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Is The Sikh Martial Spirit Overstressed? (by Baldev Singh)

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
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Jun 17, 2004
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Is Sikhs' Martial Spirit overstressed?

From the pen of the late Dr. Baldev Singh,
http://www.sikhreview.org/pdf/may1996/pdf-files/members.pdf

Dear Sir, - I want to point out some other aspects of the Sikh problem which need open and honest debate in the Sikh community. The problem I am talking about is our over-emphasis on the Sikh martial spirit in a way which I think is contrary to the Sikh philosophy. It is well-known that Sikhs are very enthusiastic to find careers in the armed forces and police. The Akali party has been fighting for the last four decades to increase the proportion of Sikhs in the armed forces. I have seen articles in The Sikh Review and other publications extolling the acts of bravery of Sikhs in the British and Indian armies. There are Sikhs who believe that it is the concept of saint-soldier (sant-sipahi) which makes a Sikh a better soldier than others.

Dear Sikhs, take a deep breath, relax, and think calmly and rationally. The saint-soldiers of Guru Gobind Singh fought against injustice and tyranny and they gave shelter and comfort to the poor and defenseless. It is preposterous to say that Sikhs who are serving in the Indian armed forces currently, and others who served earlier in the British and Indian armed forces, can be described as the product of our saint-soldier tradition. Sikhs, as well as other Indians who served in the British army, helped the colonists in the expansion of their empire and the persecution and exploitation of the subjugated masses. Since 1947, the Indian army has been doing the dirty work for the ruling class. The Sikh army units participated along with others in the annexation of Kashmir, and the suppression of peasants uprising against the landlords in Andhra and the freedom movements of Nagas and Mizos and other tribal groups in the northeast of India. The list goes on and on. More recently they were involved in the liquidation of Tamils of Sri Lanka, and are presently doing the same in Kashmir. It is common knowledge that a Hindu general refused to go along with Mrs. Gandhi‟s plan to attack the Harimandar Sahib, whereas Sikh generals did, and have written books about their military exploits without any remorse. No body in their right mind would call such people as the products of the saint-soldier tradition. Now, let us look at Sikhs who serve in the police. Majority of Panjab police consist of Sikhs.

Look, what they have done to Panjab. The type of crime they commit, and the type of torture they inflict on innocent people have converted them into modern day cannibals. We all have heard Panjabi “darinda”. And now you can see one in a police uniform when you visit Panjab.

The conscientious I.G. of Police, Mr. Chamal Lal asked for a transfer out of Panjab because he could not carry out fake encounters. Even Ribeiro has repented and admitted that fake encounters are wrong. On the other hand, K.P.S. Gill and his ilk are proud of their dirty deeds.

Sometimes I feel that as a community we were becoming numb. We are becoming insensitive and losing our sense of compassion for others. Some time ago, I saw a Sikh medical doctor (supposed to be a compassionate person) telling and enjoying a sick joke about Panjab police and their methods of torture. Recently, at a dinner party, I ran into a Sikh youth who said,

“Even if they did kill 25000 people in fake encounters, so what, there is peace in Panjab”. What can you say to this type of people? I don‟t think that there are very many Sikhs who have heard the name of Sardar J.S. Khalra and what has happened to him.

There is another thing on my mind which has bothered me for some time. I feel Dr. Manmohan Singh is highly overrated . Sikh publications, including the editorial pages of The Sikh Review, have been lauding his virtues as Finance Minister. But let me remind you that, in Vienna in mid 1994 while attending the UN human rights conference, he defended India‟s human rights record: “India is an open book and there are no human rights abuses in India.” Those who are familiar with conditions in Panjab and Kashmir know that he is a liar. How can any Sikh with an iota of conscience praise such a person? I dare to speculate why the moneyed Sikhs are fond of Manmohan Singh; their main agenda is the accumulation of wealth. Over the years India has sent delegates - headed either by a Muslim or a Sikh - to defend her human rights record in Panjab and Kashmir.


The great Guru Nanak has described the suffering of the Hindu masses under the tyrannical rulers of his time in his beautiful poetry in the Asa Di Var:

Manas khaney kareh niwaz

The Muslim rulers ordered the persecution and exploitation of the Hindu masses. My friends, what is happening to the minorities in India today is not very different. If you analyze carefully what has happened in Panjab since 1947, you will be compelled to conclude that it is the ruling Hindu class which orders the persecution and exploitation of Sikhs, and a segment of the Sikh population carries out the orders.

Modern day Sikhs have placed the three golden rules of Sikh philosophy (nam japna, kirt karnaand wand chhakna) by three new ones: accumulate as much wealth as you can by whatever means you can, drink as much liquor as you can, and do the bhangra dance. So, my friends, in this environment everything is hunky-dory, and who cares for human values and compassion?

During the ardas in our Gurdwaras our Bhais ask God to bless the whole world. What more can we do?

Please forgive me if I have offended anyone.

BALDEV SINGH
316R Glad Way
Collegeville

PA. 19426 USA
 
Last edited by a moderator:

TigerStyleZ

SPNer
Mar 31, 2011
270
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Germany
Yes, Baldev ji is right , like Guru Nanak ji was right. We Sikhs lost almost our Integrety. Most of Sikhs around not only in Punjab sell their Values - the Sikh principles for wealth.. But In Guru Nanak jis time it wasn´t different.. We learned nothing out of Gurus deeds and writings... We are just shallow and afraid to go deeper into the whole thing(Gurbani).
 

Tejwant Singh

Mentor
Writer
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Jun 30, 2004
5,028
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Henderson, NV.
Baldevji was a man far ahead of his time, His writings helped me find my way around Sikhism, I think as time goes on, more will agree with him, if anything, his thoughts seem more relevent
Harry ji,

Guru Fateh.

I totally agree with you. He was way ahead of his time and was hated by the ritualistic Sikhs. He was a good friend to all who got in touch with him and interacted with him. I was one of the lucky ones. We often talked about how our way of looking at Sikhi jived well against the status quo and that was the bond we had. In one of his last emails which was quite emotional in which he urged me never to give up the Sikhi thought process that is being developed in us because Sikhi is the only way of life that did not stop in time as most of the dogmatic religions did. Hence, thanks to people like Baldev Bhaji, the journey shall continue.

Regards

Tejwant Singh
 

Harry Haller

Panga Master
SPNer
Jan 31, 2011
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Harry ji,

Guru Fateh.

I totally agree with you. He was way ahead of his time and was hated by the ritualistic Sikhs. He was a good friend to all who got in touch with him and interacted with him. I was one of the lucky ones. We often talked about how our way of looking at Sikhi jived well against the status quo and that was the bond we had. In one of his last emails which was quite emotional in which he urged me never to give up the Sikhi thought process that is being developed in us because Sikhi is the only way of life that did not stop in time as most of the dogmatic religions did. Hence, thanks to people like Baldev Bhaji, the journey shall continue.

Regards

Tejwant Singh
The spirit of what he stood for definately lives here at SPN
 

Brother Onam

Writer
SPNer
Jul 11, 2012
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Gurfateh,
Thank you for publicizing the words of Mr. Baldev Singh. It is so refreshing to hear somebody speak simple but sacred truth.
Here in America it is now "Black History Month", which means it is time to endure the many tiresome laudations of Black military 'heroes' like the 'buffalo-soldiers' and the 'Tuskegee Airmen'. These were people who insisted on having the permission to join their own oppressors, to carry out the machinations and predations of the State, whether it be against Native Americans during the bloody conquest of this country, or against any number of perceived enemies abroad.
We have a tendency to praise and admire 'achievements' and military service without often thinking through the implications. As Mr. Baldev Singh so beautifully stated, what and who we are fighting for is the absolutely crucial factor. I will admire the courage of Gandhiji a hundredfold in staring down the mighty British fearlessly, before admiring the Singhs (or Pathans or Gurkhas) that willing serve as trained dogs in the service of their own oppressor.
In this season of remembering Guru Har Rai, let us praise real manhood. Sat Naam
 

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