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  Gur Panth Parkash
Gur Panth Parkash
by Rattan Singh Bhangoo
Translated by
Prof Kulwant Singh




Singh Sabha Movement – A Revival

Dr Gurdarshan Singh Dhillion

INTRODUCTORY: In recent years some writings have appeared, which seek to suggest that the Singh  Sabha Movement was a reformist movement, that made innovations in the Sikh thought and practices.  Academically speaking, the method to determine whether a religious movement (Singh Sabha in this case)  is reformist or revivalist is to study four aspects of it. The first aspect is the ideology of the original  movement (Sikhism), and especially whether the movement under study created changes in that ideology or  only invoked the original ideology of the system to bring about changes in the then existing practices.  Second is the level of achievement in practices which the original movement (Sikh religion in this case),  had made during its hey day and whether the leaders of the movement under study had invoked those  achievements and the tradition as a model to follow. Thirdly, what was the fall, if any, in the state of things  in the life of the community that was sought to be changed and how did it measure with the earlier high  mark of the tradition, i.e. what was the then state of affairs and practices that were sought to be changed.  Fourthly, how do the changes brought about by the leaders of the new movement (Singh Sabha in this case)  compare with the earlier tradition and whether or not those were in consonance with it or entirely variant  from it.

We are dividing our present paper into four parts so as to make a proper assessment of the Singh Sabha  Movement. Side by side we shall be considering some variant views in the light of our discussion of the  subject. We shall first state the fundamentals of the Sikh ideology especially those where Sikhism radically  departed from the earlier Indian traditions.

SIKH IDEOLOGY: Sikhism arose in the 16th century as an entirely new ideology, opposed in its  fundamentals to those of the contemporary religions. It challenged the fanaticism and religious hypocrisy of  the Brahmins and the political oppression of the contemporary rulers. Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Guru,  stressed the oneness of God, Immanent, Creator, ‘who is the Timeless, Eternal Reality, Formless, Unborn,  Unincarnated and self-existent without Fear and Rancor and who is realised by the Enlightener’s Grace.’  These attributes are incorporated in the ‘Mool-Mantra’ of Guru Nanak’s Japji, which is the ‘fundamental  primal text expounding the beliefs of Sikhism’. He explicitly denounced all those religious traditions which  denied the unity of God. He declared that “the belief in gods and goddesses was the source of Maya (The great Illusion)”1 which led people astray. The Gurus accept ‘Ek Onkar’ as a declaration of the unity of God.  In Asa Rag, the Guru says: “Six are the (Hindu) Shashtras and six their authors who have laid down six  different philosophical concepts. But the Guru of these gurus is God Himself.”2

Guru Nanak led a crusade against the caste system, idolatory, ritualism, asceticism and Brahmin’s claim to  superiority. He put an end to the role of middle-men (Brahmins) in man’s relation with God. He advocated  that man can be one with Him through his own good deeds. He emphasised moral virtues and considered  rituals to be a hindrance in the salvation of man. He denounced idol worship of gods in most explicit terms:  “The ignorant fools take stones and worship them, O Hindus, how shall the stone which itself sinketh carry  you across?”3 He rejected asceticism and emphasised truthful living based on good deeds and  righteousness. He impressed upon his followers that salvation could be attain, through the fulfilment of  one’s duties towards family and society. For Guru Nanak social responsibility forms an integral part of the  spiritual attributes of the ideal man. It is this element that constitutes one of the essential tenets of the Sikh  faith. It is this element that gives Sikhism its distinctive and historic charcter, role and personality.

Guru Nanak laid emphasis on the brotherhood of man and strongly condemned social inequality. He  declared: “The sense of high and low, and of caste and colour, such are the illusions created in man.”4 He  raised his voice against economic exploitation and political despotism of his times. According to Guru Nanak, the world is not only real but it is a meaningful place where God’s Creative and Attributive Will  works. That is ‘God being riches to the poor, milk to the child, and eyes to the blind’,5 the seeker has to  follow the ethical path of values and virtues laid down by God and the Guru. It is clear that in Guru  Nanak’s mission of love, two objectives become logically uppermost; and these he emphasized  unambiguously in his Bani, namely that he was to establish equality and fraternity among men, and that it  was the duty and responsibility of the religious man and the religious society he was creating to resist  oppression and safeguard human rights and values. The life affirming faith founded by Guru Nanak  attracted a large number of followers who found in it a welcome escape from the debasing caste  discrimination, Brahmanical domination and empty ritualism. It is a revolutionary system in which the  dichotomy between the spiritual life and the empirical life of man was emphatically broken for the first  time in the East. It was Guru Nanak who laid and led the path of universal love and the emancipation of  man without distinction of caste and creed. The call for this mission was given by him in these terms:

“If thou art zealous of playing the game of Love, Then come upon my path with head on thy palm Yea,  once thou settest thy foot on this way, Then find not a way out, and be prepared to lay down thy head.’6 It is  in this context that the importance of Guru Nanak’s criticism of the doctrine of Ahimsa should be  understood. “Men discriminate not and quarrel over meat eating, they do not know what is flesh and what  is non-flesh, or what is sin and what is not sin.”7 “Life”, he said, “is in every grain of corn or seed.”8

LEVEL OF ACHIEVEMENT: It is in this background that we have to charter the course of Sikh history  from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh. After Guru Nanak, the period of the next three Gurus relates  mainly to the creation, expansion, and organisation of a cohesive society or Panth Guru Nanak had started.  With each succeed-ing Guru, Sikhism became increasingly crystallised and institutionalised into a distinct  faith and society. The next major landmark was the time of the fifth Guru, who not only complied the  scripture of the new society, thereby weaning it away from all earlier beliefs, sought confrontation with the  empire, and made the supreme sacrifice of his life, but also created in his life-time what Dr. H.R. Gupta  calls “a state within state”. No wonder Emperor Jahangir took note of this mounting challenge and attacked  the Sikh society.9 From this time onward, the Sikhs had to make tremendous sacrifices and undergo  sufferings to preserve their faith.

Further, it is important to understand that the doctrine of Miri and ‘Piri’ proclaimed by the sixth Guru,  Hargobind, is the natural and inevitable corollary of the path of love and true service of man, of the rejection of asceticism and monasticism, the acceptance of the householder’s life and responsibilty, and of  securing justice, equality and freedom for all, preached by Guru Nanak. The Guru justified the use of force  to uphold justice and righteousness and to defend the oppressed. The ninth Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur,  carried on the Sikh tradition of martrydom for the cause of justice and emancipation of man.

The tenth Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, laid down baptismal (Amrit) ceremony for the Sikhs, initiated them  into the Khalsa and prescribed the wearing of five K’s. Those who went through baptism, became  members of the Khalsa brotherhood. The organisation was committed to pursuing the right path and  resisting and undoing injus-tice, tyranny and aggression, since in the Sikh society it was a religious duty  and social responsibility to promote and maintain righteousness. The Guru also furnished the order of the  Khalsa with the institutions of ‘Panj Piyaras’ (Five beloved ones or leaders) and Daswandh (volun-tary contribution of one tenth of one’s income to the exchequer of the Panth), thereby bestowing upon the  organisation the character of a self-contained community. It is significant to note that of the five beloved  ones (Piyaras) baptised by the tenth Guru, four belonged to what the Indian society then regarded as the  Shudra caste. The Guru’s object was to obliterate all distinctions of caste and creed and weld his followers  into a choesive society. The Sikhs and the five beloved ones were amazed when the Guru requested them to  initiate him into the Khalsa brotherhood in exactly the same manner as he had initiated them. By this  symbolic act the Guru invested the Khalsa with leadership of the Panth and the authority of his pesonality.  Henceforward the Guru was the Khalsa and the Khalsa was the Guru. Sikhism, thus, emerged as the most democratic religion in the world.

The Gurus categorically rejected all those beliefs, rituals or ceremonies that implied the recognition of  anything but one true Lord. In order to emphasize the complete independence and separateness of Sikh  ideology, Guru Gobind Singh introduced the ‘Nash’ doctrine, involving ‘Kritnash’ ‘Kulnash’,  ‘Dharamnash’, ‘Bharamnash’ and ‘Karamnash’ i.e. giving up of all those beliefs prejudices and traditions that stood in the way of the sole worship of the Supreme Being.10 In this way they made a complete break  of the Sikh society with the past religious systems, traditions and customs. The Guru accomplished this  manysided transformation in bold defiance of the age old beliefs, dogmas and conservatism of the  traditional Indian religions. The Khalsa created by Guru Gobind Singh was unique both in its internal  features and external form and was to play a vital role in the Indian History. In the words of J.D.  Cunningham, “A living spirit possesses the whole Sikh people and the impress of Gobind has not only  elevated and altered the constitution of their minds but has operated materially and given amplitude to their  physical frames.11

Let us here record the relevant and clean injunctions of Guru Gobind Singh, “He who keeps alight the torch  of Truth and with love has faith only in One Supreme Being, and does not believe, even by mistake, in  fasting, monstic life, or worship of graves or ancestors, is. the true Khalsa.”12 Further, a few extracts from  the report of a Muslim chronicler, Ahmad Shah Batala, as given in his book ‘Twarikh-i-Hind’,
of the speech by Guru Gobind Singh given at the time of the Amrit (Baptism) ceremony are as follows: “I  wish you all to embrace one creed and follow one path, obliterating all differences of religion. Let the four  Hindu castes, who have different rules laid down for them in the Shastras, abandon them altogether and  mix freely with one another. Let no one deem himself superior to another. Do not follow the old scriptures.  Let none pay heed to the Ganges and other places of pilgrimage which are considred holy in the Hindu  religion or adore Hindu deities, like Rama, Krishna, Brahma and Durga, but all should have faith only in  Guru Nanak and his successors. Let men of four castes receive my baptism, eat out of the same vessel and  feel no disgust or contempt or one another.”13

The spirit of Guru Gobind Singh was carried on by Banda Singh Bahadur and his men, who fought against  the Mughals under the most inhospitable circumstances. But they stuck to their faith and principles till the  end of their lives. The Sikh devotion to their religion and their spirit is evident from the fact that out of 740 Sikh prisoners of war, who were executed in Delhi along with Banda, not one deserted the faith, even while  given the choice to do so.14

SIKHISM IN 19TH CENTURY: Here it is necessary to give a demographic picture of the Sikh community  from the 18th to the 19th century. The struggle and the persecution of the Sikhs was severest during the mid  18th century. A price was put on every Sikh head and three times it was reported to the authorities that the  Sikhs had been exterminated root and branch.15 During this period of struggle, it is reported that at one time  barely two thousand guerillas were left.16 This was spirit and character of the Sikhs, when they gained  power in after half of the 18th century. The establishment of the Khalsa commonwealth, naturally, gave,  opportunity both to Muslim and Hindu populations to seek conversion for reasons which were obviously mun-dane. The Sikhs never started any proselytising campaign because it is not sanctified in their religion.  Obviously, these new entrants were slow in shedding some of their old personal, family or customary
prejudices and beliefs, which included faith in local gods and goddesses, saints, fakirs and Pirs. In the time  of Ranjit Singh the number of Sikhs, thus, rose to 10-11 lacs.17 The first census in 1881 reports that the  number of Sikhs was 17 lacs.18 It is evident that this large-scale increase in the number of Sikhs is certainly  not due to the natural increase in the members of the faith, who had struggled to power in the 18th century.  Regarding the Sikhs in the second half of the 19th century, Ibbetson reports that with the exception of the  Akalis, who still adhered to the ordinances of the Khalsa, many of the original observances of the Sikhs had  fallen in disuse but for the five external signs and abstinence from tobacco.19 Similarly, the Sehjdhari group  of Nirankaris, who were sixty thousand at the time of the census of 1891 never believed in any god or  goddess and adhered strictly to faith in Guru Granth Sahib as the sole scripture and guide.20

A demoralising effect of the annexation of the Punjab was that some of the Sikh Gyanis, who were very  learned in their special departments, did not find jobs for their talents. They, therefore, went over to the  Hindus and taught their religious books. Apart from decline in the dissemination of Sikh thought, they, in  order to please their employers, started giving Hindu tint to the Sikh doctrines and beliefs, casusing thereby  great harm to Sikhism. Secondly, it is also true that many of the Hindu entrants of the Sikh faith who had  naturally curbed or shed Hindu rituals and customs during the Sikh rule, reverted to their old prejudices and practices.

Before the advent of the Singh Sabha Movement in 1873, the Sikh society was, thus, passing through a lean  phase. With their uncer-tain political future, Sikhs had become a prey to Brahmanical Hin-duism and the socio-religious fabric of the community was being damaged. Owing to the weakness of some of the Neo- Sikhs, the number of Sikhs embracing the other faiths was increasing steadily.21 A con-temporary observer  noted, “Just as we do not see any Buddhist in the country except in images, in the same fashion, the Sikhs,  who are now here and there, visible in their turbans and their other religious forms like wrist-bangles and  swords, will be seen only in pictures and museums. Their own sons and grandsons clad in coats and  trousers and suppporting mushroom-like caps will go to see them in museums and say in their Pidgin  Punjabi, ‘Look, that is the picture of a Sikh - the tribe that inhabited this country once upon a time.’22

The proselytising activities of the Christian missionaries also alarmed the Sikhs. The historic conversion of  Maharaja Dalip Singh (son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh) and Raja Harnam Singh of Kapurthala to Christiamty came as a rude shock to the Sikhs.23 The loss of political power (Punjab was annexed by the British in  1849) also left a demoralising effect on them. It was at this juncture that the Singh Sabha assumed the  leadership of the Sikhs.24

The Singh Sabha played a significant role in the socio-religious regeneration of the Sikh community. It  made the Sikhs aware of their great spiritual and cultural heritage, and of their being the ‘Khalsa is the pure. By emphasis on the Sikh practices, social laws, customs and Punjabi language, it welded the Sikhs,  once again, into an independent community, bound together by faith in the teachings of their Gurus. The  key-note of the Singh Sabha was ‘Back to Guru Granth Sahib’. The object was to restore the purity of  Sikhism by abolishing later accretions and superstitious practices, which did not stand the test of old Sikh Maryada or the teachings of the Gurus.

As stated earlier, the Sikh society consisted of the two distinct segments; those from the old Sikh stock who  had struggled successfully through the persecutions and the revolutionary fire of the 18th century; and  second, those large number of Hindu converts to Sikhism who had for the sake of convenience swelled the  Sikh ranks during the Sikh rule. Ibbetson made it clear that the Akali section fully adhered to the  injunctions of the Guru;25 the same was the position of the old Sehjdharis or Narankaris.26 Obviously, all the  Hindu converts could not shed some of their old customs and prejuices in a generation or two. Almost three  fourth of the Sikhs belonged to this stock. The position, so glibly talked about that in old days one member  of a family was. a Hindu and another a Sikh, related exectly to this converted section of the Sikhs, and not  to the old Sikh families of the 18th century, when being a Sikh involved risk to life. It is this large section  that carried a back-log of Hindu prejudices which the Singh Sabha was out to eliminate. There was also  another problem. Some of the descendents of the Gurus, because of the wealth bestowed on them and the  respect they commanded during the Sikh rule, started the cult of personal worship and collection of  offerings. This practice, though in con-sonance with the old Hindu culture, was violative of Sikh doctrines, where the Gurus “had prohibited touching the feet of so-called pious men and had stated that the religious  path lay in working hard and sharing one’s income with others”27 But, these wealthy Sikhs had got a vested  interest in these cults, because personal worship brought them offerings from both their Sikh and non-Sikh  followers.28 Out of the sheer self-interest of maintaining their income and offerings from their Hindu  followers, they started saying that the Gurus had preached the same religious system as in the Vedas, even  though the Gurus had called “the Vedic doctrines to be misleading concerning caste, heaven, hell, etc.’29  The Singh Sabha had, thus, not only to preach against Hindu practices, but had also to fight these Sikh  vested interests who kept and patronised men like A.S. Vahiria and Gulab Singh, who wrote things which were palpably against the Guru Granth and its message.

Recently some scholars in the West have presented a distorted version of the nineteenth century Sikhism.  H.S. Oberoi, (presently in the chair of Sikh and Punjabi Studies at the University of British Columbia,  Canada) for example, is a clear instance of having mis-represented the Sikh Tradition30 He has tried to  romanticise the myths and glamourise the long-forgotten superstitions. His entire exercise seems to be  devoted to projecting the late 19th century revival of Sikhism as neo-Sikhism. His evaluation of Sikhism is  neither com-prehensive, nor objective. In fact, it is obvious that his treatment of the subject betrays a major  lapse in the methodology of study. Because, in his entire paper, he has completely ignored the two essential  aspects of the issue discussed by us earlier. He has completely misrepresented the matter by harping only  on some features of the late 19th century Sikhism and then wrongly projecting them to be the integral part  of earlier or original Sikhism.

H.S. Oberoi in his paper entitled, ‘Re-reading Sikh Ex-perience in the Nineteenth Century’, read recently at  a seminar at Berkeley (U.S.A.), observes, “The word Sanatan derives from Sanskrit and has connotation of  something that is ancient, almost as if out of secular time. The Sanatanist Sikhs, therefore, believed that these cus-toms, tites and rituals had origins in the beginnings of time, when the universe came into   existence and were beyond the pale of diachronic time’... ‘The fact that the Sikhs took part in the myths,  worship and cults of miracle saints, goddesses and village gods does not imply that Sikhism was in a state  of decline or irrational. These practices were an integral part of a coherent way of life and should not be  judged from standards which were invented at the turn of the century.”

Let us now examine the position stated by Oberoi in his paper. He mentions four practices which he claims  to be ancient and native to Sikhs of the times. These are the worship of Sakhi Sarvar, Guga Pir, Seetla Devi  and village ancestors. A close examination of Oberoi’s paper reveals that he has merely tried to conceal the  reality by resort to vague generalisations and by giving unnecessary details of the con-cerned practices  without specifying the extent of their prevalence in the Sikh Society.

We first take up the case of the worship of Sakhi Sarvar which is the only practice of which he has  indicated some data in support of his argument by saying that less than 3% Sikhs had faith in Sakhi Sarvar. Otherwise, about twenty pages of his paper are filled with irrelevant verbiage giving just a journalistic  description of the four practices. The entire structure of Oberoi’s argument is based on the flimsy premises that these practices were native and ancient and no one ever prohibited them. He writes, “It was Sikh  reforemers in the 19th century who for the first time labelled many of the current beliefs and practices  among the Sikhs as acts of deviance and expressions of a superstitious mind.” This observation of Oberoi is  a clear mis-statement. The Guru Granth is full of hymns rejecting the spiritual character of Devis, Jogis,  Pirs, etc. “Afflicted are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, afflicted is the entire world.”31 “The Vedas do not know  His greatness. Neither Brahma, nor Shiva have any clue of Him. The Devis and Devtas have sought to know Him but failed.”32

In the Sikh tradition there are four stories concerning the futility of Sakhi Sarvar worship. The first story is  of a Sakhi Sarvaria, Bhai Manj, coming to Guru Arjan for religious guidance. The Guru’s reply is very  revealing of the Sikh thesis. He said, “You may go on with the easy path of Sakhi Sarvar worship, because Sikhism is a very difficult path and unless you are willing to be dispossessed of your wealth and to sacrifice  your very life, it is no use coming to me.” But, Bhai Manj did become a Sikh.33 The second story also  concern, Guru Arjan when he deprecated the Sakhi Sarvar practice of preparing a big cake and presenting it  before the priest who read Durud (a verse from Quran) and then kept the cake, giving only a marginal part  to the devotees. The Guru says, “Without the true Guru they must sit and Watch without eating until the  Durud is read.”34 The Guru, thus, denounced the practice of seeking benediction of the priest, for, only a  true Guru could lead one to the right path. The third story is of a Sikh’s daughter having been married to  the son of a Sakhi Sarvaria. The bride seeks the blessings of Guru Hargobind and her husband also  becomes a Sikh. A tussle develops between the groom and his father when the former demolishes the  family shrine of Sakhi Sarvar. But the groom continues to be a Sikh. Later, his handsome son founds
a village called now Bhai Rupa in Nabha State.35 A similar story concerning the futility of Sakhi Sarvar  worship relates to the time of Guru Tegh Bahadur, when he visited Patiala area. 36 In fact, Sikh writings and  Rehtnamas or categorically prohibit the worship of Devi, Devtas, saints etc37 Even Bhangu in his “Panth  Parkash” (mid 19th century) specifi-cally condemns the worship of Sakhi Sarvar. He says that the Sikhs did  not believe in ghosts, spirits and graves nor did they have any faith in the Guga and the Sakhi Sarvar. He  rather refers to the “frequent clashes between the Sikhs and the Sarvarias in the villages and towns of  Punjab.”38 Therefore, in the face of a clear rejection of the Sakhi Sarvar practice by the Guru, the Sikh  religious literature, and the tradition, the existence of a marginal residue of the Sakhi Sarvarias among the  new Hindu entrants of Sikhism, only shows how insignificant is its value in drawing a correct picture of the  Sikh society in that period. In fact, it is creditable that under the Sikh influence all except about 3% of the new entrants had given up their old Hindu practices.

In this context, Rose clearly endorses Bhangu’s view, “com-paratively few Sikhs are followers of Sarvar  and there is in fact a sort of opposition in the central districts between Sikhs ‘and Sultanis. You hear men’  say that one party in a village worships the Guru, the other worships Sarvar; that is that one party are Sikhs,  the other ordinary Hindus who follow Sarvar. It has been suggested that the worship of Sarvar probably  spread eastward among the Jats in1he 15th and 16th centuries, and was the prevalent cult at the time of the
great develop-ment of Sikhism in the days of Guru Gobind Singh; and that most of the conversions to the Khalsa faith were from the worshippers of Sultan. This appears a very probable account of the origin of  uch opposition as does exist between these two forms of faith. As between the Hindus generally and the  ultani there is no sort of opposition; there are instances in the popular legends of men opposing the cult of Sarvar, but in the present day the Sultanis are looked on as ordinary Hindus.”39 Oberoi while he gives  rrelevant details of the miraculous powers attributed to Sakhi Sarvar and lavishly quotes Rose as evidence,  seems to have deliberately concealed the above mentioned conclusion drawn by Rose and, instead, made  he distortion that Singh Sabha leaders were the first to object to such practices. Such clear mis state-ments are generally made by partisan propagandists but never, we believe, by any academician. This indicates either a lack of in depth study or a conscious attempt to suppress facts with a view to misrepresenting Sikhism.

There is another mis-statement when Oberoi says, “His-torians cannot simply reproduce these value judgements and employ categories invented by a section of the Sikh elite.” We have seen that prohibition these practices was neither the invention of the Singh Sabha, nor was it the first to object to them. Nor is it true that leaders of the Singh Sabha formed a section of the Sikh elite. In fact, the pioneers of the Singh Sabha, namely, Bhais Ditt Singh and Gurmukh Singh were persons of extremely humble beginnings. Ditt Singh belonged to a poor Ramdasia family of a small village (Nandpur Kalaur) of district Ropar .40 Gurmukh Singh’s father was just a cook in Kapurthala.41 As against that, the persons with vested interests in personal worship were Baba Sir Khem Singh Bedi, Baba Gurbakhsh Singh Bedi and Raja of Paridkot. Men like Vahiria were the proteges of wealthy persons, whom they had kept to propagate their point of  view, even though clearly opposed to the Sikh doctrines in the Guru Granth Sahib. And who constituted the  elite and who represented the voice of the people and the Sikh culture is evident from the fact that in the tussle between them, all the local and base Singh Sabhas in the country shifted their loyalty to the Ditt  group, except three which belonged to the towns or places of these feudal kings.42 It is, therefore, just naïve to suggest that these persons of small beginnings could achieve the tremendous success, they did achieve,  by just innovations or Inventions, ‘unless what they promoted or preached had the clear sanction of the  scripture and the Sikh tradition.

Regarding Guga, Sitla and ancestor worship., Oberoi has given no data at all in suppoprt of his argument, meaning thereby that the extent of these practices was even less significant than the practice of Sakhi Sarvar worship. Oberoi instead of being precise has written page after page of a journalistic account of the  practices without suggesting the extent of these practices, their sanction by the Sikh tradition, or their  existence during any earlier period of Sikh history. Every student of Hindu religion knows that the system,  especially under Purva Mimansa, believes that spiritual and other benefits can be obtained by the practice  of Yajnas, sacrifices, mantras, etc. On the other hand, even the most elementry student of the Granth Sahib  is aware that all such practices and worship of Devi, Devatas and the like are regarded as futile in Sikhism.  Let us here just indicate two instan-ces. Every scholar of Sikhism and Sikh history knows that the basic  reason why the Hindu Hill Rajas refused to cooperate with the tenth Guru was his rejection of Devi  worship and their rituals and caste observances.43 The second instance is of a complaint made to Guru  Hargobind about a Sikh having broken an idol of a Devi.44 The Sikh explained as to what was the worth of  a Devi idol if it could not protect itself. It indicates that no one respected the Devi or Devatas in the Sikh  Society.

Withour indicating any statistical evidence, Oberoi makes another assertion saying that “the popularity of  Sakhi Sarvar among the Sikhs was matched by another Pir called Guga Pir.” It is necessary to understand  that in the old Punjab, Sikhs were less than 14% and the Hindus were more than double the number of  Sikhs; and even among the Sikhs about three fourth were 19th century Hindu converts of convenience. It is,  therefore, highly misleading to talk in vague terms about some Hindu practices current among Punjab  Hindus and then to relate them to the Sikhs on the mere ground that the Singh Sabha had also preached  against them, as being contrary to the Sikh tradition.

Regarding Sitla worship too, Oberoi is equally irrelevant and vague. The Sikh position about Devi worship  both in precept and practice, has already been indicated. In the article of the ‘Khalsa Akhbar’ of March 6,  1896, it is the entire Punjab population that has been addressed to give up Sitla worship, without even  mentioning the word Sikh therein. And the advice to the people is to have themselves inoculated instead of  suffering the disease.

About ancestor worship among Sikhs, Oberoi’s observations are even more far-fetched. He cites Dube’s,  ‘Indian Village’ and Brubaker’s ‘A Study of South Indian Village Goddesses and their Religious Meaning’.  The only reference to the Sikhs is a manual by an army officer mentioning that Satnamis, Hindus and Sikhs  had a practice of ancestor worship.

From Oberoi’s own paper, it is evident that Sitla, Guga and ancestor worship among the Sikhs were even  less significant than the worship of Sakhi Sarvar prevalent among less than 3% Sikhs. It is suggested by  Oberoi that though the practice of Sakhi Sarvar worship was insignificant in 1911 it must have been wide- spread and native to the Sikh society before the Singh Sabha propaganda. The argument is quite  meaningless. If in the earlier four hundred years of preaching by the ten Gurus themselves and others, the  Sikh tradition could not eliminate these Hindu practices entirely, how could the Singh Sabha workers, with  humble beginnings, work this miracle in about one generation? It is quite significant that in order to prove  his point that in the 19th century there was not much of an ideological difference between the Hindu and  the Sikhs, Oberoi has quoted neither the GumGranth nor any Rehtnamas, nor any earlier Sikh Literature or  tradions, but only A.S. Vahiria and Gulab Singh, both spokesmen of the Bedi group with vested interests in  maintaining the cult of personal worship.So far as the loyalist Gulab Singh is concerned, his propagandist statement that the four Vedas are also the religious books of the Sikh”is quite understandable. But for  Oberoi to quote him approvingly shows either poor scholarship and a gross ignorance of the contents of  Gum Granth Sahib, the Nash doctrine of Gum Gobind Singh, the Rehtnamas and the Sikh religious  literature and practices, or a deliberate attempt at distortion by his avoiding all references to the Guru  Granth and Sikh literature. Even in the article of the Khalsa Akhbar, dated March 29, 1901, it had clearly  been argued by the Sikh paper, by quoting the Guru Granth, that the Gurus had specifically repudiated the  doctrine of the Vedas. But by the use of pointless phraseology, Oberoi suggests that in the 19th century,  Sikhs like the Hindus were believers in Devis, Devatas, Guga, Sakhi Sarvar and the like. His conclusion is  that the key to understanding Sikhism is that it is a peasant faith as of a peasantry elsewhere in the world.  Even a most elementary knowledge of the Guru Granth and the teachings of the Gurus, shows that the Gurus severely condemned these Hindu prac-tices. The view of Vahiria or Khem Singh Bedi were, thus  absurdly in contradiction to the Sikh religion. And, obviously, it was such clear misrepresentations of the Sikh Scripture, the leaders of the Singh Sabha were out to oppose. But, interestingly, it is these very  distorters, and promoters of the malpractices whom Oberoi quotes as authorities so as to prove what, he  asserts, was the norm of Sikhism. Oberoi has also failed to record the categoric contemporary evidence that  the Akalis, the core of the Panth, were fully adhering to the norm prescribed by the Gurus. If his conclusion  were correct and Sikhs like the Hindu peasantry were more superstitious worshippers of Devi, Devatas and  Guga and Sakhi Sarvar Pirs, how does Oberoi explain that (i) the Sikhs, an insignificant section of the  population, were able to supplant the Mughal Empire in the entire north-west and stem once for all the wave after wave of invaders that had plagued India for a thousand years, (ii) a leaderless community gave  to the British the toughest fight, almost to the point of their defeat and annihilation, on the Indian soil, (iii)  the Sikhs were predominantly the people who organised and manned the first rebellion (Ghaddar rebellion)  against the British, (iv) of the 121 persosns executed and 2646 sentenced to life imprisonment during the  entire freedom struggle during the 20th century, 93 and 2047 respectively were Sikhs45 and (v) during the  period of Emeregency from June, 1975 - March, 1977, involving the suspension of the Indian Constitution  and the abrogation of all human rights and individual liberties, it was only the Sikhs who conducted a  regular civil disobedience movement (Save Democracy Morcha) suf-fering imprisonment of over forty  thousand persons,46 while in the rest of India, not even half that number courted arrest or imprisonment,47

CHANGES MADE BY SINGH SABHA: Now, considering the fourth aspect of the Singh Sabha  Movement, namely, the revival it brought about in the Sikh society, we find that every step they took
and change they made had the full sanction of the Sikh scripture and tradition. One has only to read Ham  Hindu Nahin Hain by Bhai Kahn Singh and Nakli Sikh Prabodh by Ditt Singh to find that almost every page quotes the Bani of the Gurus, in support of their suggestions.48 The only new step they took was the  establishment of educational institutions on modern lines and the publication and propagation of religious  literature, not available earlier, because the services of the Printing Press had then become an easily  available facility.

Oberoi denies that Sikh resurgence in the 19th century derived its inspiration from the teachings of the  Gurus and the Sikh scripture. The greatest contribution of Sikh Sabha lies in projecting Sikh religion in its  traditional perspective. Sikhism is a revealed religion and has a recorded scripture authenticated by the Guru himself. Oberoi looks upon Sikhism as a rural religion, which by definition is a part of the oral  culture of people and it is always difficult to reconstruct and recover all the elements which go into its  making,’” Such statements completely misrepresent the reality in so far as there is a clear blackout, of the  teachings of the Gurus, of Sikh tradition and practices, and of Sikh history in the earlier three centuries. In  his entire paper, Oberoi has not quoted even on~ line from the Guru Granth Sahib, indicating he principles  of the Sikh faith; nor has he mentioned any of its fundamentals on which the Gurus insisted. To talk of the  characteristics of the Sikh faith and beliefs without reference to the Gurus, Guru Granth Sahib, and the Sikh  tradition and history is something com-pletely incomprehensible, if not delibreately biased. One wonders,  how Oberoi found a free and easy access to the so-called ‘Oral tradition’ to the exclusion of the actual Sikh  history.

The burden of Oberoi’s thesis is to highlight the points of deviation and departure from the Sikh tradition.  In analysing the nature of Sikhism he forgets the historical prespective and the Sikh ideology. Marked by descriptive profusion and meaningless rhetoric, his thesis betrays an obvious ignorance of the basic tenets  of the Sikh faith. By characterising the aberrations in the 19th century Sikh Society as the original or  ancient Sikhism, he has identified Sikh norms with the Hindu practices of the neo-converts. He has made a  particular black- out’ of the Sikh history and the Sikh literature and injunctions that specifically prohibited  pre-Sikh Hindu beliefs and practice. The author has taken it upon himself to select or reject any opinion;  thus completely ignoring the traditional model and negating the original sources and opinions of many  earlier or contemporary scholars. His contention that ‘Sanatan Sikhism,’ (a term coined by him to name  pre-Singh Sabha Sikhism) constituted real Sikh tradition is self-contradictory and deceptive. This term has  had no place or relevance in the entire history of Sikhism or any earlier writings pertaining to the Sikhs. A  Sikh movement, Singh Sabha or any other, should be judged in terms of what the Gurus had taught and the  Sikhs had practised in the Guru or the revolutionary period. Any attempt virtually to legitimize the Hindu  practices or the aberrations against which the Sikh Gurus, the Rahtnamas and Sikh writings had launched a  crusade, is nothing but misleading. Apart from the clear injunctions of Guru Gobind Singh quoted earlier, a  nearcontemporary source also records that ‘Guru Gobind Singh rejected the paths of both the Hindus and  the Muslims and created his own Panth.’49 The Rehtnamas emphasized that ‘The Sikhs should maintain  their separate identity from the caste society.’50 Rattan Singh Bhangu in his Prachin Panth Prakash, talks of  “separate Identity of the Panth, its egalitarian character, and the plebian political objectives and character of  the Khalsa.”51 The testimony of earlier injunctions, writings and contemporary observers, cannot be  ignored. Therefore, to designate the lean period of Sikh ism, when Hindu practices had crept into it, as  Sanatan Sikhism is a misnomer. To assess and measure the significance of an aberration in the period of  decline of the Sikh movement, without reference to the norms, the long standing tradition or the injunctions  in the scripture or Sikh writings, suggests a lack of sense of proportion or an attempt at distortion.

The Singh Sabha leaders aimed at “restoring the pristine purity of Sikhism,”52 without propounding any  philosophy of their Own or introducing a new practice un sanctioned by the ideology or the tradition. Any  Sikh, who adhered to the injunctions of the ten Gurus and was ready to serve the community could be admitted to the fold of the Singh Sabha.53 There was no ceremony to be gone through for this purpose nor  was there any distinctive dress, badge or mark to be worn. The movement was not a new cult. It retained its  democratic character, despite the efforts of some persons to style themselves as Gurus and wield control  over its affairs. Baba Khem Singh Bedi introduced a new cult and tried to gain supremacy over the  activities of the Sabha. Being a direct descendent of Guru Nanak, he virtually aspired to become a Guru.54  He wanted a well-furnished seat (gadella) for himself, even in the presence of the Granth Sahib.55 Baba  Khem Singh Bedi wished his authority to be regarded as paramount and absolute in religious mat-ters and  himself to be looked upon as the Guru in succession to Guru Nanak.56 Bhai Avtar Singh Vahiria, was a chosen associate of Baba Khem Singh Bedi. In his books, ‘Khalsa Dharam Shashtar,’ ‘Sikh Dharam Tat  Darshan’ and ‘Gurdarshan Shastar,’ he writes that the Sikh Gurus did not prohibit the worship of gods and goddesses and it was wrong to remove caste distinctions.

Actually, it was such obvious mis-statements that Prof. Gur-mukh Singh, Giani Ditt Singh, Bhai Mayya  Singh and Bhai Jawahar Singh of the Lahore Singh Sabha were out to controvert. They aimed at checking “outside influences and undesirable elements which had crept in Sikhism and thus to restore it to its former  purity. “57 Whereas the appeal of the Khem Singh Bedi and Vahiria group, who had their own vested  interests, was mostly confined to their personal circles, that of the Lahore Sabha went further and touched  the hearts of the general mass of the community.58 Missionaries (Parcharaks )were sent even in the interior  of the province to spread the message of Sikhism among hundreds and thousands of the village folks, who  constituted the backbone of the Sikh community and without whose cooperation no movement could  acquire a mass base. They made them aware of the fundamentals of the Sikh religion, thereby removing all  doubts, regard-ing the identity and practices of the. Khalsa. In the words of Giani Ditt Singh, “Having  sprung from the Hindus, the Sikhs are yet a separate community, clearly distinguished from them in  outward form, religious and social outlook, conception of God and Gurus, mode of worship, language of  the scriptures and their ideas regarding caste, pilgrimage and priesthood.”59 In fact, the pamphlets and  writings of the Singh Sabhaites profusely quote the scripture and religious writings in sup-port of their  views, exhorting Sikhs to shed the wrong practices that had crept in the Sikh fold following the political  confusion after the defeat of the Khalsa. Bhai Kahan Singh’s book, Ham Hindu Nahin, (We Are Not  Hindus) was a conscious reaction against the propaganda by some of the Hindus and Sikhs like the Khem  Singh Vahiria group. Giani Gian Singh’s ‘Panth Parkash,’ Naurang Singh’s ‘Sikh Hindu Nahin,’ Jodh  Singh’s Sacha Dharmi’ and many others, also quoted several passages from the Sikh scripture to prove that  the Sikh religion was an independent religion and had nothing to do with Hinduism. In fact, Sikhism had  controverted almost every fundamental of Hinduism.

Such writings inspired the Sikhs with self confidence and gave them a renewed sense of distinctiveness and  direction.60 The masses became sufficiently enlightened not to be misled by the Sikh vested interests and  the Arya Samajists, who tried to say that the Sikhs were a part of the Hindus. The Singh Sabha leaders had a clear and firm grasp of the issues facing the Sikhs. They rightly realised that the form and spirit of the  Khalsa could be kept intact only if the Sikhs conformed to the code of conduct prescribed by Guru Gobind  Singh. Any laxity in maintaining the five symbols (the five K’s), they knew would mean a fall from the  faith and would lead to the gradual erosion of the basic Sikh ideals.61 Bhai Kahan Singh in his books,  Gurmat Parbhakar and Gurmat Sucdhakar quoted several passeges from the Sikh scripture in order to  prove that the worship of images was contrary to the teachings of the Gurus.

The Singh Sabha leaders laid emphasis on the inculcation of such virtues as love of God, service of one’s  fellow beings, purity of living, charitableness and truthfulness. They made it clear, as the Gurus had  emphasized in their Bani, that the way to one’s moral and spiritual uplift lay through good deeds and not through miracles, mysteries and mantras. “The worship of the Almighty in homes is the best of all to obtain  eternal happiness, rather than going to the pilgrimage, where one Was bound to be misled by the selfish and  greedy priests.”62 Misguided notions regarding the worship of graves, tombs, Samadhs and cremation marks, which were contrary to Sikh religious injunctions and traditions, were clearly condemned in the  preachings of the Singh Sabha.63 Giani Ditt Singh’s booklet, Durga Parbodh, was written primarily to  dispel the belief in Pirs and Fakirs which was of no avail and diverted man’s attention from the path of  righteousness. That is why, as indicated already, all the thrity seven Singh Sabhas, except the three Sabhas  of Rawalpindi, Faridkot and Amritsar which were per-sonally connected with Khem Singh and Raja of  Faridkot group, followed the lead of the Ditt Singh Gurmukh Singh group.64

As a result, the period of diffidence was over and Sikhism regained its self confidence in its historic  mission. The Census Report of 1921 noted: “Sikhism is a religion with a very distinct worship of its own  and having attained a position of independence, is fully entitled to rank as a separate religion.”65

The passing of the Anand Marriage Act in 1909, legalising the Sikh form of marriage was a significant  achievement of the Singh Sabhas. Various Sikh organisations and Singh Sabha, sent telegrams and petitions signed by lacs of Sikhs, demanding the passage of the Act’66 The Government was Impressed by  this demonstration of Sikh unity in favour of this legislation which involved separate Sikh entity. It was an  important step forward because the State was forced to accept the self assertion of the will of an  independent socio-religious community.

The Sabha periodicals, the Khalsa, the Khalsa Akhbar, the Khalsa Samachar, the Khalsa Advocate and the  Sikhs and Sikhism helped a great deal in projecting the true image of Sikhism. The influence of these  periodicals was tremendous and they greatly helped in quickening the pace of revival. They succeeded in  counteracting the attack of the Arya Samajists and the Christian Missionaries, who were misrepresenting  the teachings of the Sikh Gurus. These periodicals were run by persons like Giani Ditt Singh, Bhai Gurmuk  Singh, Bhai Mayya Singh, Bhagat Lakshman Singh, and Bhai Vir Singh who had been nurtured in the Sikh tradition.

People came in large numbers to receive baptism. A major plankof the Singh Sabha was a crusade of Amrit  Parchar because to revive the institution of baptism and the connected doctrine of ‘Nash’, making
a complete break with all earlier religious and social traditions, was the best means of eliminating the  Brahmanical practices that had appeared among the Sikh ranks.67 The Singh Sabha preaching being in line  with the earlier tradition, and having the sanction of the Gurus and the scripture, no Sikh could ignore or  defy them. In fact, the tremendous success the Singh Sabha revivalists had in bringing back dynamism in the Sikh life, was entirely due to their ability to invoke the authority of the Sikh Gurus, the Guru Granth  Sahib and the Sikh tradition in support of everything they said and preached. The chief pillars of the  movement, workers like Giani Ditt Singh, Bhai Gurmukh Singh, Bhai Mayya Singh, Bhai Jawahar Singh  and Bhagat Lakshman Singh, were very ordinary persons of hardly any consequence in the socio-economic  or the political life of the community. There was nothing to recommend them except their devotion to the  cause of the great tradition which the mass of people understood very well.68 It would, therefore, be naive to suggest that these simple Singh Sabha workers could have the capacity to impose on the community a new  system, or make innovations in the Sikh ideology or even a major reform, without their suggestdions and programme being strictly in line with the thesis of the Gurus, especially when many socially and politically  influential persons in the Sikh community continued to oppose them.69

The Chief Khalsa Diwan formed a sub-committee to suggest ways and mean to reform the Gurdwaras that  had gone into the hands of Brahmanical priests and vested interests70 But it could not take effective  measures because Mahants and Pujaris who controlled the Gurdwaras enjoyed the support of the  Government.71 After this tussle, the Mahants and the Pujari’s became hostile to the Singh Sabha leaders.72  The Sikh public was rudely made conscious of the evil designs of the Pujaris when they condemned the  Komaghata Marn Sikhs at the Akal Takhat and presented a robe of honour to Gerenal Dyer after the  tragedy of Jallianwala Bagh.73 This made the Sikhs furious. It took the Sikhs quite some time to get their  shrines liberated from the Mahants and the Pujaris.

Nevertheless, the Singh Sabha succeeded in renewing a sense of self-awareness among the Sikhs. The  movement, which derived its inspiration from the great spiritual heritage of the Gurus, did not ‘invent’ any  standard of its own. It is highly incorrect, rather misleading, to attribute innovations to a movement which  was wholly revivalist in Its nature and character. In fact, to propound a new ideology was against the very  basic principles of the Singh Sabha. A scholar who sets out to study and understand the true nature of  Sikhism should do so in the context of the Sikh scripture and the historical background of the emergence of  Sikhism. Oberoi’s assertion that Sikhism is first and foremost a peasant faith or rural religion, displays a  complete lack of knowledge and understanding of Guru Granh Sahib and the fun-damentals of Sikhism.  This deficiency is common with those who use social-science methodology in studying a religion and its  history. No where in the history of India or elsewhere in the world, is there any evidence to suggest that the  peasantry could, on its own, devise a radically new religious system or sustain a social revolution of the 
kind that took place in the Punjab.

Throughout the ages, Sikhism has shown a remarkable potency and will to grapple with all crisis, without  compromising the basic and enduring values of its faith. It is through tremendous sacrifices and sufferings  that the Sikhs have maintained their identity, ideals and ethos and carried out the mission entrusted to them by their Gurus. Their birth, training, tradition and history have marked them out as a people separate from  the rest. It is quite idle to draw simplistic conclusions about the Sikh religion and its history, without an  indepth study and analysis of the Sikh scripture and the role of each doctrine and institution in shaping the  Sikh movement and the revolutionary changes it brought about.

The study of the Singh Sabha movement in isolation, and in complete disregard of the Sikh ideology and  the earlier Sikh history, apart from being methodically inadequate and faulty, shows very clearly the failings of a narrow and lopsided approach. Lloyd has drawn a very interesting caricature of an  anthropological view which would first magnify a very narrow aspect of a social phenomenon’ and
then try to draw inferences therefrom. The social anthropologist who views religion as a social institution,  quite often, fails to take into account the socio-cultural complex, “constituted by institutions, rules, beliefs  and intentions” and arrives at erroneous conclusions74 Lloyd has provided a rather amusing account of what  a tribal anthropologist might see if he visited the Brighton beach in the middle of summer The anthropologist’s account, he says, may read somewhat like the following:

“The people of England are religious and devout worshippers of the sun. Each year they leave their homes  and travel to the coast for the purpose of worship and often take up small accommodation in tents or in  what they call caravans, or live with other people during their short stay. Each day they begin worship by  prostrating themselves on the shingle in the heat of the sun, which is often so hot that they wear shields  over their eyes. Their bodies become burnt and some become ill, but few are deterred by this, such is their  devotion. At various times people will baptise themselves in the waters, calling to each other and waving  their arms in ecstacy. At midday, families group together when a symbolic ceremony takes place. Three- cornered pieces of bread, known to the natives as ‘sandwiches’, are passed around and eaten. During their  afternoon they throw symbolic, large, inflated, multi coloured orbs to one another, illustrating the dominance of the sun in their lives. Throughout all this, elders lie motionless in their canvas seats with their  faces covered, in deep and prolonged meditation. These observances may continue for a family for upto  fourteen days, when they return to their work until the following year.”75

Lloyd says that such an interpretation of what the people of Brighton beach were doing seems quite consist  ant with their physical movements. That is to say, if these people really were sun-worshipping, instead of  sun-bathing and enjoying themselves, their bodily move-ments may be no different. The difference lies in  how they saw their movements. What the anthropologist did not do was to see things the way the natives  did, to entertain the ideas they had, to understand the significance that these things had for them. If we wish  to understand what a person is doing we have to understand not only his beliefs and intentions but also the  socio-cultural context and institutions, norms and rules which provide the framework within which he  forms his purposes in terms of appraisal of his situation. Oberoi’s study is equally narrow and inept in its vision.

Unless there is a conscious or unconscious effort to damage and erode the very roots of the Sikh ideology  and the Sikh religion, a correct evaluation of Sikhism cannot be made by a lop-sided or isolated study of a  few rituals and beliefs prevalent in a very small section of the community during a particularly lean period.  The worshipping of a ‘Sakhi Sarvar’ by less than three percent of ignorant and illiterate villagers or a  similar local aberration or belief cannot be regarded as the views and practice of the entire Sikh  community, especially when the Sikh scripture, tradition and writings had specifically and repeatedly condemned them, and when three was hardly a trace of them in the Sikh community of the Guru period or  of the 18th century.

People of different religions are quite often found harmonizing together in social life and mutually  respecting, understanding and taking part in each other’s modes, ways and doings. For example ‘Purdah’  system which crept into the Hindu society bore the stamp of Muslim culture. It is misleading to draw inferences about the form and dynamics of a religion on the basis of socio-cultural practices and usages,  which are local and temporary in character. A visitor to a Christian Sunday worship in a Punjabi village  observed that “many aspects of the worship were strongly influenced by Punjabi village culture - the timing  of worship, taking off shoes outside the church, the separation of the men from the women, the noise and  informality of worship, the music and musical instruments.”76 If some Sikhs and Muslims worshipped the  Sakhi Sarvar, it does not mean that Islam and Sikhisms are not independent religions or that such worship  is native to the two religions. “Saturnatia, the Roman winter festival of 17-21 December, provided the  merriment, gift -giving and candles typical of later Christmas holidays. Sun worship hung on in Roman  Ciiristianity and Pope Leo I in the middle of the fifth century, rebuked worshippers who turned round to  bow to the sun before entering St. Peter’s basilica, some pagan customs which were later Christianised,...”  In short many pagan customs continued in Christianity in one form or the other for centuries on end.77

There are features which are particular to Punjab and there are practices derived from the surrounding  culture which give it a particular flavour not found in other parts of the world. Popular legends of “Heer- Ranjhah’, ‘Sassi-Punnu’ and ‘Sohni-Mahiwal’ (men-tioned by Oberoi) which found mention in the Punjabi  literature placed no impediments in the recognition of Sikhism as an independent religion.
 There are certain  features of a culture which are local and temporal and cannot by any stretch, he deemed to be a part of the prevailing religious system. Just as the pop music that is a common feature of the urban life of the Indian community today, could not be called an integral part of the Brahmanical religion, in the  same way it would be wrong to charcterise folk fables and love stories of Hir Ranjha, Sassi Pannu, etc. as a part of the Sikh religion.

Our discussion of the four related aspects of the Singh Sabha movement shows that while it played an  important and significant regenerative role during a lean period of the Sikh history, it was wholly a  revivalist movement working strictly within the parametres of the Sikh religion and its tradition. In fact, the  very reasons that it invoked the authority of the Guru and the Gurus Granth Sahib and placed before the  public examples of the Sikh society and Sikh heroes who had suffered and sacrificed for the principles of  Sikh religion, account for the success of the Singh Sabha leaders in safely and creditably steering the Sikh  community towards its goals.

1 Gauri Mahalla-3, ‘Guru Granth Sahib’, p.129, translated by Gopal Singh, Vol.1, p.120
2 Guru Dranth Sahib, p.357
3 Macauliffe, M.A.; The Sikh Religion Vol.1, p.326
4 Guru Granth Sahib, p.1243; Trans. by Gopal Singh, Vo1. IV, p.1188
5 Guru Grant Sahib, p.830
6 Guru Granth Sahib, p.1412, Translation by Gopal Singh, Vo1. IV, p.1337
7 Guru Granth Sahib, p.1298
8 Ibid., p.1290
9 Gurdev Singh; ‘Sikh Tradition’, p.328
10 Cunningham, J.D.; ‘A History of the Sikhs’ (Delhi, 1966); p.64. Bannerjee, Indubhushan; Evolution of  the Khalsa, V 01. 11 (Calcutta 1962), p.116. Also Daljeet Singh; ‘Sikhism’ (New Delhi,1979), pp.285-8611
11 Cunningham, J.D., op. cit., p.75
12 Dasam Granth, Kabit Swayia, p.712
13 Ahmad Shah Batala; ‘Tawarikh-i-Hindu,’ A.H.1233/A.D.1818, pp. 405-6; Also Printed in ‘Zikai-i- Quruan-Ibtida-i-Singhan- Wa- Mazhab-i-Eshan-Twarikh-Daftari-Sohan,’ Sohan Lal Siri
14 Cunningham, J.D.; op. cit., pp.79-80; Ganda Singh; Early European Accounts of the Sikhs’ (New Delhi,  1947), p.188
15 Gupta, Hari Ram; ‘History of the Sikhs,; Vol. II; pp.39-45; Also Vol. I; p.281
16 KohIi, Sita Ram; Foreword to ‘Umdat-Ut-Tawarikh’ of Sohan Lal Suri, Daftar IV, p.ii
17 Devi Prasad, Pandit; Gulshan-i-Punjab (Luckhnow 1872), p.224. See also Cunningharn; op. cit., p.301
18 Census of India, 1921 (Punjab and Delhi), Vol. XV, Part I, p.184
19 Ibbeston, Denzil; ‘Punjab Castes’ (Reprinted) (Patiala, 1970), p.228. Similar views are also expressed by Major R. Leech. For details see also Leech, R. (Major); ‘Notes on the Religion of the Sikhs and others  Sects Inhabiting the Punjabi;’ Foreign Secret Proceedings, Vol. 590, 6-20, December 1845, 3712
20 Nirankari, Man Singh; ‘The Nirankaris As Harbinger of Sikh Renaissance,’ article published in the book entitled ‘A prophecy Fulfilled’ (Amritsar, 1984), edited by the same author, p.48
21 Sahni, Ruchi Ram; ‘The Gurdwara Reform Movement and the Sikh Awakening’ (Jullundur 1922), p.34
Also Bingley, AR, The Sikhs (Reprint) (Patiala,1970), p. 56
22 The Khalsa Akbhar, Lahore, May 25,1894
23 Clark, Robert (Revd.); ‘Thirty Years of Missionary Work in Punjab and Sindh’ (Lahore 1883), pp. 219-20,224 and 246
24 Dhillion, Gurdarshan Singh Character and Impact of the Singh Sabha Movement on the History of  Punjab (unpublished Ph.D.thesis Punjabi University, Patiala, 1973), p.28
25 Ibbetson, Denzil; op. cit., p. 228
26 Nirankari, Man Singh; op. cit., p.48
27 Guru Granth Sahib, p.1245
28 Gurmukh Singh, Bhai; ‘My Attempted Ex-Communiation From the Sikh Temples and the Khalsa Community at Faridkot in 1897 (Lahore, 1898) pp. 2-3
29 Macauliffe, MA.; op. cit., Vol. I, pp.3l0 and 379
30 Oberoi, RS.; ‘Popular Saints, Goddesses and Village Sacred Sites; Re-reading Sikh Experience in the  Nineteenth Century Note: This paper has been recently read at a Conference held at Berkeley (U.S.A)
31 Guru Granth Sahib, p.1153; trans. by Gopal Singh, Vol. IV, p.1102
32 Ibid., p.3l0
33 Macauliffe, M.A, The Sikh Religion, Vol. III, pp.7-8. 34. . Ibid., p.419
34 Ibid., p.419
35 Ibid, Vol. IV,pp. 147-49
36 Ibid., pp. 339-40
37 (Prashlad Singh), ‘Rehtnama,’ edited by Piara Singh Padam, p.55. Also ‘Rahtnama’ (Daya Singh), p.64
38 Bhangu, Rattan Singh; Prachin Panth Parkash (ed. Bhai Vir Singh, Amtritsar, 1962, pp.42 and 47)
39 Rose, RA; ‘A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab And North-West Frontier Province’  Vol.1II (Reprint 1970, Patiala), pp.436-37
40 Daljit Singh, ‘Singh Sabha de Modhi Giani Ditt Singh Ji’ (Amritsar,1951), pp. 72-73
41 Khalsa Akhbar, Lahore, September 30,2889
42 Petrie, D.; ‘Memorandum on Recent Developments in Sikh Politics’ (Simla, August 11,1911), The  Punjab Past and Present, Vol. IV, Part II (Patiala, October, 1970), pp. 310-11
43 Koer Singh; Gurbilas Patshahi Das,p. 137, Macauliffe; op. cit.,, Vol. V, pp. 99-100. Also Jagjit Singh;  The Sikh Revolution (Chandigarh 1981). p. 177
44 Macauliffe; op. cit., Vol. V, p. 218; Jagjit Singh; Ibid., p.278
45 Bharat Mukti Morcha, ‘Punjab: The Sikh Case’ (Chandigarh 1988). They have quoted Maulana Abdul  Kalam Azad as an evidence in support of these figures
46 Akbar, M.J.; ‘India: The Sieg Within’ (London, 1985), pp. 307
47 Ibid
48 For details see Kahn Singh, Bhai; ‘Ham Hindu Nahin’ (Reprint, Amritsar 1973) and Ditt Singh, Giani;  ‘Nakli Sikh Parbodh’ (Reprint, Amritsar 1974).
49 Koer Singh; ‘Gurbilas Patshahi Das’ (Patiala 1968), pp. 136, 143
50 Padam, Piara Singh; Edited),’ ‘Rahtnama’ (Patiala 1974), pp. 68-69
51 Jagjit Singh; op. cit., pp. 291-92
52 Ganda Singh; ‘A History of the Khalsa College’ Amritsar (Amritsar, 1949), p. 2
53 Ibid
54 Khem Singh Bedi’s followers called him Avtar (incarnation of God) For details see Avtar Singh Vihiria, Bhai; ‘Shok Pattar’ (Lahore 1905), p. 38
55 Khalsa Akhbar, Lahore, April 14, 1899
56 Petrie, D. op. cit., pp. 310-11
57 Jagjit Singh; ‘Singh Sabha Lehr’ (Tarn Taran 1941), pp. 16-17
58 The Civil and Military Gazette. Lahore, April 30, 1888; Petrie, D.; op. cit., p. 311
59 Khalsa Akhbar, Lahore, November 18, 1889
60 Jodh Singh, Bhai; ‘Guru Sahib Ate Ved’ (Amritsar n.d.), pp. 15-20
61 Gian Singh, Giani; ‘Panth Parkash’ (Patiala, 1970), Reprint, pp. 233-34
62 Macauliffe’s Lecture, delivered at Simla and published in the Khalsa Akhbar, Lahore, August 14, 1903
63 Teja Singh, Babu; ‘Singhan Da Panth Niyara’ (Amritsar .1900), pp. 1-5
64 Lakshman Singh, Bhagat; ‘Autobiography’ (edited by Ganda Singh), (Calcutta 1965), pp. 142-43
65 Census of India, 1921, Punjab and Delhi, V 01. VX, p. 171
66 Talwar, K.S.; ‘The Anand Marriage Act.’ The Punjab Past and Present (October 1968), Vo1. 11, p. 407
67 Teja Singh; ‘Sikhism Its Ideals and Institution’ (Calcutta, 1938), pp. 38-39
68 The Civil and Military Gazettee, Lahore. April 30, 1888
69 Ibid
70 Caveeshar, Sardul Singh; ‘The Sikh Studies’ (Lahore, 1937), pp. 189-90
71 Ibid
72 Ibid
73 Ibid
74 Gautam, Satya P.; ‘On Understanding Human Action.’ Paper read at a Seminar on ‘Philosophical Theory And Social Reality, January 18-22, 1982 available at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi
75 Lloyd, DJ,; ‘Nature of Man,’ in ‘Philosophy and the Teacher’ edited by DJ, Lloyd, (London: Routlege  and Kegan Paul, 1978) p,36
76 Caleb, Maqbul; ‘Christian Sunday Worship In a Punjabi Village,’ an article published in a book entitled,  ‘Popular Religion In the Punjab Today’ edited by John CB. Webster (Delhi, 1974), p. 125
77 Richard A. Todd., ‘Eerdmans’ Handbook to the History of Christianity.’ pp. 131-32



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