On the main entrance of the Imperial Record Office of India, now known as National Archives of India, New Delhi, there used to be written : History is a science, no more no less. It implies that history is science because it is based on scientific data, scientifically collected. From the other point of view, history is an art also because its presentation involves artistic skill. Science has been the subject of study of Sardar Jagjit Singh who taught Chemistry to the graduate classes for a number of years. During his teaching career he acquired a scientific attitude which he successfully applied to the study of history.
Sardar Jagjit Singh (1904-1997), a devoted Sikh and a dedicated scholar, was a prolific writer. He wrote a number of books and articles. One of his most important works is Ghadar di Lehar which was subsequently translated into English from the Punjabi original. It was the first scientific account of the saga of sacrifices made for the freedom of the country. Just before the outbreak of the First World War, Hindustan Ghadar Party was founded in the USA with the aim to achieve independence of India by armed revolution. They issued a paper which was named Ghadar. These Ghadarites, mostly Punjabi Sikhs, came to India to free the country from the colonial rule. The country was not prepared and subsequently the movement failed. A number of Ghadarites were arrested and hanged including Kartar Singh Sarabha. Another book Sardar Jagjit Singh wrote was The Sikh Revolution which brought into focus the main features of Sikh revolution comparing with other revolutions of the world. He emphasised the plebeian character of the Sikh revolution. It has rightly been stated that Guru Gobind Singh established Khalsa “with the deliberate plan that the downtrodden including the outcasts should capture political power. During the first thrust of French Revolution (1789-1792), the middle class became a privileged oligarchy in place of the hitherto privileged feudal aristocracy. When Khalsa wielded political power for the first time (1710-1716), the lowest of the low in Indian societal estimation were equal co-sharers of that authority.”
The book in hand, his last work, is a treatise entitled Dynamics of Sikh Revolution. He has written in the preface, “I completed ninety two years of my life on Feb. 12, 1996 ........ This is virtually the last flicker of an humble attempt to understand the Sikh Revolution in the light of studies relevant to our purpose.”
Dynamics of Sikh Revolution brings to focus the revolutionary ideology and its application to the social structure of the Sikh movement. Explaining the revolutionary character of the Sikh Panth, he writes, “All the untouchables whose very presence was supposed to pollute the air in the caste society became equal participants in the sangats and how the rangrettas patronised as equals in the Khalsa. This phenomenon was the product of religious experience and not of environmental factors. Because secular movements, as seen, have not produced such a qualitative fraternisation among such desperate and inimical elements and without social cohesion neither the egalitarianism in the Sikh Panth would have come into being nor the Jats (peasants), Ramgarhias (artisans) and Ahluwalias (near outcasts) would have become political rulers.”
From the scrutiny of the manuscript of this book it appears that Sardar Jagjit Singh was still working on it, but providence did not allow him to complete this work. The reader will, therefore, find at the end of some chapters blank space left for references, which could not be completed.
We are grateful to the family of Sardar Jagjit Singh, especially his elder daughter who handed over the manuscript to the Institute for publication. We are sure that its publication will be of immense value to the scholars and readers in general, particularly those seeking to understand the revolution of Guru Nanak.
October 15, 1999 Kirpal Singh