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Integration of Out-castes in Sikhism

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by vijaydeep Singh, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. vijaydeep Singh

    vijaydeep Singh
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    Jul 30, 2004
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    Integration of out-castes in Sikhism.

    As we are aware that there is no caste in Sikhism, yet a person from outcastes converted into Sikhism could later on be the front runner to convert more outcastes into Sikhism.. By our own folly in past we have missed the chance when we did not let Dr Ambedkar convert into our faith.
    As we see that many of us are more interested to work with DTNT(denotified and nomadic tribes)like Sikligars, Vanjaras etc., we must forget another part of Sikhi the outcastes or ST.

    Some info about them.

    Raghuretas/Majhabis- They are from the caste Kshpacha as per Manusamriti, in Hindus they are called Valmiki while I am not giving the derogatory terms used by upper caste for them. In Sikhs we have the history of them since Baba Jivan Singh Ji Raghureta, Bhai Beer Singh and Dheer Singh(of Talwandi Sabo Ki, where they were shown by Tenth Master as mark of death defying loyalty of Sikhs in comparison to Dhalla Berar mercenaries) ,Bhai Garja Singh(from Bhai Bota Singh and Garja Singh Shaheed), Bhai Beeru Singh(a Misaldar of Taruna Dal, who won various battles in Afghanistan but left the empire there on call for the fellow Sikhs so termed religious or Mazhabi).

    There has been a good lot of Patit hood/apostasy in them too due to lack of the knowledge about Sikhism. Other people who may try to pray upon them are Seva Bharati(of RSS, which may not convert them into Hinduism but encourage them to worship mother India, a demigoddess’s picture etc. which is their way to integrate while such acts only will make them an idolater), Christian missionaries ,Aad Dharmis(Hindu Valmikis too want them to revert back to worship Lord Valmiki as their God, they have once made a picture where Lord Valmiki was shown giving blessing to Bhai Jivan Singh Ji) and Bhaniare Wala Piara etc.

    Recently I have seen some of their great men other then S. Jaswant Singh Ji of Bhai Jivan Singh Ji Trust,Chandigarh(Ph:09814575196),who is a researcher on the life of Dalit Sikhs and their contribution in Sikhism and has good lot of publication by himself.

    It was on last Saturday ie 5/9/9 when a March commemorating Bhai Jaita Ji/Bhai Jivan Singh Ji came to Gurudwara Sisganj Sahib came to Delhi and I had a chance to talk to some other Singhs also, who have assured me for their up most help if we start some work in service of deprived Sikhs in Punjab.

    Their details are given below:

    S. Amrik Singh Shergill,Chairman, Shaheed Baba Jivan Singh Ji Nishkam Seva Society ,Amritsar,Ph 9316908616, while other number for member ship of the society are as follows:93167-04785, 98142-04785, 92560-96593, 98728-19308.

    Sant Baba Balbeer Singh Ji, Main coordinator, All India Pingla Ashram, Post Box, 120, Sanour Road, Patiala, Ph:0175-2204785, 98142-04785, 9316704785.

    Bhai Darshan Singh and his son Bhai Upkar Singh, former is a Granth Singh while the latter is a Ragi Singh, they have promise to assist us in their town ie Chamkaur Sahib and to establish our contact with another community ,the Ramdasia’s who also have a Gurdwara there in the memory of Baba Sangat Singh Ji. Ph No of Bhai Upkar Singh Ji is :9465153984.

    Ramdasia Sikhs:-also called Ravidasias. They were converted enblock during the time of Fourth Master hence named after him. Other then Bhai Sangat Singh Ji(childhood made of Tenth Master and made sacrifice of him during the Chamkaur fort assault as ,his head was taken by the enemy taking it as of Tenth Master, being from east India, he was called Bangesar) we have another Great Sikh from this community named Gyani Dit Singh Ji, (he was first Dittaram Kabeer Panthi,later became Gyani Dit Singh, a great reformer and scholar of Sikhism, he defeated swami Dayaland ,Arya Samaji, three times in debate).

    Main threat to them: Ravidasi Hindus (who are trying to make them worship idol of Bhagat Ravidas Ji and as per the act of HKL Bhagat of 1984 riot fame, they have taken the Verses of Bhagat Ravidas out of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, making another text called Ravidas Deep, recently Vienna episode is between them and Sikhs), Schcha Sauda dera of Sirsa(active in Malwa region as most of the followers are from Ramdasias and further into north Hariyana),Buddhist missionaries(Active in Doaba and Paur(east Malwa ie Ropar and Ludhiana).

    I have seen some of them even more staunch Sikh then myself and are in mainstream but do not divulge their caste at all which is appreciable. More contacts with them will be established and information will be sent. They are the most well educated and well placed in jobs out of deprived Sikhs yet ready to help other Sikhs.

    Rahitiyas/Presently call themselves as Weaver Ramdasiyas.
    They are perhaps the Dhanuk converts. Dhanuk Sikhs from Rajsthani stocks are there in Firozpur District and number around 30,000 are separate from Weaver Ramdaisias. In past Arya Samaj tried to poach them into their faith. Dhanuk in past used to make a string of bow(Dhanush) from hide of the animal so termed Dhanushkar. They too claim to be weaver but are different from Kori/Koli Shurdas, the case of Bhagt Kabeer. Spread upto Maharhstra and West Bengal and Beyond. In Jammu they are called Chandal(working in cremation ground) while in Rajsthan, they are part of Scheduled tribe breaking the stone. In Punjab, they are by and large united with Ramdsiya Sikhs but prefer to not to divulge their caste.
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  3. Randip Singh

    Randip Singh
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    SPN Sewadaar
    Historian SPNer Supporter

    May 25, 2005
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    Just a comment:

    Amongst Sikh Mabhi's and Ramdasia are formidable soldiers. Their acts of bravery are legendary.

    The Tribune - Windows - Slice of history

    How Sikh Light Infantry evolved
    Shammi Kumar
    THE military and religious fervour present in the soldiers of Sikh Light Infantry can be attributed to the indomitable spirit imparted by Guru Gobind Singh to their ancestors. These soldiers are the offspring of Baba Jiwan Singh, Sangat Singh, Katha Singh (Ramdasia), Bir Singh, Garja Singh and Nabbau Singh, who had been baptised by Guru Gobind Singh.
    Guru Gobind Singh recognised the martial potential of the downtrodden and baptised them in the fold of Sikhism, which did not differentiate on the basis of caste or creed and held everybody equal. This emboldened the downtrodden to fight against injustice, tyranny and persecution. When in November 1675, Bhai Jaita presented the severed head of the ninth Guru to Guru Gobind Singh, he was touched by the great devotion of this Dalit and expressed his great admiration for his unflinching courage and fortitude. Flinging his arms around the neck of Jaita, he declared: "You are a son of the Guru". Grovelling slaves became doughty warriors under the stimulating leadership of Guru Gobind Singh. They never shrunk back in fear and were ready to rush into the jaws of death at the bidding of their Guru.

    During the time of Guru Gobind Singh, Bhai Jiwan Singh Rangretha, Sangat Singh and Katha Singh Ramdasia took part in all the battles fought by Guru Gobind Singh with Mughals and Pahari rajas. According to Ibbertson in his book Castes and Tribes in India, Jiwan Singh was a great general who fought in the battle of Sirsa and laid down his life in the battle of Chamkaur Sahib along with Katha Singh Ramdasia.

    In 1750, Sikh Misls came into vogue and Misldars like Guru Gobind Singh and Banda Bahadur accorded recognition to the martial potential of Rangrethas. The structure of misls was very secular. Sikhs, irrespective of their caste and race, were enrolled in the army of misldars. When Ranjit Singh became the ruler of Punjab, he also recognised the military prowess of Rangrethas like his predecessors. According to Ibbertson, Maharaja Ranjit Singh had great admiration for their bravery and he attached one company of these Rangrethas to each battalion. These down-trodden Sikhs bravely participated in all the battles fought by Ranjit Singh.

    When Britishers took over the reigns of Punjab, they organised a military system which included Mazhabi Sikhs and Ramdasia Sikhs They were greatly impressed by their superior physique and the martial and religious fervour imparted by Sikhism. They utilised the services of Sikh soldiers in various military campaigns in India and abroad. With World War II came the need for additional manpower and this saw the formation of a Mazhabi and Ramdasia Sikhs regiment in 1941.

    This name was changed to Sikh Light Infantry by the then Director of Infantry, Major General Sr Reginnald, in 1944.

    The soldiers in Sikh Light Infantry comprised Mazhabis and Ramdasias and other Sikhs belonging to the scheduled castes.

    Thus, the martial spirit of Sikh Light Infantry soldiers can be traced back to the earliest days of Sikhism.


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  4. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    1947-2014 (Archived)
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    Jun 17, 2004
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    If I may humbly add to this story of indomitable spirit on the field of battle. In return for years of military service Mazhabis and Ramdasias were eligible for land grants in other territories of the raj -- in Africa and in the New World. They carried that spirit to foreign lands and were among the first to be Sikhs of the diaspora, taking upon themselves new challenges and conquered new frontiers.
  5. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Mentor Writer SPNer Contributor

    Jun 30, 2004
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    If I am not mistaken there are still 2 kinds of Sikh regiments in India. Sikh and Sikhli, the latter stands for Sikh light. This is part of the brass insignia that every soldier has on his shoulder flaps. The Brits created the separate regiments for the regional and ethnic groups of people who were in the army e.g. Rajputs, Dogras Marathas etc etc.

    Only Sikhs have 2 separate regiments. One more thing to point out that only the soldiers belong to these regional/tribal regiments. Soldiers in Sikhli are from so called low classes. The officers from 2nd Lt. onwards in all these regiments can be from any tribe/religion and from any part of India.

    Tejwant Singh
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  6. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
    Mentor Writer SPNer Contributor

    Jul 4, 2004
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    MOST of the Famous and most established GURDWARAS in the UK..were founded by these so called LOW CASTE SIKHS..and Bhatras...
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  7. harbansj24

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    Feb 19, 2007
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    The Bhatras have become so rich that they practically bought large chunks of a colony called Malviya Nagar in South Delhi!
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