Sikh Society: forged in the frontier

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Before Samuel Huntington banalised the study of international relations with his Clash of Civilisations thesis, there was Halford Mackinder who attempted (unwittingly of course) to do the same with history – with his Geographical Pivot of History thesis. (I am perhaps being unfair to Mackinder with the comparison – more on this later.)

However, just like Huntington’s thesis despite being a flattening of history (similar to another forgotten intellectual’s attempts at flattening globalisation in its simplification of diversity of experiences – cultural for one, economic for the other) – in Mackinder’s Geographic Pivot there were glimmers of theoretical reasoning. The thesis was imperialist and reductionist but it has value if only in a literary sense. (This would appal Mackinder, since her built his ‘theory’ as a counter to literary historians of ideas.)

Mackinder’s foundational logic was – that geography provides a stage to men, or Man (as he would prefer) which determines the scope of their movements, entries and exits, in the various Acts (eras) in the long drama of History – was the core thesis that civilisations were either broken (and destroyed) by invasion or they were rejuvenated through resistance.

The European civilisational core, Mackinder said, a backwater in the western edge of the Eurasian peninsula after the fall of Rome, was rejuvenated by successive waves of resistance to Saracens (Arabs) and Turks, as raiders from the land, and Vikings, as raiders of the sea. The raiders of the land were especially important for this reading of history, as they came from the Heartland – the grand central steppe lands of Eurasia, riding grounds of the horselords of the World Island – who in successive waves of the turning of the wheel of time fell upon the marginal, or peninsular lands, of the Eurasian megacontinent.

The civilisations of Greece and Rome were shattered by them. China was forever changed, and only the turning of Kublai Khan to a symbiosis of Tengri-ism, Dharma and Sinicisation might have preserved a semblance of the past into posterity. India, too, was shattered by wave after wave of invasions out from the Heartland. India, too, survived. But to what extent? I will not even attempt to answer this!

I will restrict myself to a reading of history I proposed in a previous essay (Sangat and Society: the Sikh Remaking of the North Indian Public Sphere). I discussed how Guru Nanak’s founding of Kartarpur as a model Sikh-Sangatarian society was a response from below to the anarchy from above unleashed by Babur’s invasion of India. Guru Nanak had been eyewitness to the destruction caused by the internecine warfare of Turco-Mongolic Princes in Khurasan, or the wider edges of the Heartland where it transitioned into the Marginal lands (because on the peninsular margins of Eurasia.

Sangatarianism was a civilisational response of North Indian society to waves of invasions from the Heartland. This is, of course, the plainest reading of the Sikh idea of the Sangat. The Sikh Sangat was both a support structure for the unprotected and gradually a bulwark against invasion from ‘outside’ and rejuvenation from within.

These days Sikhs are gaining (well deserved) respect for the community’s response (especially through langar seva) as a civil society support structure in this time of crisis. This should not be surprising for those who know Sikh society was forged in crisis, and one could argue, as a response to it.

Sikhs know how to organise and respond in times such as these. Much of this is due to a spirit of ascendant existentialism (chad-di kala) rather than giving way to nihilism. Sikhs have been through many eras of persecution, but the spirit of ascendant existentialism has prevented the community from falling into chagrin. There is a proverb I will translate loosely, speaking of the persecutions of a Mughal provincial governor who had sanctioned Sikhs and proclaimed a reward of coins on Sikh heads. The persecuted Sikhs of the era, far from being cowed down made a song of this –

Manu is our scythe, we are his crop of wild weed,

The more he chops our heads, the more we grow indeed.

Ascendant Existentialism implies the acceptance of death, cultivating an attitude of readiness for death, but not allowing this to suppress the vital joy of life. This is crucial to the ethos of a frontier society.

Today, in a sense, the entire global community has become a frontier society – living precariously. For some people such as doctors and healthcare workers, even day to day. Maybe cultivating a spirit of ascendant existentialism can do us all some good.

Finally, to end this with my promise to ‘be fair’ to Mackinder. His view that external threat can sometimes revitalise civilisations is a solid proposition. To survive times of crisis, we need to draw on the best of ourselves. And if we do come out on the other side, it is, then, the best of us that survives. Now of course I’m not making some foolish survival of the fittest argument. The fittest is not necessarily the best, and vice versa. What, then, is our, as humanity, ‘best’ – at this stage in our civilisational history? We will find out on the other side, perhaps. Perhaps we already have.

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38 Replies to “Sikh Society: forged in the frontier”

  1. “India, too, was shattered by wave after wave of invasions out from the Heartland.”

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    That is so..uhm….er…..AIT…….And…..who were these tall barbarians who sacrificed their horses and spoke Serbian language???

  2. Why is all coverage of Sikhs in the academia so sickeningly laudatory? All academics just plain buy into whatever hagiographies Sikh tradition offers. No critical look into what actually might have happened.

    Surely the reality was (and is) much more complicated.

    eg. What original thought or philosophical tenet does Sikhism offer which hasn’t already been treated in greater depth in mainstream Hindu thought? Even to defend the usual paraphernalia of Sikh religious practice (turbans, kripan etc), Sikhs often resort to incorrectly using Hindu philosophical traditions (mostly Vedant), in order to lend philosophical heft to their scriptural injunctions.

    If one ever fancies a laugh just go through this article written on ‘Kachhera’ (underpants which all Sikhs have to wear) https://dustofthesaints.wordpress.com/2020/04/21/the-kacchera-cotton-breaches-sant-giani-gurbachan-singh-bhindrawale/

    The writer from his name seems to be linked to Damdami Taksal, the same religious seminary which produced Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale of Blue Star fame. Its most illustrative that a religion which is touted to be ‘modern’ is preaching religious obscurantism and ritualism of the stupidest variety. Sample this from the above text.

    “When changing kacchere, he should wear the new kacchera first and then proceed to take off the old one, making sure that he doesn’t take both off at the same time. If both the Kacchere fall on the ground, he should get the Panj Pyare to do an ardas (prayer of supplication) for him. If unable to do an Ardas, he should be fined with at least five paaths (prayers) of Japji Sahib.”

    The article also uses an invented story about Sri Ram giving a Kachhera to Hanuman probably to lend respectability to this religious practice.

    I personally feel Sikhism was one of the Bhakti movement cults that happened to gain power in a power vacuum left in Punjab after Nadir Shah’s and Abdali’s raids. The Marathas had already borne the brunt of Mughals at their most powerful and reduced them to Delhi and its outlying villages when Sikh misls started exercising control. Around the same time, all over India lots of farming communities like Jats gained power.

    The only person in the entire history of Sikhs who I feel deserves real respect is Ranjit Singh, who atleast for his lifetime united the cantankerous Sikh chiefs into a powerful kingdom. But he too was a man of his times and severely limited in his understanding of the threat posed by the British. Though he started training his army on European lines he did not think why it was that Europe was so ahead and thus instituted no societal reforms, opened no educational institutes, built no civic and military institutions on modern lines.

    How easily the British managed to conquer Punjab after his death only goes to show how individually great he was but also his limitations.

    1. you have to realize you are dealing with the best self promoters in the whole subcontinent

      Hindus are literally terrible at it. As Razib says, united Hindu front is largely reactionary. They only say bad stuff about Muslims and justify their existence through that. They don’t market good of Hinduism enough.

      Also, very funny to see stuff like no caste in Sikhism lmfao. Practice matters. What is written is just what is written. ISIS is still a form of Islam. RSS a form of Hinduism. Just how it is. But the horrors of one are less scary on global proportions scale

      1. Most of what I’ve learnt about the Sikhs is from books written by non-sikhs. I think it’s your insecurity speaking.

        Coming to the distinction between ISIS and RSS. Both commit violent acts of extremism, against the disbelievers, which is called terrorism. Though one does it on a global scale, while the other is confined to national boundaries. So you are right on that one.

        1. That’s just wrong . RSS although retarded is by no means committing terrorism. I grew up in a Sanghi family and know more than most here about RSS.

          I initially rebelled because of sexual harassment/abuse of my best friend at the hands of a major Pracharak. I had a family member shot dead in some political dispute within RSS. Their books/magazines are anti-intellectual, self-congratulatory, unreflective, boring, stupid, and full of propoganda (read a lot of Panchjanya in summers as a child). Their vision for economy and society is lame and most of their on the ground members in their stupid khakhi chaddhis and hilarious lathi exercises on our badminton court are loud, incoherent, and misinformed. But they have nothing to do with organized terrorism of any kind.

          You can believe whatever you want but facts are facts.

        2. forming a disproportionate bulk relative to your population of your colonizer’s army will win you a lot of foreign friends and praise. The marathas also stood up to the British and initially resisted but eventually lose. But they didn’t form proportionately the same number of recruits. Especially post 1857 the British realized the importance of frontier recruitment, especially of religious minorities. So yes foreign allies were easier to win. Also the Euros always have bias towards lighter skin and relatively more europid features.

          also because Punjab is geopolitically valuable and the British nurtured instead of squashed martial traditions of Sikhs and made the community have a long tradition of serving in armed forces, has resulted in both Hindus and Muslims fighting for their affections, among their respective diplomacy and/or educated classes. The “sought afterness” has resulted in positive windfall and minimized critique, IMO.

      2. very funny to see stuff like no caste in Sikhism lmfao. This doesn’t mandate that you have to marry in lower caste its just means the societal hurdles will be less drastic if Sikhs marry to lower caste person. A person who is from say Jatt community will rather marry from say khatri,Brahmin or Jatt rather than from Ramdasia or Bhangi. There are millions of people from upper caste communities to marry from so the so called upper caste will marry within traditional communities.
        Also Sikhs have the least sex ratio in India according to Wikipedia. Among All religious groups sikhs have the least and Christians have the highest sex ratio. Is it because of say foeticide or they just produce more males. I have seen Haryanvi dadis talk about not having a male kid. This thing is also prevalent in Other communities.

        1. I don’t think you have heard how most Sikhs refer to chamars and comments of Jatts on Bhappas sounds enough like how Rajputs comment on Banias. Chamars in the US face discrimination in Gurudwaras. Separate ones exist for them in India. Yes the religion is more egalitarian in its literary tradition but not in practice. Honor killings happen enough. And Sikh men in the UK breakup weddings with swords when a non Sikh is marrying a Sikh.

          https://www.google.com/amp/s/nationalpost.com/news/we-are-zero-immigrant-says-she-cant-escape-sting-of-indias-caste-system-even-in-canada/amp

          “. Ironically, Sikhism recognizes all people as equal. Officially, there are no castes. But reality is different.

          The dalit gurdwara in Burnaby was founded in 1982 after dalit worshippers felt unwelcome in an upper-caste gurdwara.”

      3. // They don’t market good of Hinduism enough. //

        Do you really think that’s the case then let me tell you what happened during & after India’s independence –

        Hindus did not joined global ‘oppression olympics’ because they believed in meritocracy & were looking towards modernization. This has allowed Hindus with international connections to become India’s representatives. As scholars they appropriated ‘Colonial narratives’ to gain entry into the academia & they did that by not outright rejecting colonial narratives about Indians & essentially Hindu society. This has given them great political & social power which they did not wanted to lose & this is why they decree now that Hindus are now not acting in the manner they want them to act.

        While all of this was going on there was a part of academy dedicated to problematize & discard any kind of positivity within academia regarding Hinduism by calling it foreign/alien imposition, against modernity, superstitious, revivalist etc. or by contrasting it against Saramanic traditions & by projecting all bad in India with Hinduism & all good in India with Sramanic traditions.

        Then there was a Subaltern project which tried to create ‘pressure from below’ & it mixed presumed, assumed, oral etc. claims of ‘oppressed groups’ & took Hindu religious texts & contrasted them to produce counter texts to Hindu texts, supposedly to prevent ‘appropriation of these Subaltern groups by Hindus’ but they had no problems if these groups got appropriated by other minorities like Christians or Muslims e.g. Nagaland.

        So while ‘Academic’ Hindus tried to engaged with all sides critically but in the process they completely severed their religious ties which allowed Right wingers to become champion of Hindu rights globally by using same ‘Oppression Olympics’ with which other communities were playing the rights game.

        This kind of suppression allowed ‘reactionary tactics’ of Indian far right to gain currency among Hindus after all this period. So if you truly want to understand what happened start reading academic papers from 1920’s-1990’s.

    2. While investigating the historical role of communities it’s not just ideas but also the institutions they create that matters – most ideas, in some form, exist before they are systematised (or formalised) into religions, philosophies, etc. If one was to be pedantic – is there really any original idea?

      My proposal is regarding alspecific institutional structures created by Sikhs – over generations – and their effects on history, or regions. These structures had tremendous influence on North Indian society, especially among the peasantry and subaltern groups. (They were replicated by numerous smaller groups, and continue to be a model for many communities today.)

      I cannot comment on the ‘laudatory’ nature of academicians studying Sikhism but perhaps they are seeing something which you are missing. (Besides – there are very critical responses to Sikhi too, especially with regard to still pervasive casteism. I could recommend some very good Dalit scholars if you’re interested in perspectives other than those you’re used to.)

    3. While investigating the historical role of communities it’s not just ideas but also the institutions they create that matters – most ideas, in some form, exist before they are systematised (or formalised) into religions, philosophies, etc. If one was to be pedantic – is there really any original idea?

      My proposal is regarding specific institutional structures created by Sikhs – over generations – and their effects on history, or regions. These structures had tremendous influence on North Indian society, especially among the peasantry and subaltern groups. (They were replicated by numerous smaller groups, and continue to be a model for many communities today.)

      I cannot comment on the ‘laudatory’ nature of academicians studying Sikhism but perhaps they are seeing something which you are missing. (Besides – there are very critical responses to Sikhi too, especially with regard to still pervasive casteism. I could recommend some very good Dalit scholars if you’re interested in perspectives other than those you’re used to.)

      1. Which institutions have the Sikhs created which one can claim to have a positive influence in modern India.

        The only modern institutions which Sikhs have created are SGPC and the Akali Dal both of which only exist to serve the political interests of the dominant agricultural caste in Punjab (Jutt Sikhs). I would argue that rather than serving a as a model for other Indians both have severely damaged Sikhism’s reputation in modern India and thus serve as lessons in what to avoid doing.

        If not for the religious and political separatism these organizations have espoused, their dirty internal and external politicking, their short-sighed selfishness etc Sikhism might have won a huge number of converts from Dalits (and other castes) all over North India. Many Dalits in Punjab and North India are now Ravidasias. A bit of nimble footwork by SGPC some 50 years back might have won them over to Sikhism. However, I am not sure if Jatt Sikhs of “Scythian descent” would have liked that they become a minority within their own faith as compared to potentially more numerous Dalits. Perhaps thats why even Ambedkar did not receive a good welcome from SGPC when he was exploring options to convert out of Hinduism and we all know that he finally chose Buddhism.

        And lets not even talk about those other Sikh institutions like “Dal Khalsa”, “Babbar Khalsa” or the various Khalistani organizations which still exist with massive support in diaspora Sikhs. I hope you don’t consider them worthy of emulation in any way.

          1. “Sikh Sangat is an institution.”

            Everything is an institution. Even the caste system was an institution.

            Sikh Sangat is a tribalistic, identity driven grouping of people and ofcourse an institution.

            Whether it is an institution which is useful to society atlarge is very debatable. Answer me this. Can a Chamar Sikh become the Jathedar of SGPC or even gain a powerful position within it? For all the talk of egalitarianism mainsteam Sikhism is remarkably casteist and parochial.

            BTW the Ayodhya Ram Mandir trust will have 1 out of 15 seats reserved for Dalits. Too less I say but its still a start and shows that the Hindu right is atleast putting their money where their mouth is.

          2. Sikh Sangat is the opposite of tribalitic. Again, if you continue to misunderstand a concept and use that as your basis for debate, you are not really giving your interlocutor an opportunity to either consider your opinion as informed, or unbiased. Considering your obsession with Sikhi, you would have made an interesting contribution to this discussion if you had been more knowledgeable. Now, you’re just turning this section into the Dead Sea.

            Jatts were Shudras, by and large, when they became Sikh. Their rise in social status is the most potent demonstration of the Sangat as a vehicle for social uplift. Mazhabi Sikhs were leaders of Sikh confedaracies. (A man from a Mazhabi Sikh background founded the largest Dalit organisation even in post-independence India, by the way.) Furthermore, Maharaja Ranjit Singh himself was a Sansi Sikh – not an upper caste by any means.

            Casteism is a problem in Sikhi and I will not deny it. But, the most prominent Dalit organisations even in modern times have Brahminism as their identified oppressor. What does that say?

            Finally on the efficacy of Sangat as an institution- Ravidassias, even Valmikis, and numerous others deras which have seceded from the major religions, have still modelled themselves themselves on the Sikh idea of the Sangat.

            Could I just please suggest you don’t be so sore. You could definitely use a dose of Ascendant Existentialism.

    4. 1. In my experience practice of caste discrimination in Sikhism (mazhabi, ramdasia) is much milder than Hinduism.

      2. Sikh empire didn’t last long enough to do developmental stuff.

      3. British conquered almost everyone as easily as they conquered the Sikhs. 1800 (maybe even as early as the battle of Plassey) onwards they were just militarily superior with better commanders, greater experience, better discipline, better equipment, better training. They were beating armies 10 times their size in battles.

      4. More than enough (orders of magnitude more) retarded stuff on daily rituals in Hindu religious books too. Atleast it is not (Jihadi, stoning, burning, slavery) will of God that can’t be disowned. Again, cut some slack, Sikhism was born in times of war, how much Vedanta/Nyaya/Yoga/Samkhya did Hindus produce under Islamic colonization? Other than Bhakti (which Sikhs have too) nothing to show for from (rest of ?) the Hindus too.

      4b. Books like Geeta, Yogasutra, Lotus sutra, Ken upanishad etc must have been continuous multi generational, multi century intellectual efforts by quite smart groups of people. They were conceived in a very different way than the Abrahamic texts which are compilations of collective wisdom of the Middle Eastern people. In that sense, Guru granth sahib is moderate, universal and not retarded or tribal.

      In conclusion, it is not fair (or useful) to compare Hinduism with Sikhism. Sikhs are the swords and shields of Hindus and are rightfully respected and with inevitable cross-pollination will hopefully eventually stumble upon the advaita-vedanta+Buddhist version of ‘high’ dharmic religious thought. And anyways how many Hari Singh Nalwas did Indians produce before the Sikh gurus?

      1. I see emergence of Sikhs as a process of trying to free people from burdens of past by writing new literature to focus on essential struggles of the period & by trying to forge new social bonds in the region divided along religious identity lines.

        // The only person in the entire history of Sikhs who I feel deserves real respect is Ranjit Singh………..Though he started training his army on European lines he did not think why it was that Europe was so ahead and thus instituted no societal reforms, opened no educational institutes, built no civic and military institutions on modern lines. //

        This is a wrong criticism because institutions gets build by negotiations & institution building takes time considering the fragmented polity during the period he tried to first maintain sovereignty of state & thus he instituted modern Army trailing of the period.

      2. honestly if anyone is called your swords and shields but yourself you pretty much leave yourself wide open to be called a coward just.like Hindus have.done.

        Thanking Sikhs for their valor is one thing. But also realize the Maratha did the brunt of the military damage to Mughals. And the Indian army today is massively Hindu.

        Hindus contributed one son to Sikh families for a long time but in Punjab specifically. Saying swords and shields is generalizing this to all of India. It is a BS over aggrandizing statement.

        1. honestly if anyone is called your swords and shields but yourself you pretty much leave yourself wide open to be called a coward just.like Hindus have.done.

          No it doesn’t mean any of that. We may call Marathas as the lance of Hindus and Rajputs the mace if it makes everyone feel brave.

          Thanking Sikhs for their valor is one thing. But also realize the Maratha did the brunt of the military damage to Mughals. And the Indian army today is massively Hindu.

          I am fine with acknowledging that.

          Hindus contributed one son to Sikh families for a long time but in Punjab specifically. Saying swords and shields is generalizing this to all of India. It is a BS over aggrandizing statement.

          ‘swords and shields of the Hindus in the North-West South Asia’ doesn’t have the right ring to it.

          I mean guys, why make enemies when we can have friends? Sikhs will never be reformed by outside shaming. They have to do it themselves and if you press them too hard they will go into siege mode like Muslims.

          1. Agree with last comment. This will exactly play into the hands of Khalistanis.

            Imagine Mauryas starting to reprimand porus on his mistakes just as Alexander arrives on the border.

            There is definitely more in common than what divides the two apart!

      3. “Sikhs are the swords and shields of Hindus”
        No. This claim is simply stupid. Sikhs are their own sect. They want to be separate from Hindus and us Hindus should have enough self-respect not to make such comments which are derogatory for both Hindus and Sikhs.

        There was an alliance between Sikhs and Hindus against Mughals/Afghans in a small area of India and only during a specific time period. I am from UP. No Sikh ever saved me or my ancestors.

        “how many Hari Singh Nalwas did Indians produce before the Sikh gurus?”

        How was Shivaji or Baji Rao or even the Jaat rulers of Bharatpur influenced by the Sikh gurus? True, a lot of Hindu India was supine when Sikhs were resisting Mughals but its also true that Sikhs or their forebears deliberately kept out of it when Abdali was harrying Mathura or when Aurangzeb was systematically exterminating Marathas after Shivaji’s death.

        The thing is Sikhs have real accomplishments to their name and I truly respect them for it. But all this is blown up too much out of proportion. A real history of Sikhs, their Gurus and their politics would be so much more interesting than this ‘sawa lakh se ek ladaun’ or ‘Sikhs are the sword arm of Hindus’ type of nonsense.

        1. No. This claim is simply stupid. Sikhs are their own sect. They want to be separate from Hindus and us Hindus should have enough self-respect not to make such comments which are derogatory for both Hindus and Sikhs.

          How is it ‘derogatory’ or damages your self respect to simply acknowledge the sacrifices of people like Guru Teg Bahadur?

          There was an alliance between Sikhs and Hindus against Mughals/Afghans in a small area of India and only during a specific time period. I am from UP. No Sikh ever saved me or my ancestors.

          a) How could they make this ‘alliance’ in any area where they were non-existent?
          b) Should they have individually helped out everyone in UP to merit admiration?
          c) ‘No Sikh’ remember Bhagat Singh, Sohan Singh Bhakna …

          How was Shivaji or Baji Rao or even the Jaat rulers of Bharatpur influenced by the Sikh gurus? True, a lot of Hindu India was supine when Sikhs were resisting Mughals but its also true that Sikhs or their forebears deliberately kept out of it when Abdali was harrying Mathura or when Aurangzeb was systematically exterminating Marathas after Shivaji’s death.

          a) Marathas also deliberately kept out of quite a lot. And Sikhs did not have the advantage of terrain or a defensible home ground.

          The thing is Sikhs have real accomplishments to their name and I truly respect them for it. But all this is blown up too much out of proportion. A real history of Sikhs, their Gurus and their politics would be so much more interesting than this ‘sawa lakh se ek ladaun’ or ‘Sikhs are the sword arm of Hindus’ type of nonsense.

          a) It is blown out of proportion simply because their contributions are out of proportion.

  3. Just as the author explains about importance of positive ideas in face of assault/times of crisis, I think Sikhism should not be seen through lens of nihilistic ideas alone. With those almost all religions /ideologies can be termed as unsatisfactory.

    It has had more positives than negative in eyes of most Indians.

    That said, they need to slowly move on with some deep reforms regarding the compulsory/ semi-compulsory use of paraphernalia like turban, kirpan, etc. It had immense use at time of its creation but now it is more like a vestige of times gone. Otherwise that will start defining the religion rather than other really good ideas like optimism, strong civil society social structures and abolition of casteism.

  4. The institutions of sangat and langar started by sikh reformers are indeed revolutionary in the history of North India. Other sects such as Bishnois andJasnathis replicated the model of sangat which helped them overcame the crisis situations. The initiation of langar tradition in the Sikhism was a powerful, systematic and sustained attack on untouchability prevalent in caste ridden Indian society. Though these ideas might have their origins in other traditions but the point is to institutionalize and expand which was done in Sikhism.

  5. TBH its amusing to note that there is all this talk of sikhs overselling their achievements. Yeah, could be. They are not doing it at the cost of other sects. Why are folks here so salty about it. If you are able to, you would do it too. No one has stopped the others from doing it. Let them do what they want, its their religion

    All this Ravidasis vs Jatt Sikh seems a parallel of muslim/left use of Ambedkar in the Dalit vs caste Hindu fights. Its a fight which concerns groups within the same fold, and all criticism from “outsiders” is water off the ducks back.

    1. “They are not doing it at the cost of other sects.”
      They totally are doing it at the cost of Hinduism. Just read through some historical/religious posts from “Sikh Wiki”.

      What you will get out of that is that Hindus with their filthy idol worshipping, back-stabbing and cowardly ways are the real enemies of the great and illustrious Sikhs. Hindus were completely supine race and it was only ever Sikhs who fought foreign invaders from the North West as also the British. Having achieved a nation because of their demographic heft, modern day Hindus have committed severe depredations on the Sikhs who were cheated out of their country by wily Hindus.

      A large portion of religious articles from Sikh scholars do not deal with what Sikhism espouses but what it denies and specifically denounces as having had Hindu antecedents. eg. Why Sikhs should NOT celebrate Holi, Diwali, Raksha-bandhan even though historically they might have. Why the huge number of mentions of Hindu deities in Sikh texts do not actually refer to those deities but to a monotheistic God described in Abrahamic terms.

      Lest you think Sikh Wiki might not be a respectable source of opinion I would say that even Sikh ‘scholarly’ takes published from universities differ only to the extent of removing the derogatory references to Hinduism by that favorite straw-man of the woke – ‘Brahmanism’.

      1. I was just talking about the post here, and the other pro sikh responses.

        The first part of answer is mostly a stock response in any Dravidian/Dalit/Communist blogsphere just interchanging words from sikhs to dalits etc. I dont see the same vitol against them nor against the ethnicities who vote and give them power. There is absolutely nothing different which fellow so called “Hindus” have said about Hinduism, from what this sikh wiki is saying. Why single out sikhs, then?

        The latter part of how sikhs want to expunge all Hindu influences out of sikhism. Again , its their religion and they are free to do that. We dont go around convincing Pakistanis how “Hindu” they really were once, irrespective of what the truth was or not. To me it seems like its sikhism loss, but at the end of the day its their call.

        Honestly i think neither are sikhs as distanced from Hinduism as their “purist” would really want, nor is it as close as Hindus like it to believe (despite mentions of Hindu deities et all). They have for the most part found their equilibrium.

        1. “Why single out sikhs, then?”

          Nobody is singling out Sikhs, man.
          I am not sure why you think liberals, dalit activists, islamists do not get any opposition in india. They do. Much more vehemently than the Sikhs who the Hindu right has been very soft towards always.

          “The latter part of how sikhs want to expunge all Hindu influences out of sikhism.”
          nobody cares man. Sikhs can start reciting quran in their gurudwaras and no hindu will bat an eyelid expect perhaps stop visiting those gurudwaras.
          Where i personally have a problem is the gratuitous attacks on Hindu religious practice which Sikhs are wont to do.
          eg. Its fine if Sikhs dont want to celebrate Diwali or Rakshabandhan. But then dont go around using modern woke language to attack these festivals and then claim that its the reason for why sikhs shouldn’t observe them.

          I have heard countless Sikhs say that Rakshabandhan is ‘sexist’ and Sikh women do not need their brothers to protect them and thus they shouldn’t be going around tying rakhis.

          If Sikhs continue like this, they shouldn’t be surprised that holes can be poked in their own religious edifice using the same tools.

      2. pretty much. A lot of it is “look at us we don’t do this caste stuff like cowardly Hindoos and are not terrorists like momos. We laid our lives down during WWII and are the most martial and strong and good looking.”

        Then a critique and they respond with
        “Stfu you black dirty dravidian. Khalistan Zindabad!”
        “UPs and Biharis are infiltrating and ruining our caucasian looks”
        “Chamars are just hindoos really. They are not really Punjabis.”

        A lot of Separatist Khalistani Sikhism is hardcore upper caste Punjabi ethnonationalism with a lot of actual Khalistani practices (not what they expertly write on liberal blogs or convey to the NDP) being hardcore tribalistic nonsense that makes even the RSS look more egalitarian

        1. I can’t imagine a large number of people actually believe in Khalistan. Even then the borders they think this nation will have are silly. They fail to acknowledge that Indian Punjab is 40% Hindu. So do they think these Hindus will be expected to leave but SIkhs in other parts of India will get to stay? Then on top of that I see maps with a coastline from Gujarat included. Even more laughable is the idea that the capital will be in Lahore. Hindus and Muslims may fight for Sikh affection but don’t kid yourself if either religious group will give up any land for your ethnoreligous state much less from their most prosperous region (Pakistani Punjab for Muslims and Gujarat for Hindus). Also the idea that the country woud include undivided Indian Punjab is silly too given the demographics of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

          1. “Do do they think these Hindus will be expected to leave but SIkhs in other parts of India will get to stay?”

            Well it happened with muslims in 1947, so there expectations wont be totally wrong.

          2. And with 40% of the population of Indian Punjab being Hindu, Indian Punjab (the current state) would also need to be partitioned..Western districts to Khalistan, eastern to India (Chandigarh is on the eastern side)..

            No one in their right mind thinks Khalistan is a viable idea. It is now just an obsession of Canadian (and to some extent UK based) Sikhs..

            Some quick thoughts on Sikhs and Sikh/Hindu/India dynamic:
            1. Sikhs are a separate religion and Hindus should stop trying to coopt them as a different type of Hindu. Respect their identity and let them be separate. Perhaps somebody in RSS etc should just declare something to that effect, so that Sikhs don’t feel insecure about their identity
            2. They have legit grievances (like post Indira killings and perhaps even Bluestar) which the Indian state should try and address…..
            3. Sikhs have an inflated sense of their valor/place in history etc… No doubt they were a major force in the 16th-18th centuries and have many feats to their credit, but so do other communities. Marathas accomplished a lot more than the Sikhs – created an empire that actually lasted, installed puppet Mughal emperors etc.. Rajputs though allied with Mughals survived and thrived because Mughals didn’t want to risk antagonize them (a full on Mughal vs. Rajput war wouldn’t have been good for Mughals)
            4. Sikhs need to fix their own issues – religious as well those ailing Punjab. They keep using Hindus/central government as scapegoats (and there is an underlying racist/supremacists attitude towards darker Indians..who btw are advancing leaps and bounds ahead of them).
            5. As India becomes more prosperous we will see all types of dissatisfied groups falling in line. No matter how highly one things of one’s own religion, everybody cares about material progress and money (Sikhs are no exception)

  6. Do you have high hope for India’s future? I don’t. The rivers are controlled by China. They can’t make their own trains. They’re severely lacking in rare elemen processing. All of their neighbors are allied with CHina.

  7. On the whole I would agree that Sikhism and society were forged in a frontier battle . So, you have to have a strong sense of us , and which ‘us’ is to be saved by invading and rapacious hosts at any cost. At the time of Sikh gurus the northwestern area had seen lot of conversion to Islam involuntarily or otherwise by many castes and old style Hindu warrior and intellectual resources had been eliminated by 16th C. There was no native political entity which could be used by Hindus to rally round. had it not been for Sikh religion , the conversion to Islam would have been complete.
    How a nation is forged at it’s birth carries across many centuries in the way they respond/react to different political challenges with it’s strengths and weaknesses.

    I went to a car mechanic’s place operated by a Sikh (not a turban wearer) . He had a colourful picture or calender of a sikh guru cutting his own head and placing it on a plate as an offering. When asked about that , he explained about the Guru fighting Mughal empire, etc. Those images , political and violently political images are still strong . These imagery has become stronger by the way Partition came out and Sikhs lost their ‘homeland’ in present Pakistan

    Coming to the present time, I find Sikhs in the UK have adopted and adapted well to the British society . They have as much sense of community as Muslims, without the latter’s extremist and maladaptive fringe (or more than a fringe) . Hindus are far behind these two so much so that when the British Establishment talks of All Faith understanding, etc , Hinduism does not enter their head. It is generally Christians, Jews and Muslims with occasionally Sikhs thrown in

    1. Correction: “which ‘us’ is to be saved by invading and rapacious hosts ” replaced with “which ‘us’ is to be saved from invading and rapacious hosts “

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