A Review by Jaswant Rai*
Editor: Jaiteg Singh Anant
Publishers: Hardarshan International Memorial Trust, Chandigarh
Available: Singh Brothers, Mai Sewan Bazar, Amritsar
Price: Rs 190/- (Canada, America $ 15; UK: £ 8)
Book entitled Sirdar is a notable work from S Jaiteg Singh Anant, a well known photo journalist, thinker and devout Sikh, who has already contributed two books on Sikh philosophy in Punjabi.
From the title of the book, one would expect a biographical account of the great Sikh Scholar - Sirdar Kapur Singh, Prof of Sikhism. Sirdar Kapur Singh, a philosopher and scholar of outstanding merit, a stalwart intellectual, an opinionative who was at times blunt but philosophic in his well thought out concepts and ideas.
The present book is a collection of the articles from 30 eminent scholars of the Sikh Diaspora. The book highlights the various aspects of S Kapur Singh's life. The main feature of the book is that scholars who contribute write ups for this book shared their personal experience by meeting with Sirdar Sahib.
The author does not disappoint the readers and covers the major events in the life of Sirdar Kapur Singh in the opening chapter "Sirdar." The first chapter of the book written by S Jaiteg Singh Anant depicts early and later life of the great Sikh thinker. The author tries to explain some uncommon titles of his books used by S Kapur Singh like 'Parasharprashana' and ‘Sirdar’ instead of Sardar, etc. S Anant gives manifold information regarding the difficulties of Sirdar Kapur Singh during his Administrative Job under the Government of India, ups and downs of his political career, his relation with various contemporary Sikh leaders and his views about the Sikh leaders of the time.
The article of prominent Sikh historian Dr Ganda Singh proves the authenticity of his controversial book "Sachi Sakhi", in which he expressed, how Sikhs were betrayed by the majority community despite solemn promises before Partition.
Dr Harpal Singh Pannu stated in his article that a few other scholars tried to imitate Sirdar Kapur Singh but failed. He asserts that Sirdar Kapur Singh had overwhelming influence on all the eminent leaders of the Akali Party. His bitterness could be acquiesced by every Sikh leader. Dr Pannu's memorable incident about hard and soft corner proves that Sirdar Sahib was whole-heartedly for the youth. But here I must mention that the Punjabi language of Dr Pannu's article is as difficult as English for a layman. A simple language could be better understood for his well written article.
Principal Bharpur Singh highlighted the difficulties of the great Sirdar during his Job under the Government of India (GOI). GOI impound his salary amount of Rs 15 lacs. After dismissal from service, he faced economic crisis in his life but never asked for financial help from any quarters. He was of the opinion that Punjab was Sikh homeland and GOI should amend the Constitution of India and provide special rights to Sikhs for their separate Identity but Sikh leadership ignored every effort made by their earlier Sikhs.
All the other essays like S Gurtej Singh's “Waryam Mard”, S Tarlochan Singh's “Karam-Yogi”, Dr Khushwant Singh’s “Sirdar, Akali, Jathedar” are highly informative and interesting and throw a profound light on different phases of Sirdar Kapur Singh's life. Every scholar has presented Sirdar Sahib in his own way but it all proves that Sirdar Kapur Singh was not only a scholar but also a fearless personality who never compromised with anybody on false and unreasonable premises.
More than two dozen coloured and black & white rare and historical photographs given in book make it more memorable. The editor covers every aspect of S Kapur Singh's life in these photographs. The photographs of Sirdar Kapur Singh's village Chak No 530 in Distt Lyalpur (now in Pakistan), the house where he was born, primary school where he gained the primary education, Khalsa School Lyalpur where he passed his matriculation (under Master Tara Singh), Govt College Lahore, and University of Cambridge where he got his higher education. Photographs of Sirdar Sahib with his family members and brother at their home in India show his love for family. The pictures of eminent personalities like Mastar Tara Singh, Dharam Anant Singh, Dr Mohan Singh Diwana, Baba Ram Singh Namdhari, Prof Puran Singh, Sirdari Lal Prashar, Darshan Singh Pheruman, present a glimpse of his contacts with contemporary stalwarts.
At the end, the opinions regarding the book by some scholars appreciate the hard work done by the Editor, Sardar Jaiteg Singh Anant. The author dedicated this book to celebrate the first birth centenary of S Kapur Singh. The overall look, the paper used, title, hardbound edition make it quite impressive. The book presents mearness to great Sirdar motivating readers to go through is works.
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2011, All