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Gurus Guru Nanak and his mission of Humankind

Discussion in 'History of Sikhism' started by kaur-1, Nov 4, 2006.

  1. kaur-1

    kaur-1
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    Guru Nanak and his mission of Humankind :
    Defend the weak and Establish Halemi Raj

    Wednesday 1st of November 2006
    DS Gill, IHRO

    A tribute to Guru Nanak on the eve of his Parkash Divas

    In these times there are conflicts, violence and bloodshed everywhere. The atomic threat haunts humankind. People are suffering political and social tyranny of the corrupt and the greedy. Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikh faith, raised his voice in defence of human rights during his times against Babur and gave the message of universal peace, goodwill and brotherhood of humankind. The Sikh history is full of martyrs who fought for this ideal.


    Guru Nanak was born at a time when human beings were not regarded at a level no higher than animals. The kings and the administrators not only inflicted all sorts of cruelties on the ordinary people but forced them to live on their terms. The public was regarded as no better than slaves. The word from the king and his administrators was regarded as the word of God. At such a time, Guru Nanak raised his voice for the rights of ordinary people and said: "The kings are bloodthirsty tigers and the ministers (administrators) are like bloodsucking dogs..."


    This was the only voice that was heard at that time. People were so frightened by the cruelty and oppression of the rulers that they had virtually accepted a life of animals rather than dare raise their voice against the rulers. Following the Lodhi rulers, when Babur attacked and conquered India, he killed a large number of men, women, children and elderly, and enslaved many like animals. Cries of agony arose from all directions. There was no one who could convey their voice forcefully to Babur. His word at the time was law. No one dared even raise an eyelid before Babur's extreme cruelty. At such a time, only Guru Nanak said fearlessly to Babur that he was an oppressor and had no reason to slay so many innocent people to satisfy his lust for power. Guru Nanak, thence, said: "Babur has come from Kabul, with his wedding party of sin."


    Guru Nanak organised and coordinated the people. He encouraged them to live active lives to collectively defend their rights. He told the people that rather than dying slow deaths at the hands of those in power, it was better to die the deaths of the brave in battle. The other Gurus, following Guru Nanak, gave further impetus to the human rights movement. One after another, further institutions were developed each of which played a prominent role in ensuring human rights of the people. For the achievement of honor and dignity, they however considered it right to use different methods of warfare. Guru Gobind Singh went so far as to declare that: "When all other means fail it is legitimate to use the Sword (force)."


    In India, at the time of Guru Nanak, the popular concept of a holy person was one who abandoned his family and his social obligations to live a life of begging or wandering in the forests and mountains in search of spiritual truth. This view accords with the notion that religion is something to be divorced from social and moral responsibility (politics). In giving the opposing Sikh view, Guru Nanak gave example of the lotus flower that, having its roots in muddy waters, still flowers beautifully above.


    So, one should live in society, work constantly for its improvement and yet always be above its meanness and pettiness. It is this positive attitude of voicing concern on social issues and working to alleviate injustice that has so frequently brought Sikhs into conflict with secular authorities who in turn respond with smears of 'extremist' interference in politics. Sikhs are duty-bound to protest against injustice or the cruel and arbitrary behavior of those in authority.


    Much earlier, the oppressed Hindus of Kashmir went to Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth of the ten Sikh Gurus, to seek his help in stemming the forced conversion of their co-religionists to Islam. Knowing that it would probably cost him his life, he unhesitatingly agreed to and went to Delhi to intercede on their behalf, though he was personally opposed to some of their religious practices. The Moghul Emperor, Aurangzeb, was unmoved by his plea for religious tolerance. The Guru was imprisoned, cruelly tortured and finally publicly beheaded for upholding the right of the Hindus to worship in the manner of their choice.


    If to fight for the protection of the poor is considered extremism or religious fanaticism, the these are the labels with which Sikhs will have to live with.
    The Sikh movement had three main aims until the establishment of the Misals. First was to preach total freedom and equality for all mankind, second for the establishment of a Sikh faith/Panth, and the third was to use the Panth as a means for spearheading social and political freedoms. The Indian society has not produced another movement that has promoted the public domain over the ruling power. The Sikh movement took a major step towards spiritual freedom by shunning the thought philosophy and public administration dominated by the caste system.


    According to Guru Gobind Singh, the objective of Sikhism is to establish the rule of the true and the pure on this earth. This pronouncement is a further evidence of the need to protect human rights. "Sovereignty is never handed over, it is realised through strength" (Guru Gobind Singh). Thus, Sikhs are duty-bound to defend the weak and the innocent, if necessary, by the sword (besides craving for Halemi Raj as enshrined in Sri Guru Granth Sahib).


    A close examination of the UN Declaration of Human Rights reveals sympathy with such sentiments as: 'Whereas it is essential, if person is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law' and 'When all other means of resistance against tyranny and oppression have failed, it is legitimate, as a last resort, to turn to the sword.'


    I would like to make it clear to all those in government who are (or were) infringing human rights by killing Sikh youths in faked police encounters, by desecrating Sikh Gurdwaras by sending in security forces, and by implicating innocent young Sikhs in false crimes that "Do not burn bridges; you never know how many times you have to cross the same."


    Following the footsteps of the Gurus, the Sikh nation, in order to reaffirm human rights and to establish its honor and lost glory, will continue the struggle in line with the Sikh tradition of defending the weak. Let us all pool all our efforts to achieve this mission, a special assignment that is given to us by our Guru, Guru Nanak.

    D S Gill
    Panthic Weekly



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  3. egyptian

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    Good read
     

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