history to cover up Khalistani violence at Red Fort

It has now become fashionable to bash and demean Hindu dharma and use colonial tropes to separate it from other indigenous Dharmic faiths that are more often than not offshoots of Hindu dharma. All Hindus respect the sacrifices of Sikh gurus, but that can’t and shouldn’t be used by the likes of SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal to demean and guilt-trip Hindus, and justify the violence, religious supremacism, and disrespect for the tricolor at display at Red Fort on Republic Day. No emotional rhetoric can cover the pro-Khalistani sentiment displayed by the rioters or the unutterable abuses rained against the nation’s PM by them.

In her speech in Parliament today, Badal claimed that it Sikhs made 70% of sacrifices during the freedom movement before going on to say that Guru Tegh Bahadur sacrificed his life to protect your janeu (Hindu sacred thread) and tilak (vermillion worn by Hindus). She then went on to defend the hoisting of the Sikh religious flag at Red Fort, trying to sweep under the carpet two important facts – 1.) Red Fort is the symbolic seat of national power and no flag other than the tricolor should be hoisted there; enforcing this simple rule does not mean disrespect for any religious flag (Hindu, Sikh or any other) 2.) The mob which stormed Red Fort attacked police, disrespected the tricolor and also damaged the Ram Mandir and Kedarnath temple Republic Day tableaux parked there.

Take a look at this video of how the Sikh flag was hoisted –

In her attempt to rationalize the Republic Day violence, Harsimrat Kaur Badal uses the classic “Sikhs Vs Hindus” argument – a divide whose seeds were sown by the British and fault line which is now being exploited by Islamist-Khalistani combine. She is wrong on so many counts and it is time such supremacist attitude is challenged. In recent times, Hindus have become the favorite punching bag for everyone with an agenda. While Badal would like us to believe that there is an ‘Us Vs them’ among Sikhs and Hindus, the fact remains that Sikh Gurus have always conducted themselves as Hindus and always emphasized their Hindu identity.

Not only did Guru Nanak’s wedding take place as per Hindu rituals with a Brahmin priest but also even today Sikhs prefer to marry Hindus of the same caste than Sikhs of other castes. The anti-caste thrust of Gurus was simply meant to reject injustice or discrimination on a caste-basis. Therefore the argument that Sikhism was created to distinguish it from the Hindu caste system does not hold water.

Sikh Gurus including Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru who created the Sikh Khalsa, had faith in the Vedas and Hindu Devi and Devatas. Shri Amarjeet Singh Bhamra says that Guru Gobind Singh in his book which is known as the Granth that is a compilation of his work contains among other aspects praise of Maa Chandi, poems of Maa Durga, incarnations of Bhagwans Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and pearls of wisdom which contains stories from the Mahabharat. This is known as the 10th Granth.

Guru Nanak himself in one of his compositions says that the Gurus words are the wisdom of the Vedas. He also equates Guru with Bhagwans Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma and also Devis Parvati and Lakshmi. Far from being anti-Hindu, Sikh Gurus were reverant and accepting of Hindu Dharma though they may rejected some of its practices that were prevalent in the society at that time.

There are several pieces of evidence from Guru Tegh Bahadur’s life that endorse the fact that he considered himself a Hindu and sacrificed his life in the service of Dharma as he strongly opposed Aurangzeb’s conversion policy and remained defiant in the face of death refusing to comply with Aurangzeb’s demand of embracing Islam.

What Sikh supremacists would not admit is that Guru Tegh Bahadur stood up against Aurangzeb not as a Sikh defending Hindu Dharma but as a Hindu belonging to Nanakpanth defending his own Hindu dharma. This is a fact attested by Guru Tegh Bahadur himself who told Aurangzeb that he would not embrace Islam because he loved his Hindu dharma and that Hindu dharma was eternal.

While talking of his father’s martyrdom in his poem, Guru Gobind Singh says that his father laid down his life for his faith thereby implying that Guru was protecting his janeu and tilak, not that of Kashmiri Pandits as is being interpreted by many. In any case, the Khalsa order distinguishing the Sikhs from Hindus was established by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. However, this doesn’t imply that Guru Gobind Singh gave up Hindu dharma as is evident from what author Khushwant Singh says in this regard.

Khushwant Singh writes:

“Gobind selected five of the most scholarly of his disciples and sent them to Benares to learn Sanskrit and the Hindu religious texts, to be better able to interpret the writings of the gurus, which were full of allusions to Hindu mythology and philosophy”.

That the Khalsa order was established as a part of Hindu dharma is attested by Guru Gobind Singh’s words himself which have been translated by noted author Arun Shourie:

“Let the path of the pure [khâlsâ panth] prevail all over the world, let the Hindu dharma dawn and all delusion disappear. (…) May I spread dharma and prestige of the Veda in the world and erase from it the sin of cow-slaughter.”

Also, it is probably time to remind Harsimrat Kaur Badal that the Panj Pyares of Guru Gobind Singh came from five distinct Hindu communities:

  1. Daya Ram from Lahore belonging to the Sobhi Khatri caste
  2. Dharam Das from Meerut who was a Jat
  3. Himmat Rai from Puri in Odisha of the Jheeaur caste
  4. Mukham Chand from Dwarka who came from the Cheemba caste
  5. Sahib Chand from Bidar who belonged to the Naee (Barber) caste

The records of Jahangir or Mughal writers who lived during the times of Aurangzeb referred to the Sikh Gurus as Hindus. This gives credence to the fact that there was no distinction between Sikhs and Hindus.

In his writings on the Hindu-Sikh relationship, Shri Ram Swarup says:

The Khalsa was not a new religious sect. It was only a martial formation within the larger Sikh fraternity, as the Sikhs themselves were only a sect within the larger Hindu society. It was started with the specific mission of fighting against Muslim tyranny and restoring freedom for the Hindus in their ancestral homeland. Soon it became a hallowed tradition in many Hindu families, Sikh as well as non-Sikh, to dedicate their eldest sons to the Khalsa which rightly came to be regarded as the sword-arm of Hindu society.

Therefore, Madam Badal your claim insinuating ‘Sikhs saved Hindus’ falls flat. Have you forgotten the history of Punjab, wherein the eldest brother in the family used to become Sikh?

Shri Amarjeet Singh Bhamra in his speech said that the eldest son of a Bharatiya family became a Sardar serving in the Khalsa which essentially means that Sikhs were drawn from adherents of Sanatana Dharma and the two are not different. Therefore, the attempts of neo-Sikhs to severe Sikhism from Hindu dharma is nothing but a political ploy.

Just as there are instances of Sikhs protecting Hindus there are numerous examples of Hindus affording protection to Sikh as as well. For example, two of Guru Gobind Singh’s sons were extended protection by a Hindu brahmin family before being found and executed. It is not the Sikhs alone but every Bharatiya community that rose against tyrants and displayed acts of heroism throughout Bharat’s history.

In fact, it was the Hindu Banda Bairagi who gathered the Sikhs and led them in an all-out offensive against the Mughals. Unfortunately, the long-drawn-out battle ended in the martyrdom of Banda Bairagi.

Before we do so, we want to make it clear that all Dharmic communities have stepped up to save Dharma from time to time. This whole nonsense of martial races and certain communities being stereotyped as ‘weak’ is colonial British-era nonsense that has gone on too far. For eg. who saved the Hindus of Assam from Mughals at the Battle of Saraighat in 1671? Or who saved the entire country from Ghazni’s nephew Salur Masud at the Battle of Bahraich in 1033?

It is probably time to re-examine the claim of Sikhism being the sword-arm of Hindu Dharma against Islam and as Shri Koenraad Elst says in his article:

Sikh history has its moments of heroism, but not particularly more than that of the Marathas or Rajputs. And like the Rajputs and Marathas, Sikhism also has a history of collaboration with the Moghul throne.

The likes of Harsimrat Kaur Badal need to get off their high horses of supremacism and recognize that every Bharatiya community has contributed its might in protecting Bharat from hordes of foreign invaders. Contribution of Hindu and all Dharmic heroes deserves as much appreciation and recognition as that of Sikhs.

Prehaps Harsimrat Kaur Badal needs to revisit Sikh history and take a leaf from the book of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who wished to keep the Kohinoor in Jagannath Mandir in Odisha which certainly shows the reiteration of his faith in Hindu Dharma.

As much as we respect the Sikh Gurs and their sacrifices, that respect can’t and shouldn’t come at the cost of demeaning Hindus.

References:

  1. Guru Tegh Bahadur’s Martyrdom – Shri Koenraad Elst (Source)
  2. Goa Chronicle article on Sikhism & Hindu Dharma – Adv Shashank Shekar Jha (Source)
  3. Sikhs & Hindus Share The Same Core in Sanatana Dharma – Shri Amarjeet Singh Bhamra (Source)
  4. Hindu-Sikh relationship – Shri Ram Swarup (Source)
  5. Panj Pyare – Sukhmandir Khalsa (Source)
  6. Are Sikhs Hindus? – Voice of Dharma (Source)
  7. Is Sikhism sword-arm of Hinduism – Kulveer Singh (Source)

(Featured Image Source: Telegraph India)


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About the Author

Maitri
A opinionated girl-next-door with an attitude. I'm certainly not afraid to call myself 'a proud Hindu' and am positively politically incorrect. A Bharatiya at heart who loves reading, music, sports and nature. Travelling and writing are my passions.