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Sikhism The Sikhs by Patwant Singh

Discussion in 'Book Reviews & Editorials' started by Admin Singh, May 28, 2006.

  1. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    The Sikhs by Patwant Singh
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    Product Details
    • Paperback: 312 pages
    • Publisher: Image (July 17, 2001)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN: 0385502060
    • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
    • Shipping Weight: 13.0 ounces.
    Amazon.com
    Sikhism is one of the world's gentlest religions--a sort of eastern version of Anglicanism. It is as though someone had taken the best bits of Hinduism and Islam and merged them into a religion accessible even to the most secular of souls. There is no class or caste system, hence the men are all called Singh (Lion) and the women Kaur (Princess), and it makes no great claim to be the only way; indeed, unlike most religions, it actively promotes the idea that its followers may learn from other faiths. And yet, the popular image of Sikhs as fierce warriors is almost diametrically opposed to the tenets of their faith. Just how this came to be is wonderfully told in Patwant Singh's history of the Sikhs, published to coincide with the 300th anniversary of the Khalsa--the most important date in the Sikh calendar. As may be expected, Singh is a highly partisan narrator. The Sikhs are always bold and noble, and those who oppress them--the Moghuls, the Hindus, and the British--are conniving and duplicitous. But this aside, he tells a truthful story of the early days of Sikhism up to the 20th-century partition of the Punjab and the diaspora to East Africa and Britain. But the book really takes off when we reach the modern era. He provides a moving account of the storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar by Hindu troops acting on the authority of the Indian government in 1984. This led directly to the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards, which in turn brought swift and widespread retribution, as thousands of Sikhs were rounded up and massacred.
    What Patwant Singh doesn't answer, though, is why so many people have felt so threatened by Sikhism over the centuries. Sikhs do not proselytize their religion and they make up only two percent of the Indian population, yet they have been persecuted throughout their history. Maybe, just as nature abhors a vacuum, so religions abhor moderation. --John Crace, Amazon.co.uk

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  3. max314

    max314
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    Thanks for turning my suggestion in the neighbouring thread into a full post. I wasn't sure which way to go: reply or new topic ;)
     
  4. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    You are most welcome. :) Please feel free to recommend more books to enhance our list of collectables for our members. Thanks
     
  5. Randip Singh

    Randip Singh
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    Patwant Singh is a GREAT writer. I have read his book cover to cover.

    One other point about him is his criticism of the Governments handling of Sikh affairs in the 80's.....especially the rioting that took place.
     
  6. max314

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    Hehe...whenever we speak, he's always like "okay, the next time we meet, you're going to have a turban!" :}{}{}: He's such a kewl guy, and has such presence. His voice sounds like there are like twenty guys sitting in his voice box...his power is undeniable. I love his translations of the Granth, too (I've told him that he does the best translations) and he told me that he is currently working with some people on a definitive translation of the Granth into English that preserves the poetic slant of the language whilst intelligently guaging how it will fit best into the classical English poetic form. The translations on the web are fine, but there are places where it is quite evident that the person who has written it has a lack of command on the English side of the translation, and thus is less able to articulate the subtleties of what is being communicated. Luckily, Uncle Patwant's command on the English language - as is self-evident from his books - is pretty darn good. As such, I think that his translation (once it's finished...it is a meticulously measured process) will most likely be the best one available.

    Good things on the horizon :u):
     
  7. Randip Singh

    Randip Singh
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    hi Max,

    The issue of mistranslation and misrepresentation we have touched on the following thread:

    http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/essays-on-sikhism/8828-fools-who-wrangle-over-flesh-4.html#post25849

    I think with every Ang in the Guru Granth Sahib ji we may need a refrence point in history to which that particular paragraph is refering. Read my point about the timeline of Bhagat Kabir and the invasion of Timur.
     
  8. max314

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    Thanks for the link, Randip.

    Yeah, there's this thing about addressing the issue of mistranslation. There are many who fear trying to elicit the true meanings of the Granth because they do not want their established view to be challenged. Some say "you are reinventing Sikkhism!", but the truth is that Sikkhism has already been reinvented by generations of uneducated commoners whose descendents we are today. It seems that our obedience to traditions are stronger than our obendience to the actual scriptures. Many are currently viewing the Great Granth through a framework that is forged from a particular cultural mindset that pollutes the true meanings of what the Masters and their brethren have written.

    Ideas such as "Nanak and God are the same!" have no place at all in the scriptures: Nanak is seen to have an awareness, but he is never equated to God in any way. Nanak is an Enlightened Poet who seems to be in constant awe of the Great Force. The words of a highly intelligent, highly sensitive man they sound to me. Not like God at all. And yet, because our society has passed on this cultural meme that "Guru is God", we find it difficult not to see it this way.

    No matter.

    I still hold the intuitive belief that the truest form of Sikkhi is yet to yield its incarnation. It will be rediscovered by society and will be interpreted uncorrupted by years of socio-psychological impurities.
     
  9. Randip Singh

    Randip Singh
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    You are right.

    People carry their Punjabi baggage with them when looking at the Guru Granth Sahib ji. The message of the Guru Granth sahib ji transcends any cultural divisions. :wah:
     
  10. hps62

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    hypothese for the 1980,s

    [The Sikhs are always bold and noble, and those who oppress them--the Moghuls, the Hindus, and the British--are conniving and duplicitous. But this aside, he tells a truthful story of the early days of Sikhism up to the 20th-century partition of the Punjab and the diaspora to East Africa and Britain. But the book really takes off when we reach the modern era. He provides a moving account of the storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar by Hindu troops acting on the authority of the Indian government in 1984. This led directly to the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards, which in turn brought swift and widespread retribution, as thousands of Sikhs were rounded up and massacred



    hypotheses of 1980's event

    I think the whole incidence of 1980 of punjab is engineered by west.

    They liked the Punjabi Sikh farmer and his soldierly , and secular qualities having seen in various world wars and British rule.

    They therefore created a situation to see that the Punju boys abort there homes to come and settle of in different parts of there civilization.

    Both these qualities of farming and soldiering have become out of fashion in west today

    This is just an hypotheses. I have no ascess to any document to support it but the pattern of events unfolding over last two decades looks like this only.

    They want you to be part of there civilization so that when they go off on space journeys in which thay shall encounter unknown enemies they shall have reliable friends like you who will stand steadfast against the mightiest odds.

    Also when they the NASA lands on Mars and moon ; mankind will be required to till the land who will do it better than you.


    Tere bana mitha lage.

    nanak nam chadi kala tere bane sarbat tha bhalla

    :) :star: :confused: :wah:
     
  11. Joginder Singh Foley

    Joginder Singh Foley United Kingdom
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    <TABLE id=HB_Mail_Container height="100%" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0 UNSELECTABLE="on"><TBODY><TR height="100%" width="100%" UNSELECTABLE="on"><TD id=HB_Focus_Element vAlign=top width="100%" background="" height=250 UNSELECTABLE="off">I do have this book [in hardback] allthough i've not read it fully from the bits that i have read however Patwant Singh strikes me as someone who knows and cares about what he is writing about
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