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Sikhism Sikh history from Persian sources - Edited by J.S.Grewal and Irfan Habib

Discussion in 'Book Reviews & Editorials' started by dalsingh, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. dalsingh

    dalsingh
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    The following is a translation from a Persian manuscript completed in 1731 by Khafi Khan regarding the Moghul battles with Banda Singh Bahadur.

    I made a few notes (in brackets) highlighting points I feel are interesting.
    -----------------------

    (Siege of Lohgarh)

    The wretched chief of that sect (Banda) accompanied by his error tending, doomed followers, whom wealth seeking as well as deep faith had bound to that eternally misled one, incited and encouraged his followers to fight and resist with such fables and inducements as that whoever is killed in this battle will without delay in the very form, whether bearded or beardless, in which he dies, return and attain further progress in the stages of worldly life. Those persons who regarded the statement of their spiritual leader and chief in the matter of transmigration of souls (which is condemned by all scripture believing God praying faiths) as absolutely proved, lent their ears in agreement.

    --(Note: That according to this account some of the people fighting on the Sikh side were "beardless").--

    Coming out of the fort with all alarcity, enthusiam and inclination, they raised the cry of "Fateh Darshan" and "Sacha Padshah" at the time of battle, and like insects threw themselves madly and bravely upon the fire of artillery and the edge of the sword and the tips of arrows and spears. They launched such rank shaking assaults on imperial entrenchments, and every day many were killed. Some Muslims also earned the eternal merit of martyrdom. Although from the lower castes of Hindus, countless people like ants and locusts had gathered around him (Banda) and lost no time in getting killed or coming to battle for his sake, yet they did not harm such Hindus of high status as Khatris of the Punjab, who were colluding in the plans and designs of that rebel (Banda), or Jats famous for their bravery, who were supporting and joining the army of that doomed one. All remaining Hindus, along with Muslims they regarded as deserving to be killed.

    --(Note: This clearly indicates that the Khalsa had many so-called low caste followers who fought shoulder to shoulder with Jats in these battles and showed high levels of bravery. Also for those who say that Sikhism was made to protect Hindus note the line "All remaining Hindus, along with Muslims they regarded as deserving to be killed.")--

    To all observers of military conflicts it is apparent that in most armies, among two ot three thousand horsemen, if there are one or two hundred who are brave and loyal to the extent of sacrificing their lives, this becomes the cause of the honour and victory of that army. In contrast was this wretched sect, which despite most of them being foot soldiers, there was hardly anyone amonst them, either horse or foot, who did not consider being killed in the path of their spiritual leader (murshid) as his own greatest wish and aspiration. This reason and their greed for wealth, precious goods and jewels, which came to their hand through plunder, became a fresh factor for the success and triumph of those beggardly, doomed men. Ordinary people of little faith attributed it to magic and sorcery practised by that sect.

    --(Note: The author feels that most of the force was ideologically motivated and hence prepared to sacrifice themselves, which is in contrast to those who fight just for the booty).--


    WJKK
    WJKF

    Whoops

    Admin, Sorry!

    Can You Move This To The Book Review Section Please!!!!!!!!!
     
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    #1 dalsingh, Sep 4, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2006
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  3. Randip Singh

    Randip Singh
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    some good points Dal Singh.

    Yes there was a considerable Sehajdhari following.

    Contrary to what Mcleod will tell you, Jatts only entered Sikhism in large number around the time of Bandha Bahadhur and after.
     
  4. dalsingh

    dalsingh
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    Not sure about that Randip. Dabistan, written by a contemporary of Guru Hargobind, who apparently had a close relationship with him, makes mention of Jatts a few times in his manuscript indicating their presence then.

    However I wouldn't argue with you regarding a major large scale influx of jatts during Banda's time. I think the harsh measures that government officials previously employed against the peasantry played a big part in this. Banda offered a chance for freedom and revenge against what was probably seen as an oppressive government by many of them. For many jatts, I think the removal of the zamindari system was a big motivator but many would be ideologically motivated by Khalsa ideals, as indicated by the quote above.

    What is curious though is that clearly at the turn of the 18th century Khalsa fighters were from all sections of Panjabi society (including so-called low castes) but by the time land ownership was consolidated, it ended up largely in hands of jatts (I'm talking about 1760 onwards), although others were represented in small numbers such as Kalals and Tarkhans.

    Why didn't lower castes materially benefit from the rebellion? Unless the old caste differences quickly reappeared as they were "turfed out".

    That their position had changed under Banda is clearly indicated in contemporary sources:

    "If a lowly sweeper or cobbler (chammar), more impure than there is no people in Hindustan, went to attend on that rebel (Banda) he would be appointed to govern his own town and return with an order of office of government in his hand. The moment he stepped in that territory, or town or village, all the nobles and gentry went out to receive him, and after his alighting at his house stood with folded hands before him...

    No person could oppose his order. Such is the power of the almighty that in a twinkling of an eye He can put such a lowly person in authority over a whole world of the high born in such a manner that so many thousands of people who had displayed bravery in many manly contests, became helpless and lost even the courage to speak infront of that single man."

    Mohhamad Warid - 1734
     
  5. Randip Singh

    Randip Singh
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    If you read Bhai Gurdas's Varan, he goes into length about who the Guru's main Sikhs were. Out of about 100 or so I think there are about 7 Jatts.

    Also (I can't rememeber the refrence), but the Battles of Guru Giobind Singh there are no mentions of Jatts in the Battles but many others. Jagjit Singh has written about this.

    The reason why I say this is because this flies in the face of what Mcleod is trying to say, that the Jatts taught Guru Hargobind how to fight. Something clearly the Sikh's from the Jatt community find abhorent as an idea, and the Sikhs in general.

    I have taken Persian sources from the above book and posted them here:

    http://www.sikh-history.com/cgi-bin/Ultimate/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=8;t=000041
     
  6. dalsingh

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    I've read that but not fully, but I think there will be a high level of Jatts in the Sikh movement simply because they are the biggest group in Panjab. But I think there as many Muslim Jatts, I meet loads in London. They have the same surnames as our jatt bros. Strangely though, many of the Hindu, Muslim Rajputs I meet have what would be considered Jatt gots in Sikhism (if we recognise caste in Sikhi). I've met SO MANY Muslim Rathors, Ranas and Bhattis who are rajput. I think many of the Sikhs who claim to be Jatt are actually Rajput but changed to a Jatt label because they perceived it to have more status as Sikhs.

    Reading some posts here recently on this has really got me thinking about Bachitar Natak (which I think your talking about). There are no mention of that Sufi pir who is supposed to have supported the Guru with his family and followers, when the Pathans he recomended for service betrayed the Guru and went over to the other side at the last minute. But your right he mentions Sango Shah, some cook who broke someones head open, Kirpal and others. But Brars are mentioned in Zafarnama (if it is authentic) as his body guards (which is ironic as a Brar is the one who attacked Harmandir Sahib).

    McLeod has exceptional writing skills but I think he can't resist giving the Sikhs a good poke with his writings. Him saying that "jatts bemoan the fact that no Guru was a Jatt" is so malicious, I've heard a lot of stuff coming from jatt mouths but I don't think one has EVER gone there. He made that up.

    I flicked through it! It was strange to see how many backs get up when caste is attacked by Sikhs!

    BTW, you do know that Grewal is best chums with McLeod don't you? In a book I read, McLeod refers to Grewal as his "big brother" in his dedication. But all of these guys serve a purpose, if only to wake up and stir our slumbering "scholars".

    Jagjit Singh's work is one of the most important to emerge from modern Sikh Studies in my mind. But he can be criticised for totally ignoring caste factors (Grewal has done exactly this). Mcleod, Grewal says, does the opposite and puts everything on caste. Grewal himself never misses an opportunity to "big up" his own caste. Jagjit Singh's book is also poor in that he uses Macauliffe's work as his references for practically all of the Gurbani he refers to. He should've used a modern Sikh translation.
     
  7. Randip Singh

    Randip Singh
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    There were a high level of Jatts etc in the Sikh movement….but if you read all the articles at www.globalsikhstudies.net, you will find conclusive proof that they came into the Sikh fold much later in large numbers. They came in during the time of Bandha Bahadhur.. Bandha Bahadhur galvanised the minds of the rural folk, who thought it just maybe possible to over throw the Mughal rulers. Sikhi was seen as a means to achieving this.

    Jatts and Rajputs have overlapping surnames. Rajputs also have overlapping surnames with many other castes including Tarkhans, Nai’s, Chimba’s and even Dalits. The reason for this is that the Rajputs were given the title because they upheld the Hindu Dharma, and paid obeisance to the Brahmin. Rajputs are ineffect the low castes who’s status has been raised. It is a title ineffect given by Brahmin’s. Much like a knighthood.


    Brars were not the body guards, but a group of people who gave the Guru shelter in his darkest hour. They were reknowned for being mercenaries, but they remained loyal to the Guru.and gained considerable status by becoming Sikhs.

    As for the Sufi Pir, I will check.


    99.9% of Jatts would never say anything like this, because the implication of this would be that they are ineffect higher than the Guru. There are a couple of fools who do. Just switch over to Jattworld.com and read the writings of Ajat (Sunny Singh Bains), BS Dhillon, and Lord Jatt (Harry Gill), and they actually believe Baba Buddha was cheated out of the Guruship. These guys are in the minority of Jatts, and the Jatts I know in my family are loyal stalwart Sikhs.





    Oh the caste thing is pathetic. People have a problem with accepting that castes like Jatts, Tarkhans, Arora’s, Batia’s etc were considered very low prior to them becoming Sikhs. These people are just plain stupid and are in denial.

    Yes I am aware, however, his works of scholary tend to be well researched and he has no problem in calling a spade a spade.

    If you read his paper alongside others on www.globalsikhstudies.net, you will see other papers by him that have taken such factors into account. His direct rebuttles of Mcleod are awesome.



    Grewal does big up his own caste but he also shows translations in the Persian sources book that make Jatts look quite bad too. I think I have posted the link above.
     
  8. dalsingh

    dalsingh
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    Some strong points there Randip. Jagjit needs to release a new edition of his book with recent Gurbani translations included. And EVERY SINGLE Sikh who can read should read it.

    He is what you call a Sikh scholar. Why haven't we got more like him!

    On the subject of Sikh leaders, I saw the speech by Mr. Khalra. What a beautiful speaker, he was well clued up, put Sikhi in an international perspective. Why our greatest potential leaders have to die, he was a world class spokesman. Makes me sad.
     
  9. H_Singh

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    I was hoping to find out where in the Varaan of Bhai Gurdas this is written. Also what is the basis of the Jatt's entering the Sikh community later?
     
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  10. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Its in Vaar 11....names of Guru nanak jis Sikhs....and continues...
     
  11. Serjinder Singh

    Serjinder Singh United Kingdom
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    Sango Shah (actually Sangram Shah) was sixth Guruji's son-in-law and tenth Guruji's uncle (Phuffar ji) married to Bibi Veero and not some cook. He along with his other brothers participated in the battle of Bhangani. 'Kirpal' (acturally Kirpal Chand) also was tenth Guruji's uncle (mamaji, mother mata Gujri ji's brother).

    In Zafarnama tenth Guruji invites Aurangzeb to the 'Lakhi Jungle' area largely controlled by the Barars. He was at that time at the twin villages Dina and Kangar near Barnala. Brars were not his bodyguards. In terms of a community or group of people if tenth Guru ji has ever mentioned by name and admired in his writings, these were the Brars. In a couple of lines Guruji writes:

    Na zara Khatra dur een raah tu ra ast
    Hamman qaum - i - Braa dur hukam ma ra ast.

    Translation:

    (If you come this way to Lakhi Jungle) there in not even a bit of danger to you along this way.

    The entire nation of Brars is under my command.

    Humbly
    Serjinder Singh
     

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