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Sikh Foundation What to Read and Why

Discussion in 'Sikh Organisations' started by spnadmin, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Compiled by Prabhjot Singh

    From http://www.sikhfoundation.org/sikhs-read/whats-worth-reading-and-why/

    The below introductory list of books should provide an energizing start for any student of Sikhi. I came across most of the titles in this book list while I was first seriously exploring Sikhi during college. These titles illustrate the love for Sikh history, ethos, and theology, and will whet the appetite for further reading. I believe these titles, some more than others, intertwine the three core elements of Sikh life, Gurmat (living as per the Guru’s way): Imbibing Gurbani (Guru’s word); Practicing the Rehat (our communal code of conduct); and taking lesson from Twarik (our history). These books have encouraged me to develop on these fronts and provided perspective about the world. The solitude of reading, away from tech and chatter, opens a wondrous world where we can think about the footsteps of giants, in which we stand, and which we should aspire to fill. I hope that these books can help further along the reader’s journey as they did for me.

    The Spirit of Gurbani

    The Sacred Writings of the Sikhs
    Trilochan Singh et al
    Allen and Unwin, London, 1960
    The Sacred Writings of the Sikhs – Amazon

    Fantastic translations of Gurbani, by world renowned authors, which are accessible to those that can’t read Gurmukhi. This text contains some of the best English translations available of select Banis from the Guru Granth Sahib.

    The Spirit Born People
    Puran Singh
    Punjabi University, Patiala, Punjab, 1990
    The Spirit Born People – PDF

    Prof. Puran Singh translates his love for the Divine into words that enable the rest of us to capture a glimpse of where his soul floats as well as provide us his insights to history, discipleship, and Gurbani.


    The Sikhs
    Patwant Singh
    Doubleday, New York, 2001

    Patwant Singh does a fantastic job of tracing Sikh history from the time of Guru Nanak till the recent present. Its very well written and a great primer on Sikh history.

    The Book of the Ten Masters
    Puran Singh
    Singh Brothers, Amritsar, 2004 reprint.
    The Book of the Ten Masters – PDF

    Prof. Puran Singh paints short biographical sketches highlighting the life and thought of the ten Gurus, bringing to life how their divine actions touched everyone around them. Prof. Puran Singh uses his personal spiritual connection to vividly paint the dimensions of tough topics like discipleship, love and war.

    When a Tree Shook Delhi: The 1984 Carnage and its Aftermath
    Manoj Mitta and HS Phoolka
    Lotus Roli Books; New Delhi, 2007
    When a Tree Shook Delhi – Amazon

    This book is a primer for anyone interested in learning about the events of the government organized 1984 anti-Sikh pogroms in Delhi and across India as well as the machinery’s cover-up since then. Written by Indian journalist Manoj Mitta, who has followed the events since 84 and lawyer HS Phoolka, who has spearheaded the cases to hold the perpetrators accountable, this easy-to-read book provides a lot of insight and while provoking much thought.

    Fighting for Faith and Nation, Dialogues with Sikh Militants
    Cynthia Keppley Mahmood
    University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1996
    Fighting for Faith and Nation, Dialogues with Sikh Militants – Amazon

    The Indian army’s attack on Darbar Sahib in June 1984 and the Indian government’s refusal to address Sikh demands culminated in Sikhs launching an armed independence movement. Dr. Mahmood provides gripping insights into the motivations, fears, and challenges faced by the militants who saw no other means to seek justice besides picking up arms.

    Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition
    Balwant Singh Dhillon
    Singh Brothers, Amritsar, Punjab, India, 1998
    Early Sikh Scripture – PDF

    Prof. Dhillon provides a rich histography of the Sikh scriptural tradition, tracing how Gurbani was transmitted from the time of Guru Nanak till the Adi Granth was installed by Guru Arjun. He also presents a critical discussion of certain recently prominent texts that have thought to have been early drafts or inputs for the AdiGranth.


    Sehje rachio Khalsa (Punjabi)
    Harinder Singh Mehboob
    Singh Brothers, Amritsar, 2000

    For those interested in a deep historical, political, and philosophical analysis of Guru Nanak’s revolution, Sehje rachio Khalsa is a must read. Mehboob was one of the most prolific and socially conscious authors of the 20th century. It’s heavy, deep, it’s a tsunami of knowledge and your Punjabi vocabulary will definitely grow as well.

    Sikhism for the Modern Man
    Sardar Kapur Singh
    Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India, Third Edition, 1995
    Sikhism for the Modern Man – PDF

    S. Kapur Singh, who was given the designation of National Professor of Sikhism, provides an overview of Sikh thought in this primer on comparative theology and ideology. If you like this book, explore “Guru Nanak Life and Thought, “Prashaprashna,” and “Sachi Sakhi” (Punjabi) for deeper delving.

    The Sikh Revolution / Sikh Inqlab
    Jagjit Singh
    Bahri Publication, New Delhi, 1998
    The Sikh Revolution – PDF

    This classic book explores into the objective of Guru Nanak’s project and the nation building exercise of the Sikh Gurus to raise the disenfranchised into spiritually conscious warrior kings. The book is a combination of history, theology, and philosophy and will surely leave the reader with more questions to explore.


    Bhai Vir Singh
    Bhai Vir Singh – Sundri – English – PDF
    Vir Singh – Sundri – Punjabi – PDF

    Bhai Vir Singh’s fictional classic is a heroic portrait of a woman named Surasti who, born in a Hindu family, later embraces the Sikh faith and receives her new name Sunder Kaur (Sundari for short). She leads a daring life in the jungles with a band of Sikh warriors. Bhai Vir Singh uses this novel to convey Sikh values, philosophy and history.


    Amrita Pritam

    Sunerhray or Messages, Amrita Pritam’s Magnum Opus, is essentially a long Poem that is quite moving. This book gave her the distinction becoming the first woman recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award.

    Hanere vich Sulghdi Varnmala
    Dr. Surjit Patar

    One of Patar’s main works, this book (named Words Smouldering in the Dark), is a contemporary classic of Punjabi poetry. He evokes feeling, thought, and consciousness through a very distinctive discourse that explores societal norms and the human condition. Patar was given the Sahitya Akademi Award for this book.

    Jhana Di Raat
    Harinder Singh Mehboob
    Singh Brothers, Amritsar

    This fantastic and volumous collection of poetry covers Punjab, Culture, Sikh heritage, Partition, and recent Sikh history. Mehboob was given the Sahitya Akademi Award for this book.

    Prabhjot Singh is President and CEO of Pixatel Systems, a fast-growing mobile technology start-up based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to starting his own company he held management and engineering positions at many organizations including Citigroup and Indus River Networks.

    Prabhjot is an active participant in community and philanthropic affairs. He was the Founding Chairman of the Sikh Coalition, the nation’s largest Sikh Civil Rights organization. He focused his full time efforts after September 11, 2001 to organize and mobile the Sikh community across America. Prabhjot is also a founder of Saanjh, a non-profit that runs leadership programs for Sikh children and young adults. He currently serves on the Boards of the Sikh Coalition, MBSK Foundation, and Saanjh.

    Note: This thread is in the dedicated Sikh Foundation area of Sikh Organizations/Sikh Philosophy Network. We welcome your reactions, responses, and reading experiences for these suggestions. If you want to add to the list, do not add titles in this thread. Rather start a new thread in the Sikh Books subforum at SPN. Thank you.

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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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