Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Men’s actions are determined by their ideas and not vice versa as fanatical Marxists fondly hope and obstreperously assert. — Sirdar Kapur Singh

Socialists are impressive verbal champions of freedom, but their actions destroy freedom.
- Sirdar Kapur Singh (Social implications of Sikhism)

Dictatorship without popular support, without an independent legal system and without free criticism would seem to be a permanent feature and not a passing phase of the communist society.

- Sirdar Kapur Singh (Social implications of Sikhism).

On Gurbani

"Guru Granth Sahib, that the Sikhs revere as the visible symbol and form of the Light and the Vehicle of the Grace of God, accessible to man in the form of the Guru’s Word and Testament. This Sikh doctrine and faith foretaught by five centuries, the latest modern development in European religious thought and theological dogmatics (Karl Barth, 1886-1968) that recognises distinction between the Word and a religion by accepting that while the former is God’s self-revelation to man, the latter is the product of human culture and aspirations and is not to be identified with saving revelation, for, salvation can come only from God and not from man."

— They Massacre Sikhs, SGPC, 1978.

Foundation in the memory of Sirdar Kapur Singh

Foundation in the memory of Sirdar Kapur Singh

PATIALA: A foundation in memory of name of renowned Sikh intellectual Sirdar Kapur Singh here by a group of Sikhs.The main force behind Anandpur Sahib Resolution the late Sirdar Kapur Singh had became an ardent supporter of the Akali demand for a Punjabi speaking state.

After a brief stint as Professor of Sikhism under the authority of the Akal Takht, he joined active politics.
In 1962, he was elected to the lower house of the Indian Parliament and as a member of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha (State Legislative Assembly) in 1969. He was forthright in speech and an unrelenting critic of the government's policies which discriminated against the Sikhs.
As a Sikh ideologue he was the moving spirit behind the Anandpur Sahib resolution adopted by the Shiromani Akali Dal in 1973, which like several others of his pronouncements became a crucial enunciation of modern Sikh political formula and policy.
Selected into the Indian Civil Service he served in various administrative posts in the cadre. In 1947, he was appointed deputy commissioner of Kangra.
He was particularly irked by the growing narrow politics of the government biased against the Sikhs.
Prof. Harjit Singh Gill, Bibi Baljit Kaur Aklagarh and former bureaucrat Gurtej Singh was among the members of the foundation.
Bibi Akalgarh said has demanded in a release that a chair in the memory of Sirdar Sahib should be established in one of the universities of Punjab. The books and articles written by Sirdar Kapur Singh will be reprinted by the foundation, she added.


Third Sirdar Kapur Singh memorial lecture organised

Third Sirdar Kapur Singh memorial lecture organised

Parvesh Kumar Sharma, TNN Jan 9, 2013, 05.16PM IST

PATIALA: The Third Sirdar Kapur Singh Memorial Lecture was organised by the Department of Punjab Historical Studies, Punjabi University, Patiala in collaboration with Sirdar Kapur Singh Foundation, Patiala in the Senate Hall of the University, here today .
It was presided over by Dr. Jaspal Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala. Eminent sociologist Prof. J.P.S. Uberoi (Retd.) of Delhi School of Economics, New Delhi delivered this lecture on Metaphysics of the Indian Modernity: The Theory of the Name"".

In his thought-provoking lecture Prof. J.P.S. Uberoi (Retd. discussed Bhakti and the Indian Modernity, Modern, Western theories of the name, other pre-modern eurasian theories, Nam, Shabad and Bani in the Sukhmani etc. He said that it is everywhere iterated that the name is the quintessence of all worships and prayers, affirming and witnessing the covenant of creations. He mentioned that traditional Indian theories of the name or the world that are to be found before Laxmidhar and the Indian modernity are all classical rather than vernacular. Prof. Oberoi further disclosed that modern western theories of the name, apparently pre-suppose the alternate axiom of no necessary relation between the sound and the sense of speech or language or music. He suggested to distinguish and differentiate the respective semiotic uses of name, the divine name, Shabad and Bani.
Earlier Dr. Jamshid Ali Khan, Dean (Colleges) welcomed Prof. J.P.S. Uberoi. Dr. Balwinderjit Kaur Bhatti, Incharge of the Department introduced the audience about life and achievements of Sirdar Kapur Singh and also gave an introduction about the topic of today's lecture.


First Sirdar Kapur Singh Memorial Lecture held

First Sirdar Kapur Singh Memorial Lecture held

Gagandeep Ahuja
Thursday, 20 January 2011
PATIALA:Punjab Historical Studies Department of Punjabi University Patiala organized the ‘First Sirdar Kapur Singh Memorial Lecture’ with the collaboration of Sirdar Kapur Singh Foundation Patiala here thursday. 

Ex Vice Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar and Ex Director, Indian Institute of Advanced Studies Shimla Prof. J.S. Grewal spoke on ‘The Contribution of Sirdar Kapur Singh in the Study of Sikhism and Sikh History’. Delivering his lecturer he discussed two books of Sh. Kapur Singh and tried to critically analyze the work done by him. Sh. Kapur Singh reinterpreted the Sikh History in the light of Sikh Ideology. He tried to display his idea of proving Sikhism as the important faith in the world. 

Vice Chancellor of Punjabi University Dr. Jaspal Singh presided the session and spoke on the intellectual depth of Sirdar Kapur Singh who had not only studied Sikhism but other religious as well. Prof. Birinderpal Singh, Head of the Department and Dean Social Sciences welcomed the guests and Dr. K.S. Bajwa introduced the theme. Prof. Harjeet Singh Grewal also spoke few words about the personality of Sirdar Kapur Singh and about the Foundation. 

Prof. of Sikhism and Ex. I.A.S. Sh. Gurtej Singh proposed the vote of Thanks and emphasized that Sirdar Kapur Singh was great scholar of Sikh History and Religion. Prominent amongst others who were present on the occasion included Ex S.G.P.C. Chief Prof. Kirpal Singh Badungar, Sh. Paramjeet Singh, Bibi Baljeet Kaur Akalgarh, B.S. Sandhu Commissioner Income Tax, Binder Singh G.M Dept. of Industries Patiala, Prof. Jaswant Singh Mann, Dr. Kehar Singh, Gurnam Singh and Heads of various faculties departments


The Voice of a Nation

The Voice of a Nation

A Book Review of Sirdar Kapur Singh's PARASARAPRASNA
PARASARAPRASNA, by Kapur Singh. Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, 2001 (3rd ed.). ISBN 81-7770-014-6. 319 pages. Price: Rs. 250.
This book was conceived in 1950, during a period of what the author qualifies as "forced leisure and detention" at Simla, in the foothills of the Himalayas, where he had come on holiday.
In the course of this stay, which was lengthened by circumstances into a semi-permanent one, Sirdar Kapur Singh met an old friend, Sri Sardari Lal Parasara, Principal of Simla's Government School of Arts. For more than a year, the two men made a practice of enjoying long walks and talks together in the rugged woods and snows.
Out of this scholarly intercourse was Parasaraprasna ("The Questions of Parasara") born.
The masterwork of Kapur Singh, National Professor of Sikhism and considered by many to be the faith's outstanding theologian, its every page radiates his amazingly profound erudition and insightful interpretations of various aspects of Sikh identity and institutions.
Indisputably a true "leading light" of Sikhi, he possessed an intellectual arsenal of staggering proportions which he displays most impressively throughout the book, adroitly connecting a mind-blowing array of esoteric and seemingly disparate "dots", in an absolutely awesome comparative study of world religions.
I have not undertaken here to write a formal, comprehensive review of Parasaraprasna; that did not seem appropriate, given it was first published in 1959. The following simply underscores some of the myriad highlights of this work, characterized by its author as "An enquiry into the genesis and unique character of the Order of the Khalsa with an exposition of the Sikh Tenets".
Right from the very first chapter, "The Baisakhi of Guru Gobind Singh", the author puts forth Sikhi as a completely unique religion, utterly at variance with Hinduism, embarking on a lengthy discussion of how the Tenth Master specifically repudiated the latter's four major traditions. In prescribing a new way of life and creating a distinct people owing allegiance to no earthly sovereign or power, the Order of the Khalsa gave rise to a "Third Panth", totally divorced from the Aryan and Semitic religions, "dedicated to the achievement of political ends aimed at the eventual establishment of a universal and egalitarian global community".
Out of the next group of chapters, dealing with even the most arcane aspects of the transformation of a Sikh into a Khalsa, pre-eminent is the one explaining the injunction of keeping long, unshorn hair, the breach of which is viewed more seriously than any other.
Grounding his arguments in "the metaphysical postulates of transcendental aesthetics" (a typical Kapur Singh-like turn of phrase!) and  -  as he does throughout the book  -  lavishly studding them with quotes from Gurbani, the author spares no effort to portray the human body as "nothing less than a microcosm of the entire Cosmos". Furthermore, he integrally identifies the beauty of the body's pristine, complete form with holiness and the Godhead itself.
Equally inspiring sections regarding Guru Granth Sahib and the Rite of Amrit soon follow. In the former, Kapur Singh characterizes the Shabd as "the only authentic portrait of the Guru" and "a perceivable record of revealed transcendental wisdom", the acceptance of which leads to beholding the Guru Himself, attaining comprehension of the Truth, and becoming one with it.
In a chapter intriguingly named "Parthenogenesis" (often likened to virgin birth), he terms Amrit chaknaa "the mystery of baptism of the Pure Steel", a "uniquely regenerative act of communion and union with God", engendering a new creation committed to Truth, and "releasing ever-expanding forces of love and service and strength, to form the basis of a new heaven on Earth".
Kapur Singh's monumental knowledge of mythology, world history and comparative religion is in full evidence throughout the concluding chapters. Securing the balance between Church and State, repudiating the Hindu caste system and extolling the Sikh institution of Ardas, the congregational prayer, are just some of the plethora of topics touched upon here.
Like almost every other issue treated in earlier parts of the book, all of these propel the author into immense, sweeping tangents, multi-page discourses which afford the reader dazzling   -  and often dizzying  -  glimpses of the labyrinthine twists and turns so innate to his convoluted thought processes. I must confess that while in their thrall, it would not be hyperbole to say that I often felt as if I were astride a runaway horse galloping at breakneck speed, while I simply tried to hang on for dear life!
To give but one example: in what other tome could one possibly find an interpretation of the significance of Guru Gobind Singh's "vision-inducing" jeweled aigrette, an analysis of the effects of colors on the mind, and an exegesis of the "extra-psychical perceptions" provided by yogic disciplines and hallucinogenic drugs presented in such rapid-fire succession?
Dear readers, if all of the above sounds just a bit too formidable for your liking, buck up and be brave! Delving into this book need not be done gingerly, as a "walking on quicksand" experience. In the words of the Introduction to its first edition,Parasaraprasna is, indeed, a "tour de force of living adoration of the Master".
Sikhs of all stripes (and not just those who strictly adhere toMaryada) may justifiably glory in the descriptions of the incomparable beauty and true uniqueness of our faith; non-Sikhs will certainly find much that enlights and delights.
While this work is seldom a gaping door, once prized open, there is genuine treasure to be found for those intrepid enough to explore its pages.
December 28, 2007


Kapur Singh: Maker of History

Kapur Singh: Maker of History
by Major Gurmukh Singh

Today - March 2, 2009 - marks the Birth Centenary of Bhai Sahib Sirdar Kapur Singh, a towering figure in both Sikh polity and Letters during much of the Twentieth Century.

Sirdar Kapur Singh (1909-1986) - civilian, parliamentarian and intellectual, was a master of many-sided erudition. Besides Sikh theology, he was vastly learned in philosophy, history and literature.
He was born into a farming family at the village Chakk in Ludhiana district on March 2, 1909. His father's name was Didar Singh.
Kapur Singh attained the rank of "First Class First" when he received his Master's Degree at the prestigious Government College, Lahore. He then went on to Cambridge, England to take his Tripos in Moral Sciences.
He was a distinguished linguist and had mastered several of the languages of the East and the West. Besides English, which he could spin around his fingers with extraordinary finesse and subtlety, he was fluent in Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit.
In addition to these, he had easy acquaintance with such discreet fields as astrology, architecture and space science. But, in spite of his knowledge covering many disparate areas, Kapur Singh's principal focus in his life work remained on Sikh literature and theology.
He was widely known to be a stickler for accuracy of fact and presentation. He stood up foursquare to any misrepresentation or falsification of any shade of Sikh thought and belief. He was most vigilant and unbending in this respect.
He was selected for the elite Indian Civil service, and served in a number of senior administrative posts. In 1947, for example, he was appointed Deputy Commissioner - the top Government bureaucrat of the region - of Kangra.
Shortly after India won independence, while in this role, he became aware of - and irked by - the increasingly narrow policies of the new Indian Government and its bias against Sikhs.
What particularly incensed him was a circular dated October 10, 1947, issued by the Governor of the State, Chandu Lal Trivedi, warning district authorities in the Punjab against what was described as the "criminal tendencies of the Sikh people"!
Deputy Commissioner Kapur Singh immediately filed a strong protest against this wild and mischievous slur, thus inviting the Governor's personal wrath upon himself.
Charges were promptly brought against Kapur Singh for "insubordination" and he was dismissed from the service.
Thereafter, Kapur Singh became an ardent supporter of the Akali demand for a Punjabi-speaking state [along the lines of other Indian states, which had been carved on linguistic lines to accord protection for the respective languages and cultures.]
After a stint as Professor of Sikhism under the aegis of the Akal Takht, he joined active politics.
In 1962, he was elected to the Lok Sabha of the Indian Parliament - India's "House of Commons".
In 1969, he ran for and was elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha - the State Legislative Assembly.
Kapur Singh made a mark during this period through his forthright speech and as an unrelenting critic of the government's policies, especially in the area of the rights of India's Sikh minority.
As a leading Sikh ideologue, he was the moving spirit behind the Anandpur Resolution, which was adopted by the Shiromani Akali Dal in 1973 and, like several other of his pronouncements, became a crucial enunciation of modern Sikh political policies and aspirations.
A very stirring Sikh document of the modern period was the Presidential Declaration at the Hari Singh Nalva Conference convened at Ludhiana on July 14, 1965.
Although his authorship was nowhere specified - as was the case with all important Sikh political or intrinsically seminal documents of this period - the document clearly bore the imprint of Kapur Singh's penmanship. It said:
1. This Conference, in commemoration of General Hari Singh Nalva of historical fame, reminds all concerned that the Sikh people are makers of history and are conscious of their political destiny in a free India.
2. This Conference recalls that the Sikh people agreed to merge in a common Indian nationality on the explicit understanding of being accorded a constitutional status of co-sharers in the community, which solemn understanding now stands cynically repudiated by the present rulers of India.
Further, the Sikh people have been systematically reduced to a sub-political status in their homeland, the Punjab, and to an insignificant position in their motherland, India.
The Sikh people are in a position to establish before an impartial international tribunal, uninfluenced by the current Indian rulers, that the law, the judicial process, and the executive action of the State of India is consistently and heavily weighted against the Sikhs and is administered with unbandaged eyes against Sikh citizens.
3. This conference, therefore, resolves after careful thought, that there is left no alternative for the Sikhs in the interest of self-preservation but to frame their political demand for securing a self-determined political status within the Republic of Union of India.
The author's name is not mentioned, but it is clearly the handiwork of Kapur Singh. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee's publication at the time of the Nirankari attack on the Sikhs a decade and a half later, is described thus:
A White Paper
The Sikh Religious Parliament (SGPC)

Sirdar Kapur Singh, besides being an extraordinarily learned man, was a prolific writer.
In addition to his Parasaraprasna,* in English, which ranks as a classic on Sikh philosophy, his other works include:
Hashish (Punjabi Poems)
Saptasring (Punjabi Biographies)
Bahu Vistaar (Punjabi Essays)
Pundrik (Punjabi Essays on Culture & Religion)
Mansur al-Hallaj (Monograph on a Sufi Saint)
Sacchi Saakhi (Memoirs)
The Sacred Writings of the Sikhs (a UNESCO publication)
Me Judice (English Miscellany)
Sikhism for Modern Man
Contributions of Guru Nanak
The Hour of Sword
Guru Arjan and His Sukhmani
Sirdar Kapur Singh died after a protracted illness at his village home in Jagraon in Ludhiana district on August 13, 1986, at the age of 77.


Sirdar Kapur on gandhi

FOREWORD to 'Gandhi and the Sikhs' by Adv. Gurmit Singh.

I have carefully read the script of this booklet “Gandhi and the Sikhs”. The Author has rendered service to the cause of a scientific and objective understanding of the predicament in which the Sikhs find themselves with their own country. For the last one hundred years or so, the Hindu revivalism has demanded of the Sikhs:

[a] A renunciation of their peculiar religious personality and political identity; and

[b] an undertaking never to aspire for participation in political power when it falls into the hands of the Hindus.

The material that the author has collected well marks out Mahatma Gandhi as the most audacious and out spoken Champion of this basic demand of non-Hinduism of the 20th Century in relation to the naive and helpless Sikhs.

M.A. (Cantab): (Ex-I.C.S.)
M.L.A. (Punjab)