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General Max Arthur Macauliffe

Discussion in 'History of Sikhism' started by anon, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. anon

    anon United Kingdom
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    I was just wondering what all your thoughts were on the 6 volumes of Sikh history by Max Arthur Macauliffe are. Are they reliable? Historically accurate?

    Im currently reading through the second volume and focusing mostly on the historical chapters rather then his translations of works by the Sikh Gurus. The first volume (Which goes into detail about Guru Nanak Dev Ji) goes into some detail about the sources that he used to publish Volume 1 however as i read volume 2 I notice no citations or explanations of Macauliffe's sources.

    Also i was a bit confused by some terminology which I hope you all would be able to shed some light on... what does Macauliffe mean by:
    " the second day of the dark half of the month Kartik", specifically what is meant by the term "Dark half"?
     
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  3. aristotle

    aristotle
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    In the indigenous Indian Lunar calendars, each month, from the moment of one Dark Moon to the next, is divided into 30 equal lunar days (tithis ), numbered 1 to 15 in the bright half, and 1 to 14, then 30 in the dark half.

    The months are split into two halves: bright / sukla , ending at Full Moon, and dark / krishna, ending at Dark Moon.

    The full moon tithi is purnima, and the dark moon tithi is amavasya. The first day after full or dark moon is pratipada , and the rest are numbered dvitiya , tritiya , etc.

    So, The second day of the dark half of Kartika will be called Kartika krishna dvitiya, or the Second tithi of krishna paksha of Kartika.

    (Source: www.moonwise.co.uk/year/2060hindu.htm)
     
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  4. anon

    anon United Kingdom
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    wow, that's a rather complex system.

    Thanks for the response!
     
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  5. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    anon ji

    Keeping in mind that journals and library collections of scholarly writing on Sikhi, and Internet archives as we have available today, did not exist in the time of Macauliffe. Though scholarly writings and exegeses of the Vedas were collected throughout India, and could be found in the private libraries of the wealthy and the ashrams of well-supported monastic orders, nothing close to that was available to Macauliffe. Moreover, many of the treasured writings were destroyed when Sikh institutions were destroyed in the century following the Death of Guru Gobind Singh. What there was, rested with the Nirmala situated in Benares and in the private collections of individuals here and there. So Macauliffe - as you will discover when you read this article - employed a multifarious strategy of working with documents as he could access them, picking the brains of noted scholars of the day, hosting informal seminars to allow for debate. In the end he did what all talented historians do: he pulled out a synthesis and wrote the story from an interpretation of many, diverse perspectives, documents and traditions, a synthesis that seemed logically coherent and could be supported by the more credible data. Research does not proceed in a straight line from a to z and this article is the best account of how Macauliffe accomplished his final results. When I read this article I am astounded by his knack for organizing interdisciplinary teams of experts in one field or another to move a huge project forward. Today we call this collaborative inquiry and governments and foundations fund grants and think tanks to accomplish similar results.

    http://www.sikhchic.com/history/max..._introduced_sikhi_to_the_englishspeaking_west

    I think that if you want more detail you should feel completely free to contact Dr Nikky Guninder Kaur Singh, who would be accessible unless she is traveling for research purposes. This is where to start. Chair and Professor of Religion at the Department of Religious Studies, Colby College, Waterville, Maine, U.S.A.

    p/s You should be aware that there is a subset of Sikh opinion that is critical of Macauliffe's work because of his reliance on Nirmala and Udasi scholars and sources such as Suraj Prakash and the Gur Bilases, which have a decided Vedic bias. On the other hand, his work was also acclaimed by scholars on the Singh Saba side of the scholarly community. My own take on this is that Macauliffe followed his instinct to use multiple sources to triangulate on a consensus view. Good luck!
     
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