The Source Book On Sikhism

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Chapter Fifty-Five

Dr. Fenech’s Analysis

(Ph.D. University of Toronto, 1994)

of Baba Dip Singh’s Martyrdom

Dr. S.S. Sodhi

Halifax, Canada

In this article, I intend to study a psychological phenomena entitled Merger with Satguru Through “FANAH”. Examples from Baba Dip Singh’s martyrdom will also be used. Also, an attempt will be made to provide a rebuttal to Dr. Louis E. Fenech, Ph.D Thesis, University of Toronto (1994) entitled “Playing the Game of Love”: The Sikh Tradition of Martyrdom. It must be pointed out that Dr. Fenech, who studied under Dr. J.T. O’Connell at the University of Toronto, Canada, belongs to Dr. McLeod’s Pashaura group of “Instant Historians”. He wants to prove that it was mainly a Taunt (Tanh) that motivated Sikh Martyrs;

Cosmic Desire To Merger Through “FANAH”

Psychological Interpretation of Sikh Martyrs’ Behaviour

“If you want to play the game of love, approach me with your head on the palm of your hand, place your feet on this path, and give your head without regard to the opinion of others.”

“O Lord of Might grant that I may never shirk from righteous acts

That I may fight with faith and without fear against my enemies and win

The wisdom I require is the grace to sing your glory

When my end is near may I meet death on the battlefield”

“Kabir why weep for the saint when he goes back to his HOME

Weep only for the wretched lovers of Maya

Who are sold from shop to shop”

The concept of Martyr for the sake of religion was unknown in the pre-Muslim India. The first martyr of India was Guru Arjan Dev, a Saint, a God - Intoxicated poet and lover of humanity. The two sets of ideologies, one tolerant and ready to accept, accommodate and let live, and, the other bent in removing by any means what was considered anti-religious, heretical and repugnant. Martyrs are persons who value their principles of faith and ideals of religion above their lives.

Martyrs are “gunigahiras: (altruistic) who have reached the re-entry stage of their evolutionary development (FANA) and have become fearless and want to challenge the oppressor by "putting their heads on their palms”.

Martyr’s state of consciousness is a highly developed state that human beings are capable of reaching through evolutionary spiritual operations. (NAM SIMRAN is one of them)

The Martyr establishes a conscious relationship to the Absolute Reality and longs to have an intimate union with Him. He wants to reach the Divine Ground by stripping his soul of selfishness, and Maya.

Martyr is a social surrogate in whose solitary adventures the most profound forgotten concepts, values and the culture and its rights to assert get systematically isolated, evaluated, reconstructed and put into actions. Through these actions he attempts to raise the collective consciousness of the society and attempts to liberate them from their inertia and motivational paralysis. He helps the society to “reframe” its frozen psyche.

The Martyr’s torturous process of social and cognitive disengagement, defiance, fearlessness, re-engagement is a psycho-spiritual laboratory in which the society renews its spiritual vigour to tackle a tyrant.

A sudden awakening of a Martyr is a reflection of “SHIVA” in his eyes. It also signifies that his soul has over-powered the “Panch Doots” and his psyche is illuminated by the “Glow of God”.

At the illuminative stage, the Martyr’s soul walks in the illumination created by the EFFULGENCE of unclouded light and the presence of God is an experienced reality to him.

In the final stage of Unitive life, the Martyr moves from BECOMING to BEING, and is ready to seek merger with his God Head through the process of FEARLESS - FANAH.

It is a known fact that all civil societies share a “norm of reciprocity” which forbids harming and trampling on the rights of others. Social responsibility towards the people made powerless is the motivating factor. Spiritually motivated empathy guides the Martyr to his self-defined goal of “big wisdom”.

In summary, it can be stated that the Martyr’s cosmic desire to challenge the oppressor and merge through FANAH while playing the GAME OF LOVE appears to emerge from their:

a. Heightened sense of faith

b. Their “GUNIGAHIRA” stage of development - which takes them to the re-entry stage

c. Highly developed state of consciousness and connection with Ultimate Reality

d. Their soul is stripped of “PANCH DOOTS”

e. Compulsions to assert for the rights of the powerless

f. Attempt to raise the collective consciousness of the frozen psyche of the “spineless people”

g. Anger produced by cognitive dissonance and disbelief is used creatively by showing moral courage and defiance thereby reducing the oppressor operating at the “psychotic” fanatic level, powerless

h. Experiencing a glow of fearlessness and painlessness (subjective/objective) through the EFFULGENCE of unclouded light and obeying His HUKAM at the final stage of Unitive LIFE and surrender to his WILL & BHANA

Baba Dip Singh Shahid (1682-1755) was born in 1682 in Pahuvind, near Amritsar, India. His parents, Bhai Bhgata and Mai Jiuni were very dedicated Sikhs. Baba Dip Singh went to the following stages of “cognitive dissonance” and “positive disintegration” before he broke his “ego chains of separation anxiety” and sought re-entry to “The FANAH stage”. This happened at the time of invasion of India by Ahmad Shah Durrani in the winter of 1756-57.

1. Baba Dip Singh was born and brought up near Amritsar and visited Hariman dir Sahib Amritsar with his parents before he moved on to Anandpur Sahib to be with Guru Gobind Singh Ji. He was 16 years of age when he met Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

2. He received the vows of the Khalsa at the hands of Guru Gobind Singh. In other words, he was present when Khalsa was created in 1699. Guru Gobind Singh Ji became his role model or mentor. He stayed in Anandpur Sahib to study under Bhai Mani Singh. At the time of the siege of Anandpur Sahib he lent physical and military help to Guru’s forces. He came face to face with the Moghul oppression on the Sikhs. He re-joined Guru Gobind Singh Ji at Talvandi Sabo in 1706, and established Damdama Sahib as “Guru ki Kashi” an academic centre for Sikh studies.

From 1708 to 1714, Baba Dip Singh helped Banda Bahadur in places such as Chapper Chiri, Samana, Sirhind to fight and destroy the Mughal forces.

In 1716, he returned to Damdama Sahib to prepare copies of Guru Granth Sahib for distribution to the Sikh Sangat at large.

In 1732, he helped Sardar Ala Singh to establish Patiala Sikh state.

In 1748, he became head of Shahid Misl which controlled the area south of the River Sutlej.

In 1757, Jahan Khan controlled Amritsar and the Sikh fortress of Ram Rauni. Rama Khan filled the Hariminder Sarover with dirt. This was too much for the Baba and took him to the “FANAH” stage. Baba Dip Singh with 5,000 men went against a huge army to liberate Hariminder Sahib. He knew the odds were against him but he was determined to merge with his Satguru through “FANAH”. After suffering a grave injury, he fought his way to Harimander Sahib wielding his Khanda (double-edged sword) and redeemed his pledge to liberate the sacred temple.

It is clear from the above-mentioned facts of Baba Dip Singh’s life that he was a devoted and baptized Khalsa, who wanted to play the game of love "with his head on his palm". He valued principles of Sikh religion and lived by those ideals.

He was a Gunigahira (altruistic) who was touched by the spirit of Khalsa as developed in Anandpur Sahib in 1699. By internalizing Guru’s Bani he had become fearless and was ready to challenge the oppressor. He fought the battle of Anandpur in 1704, fought with Banda from 1710-1714 and then again fought to liberate Harminder Sahib in 1757.

By using Nam Simran, his soul reached a stage of defiance, fearlessness, re-engagement and acquired “Fearless – Fanah” compulsions. By using a “norm of reciprocity” he felt that the rights of the powerless should be protected. He had moved on to the “big wisdom” which linear and myopic concepts such as ‘Bachan ke Bali, Mehna, Taunt’ developed by Eurocentric researcher such as Dr. Fenech can’t explain.

Dr. L.E. Fenech is another “drain” inspector of Sikh History produced by the McLeod group. He is now an assistant professor of South Asian History, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, U.S.A.

Dr. Pashaura Singh has included one chapter of Dr. Fenech’s “Sikh” research in his recent book entitled, “Transmission of Sikh/Punjabi Heritage to the Diaspora” (1994), which grew out of a conference he hosted at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, U.S.A. in February 3-5, 1994. Many objectionable anti-Sikh papers were presented by the “like-minded” researchers. For the sake of this paper, I would concentrate on Dr. Fenech’s hypotheses and objectionable statements. Dr. Fenech claims:

1. The purpose behind Sikh martyrologies is to demonstrate the profound victory in what at first appears to be a defeat.

2. Some Sikh martyrologies point to the fact that “stimulus to deal with the oppressor, following enthusiastic Gurus as models, is not always the case. The motivation comes from Taunt, Mehan or Bachan ke Bali. An insult is ended to point to the disgrace a Sikh has suffered and has not let Guru’s internalized image be his guiding force.” It was the notion of shame or humiliation caused by guilt “that got Sikh martyrs out of their motivational paralysis”, Dr. Fenech appears to claim.

3. By examining Taunts in martyrologies one can get a world view of Panjabi perception of gender roles.

4. Rattan Singh Bhangu’s Gurpanth Prakash completed in 1841 for David Ochterlony is filled with taunts of Kashmiri Brahmins for Guru Tegh Bahadur. The implication is that martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was instigated by Brahmnic taunts.

5. The famous incident of the Chali Mukte provides another example of taunt with Panjabi perception of gender roles (Mai Bago asking the deserters to wear bangles).

6. Guru Gobind Singh’s Zafar-nama is an excellent example of Taunt. The implication is that Guru Gobind Singh, after losing Anandpur battle, resorted to Verbal taunts to the Mughal empire.

7. Bota Singh and Gaya Singh’s martyrdom was generated by the taunting Jats of that area.

In the opinion of the present author, Dr. L.E. Fenech’s research is very linear and myopic. He is mystified by the writing of Trumpp and McLeod. He claims that the concept of taunt in Sikh’s desire to martyrdom came to his attention while reading Rattan Singh Bhangu’s “Gurpanth Prakash (1841)”. He forgets that Rattan Singh Bhangu was writing the “so-called” history of the Sikhs at the bidding of Sir David Ochterlony, British liaison officer at Lahore when British plans were being made to take over the Sikh empire.

He must know that following the footprints of Rattan Singh Bhangu, E. Trumpp wrote a very insulting book on Sikhs in 1877. It is also a known fact that Rattan Singh Bhangu and Trumpp were motivated by the gratifications they got from their British masters.

A number of issues can be raised with Dr. Fenech's research. For example, he did not explain the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, The King of Sikh Martyrs. He did not go into the essence of Sikh psyche to get a Gestalt view of oppression which the Indian population was subjected to by oppressor Mughal kings such as Jahangir Aurangzeb. Dr. Fenech has no wholist view of what was happening in Panjab since 1526.

Dr. Fenech had a prestored “McLeodian” paradigm to process “historical” information he gleaned from various Sikh “martyrologies”. I do not know whether he had even heard of the concept of GUNIGHIRA which motivated many Sikh martyrs.

Here is the ninth Guru of the Sikhs, the “Chadder of India” willing to fight for the human rights and freedom of religion. And here he is being “downsized” by the University of Toronto “instant” Eurocentric scholar, Dr. Fenech, who is using his hypothetical, statistical and interventionist model to prove “scientifically” that Guru Teg Bahadur motivation was due to the Brahamic taunts.

Dr. Fenech’s “Sikh” reality is a detached reality. He is imposing his Eurocentric propositions to produce a very hurtful distorted “knowledge” about the spiritual motivation of the Sikh Martyrs.

Chapter Fifty-Six

The First Sikh War

- June 1628

Pritpal Singh Bindra

The month of June has been the most volatile in the history of Sikh Religion. Guru Arjan Dev, Bhai Mani Singh and Banda Bahadur were martyred during this month. It was the month of June when the Kohi-Noor Diamond was cheated away from the Sikh Raj. In the contemporary history, the holiest of the holy Sikh shrines, Akal Takht Amritsar, was invaded by the Armed Forces of the Government of India, in a pretext to annihilate the undesirable militants.

And it was the month of June when Guru Hargobind, the Sixth Master, was forced upon a war of attrition by the Mughul Rulers.

With his sinister motives Mughal Emperor Jehangir invited Guru Hargobind to Delhi. His aim was either to martyr Guruji or to coerce him to convert to Islam, and designate him as ‘the Saint of India’.

Guruji went to Delhi on the persuasion of Saint Sikander who had enlightened the Emperor with the celestial and temporal attributes of Guruji. Jehangir attended the sessions of celestial talks of Guruji, Wazir Khan and Saint Sikander. But the talks inculcated the respect and reverence for Guruji in the mind of Jehangir.

Chandu Shah, who was instrumental in the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev, and apprehensive of Guruji’s increasing influence upon the Emperor, cleverly contrived an astrologer, who coerced Jehangir to keep Guruji in an internment in the Fort of Gwaliar to enable Jehangir to eliminate his ailments. Amicably and humbly the King led Guruji to the Gwaliar Fort where he stayed for a number of years. Jehangir had already conceded to the piety and bravery of Guruji, which was exhibited during a joint hunting venture. Saint Mian Mir of Lahore (a pious Muslim Pir revered by the Emperor and his Queen, Noor Jehan) convinced him of his folly and disclosed to him the devious designs and actions of Chandu Shah. Acquiescing to the Saint’s persuasion, the King opened the doors of the Fort to Guruji with due regrets and handed over Chandu to him for a befitting punishment.

Guru Hargobind retained quite cordial relations with Jehangir until his death in October, 1627; all the Mughal officials held him in high esteem. As soon as Jehangir’s son took over the reign of power, the Islamic bigotry, once again, commenced their strategies against the non-Muslim populace. Along with his spiritual endowments, Guruji considerably enhanced his temporal and martial endeavour to defend against the ensuing atrocities of the Mughal administrators. His success engendered enviousness among some of his own compatriots as well, who start to indulge in back-biting and instigating Mughal authorities.

All the news of Guruji’s rearmament coupled with the conspiratorial efforts of his own kith and kin incited Shah Jehan to call Guruji to Lahore. Without an iota of apprehension, Guruji went there and told him, ‘Neither we make other to subjugate nor we yield to anyone...(our) mission is of love and peace but, however, we must punish the inauspicious officials, thieves...Hindus and Muslims are all the children of Almighty...’ Shah Jehan was very much impressed. He was overwhelmed with the strength, courage and bravery displayed by Guruji during their hunting expeditions.

But internally, Guruji’s fearlessness, increasing celestial and tangible influence, bothered him. Not to aggravate, he did not want to indulge in an open warfare. Before he left for Delhi, he secretly advised his Governor, ‘Do not trust this Guru. Through some designs try to diminish his power’.

During a hunting campaign Guruji went through the meadows of Ram Tirath and Khohali. There his attendants came across an astray falcon, which they captured and brought to Guruji. Soon the soldiers from the Mughal Army, who were searching for the bird, appeared and demanded its return. Guruji told them that the falcon had come to him seeking sanctuary, therefore, it could not be given back. (Jadunath Sarkar states that the falcon belonged to the Emperor Shah Jehan himself).

The Governor, who was already in the process of finding some excuse to raid Guruji's forces, resolved to inflict destruction upon the Sikh legion and make them abandon the city of Amritsar. He ordered Mukhlas Khan to plan the raid and prepare the army for a march to the city. It was the month of June in the year 1628.

The Sikh adherents inside the Mughal Court got wind of the news and warned Guruji of the ensuing invasion.

Hukam-namas, the edicts, were issued to the people of Majha and Malwa. Thousands of Sikhs thronged to Amritsar to defend the faith. The Fort of Lohgarh was reinforced, and hundreds of armaments were secured.

On the instance of his mother, Mata Ganga, Guruji had consented to the splendorous marriage of his daughter, Bibi Veero. A large amount of sweetmeats were prepared for the purpose. A group of devotees came from the west after travelling a long distance. On their way they did not have much opportunity for full meals. They arrived at the late hours of the day. The food in the langar, the community kitchen, was scanty at the time and, therefore, Guruji sent word to the inner chamber for sending some viands from the stock kept for the marriage. But the refusal came that those could not be consumed before the arrival of the guests. Guruji spontaneously pronounced, ‘Well! Then these will be devoured by the malicious ones.’

And immediately after that the news of the Mughal Army’s march towards Amritsar reached Guruji, and that the troops had already passed the village of Attari. Unperturbed Guruji went to Hari Mandir to seek blessings of his predecessors, supplicated at Akal Bunga, the temporal-seat, and headed towards the place (where Putlighar is now situated). He designated Bhais Bidhi Chand, Jetha, Perra and Painda Khan as his generals and assigned them tasks of besieging the enemy battalions from all sides. He, himself, took his own seat at a place from where he could control and help his fighting forces.

Both the armies gave tough fight. On the one side were the paid individuals, and on the other the ardent devotees of the Guru. And Guruji, himself, constantly showered the arrows from his observatory. The Turkish Commander, Rassol Khan, was very brave and could not be subdues easily. By late afternoon, the Sikhs came under unbearable pressure. Miraculously, at that time a large contingent of people from Majhah entered the arena. Their arrival rejuvenated the Sikh forces, and they pounced upon the enemy with great vigour and vitality. After giving a very tough fight, Commander Rassol Khan was killed by Bhai Bidhi Chand. The Mughal Forces were demoralized, and they started to retreat. The Sikh warriors followed them up to about five miles, and deprived them of their horses and armaments.

The Mukhlas Khan regarded this as a challenge to the Mughal Empire, and putting full army strength behind him, reinvaded Amritsar the next day.

Feeling the pulse of the time, Guruji decided to move all his household to a safer place. His family and essential goods were sent to the village Jhabal. The Guru camp was still completing the arrangements, when they heard the Mughal bugles of war. The Sikh forces came forward and gave a tough fight but they had to retreat towards the Lohgarh Fort.

The Mughals jumped over the city walls and entered Guruji’s household. Finding nobody there they plundered all the sweetmeats that were kept reserved for the marriage. In the melee, Bibi Veero was left alone in an upper room. She was rescued, through the Mughal troops, by the most devoted Bhais, Sangha and Babak with their clever manoeuvring.

The Lohgarh Fort being built of earthen walls, could not stand enemy bombardment. About twenty-five Sikh soldiers, who were fighting hard from inside, came out and laid down their lives after killing a number of enemies.

In the severe skirmishes that followed both sides lost some of their very prominent personnel and commanders. The fighting went on for more than six hours. In a combat, Mukhlas Khan, the Mughal General in command, was killed. The Mughal Forces were disheartened. Even though they outnumbered the Sikh volunteer army considerably, they started to cave in.

Guruji went into the field, and, after performing the last rites, went to Jhabal to attend his daughter’s wedding.

When the news of the defeat, and the death of Mukhlas Khan reached Shah Jehan ‘he flared up like fire...’ and deplored how could an army of faqirs defeat the mighty Mughal Forces. He immediately called his council to plan retaliatory moves.

But Wazir Khan who was ‘mindful of Guru’s welfare’ interceded. His ‘arguments convinced the Emperor, and he decided that it was not good to engage the further warfare with the priests and faqirs, and it would be well to forget the past’.

(References available from author)

Chapter Fifty-Seven

Implications of Not Teaching Panjabi to Sikh Children of Canada*

Dr. S.S. Sodhi

Registered Psychologist

Human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society. It is quite an illusion to imagine that one adjusts to reality essentially without the use of language and that language is merely an incidental means of solving specific problems of communication or reflection. The fact of the matter is that the "real world" is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group... We see and hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the language habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation. Edward Sapir

Language is a species-specific behaviour - exclusively a human phenomenon. B.L. Whorf, who takes a cultural reactivistic approach to define the role of native language, asserts that social and cultural patterns of a society determine the language styles. He further states that perceptions of the real world are largely shaped by language and consequently that “The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds”.

Jean Piaget extends this point of view still further by suggesting that language is the means by which thought is socialized, and, through socialization, made logical.

It is felt that native language is the single most important influence upon the development of our thought processes and perceptions of the world, and different linguistic systems lead inevitably to different ways of thinking.

Language acquisition is a social necessity and a fundamental factor in the growth of individuality. Our native language enables us to express our needs, desires and emotions to significant persons in our environment.

Dr. W. Penfield, in his famous book Speech and Brain Mechanisms, points out that the child’s brain has a specialized capacity for learning languages - a capacity that decreases with the passage of years.

He argues that during the first few years of a child’s life, his brain develops “language units”, complex neuronal records of what he hears and repeats. These units interconnect with other nerve cells concerned with motor activity, thinking and cognition. In other words, it is believed that children have a biological predisposition for language learning and process of language acquisition takes place through maturation and learning.

Further to support to Penfield’s ideas come from the works of Dr. Lambert of McGill University, Montreal.

Dr. Lambert and his associates have found that the children with the most favourable attitude towards their own ethnic group experience the least amount of difficulty in learning the language of their parents. Hence the attitudinal variable and identification are significant in language learning.

The above discussion leads us to formulate the following major points about language learning:

1. Child’s brain is specialized to the task of language learning. This specialization begins to fall off after the age of nine.

2. Direct method of language learning is the correct method. It is based on the procedure by which the child can develop socio-historically by showing identification with a significant person in his environment.

3. The translation method of language learning involves a new neurophysiological process and hence causes interference.

4. Social attitudes, identification factors and process of modelling are deeply involved in learning the ethnic language.

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