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Confused Youth?

Discussion in 'Sikh Youth' started by skeptik, Sep 6, 2006.

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  1. skeptik

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    Yes they are confused and the reason for this has nothing to do with what is usually proposed, such as panjabi culture conflicting with sikhism, or our community not being true enough to the Gurus ideals, or something like that.

    The answer quite simply is that young Sikhs are informed with inaccurate information about the Sikh religion. They are told that Sikhi believes in equality, that Sikh ideals and modern day liberal ideals are one and the same. That the sikh gurus were social revolutionaries and sought to create a wholly different society than what is normal - and that they wished to do this in the spirit of equality and so on. These are false claims, unsubstanciated by any historical facts. They do not have any basis in sikh philosophy either, and depend on a fanciful reintepretations of history and scripture.

    This information comes to us in the forms of the many websites which populate the web, the many pamphets and books falsely advertising claims for Sikhism, regardless of their validity. They paint portraits of Sikhi as some fantastic religion that cures all social ills, and transcends all problems - it is in this context that social revolutionarism is advanced as the main principle of sikhism.

    It is not. Sikhs around the world are largely conservative. That is true enough for almost all sikh communities; all sangats; all gurdwara. We are not revolutionaries and do not see that as our aim.

    Yet the sikh youth is subjected to propaganda that tells him otherwise. Then the young sikh begins to think that the reason such a great disparity exists between what he has learn about sikhism, and what he sees in his community, is that the sikhs no longer follow the sikh ideals. To find proof of this he must blow up issues such as casteism and gender-inequality.

    In fact the sikh gurus never proposed any new positive claims for social change. They only made negative claims: Ending female infantacide, the practice of Sati, treating women unjustly - opposing these things, the sikh Gurus were not proposing equality - instead they were saying we are against cruelty.

    All sikh websites need to be shut down. All sikh writers need to be banned. They only confuse matters and do our young damage. Sikh history and philosophy ought to be discussed directly in relation to truth, and not passionate fashionable ideology.
     
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  3. dalsingh

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    I disagree with you. They DO have support in Sikh philosophy and history.

    Read the post in the book review section of "Sikh history in Persian sources" and see if Sikhism wasn't a revolutionary movement according to contemporary sources.


    Ok, I think maybe YOU are projecting YOUR conservative beliefs on Sikhism. Sikhism was a vehicle for much change in the land of its birth, that conservatives are trying to reverse that is conceded. "Passionate fashionable ideology" as you put it, can be a force that can help facilitate positive change in society, inline with the traditions of our Gurus.
     
  4. skeptik

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    backup your claim; keep in mind that whatever you say, it must explain the following:

    why were there no female gurus if the sikh gurus truly believed in gender equality?

    why were all the gurus of the same race if they believed in race equality?

    why did they not abolish inequality of property if they truly believed in equality?

    why did the first panj pyare (however so ordained) not feature any female members?

    why is no composition by a female to be found in sri guru granth sahib?

    you must have positive answers to each of these questions. i await your response.

    To answer the next two paragraphs of yours, I do not know of this book, but knowing how poor literature on sikhism usually is, i dont have very high hopes on the book you mention.

    My beliefs are conservative, but i have been a passionate idealist for most of my (young) adult life. You'll find that the majority of sikhs today are also conservative. That i am conservative does not affect my arguments at all. Lastly, yes social change can be justified and rightful - and the sikh gurus introduced a fair number of changes - but you will find in each case their change was simply negative. They rejected the injust and unfair treatment of women, which is just what we would expect from any saintly person. A negative change is one where you oppose a particular instance of social activity. But its one thing to acknowledge that yes the sikh gurus did these things, to jump to the unwarranted conclusion that they advocated positive change - that is change for the sake of change alone - and for the sake of ideology like equalitarianism.
     
    #3 skeptik, Sep 6, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2006
  5. dalsingh

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    Did you read the Persian extracts I posted? Don't make demands from me and not do what I request please. Can you see how those Sikhs under Banda totally reversed the social status of the times and adopted "revolutionary" new social models. Give me a response on that before you ask a mound of questions.






    why were there no female gurus if the sikh gurus truly believed in gender equality
    --------------------------------

    Maybe none of the ones around then and there were up to the job?



    why were all the gurus of the same race if they believed in race equality?
    ----------------------------------

    Are you suggesting that they did not champion and practice the equality of the lower classes? If it doesn't matter to Sikhs what "race" their Gurus are from, why have you made it an issue?



    why did they not abolish inequality of property if they truly believed in equality?
    ---------------------------------

    They set the foundations for change, they didn't try to completely write a comprehensive manual of how society should be run. This is genius in itself as we could have ended up with astrict shariah like law book, but no the Gurus never shackled us rigidly like that.



    why did the first panj pyare (however so ordained) not feature any female members?
    -------------------------------

    It was a call to battle, most wars are fought by men. Although Sikh history shows that women can and have contributed bravely (Mai Bhago).



    why is no composition by a female to be found in sri guru granth sahib?
    ---------------------------------

    Does this mean that Sikhism suggests women are not considered as worthy of respect in its doctrines?



    you must have positive answers to each of these questions. i await your response.
    -----------------------------------

    You want positive answers but all of your questions are negative. I think you need to be careful of confusing gender equality with the notion that women and men are not different in any way. There are obvious physical and possibly some psychological differences owing to a number of biological and possibly environmental factors. Realise this.

    With all respect.
     
  6. skeptik

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    I've read through the extract and enjoyed it much. Now that i've seen it, i'm sure i've come across such writings before, in my studies of sikhi. As far as i can see the only relevance the excerpt could have on this discussion is that it references in Banda Singh's army a)a mixed composition of castes, b) a mixture of bearded/non-bearded men, and perhaps c) men of differing social and/or economic classes.

    Supposing this is true, It doesnt say one way or the other, what the Sikh Gurus felt on equality - whether the above can be considered equality - and whether this equality if so understood actually existed during the gurus time - and not afterwards, as this excerpt describes. If you wish to potray Banda Singh's army as some revolutionary force driven by ideology (as you describe in your post), then all the power to you, but this is seperate from the actual debate on sikh principles and sikh history as conceived and unravelled during the Gurus time. Banda Singh's army might have been in every way sikh to the core - but we cannot know this for sure, and it must be demonstrated before hand, but this will take us far from the immediate topic.

    The answer that there were no females at all to be found in the period spanning roughly two hundred years (1500-1700) who could be considered worthy of sikh guruship is interesting for two reasons. Firstly there is no known record of any female being considered for the position - considered and coming up short is fine, but even such a record cannot be found.

    For instance while we know that Baba Budda, a great revered figure in the history of Sikhism was a possible candidate for the throne, we know that even he was never worthy of the position, and yet history makes no mention of any female in such a consideration. Perhaps the simplest answer is that a female was never considered or could be considered, simply because only a male guru could and did reign. This would be in line with conservative thought that only males held positions of such great influence, and certainly in accordance with history that there have only been male prophets or gurus throughout the ages.

    Supposing though, that your claim is true that in two hundred years there wasnt a single woman who was saintly enough in recorded history for us to consider a possible candidate for guruship. Can one then avoid the rational summation that women are in some definite way incapable of holding the position based on our past historical experience? If you disagree you would have to demonstrate otherwise with examples to the contrary, but none will exist, so you will have to speak about potentialities.

    But potentialities alone do not settle the matter, for potentially a child could be guru, and then we find in Sikh history, that yes, there was such a time when a child was guru. But if we have accepted your explanation that no woman became guru because of insufficient merit, then you would have to explain why a five year old had sufficient merit to become guru Harkrishan but no woman in two hundred years could qualify by potentiality. A five year old could hardly have lived long enough to accumulate more merit than any single woman in the 200 year period thus.

    You will find the simplest explanation is simply that the sikh Gurus were conservative in their practice, and did not consider women as successors. There is nothing wrong with this explanation - morally or historically, and any counterargument in terms of merit only speaks to the conservative case, not against it.
     
    #5 skeptik, Sep 7, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2006
  7. skeptik2

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    My Question: why were all the gurus of the same race if they believed in race equality?

    Your Answer: Are you suggesting that they did not champion and practice the equality of the lower classes? If it doesn't matter to Sikhs what "race" their Gurus are from, why have you made it an issue?

    Response: This is quite surreptitious! The question was about race and you reply in terms of class. But for instance a rich arab, distinct in race from us, would qualify just as much for equality, as would any lower class arab. Class is irrelevant for this question. Interestingly you claimed that not only were there no females worthy of guruship in the period, but also in the place. Well Guru Nanak travelled freely, and so could have any other guru for the same purpose, and in these travels could have come across many meritable females, or at least one of historical note, but this is simply isnt so. Well that is your claim. That no such female could be found, either in the region or abroad during Guru Nanak's travels.

    Why have i made it an issue - forsooth! I have done no such thing! It isnt an issue for anyone but for those who make positive claims of equality in sikh philosophy and practice. It is an issue for them to explain why their precious equality did not even exist during the gurus times, and why this was so, and it is for them to explain away that this lack existed despite the positive intentions of their gurus to create and sustain an egalitarian society. Importantly it is for them to explain that if the gurus did wish to instill principles of equality into their society purposefully and intentionally - if theirs was a positive view towards such an end then why did they not take steps to ensure my questions could be answered in the affirmative.

    The last part of your answer, that it didnt matter to the Sikh gurus about race, so why should it to me - well you are conceeding here that the sikh gurus did not care about race, and so stuck with the status quo in selecting successors of the same race and of the same gender. If their ideology was equalitarian, they would have factored that into their choices. But they simply did not do that. This confirms my argument that while there is no positive claim for equality in sikhism, the sikh gurus did make negative claims where they ended actual and real injustice due to inequality (infantacide, restriction of spiritual and religious material from lower classes etc), but did not wish to turn inequality in general into equality.
     
  8. skeptik

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    My Question: why did they not abolish inequality of property if they truly believed in equality?

    Your Answer: They set the foundations for change, they didn't try to completely write a comprehensive manual of how society should be run. This is genius in itself as we could have ended up with astrict shariah like law b00k but no the Gurus never shackled us rigidly like that.

    Response: This is evasive. Are you saying that the sikh gurus, while disturbed by inequality of wealth and property, didnt take positive steps to overturn this? Are you ascribing to our gurus the vice of inaction against wrong (It is wrong if we accept the hypothesis that our gurus were egalitarians)? What you are saying is that the sikh Gurus were guilty of one thing which every sikh knows his Guru had as a virtue - namely that the Sikh gurus did not merely preach, they acted. They are distinguished for their dedication to their principles, and it is almost unimaginable that the Sikh gurus did not begin to act - and in a big way - to this obvious inequality. But this is what you claim when you say sikhism believes in equality.

    It is also interesting to note that even Muslims can publish little pamplets demonstrating with quotes from scripture and otherwise showing that their faith believes in equality of women and men. One only has to have a small appreciable understanding of reality to evaluate such a claim. I can show you such a pamphlet, I was given one yesterday while entering my university library.
     
  9. skeptik2

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    My Question: why is no composition by a female to be found in sri guru granth sahib?

    Your Answer: Does this mean that Sikhism suggests women are not considered as worthy of respect in its doctrines?

    Response: Your rhetorical question is again evasive. If one believes the common truth about Sri Guru Granth Sahib being composed of various saints of various backgrounds and that this is taken to mean that the sikh faith is universal and one of equality of mankind, then you have to wonder if this is by design. Did Guru Arjan intentionally compile it this way? Well thats what the liberal sikh reformists imply. But supposing this is true, then wouldnt it be true that Guru Arjan would have quite naturally led to including some saintly compositions by females too? After all if he compiled Adi Granth intentionally with the view of including holy sayings of even lowly men - then he would have been equally compelled to do the same for women. This would be true if the liberals are correct in ascribing to Sikh gurus the positive mantle of equalitarian change.

    Let me make it clear that I have no such expectation of my Gurus. I did not think they acted towards equality, I do not think they wanted equality, and I dont think they ever proposed it for their sikhs. If anything, Guru Arjan Dev's composing the Adi Granth the way he did, was simply out of the negative intention of ending descrimination. He was against descriminating lower classes from particating in religious discourse, and so his action was motivated by fighting injustice - and not by a positive intention to create equality. Ofcourse overall I think he was driven by concerns for quality, of relevance to Sikhs, of efficacy to sikh principles, and so on, and not just to create a politically correct granth. He weighed up all of these and compiled something greater than sum of the parts. It is the liberals who read too much into this mixed composition, and if they do so, in the same spirit they must answer why there are no female contributions.
     
  10. skeptik

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    My charge: you must have positive answers to each of these questions. i await your response.

    Your answer: You want positive answers but all of your questions are negative. I think you need to be careful of confusing gender equality with the notion that women and men are not different in any way. There are obvious physical and possibly some psychological differences owing to a number of biological and possibly environmental factors. Realise this.


    For reference: A negative claim is one where you wish to remove something. A positive claim is where you want to add something. For example descrimination is what the sikh gurus wanted to remove. But equality is a positive one, because you wish to add something - namely equality.

    My reply: It is not I who confuses that men and women are different, and thus cannot be equal - it is the equalitarians who wish to fight nature and fact, despite common sense quite clearly demonstrating the futility of their ideals. Your reply about various factors is evasive. It basically amounts to saying 'there are various factors which i dont know about but nevertheless i am convinced that they are directly relevant to explaining the facts.'

    Your reply to the panj pyare question is similarly dealt with. Your answer is one for the conservative case and not against it. If it is simply out of convention that men fight in wars, then why should it be any different in society in general? Equalitarians must offer a stronger argument towards this question, and yours is quite lacking.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
  11. dalsingh

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    You're missing the point, this 'revolution' was only possible because of foundations set by the Gurus themselves. To change society fundementally like that is no easy feat. It takes time, lots of it. To my mind this change has yet to be achieved to its full conclusion, probably because of conservative types who are merely following conventions. The Sikh message has not touched such people in any deep way.

    And what is the meaning of this

    "and perhaps c) men of differing social and/or economic classes."

    What is the element of doubt, clearly independent sources show that it WAS men of differing social/economic classes participating in this struggle.

    Here is another sufi view of the situation. clearly it refers to societal change with a reversal of fortune between those in power and those not. Remember the Gurus were the catalyst for these changes.

    "Ulte hor zamane aaye,
    Hun asaan bhed sajjan de paaye. | (sajjan=beloved)
    kaa(n) laggad nun maaran lagge, | (laggad=hawk)
    chiriyan jurre khaaye | (chiriyan=birds;jurre=a bird of prey)
    iraqiyan nun chabuk paunde, | (iraqiyan=a breed of horses)
    gade khood khavaye | (gade=donkey;khood=green fodder)
    aapneyan vich ulfat naahee, | (ulfat=love)
    ke-he chaachche taaye | (chaachche=father's younger brother;taaye=elder)
    piyo putran ittfaak naa kaahee, | (piyo=father;putran=sons)
    dheeyan naal naa maaye | (dheeyan=daughters;maaye=mother)
    sachcheyan nun hun milde dhakke, | (sachcheyan=truthful;dhakke=push around)
    jhoothe kol bahaaye | (jhoothe=liars)
    agle jaaye bankaale baithe,
    pichliyan farash vichaye | (farash=floor)
    (one line is missing here, somebody please complete it)
    Bullah jina hukam hazooron andaa,
    tina nun kaun hataaye."

    "Perverse times have come,
    I know the mystery of the beloved
    crows have begun to hunt hawks,
    and sparrows feed on falcons
    horses bear the whipping,
    while donkeys graze on lush green
    no love is lost between relatives,
    be they younger or elder uncles
    There is no accord between fathers and sons,
    Nor any between mothers and daughters
    The truthful ones are being pushed about,
    the tricksters are seated close by
    The front liners have become wretched,
    the back benchers sit on carpets
    Those in tatters have turned into kings,
    the kings have taken to begging
    O Bulleh, that which is His command
    who can alter His decree."

    RAJ KAREGA KHALSA
     
  12. skeptik

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    All sikhs agree that sikh gurus opposed the descrimination stopping lower classes from participating in religious activities. They allowed lower classes into their sangat. This is true and uncontested. I've said so all along, even in my first post. The sikh gurus made religious faith, teaching and community accessible to lower classes. Naturally this includes military training and membership. But equally true is that the Sikh gurus allowed wealthy and powerful men into their company. They enjoyed the company of kings and nobles too. You see they werent opposed to inequality itself. They were opposed only to injustice - and sometimes injustice occurs with inequality and it is in those very specific cases that the Sikh gurus targeted their changes. Prima facie the sikh gurus accepted inequality in society as natural.

    The sikh gurus did not oppose inequality itself. This needs to be stressed. Guru Nanak writes in japji Sahib that 'Some men are born high and some low', he recognises fundamentally that there exists inequality in society. If he was against it, then he would have challenged it, as he challenged other social wrongs he came across. Following Babar's invasion, Guru Nanak writes poignantly about the brutality of the invader, and he speaks of the suffering of not just the poor and low, but even higher classes. Were he an equalitarian he would have welcomed the invasion because it reduced inequality, as Babar sacked Panjab, leaving the richer much poorer. Ofcourse Guru Nanak did no such thing because equality was never an ideal for him, and it was injustice which he opposed not inequality.

    Elsewhere Guru Nanak writes "Kings are butchers, Cruelty their knife, and sense of duty and responsibility have taken wings and vanished", the first part is his explicit condemnation of evil, the second part just as important - for he demands a sense of duty and responsiblity from Kings. In what sense could Guru Nanak consider legitimate the rule of Kings over their subjects, if he was an egalitarian. To an egalitarian, above all, the autonomy of the individual is most important. Furthermore what legitimacy could have the authority of a Guru over his Sikhs if autonomy was central to his teachings. Would that not make the Sikh gurus hypocritical when they commanded power over sikhs? Put simply, if gurus believed in equality of all, then how could they honestly assert any influence and power over ordinary sikhs? If all are equal then a sikh could easily tell the Guru what to do, and what to believe, because this is only in line with the idea that sikhism promotes equality, and if in a sikh society all are equal, and thus so are guru and sikh. This absurdity arises only because of a false assumption not found in sikhi.

    In fact Guru Nanak was a perfectly sane man. He was untroubled by modern day delusions of equality, and to him it was obvious that a society created in view of maximising autonomy and equality would be riddled with evil. Evil already reigned, and was prominent throughout the land. Equality as a principle would treat all equally, including evil-doers, and give them the same rights and respect as any other decent law abiding man. Guru Nanak saw the need for opposition to tyranny and evil, and to do this requires curtailing the capabilities and rights of evil-doers. Babar if left unopposed, would not suddenly decide to commit less evil, he would probably commit more and more. And others too would do the same if left unopposed- the result would be greater chaos and a blood bath. In any society there will be evil, and in any society evil must be curtailed, and this necessarily means treating the criminals unequally to non-criminals. Thus equalitarianism would be a prescription for increasing evil in society, and not decreasing it, as Guru Nanak intended. To do otherwise is to give incentive to evil-doers to commit more evil, and so the conclusion is, an egalitarian society necessarily has greater evil than a normal one.

    All you can muster is a half hearted response that 'social-change takes time, its hard etc', excuses that most of us have heard a million times, and probably repeated ourselves just as much. These excuses are wearing thin. Firstly it reduces our Gurus because it says while they wanted these things (equality, etc) that they didnt acheive them or try to achieve them, or articulate their intentions clearly enough or etc., but nevermind that. Why dont we take a look at what we have achieved instead? Sikhs all over the world are prosperous and successful, they are marked by their work ethic and their fairness. They are known for their physical prowess ansd straightforwardness. Sikhs are recognised by their history of opposing injustice. These are successes that loudly sweep away any liberal exuses. Liberals instead mischaracterise our gurus, misconstrue our philosophy and hijack our youth with unfounded lies and exggarations. When engaged in debate, the reformists appeal to emotional arguments about revolution but conveniently forget the examples where social change has gone terrible wrong - one need only remind them of Adolf Hitler, of Mao and Pol Pot and ofcourse Lenin and Stalin, who were just as passionate in changing society in a big way towards some great ideal of theirs. The challenge of justifying egalitarianism in sikhism remains unmet.

    Social change by the Gurus was always deliberate, thoughtful and carefully considered. It was never to make a utopia out of nothing. Or a heaven on earth or anything like that. They accepted some realities of life as basic in all civilization throughout time. They didnt break apart society and build up a new super great one. They took existing society, and what a society it was too - with muslims and hindus and all their various cultures coexisting more or less together and accepted it mostly as it were, but with a few important changes. These changes were purposeful and understandable because in each instance they involved injustice. But if neo-sikhs today are going to hold that sikh society is a wholly different beast to what it was, they need to demonstrate it with fact and evidence. If they hold change is basic to sikh society then they must back up why sikhism is a religion of revolution - and they must do this not by conveniently ignoring reality and history, but by relating it directly. They must not make extraneous assumptions about the Gurus intentions when the gurus never so much as articulated these, leave alone acted in accordance to them.
     
  13. dalsingh

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    What your saying sounds like an ultra-conservative interpretation of Sikhism/Sikh history to me, nothing else.

    Even if some Sikhs may be over emphasising (and I don't agree that this is true) the revolutionary aspects of Sikh history. I think you are doing the complete opposite and trying to create a white washed version of it. The havoc and bloodshed of the entire 1700s show that Sikh history or movement was not a conservative affair by ANY stretch of the imagination.

    And you made a comment about people who say change is slow, claiming this is some sort of cop out. No, not at all, this is simply truth. What you may be doing is literally following history during the Guru period whilst ignoring the whole spirit of this movement which directly caused the upheaval in the 1700s and completely changed society in the Panjab.

    That all the Gurus were conservative as you contend, is directly contradicted by the following var contemporary to Guru Hargobind, written by Bhai Gurdas:

    "Earlier Gurus sat in Dharmsals and gave instruction, this one does not rest at one place.

    Kings visited the house of the Guru, this one they imprisoned in a fort.

    The sangat can not find him in the palace, restless he does not fear anyone nor does he instill fear in others.

    Sitting on seats earlier Gurus preached contentment, this one keeps dogs and goes hunting.

    Previous Gurus listened to and sang Gurbani, this one does not listen to or sing hymns regulary.

    He does not keep his follower servants with him but instead gives prominece to scoundrels.

    But the truth cannot be hidden the Sikhs still hover at their masters feet like bees.

    He bares the unbearable but complains about it not."

    Var 26, pauri 24. BGDV

    Does this sound like the description of a conservative to you?

    Anyway, I don't want to get into a fruitless, sonorous debate with skeptics. I appreciate that one should not blindly follow and a certain level of skepticism is not a bad thing, but it can be taken too far.

    If you are the conservative type, that's cool but don't impose this on others claiming it is how the Gurus themselves acted.


    WJKK
    WJKF

    Just to address your point regarding the position of women and Sikhism.

    In the Islamic culture of the time and even the indigenous culture women were considered to be inferior and often property to be had. That Sikhism changed this can be seen from the following quote from Jangnamah written by a person who accompanied Afghan invaders into the Panjab, his name was Nur Muhhamad.

    Leaving aside their mode of war, hear you of another aspect that distinguishes them among warriors. At no time do they kill one who is not a man (namard). Nor would they obstruct the passage of a fugitive. They do not plunder the wealth or ornaments of a women, be she a well to do lady or a maid servant. There is no adultry amongst the Sikhs, nor are these people given to thieving. Whether a women is young or old, they tell her, "budhyia go and occupy a corner." The word budhiya in the Hindi language means "old women"

    This indicates a distinct change of attitude towards women whom warriors usually saw as property to be taken or ravaged after conquests. So Sikhism had already started to uplift and give women respect in this way.

    Again, all as a result of the social revolution initiated by the Gurus. That is not to say that much more work needs to be done.
     
    #12 dalsingh, Sep 8, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2006
  14. skeptik

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    so in other words you have no argument and cannot justify your beliefs. Dont accuse me of intepreting Sikhism - iam simply taking the facts as they are, and the gurus word as they spoke. You on the other hand must do some fanciful revision to fit in your liberal ideology. You have to - because its not a priori true that sikhi is egalitarianism. The sikh gurus were not egalitarians, they were not revolutionaries and the Bhai Gurdas quote does not prove otherwise. Bhai Gurdas compares Guru Hargobind to his predessors who you cannot ignore were largely conservative - and if Guru Hargobind acted contrarily that is fine, but it must be understood in terms of whatever relevant problem he was solving by doing so. A sikh is naturally a conservative but he is never afraid to end injustice, and he will go to great lengths to achieve it, but justly. There is no problem to a Sikh in changing society, if it means that change is removing evil. Revolutionaries on the other hand will go to any end, not necessarily just, and not necessarily only for injustice. Recent ones are mostly fueled by hatred. Witness evil men like Bin Laden and Pol Pot, and the many khalistanis who act benovelently, even though doing evil to achieve their ends is perfectly alright. Such friends of humanity, the gurus were not.

    Are you seriously saying that war is not a conservative affair? Mankind has always known war. This is a bizarre point of yours relating violence in the 1700s. In any case you havent backed up your claims. Your arguments are weak. And you have been found wanting. The response about women under sikhism misses the mark because as ive already said, the sikh gurus opposed injustice against women, and treating women like objects to be traded and humiliated is very definitely an injustice. To end that is not to desire equality. This cannot be over-emphasized. I am not denying that the gurus did change society - this much is obvious - everyone knows that. What i am saying is they were not simply men who wanted to change society towards some utopian ideal - they just did it when things were badly wrong - where injustice occured. They were conservative in this sense. Not in whatever sense you ascribe.

    By the way its not only the Sikh warriors who've had an admirable war of conduct. There are many such examples in various cultures, but this is not a problem for me. Even the warriors in hindu mythology had strict commands on what was allowable in war, what not. This is hardly what you wish to call attention to as being 'revolutionary'.
     
  15. dalsingh

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    No, I just don't want argue for the sake of it without any sign of productive benefit at the end.

    I notice that you did not use a single piece of contemporary or even near contemporary evidence to support any of your "points"

    My beliefs are at least substantiated by historical facts, some of which I posted, whereas yours are not and are highly conjectural. If your conservative bias influences your thought, there is nothing wrong with that. But any society that does not constantly reflect on improvement is doomed to be consigned to the history books. Even in England we have regular televised debate and deliberation on how we can improve the civil and social services with parlimentary debates, so this is nothing radical in itself.

    But if you are content to live conservatively then all power to you.

    Given that your main point of conservatism practiced by the Gurus is in my opinion COMPLETELY blown away by the quote from Bhai Gurdas de var regarding Guru Hargobind, never mind the fact that two Guru's were actually executed by the state, I don't think I need to get embroilled in any further debate until this sinks in for you. Whatever else the Gurus were, they most definitely weren't conservative!

    So I suggest that you could do with spending more time with studying Sikh history in relation to Sikh theology as indeed we all could. The reason I don't want a protracted debate with you is because I don't think you are interested in discovering the truth impartially but would rather justify your already made up mind. Personally I would rather continue to study and learn and make my mind up on the basis of this.

    But in the end I guess we all have our individual journeys to make as we are all students in this life. I hope your journey is challenging and rewarding.
     
  16. skeptik

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    Thats probably a good idea if you've been arguing for the sake of it. In any case you havent done much arguing anyway. You've failed to respond to my objections to neo-sikhism.
    It simply isnt my place to prove a negative. I cannot prove that there are no WMD's if they arent any, just as I cannot prove conclusively that the sikh Gurus werent liberals. I can give reasons why they were probably not but i cannot prove completely that they werent, just as I cannot prove that the Gurus werent, for example, originally from Mars. My claim all along has been the sikh Gurus were not driven by ideology similar to modern day liberalism. They were not egalitarians. They were not socialists: determined to remove inequality from society altogether. They were not against inequality of property, of wealth, of sex or of morality.

    If you disagree with me, which you must if you agree with the neo-sikh version that says sikhism shares much with modern liberalism in respect to the above mentioned qualities, then the burden is on you to demonstrate it. It is up to you, the neo-sikh, to prove that the sikh gurus believed in egalitarianism, that they were, for example feminist and socialist. It is my job to critique your arguments and evaluate their merits - because i am skeptical of such claims.

    I cannot prove that the Sikh gurus were conservatives - because by definition if they were, then there isnt much to distinguish them for being so. Well apart from being rational and calm, for recognising and dealing in realism instead of utopianianism. For opposing evil as saintly men often do, and which the Sikh gurus definitely did do. These facts of mine do not need proof - they do not require any "single piece of contemporary or even near contemporary evidence" - for all men at all familiar with Sikhi are aware of these facts.

    I make no extra claims apart from these: That the sikh gurus opposed the evils of female infantacide, of tyranical mughal rule, the burning suicide of female widows, of preventing lower castes and classes from participating in religious discourse and community, and so on. These examples do need any proof beyond what is usually accepted by everyone.

    This is all i claim about the Sikh Gurus. It the neo-sikhs who claim more than this. They claim that the sikh gurus did these things not only because they were evil - BUT - also because these were obstacles to sikhi's desire to create a equal society. That they were only the start of what was supposed to be a wider goal of making society towards liberal ideals. That what the sikh gurus started, we must finish.

    Further if you hold that the Sikh gurus believed in equality, you have to deal directly with my objections. My objections are that the gurus did not implement equality in a) choice of guruship, b) selection of bani for Adi Granth, c) choice of panj pyare, and, d) sikh sangat. If they believed in equality they would have made sure their successors were taken from as diverse and wide groupings as possible. This would mean having gurus of different races, cultures and gender.

    For b), Gurus would have ensured that they selected at least some bani, even if it was a single line, from the hand of a Woman. But they did no such thing. Yet it is often implicitly held that the sikh gurus selected the contents of the Granth with positive intention of diversity in contributors. So why no female contribution? Were the gurus unaware of gender inequality? Ofcourse not, for one it's a undeniable fact of life that there is inequality between the genders, and furthermore Guru Nanak had already spoken of injustice against women by saying, 'Kings are born of woman, and women of women', so the gurus were aware of both the inequality and the injustice.

    For c), the panj pyare case is particularly interesting for we know that the original members were volunteers. So at least in this case we can speak sensibly about merit or 'the best man for the job', those who stood up and put their hand up for the Guru. Interestingly no woman volunteered. But suppose the gurus had wanted equality - and if that were the case, they could have made clear that they wanted at least one woman by announcing so. They did not however any such thing. Nor they did they see any problem with the fact that the volunteers, all of them, had been men. That is in a strict sense an inequality and a complete inequality for that matter, but Guruji had no problem with it at all. Or if they did, that hasnt been recorded by history. Supposing though a woman had volunteered, then if the Guru had accepted her, that would not mean he was for equality. It would simply mean that he was against descriminating against women. Such a woman would only be unaccepted to the Guru if the Guru were against woman-kind, but this is not a view held by anyone. Equality though does not only demand non-descrimination, which is a negative desiderata - equality requires something else too. It requires positive intent to remove inequality. This then, would have been the Guru making a provision for holding at least one place for a woman in the panj Pyare, the sovereign leaders for his Panth. He did no such thing ofcourse.

    In d) we see that the Sikh community while it practised and preached respectfulness, it did not actually represent an equal society for it had in place many inequalities. There is the obvious inequality between the Sikh and Guru. Sikh and guru are never equal. There were, too, sikh leaders who served in ranks of authority, over other sikhs, and indeed even non-sikhs who's authority was to be respected. For example Guru Arjan Dev said of Bhai Gurdas, the latter was the key to the Sikh Granth. Women if equal to man in a sikh society never realized such a proportion in battle. It was almost entirely only men who served in such capacities. In Sikh society there were men and women of different castes, and they would have known that they belonged to particular castes, but it wasnt a problem that they did. The problem if any such problem existed was the unfair treatment of lower castes by higher ones. The problem wasnt the caste system itself, for any such system is recreated and reproduced in multiplicty in all human affairs. Nature itself creates inequality of abilities, and human societies are distinguished by inequality of wealth, of intellect, of physical prowess, and any number of different qualities. These systems are part of all societies and they cannot sensibly be removed. Thus I've given good counter-explanations on why its not true that the Gurus wanted the same thing as neo-sikhs. Read my posts and see how easily I dispel the usual myths.

    Guru Hargobind was unconventional according to Bhai Gurdas - but he wasnt this way because he was enpassioned with idealism towards the ends of neo-sikh liberalism. It was because circustances demanded it from him. Sikh gurus had waited patiently for a long time before Guru Hargobind moved to enact those changes of rejecting the authority of the unjust rulers. They are arguments for conservatism - because conservatives are careful and thoughful before changing something. They know that while its possible to make society better, it is more likely though that you will make things worser by changing it. Conservative saints like the Guru were against evil - they have to be - most saints are. But just because an evil exists does not mean it must be opposed, and just because an evil can be opposed does not mean doing so is a good idea - for maybe fighting that evil will not decrease evil, but increase it. An example for this is the War in Iraq - while it was rightful and just to remove Saddam - doing so has proven to be a much greater evil since then. These are complicated issues and they require great thought and consideration.

    But liberals have a simpler thought model to follow. They say anything that causes evil must be opposed - they see that because inequality of society has been cause for great suffering and injustice that this means that inequality itself must be removed. They wish for greater autonomy of individuals and this means removing restrictions on conduct. But the sikh places himself at the complete authority of his Guru - and this is in conflict with liberalism which denies living under the authority of others. The liberals infact often oppose religion itself for this very reason. Yet many 'sikh-intellectuals', see no problem with this and continue to forge fond and sympathetic ties with them.

    I've demonstrated though, or I could demonstrate what others already have, and that is, that the desire to create the equality of society is a destructive ideal. But this is logically independent from the discussion at hand, which is, were the early sikhs sympathetic and agreeable and active on liberal ideals of society? This is for you, or the countless men and women who write on Sikhism, to show.
     
  17. drkhalsa

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    Dear Skeptic/

    Welcome to the forum !

    I read your above post and the only thing that crossed my Mind is excellent!

    Many many valid ponts ,Infacts you have given words to me personaly to bring out some of my own thoughts.You have very nice clearity in thoughts

    Thanks for the posts

    Jatinder Singh
     
  18. dalsingh

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    Ok, I think we can make some headway here. I may recap on some of the points we both made for the sake of clarity.

    Your point is that the perceived confusion of the youth is down to what you call a neoSikh interpretation of Sikhi. This is far removed from reality, portraying the Sikh Gurus as liberals in the mould of what would be considered liberal today by a largely white middle class western society. On this point we can agree, I don’t think the values the Gurus promoted were the ones promoted today with its permissiveness. Regarding modern liberal philosophy towards women, from what I can see freedom seems to degenerate into whether they are allowed to dress scantily without comment, allowed to behave laddishly and have career opportunities. A lot of noise is always made regarding the hypocrisy of men who have multiple sexual relationships whilst women who do the same are given a negative reputation. This most definitely was not the cause of the Gurus. So emphatically the Gurus were not liberal in this sense. You seem to suggest in your original post that Sikhs through print and the Internet have been trying to portray Sikhism as espousing these values, I disagree. Although a little overlap may exist between these two ways of thinking I don’t think Sikh writers have in general attempted to portray Sikhism as such. But they have been at pains to point out that some enlightened concepts that are broadly inline with modern thought exists in Sikhism. Note that I use the word some here. If writers en masse are doing what you claim, I’m not aware of it. I’m talking about respectable writers like Ganda Singh, Sangat Singh or Teja Singh or Jagjit Singh.

    Ok, now this is where we majorly disagree. From what I’ve read, you have made a massive jump from establishing that the Gurus were not liberal in the sense we discussed, to making the claim that they were conservative.

    Firstly lets look at the dictionary definition of “conservative”. According to the Collins edition I have, conservative is defined thus:

    1.Favouring the preservation of established customs and values, and opposing change.
    2.Moderate or cautious: i.e. a conservative estimate.
    3.Conventional in style: i.e. people in this area are conservative in their tastes.
    4.A conservative person.

    Regarding definition 1. In no way can the Gurus be described thus. I think everyone would probably agree.

    Definition 2 gives some support to what you say in that the Gurus did not seem to introduce their changes in an ill thought out manner. It was a big aim and they prudently took the steps to make sure the movement would not die an early death. Against this is the fact that Guru Hargobind Ji took up arms, hardly moderate but you can stretch out the cautious element and claim he was being cautious in the face of further attacks I guess. Also the very first Sikh-Mogul clash was (according to tradition), the result of an imperial hawk being captured by Sikhs and the refusal of the Sikh party to return the hawk to the Mogul hunting party and the giving of a beating to them by the Sikhs, hardly cautious or moderate. Add to this the establishment of the Akal Takhat as a rival sovereign entity. It is important to note skeptik, that conservatives do not hold any exclusive claim on being prudent or cautious as you seem to be suggesting, even Bin Laden laid carefully thought out plans for his mission, but this doesn’t make him a conservative, most people would consider him an extremist.


    Def 3: Conventional in style: i.e. people in this area are conservative in their tastes.

    I don’t think that the Khalsa is conventional in any sense of the word. The look, symbols, the Amrit ceremony with its military connotations and attack on caste by forcing people to drink together, a new salutation, the list is endless. Some of the ceremony seems specifically designed to strike at conventional behaviour in relation to caste and ahimsa.


    So I think you’re plainly wrong in assuming that the Gurus were conservative on the basis of them not being liberal by modern standards. But I think we must be careful not to get caught into the trap of semantics and categorisation. Trying to encapsulate Sikhism in one word is a fool’s game to my mind. It is far too complex for that in my opinion.

    Some of your other points:
    “Further if you hold that the Sikh gurus believed in equality, you have to deal directly with my objections. My objections are that the gurus did not implement equality in a) choice of guruship, b) selection of bani for Adi Granth, c) choice of panj pyare, and, d) sikh sangat”

    You talk as if they were making an omelette, like it was a simple affair and they could be free to pick and choose whomever they wanted without regard for practicalities. All movements need a strong base to survive, Panjab was chosen for this (Kartarpur initially). But the fact that non-Panjabis have played a big part in the Sikh movement (i.e. Panj Piaray and Banda Singh) show that leadership was not limited to Panjabis alone or Khatris. Sticking to the hard path adopted by the panth after Guru Arjan’s martyrdom, perhaps meant that the Gurus had to safeguard the movement so that it didn’t lose direction through the toughest times, hence they only chose people they knew inside out from birth to take this responsibility, perhaps this is why they chose family members from then on. And seeing as how Guruship didn’t exactly lead to a life of ease and luxury it is hard to put any other motives to the decision other than noble ones. However I’m not saying that my explanation is exactly what happened because we may never know for certain, but it at least suggests alternative views regarding why the Guruship contained only one race other than anything conservative or a disregard to egalitarian principles.

    Regarding women in the original panj piaray, from what I understand the hukums were sent to sangats to come with unshorn hair and armed with 5 weapons. Personally I can’t even imagine many women being at that original Basaikhi if any were at all, at least at the stage when heads were being asked for. But women being appointed in the manji system by Guru Amar Das is common knowledge. The high respect given to Mata Sahib Kaur is well known. They were given the utmost respect and not considered inferior in any way. I’ve never said that the Gurus tried to do the modern “there are no differences between men and women” thing at any time. But you have raised a good point regarding women and the panth that does need further research into this matter by people more knowledgable than I am.

    Your other point of
    “If they believed in equality they would have made sure their successors were taken from as diverse and wide groupings as possible. This would mean having gurus of different races, cultures and gender.”

    Maanas Ki Jaat Sabhai Ekai Pahchaanbo. I always thought that a fundamental message of Sikhi was that in Gods eyes we are all equal and have the same potential to reach him/her/it. Besides not having Gurus from all races and creeds does not mean that the Gurus were against egalitarian principles or favoured their own race. Your making a massive jump from one statement to a big assumption again. Finally the devolution of Guruship from Guru Gobind Singh Ji to the panth and granth (as believed by the majority of Sikhs) is EXACTLY what you are referring to. Now the Guru of the Sikhs can contain all genders and races.

    Skeptic, you have highighted some other important points in your last post that I think deserve further discussion. I have to go on a training course for two weeks tommorow so I haven’t got the time right now. We can resume this when I get back if this is ok with you.
     
  19. Dimitri

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    From my understanding of Sikh History-
    The call for original 5 pyare was at Bisakhi festival.

    Guru Gobind asked for 5 heads....i guess 5 men came forward. And they were all from different castes and they were unified under the brotherhood of the Khalsa. All the original 5 pyaras were from different socio-economic background and then Guru Gobind took Amrit from them.

    Regarding why no women entries in Guru Granth, in those times under the brahman system women and low castes were not allowed toperform religious ceremonies, hardly any had education. There is lot of Bhagat bani in Guru Granth (it is included because all those bhagats talk about God and spoke against ritualism of the time and lot more...just to keep the post short) and they range from pandits, offcourse Kabir (a weaver by trade) even Baba Fared he was muslim. I actually wonder if their is any Bhagat bani at the time written by females. If their is that will be interesting to read.
     
  20. skeptik

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    I welcome your wish, Dalsingh, to take the discussion further. Though I must protest; it is a bit late to bring up definitions, isnt it? If there was need for clarification we should have done that earlier. Still, better now than never. Your recap of my view is, as far as I can see, honest and accurate. The neo-sikh interpretation I have been speaking about is not quite the same as all-out liberalism. The important differences I will mention later, but I will start by stating what neo-sikh's have in common with liberals. Neo-sikhs are characterised fundamentally by their desire to reform sikh society, which they see to be in a state of great moral decline. They share with liberals the belief that Enlightenment values of education and of removing ignorance, of creating a equal society, and one with great freedom will lead to happier lives and less evil. Liberals believe that the way to acheive these goals of theirs is to create a society where each individual has the greatest amount of autonomy - which means each is capable of acting independently and freely without restriction. It is from this axiom and desire for autonomy that liberals derive their views, for example, that women ought to able to wear whatever they wish, and that women ought to be able to have careers - because they believe the autonomy of women needs to be respected.

    Neo-sikhs too share these ideals though they might not care about certain particulars, for they believe human affairs should not be influenced by things like caste, gender or race. They believe equality when added to our sikh societies will restore it to the good-old-days of the Sikh gurus, when such an equal society did exist, and was a beautiful perfect thing needing to be recreated. Ofcourse neo-sikhs disagree with liberals in some particular cases, such as yourself, expressing disinterest at free expression of sexuality, vis, mini-skirts and bikinis implying female liberation. There may be any number of such disagreements between neo-sikhs and liberals - but for the most part, they agree on fundamental ideals. Where they disagree, it is usually in trivial detail, and I think, were the neo-sikh to think carefully and honestly, he would be led to finding his position to be in error because it violates the ideals of equality. This is the case too with your other example, the man with multiple partners vs the woman with many partners. Equality demands these two to be treated the same, and there the liberal view is essentially true to the ideals. Furthermore this isnt simply a degenerate case, as you seem to say, but the rule, for liberalism is just as absurd elsewhere.

    Still you say this definitely was not a cause for the gurus, implying that you understand there are sensible limits to the extent equality is to be sought, and to the places it is to be applied. This is a first step is recognising the disparity between Sikhi and Neo-Sikhi. For in one, ideals such as these are automatic and pervasive, and in the other, they are not, and must be justified in each given social situation. You wrote "some enlightened concepts that are broadly in line with modern thought exists in Sikhism," and it is these concepts I am attacking specifically. These are false too, and not just the degenerate cases. In fact all of liberalism is false, but I am not concerned with liberalism in general - but the neo-sikh version, which is exactly the one you have singled out as being correct. Throughout this thread, I have had in mind the neo-sikh version, and not the general one, which neo-sikhs might sometimes disagree with, though they do so, by breaching the very (liberal) ideals they hold dear.

    The other liberal belief i mentioned, which is just as important, is the idea that education and removal of ignorance will lead to attaining the ideals of greater autonomy and thus equality. Neo-sikhs agree with this too, and in their case, hold that Sikhs need to study their Gurbani more closely, and to adhere closely to sikh principles which they claim are vested and enshrined with enlightened ideals. They hold that were Sikhs better at doing this, that more and more neo-sikh ideals would be attained, and this would lead to a better, more sikh society. Conversely since they say that Sikh society is in such a dire state, It is such a state because Sikhs failed to follow neo-sikh ideals, which they claim are those of the Sikh Gurus. All neo-sikhs more or less believe this, and believe it fairly passionately.

    These then are the neo-sikh beliefs and ideals, which they claim were also held by the Sikh Gurus. Ultimately they are wrong about this, as I've shown elsewhere. Neo-sikhs hold that Sikh society as it exists today is in jeopardy; That it needs urgent reform, and that this reform should be targeted in spirit of neo-sikh ideals. They feel that the reason Sikh society is so troubled is because Sikhs have failed to realise neo-sikh ideals. Furthermore they are fully convinced that society must always be reformed, and that this is to be learnt from the Sikh Gurus, who were such tireless reformers that they are to be admired first and foremost as revolutionaries with egalitarian ideals. Neo-sikhs see the Sikh Gurus as revolutionaries by over-emphasising the social changes the Gurus enacted, and by ignoring the many changes that ought to have been taken but were not, had the sikh Gurus been driven by neo-sikh ideals. They also ignore the contexts under which the changes were enacted but are content simply to concentrate that a change was taken, and that the change was rightful. Neo-sikhs do not demand any explanation for the changes, for they simply do not require them. To them it is self-evident that change is good, and society needs to be changed, so the details are irrelevant so long as the change can be interpreted and justified by neo-sikh ideals. So much for neo-sikh liberalism. In my next post I will address your points about conservativism.
     
  21. skeptik2

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    The definitions advanced of a conservative are acceptable. The most important thing to note here is that the Sikh Gurus are not to be judged solely by the conventions of ordinary society - though that is important too, but also in comparison to the many saints and bhagats who preceeded them. The Sikh Gurus did not occur in a vacuum, and must be understood in the appropriate causal context.

    It's common for Sikhs to abhor Brahmin saints so let us agree now that to speak of a saint in those times and earlier, is not to speak of a holy man who exploits his influence over others to his own non-holy ends, as is commonly thought about Brahmins, but to speak of saints like Kabir and Ramanand, who've always been admired, with great affection, by Sikhs. This is to say, then, that the philosophical outlook of the Sikh Gurus was contemporary to such saints, and a similar explanation can be given to other aspects of sikhi too. For example the Sikh turban was adopted by the Gurus for their sikhs, but the use of such an article has been perfomed many times over in history. Similarly for long hair, and beards, and too the practices and rituals of marriage, for instance.

    There is a great deal of overlap in the thought of saints and those of the Gurus, as Guru Granth Sahib testifies. The obvious explanation for this is surely that they were dealing with similar problems as they lived in largely similar societies. Then, the particular problems must be understood, as must be any proposed resolutions, if any have been advanced, in full detail of the known facts.

    Consider that there exists a particular problem in society. For a moral decision is to be taken given the problem, it is not sufficient that the decision be taken only to 'make society better', but whether taking such a decision is justified by the conditions of the time, whether the proposed solution is feasible given available resources, whether the solution will even work, and if it doesnt work, can it make things far worse? There are many considerations underlying such a decision. Supposing though we have good reasons to answer all of these questions positively - then we make a change. Suppose the Gurus were in such a position. Then having made the change, it is misleading and false for neo-sikhs to say simply, of the change, that it was inevitable because the Gurus were revolutionary. It fails to capture the full depth of situation, because it simplifies far too much, and exposes the Guru's decision to the charge of idealism, which can be levelled on such despicable men as Marx and Lenin, to mention only a few.

    For any good decision, ideology isnt so important for explanation as is factual reality. A rational explanation for a decision is infinitely more valuable and useful than a passionate ideological one. Furthermore a decision that is made only on the grounds of passionate ideology has almost no logical merit whatsover, compared to one made only on rational thought. It is true that a decision might have both logical and emotional appeal, but it is clear that a good one must always have the logical, and can do without the emotional.

    By giving the above description, I am detailing the conservative method, which is not explicit in the definition alone. It is true that the conservative opposes change, but this is simply because he recognises that ones actions can have unforseen unintended consequences. Everyone knows the saying that, 'the path to heaven is paved with good intentions', and knows this personally, because they've seen it proved many times over. The great carnage of the 20th century holds ample proof for this, if anyone chose to ignore it. Hitler, Mao, Stalin, these men were driven by a positive desire to change society towards their ideals. They wanted to make society better - they had good intentions, and thus gave us such enormous destruction, that we cannot easily forget it. Yet we do, for one easily forgets that communism had in its ideals a vision of equality of property, where no one was richer than another.

    Furthermore while it is always easy to explain a decision that has already been taken, on ideological grounds, it is not sufficient in capturing the true essense of the decision. For we demand not only that a decision was taken to 'make things better', 'to fix society', but what were the pressing reasons for doing so, what were the alternatives to the decision, and what was the factual justification for taking the decision. This is what one demands from a rational being, but neo-sikhs do not require it. They are content simply with ideological explanations which are scarcely explanations at all, because they are too simplistic, and as we have seen from neo-sikhs, can be conjured up at will, in accordance to ones favorite fashionable ideology of the time. It is easy to offer such an ideological re-description of a historical decision, and many play this game, including neo-sikhs, and the Muslim who wrote the pamplet proving that Islam believes in Equality of men and women.

    Conservatives take decisions to make changes to society too. The sikh gurus did this, but in each case their decisions were out of the sensible wish to perform negative changes. They never acted solely towards utopian ends, but were characterised by allocating their precious resources on pressing problems, that could admit reasonable resolution. It is a fact that until Guru Hargobind, the sikh gurus waited patiently for the State to perform its rightful role, and welcomed this when it occured. If one reads history according to neo-sikhs, then one has to wonder why it took so long for the Sikh Gurus to adopt and cultivate physical force in their sikhs, if theirs was a revolutionary movement. But tell me this much, if Guru Hargobind refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the state, in what world would he then subject himself to its rule, and be martyed by it. He accepted the rule of the land, or law, or whatever you wish to call it. Why would a revolutionary righteous man voluntarily do that? The answer to me is obvious. While he believed the state had authority over all its subjects, all of them subject to the law of the land, he thought those running the state were unjust and evil. Nevertheless, he didnt fight to remove the evil, ultimately, because he placed himself at the state's mercy and succumbed to it. This is rightfully to be seen as politically protest, but it nevertheless shows that Guru Hargobind, quite conservatively, believed in the legitimacy of state rule, though the particular rulers were tyranical.
     

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