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Sikh Exegesis : Problems and Prospectus

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Taranjeet singh, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. Taranjeet singh

    Taranjeet singh India
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    SPNer Contributor

    Oct 21, 2009
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    Dr. Gurnek Singh, Head
    Encyclopedia of Sikhism,
    Punjabi University, Patiala.

    1. The term exegesis is of great eminence in world scriptural interpretation, especially in sikh tradition. The religion in general and sikh religion in particular sense is based on scripture. The whole paraphernalia and the religious infrastructural edifice is rooted in and build on scriptural message. The history of mankind is largely based on the scripture in the implied manner. As the Semitic tradition such as Christianity, Jewish, Islam and eastern religions such as Hinduism, Budhism, Jainism and Sikhism and others have been emerged basically from the philosophical, theological and sociological point of view from the scripture and the scriptural literature. The scripture is the rallying point around which the particular ethnicity or the people assemble and move around it. Scripture provides both inspirational i.e. devotional base and pragmatic impetus to move in this world of ours. Thus in this sense the scripture undubiously has provided both metaphysical as well as sociological foundation to the mankind so far its social structure i.e. religion, politics, economics, Art and esthetics are concerned.

    The religion is based on the experience of the metaphysical reality i.e. God or Numinous. This experience is the result of the direct encounter or the communication with this reality. As a consequential effect it come down to us through non-rational media i.e. the intuition which is beyond intellectual understanding and comprehension. So being the product of direct vision of the ultimate reality i.e. God, it intellectually is both unapproachable and not understandable because the language through which the Bani or revelation is coming down to humanity is most of the time symbolic, metaphorical and allegorical. Man’s mental encounter with his surroundings result in expression of his feelings. It was and is always in local language such as English, Sanskrit, Pali, Punjabi and Arabic etc. For man deals with this phenomenal existence and that is why the expression of man easily comprehensible. But the category which is non-mundane, which is non-rational i.e. Divine or intuitional is beyond proper intellectual comprehension.

    So viewed thus the term exegesis or interpretation or exposition is of great eminence, for it unfolds the hidden i.e. esoteric meanings or message of scripture. Otherwise the scriptural message would be beyond the comprehension of laymen as well as scholar. So to impart the message to the people in general and the scholars in particular the endeavours have been made to decode both literal as well as esoteric message enshrined in the scripture to the people at large.

    Viewed thus the exegesis of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is of great import. Because its message from the philosophical, theological and sociological points of view, will enhance the comprehension and understanding of men. For the philosophical, theological and sociological comprehension and its implications and concepts shall certainly lead man to imply the sikh thought on mundane level consequently building and establishing the better world where in peace, happiness and prosperity shall reign supreme and in this way in the words of Bhagat Ravidas the Halimi Raj i.e. shall be established, wherein peace shall prevail and trials and tribulations shall cease to be operative. In this way pragmatic aspect will benefit more. The better social order shall come into existence which shall provide the chance to men to live peacefully and happily. In this way scriptural message shall help to decrease the sufferings of man and will lead man to established a beautiful world worth living. That is why the above mentioned tool exegesis has been used and implied to decode the message of the scripture. It has been used in various religious traditions such as Tafsir in Islamic tradition, Exegesis in Christianity and Tika or Pramarth in Sikh Tradition has been employed for this purpose. Thus from the preceding discussion we have established a point that the exegesis carries weight and is of great eminence in decoding the divine message enshrined in the scripture.

    Now onward, I would like to discuss the term exegesis in the context of sikh scripture. In Sikh scripture different schools took various measures to disseminate the teachings of Gurbani i.e. Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Which otherwise would have been beyond understanding and comprehension. Without which it would have certainly been unaccessible to comprehend it in all respects. The focus would be on exegesis of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and its message would be taken up for discussion.

    2. Sikhism is one of the major religious systems of the world i.e. western systems Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Eastern religious systems Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Historically speaking Hinduism is the old religion in the eastern parts of the world. The other Budhism and Jainism emerged out of reaction to the Hinduism. Though later on being of assimilating nature Hinduism took these too into its fold and that is the reason these two are endeavouring hard to revise and re-establish themselves on this sub-continent. Similarly the conflict and context is prevalent. Muslims are of the opinion that Hazrat Muhammed was the seal to the prophetic tradition. He is the last prophet. Christian opine that Jesus Christ was the son of God and there is a Son and father relationship of the two. In this expacity he was commissioned to impart the message of God i.e. father to the people world over. Historically speaking sikhs also are facing a danger so far as its existence is concerned. It is facing the same threat and challenge in Punjab the land of its origin. The Radha Soami, Sacha Sauda and Nirankari are progressing at the cost of sikh thought. These small denominations do not have their took thought. They do not have their scripture. They are taking out the textual hymns from sikh scripture and propagating of their own sect. They read out from the Sikh scripture. They take out the Bani of Guru Granth Sahib. They recite Kirtan of Gurbani Shabads but preach, interpret and elaborate according their own thinking thus propagating their sectarian interest. So far so even the initiation formula or Mantra these sects has coined according to their own way. But the words they have taken from Guru Granth Sahib. This is the plight at home i.e. Punjab where the danger is being posed by these organizations secondly at the international and the sikh community and sikh diaspora is facing the problems which both are existential and historical. There is a question how to sustain religiously and politically. Secondly how to let the other people know who are they and what is their religion? How on the societal level they can contribute for the co-existence and create conducive atmosphere to live in? How they can contribute to the economic field? These are just the some questions which they are facing and of these answer they are engaged to find out.

    Sikhism i.e. the religion followed by sikh people living in Punjab especially and sikh diaspora in general, have become the point of attraction for the people other than Sikhs as well as westerns. These western writers begun displaying their interest in the sikh people before the end of the eighteenth century. When European, the English people settled in India and Punjab and when they took India under their reign, it was their interest to understand sikh religion to promote and propagate their religion and culture in India. In Punjab Sikhism draw their attention. When the Sikhs were in power and they certainly were posing a serious threat to Mughal emperor. The first Western Scholar on Sikhism was colonel A.L.H. Polier who collected information about the Sikhs. He talks of their polity and their tenets and manners. The other writer George Thomas wrote and provided information about Sikhs. According to him the sikhs had emerged as a new nation’ in the past thirty years. It evidently refers to this political emergence. In this way both these writers made some observations on the contemporary sikhs.
    The other European English writer Charles Wilkins also made some observations on the sikh people and their beliefs and practices. In 1781 he visited sikh shrine at Patna associated with Guru Gobind Singh's birth. Here he has commented on sikh congregational worship and system of voluntary contribution. Here he was told five sikhs perform initiation ceremony. At Takht Patna Sahib he observed that two Granths i.e. Sri Guru Granth and Dasam Granth were held in veneration. He learnt in verbal inquiry that founder of the sikh faith was Namak Shah. Thus it was Wilkins who said that the Sikhs as a people distinct from the worships of Brahma and the followers of Muhammed.

    The first European writer who attempted a connected account of the sikhs and their progress was major James Browne. Browne’s account of the sikhs was useful document for the future historians. Thus historiographically Browne’s ‘History of the Origin and Progress of the Sikhs’ infact marked the beginning of modern historical writing on the sikhs and their religion and culture.

    Next more useful account of the sikhs has been written by George Forster. He gives neither detailed nor wholly accurate account of the Sikh people. But it is significant from the point of view that the broad outline of the early sikh tradition begins to emerge from his account. He says that Guru Gobind Singh has founded the order of the Khalsa. He has deviated from the ordinances of his predecessors by importing a strong military spirit to its adherents. He differentiates of the Khalsa and non-khalsa Sikhs. Then he starts political narrative after Banda’s execution.

    In the first decade of the nineteenth century the east India company’s contact become closer to the sikh rulers in terms of both space and diplomacy. It resulted their keeness to acquire knowledge of sikh religion and people. Consequently the sikh literature came into being. It is evident from the synchronization of important publications with some important events. The treaty of Amritsar between East India Company and Maharaja Ranjit Singh took place in 1809. Soon after it John Malcolm’s 'sketch of the Sikhs' appeared. H. T. prinsep's book 'Origin of the sikh power in the Punjab and political life of Maharaja Ranjit Singh' with an account of the religion, laws and customs of the Sikhs was published soon after the Indus Navigation Treaty of 1832. W.L.M.’ Gregor's History of the Sikhs’ was published to glorify the deeds of British officers and justify the Anglo-Sikh war of 1845-46. Prominent among the European writers was J.D. Cunningham who in his writings on Sikhs mainly addressed to British nation rather than the East India Company, so that British policy towards the sikh may get influence. We find in the works of John Malcolm, H. H. Wilson and Cunningham the interest in the early sikh tradition. John Malcolm evinced great interest in the religion of the Sikhs. For him the Guru Nanak’s creed was of emence interest which was grounded on the most sublime general truths. It was also blended with the tables of Islam and the element of Hindu mythology. Guru Nanak’s attitude was to reconcile Islam and Hinduism. For Malcom Guru Nanak had a message for both Hindus and Muslims. But it was not altogether a new message. So, for Malcolm Guru Nanak was a reformer. For him Guru Gobind Singh is totally in opposition to Guru Nanak. While the letter taught tolerance and peaceful manners the former departed from the philosophy of the Guru Nanak.

    H.H. Wilson’s book 'Religious sects of the Hindus' was published later, in which he discussed and focused on the civil and religious institutions of the Sikhs which distinguish the Sikhs from the Hindus. He depicted that Guru Nanak like other Hindu reformers was a reformer. For him Guru Nanak founded a religious sect which later on was transformed into a nation by the contemporary compelling political circumstances. Wilson was of the opinion that non-existence of caste in Sikhism distinguish it from Hinduism. He further depicts Sikhism in the negative terms by saying that it did not influence the social structure and did not bring any improvement in Hinduism and its belief. Wilson refers to Guru Nanak as a nominal founder of the Sikh religion and its people. But he was not free from his own assumptions and was less guided by the scholarship.

    It was J.D. Cunningham who contested the interpretation of Sikhism. He was the first British who has right understanding of sikh literature i.e. the Guru Granth, the Vars of Bhai Gurdas, the Dasam Granth and Rahitnamas. He depicted Guru Nanak as reforming the medieval religious environ and bring out his distinctive contribution. He mentions that chettanya and Vallabhacharya were impressed with the nothingness of life that they attached no importance to improve the social conditions of the contemporary time which needed it so direly. So they stressed on the preciousness of personal life and quietness but did not germinate any new nations. But Guru Nanak did germinate the idea which was translated into action by the successive Gurus. It was reserved for Guru Nanak to perceive the true principles of reform and to lay broad foundations which enabled his successor Gobind to fire the minds of his countrymen with a new nationality. He says that Guru Nanak combined the best excellences of his age and joked men to God which is truth. He transmitted his jot i.e. the spirit to other Gurus virtually one Guru. In this way the mission of all the Ten Gurus was the one and the same as there was a complete unity of Guruship. In this concern he says 'the last opposite of the Sikhs did not live to see his own ends accomplished, but he effectually roused the dormant energies of a vanquished people, and filled them with lofty although fitful longing for social freedom and national ascendance, the proper adjuncts of that purity of worship which had been preached by Nanak.

    Now we have seen that Malcolm and Wilson opined Guru Nanak as a Hindu reformer but for Cunningham he was the founder of a New faith. Guru Nanak initiated a movement which is unique in terms of the social relevance of his ideas. So in this way it is totally different from Islam and Hinduism. Guru Nanak and his successors built upon a legacy precisely because of the social relevance of his religious and moral ideas. Cunningham was of the opinion that sikh movement was one fragile movement from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh.

    Further the late 18th century writers interpreted Guru Nanak’s faith in different ways. To Browne it was just a reform movement where as for Forster it was a new religion. He was the first English writer who presented Guru Gobind Singh as the founder of the Khalsa.

    So in this period we find that there were two juxta posed inter pretations of sikh tradition which begun to crystallize. One was that Guru Nanak was a Hindu reformer and Sikhism was a form of Hinduism. The other was that Guru Nanak was the founder of new religion which both doctrinally and empirically was very different from Islam and Hinduism. All the writers were inclined to look upon khalsa as different from other Indian people. Both Malcolm and Wilson observed a contrast between pacifist and militant khalsa. Cunningham's work become the source of inspiration for a few Indian historians of the Sikhs.

    After the annexation of the Punjab in 1849 the British administrators and army officers continued to write about the Sikhs. Their main concern was how to handle the Sikhs as a subject people and how to use their support and services. Lepel Griffin published three books from 1865 to 1870 and fourth he wrote in 1892. A. H. Bingley wrote 'Sikhs' in 1899. John J.H. Gordon published his Sikhs in 1904. C. H. payne wrote short history of the Sikhs in 1915. In 1921 R. E. parr wrote. Sikhs of the Punjab which was followed in 1928 by A. E. Barstow’s 'The Sikhs: An Ethnology'. In 1930 G.B. scott published his religion and short history of the Sikhs. All these writers with the exception of Griffin based their works on the earlier writers. Such as John Malcolm, H. T. prinsep, W. G. Osborne, G. C. Symth, W. L. M’Gregor and J. D. Cunningham Later to these Dr. Trumpp and Macauliffe were added.

    Dr. Trumpp was perhaps the first writer who wrote on Adi Granth. In 1877 he produced a monumental work the Adi Granth. It was not complete translation of the Granth. He wrote about it that it was in coherent and shallow in the extreme. Along with the translation he added five introductory essay of about 140 pages to the translation. In this sense his Granth many be regarded the first important attempt at an interpretation of the early sikh tradition. But his work offended the Sikhs for giving derogatory remarks about the Granth. He made some observations that Guru Nanak was not 'an independent thinker'. Thus his interpretation was not accepted by the Sikhs. There were some points which were not acceptable to the Sikhs.

    To embalm the hurt feelings of the Sikhs Max Authur Macauliffe produced. “The Sikh Religion” Basically Trumpp’s work which in his view was ‘highly inaccurate and unidiomatic’ and which gave a mortal offence to the Sikhs was to present true picture. Macauliffe was of the opinion that Adi Granth embodied all the elements of a new religion. In this regard he observes it would be difficult to point to a religion of greater originality or to a more comprehensive ethical system. Further he asserts its distinctness and superiority over the other religious systems of the world when he says it is distinct, and superior to other religions.

    Macauliffe observed many moral and political merits in the sikh religion. It does not allow idolatry, hyprocrisy, caste, exclusiveness, the concremation of widows, the immurement of women, the use of wine and other intoxicants, tabacoo smoking, infanticide, slander, pilgrimages to the sacred rivers and tanks of the Hindus. He was of the opinion that the Sikhs are not the Hindus. Thus he opposed to the idea of the Sikhs being declared to be Hindus because this idea was in direct opposition to the teachings of the Gurus. Thus in many ways Macauliffe’s work on interpretation of Sikhism was positive and it displaced trumpp’s for the non-sikh scholars as well. Further Dorophy Field in her book 'Religion of the Sikhs' was convinced after going through macauliffe and her individual sources that Sikhism should not be regarded as a new and separate world religion and not a reformed sect of the Hindus. She was of the opinion that Sikhism in no way dependent on Hinduism.

    In the beginning of the twentieth century educated Persons had begun to respond to the interpretations of the sikh tradition made by the Orientalists. These scholars were of sikh origin and their faith served as a source of inspiration for their scholarship. So by their involvement in the interpretation of sikh religion they eventually turned a European dialogue in sikh studies into a western sikh dialogue. Thus it was the first beginning of the interpretative dialogue of sikh studies.

    To take the initiative there was first sikh writer Sewa Ram Singh. He got published his 'critical study of the life and teachings of Sru Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism' in 1904. In it he had tried to clarify some issues related to the early sikh tradition, starting with Guru Nanak. There were difficulties involved in it. The original sources on the life of Guru Nanak were very scarce and misleading. Secondly the authenticity of the Janamsakhis had been seriously questioned. But even than the attempt of Sewa Ram Singh was well applauded. Maharaja Hira Singh of Nabha sent a robe of honour for him. He used the three Janam Sakhis i.e. Bhai Bala, Bhai Mani Singh and colebrooke. He also used the works of Bhai Santokh Singh and Giani Gian Singh and the compositions of Guru Nanak and Bhai Gurdas. He accepted Guru Nanak’s visit to Macca and Baghdad on the basis of the Baghdad inscription. He builds the life account of Guru Nanak both on the basis of Janam Sakhis and Adi Granth i.e. Guru Granth. He talked about the creed of Guru Nanak and interpreted it inconsonance with Gurbani and its message.

    Next to him was Bhagat Lakshman Singh who was the first sikh biographer of Guru Gobind Singh. His treatment of the subject was remarkable for its rational and humanistic approach to the life of Guru Gobind Singh. All the miracles associated with Guru Gobind Singh were left out for the reason that these were never performed. Guru Gobind Singh ended evolved a new creed that pure way or the Khalsa Panth. Guru Gobind Singh the personal Guru ship and enjoined the Sikhs to venerate Sri Guru Granth Sahib as the Guru.

    Next to him was Khazan Singh who accomplished the first pioneer comprehensive work on the history and religion of the Sikhs. He appreciated the splendid work of Macauliffe and Giani Gian Singh. He produced and got published his work as history and philosophy of Sikhism' in two volumes in 1914 by using nearly all the available important sources of that time. He was in line with Sewa Ram Singh and Bhagat Lakshman Singh so far as the interpretation of sikh Guru Granth and Tradition is concerned. There was a controversy of the birth date of Guru Nanak. There were different views such as Karam Singh argued in favour of Baisakh date. Bhai Santokh Singh gives the Kattak date. Giani Gian Singh also in concurrence of kattak date. Colebroke Janamsakhi gives Baisakh. Khazan Singh comes to the conclusion that there was no clear or credible evidence against the puranmashi of kattak as the date of Guru Nanak’s Birth. Resolving the point that Guru Gobind Singh deviated from the time of Guru Nanak Khazan Singh says that it is a mistake to think that ‘Khalsa was an innovation of Guru Gobind Singh on the faith of Guru Nanak.

    Thus all these there writers intended to project Sikhism and the Sikh Gurus as essentially unique. Thus from this point of view their interpretation of the sikh traditions was closely linked to their faith in Guru Nanak and his successors. Thus being true to their faith all these three writers were keen to correct what they regarded as misrepresentation or misunderstanding of sikh thought. So they were more interested and feel concerned about projecting their own understanding and interpretation of the sikh tradition both for the sikhs as well as the non-sikhs alike. The question of sikh identity was of great import for them all. They were of the opinion that the Sikhs had a district identity of their own which distinguish them from both Hindus and Muslims. So they presented Sikhism as a new faith with some important social implications. They endeavored to present that the institution of the khalsa cannot be regarded as a rupture with the earlier sikh tradition. According them Guru in unity, continuity and indivisibility was undoubtedly one which further led to the doctrine of Guru Granth and Guru Panth. They elaborated and emphasized at the pre-khalsa as well as the khalsa panth as a distinct entity.

    In the next phase of sikh interpretation comes the sikh scholars who appeared on the scene after this phase. As we know that the early sikh writers transferred sikh studies from a European dialogue into a dialogue between western and sikh scholars. Thus on this new phase of sikh study scholars some important names are: Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha, Prof. Teja Singh, Bhai Jodh Singh, Sr. Jogender Singh, Dr. Sher Singh, Prof. Sahib Singh and Ganda Singh.

    Bhai Khan Singh published, Gurshabad Ratnakar Mahan kosh in 1930. He also published Gurmat prabhakar and Ham Hindu Nahin. In the last one he established that sikh religion is an independent religion. It has nothing in common with Hinduism. Sikhism’s work of interpretation was carried forward by prof. Teja Singh. He published, Gurdwara reform movement, Guru Nanak and His mission and brought out Asa Di Var in English Translation in 1924, followed by an English translation of japji. He published translation of sukhmani in 1937. He also published Sikhism; its ideals and institutions in 1942 the brought out ‘Growth of Responsibility in Sikhism and essays in Sikhism in 1944. Through all his writings his main concern was to present the exegesis or interpretation of Sikhism first as an original system and to propagate this interpretation among Sikhs and non-sikh alike. His most scholarly work is Shabadarth Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and his systematic work on sikh history is a Short history of the sikhs published jointly with Ganda Singh.

    Prof. Teja Singh’s work of sikh interpretation was further carried forward by Bhai Jodh Singh. He produced well known works. Gurmat Nirmai and some studies in Sikhism in 1953 and the Japuji in 1956. In 1968 Sri Kartarpuri Bir De Darshan. It was written to touch the controversial issue of Ragmala and in response to a scholarly study for a textual study of the Kartarpuri Bir.

    Sir Jogendra Singh’s biographical, philosophical and scriptural studies appeared. Prof. Sahib Singh's works Gurbani Viakaran appeared in 1939. His monumental work Sri Guru Granth Sahib Darpan was published in 1962-64. Dr. Ganda Singh a great historian produced important works. The life of Banda Singh Bahadur and History of the Gurdwara Sahidganj, Lahore. Jointly with Teja Singh he wrote a short history of the Sikhs. Dr. Ganda Singh was basically a historian, biographer and collector of original source material on Sikh history. Sardar Kapur Singh published in 1959 his parasraprasna or the Baisakhi of Guru Gobind Singh. He presented through it that Sikhism and especially the khalsa of Guru Gobind Singh represented a complete departure from the religious systems associated with Hinduism. Some other sikh scholars such as Harbans Singh, G. C. Narang, J. S. Grewal appeared on the scene.

    Two western scholars one John clarke Archer and the other C. H. Loehlin contributed for the propagation of sikh studies. Archer brought out 'The Sikhs in relation to Hindus, Moslems, christians and Ahmadiyyas in 1946. Lochlin published his book the Sikhs and their book in 1946 which later was revised in 1958 as 'The Sikhs and their scripture'. His doctoral thesis was published in 1971 under the title the Granth of Guru Gobind Singh and the Khalsa Brotherhood.

    Thus we find that the middle quarters of the twentieth century witnessed an increasing interest in sikh studies among the sikh and other Indian and Western Scholars.

    Archer’s main thrust of his study was the comparative religion. He put forth the familiar hypothesis that Sikhism originated in an effort toward reconciliation of Hindu and Islamic orders and ideas. He further states that somewhat at variance from initial purposes Sikhism did become an independent and conspicuous order of its own. On the basis of his understanding of the Japuji, Archer comes to the conclusion that Guru Nanak Proposed the superiority of the way of truth over the way of knowledge and the way of works. He raised by implication the issue of the authenticity of the Granth at Kartarpur. The last quarter of the twentieth century is of great import as it produced some works of note from the pen of Dr. W.H. Mclead. In 1968 ‘Guru Nanak and the Sikh Religion’ was published. ‘The Evolution of the Sikh Community’ was published in 1975. The third book ‘Early Sikh Tradition : A Study of The Janamsakhis’ was published in 1980. The Last important ‘The Sikh: History, Religion and Society’ was brought out in 1989.
    A very keen and hot debate begins with the publication of the book ‘Guru Nanak and the Sikh Religion authored by Dr. W.H. Mcleod in 1968. It evinced a mixed response from the scholars of sikh studies. Some were critical of his approach and the others were appreciative. Dr. Ganda Singh seems to be neutral. Professor Attar Singh was appreciative. His second book ‘Evolution of the Sikh Community' was published in 1975 which was no less critical. Prof. Fauja Singh termed it as a very bold interpretation. Thus the interpretation of Mcleod stirred debate in the sikh scholars. The points which were raised by Mcleod were basically that Sikhism had no new religious thesis to offer. Secondly he equated Sikhism with Sant tradition. Mcleod attributed militancy to the impact of Jat culture. He also ignored the role of ideology in sikh history. His hypothesis about the impact of the Shakti was in contrast to the Sikh tenets. His hypothesis about 5ks was not free from doubt. By his simplistic assumption he argued that Guru Nanak’s mission was the same as that of the Bhagats. He also questioned the authenticity of the baptismal ceremony of the Baisakhi of 1699 and also discounted the Rahitnames as subsequent compilations. In his first book Mcleod totally rejected the Janamsakhis. To counter Dr. Mcleod in 1986 a book 'perspectives on the Sikh Tradition' was published by the Academy of Sikh Religion and Culture from Patiala. It consists of six parts. Through which Mcleod was rebuted and exposed. Mcleod through his writings intended to Projector to propagate that Sikhism, which has recently been gaining a foothold in the west, does not deserve much consideration as it is only a rehash of an effete Hindu creed. The purpose behind this was to create a confusion amongst the Sikhs. Because they were preparing to celebrate the quincentenary of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev. Thus he did it deliberately because he thought that the Christian missionary work has no future unless the faith of the new generation in its own tradition is undermined.

    So to counter his design and refute his points that Guru Nanak is in the Sant tradition and his successors did not preach one set of doctrines. Third, Panth was armed not because of the decision of Guru Hargobind but because of Jat influx. The traditional account of the founding of the Khalsa cannot be accepted. The Sikh code and Sikh symbols were evolved during the 18th century and not promulgated by Guru Gobind Singh on the Baisakhi of 1699, caste was denounced but differences were not removed. The most serious that the succession of Grant Sahib as Guru after Guru Gobind Singh was a subsequent adoption and not due to his injunction and the last serious point that the authenticity of the current version of Guru Granth Sahib is open to question. So these salient propositions belittle the Sikh faith and doctrines in the eyes of the English speaking people and other non-sikhs but also tend to shake the faith of the younger generation of the Sikhs in their religion, Gurus, Scriptures, institutions and all that they inherit Gurdev Singh by presenting views of the contributors claim that Mcleod stands refuted on all the major issues. Noel Q. King’s essay underlines the basic fault in Mcleod’s methodology. Daljeet Singh’s essay establish the originality and uniqueness of the Sikh Panth. H.R. Gupta establishes the authenticity of bastismal ceremony on the Baisakhi of 1699. Ganda Singh and Harbans Singh prove that Guru Gobind Singh established Guru Granth as Guru. Jagjit Singh demonstrates that militarization of the Sikh movement was not due to the influx of jats but it was the outcome of sikh ideology.

    After perspectives on the Sikh Tradition an important book ‘Advanced Studies in Sikhism’ was published by Jasbir Singh Mann and Harbans Singh Saraon in 1989. The Thrust of this book was to combine both spiritual life and the empirical life of man. So emphasis was that sikh religion, its institutions and its history have to be studied in this perspective. This book is divided into VI parts dealing with methodology, ideology, Guru Granth Sahib Sikh, Ethics, the Sikh movement and a critique of some writings on Sikhism.
    Another important book ‘Recent Researches in Sikhism' was published in 1992 edited by Jasbir Singh Mann and Kharak Singh. It was published by Punjabi University, Patiala. It was divided into three parts. First Ideology, Second Methodology and third Sikh History. The emphasis was on to develop methodology synchronous with the ideology of the Guru Granth.

    Another book Fundamental issues in sikh studies edited by Kharak Singh, Gobind Singh Mansukhani and Jasbir Singh Mann was published in 1992. It was divided into three sections, First sikh ideology, second sikh history and General. The questions raised by Mcleord were answered through the papers included in this book.

    Later on in the recent period in 1991 Pashaura Singh submitted his doctoral thesis to the university of Toronto of which copy Dr. Jasbir Singh Mann managed to get. So rebute the claims of Pashaura Singh in 1994 Planned attack on Aad Sri Guru Granth Sahib Academics or Blasphemy was published. In the same year in 1994 Harjot Obroi’s construction of religious boundaries : culture, Identity and diversity in sikh tradition was published. To give answer to the issues raised by Oberoi a book 'Invasion of religious boundaries' was published in 1995 and Oberoi was refuted for his impressive exercise in destructive scholarship. Ultimately after six long years, the incumbent of the chair had to resign his position. Pashaura Singh, Gurinder Singh Mann both associated with Mcleod were criticized for their negative and motivated interpretation of Sikhism.

    Thus in the preceding pages I have discussed the sikh exegesis i.e. interpretation in different phases. I could focus mainly on the main exegetes or of their writings. Some of the problems which singh exegesis is confronting we have pinpointed in the preceding pages during our discussion. A few points more I would like to discuss that is the Traditional Gianis, especially the so-called Sants or deradars i.e. custodian of the Deras are engaged in the misinterpretation and representation of sikh thought. Being ignorant of the Biographical, Philosophical, Theological and historical interpretation of the sikh Scripture they are distorting the real sikh thought. They are distorting sikh Kirtan in theory and practice. They are using and presenting their own Kirtan. Secondly these saints are bussy enough in collecting money and are establishing their own maryada i.e. code of conduct thus promoting schisms.

    With the emergence of globalization the world has sequezed into a small village. In this small village Science and Technology prevail. Thus by using all these modern modes of transmission Sikhism can easily projected, propagated to the world over. There is no scarcity of money with the Sikhs. We are celebrating 400 years of complication of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. It will be fitness in the things if we may set up university to preserve, propagate and transmit sikh thought to the world over.

    1. Bachittar Singh Advocate, Editor, 1994, Planned attack on and Sri Guru Granth Sahib, International Centre of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, pp. 401.
    2. C. H. Loehlin, 1974, The Sikhs and their Scriptures, Diocesan Press, Madras, pp. 139.
    3. Darshan Singh, Dr. (Edited) 1999, Western Image of the Sikh Religion, National Book organization, pp. 417.
    4. Darshan Singh, Dr. 1991, Western Perspective on the Sikh Religion, Sehgal Publishers, New Delhi, pp. 217.
    5. Gurdev Singh (Edited) 1986, Perspectives on the Sikh Tradition, Siddarth Publications, Patiala, pp. 396.
    6. J. S. Grewal Dr. 1998, Contesting Interpretations of the Sikh Tradition, Manohar Publishers & Distributors, New Delhi, pp. 315.
    7. Jasbir Singh Mann and Harbans Singh (Editors) 1989, Advanced Studies in Sikhism, Western Printers, Patiala, pp. 333.
    8. Jasbir Singh Mann and Kharak Singh (Editors) 1990, Recent Researches in Sikhism, Punjabi University, Press, Patiala, pp. 389.
    9. Joseph T –O’ Connell Milton Isreals and William G. Oxtoby (Editors) 1990, Sikh Hisotry and Religion in the Twentieth Century, Manohar Publications, New Delhi, pp. 496.
    10. Kharak Singh, G. S. Mansukhani, Jasbir Singh Mann (Editor) 1992, Fundamental Issues in Sikh Studies, Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, pp. 259.
    11. Mark Juergensmeyer and N. Gerald Barrier (edited) 1979, Sikh Studies comparative perspective on a Changing Tradition, Berkeley Religious Studies Series, Berkeley, pp. 230.
    12. Abstracts of Sikh Studies, (Oct-December 1996).
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  3. ballym

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    May 19, 2006
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    great perspective... I could not stop simply appreciating the effort. Let the truth prevail.

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