* Sikhs remain cautious
* Guru Nanak’s independent miri-piri ideology now enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib and the Khalsa Panth is not divisible
* Guru Gobind Singh epitomised the Jote-Jugat continuity from Guru Nanak through a succession of Guru-persons
In his letter published in the Panjab Times edition of May 3, 2017, Jathedar Mohinder Singh Khehra struck a timely note of caution regarding Guru Gobind Singh ji’s 350th Parkaash (birth) celebration in India from the beginning of this year. Otherwise, the celebrations and the establishment of a Guru Gobind Singh chair at an Indian university have been welcomed by the Sikhs.
The Brahmanic supremacist attempts of the last one hundred years, which compelled Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha to write, “Hum Hindu Nahi”, remind us of the subtle moves behind the scenes to absorb Sikhi into Hindism. On 10 May, Chief Minister of UP, Yogi Adityanath said that “Maharana Pratap, Guru Gobind Singh and Chhatrapati Shivaji are our role models” while “Akbar, Aurangzeb and Babar were invaders. The sooner we accept the truth, all the problems of our country will vanish…” Such talk is divisive and suits the Hindutva objective of one Hindu nation. Similarly, non-Bipran ideologies are tested against the same Hindutva objective and accepted or rejected accordingly. That is the Sikh experience to date.
Sikh history has been distorted by educational bodies like the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) of India. A scholar observed that “History is a science of fine principles, manifold uses, and noble purposes”. Therefore, the damage which a biased historian can do, whose purpose is other than noble, can be far reaching and incalculably damaging. Now it seems a wedge is being driven between the independent egalitarian ideology of Guru Nanak Sahib enshrined in Sri Guru Granth Sahib while Guru Gobind Singh ji is being promoted as a national hero at par with Maharana Pratap and Shivaji. Meanwhile, “Dasam Granth” is being mis-interpreted to promote Vedic literature and lore.
To quote Dr I J Singh of New York, “Sikhi is a rare example of a faith with more than one Founder-Prophet. So, my tribute will focus less on Guru Gobind Singh as a lone knight…. but more as an integral part of ten Gurus working in tandem towards a common goal. The Gurus faced a multi-task agenda of remaking society. This demanded sustained and deft mentoring for over two centuries.” As Jathedar Khehra also reminds us, Guru Gobind Singh ji’s teachings cannot be separated from Guru Granth Sahib. Guru ji directed us that the ever present Guru is always with us as the Guru-Jote in Guru Granth Sahib and the Guru’s body represented by the Khalsa Panth. The Ten Guru-persons were not separable but were One and Same Guru Jote.
While commemorating Guru Gobind Singh ji’s 350th Parkaash year, Sikhs worldwide would appreciate if the independent status of the egalitarian and revolutionary Sikh thought as lived by the Ten Guru-persons and now enshrined in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, is fully accepted and acknowledged as a distinct World Religion in the Indian Constitution.
Gurmukh Singh OBE