Sikh Missionary Society U.K. (Regd)
10, Featherstone Road. Southall, Middx, U.K. UB2 5AA
Tel: +44 020 8574 1902
Fax: +44 020 8574 1912
Reg Charity No: 262404
A Spur To The Sikh Youth
'With a roar of 'Waheguru ji ki Fateh' (To God the glory and victory) they swept up to the position and within five minutes all was over. The brave Naik Chanan Singh accounted for two heavy machine guns before a third killed him... The forlorn hope had succeeded.'Why go far? The Himalayas, the altitudes of Ladakh and Chashul and the rugged ridges surrounding the Sela Pass still echo with the slogans of *Sat Sri Akal so forcefully raised by the Indian Jawans during the war of Chinese aggression in the year 1962.
Brother, it were you who went across the Haji Pir Pass and Kargal heights to show the way to Pindi to the Pakistani warriors; yes, it were you who hushed the Patten Tanks in the fields of Khem Karan and Sialkot, and demonstrated to the world that your resolve was far stronger that the Patten tanks and superior to its jets.
In the year 1738 when Nadir Shah invaded India and after subjugating the Delhi rulers plundered the city and killed thousands of Hindus and was returning to Afghanistan with a heavy Betty of gold and silver and thousands of young Indian boys and girls, the Sikhs ambushed him on his way back and lighted him a good deal of his plunder including the Indian youths enslaved by him. He was quite surprised and wanted to know who those daredevils were, who did not spare even him who had not been defied by the Mughal Emperor of India. He was told by Zakria Khan, the Governor of Lahore, 'They are faqirs, who have saddles as their homes. They are seen taking a dip in the tank, erected by their Gurus twice a year and then they disappear. A draught of nectar from their Guru transmutes a coward into a lion-wonderful is its effect.' Hearing this Nadir warned Zakria Khan to beware of these people as they would one day be rulers of the land.
My friend, have you ever considered what made Nadir Shah speak thus of the Sikhs?
Two centuries have passed, when Ahmed Shah Abdali led thousands of Pathans to India and after defeating Rajputs, Mahrattas and Jats he was returning with a heavy booty and eighteen thousand Indian damsels and youths to his native land, none of the sons of India advanced to release the innocent daughters and sons of the land from Abdali's hands. He had crossed the Ravi and was still on this side of the Clenab, when Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, who had encamped in a jungle nearby, heard of the wretched and pitiable condition of the captives. How could he tolerate the helpless daughters of his motherland being abducted to Afghanistan? Blood boiled in his veins - it was a matter of self-respect with him. How could a Singh tolerate it? Will the Khalsa of Guru Gobind Singh keep mum, when the honour of India's daughters was at stake? How would the Khalsa justify its creation then? Did Guru Gobind Singh bring into existence another class of rosary-tellers only when there were already so many of them? No! Guru Gobind Singh raised an army of Saint soldiers, who will always fight in the name of God, in the name of Dharma and for the sake of the downtrodden and the oppressed. Were not the Indian girls being driven away like sheep to be enslaved and raped at the hands of rapacious Pathans? Jassa Singh rippled with rage. He called upon his men, who were busy cooking meals and preparing for lunch. He ordered them to get ready for the attack and share their lunch with the captive girls and boys. All were on their horses in a few minutes. They fell upon the Abdali's train escorting the prisoners, beheaded most of the escort -others ran for life, and the Sikhs returned with the captives to their hiding place in the jungle. The food that was ready by then was served to all. Every one of the boys and girls thus rescued was duly escorted to his or her parents. Dr. Gokal Chand Narang in his book 'Transformation of Sikhism' ends his narration of this incident with the lines: 'From that day Jassa Singh came to be called Bandi-chhor or Liberator. This act of chivalry and patriotism not only endeared Jassa Singh to all classes of Hindus and increased his power and influence, but also tended to enhance the prestige and popularity of the Sikhs.'
Friend, that is one out of the so many incidents of your chivalry and patriotism, two hundred years ago. Have you ever considered what was the secret behind it and where you stand now?
They gladly resigned to the Will and smiled it away with a song:
'Mannu asadi datri asin Mannu de soei.e., Mannu is our scythe and we his creepers, the more he hews us the more we grow.
Jion Jion Mannu wadhda asin doon swaye hoe'.
Dr. Ganda Singh
Friend, have you ever considered what made you so bold? Who infused into you that endurance? One shudders at the very idea but you suffered these most unflinchingly. Can you gauge the reason behind?
Generally one does not speak well of one's enemy. There must be something very unusual abut the person who is admired by his enemies. Qazi Noor Mohammed a Muslim bigot, who always uses the word 'Sag' (dog) for the Sikhs, writes in his book, the JangNama:
"They (Sikhs) never kill a coward, nor pursue a fugitive. They do not deprive a woman, whether she comes of a well-to-do family or a poor one, of her ornaments and other possessions. were is not a trace of rape or debauchery among these dogs, nor do they ever steal. Whether she is young or old, they always call a woman a Buriya (Buriya means an old woman in Indian dialects) and if ever they come across a woman on the way, they would simply ask her to get aside. There is no thief among these dogs; a housebreaker is never born in them. Their dealings may not be very fair, but they never associate with a debauch or a thief."Qazi Noor Mohammed is so very influenced by their virtues that he closes his statement with the words:
'Sagan ra mago sag ki hastand daler
Ba maidan-i-mardan chun sheran daler.'
i.e., 'They are dogs but do not call them dogs as they are very brave. In the battlefield they are bold like lions.'Brother! Have you ever reflected upon those virtues for which even your enemies spoke thus of you? Do you still own these?
The Mughal Emperors Aurangzeb, Bahadur Shah and Farrakh Siyyar, one after another, did their utmost to extinct the Sikhs from the land, but they went on multiplying and never shivered or were shaken from their stand. At last the government changed its policy of repression to one of appeasement and tried to seduce away some of their leaders by offering them ministerships and Nawabships. But not a single person among them could be won over thus; the reason being that none of them had a personal axe to grind. Their all was Guru's. There was nothing that one could call one's own. Every Sikh stood for the Khalsa organization and the Khalsa provided shelter to all. There was no personal property and no question of inheritance. All children belonged to the Khalsa and it was the Khalsa's responsibility to bring them up. All had the same and equal status in the common brotherhood. The Khalsa was, de-facto, the Guru and everyone of the brotherhood had nothing but reverence and devout affection for the Khalsa. Everyone acted and prayed for the advancement of the Khalsa. (Even to-day the Sikh prayer, Ardas, recited every morning and evening includes 'Where so ever be the Khalsa let all be protected and saved from ills.') Humility modesty, service, endurance and benevolence were the great tracts of the Khalsa. They were a class of disciplined maple. It was on account of this discipline among them that the Mughal government could not single out a man who would accept the Nawabship offered by it. At last the government offered it to the Khalsa as a whole and asked them to appoint a Nawab from among themselves. The offer was advertised but none came forward to accept it. The Khalsa then ordered Kapur Singh their stable supervisor to be designated as Nawab. He is the well-known Nawab Kapur Singh of the Sikh history, who gave the town Kapurthala its present name.
Here is an example of the then Sikh character, of which not only the Sikhs but every man of principle should feel proud of. My friend! Have you ever realised how the Sikhs disdained and spurred the highest posts of dignity when the same interfered with their internal discipline? You are a member of the same Khalsa Brotherhood. Will you take the same stand if the time warrants?
India had been repeatedly ravaged by Pathan and Turk invaders and every one of them had carried away gold and silver worth millions and thousands of beautiful girls through the breaches made in this beautiful edifice. The same could not be closed for eight long centuries. It were your forefathers the Sikh sardars, brother, who plugged the path of these invaders from the North and gave so ferocious a fight that 'Haria Rahgla de' (There comes Haria) became the slogan of the Patron mothers to frighten their weeping children into silence. Such was your reputation at the time when everyone in India was your enemy and a price had been laid on your head. But like a true patriot you gave away your all for the freedom of your motherland. You were still wedded to death and you bartered your life, lest anyone have a lustful look of your woman or tyrannize over the feeble.
Brother, even your enemies were struck with your heroism and fortitude. In the battle of Sabraon, when your own generals had betrayed you, and there was absolutely no chance of your gaining a victory over your enemy, you did not surrender and preferred fighting to death to the laying down of arms. The British General, Sir Joseph Thackwell who was present at the battle, wrote, 'It is due to the Sikhs to say that they fought bravely, for though defeated and broken, they never ran, but fought with their Talwars to the last and I witnessed several acts of great bravery in some of their Sardars and men.'
It was regarding this very battle that Lord Gough, the British Commander, paid tribute to the Sikhs in the words: 'Policy precluded me publicly recording my sentiments on the splendid gallantry of our fallen foe or to record the acts of heroism displayed, not only individually, but almost collectively, by the Sikh Sardars and the army; and I declare were it not from a deep conviction that my country's good required the sacrifice, I could have wept to have witnessed the fearful slaughter of so devoted a body of men.'
Writing about the second Anglo-Sikh war, General Thackwell recorded, "In this action as well as at Chillianwala, Sikhs caught hold of the bayonets of their assailants with their left hands, and closing with their adversaries dealt furious sword blows with their right ..." This circumstance alone will suffice to demonstrate the rare species of courage possessed by these men.'
My friend, you transformed the desolate and thorny jungles of Sandal,
Ganji, and Nili Bars into the most fertile and flourishing fields yielding
millions of tons of wheat, rice and cotton. You converted the thick and
thorny bushes and woody grounds into malta orchards and orange gardens
and their existence in Pakistan even today is reminiscent of your having
lived there. Who other than you could clear the thick forests of *Tarai
in U.P. and grow miles long fields of sugarcane?
* The Central Tractor Organization once published a note to the effect that "The tractor organization of the Government of India has spent millions and brought under cultivation vast tracts of waste land. We have, however, but to admit that the Panjabis, particularly the Panjabi Sardars, with their personal and private efforts have transformed a much larger area from forests to beautiful fruit orchards and they are producing millions of tons of sugarcane and food grains and on average every Sardar provides employment for ten labourers."
Yes, it were you who brought under cultivation the sandy soil of Bikaner and other wastelands in Rajasthan. You had no hesitation at all in going abroad. You have much more than your share in the wheat production of Canada, South America and many African countries. That demonstrates your quality of hardihood, courage and determination. You were always seen standing in the forward line whether it were digging of canals, excavating manes or straightening roads in mountains, you had no aversion to any profession. You were a smith, a carpenter, a mason, a machinist or a motor mechanic, you were a farmer, a trader, an artist, a doctor, an engineer, an architect, a scientist and what not. You could venture to scale the highest Himalayan peaks. You successfully tried your hands at painting music, poetry and all other fine arts. You produced the topmost spiritualists, philosophers, saints, scholars and martyrs. The world admits your lead in sportsmanship and athletics. Your head is high up in every profession. But, friend, have you ever fathomed the reason behind all this?
Born and brought up in the same land, partaking of the same food? nay
sons begotten by the same parents, one having sipped the Amrit with a turbaned
head and unshorn hair and beard and the other without a turban or hair
- the one stands as a sentinel, the other prays for protection, *the
one plays for life, the other shuns death, the one stakes one's all, the
other stands looking for the fruit thereof - why this difference? According
to the well-known Professor Shri T. L. Viswani, Guru Gobind Singh's teachings
could be summed up in one line. " ' To convert every Sikh into a Singh.'
In that one line is summed up, to my mind, the message of the Guru. It
is a message we need to day... Let every Sikh become a Singh Sikh
means a disciple, Singh means Lion... To be a Singh a men must respect
himself, respect the poor and be loyal to the Indian ideal of life."
'In the Sikh Sanctuary,' pages 30 - 32
*In his book 'The Transformation of Sikhism' Dr. Gokal Chand Narang writes: "Hindhus as a race were too mild by nature, too contented in their desires, too modest in their aspirations too averse to physical exertion and hopelessly scrupulous in giving pain to others, even to their enemies."
At page 82 of the same book he writes: "The Sikh movement was a movement of discipline. And common men and women were moulded into a community of martyrs. The Sikhs won not by force of numbers but by force of character." At page 94 he writes: "The religion of the Gurus - the religion of sacrifice, is an immortal glory of humanity."
Some five decades have passed when some Muslim rioters made riots in the town of Multan. They looted and burnt to ashes several Hindu shops, killed some Hindus and then proceeded on to Gurdwara of Bhai Dayal. It was feared that they would set it on fire.
A Sikh young man waving his unsheathed sword single-handed blocked the way of several hundred rioters and plied it so dexterously that the rioters turning their backs on him took to heals. Soon after these riots the all India leader Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya addressed a well-attended conference at Multan and advised his Hindu brothers to convert into a Singh at least one member of every Hindu family, so that he may protect and safeguard the family interests. Friend, pause and try to understand why Pandit Malviya rendered such an advice.
Dharma and morality are the pillars supporting the Sikh edifice and a family life following the dictates of Dharma and morality is a true Sikh life. A Sikh must strictly observe the Guru's discipline. Guru's own life is firstly a disciplined Sikh life and then that of a Guru. Bhai Lehna was at first a true Sikh of Guru Nanak and later hallowed as Guru Angad. Guru Gobind Singh administered the Amrit to the selected Five - the Five Piaras - and then in order to bring home to his Sikhs the importance of a disciplined life prayed for the administration of the same Amrit and imposition of the same discipline on himself as he had done to them. The Guru and his Sikhs were to be one, both in form and spirit, and he attached so much importance to it that he said
"Rahni Rahe Soi Sikh Mera
Oh Sahib Main Uska Chere"
'Only he who takes to my discipline is my Sikh, rather I would consider him my master and myself his follower.' Guru loves his Sikh because of the acceptance of his discipline.
"Rahit Piari Mohi ko Sikh Piaro Nahin"
"I love the Sikh but for his acceptance of my discipline"The same baptismal ceremony for both the Sikh and the Guru bears testimony to their being subjected to the same discipline. It is but for this similarity of form that the very sight of a Sikh is reminiscent of the Guru. Such a Sikh is named 'Khalsa'. Guru Gobind Singh defined the Khalsa thus:
'Puran Jot jage ghat main tab khalsa tahin nakhalas jane.''When one's inner self is thoroughly illumined with the celestial light, it is only then that one can be truly considered a Khalsa. The Khalsa was in fact the same 'Gur-Sikh' coined at the Guru's mint, a saint of God; but Guru Gobind Singh converted the 'Saint' into a 'Saint - Soldier'. The Guru said 'your thinking, your acting and your living will be Saint - like and yours will be a life devoted to the service of mankind; but in case you meet the forces of evil, you shall absolutely have no hesitation in falling with and winning a sure victory over them':
"Na daron ar sion jab jae laron nische kar apni jit karon."
"Jab av ki audh nidan bane at hi ran main tab jujh maron."
'I may not be afraid of the enemy when I go out to fight and I may have complete faith in winning a sure victory. But I crave that I may ever sing Thy Praises and when the last moment comes I may fall fighting heroically in the battlefield.'That was Guru Gobind Singh's personal prayer and he wanted the same to go forth from the heart of his Khalsa. To be one with the Guru in spirit as well as in form, he directed every Sikh to observe the Guru's discipline punctiliously. The common and similar form is simply a cohesive force to keep them together, so that in case of need and when an occasion arises to render service to their country or the maple, men having the same form may stand united, and the form may remind them that they are the Saint - Soldiers of Guru Gobind Singh. In fact it was a class of selected persons, who had a well-defined ideology, a responsibility and a character and who could be easily recognised by their form 'Sabat Surat dastar sira,' i.e., unshorn hair with a turban on. The form by itself was an insignia to the oneness of their ideology and character. It was only a distinctiveness. It is this distinctiveness that has won the Khalsa a name in the world. The very distinctive sight of his is an insignia to his martiality and his reputation as such abroad renders him strong all the more. My friend, have you ever pondered over the importance of this distinctiveness of yours? Have you ever considered what lies hidden behind this distinct form and face?
Certain qualities stand personified to our vision when we utter a common name. If we utter the word 'sheep', its physical form and the qualities of a sheep are visualized, 'Mango' reminds us of the fruit and its taste and 'hare' or 'lion' are reminiscent of the qualities of a hare or a lion respectively. Similarly the word 'Singh' bears certain characteristics and gives to our mind a particular image. This is Guru Gobind Singh's image and the same is indicative of the qualities of Guru Gobind Singh. It is hence but necessary that every 'Singh' should imbibe the spirit and the look of the Guru. Disavowal of these is to disavow Guru Gobind Singh. My friend, the Guru raised you from the position of a 'Dass' (slave) to that of a 'Singh' (lion) ('Dass' is an epithet of Hindu names). Singh embodies certain qualities and a certain form. If you do not want to be called a slave again, take to the form and qualities of a Singh. The world is an arena of wrestlers and unless you know wrestling you will not be allowed a space here. Guru Gobind Singh has imparted the necessary training to you. Now if you want to make a success of your life, imbibe the spirit, adapt the form and consummate with the qualities of the Guru and shy not to be, and be called a 'Singh.' Therein lies the entire secret of your success.
Not mere form, the Guru has rather allowed his Sikhs to bear his own surname - Singh, that is their family name now. They are, so to say, wedded to the Guru - they have become integrally one with him. they must, therefore, inculcate in them qualities of the Guru they must now bear the Guru's character, the Guru's greatness and the Guru's responsibilities.
While discussing this subject we have been now and then interrogating our readers and trying to trace out the reason behind this heroism, fearlessness, endurance, liberal-mindedness and nobility of character of the Sikhs. We have seen and hence we can unhesitatingly assert that it was here because they were the Singh's of Guru Gobind Singh. Their life has been fashioned in the Guru's mould. They have made over their entire self - their body and soul - to the Guru and they have become integrally one with him.
My friend, now look within and find out if you are a Singh of the Guru. Do your thoughts your actions and your life in general give a glimpse of Guru Gobind Singh or does it present a distorted image of deceitful Gangu? Do you bear a character and present a look of the "Selected Persons" whom the Guru raised after him and then spoke thus of them:
"Mo graih main tan te man te sir lau dhan hai sabh hi inhi ko."
'Let my body, my mind, my head, my wealth and all that is mine be dedicated to their service.'My friend, Bhai Gurdas states that on hearing the roars of the lion, all the animals in the Jungle ran away for life. He means thereby that on the advent of Guru Nanak, all the so-called spiritual leaders, whose deceptive appearances and falsehoods were laid bare to the public view, ran off the field. History bears testimony and references made in this article prove the fact that whenever and wherever the Singh's of Guru Gobind Singh appeared on the scene, adversaries fled like the smaller animals of a jungle on the roar of a lion. If on occasions the Singh's had to face a defeat, they never gave up their lion's roar and they generally won an ideal victory. Not to speak of their well-established reputation in battlefields, they have won a name in the field of non-violent morchas as well as in the lead given in the constructive programmes. The entire credit is due to their being Singh. Those jealous of their position should remember Pt. Malviya's advice and follow it rather than appease their jealousy by pulling the Singh's down to their own level. Some simple-minded young Singh's, ignorant of their lion's progeny and have been born and brought up in a society of the humble and the weak, consider themselves to be no more than mere sheep and lamb, and like the cub of a lion brought up by a jackal, forget their lineage and their traditional roar.
My Singh brethren, you are being eclipsed thus. You are being deviated by the cleverer people and even victimized. You are being deprived of your character, your manly look is being effeminated, nay, you are being disfigured, you are being made a victim of the vices, you are being duped by flimsy honours, your turban is being taken of. Take care of it. It has brought you all the honours, it has made you a Sardar (chief), why lose it? Why turn a sheep of a lion? Beware, some other lion will then eat you up. You have a great heritage behind, why do you lose it? Recollect the greatness of the great Guru, who gave you the nectar (Amrit), that converted you from a lamb into a lion, from a slave (Dass) into a Sardar (chief). Avow that Guru, imbibe his spirit and adapt yourself to his living and to his form, maintain your relations with him and preserve your position of a Singh of the Guru. That is the only secret behind your name and fame in the world.
Keep your turban intact, my friend.
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