After the Punjab Crisis of early eighties, there has, in the West, been a growing interest in the Sikhs, their religion and history. This interest has especially been keen in countries where Sikh migrants have settled. Unfortunately, the meagre literature that has since appeared, including that from academic circles in the West, has mostly been of a journalistic level, far from being well-researched. Second, the publication in 1989 of the papers of the Conference on Sikh Studies, held by the 'Sikh Community of North America', at Long Beach, California State University, has created further demand from Sikh Organisations in UK, Canada and USA for an authentic projection of Sikhism and its history. Third, with the increasing erosion and confusion in the moral life of modern cultures serious scholars of religion would like to know what is the stand of Sikhism on this important issue.
In this context, the Sikh Council of Education, UK, the Canadian Institute of Sikh Studies, Toronto, the Canadian Sikh Study and Teaching Society, Vancouver, The Sikh Students Association of U.B.C., Vancouver, The Sikh Association of S.F.U. Vancouver, The Sikh Foundation U.S.A. San Francisco, The Sikh Community of Chicago, Guru Gobind Singh Foundation and Guru , Nanak Foundation, Washington DC, the Sikh Cultural Society,
New York and the Sikh Community of the Tri-State Area, New York, approached the Sikh Community of North America, Los Angles, and the Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, for organising Conferences of Sikh Studies under their auspices.
Accordingly, the two organisations concerned deliberated over the matter, made a choice of subjects relating to the Sikh Ideology and history that were both topical and needed elucidation, and approached specialists to write papers on them. Scholars from all areas and countries were invited to attend and participate in the Conferences.
A series of seven Conferences was organised to meet the demand. The first Conference was held at London (Essex hall), on the 17th and 18th November, 1990. The papers contributed at this Conferences form a separate volume. The second Conferences was held at the University of Toronto, Wallberg Building, St. George Campus, Toronto on the 24th and 25th November, 1990. The third Conference took place at Vancouver in the Old Auditorium, University of British Columbia, on the second December, 1990. The fourth was organised at the Berkley University, on the 5th December, 1990. The fifth one took place at Chicago, on the 6th December, 1990. The venue of the sixth was the George Washington University, Washington DC, on the 8th December, 1990, and the last Conference was held on the 15th December, 1990 at New York. These Conferences have been the biggest ever academic event in the field of Sikh Studies. Over forty papers were contributed. The number of those who participated and discussed them fruitfully was about two thousand. Scholars from different disciplines and parts of the world presented their papers, and many of them addressed more than one Conference. At Vancouver messages were received from Mr. William N. Vander Zalm, Premier of British Columbia, and Mr. Garry Weiner, Minister of Multi-culturism and Citizenship, British Columbia. Dr Dennison Moore, Chief of Staff, Multi-culturism, who brought the message, addressed the Conference. (For messages see Appendixes I and II).
The papers contributed at the Conferences in Canada and USA, and received after revision have been divided into four Sections, namely, Ideology, Methodology, Sikh History, and General. The present Volume comprises 23 papers. The second Volume, entitled Fundamental Issues in Sikh Studies, contains 18 papers mostly read at the London Conference.
In recent years there has inexplicably been a tendency to choose current issues, and rush to the press, even where the available information is inadequate. True, there is no bar to taking up current issues, provided opinions are based on sound information and are honestly held. But, doubts on this score are natural to arise, when views expressed are far from well-founded. For example, there have been a spate of books and papers including those from academic circles about the Punjab problems. The paper (published in the London Volume) on the water dispute, which forms the hub of the Punjab problem, shows that not one of those publications or papers mentions even the barest facts of the issue, much less its historical or constitutional aspects. Hence merely calling 'wolf', 'tragedy' or 'disaster' or the expression of drawing-room talk cannot be a substitute of presenting a sound factual statement or analysis. The difficulty of producing an objective statement about current affairs by an academician is well recognised and understood. Therefore, except for papers seeking to dispel the confusion created by some hasty observations, we have refrained from taking up current topics. Besides, as emphasized already, it is probably more fruitful to understand the present by a thorough study of the past, instead of following the inverted process of putting the cart before the horse, and reconstructing the past as a projection of the fluid present. Apart from the difficulty of the task for the academician, the finding sometimes could be quite subjective or misleading. For, writing current history, however tempting, is the preferred task of the journalist and not so much of the academician. The papers of King, Kharak Singh, Dhillon and Daljeet Singh, in the two volumes expose the hazards of making such attempts about current matters.
A word about another misapprehension in some circles. Neither the use of the 'Western' nor of the 'Modem' critical method is unwelcome. It is the lack of it or some substandard works which are the lament. Kharak Singh's paper shows how inadequately authenticated are most of the entries about Sikhism in Western encyclopaedias. And yet no one has been able to bring them upto the mark or even uptodate, showing thereby, the paucity of scholarship regarding Sikhism. Over-dependence on the views of ex-missionaries, naturally conditioned by their profession, or sporadic visitors to India, cannot obviously be of any great help or merit.
There is an important fact which needs to be stressed about Sikh studies. The Sikh Gurus clearly state that the hymns in the Guru Granth emanate out of their spiritual experience. The lives of the Sikh Gurus clearly and profoundly give expression to that experience and the thesis it conveys. It is, therefore, logically and ideologically a contradiction to divorce the study of Sikh history from a study of the Guru Granth and its theology. We do not for one moment suggest that historians, sociologists and anthropologists should not study Sikhism from the point of view of their respective disciplines. Even among them there are in each discipline, two kinds of interpreters: those that accept the existence of a fundamental Spiritual Reality, and those that do not and interpret every thing from the materialist point of view. So far as scholars who believe in religion or have some religious faith, are concerned, their stand on the issue of religious history is well known. It is true that there are historians, sociologists and anthropologists who would like to study a religion purely from the materialists point of view, and for that matter, have no obligation to accept the source or validity of a scripture or its ideology. But,
to the ordinary reader and the scholar they owe an obligation to state the extent of their limitation, the scope of their vision and the lens through which they view it. For exmaple, a historian like Toynbee who accepts the value of spiritual experience observes, "They (Prophets) are not the product of their social milieu; the events that produce them are encounters between the human beings and the Absolute Reality that is in, and at the same time, beyond all the phenomena of Existence, Life, and History; and any soul may meet God at any time and place in any historical circumstances. Nevertheless an examination of the social milieu will help us to understand the nature, as well as the rise, of religions in which this experience of meeting God is communicated and commended to Mankind as the inspiration for a new way of life."
In this context, we make no apology for emphasizing the inalienable connection between a study of the Guru Granth and the lives of the Sikh Gurus, and the study of the development of their religion. Hence the consequent necessity of correlating the two studies. But, we do not any time exclude the possibility of the study of religion and its history from the point of view of the materialist, except for the need of disclosing the ideological stand of the author.
In this volume, on Ideology King has contributed two papers: "Fundamentalism, Modernity: Sikhism A Tertium Quid" and "An Incomparable Liturgy: Sacred Nit-Nem among the World Religions". In the first paper he makes a close study of the Sikh doctrines and explains how misleading it is to brand them as fundamentalism, a word drawn from the Christian background, suggesting rigidity, primitivism and anachronism, or to call Sikhism a peasant or Jat society. He makes a penetrating analysis of the post-modern situation that has led to certain revivalist movements. Actually, the problem is that there are visible cracks in the modern culture, threatening deterioration and disintegration in its societies; and correspondingly there is a tendency to turn to religion as a means of "survival, recovery and resurgence." In fact, we feel that further the veil over the Russian Empire is removed, the greater would be the disillusionment with the so-called modern view of history. So far as the Sikh society is concerned, King feels, it has been "the continued unfolding of enseeded, encoded nature of Sikhism as propounded by the First Mahalla and the other Nine. "Referring to the Sikh society, both in the nineteenth century and in the present times, he writes, that it is nothing beyond invoking or working out of the original teachings of Guru Nanak, emphasising the brotherhood of man in the classic words that there is "No Hindu nor Mussalman", but only man. He observes that Sikh scholars thoroughly grounded in their own inheritance, may in due course contribute much to a genuine theory of world history.
It is with deep lament that we record the sudden and sad demise of Dr Avtar Singh, the outstanding exponent and scholar of Sikh Philosophy. His passing away is an irreparable loss to the world of Sikh scholarship. It is unfortunate that the shocking happening took place, before he could send his revised papers to us. We are, therefore, including only the abstract which he had sent to us for advance circulation. It contains an extremely important observation, namely, that it is the Sikh ethics and Sikh Philosophy that form the fundamental context that gives rise to Sikh history and social development, which cannot be understood and appreciated without reference to the core, which is the fount that gives life, strength and drive to them. He writes ''This confusion results into invitation to the sociologist, anthropologist and some historians to continue talking about identity without reference to the ethical core which is the inner element. The results range from genuine confusion to intentional misleading of Sikhism."
Daljeet Singh has contributed two papers on Sikh Ideology, "The Sikh World-view: Its Ideological Identity" and "Sikh Religion and Politics". In his first paper he explains that the Sikh thesis is based entirely on the spiritual experience of the Gurus. He classifies world religions into four categories, and considers all Indian religions before Guru Nanak to be dichotomous or life-negating, in the sense that they make a clear division between the spiritual path and the empirical path, with the religious person owning monasticism, Sanyasa, celibacy, or withdrawl from empirical life. In the second category, he places Judaism and Islam, which started as whole-life religions, but in which withdrawal and dichotomy appeared later in their history, in the form of cults like those of Essenes, Kabbalists, etc., in one case, and of Sufismin the other case. He places Christianity in the third category, being virually in line with the views of Jeremiah, who recommended non-resistance to the evil of Babylonian invasion. Therefore, despite the fundamental of treating 'your neighbour as yourself', Christian pacificism has led to religious withdrawal and the appearance of monastries and nunneries from the end of the Third Century A.D. It is this other-worldliness in the Christian Society that historians like Gibbon and Sir James Fraser, have considered to be a cause of the fall of the Roman Empire. The Reformation, he indicates, dealt a blow to the supremacy of the Church, which became virtually a subordinate wing of the national state. This dichotomy ultimately has given rise to the phenomena of Secularism, Communism, Individualism, and Consumerism, causing increasing erosion of the moral fibre of modern societies. In the context, he highlights the independence and whole-life character of the Sikh World-View, which apart from being optimistic, seeks to ensure that Sikhism, like Judaism does not turn into withdrawal, or a salvation system. In order to avoid this decline, 'the Tenth Master has prescribed the keeping of Kirpan, which is, on the one hand, a constant reminder to the Sikh, of his social responsibility, and on the other hand, a warning against escape to monasticism or other-worldliness. In the other paper he brings out that the miri-piri doctrine is fundamental to the religious experience of the Gurus and the system of Guru Nanak. While in the Indian context this doctrine is entirely new and original, it forms an integral part of all whole-life religions that combine the spiritual and the empirical components of life. The author traces how, in pursuance of the needs of the doctrine and the times, each Guru systematically contributed to the development of the Sikh Panth from the period of Guru Nanak to the end of the seventeenth century, culminating ultimately in the creation of the Khalsa. He concludes that all misunderstandings and misrepresentations about Sikhism are due to the failure of some scholars to accept the miri-piri doctrine as an integral part of a whole-life system, and their insistence to interpret and view Sikhism through the glasses of their own beliefs and philosophies.
Gurtej Singh's article "Political Ideas of Guru Nanak the Originator of the Sikh Faith", has brought out with clarity the political concerns of Guru Nanak in his ideology and life. He has referred to two groups of outside scholars. The first group, he states, although they cannot fail to note the socio-politically oriented hymns of Guru Nanak, always appear to be anxious to include him within the framework of their pacificist formulations. The second group led by Cunningham, who was the first to doubt the veracity of earlier observations, perceived the wide import of the teachings of Guru Nanak, as applicable to every state of life and every condition of society. Guru Nanak emphasizes that in God's order a ruler working without regard to universal values and justice, should have a fall, and that under certain circumstances it is more honourable to resist and die than to live under an immoral and tyrannical rule. This is the call Guru Nanak gives to every lover of God, when he asks him to be ready to sacrifice his head on the path of love. The Guru, he says, firmly believes that no individual can tread the spiritual path without fulfilling his value-based role in the relationship with society and socio-political organisations. For Guru Nanak the path to spiritual fulfilment is through right conduct, including that in the socio-political field, incessant striving, rigorous discipline and God's grace.
Kharak Singh in his paper "Guru Nanak in the History of Religious Thought" recounts the essentials of the Guru's life-affirming ideology that accepts the reality of the world. He emphasizes that it was Guru Nanak who rejected asceticism, ahimsa, celibacy and withdrawal from life, and founded a society of householders with the social responsibility of ensuring justice and equality between man and man, man and woman, and in the sharing of wealth. Again, it is Guru Nanak who has laid emphasis on deeds and the necessity of resisting injustice and oppression in the socio-political sphere. In this context, he shows how inadequate and erroneous is the understanding of Surjit Hans in his book "Reconstruction of Sikh History from Sikh Literature". He finds his translation of Guru's hymns faulty, and consequently his interpretations unreliable. The paper furnishes an objective lesson as to how risky it is for social scientists to rush to the press without ,sufficient understanding or knowledge of Gurbani, its idiom and world-view.
As a teacher of Sikh philosophy, Gurnam Kaur analyses the three kinds of knowledge, namely, perceptual knowledge, rational knowledge, and intuition, accepted in the Guru Granth, and how the Gurus have stressed the need of integrating them for living a fuller spiritual life, while giving primacy to the role of revelation. They accept the use of reason for fruitful activities of the seeker. She concludes that the Sikh Gurus emphasize that the Sachiara, the true man, in consonance with the altruistic Will of God, is fully "Conscious of his social responsibilities and utilises his knowledge for the development of the human society."
As a distinguished scholar of long standing, G.S. Mansukhani is critical of the Western historical method. For, it fails to take into account the important sources of oral history, tradition, the Sikh value system and Gurmat. The sanctity and importance of Gurmat (the Sikh doctrines in the Guru Granth and the injunctions of the Gurus) are so fundamental that no Sikh could ever think of violating them. It is because of such ignorance of Gurmat that while the Sikhs in the early Eighteenth century have laid down their lives to maintain their hair, a Western scholar seeks to deny the injunction and, instead, traces the origin of the practice to an old tribal custom. Mansukhani stresses the need to study Gurmat and Sikh values so as to avoid such pitfalls.
Kohli gives a biographical account of Guru Arjun Dev, indicating his landmark activities. In compiling the Sikh Scripture he exhibited a unique vision, thereby eliminating permanently all future controversies that could arise regarding Sikh doctrines or the text of the bani. Similarly, he started the institution of Daswandh which has since cemented the cohesion of the Panth as a distinct society.
Jagjit Singh delineates the historical expression of the Miri Piri doctrine. While indicating that this component is fundamental to the system of Guru Nanak, he shows how each Guru took significant and specific steps to create new institutions and to build and prepare a society that should be able to discharge its socio-political responsibilities as envisaged by the First Master. His account dispels the simplistic notion that the Fifth Guru was a pacificist. For, he explains that it was he who created' a state within a state' in his time and it was this political build-up which aroused the ire of the emperor Jahangir, who ordered his execution in order to destroy the political potential of the Sikh Society. He adds that even sociological studies of Weber and others clearly envisage overt political activities by some religions that are neither pacificist nor monastic. On the basis of the multifarious steps Guru Arjun took, he concludes, that more visible and logical. political developments took place in the time of Guru Arjun than in the period of the Sixth Master, who followed his father's instructions.
Himadri Banerjee gives a synoptic description of how the creation of the Khalsa has been viewed in the non-Sikh Indian literature, especially in the Hindi, Bengali and Oriyan publications. By and large, he finds that the Sikh history of the period has received approbation of the scholars of those areas. Banerjee unfolds a healthy and meaningful perspective recounting how the interest and activities of a minority were viewed in the early part of the century, compared to the tension-borne and competetive electoral politics of the present day.
Madanjit Kaur in her paper entitled "Koer Singh's Gurbilas Patshahi 10' : An Eighteenth Century Sikh Literature", makes a detailed analysis of the dating of this writing, and comes to the conclusion that Surjit Hans's view, in contradiction to the findings of Bhai Vir Singh, Fauja Singh and Shamsher Singh Ashok, is untenable. She has examined, one by one, all the arguments adduced by Hans to call Koer Singh's work a nineteenth century production, and finds them to be frivolous, especially in the face of the clear recording of the date which synchronizes with all internal evidence of the book.
Dhillon's paper 'The Sikhs and the British" gives a clear picture of how the British had been taking every step to ensure the destruction of the ideological and the political base and strength of the Sikhs. His account disproves the. journalistic notions held by persons like Barrier, Mcleod, Kapur and Oberoi, that the British were interested in advancing the political strength or identity of the Sikhs. This well-researched paper shows how easy-going scholars who adopt politically-current or convenient notions, often tend to create unsound history.
The author's second paper is a case study of Oberoi's paper 'From Ritual to Counter-Ritual' read at the Toronto Conference in 1987, wherein he asserted that, while in the earlier four hundered years the Sikhs had no separate religious identity, it was created by the Singh Sabha in the late nineteenth century. Dhillion's analysis shows that Oberoi's suggestion made at Toronto, is too superficial to be sustained either historically or factually.
This paper highlights the need of multi-disciplinary approach for the study of complex socio-religious issues, and the difficulty of scholars trained only in one discipline to produce any sound or worthwhile study.
Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon' s paper, ''The Sikh Rule and Ranjit Singh" is a historical appraisal of this period. It makes a comparative study of how human, liberal and tolerant was his administration, and how it successfully inspired the confidence and respect of all communities in the state. His analysis reveals that the level of his administration in this period in all fields was higher than the rule of his contemporaries in the country and outside it. This, he concludes, was due to the fact that Sikh ethos primarily governed both his functionaries and the people. It is remarkable that despite the persecution of the Sikhs under the Moghal adminstration, there was never an exhibition of sectarian prejudice or conversions, this being evidenced by the extreme loyalty of his Muslim forces in the Anglo-Sikh Wars.
Gurbakhsh Singh Gill's paper is a rejoinder to a paper "From Ritual to Counter-Ritual-Rethinking the Hindu-Sikh Question 1884-1915", written by H.S.Oberoi. The author argues that identity of a religion does not depend upon the language, territory, dietary taboos, festivals or a few cultural traits. Quoting extensively from Gurbani, he recalls a number of features of the Sikh faith, like its view on time and space, pollution, purity, Varanashram, rituals, attitudes towards the world, etc. which lend to Sikhism an identity distinct from all other previous religious systems.
In his paper "Some Unexamined Assumptions in Western Studies on Sikhism," James Lewis makes a very incisive and analytical examination of Western Studies to find how most of them suffer from unfounded assumptions about Sikhism, its doctrines and history. He makes a clear and comparative study of different religions and concludes that many of the inferences and formulations of the Western writers, have no basis in fact or history, especially regarding their suggestions about Sikhism being a syncretism, distinction between 'Early Pacificism and Later Militancy', and calling the Singh Sabha revival Neo-Sikhism.
Ranbir Singh Sandhu's paper "Sikhs in America: Stress and Survival" is an extremely clear, through and perceptive examination of the problems of Sikhs ill North America. Many papers have appeared on various aspects of this problem, but there is hardly a more precise and objective analysis of the issues involved, which takes into account all phases and facets of the problem and its close links with conditions in their home state of Punjab.
In his paper "In the Company of Lions and Princesses", Jim Lotzdraws a graphic picture of the problems of the Sikhs in Canada in the developing multi-national, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural Canadian society with its various tensions and pulls. He is quite emphatic that Canada is developing an ethos of its own, which is communitarian instead of being individualistic, like the American society. Hence Canada, he says, is building a 'Community of Communities' and not aiming at a homogenous social structure.
In his closing remarks, I.S. Sara, at the Vancouver Conference, expresses surprise at persons who are unclear about the Sikh identity, even in the Twentieth century, although in the eighteenth century the invaders had clearly perceived and recorded the separate way and identity of the Sikhs. He also expresses his unhappiness about the performance of the Sikh Chair, the Community had got established at Vancouver.
The book concludes with two papers by Kharak Singh. The first deals with a sample study of entries on Sikhism in over fifty encyclopaedias on religion and history published in the West. Statements therein reveal a some-what disappointing level of knowledge of Sikh ism and its Gurus. There are errors of fact as well as misinterpretations of the Sikh doctrines. Guru Nanak has frequently been mentioned as a disciple of Kabir, and Sikhism has almost invariably been shown as a sect of Hinduism. This paper explains why some Western writers on Sikhism, conditioned by their backgroud, have displayed an evident misunderstanding of Sikhism and its history. The paper suggests two lessons for the Sikhs, to make amends for earlier neglect, and to present a well-researched and authentic image of the Sikhs, their religion and history; and for those in the West, interested in the study of Sikhism, to be more patient and thorough in their search for the truth.
As a corollary of his first paper, Kharak Singh emphasizes in his second paper, the need and justification for a World Institute of Sikhism and gives an outline for it. He argues that as a whole-life religion with an optimistic attitude towards life and a goal of carrying out the Altruistic Will of a Loving Creator, the Sikhs owe it to themselves and their faith to present its world-view at the forum of other Higher Religions. The author points out that the damage from the earlier indifference, both by the scholars and the intelligentia, has been considerable. Efforts made so far, he indicates, have been, although commendable, .inadequate. It has been evident that in the field of religious studies work by proxy is not possible. That is why existing efforts have been neither quite fulfillment nor in any sense very serious. Further neglect, in allowing the existing state of affairs to continue, he believes, could be suicidal. Hence his emphasis for the establishment of an Institute/Centre of Sikh Studies and Education with modern facilities for research and publication.
These conferences of Sikh Studies abroad, have brought to light certain realities about Western scholarship of Sikhism. The papers of King, Kharak Singh and Dhillon, have shown that in the absence of adequate knowledge of Guru Granth and the lives of the Gurus, just segmentary readings of the Sikh society remain very much superficial and out of focus. Similarly Kharak Singh's paper has revealed that the book called Reconstruction of Sikh History from Sikh Literature has been found to be deficient in comprehension and coherence, while dealing with Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. The difference between some of the uni-disciplinary writings and the multi-disciplinary understanding of those issues, is so wide, that it appears necessary that serious scholars take into account the reasons for it, so that future pitfalls are avoided. Hence, our emphasis on the study of Guru Granth. The gap between the understanding of the man of religion and the comprehension of the philosopher who tries to reduce religious truths into a rational and metaphysical framework
has always been there. The 'problem arose both with Islam and Christianity. For, Toynbee writes, "Thus any presentation, whether particular or general, of Scientific truth is always precarious and temporary. The difference in character between scientific truth and poetic truth may be summed up as follows: Poetic truth is absolute, because it is in the static time dimension; scientific truth is relative because it is cumulative in the Time dimension. On the poetic level of the subconscious psyche the comprehensive vision is Prophecy; on the scientific level of the intellect it is Metaphysics." It is the fundamental difference between the sources and the roots of the two views that has essentially to be considered before making any hasty or categoric assessment.
In the case of Sikh Studies, there is another important fact which is generally ignored. Indian religions, as also Christianity, because of their ideological compulsions, consider the use of spiritual experiences in the empirical field, virtually to be a decadent diversion. Accordingly, scholars drawn from such a background, seek to comprehend the two courses of life as separate and independent. They make the simplistic assumption that Guru Nanak was another Indian Sant or pious man preaching the path of personal salvation; but they become baffled, when they find that from the Fifth Guru onwards the Sikh society was formally organised and militarised over a period of hundred years by the later five Gurus. Instead of revising their faulty premise and assumptions, they seek to devise artificial environmental grounds for what appears to them to be a major departure. On the other hand, in the Indian context the Sikh Gurus were the first prophets who consciously and clearly tried to relate spiritual truths and experiences to the empirical life of man, so as to rid him of his egoism and enable him to work in line with the Altruistic Will of God. The Immanence of God in the empirical life is an emphatic truth expressed in the Guru Granth. The essential logic of this truth is its expression in the empirical life of society in the form of total social responsibility and a universal outlook. It is because of the fundamental ideological differences that some scholars are unable to comprehend the natural flow, unity and continuity in the lives of the First Guru and the later Gurus. For, while in pacificist systems the use of spiritual activity for empirical tasks is a fall; in the whole-life system it is spiritually and logically essential for the mission of the prophet. That is also the reason that many a scholar is unable to comprehend the real significance of Guru Nanak's very revealing decision of not making his son, Sri Chand, who represented 2500 years of Indian ascetic tradition, to be his successor, and of choosing instead Guru Angad, a God-conscious householder. to lead the Panth. To the discerning this step clearly disclosed what were the objectives and mission of the Master and what would be the role of the Tenth Master and the future shape of his society.
As the papers and their discussion at those conferences have revealed, we believe, it would be very helpful in any study, whether religious, historical or sociological, if this basic aspect of Sikhism is kept in view.
Considering the scholarly discussion at the various conferences, it is felt that the section on Sikh Ideology has brought out explicitly the doctrinal position of Sikhism and its world-view as a Higher Religion, as also the unity of thought and goals of the Ten Gurus. It has been explained that while the Miri-Piri doctrine is fundamental to Sikhism, why persons drawn from pacificist or dichotomous religions, have sometimes difficulty in understanding this doctrine or accepting it as an integral and logical component of Sikhism, or, in fact, of all whole-life religions. These ideological issues find a systematic treatment in the papers of Daljeet Singh, Gurtej Singh, Kharak Singh and Jagjit Singh, that are based on the Guru Granth and the work of the Gurus. The handicap of some scholars of Sikhism in India and abroad has unfortunately been their inability to make a detailed study of the Guru Granth and their uncritical dependence on the simplistic assumption that it is a Bhakti system. The question is not whether the Singh Sabha interpretation, or for that matter, any other interpretation of Sikh ideology, is correct, but whether it synchronises with the ideology of the Guru Granth. The incongruity of employing unverified standards of assesment to obtain correct answers appears obvious. Partly the fault is of some modern methodologies that ignore or minimise the role of ideologies or use only unidisciplinary approach. Perhaps, the inevitable fall of the Russian Empire in the East and the increasing cracks in the structure of the family in the West may prove corrective of the obsession with the environmental or the Marxian approach. Dhillon and Kharak Singh's case studies demonstrate how un-dimensional studies are sometimes without balance and almost flippant.
The last two papers by Kharak Singh reiterate the rationale of the proposal made at the Conference held by the Sikh Community of North America at the Long Beach University in 1988, namely, the urgent need of setting up a Centre of Research in Sikh Studies. The resolve was formally re-emphasised at most of the Conferences. Organisations in U.K., Canada and USA have set up Committees to put up a coordinated proposal for the purpose. It is gratifying to record that since then a Centre of Sikh Studies with a Library has been started at: 2530, Warner Ave, Santa Anna, Orange County, (CA). U.S.A.
In the end it is our great pleasure to express our gratefulness to all the organisations mentioned earlier, and the Sikh Sangats of the various areas, for their liberal contributions, enthusiastic cooperation, and participation in the conferences to make them a success. Our special thanks are also due to Dr(s) Satinder Kaur Mann, Datar Singh Sodhi, Gurmit Singh Sekhon, Piara Singh and S. Rajinder Singh Walia for their very generous contributions for the holding of the six conferences in North America.
We are particularly grateful to scholars for their very valuable contributions to the conferences.
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