Bhai Sahib Sirdar Kapur Singh
Encapsulating the form of governance and justice in India, the modern National Professor of Sikhism refers to it by alluding to Matsyanyaya or Fish Justice mentioned in Kautilya’s Arthashashtra. In simple words, it is big fish eating the small fish. In modern political parlance it is the denouement in which ethnic minorities and political dissenters find themselves when in countries like India the hegemony of a few dominates the life and times of many.
The present article is an extract from the essay, They Massacre Sikhs, written to explain the Sikh position after the attack on innocent Sikhs in April 1978. Only those portions which bring out the similarities between the cults in their opposition and disposition towards Sikhs are reproduced here.
At some places in the text, Jagmohan Singh has taken the liberty to intersperse in paranthesis the contemporary notes regarding Gurmeet Ram Rahim to confirm the comparison. Special care has been taken to ensure that it no way affects the hypothesis so ably elucidated by the learned author -Editor
Retreat from religious and absolute moral values is a world-vide phenomenon and permissiveness, sex-promiscuity, moral laxity and social disintegration is, by no means, peculiar to India today; the phenomenon is world-wide and ecumenical, the reasons for which are deep seated and historical. Nor is this phenomenon exceptional to modern times. It erupts, it seems, whenever there is an onset of decay and deterioration in social cohesiveness and moral vitality of a culture or civilisation.
Gibbon has noted emergence of all sorts of sects and societies, “Oriental religions”, as he calls them, when the Roman Empire weakened and disintegrated. In Bhagvadgita, we are told that, “as moral decay sets in men take to adulation of and subservience to mortal humans and abandon worship of the unseen God”: sivanam puja paritya jaye manussanam upasanam. The Sikh pious texts of Bhai Gurdas (d.1637) tell us that a symptom of moral decay is that, “social censure and absolute moral judgement disappear and men become plaything of their own passing fancies and corruptive passion”, koi kisai na varijai soi karai joi mana bhavai.
Guru Gobind Singh provides us with a key to an understanding of this phenomenon by revealing that, “there shall arise an Absolute God in every house, altogether contemptible and degraded men these”: ghar ghar hoe behenge rama tinu te sari hai na kou kama.
Sri Dina Nath, Sidhantalankar an eminent writer, in the April, 1973 issue of the Hindi montlhy, Jana Gyan (p.30) tells us that:
“there is a deluge of bogus gods-incarnate and hypocritical gurus in India, these days.....”
The issue between the Sikhs and Gurbachan Singh (or Gurmeet Ram Rahim) and his caucus is three fold: (1) The main thrust and the real salience of this movement is anti-Sikhism, and its permissiveness and promiscuity is secondary. (2) Its methodology is denigration and coarse ridicule of Sikh doctrines and practices and malicious outraging of Sikh religious sentiments, and insulting Sikh religious beliefs. (3) Its dynamism is politics, promoted and prompted by political powers that aim at degrading and demoralising the Sikh people, permanently to deprive them of the control of their own history and their spiritual potential, thus reducing them into secondary citizens and camp-followers so as eventually to divest them of their living separateness, shrinking them into a footnote in history.
The chief of these pseudo-nirankaris (as does Gurmeet Ram Rahim) strictly observes the outward garb and forms of a saintly Sikh and so do his aides and lieutenants. And not without malice aforethought. Almost all these pseudo-nirankaris are ignorant, unlettered commonality familiar with nothing about religion and sophisticated though (some of the Sirsa Dera lot is comparatively better educated) except the portmanteau jargon of Sikhism, in Lewis Carroll’s sense of a word packed with sense and sound of many words, capable of being employed successfully for ridiculing and creating confusion about Sikhism.
In their writing and preaching their main and primary concern and pre-occupation is to misinterpret and to corrupt Sikh doctrines and Sikh beliefs and thus to confound and insult the Sikh scripture publicly. The point is not that the Sikhs demand or expect everybody to accept the Sikh scripture the way the Sikhs regard it; the point is that they resent and rightly so, its profanation and calculated insult to it by others.
Gurbachan Singh and his cronies (ditto for Gurmeet Ram Rahim and his) have, in this instance, not only fully equated Gurbachan Singh with God the Almighty and the Transcendent but in the process, have denigrated the Sikh vision of God, the Sikh understanding of the human existential situation, with the evil and malicious intention of confounding the Sikh religion and outraging the religious feelings of the Sikhs.
This cult (similarly the Sirsa dera cult), is demonstrably a conspiracy, a ploy and a facade for destroying Sikhism through a crude methodology of corrupting and insulting Sikhism and outraging Sikh beliefs.
The real political dynamism behind this high conspiracy to demoralise and destroy Sikhism as a world-religion and to liquidate Sikhs as a political people, has been known in knowledgeable circles for the last over a dozen years, but there has been a conspiracy of silence, to keep mum over it, by the national media and the political power weilders, for reasons of expediency. In an early last week issue of April, 1978 of the Chandigarh edition, the daily Indian Express, however, a public-spirited leader, Sat Pal Baghi of Ferozepur has spelt out briefly some of the unvarnished truth as follows:
“The genesis of the real trouble between the Nirankaris and Akalis goes back to the years when Mrs. Indira Gandhi headed the Union Government. She wanted to weaken the Shiromani Akali Dal but found that Akalis could not be brought to heel. She thought of an elaborate plan to strengthen the Nirankari sect not only in Punjab but throughout the country and abroad also. Official patronage was extended to the Nirankaris much to the chagrin of Akalis who have always considered the Nirankaris as heretics.”
In pursuit of this policy of divide and rule, Mrs. Gandhi personally gave clearance for a diplomatic passport to be issued to the Nirankari chief and the Indian High Commissioners and Ambassadors abroad were instructed to show him respect and regard. (In exactly the same manner, the Congress government of Haryana is patronising Gurmeet Ram Rahim and providing him land, political patronage and Z-plus security protection.)
During Mrs. Gandhi’s regime, the Nirankaris were known to be receiving financial help from secret Government funds not open to audit or scrutiny by Parliament (It is an open secret that similar logistic assistance is also being provided to the Sirsa Dera cult.)
Apart from this high political hostility, the Sikhs in India face other grave impediments to their viability and honourable existence. Firstly, the die-hard, obscurantist element of Punjab Hindus have openly viewed Sikhs and Sikhism as their enemy number one, a sentiment which obstreperously erupted, in the seventies of the 19th century, after the loss of the hegemony and political sovereignty of the Sikhs in the north of India, with no foreseeable possibility of its recovery. The impulse and shape of this utter hostility is spelt-out in the ‘Secret’ document, A Report on Developments in Sikh Politics (1900-1911), by Mr. D. Petrie, Assistant Director, Criminal Intelligence, Government of India, Shimla dated, the 11th August, 1911, now preserved in the National Archives, New Delhi, which has the following as its paragraph no. 6:
“Hinduism has always been hostile to Sikhism whose Gurus powerfully and successfully attacked the Hindu principle of Caste, which is the foundation on which the whole fabric of Brahmanism has been reared. The activities of Hindus have, therefore, been constantly directed to the undermining of Sikhism both by preventing the children of Sikh fathers from taking the pahul and by seducing professed Sikhs from their allegiance to their faith. Hinduism has strangled Buddhism, once a formidable rival to it and it has already made serious inroads into the domains of Sikhism”.
This Hindu hostility to Sikhism has become a permanent strain in the sub-conscious psyche of the citified Punjab Hindu, not urbanised, not mentally cultured or intellectually elevated, but surface-polished and dulled within. The present day noisy disavowal of the principle of Hindu caste on political level and for political reasons in India, has not, in the least, mellowed the rigour of this urban crust of the Punjab Hindus of their hostility to Sikhism and the Sikhs, and every opportunity is avidly seized upon to down the Sikhs, weather it is the question of Punjabi language, a Punjabi-speaking state or ready support to any movement or trend aimed at weakening or destroying Sikhs.
This mainly explains the orchestrated anti-Sikh and pro-Gurbachan Singh stances consistently adopted by fascist Hindu leaders and the Urdu and Hindi Press of Jullundur, and exclusive monopoly of this anti-Sikh brigade (in the present instance the BJP leadership and the mainstream Indian media). Fortunately for the Sikhs, this irrational and primital hostility towards the Sikh is not shared by the Hindus in the East and South of India or trans-Jamuna Gangetic plain, generally.
The famous Indologist, Al-Biruni (973-1048) has noted in his Kitabul-Hind a peculiar trait in Hindu psyche that puts it apart from the generality of other cultures and societies, that of complete bifurcation between conceptual thought and spiritual commitment. He points out, with unconcealed amazement, that a Hindu would passionately and with great ability and skill, argue and defend a thesis or concept, but under no circumstances, would involve his entire and total commitment to its practical defense. After a splendid and erudite debate over a proposition, he would retire to the peace of his home and hearth, the mundane concerns and interests of himself and his family, never risking his life or property in its active defense. The truly cultured Hindu regards such totalist commitment as low and vulgar, the mark of a raw, uniformed and undisciplined mind. Al-Biruni states that:
“On the whole there is very little disputing about theological topics among themselves; at the utmost they fight with words, but they will never stake their soul or their body or their property on religious controversy.”
Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) in his Indian Thought and its Development contends that for a Hindu, religious faith and belief is just a matter of celebration, of unalloyed intellectual comprehension and impersonal verbal statement, and it does not touch the core of his being, the emotive structure of his personality wherein nestle the blank, featureless waste-land of advaita, non-dulity. “a position unacceptable of a European mind.” This unique trait of a basic Hindu perception explains honest and unbiased disapproval of a Sikh regarding his religious faith and belief as a matter of life and death for him and his active deed to assert his commitment, as an act of “fanaticism”, illicit encroachment on others’ rights and privileges, gross intolerance and uncultured outlook. The basic hostility of the urban crust of the Hindu of northern India towards Sikhism and his own fundamental attitude towards religious faith and belief, explain the orchestrated hostility the Hindu Press of Jullundur has manifested in relation to this recent massacre of Sikhs.
But a similar anti-Sikh posture assumed by the Punjabi language Communist Press and the Communist Party has a different explanation. In his essay, on the importance of Militant Materialism, Lenin has accorded the destruction of all religion as the first priority in the Communist scheme of things, resolutely condemning “any manifestation of a conciliatory attitude towards religious ideology.” Communist thought also rejects any notion of immutable ethical principles. Lenin said: “Our morality is entirely subordinated to the interest of class struggle”. Everything that allows and aids the triumph of Communism is moral and everything that stands in its way is immoral. Sikhs are staunch champions of religion and Sikhism as the upholder of absolute moral principles is the greatest hurdle to the triumph of Communism in this part of the world.
Gurbachan Singh and his cult (Gurmeet Ram Rahim and his cult too) is basically anti-religion, antagonistic to abiding, irksome ethical values, and specifically aims at annihilation of Sikhism. Therefore, communist logic compulsively implicates that this massacre of the Sikhs should be approved and justified. The communist skill in ethical acrobatics is further reinforced by a psychotic sense of guilt which perpetually haunts these Punjab Communists, mostly of Sikh origins, for having turned their backs on the religion of their forefathers and the fundamental insights into reality of their ancestors, which to less superficial and impulsive minds could have afforded full scope and sanction to their genuine urges for social justice and necessary social transformations.
This terrible guilt complex haunts and distorts the psyche of every sensitive Sikh-turned a communist and fierce hostility towards Sikhism and the Sikhs is their mode of escape from the torture of this guilt-complex. For these reasons these Communists have become bed-fellows of a section of the citified Hindus of Punjab in opposition and hostility to the Sikhs.
The Sikh Gurus have bidden them to reply to the whiprack of an oppressor with a thunder-bolt and not to die with a whimper but to “die-fighting to the bitter end.” In Sikh history there are recorded, half a dozen cases where the Sikh Guru themselves and Sikhs afterwards, have deemed it as a question of life and death where deliberate and malicious insult or outrage to their religious susceptibilities and their human dignity was shown, irrespective of what the circumstances and what the consequences.
Sri Aurobindo Ghose (1872-1950) is the great ideologue of the modern Hindu nationalism. It is this Hindu nationalism that has come out as supremely triumphant out of the tragic partition of India, in 1947. Nirad C. Chaudhry is a cultural analyst of international repute and is a living reliable interpreter of contemporary Hindu mind. Both of them have something pertinent to say that puts the current tragic predicament of the Sikhs in India into lime-light focus. In his prestigious book, The Foundations of Indian Culture, Aurobindo Ghose points out that emergence of Sikhism in India “is a strikingly original” phenomenon in the long cultural history of India, as it is the only movement which is forward-looking and not merely re-interpretative, renascent or retrograde, as all other cultural or religious movements in India during the last two millennia have been. Thus, Sikhism alone has the potency and will to grapple with the future and to come to terms with it, without compromising the enduring values of Hindu culture. Possibly basing his intuitive understanding on a study of Sikh history, he says:
“The culture which gives up its living separateness...which neglects
its active self-defence, will be swallowed up and...........(the people) which lived by it will lose its soul and perish.”
What options are being left, in free India, to the Sikhs: to agree to spiritual suicide by quietly and submissively relinquishing their living separateness or exercising no active self-defence and thus to lose their soul and perish? This is the ancient maxim of Hindu politics, outlined in the Athashastra (1st century), under the nomenclature of Matsyanyaya, the ‘Fish Justice’, laying down that the obligation and final destiny of a small fish is to submit to being gobbled up by the big fish.
It is on record that during early fifties, when the Sikh leader, Master Tara Singh reminded Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru of the solemn promises given to the Sikhs so that they can freely flourish as Indian nationals according to their own genius. Nehru informed Master Tara Singh that, “now the circumstances have changed.” Home Minister Katju, openly told Master Tara Singh during the same period that the true destiny of Sikhs now is to give up their separate identity and merge indistinguishably into the inchoative mass of Hinduism.
It is believed on good grounds, that the pseudo-Nirankari movement (and the likes of the Sauda dera cults) has been boosted and catapulted into power and influence by set policies of the rulers at Delhi, to help dissolution of the Sikh Identity, paralyse their spiritual potential and deprive them permanently of their control of their own history. Nirad C. Chaudhry, in his book, The Island of Circe is forthright in indicating as to who might be the architects of this blue-print to achieve, as the modern political euphemism might say, “the final solution of the Sikh problem”, which in earlier, less sophisticated times, used to be called, ‘genocide’. Nirad Chaudhry tells the world that today,
“The Hindus are the masters and rulers of India. They have regained political power after many centuries, and are fully aware of it, perhaps, over-aware.....As the current jargon describes all the non-Hindus, they are only minorities.”
Since 1947, the Sikhs have strained their every nerve and staked their entire potential in developing and defending India, on the agricultural farm and in the industrial factory, for fraternal togetherness and for victory on the field of battle. But they are, so they feel and not without reason that, their destiny has been fixed by the rulers of Delhi as expendable, as manure and as a vanishing quantity in the crucible of the Indian political laboratory.
Bhai Sahib Kapur Singh was a scholar of Sikhism par excellence. Educated inPunjab and Canterbury, the outspoken political scientist was a master of many languages –ancient and modern. An able civil services administrator and a bold parliamentarian he wrote many books and documents relating to Sikh ideology. Awarded the honour of National Professor of Sikhism, Kapur Singh has left behind a legacy which has not been easily emulated.
16 July, 2008
Incorporating in the religio-political parlance of the Sikhs is the most befitting tribute to the great man.
Jagmohan Singh is a columnist based in Ludhiana. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
4 March 2009