Guru Gobind Singh’s Socio-cultural Reestablishment for Nation Building
Dr. Saheb Khandare
Head, Dept. of Marathi Language and Literature
K. K. M. College, Manwat, Dist. Parbhani 431 401, (Maharashtra)
Orderliness of nation building is totally depending upon the socio-cultural development of the people. And socio-cultural development is depending upon the integrity of ethical retention of life. So, the creation of human values likes unity, equity and fraternity in the people is very important in the nation building. Hence, each and every national personality tries to create and inculcate the human values in the society. For this one must made research in religion and culture. With this one has to form basement for the new society and its culture. New theories are come into existence based on regime / political rule, religious rule and literary medium. In this manner, Sikh’s 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh ji has worked for nation building.
Guru Gobind Singh ji has done very important and value based work for the nation building. The nature and structure of the work is very vast and huge one and it is not possible to search out through an article or a research paper. So, this paper attempts to focus only on the Guru’s social reformation through the religious and literary attitude.
Guru Gobind Singh ji established the Khalsa and made some important socio-cultural reformations which were very useful to the growth of equity, fraternity and unity. As to research this, it is needful to overview of primitive and contemporary socio-cultural history of India.
During the period of primitive socio-cultural history of India, one finds tremendous conflict. An inheritor of glorious Sindhu culture and matriarchal social developers are suppressed by Vedicas race system. Chaturvarne made various complex compartments in the society. Through it the caste system existed and automatically the society divided in various groups. After that in the medieval period due to the political changes of circumstances the comprehensive struggle between the Hindu and the Muslim rulers was at pick.
By considering the situation, Guru Nanak ji commented that “Raje Kasai Dharmu Pankh Kari Udria.” 1 The meaning is that the kings are butchers and the religions flied away just like a bird. In this comment, we find out the circumstances of socio-cultural history of medieval India as well as the causes of the establishment of Sikh religion.
At the same time the Sikh Gurus had to fight against Muslim rulers and Hindu fundamentalists also. It is because Vedic Hindu strongly opposed the Sikh’s attitude of reformation. About this Ganda Singh has given one example – “At the eleventh anniversary meeting of the Punjab branch of Arya samaj the speaker again chose to make derogatory references to Sikhism. Prof. Guru Dutta said, “If the Swami had wished to become a general, he would have shown himself several thousand time better than Bonapart…. yes, Kshev Chander (Sen) and Guru Gobind Singh were not even one hundred part of our Swami Dayanand Sarswatiji. The Sikh might have some religion in them. But their Guru had no learning whatever…. If Swami Dayanand Saraswati ji Maharaj has called Guru Nanak a dambhi (a hypocrite, an impostor), then what is wrong therein? He (the Swami) had the son of Veda in his hands ….He was not the person to be suppressed by anyone.”2 It is clear that Vedic Arya was far against the Sikhism. By considering the oppose of the Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists as well as degrading social system, Guru Gobind Singh’s work is very important and valuable.
Up to the 17th century this situation had become disastrous. At this background from the first Guru, Guru Nanak ji to the 9th Guru Teg Bahadur Singh ji are all tried to build the nation through the social equity. But the 10th Guru Gobind Singh ji had done different and especially effective work of nation building through religion and literature.
After the 9th Guru Teg Bahadur Singh ji, Guru Gobind Singh ji enthroned and determined to make tremendous changes in the Sikh religion. At one hand, there is no alternative for Him to battle with the Muslim rulers and on the other hand to make reformations in religion as to eradicate the social disputes. At the crucial juncture, ‘Masand’ had become powerful one and they tried to be independent in political and religious manner. They had collected excess donations by force so; people were going away from the religion. By considering the situations, Guru Gobind Singh ji founded a path of religious reformation and make important changes. At first He banned the ‘Masand’ system and developed the new system by which there would be direct relation between the Guru and his followers. He denied the donations in cash but accepted donations in the forms of weapons, grains, horses etc. And through this He set up the army. He enforced the training of warfare and strenuous exercise with the religious knowledge to the followers. He indicated His empire / rule through the symbol of Nagara, instigation to heroic gallantry. He also wanted to create enthusiasm in common man for any type of struggle.
The establishment of the Khalsa is the important socio-religious reformation of Guru Gobind Singh ji because it is the demand of the time that to create self-confidence amongst the people. The Khalsa means the Guru and the Guru means the Khalsa. The Guru knew that it is not possible to create equity and patriotism amongst the people unless and until there is the eradication of the caste system. So, at the time of establishment of the Khalsa and while giving Diksha to Panchparya He denied the ‘Charan Pahul’ ritual and accepted a new ritual for Diksha that is ‘Batasha Pani’. In this regard Khushwant Singh commented that ‘‘He baptised the five men in a new manner. He mixed sugar in plain water and churned it with a double-edged dagger, to the recitation of hymns, including some of his own compositions. The five who had until then belonged to different Hindu castes (one was probably a Brahmin, one a Kshatriya, and the remaining three of lesser castes) were made to drink out of one bowl to signify their initiation into the casteless fraternity of the Khalsa. Their Hindu names were changed and they were given one family name ‘Singh’.3 One important point must be noted here is that the Guru advised to Mata Sahib Kaur to put the batashajs in the bowl of water at the time of Diksha. It is because He wanted to show that the women’s role is very important in the new theory of fraternity, unity and equity.
The Guru gave the Diksha to five different caste persons and established the Khalsa. These first five persons of Khalsa are known as Panchparya. After the moment the Guru took Diksha from the Panchparya. This is the very important historical event in the history of India. The Guru denied the Vedicas tradition of Gurus and wiped off the divisional line between the Guru and the Shishas (disciples). The Guru ingrained a new theory of similarity in religious work. This is the very important effort to develop human mind for nation building.
‘Montheism’ is the important theory reintroduce by Guru Gobind Singh ji. By this theory the Guru denied Vedicas different Gods (Bahudevwad) and He gave the concrete form to the inspiration of universe as a God. So, in the Bicitra Natak He said that, The Lord is one and He can be attained through the grace of the true Guru.4 It is for the motivation of inner energy of the common people as a power of the God. At the same time He showed the deceitfulness of Vedic religious rituals. In this similar manner the Guru’s conception of God has undergone a martial metamorphosis.
The Guru considered Chandi – the goddess as a symbol of destruction of enemies. Kesodas – a Vedic Brahmin gave assurance to the Guru of revelation of Goddess Chandi by ‘Chandi Yaga’. The objective of Kesodas was to earn lot of money by the alms through the Yaga. The Guru permitted to him to perform the Yaga because He would like to expose the deceitfulness of Vedic Yaga. Kesodas performed the Yaga throughout the year but the Goddess Chandi never appeared. So, the Guru asked him when the Goddess Chandi would appear. Kesodas replied in a false manner that if the sacred person sacrificed in the Yaga Vedi, then the Goddess Chandi would revel herself. The Guru expressed that Kesodas is the only holy person so, he should sacrifice himself. After listening this, the Brahmin Kesodas run away.5 After that the Guru explained the false fabrication of Vedic Yaga to His followers. This example is important for the Guru’s views of denying fabrication and accepting scientific values for the reestablishment and motivation of self power for the nation building.
The Guru ingrained through the Khalsa that democratic values grow by respecting collective social mind and vote rather than individual personality. He ordered that there would not be any importance to the Guru or any single personality on the contrary where the five Sikh would come together can be the Khalsa and by their views any work would be successful. This democratic fundamental principle has given by the Guru in the nature of the Khalsa. Khalsa means the five beloved ones. In This regard Khushwant Singh explained that, ‘‘The choice of the number five—the same as in the case of the panacyats—is significant. The following lines are ascribed to the Guru: pancon men nit bartat main hun, panc milan so piran pir”6
The Guru withheld the human Guru tradition and promoted the Guru Granth Sahib as a Guru because He knew that the uniformity in thought and action is possible by accepting the didactic principles of great saints. It is a revolutionary attitude. Its impact can be seen in Indian human mind including all religions and creeds.
The Guru is known as a true patriot, a brave warrior, a great philosopher, a diplomatic social scientists as well as a sensitive poet. Due to which He wrote down all His thoughts and theories and various poetical forms. He also inspired 52 disciples / court poets to compose literary works.
The Guru asserted that the literature should be in common people’s language like colloquial dialect. He Himself wrote down His poetry in the dialects like the Braj, the Punjabi, the Parsi and so on. In the primitive Indian history, Tathgat Bauddha deliberately expressed that the philosophy of reestablishment of human values must be in folk language or in regional dialect. And in the medieval Indian history, Guru Gobind Singh ji deliberately expressed the same view. It is because these great persons knew that the literature is very much useful as well as complementary for the rebuilding of new social structure. So, the Guru tried to inculcate the important values and ethics in society through the literature for a long period.
The Guru produced such a literature which paved the way of nation building as well as reestablishment of socio-cultural values. He selected very glorious references of Indian tradition for His literature as a subject. He selected such personalities who worked for strengthening the ethics and values as heroes for His literature. In it primarily, He selected heroes who gives motivation to the bravery as well as destruct the bad instinct. He portrayed the characters like Shri Ram who is the hero of the Ramayana – an epic, Shri Krishna who is the enemy of Vedic system etc.
The Guru knew that weapons and words – means valour and literature would make nation building in a positive manner. At certain times words should be treated as weapons and through it the society would become mentally fit. One would win social battle and would make mentally fit society. In this regard a Maharastrian saint poet Tukaram says as – “Aamha Ghari Dhan Shabdanchicha Ratnya, Shabdanshicha Shastra Yatne Karu.”7 In the similar manner the Guru also used the great sense of word and weapon. Due to which He writes at the beginning of the Bicitra Natak –
“when all avenues have been explored, all means tried, it is rightful to draw the sword out of the scabbard and wield it with you hand.”9
The Guru Gobind Singh ji contributed a lot to the Indian literature. His works are of various types of literature like Chandi Di War ,Chandi Charitar, Bicitra Natak ,Japu Sahib,Gyan Prabodh, Shabad, Shastr Nam Mala, Akal Ustat , Swayyas, Zafarnama etc. There are various aspects can be seen in the Guru’s literary creation. The study of literary inspiration and objective criticism of the Guru’s literature is not yet properly done by anybody. Nobody tries to research in view of the Guru’s differentness in Indian literature.
With the subjective and objective study of the Guru’s literature, it seems that he reestablished the traditional concepts of God, Goddess, Guru, Creed,Nam, Relation, Spiritual, Ved, Puran, Human, War, Philosophy, Knowledge, Karma, Caste System, Empire, King, Peasantry, Kinship, Classicism and so on. This new dimension is not only useful to the upliftment of socio-cultural status of the society but also the introduction of new political and religious theory. The Guru did not degrade the rhythmic and classical structure of the poem when he worked out the theoretical poetry. This can be seen throughout His poetry.
When valour poetry of Ritikaal was discussed at the national level on the floor of Indian literature no one could mention the Guru’s poetry. In the period of Ritikaal, the great poets Keshav and Padmakar wrote romantic poems. And the famous poet Shridhar wrote Jahangirnama as to praise Badshaha Farrukhseeyar. No one poet wrote about the contemporary horrible socio-cultural circumstances in their poetry. But the Guru faced all types of horrible circumstances and wrote down poetry on it. It is because the objectives of the Guru’s poetry are to motivate the people to live with courage in horrible situations as well as to fight with the existing circumstances. This is the valuable contribution of Guru Gobind Singh ji to Indian literature.
The Guru wrote literature in the Braj, the Punjabi and the Parsi folk dialects or regional languages. The Guru’s poetry is in metrical and lyrical form. He used meters like ‘Doha’, ‘Tribhangi’, ‘Bhunga Prayas’, ‘Charpat’, ‘Ruwal’, ‘Nraj’, ‘Chapay’, ‘Adil’, ‘Madhubhar’, ‘Charni’, ‘Rekhata’, ‘Rasawal’, ‘Totak’, ‘Swaya’, ‘Chacari’ and so on. Like this the Guru used 250 poetical devices and meter in his poetry.
Guru Gobind Singh ji reestablished socio-cultural values through his poetry. By considering the limitations of the research paper it is not possible to search out the critical analysis of the Guru’s poetry. But it is no doubt that the very important and truthful findings will come out after the scientific research and critical analysis of the Guru’s literature.
1. Granth : p.145
2. Ganda Singh : History of the Khalsa College, p.8.
3. Khushwant Singh : A History of The Sikh, Vol. 1, p.83
4. Guru Gobind Singh : Bicitra Natak
5. Gokulchand Narang : Transformation of Sikhism, p.85-86
6. Khushwant Singh : A History of the Sikhs, Vol.1, p.83
7. Tukaramachi Gatha (Marathi)
8 .Guru Gobind Singh : Bicitra Natak
9. Guru Gobind Singh : Zafarhnama
Copyright Institute of Sikh Studies, All rights reserved.
Designed by Jaswant (09915861422)