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Willing to die not to convert to Islam but willing to become a slave for the British?

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by badshah, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. badshah

    badshah
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    How come Sikhs were willing to die rather than become Muslims but yet become slaves of the British

    Although yes, the Sikhs did fight for a just cause, WW1 & WW2, what happened to the Lion never wanting to be tamed?

    The moghuls tried it but the Sikhs accepted death but then the British came and then some how the ability to fight to the death vanaished

    I mean, is it possible that this happened becuase of a change in leadership? For example during Guru Gobind Singh Ji's time he set the exmple though even his brave young sons willing to fight rather than give in to Islam which set an example for all others to follow such as Banda Singh Bahadur.

    Then comes the time of Ranjit Singh and then what exactly happened that caused the Singhs to quickly mingle with British. In previous war Sikhs kept on fight on the run and even when they had to live of the bark of trees with only a few Singhs left.

    Did the Singhs (warriors) get bored sitting around so the British said okay you can go and play in the fields of Germany?
     
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  3. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    Just to correct you, Sikhs also fought in big numbers for Germany specifically against the British to force them to exit from India! But Alas! the history is always written by the victorious... So, we have a common illusion that Sikhs only fought for the British, which is not a correct statement!

    For more information on Sikhs fighting supporting Germany!
    Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indische_Legion

    Gurfateh!
     
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  4. Ishna

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    Thanks for the link re. Sikhs and Germany.

    Ishna
     
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  5. davinderdhanjal

    davinderdhanjal United Kingdom
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    Badshah ji,
    Do I detect flippancy in your note?
    A free mind will find a company with another free mind- a mindless 'sheep' will find similar association that meets its mental capability.
    Sikhs tried to tell Islam and its followers, who perpetrated hell in Punjab to desist any follow humanity set by our Nanaks. Guru's like Teg Bhadur pleaded and eventually give even gave his life for freedom of religion and speech - the Islamic masters of that day did not have the capacity to understand!
    Now if you keep hitting your head in a brick wall and then find a poor alternative (British) to move forward what would you do - keep on hitting the brick wall?
    Sikhs might have considered joining with the British as a chess move which eventually gave India its freedom. If Sikhs wanted to join Islam would they have sacrificed what they did! WHY?
    As you know ruling Islam of then (Mougals) and may be majority Islam in the world now has not and could not have progressed to allow free minds to develop.
    Just take the example of Pakistan - our Punjabi brothers who thought slightly like sikhs are the only progressive group but even they are hampered by Islam hence the state of Pakistan today and the last 60 years.
    You may want to surf the net to look at the comparison between achievements of Jews (70million) in Engineering, Science and welfare and compare that to Islam (1200million).
    It is a disappointing even dismal statistic. By the way Sikhs might have achieved more than whole of Islam if you consider Punjab of India has the second largest financial contribution to wealth of India - second to Delhi where also sikhs are in force.
     
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  6. sunmukh

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    Ek OnKaar Sat Naam

    Gurfateh

    Badhsah ji, is it possible spiritual aspects are being confused with temporal aspects?

    To me, it seems sikhs sacrificed their lives for various reasons, over time, as have people from other backgrounds as well. There have been very brave people from many races.

    To pick out one reason, that being Sikhs unwillingness to give up religion, and then to compare that with instances in time when they have accepted orders from others instead of fighting to the last against those issuing orders is not a proper comparison. They were not abandoning their faith when they fought for the Brtish, for the Germans or for India etc etc.
    If they were also converting to Christianity, then possibly you might have some reason to question the difference in attitude.
    Likewise If they fought the Moghuls to the last just over aquiring land and property, and then didn't do so against the British, then that might be a fair comparision. However they did not have great aspirations to take land from Moghuls. They just wanted good , fair treatment and for all.

    Sat Sri Akal

    :)
     
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  7. badshah

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    It appears that your answer is guess work..... let me explain.....

    How can you say that the Sikh probably thought that it would be a good move to join the British to free all of India? We had back stabers (Hindu dogra) within our own ranks and it appears that also the Sikh were under leadership of the Sikh Empire so therefore they had to follow orders of their commander.

    I have not heard of say the British handing our leafets in a propaganda move saying that "lay down your arms we will not make you convert to Christianity" - so how can the SIkhs have knwon that if they give in to the British then they will be safe? This then stems back to my question what was it about the British that caued the Sikhs to say hey lets be friends?

    Even suprised also by the Islamics, I mean they had such brutal rule over non-muslim rules that even these tyrants did not scare away the British

    I suppose I can answer my own question........ the British had far superior fire power, guns and cannons that led them to take over the whole of India........ Ammo = power, even today!
     
  8. spnadmin

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    badshah ji

    The thread title itself is put in such a way that any answer you get will be "guesswork." Don't you think it is entirely possible that as individuals and as groups, Sikhs of the 19th Century had various reasons to align or not with the British? Do you have any answers that are not grounded in "guesswork?"

    History is story-telling. Good history/story telling is based on documented evidence. The better history/story telling is based on documented evidence and it tries to weave together events and time-lines, connecting them to significant people. The best history/story-telling tries to press the "facts" into representing the past as seen through the eyes of the times.

    Historians, two generations apart, will see a different story in the same evidence. Two people telling the story of the same event may give a different account. In the case of Sikh history under the raj, there are no eye witnesses who can correct a misunderstanding and distortion.

    As we peel back the layers in time, the puzzle of Sikh history becomes more and more difficult to piece back together again. There is more documented history and oral history for Sikhs in WW II because a) it is closer in time and records are easier to access; b) recording of oral history and material culture became more systematic; and c) eye witnesses are still alive. The puzzle is harder to assemble for WWI, and harder yet as one reaches back into the 19th Century. Solving the puzzle is complicated even more by several factors: a) much of the history of conquered peoples is told by the victors; b) first hand accounts that might be found in Punjab, in journals and records, have been lost or have not been properly archived; c) records were destroyed during the turbulent years of the early 18th Century; d) records were either destroyed, relocated or purloined during the destruction of libraries in the Harimandir complex during Operation Bluestar.

    Then there is the problem of what historians call "the fog of history." Modern interpretations will always be fogged over by the culture and generation of the historians who are telling the story. Even if all the concrete documentation were found, organized and ready to analyze this very day, would we still escape "guesswork?"
     
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  9. findingmyway

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    Badshah Ji,
    If you feel Sikhs are slaves to the British then why do you think so many people live in the UK? Why do you think Sikhi is undergoing a revival here in the UK?
     
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  10. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    The same logic is also applicable to Indian sikhs.We can also say that so many people say that sikhs are slaves in India ,then why do live in various parts of India?

    Also could you please shed some light on revival of sikhi in UK ?All I read on forums about UK sikhs is that they are becoming too much westernised and very small number of people practice sikhism
     
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  11. davinderdhanjal

    davinderdhanjal United Kingdom
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    Dear Badshah,
    I am still trying to find the answers like you as to why for example the Sikh Empire came to a sudden end - there are a lot of conflicting stories. You have some information about defections but the reasons are not there.
    For example I had learnt that Maharaja Ranjit Singh was a very able and fair leader and he had Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Europeans in his army. They all must have contributed to his success and achieve the status he did. However I was in England last weekend and had very interesting time with a friend of mine (he is very keyed up on Sikh religion and history - a lot more than I am) and his comments were that Ranjit Singh could not pay his soldiers the wages required (for up to 3 months or more) and when the British came in they obviously wanted fighters and they also knew how to treat soldiers i.e. their needs and satisfy them. That could be a good reason why soldiers would change alegiance. Food and faith may not exist without eachother.
    This may be an example for our leaders today - anybody who saw the leaders lining their pockets only could not expect or demand sincereity from the 'subjects'.
    On the fire power - it did not help them at independence. I think they had to move with the times - the communications were getting better - the reality could be seen around the world - the truth eventually wins - and British saved their face even after all the atrocities they committed and that is why we still respect them.
    I think we have even better communications now (the worldwideweb) - and some people somewhere have the answers - let us work towards getting together - to help the build of 'nation we deserve'.
     
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  12. davinderdhanjal

    davinderdhanjal United Kingdom
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    Kanwardeep Singh Ji,
    'Sikhi on the decline in UK' I am not sure - Please Visit Soho Gurdwara Birmingham - I was pleasantly surprised. I wont go into details unless you specifically want but the question may be the deffinition of sikhi and context.
    You may agree that we in UK have enough to exist on and we know it i.e. we are probably satisfied with the reward we get for our labours. In Punjab this may or may not be the case. There the example is set not by rules and regulations but by greed in the most.
    I beieve the reason for this is that we have made our religion far too convoluting that we have lost the basic message like being true to yourself and to the Lord, not hurting people, helping the needy, share your wealth (that includes knowledge and resources) and so on. I believe reading the Granth Sahib for people like me (I am sure there are thousands like me) does not help me become a better sikh (I do not understand the language used)- it may fool people outwardly who may think that is (being guru ka sikh) better than following and practicing the basics. These basics are very difficult but very rewarding - remember Guru Nanak did not have Guru Granth Sahib - he practiced these basics!
    So if by becoming westernised you mean following the basics more than pretending to be 'readers of Granth Sahib' may be you are right.
    I think our children (in fact all) should be educated in these principles and they will soon look for enlightement in the Guru Granth Sahib to bring 'Sikhi' to the fore again.
     
  13. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Davinder ji

    Could you please clarify by what do you exactly mean.If you mean about Gurdwara attendance then even in India there is no shortage of Attendance in Gurdwara's.Just 2 days back me and by brother were walking in our colony and we were quite surprised to see so many people lighted their house on Gurpurab like Diwali,but on the other hand no one can deny the fact the sikhs are fast assimilating into hinduism.

    By westernised I mean people not interested in religion ,more materialist etc
     
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  14. davinderdhanjal

    davinderdhanjal United Kingdom
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    Kanwardeep Singh Ji,
    Soho Road Gurdwara in Birmingham England is, to way of thinking, a progressive institution.
    It is large, a beautiful building - something to be proud of, people involved have saw mill, furniture shop and employ lots of people. They are now building a college to help youngsters. The place is open 24 hours of the day and helps people to come, rest, share gurbani, langer and meet other people - this has taken load off the state where the government does not have to provide different facilities for the destitute and needy.
    The gurdwara has a charitable status and all its funds are open to scrutiny and it can not abuse them.
    Do you agree this is a growing nature of Sikhism? - from what I hear totally unknown in gurdwaras in Punjab (please advise if I have gotten it wrong). REDUCED corrouption.
    They also have education for young kids - by the way I live in Scotland which is about 330 miles away so I do not visit that gurdwara often.
     
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  15. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Davinder ji

    What the Gurdwara is doing is good,but on the basis of one gurdwara I cannot say that sikhism is growing.Whenever we discuss matters relating to a country, community we need to take what majority is doing.

    Do majority of Gurdwara's in Uk do these things?

    Are more and more youngsters intested in practicing sikhism rathen than partying?

    Are more and more people associating with these Gurdwara's?

    the question goes on and on.
     
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  16. davinderdhanjal

    davinderdhanjal United Kingdom
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    Kanwardeep Singh Ji,
    I am not sure others are doing the same, we learn a lot of them have internal fights and sometimes become physical - however most are charitable status. This may reduce some corruption.
    They may not benefit from the government grants or other help if they are corrupt.
    I believe you need an example before anyone would try to follow the lead. I am not sure gurdwaras in Punjab can give this lead or am I wrong? I seriously am not in possession of the facts nor do I know how to get them at present other than this forum.
    This is important before people get enough confidence to follow their lead or teachings like people did in the case of our Gurus' teachings and examples.
    May be we want to get the gurdwaras involved in this discussion along with the government. For example I hear that 'Indian government' has the policy to financially and otherwise support certain splinter groups of the Sikhs for the purpose of weakening the main group.
    Now this is not going to help advancement of sikhs, so how would the folly of government be exposed so that the reality is presented to the people such that they can believe it?
    Deffinitely not by by doing the same as the government!!
    If the main stream sikhs leaders are not true to the cause then I feel it is not practical to expect them to stand up to the government.
    I think all this boils down to personal levels for all sikhs - we all need to be true to the cause then and only then can we uphold the values and rebuff the government and/or other negative influences.
    This is where I think the examples are needed and one I have presented needs complementing by others that people can see present hope on the horizon.
    I recall Murphys Law 'whenever you want to do something - there is always something else to be done before that'. And that is for each of us to be a Gurus' Sikh! (there may be more than that to be done before that!!!)
     
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  17. findingmyway

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    Having lived here for 90% of my life I have seen many many changes over time. Internet forums can only give you a snapshot of opinion which doesnt reflect the country so being here I can say YES there is an increase in Sikhi here. Many many people of my fathers generation have grown up and started taking more of an interest in the Gurdwara and trying to learn more. I think that is partially reflected by the age of participants on this forum too. 20 years ago Gurdwara was only social and possibly some Panjabi language classes. Now there are Panjabi classes, gurmat classes, youth programmes, charitable works home and abroad, involvement with university groups, computer classes, pensioners get togethers etc etc to keep people connected. Just today the local university Sikh society was handing out free langar to all on campus to promote Sikhi. 20 years ago there were no camps. Now there are many many camps nationally and locally for all ages and the emphasis is about learning Gurbani and learning where we came from. As a direct result of these camps, more and more youngsters are giving up partying lifestyles, keeping kesh and moving more and more toward Sikhi. I know of several people in this category. Awareness is growing. The media is becoming more engaging-there are 2 Sikh TV channels here and the BBC have a radio show for Sikhism and a show for Panjabi (also presented by a Sikh). Nagar kirtans occur across the country nowadays and are often used as a way of raising our profile as others are invited to join in, including local welfare organisations and the mayor. Youth groups like the Kirtani development project are increasing and people are encouraged to learn more. I like to look at the cup as half full-things are def getting better. We as humans have a tendency to focus on the negative. Many people are drifting but equally many are renewing interest which wasn't happening as much before.

    Anyway, thi is off topic. I was interested to see why Badshah ji considers us slaves to the British? Here we have freedom, in Mughal India there was forced conversion-I don't understand how comparisons can be made.
     
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  18. lionsingh

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    The situation was different when fighting the Munghals and with the British,..the british DID not try to convert the Sikhs.

    Sikh Role Against British Colonialism in South Asia (1912-1947)
    As erstwhile sovereigns of Punjab, the Sikhs—who constituted about 1.1 percent of the population of British-India—played a disproportionate role in the struggle to free the subcontinent of British colonialism. The table below summarizes the Sikh contribution in the freedom movement. The data reflects Sikhs serving prison sentences, being deported to nearby islands in exile, facing capital punishment and enlisting themselves in the Indian National Army that was organized to oppose the British.
    <TABLE border=1 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0><TBODY><TR bgColor=#ffffff><TD width=148>
    Type
    </TD><TD width=124>
    All Communities
    </TD><TD width=84>
    Sikhs
    </TD><TD width=97>
    Percentage
    </TD></TR><TR><TD width=148>Prison term over 1-year
    </TD><TD width=124>
    2,125​
    </TD><TD width=84>
    1,550​
    </TD><TD width=97>
    75%​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD width=148>Deported
    </TD><TD width=124>
    2,646​
    </TD><TD width=84>
    2,147​
    </TD><TD width=97>
    80%​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD width=148>Death Sentence
    </TD><TD width=124>
    127​
    </TD><TD width=84>
    92​
    </TD><TD width=97>
    80%​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD width=148>Indian National Army
    </TD><TD width=124>
    20,000​
    </TD><TD width=84>
    12,000​
    </TD><TD width=97>
    60%​
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    Sikh mobilization for <?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = ST1 /><ST1:COUNTRY-REGION>India:COUNTRY-REGION>’s freedom struggle
    With the possibility of an end to British colonialism in sight, the Sikh leadership became concerned about the future of the Sikhs. The Sikhs and the Muslims had unsuccessfully claimed separate representation for their communities in the Minto-Morley Scheme of 1909.[28] The Congress, led by predominantly a Hindu majority, denied Sikhs their separate identity and labeled them as a sect of Hinduism. Even though the Sikhs occupied 19.1 percent of the seats in the Punjab Legislature, in a document on the future of British-India in response to the Simon Commission in 1927, the Congress leader Motilal Nehru defined the future of the subcontinent in Hindu and Muslim terms. Nehru’s report evoked strong condemnation from Sikh leaders.
    Diarchy was introduced in 1935, guaranteeing a majority for Muslims in Punjab, which changed Hindu attitudes towards the Sikh demand for reasons of political expediency. The Hindus aimed to reduce the Muslim majority in the Punjab Legislative Council.[30] At this time, the Hindus not only accepted Sikhs as a distinct community, but also supported the Sikh demand for adequate political representation. In December 1929, Sikh leaders were also assured by Motilal Nehru and Mohandas Gandhi that Congress would accept no political situation for the future of British India unless it satisfied the Sikhs. Accordingly, the Congress passed a resolution during its Lahore session:
    …as the Sikhs in particular, and Muslims and other minorities in general have expressed dissatisfaction over the solution of communal questions proposed in the Nehru Report, this Congress assures the Sikhs, the Muslims and other minorities that no solution thereof in any future constitution will be acceptable to the Congress that does not give full satisfaction to the parties concerned.​
    Gandhi stated that the resolution was adopted by the Congress to satisfy the Sikh community.Addressing a meeting at Gurdwara Sis Ganj, Delhi, he said:
    I ask you to accept my word…and the resolution of the Congress that it will not betray a single individual, much less a community…our Sikh friends have no reason to fear that it would betray them. For, the moment it does so, the Congress would not only thereby seal its own doom but that of the country too. Moreover, Sikhs are a brave people. They know how to safeguard their rights by exercise of arms if it should ever come to that.​
    Jawaharlal Nehru reiterated Gandhi’s assurance to the Sikhs at the All India Congress Committee meeting in Calcuatta in 1946. He declared:
    The brave Sikhs of Punjab are entitled to special consideration. I see nothing wrong in an area and a set-up in the North wherein the Sikhs can experience the glow of freedom.​
    With the Muslims proposing the creation of a <ST1:COUNTRY-REGION>Pakistan:COUNTRY-REGION> to safeguard their interests, some Sikhs put forth the idea of carving out a Sikh state of Khalistan. During a prolonged negotiation process during the 1940s between the British and the three groups seeking political power—Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs—the Congress Party continually extended such promises to prevent Sikhs from allying with the Muslim League. To win Sikh support, Jawaharlal Nehru again declared:
    Redistribution of provincial boundaries was essential and inevitable. I stand for semi-autonomous units…if the Sikhs desire to function as such a unit, I would like them to have a semi-autonomous unit within the province so that they may have a sense of freedom.”​
    These pledges of by Nehru and Gandhi on behalf of the Indian Congress were formalized through a resolution in the Constituent Assembly on December 9, 1946:
    Adequate safeguards would be provided for minorities in <ST1:COUNTRY-REGION>India:COUNTRY-REGION>…It was a declaration, pledge and an undertaking before the world, a contract with millions of Indians and, therefore, in the nature of an oath we must keep.​
    During a press conference on July 10, 1946 in Bombay, Nehru’s controversial statement that the Congress may “change or modify” the agreed upon agreement came “as a bombshell”.As a consequence, Mohammad Ali Jinnah—the charismatic leader of the Muslim League—was forced to seek safeguards for his community through the creation of a separate <ST1:COUNTRY-REGION>Pakistan.:COUNTRY-REGION>

    After the departure of the British, the Congress Party would repudiate all pledges and Constituent Assembly resolutions promulgated to safeguard Sikh interests.Many Sikhs felt that they had been tricked into joining the Indian union. On Nov. 21, 1949, upon the review of the draft of the Indian Constitution, Hukam Singh, the Sikh representative, declared to the Constituent Assembly:
    Naturally, under these circumstances, as I have stated, the Sikhs feel utterly disappointed and frustrated. They feel that they have been discriminated against. Let it not be misunderstood that the Sikh community has agreed to this [Indian] Constitution. I wish to record an emphatic protest here. My community cannot subscribe its assent to this historic document.​
    <ST1:COUNTRY-REGION>India:COUNTRY-REGION> showed signs of illiberalism from the very beginning by reneging on its promises to the Sikhs and by not accommodating the Sikhs as equal partners in the affairs of the new nation. The Sikh leadership was not politically savvy to foresee that the likelihood of Congress’ communalism in the colonial period being transformed into liberalism in the postcolonial period was slim.

    One of several sources for this article is http://www.allaboutsikhs.com/operation-bluestar/a-case-study-of-the-crisis-in-punjab.html

    See also http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Khalistan
     
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    #17 lionsingh, Jan 3, 2011
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