Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Sikh War Code, its Spiritual Inspiration and Impact on History

[This paper was presented to the Guru Nanak University for publication in response to their invitation. It was not published because the University did not accept that Guru Nanak had political concerns. This was the primary objection. My view, strengthened by this episode, is that certain people in our universities are succumbing to the diktat of the permanent cultural majority to bring Sikhi within the ambit of previously prevailing culture. In my opinion this cultural aggression needs to be resisted]

It was Guru Nanak who laid down the basic rules that must govern the waging of war by his disciples. Besides pointing out the code of conduct in conflicts, he also spoke about the mental equipment, spiritual training and self discipline of a soldier. He is again the one who defines what makes conflict legitimate, the extent to which it is to be pursued by individual soldiers and armies and the purpose to be achieved by waging war. He talks of brave knights and martyrs being honoured at Akalpurakh’s Court (tithe jodh mahabal soor). Bhai Gurdas, one of his earliest biographers, calls the Guru a ‘roaring lion’ and a ‘conquering hero.’ He goes on to commemorate him in a ballad composed in the form of a Vaar that is normally employed to eulogise knights and to immortalise battles and victories. The ideal human of Guru Arjun’s concept is ‘Akalpurakh’s champion.’ (haun gosain ka pehalwanra) The mental and physical training required of a spiritually developed person is aimed at imbibing the attributes of God which the Guru has revealed. The incessant striving to acquire these virtues and making them a part of individual character is defined as salvation. Thereafter, always standing up for the implementation of the Divine Will, as revealed in the Guru’s word, is all that remains to make salvation an eternal reality. Of the greatest importance, perhaps, is also the method by which salvation is to be achieved as well as the nature of evil that was to be overcome in the process. It is possible to trace all this in the utterances of Guru Nanak. Succeeding Gurus and other holy persons (bhagta), whose word was accepted as part of the final Sikh scripture, appear to be in accord with the Guru’s thought. Therefore it is pertinent recall the conduct of Sikh armies and soldiers engaged in actual warfare, with a view to knowing the extent to which the rules, so meticulously codified, were followed.
2. In the opening verse of Guru Granth, Guru Nanak lays down, amongst others, the three most important attributes of the Creator that went a long way in motivating his followers’ conduct during war. These are: ‘The Ultimate Reality is 1,’ S/He is fearless and has no enmity.’ The use of the numeral is deliberate and is meant to convey absolute oneness. ‘It is not my one God’ that the Guru believed in but the only One for all creation. The effect of this belief translates into fearless combat in battlefield and humane treatment of the defeated. Guru Nanak’s ideal devotee of the Divne is one who is so ‘enthusiastic’ about playing the ‘game of love’ that he is prepared to stake his life in the venture (to ‘carry his head on the palm of his hand.’) A person must think nothing of making the ultimate sacrifice while walking on the spiritual path. (je tau prem khelan ka chaou sir dhar tali gali mori aao).
3. The Guru expects his followers not to shirk battle for a worthy cause. The cause has been defined clearly. It is the Creator’s Will that absolute justice should pervade all human institutions, that everyone must enjoy the freedom of worship and to preserve ones human dignity. This is the basis of the Sikh political thought in Guru Granth. Akalpurakh disapproves of oppression (har jio hankar naa bhaaviee) born of impulse of aggression. In his Babarvani verses, Guru Nanak expounds the theory that it is necessary for a spiritually oriented person to physically resist evil-doers. He denounces the Lodhis who failed to protect the women of Hind and its culture. The conclusion is that the devotees who strive for spiritual progress must resist oppression to express their love for Him. Physical resistance to evil is therefore necessary for a person having spiritual aspirations. This is the ‘righteous cause’ that must be pursued ‘to the point of courting martyrdom (mar se mansa sooria hak hai je hoe marahe parvano).’ Defining the righteous cause more explicitly, Guru Arjun told Adit Soini, ‘while engaged in battle, contemplate on Akalpurakh, Who destroys evil-doers; fight an ethical battle on behalf of the oppressed poor.’[1] The same idea is contained in the verses of Kabir included in the scripture. ‘Truly brave is one who fights for the deprived,’ says the Bhagat. (soora so pehchanie jo lare deen ke het). While engaged in this pious duty, the battlefield must never be abandoned. (purja purja kat marai kbhun na chhade khet).
4. We learn from literature other than the scripture that the succeeding Gurus blessed professional soldiers and encouraged them to develop the right kind of attitude towards warlike engagements. Guru Angad, the second Nanak, for instance, laid down an important rule of warfare when he told a military-man Mallu Shahi, ‘do not initiate a quarrel with any one. If a battle is imposed upon you, do not give thought to whether you are well or ill equipped, enter the fray.’[2] While wanton aggression is never justified, it is immoral to avoid war ‘at any cost.’ But even when engaged in battle, the all-important discipline to conform to is that there should be no violence at heart. Guru Arjun advised Tiloka Suhar, who was a soldier in the Mughal army, ‘do not be violent at heart but remain steadfast in your profession of a soldier'.[3] Guru Hargobind, the Sixth Nanak, fighting a ‘to the finish duel’ with the Mughal commander Painda Khan on the battlefield, would not strike first or in anger. Mohsin Fani recalls an incident in which the Guru warded off an attacker and while dealing him a fatal blow calmly observed, ‘this is how the sword is wielded.’ He did not forget his primary duty of a teacher even in those grim circumstances. The related injunction is also derived from the famous letter Zafarnamah (in Persian), supposedly written by the Tenth Guru to Aurangzeb. The oft quoted couplet is to the effect, that ‘when all peaceful strivings is of no avail, righteousness it is then to grasp the sword’. These sermons, prescriptions and acts became the basis of the firm stipulation that weapons were not to be taken up in anger or with aggressive intent and only in the last resort. They are reflected in the Rehatnamas put together by devoted Sikhs much later.[4] In the Guru’s eyes nothing makes the cause more worthy than the taking up of weapons only when every other possibility of getting justice is exhausted.
5. This attitude to war also implies humane treatment of prisoners of war, the injured, those who give up confrontation, non-combatants and the slain. The Tenth Nanak, Gobind Singh specifically forbade the massacre of fleeing enemy. This injunction is based on the Sikh doctrine, that that there is no ‘other’ among humans, as all derive origin from the same divine entity, the common Father/Mother of all. (na ko bairi nahi begana sagal sang ham ko ban aiee: sab ko meet ham apna keena ham sabhna ke sajan). It further says that evil is the result of misconception and wrong orientation of the human mind. People are intrinsically good, not bad. Once they abandon evil ways or cease to support evil causes, they must not be molested. Qazi Nur Muhammad records, `they never kill a retreating foe.’[5] Karl Marx thinks that the Sikhs failed to consolidate their victory over the British at Mudki on December 21, 1945 because they would not attack a defeated foe.[6]
6. An application of the rule relating to prisoners of war is documented again and again. George Forester records that the Afghan Prisoners of War were compelled to clean the mess they created at the shrine at Amritsar. But, “the Sikhs – set bounds to impulse of revenge and though the Afghan massacre and persecution must have been deeply imprinted on their minds, they did not, -- destroy one prisoner in cold blood.”[7] Rattan Singh Bhangu’s father Rai Singh participated in a battle against Jahan Khan, the Afghan Governor of Sarhind, ‘in the middle of November 1763 CE.’ Rattan Singh has constructed the incidents that happened on the battlefields on the information received from his father. He says, `the Singhs did not attack the enemy soldiers who abandoned their weapons. They sought no revenge for they were the personification of mercy.’[8] When, after a duel with Guru Hagobind, Painda Khan, who was lying mortally wounded, repented, the merciful Guru took his head upon his lap and shielded the sun from his eyes saying, ‘Painda it is time to repeat the ‘kalmia.’ Painda Khan was overwhelmed by the gesture. His last words were, ‘now Guru, your sword has become my kalmia.’ In a battle against the King of Kahlur in about 1711 CE, the Sikh commander in chief Banda Singh Bahadur, issued a military order, ‘do not pursue a retreating soldier.’ At the conclusion of the same battle, Sikh soldiers dug graves and buried the thirteen hundred dead since now they were beyond enmity.[9] This tradition dates at least from the time of Guru Gobind Singh who ordered a decent burial for the dead enemy after the battle of Mukatsar. The Sikh Commonwealth faced the greatest danger from Maulvi Sayyid Ahmed Brailvi who, with the British support, led a Jehad against it (1831CE). His head was cut off by a Sikh soldier who presented it to Kanwar Sher Singh. He searched for the Sayyid’s body, retrieved it from the battlefield, wrapped it in an expensive shawl and called a Maulvi to perform the last rites according to the Islamic custom. All his dead companions were honourably buried. Their leader received state honours.[10]
7. Guru Gobind Singh, encouraged medical treatment of the injured enemy, even in the field of battle. He went to the extent of organising a volunteer force headed by Bhai Kanheyia, in the closing years of the 17th century to pursue this injunction. A section of the Sikhs who continue with Bhai Kanheya’s work of serving others, are organised today as Sewapanthis.
8. In the above mentioned battle “Jahan Khan himself took to flight. All his camp equipage, relatives and dependants fell into the hands of the Sikhs. ‘But as the Sikhs of old would not lay their hands on women,’ says Ali-ud-Din, ‘they sent them safely to Jammu.’[11] The wife of Jahan Khan was amongst the captured and it was on her wish that safe journey to Jammu was arranged. A little later, Sarbuland Khan the military commander of Rohtas was defeated and captured by Sardar Charhat Singh. “He was – treated with respect—as a highly placed Afghan official and as an uncle of Ahmed Shah. He was so pleased with the kindness he received at the hands of the Sardar, that he offered to serve under him as a governor if Charhat Singh were to proclaim himself a king. [Charat Singh informed him] ‘kingship is already bestowed upon us by the Guru.’ [The prisoner was] allowed to return to his country.”[12]
9. Ideally from the Sikh point of view, warfare is a voluntary activity born of intense personal conviction. It is in this context that the war cry of ‘jo bole so nhal, sat siri akal,’ (‘every felicity is to him who volunteers to join up on hearing the cry of battle being waged for the cause of the Deathless’) becomes meaningful. Nothing illustrates this point better than the history of celebrated martyrs like Bhai Tara Singh Wan, Gurbaksh Singh Nihang and others. According to Rattan Singh Bhangu, before the final battle in which death was assured, Tara Singh told his companions that those who wanted to escape could do so. Several went away. He also wrote to those who had promised to share with him their last moments on earth of which, at least three came, joined him and eventually died along with him the next day. Shah Muhammad, recording the happenings relating to a crucial battle of the Anglo-Sikh war, recalls the resolve of the Khalsa army to the effect, ‘now it is the privilege of the Khalsa to lead a frontal attack. Let not the poor (those who have joined the army for earning livelihood,) be pushed to the front.’ (kalghidhar de khalse hun hon moohre, agge hor garib na dhakkanai jee). In many other situations similar conduct of the Sikh soldiers has been noted. In his last battle with the Indian army, Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa in his characteristically humorous way, told those around him, ‘it appears that at dawn we must make the last sortie. Death is assured. Those who desire to live are welcome to escape. Don’t say afterwards that this saadh propelled us into the jaws of death (pher na akhio es saadh ne sanoo marva ditta).’ Those who wanted to go were allowed to depart amicably. The writer of these lines has met at least four persons who had escaped after this pronouncement.
10. ‘Totally devoted ones boldly face battle but the uninitiated run away from conflict,’ says the Guru Granth. (daage hoe so ran meh joojhai bin dage bhag jaee). This sentiment is echoed in the Rehatnamas, is prominent in the conduct of Sikh soldiers and has been mentioned by historians throughout the ages.[13] That the Sikh soldier took his spiritual commitment seriously is also borne out by accounts of the Anglo—Sikh wars.[14]
11. Steadfastness in battle became the hallmark of the Sikh soldier. Sikh religious discipline prescribes that when he is fighting for Truth as he knows it, there is not an inch of the field that he can yield. (purja purja kat marai kabhoon na chhade khet). This was the tradition. Gurbaksh Singh Nihang faced the whole army of Ahmed Shah Abdali with just thirty companions. Of him and his companions, Bhangu says that they all died while advancing towards the enemy. He says the same of the forty martyrs of Muktsar who all fell while advancing in defence of the Guru. After the battle, the Guru assigned them honour after counting the steps that they had advanced from the central point of battle. Karl Marx instinctively knew that in the Khalsa armies, the British people were facing a different kind of a soldier. He thinks the British commander-in-chief’s “asinine stupidity” was responsible for the defeat of the British forces at Pherushahar. “Gough imagined he could do anything to the Sikhs, in the same way as to the easily frightened Hindus of the South, by charging them with bayonets.”[15] J. D. Cunningham who was present on the battlefield during the Anglo-Sikh wars observed about the British cavalry charge, “nor was it until the mass had been three times ridden through that the Sikhs dispersed. The charge was timely and bold; but the ground was more thickly strewn with the bodies of victorious horsemen than of the beaten infantry. The true Sikh was not easily cowed.”[16]
12. The earliest time to which the existence of a fully developed Sikh war code is traceable is the time of Guru Gobind Singh. Bhai Santokh Singh, who did a considerable amount of research to write his popularly known Suraj Prakash, is certain that there existed a written code of conduct for the Sikhs participating in war. He refers to it as gurshastra. He specifically refers to one of its provisions, namely, that women were not to be molested under any circumstances. In this context, and as a measure particularly relevant to wartime situation, members of the Order of the Khalsa were forbidden to have intercourse with Muslim women as Muslims were the main enemies they were fighting at that time and their women were most likely to fall into the hands of the Khalsa. A conversation on the question of the ban is reported to have taken place between Guru Gobind Singh and a group of Sikhs. ‘All the Sikhs assembled together to ask the ‘source of all values’. Their question was: ‘the Turks routinely rape women of Hind. Sikhs would be doing well to avenge this. Why does the Guru’s code (gurshastra) prohibit molestation of women? Then, at that time, the True Guru spoke thus; I want the panth to scale (new moral) heights. I will not condemn it to depths of degradation.’ It appears that these precepts were duly formally codified and strict adherence to them was stipulated as the Guru’s wish – the strongest of all sanctions for a believing Sikh. Bhangu mentions that Banda Bahadur, appointed commander-in-chief of the Sikh forces by the Guru, used to repeat his general orders on the battlefield by the beat of drums everyday. One order that was repeated daily was, ‘nobody is to touch ornaments on the person of a woman. Similarly, no man is to be divested of the clothes worn by him. More particularly, a person’s turban was not to be removed.’[17] Of course, it all started with Guru Nanak’s deep anguish and distress over the rape of the women of Hind by the invading armies of the Mughal Babur as depicted in the babarvani verses. (paap ki janj lai kabulon dhaiya jori mange daan ve Lalo).
13. There is another reference, which in spite of scepticism, suggests that a compendium of the Sikh war code perhaps existed at the time of Ranjit Singh. “—The Darbar under the guidance of Ranjit Singh framed certain regulations for the army. What these regulations were we cannot surmise; they have not outlived their authors, nor is it probable that they were ever recorded; but judging from the discipline of the Khalsa we may be inclined to think favourably of them.”[18]
14. There are several independent observers who have noticed the strict code of warfare followed by the Sikhs throughout the centuries. Qazi Nur Muhammad notes of the Sikhs that ‘they do not rob a woman of her gold and ornaments, may she be a queen or a slave-girl. Adultery also does not exist among—.”[19] Griffin noted in his Rajas of the Punjab, “There are few stories in Sikh History of outrage to women and torture to men such as stain the pages of South Indian History with cruelty and blood.”[20]
15. Inspired by the Guru’s injunctions, the Sikh soldiers were always moved by the plight of women and recorded incidents depict them as travelling hundreds of miles, courting danger and fighting bloody battles to rescue women in distress. Baghel Singh once rode to Lohari with his army on such a mission. Lohari was within an arms length of Delhi where the Mughal king still ruled. He rescued the woman, punished her tormentors and had her rehabilitated with the consent of her clan. His entire army donated cash to give her a parting present because she had by the act of being rescued by them, become the ‘daughter of the entire panth.’
16. The most spectacular example of this chivalrous conduct at the mass level is the rescue of thousands of Maratha women being carried captive by Ahmed Shah Abdali after the Third Battle of Panipat in January 1761. The earliest historians who recorded it include Ram Sukh Rao the official historian of the ruling Ahluwalia family. It is mentioned by James Brown in his History of the Origin and Progress of the Sikhs, published in 1881.[21] After their rescue, they were escorted to their homes in Maharashtra and restored to their families in a soul stirring gesture depicting rare moral grandeur of monumental magnitude.
17. In the recent (1971) war against Pakistan for the liberation of Bangladesh, the Sikh soldiers came across women kept as sex slaves by Yahya Khan’s army. They were often found without clothes (a measure to deter escape?). It is recorded that the Sikh soldiers of the invading victorious army, took off their turbans in a befitting tribute to human dignity, to cover the naked women. The tradition launched by the gurshastra has come down to the present day.
18. Sikh conventions appear also to have contained a provision that other non-combatants besides women were to be considered inviolable. “On December 10, 1710, (the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah 1707-12) issued a royal edict to all the faujdars (military commanders) of Shahjahanabad (Delhi) and its neighbourhood to put to the sword the worshippers of Nanak –the Sikhs- where ever found.” (Nanak-prastan ra har ja kih ba-aband, ba-qatl rasanad)[22] The Sikh reply to this order of general massacre of Sikhs is recorded by the royal news-writer who informed the Emperor on April 28, 1711, “that Banda Singh – -encamped at Kalanaur – had declared that he was in no way opposed to the Muslims and that they had the fullest liberty to recite their sermons and prayers – khutba-o-namaz. – -The result of this was, the report continued, that as many as five thousand Muslims had joined the Sikh army.”[23]
19. Sikhs appear to have been instructed by the Guru to have a measure of reverence for the places considered holy by any tradition. They meticulously followed the instructions, although the Afghans and the Mughals had often destroyed Sikh shrines during the period of their political ascendancy. The holiest Sikh shrine at Amritsar was pulled down twice and defiled many times more. Yet when the first great Sikh upheaval under Banda Bahadur took place in around 1710 CE the Sikhs destroyed no place of worship. The Sikh armies gathered at Fatehgarh Sahib, the place where the younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh had been bricked alive, for the final assault on Sirhind. They were within a few hundred yards of the mausoleum of Shaikh Ahmed Sirhandi who had been the implacable foe of the Sikhs. Ideology emanating with him was responsible for the execution of two Gurus, the persecution of four and the execution of the Guru’s sons.[24] Shaikh Ahmed called himself the ‘prophet of the second millennium’ and received homage as such. Many princes of Afghanistan lie buried at the graveyard attached to his shrine. The Sikhs never thought of destroying or even despoiling his grave or the graves of their sworn enemies whom they knew to be despoilers of their land. Sirhind was destroyed totally and the land on which it stood was ploughed in revenge for the execution of little princes, the sons of Guru Gobind Singh, aged seven and nine years. It was cosidered to have forfeited the right to exist. The Shaikh’s mausoleum stands fully intact even today.
20. It is also pretty clear that the destruction of common heritage of humankind, such as libraries, is not sanctioned by the Sikh war code. In 1834, the Sikh forces were poised to attack Peshawar. Ranjit Singh gave emphatic written instructions to the invading General Hari Singh Nalwa that the famous library of the Akhunzadas of Chamkani was to be meticulously saved from harm.[25] The position may be contrasted with that of the Romans the most civilised of the ancient world, who burnt the priceless manuscripts at Alexandria, or with that of the Medieval Muslims who destroyed the rich library at Constantinople in 1453 and with that of the modern Indian state that burnt the Sikh Reference Library at Amritsar in 1984.

Much has been written about the exploits of Sikh warriors. Historical accounts of battles and wars are abundant but there is woefully little research by way of discovering the war code which Sikhs followed. There are similarities in the conduct of Sikh soldiers throughout the centuries of warfare, that tell us that there existed a body of injunctions having the effect of law on the minds of soldiers who took their faith seriously. It is possible to say that it had spiritual discipline for its basis and was eventually derived from the Guru Granth. From Qazi Nur Muhammad to the press reporters chronicling the war for Bangladesh, a similarity of conduct on certain basic issues is noticed. It is challenging to trace the origin of instructions which are universally respected and have commanded spontaneous adherence in all ages.
The ultimate sanction behind exemplary conduct, expected of a soldier, was spiritual. A Sikh soldier was consciously playing the role of Akalpurakh in human affairs. For that he had to be imbued with the qualities which the gurbani reveals to be His attributes. A Sikh’s salvation depended upon implementing the Divine Will in the world. Its operative part dealt with removing human suffering by seeking to establish justice and by banishing oppression from human affairs. This is the meaning of the assertion that ‘he is to be considered a brave knight who fights for the downtrodden’ (deen). (Guru Granth, 1356). The very opening verse of the Guru Granth states that the Ultimate Reality is ‘fearless’ and is ‘without enmity.’ While a soldier expected himself to be attuned to these concepts in daily life, he knew that in adversity and in war, the only measure of his conduct was living up to them. That was especially important for his spiritual self esteem. It constituted salvation itself. Until the coming into existence of the Sikh states, the Sikh armies were totally voluntary forces. Even after that a significant part of the army remained voluntary and unpaid. That had something to do with the war code voluntarily observed as a part of the strict spiritual discipline.
Most of original Sikh literature and history books written by the Sikhs has been destroyed. It was the first target of all their proselytising enemies. The process was started by Lakhpat Rai a satrap of Shah Nawaz, the Mughal Governor of Lahore in mid eighteenth century. He is reputed to have filled up wells with books on Sikh theology and history. The latest example of such wanton destruction was in 1984 when the invading Indian armies set fire to the Sikh Reference Library and burnt up thousands of invaluable manuscripts, some dating back to the early seventeenth century. It is noteworthy that the library in the Darbar Sahib complex was burnt deliberately after the conflict with the militant defenders had come to a close with the death of all of them on June 6, 1984.
Any study of the Sikh War Code will be incomplete without an in depth study of the Guru’s concept of ‘open diplomacy.’ Of Helvetians, Julius Caesar observed, “The tradition in which they had been schooled by their forebears was to fight like men and not to rely on cunning or stratagem.”[26] The same appears to have been true of the Sikhs and squares with the concept of ‘open diplomacy’ strictly enjoined upon the Khalsa by the Guru. The British were perceived to be morally degraded deceiving strategists. Several accounts of the Anglo-Sikh wars depict that the ordinary Sikh soldier was full of contempt for their unethical behaviour. Earlier Ranjit Singh had told reverend Wolff, a German missionary, who said he had brought civilising tidings to the Punjab, ‘why don’t you go and preach in Calcutta? The Governor General and his cohorts are the only uncivilised people in India.’
Engaging in warfare is not the only activity the Khalsa is created for. The war without is to take place as a last resort measure. It is the war within that is to occupy a person most of his life. It is as unrelenting as the physical warfare. The five vices, desire, anger, greed, attachment and arrogance are to be completely subdued. It is a total war – to the very finish. Human birth is a rare opportunity. (manas janam dulambh hai hoe na baram bar). It cannot be wasted (is pauri te jo nar chookai aai jai dukh paida). Just, like the battle without, there is a code of conduct for the battle within. There is also the discipline which is basically symbolised by the five symbols of faith bestowed upon the Khalsa by the compassionate Guru. With such equipment, the Khalsa must contend within and renew themselves like the bird of paradise with the help of the Guru’s transforming touch. (pasu prethon dev kare poorai satgut ki vadiai). It is this that the Rehatnamas advocate while prescribing ‘he alone is Khalsa who mounts a charger (in this case the human body) and is ever engaged in warfare.’ (Khalsa sou jo charhe turang, Khalsa sou jo kare nit jang). At that plane, the only other worthwhile activity recommended to a seeker is sewa or selfless service to humankind in its myriad forms.

[1] Bhai Mani Singh, Sikhan di Bhagatmala, (circa 1730 CE) Khalsa Samachar, Amritsar, 1955, 136.
[2] Bhagatmala, 67
[3] Bhagatmala, 84.
[4] See for instance, Randhir Singh, Prem Sumarg Granth, (circa 1730 CE) New Book Company, Jalandhar, 1965, 90.
[5] Karam Singh Historian di Itihasik Khoj, Hira Singh Darad (ed.), Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Amritsar, 1964, 97-99, 455-508.
[6] See, Notes on Indian History, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, Undated, 144.
[7] A Journey from Bengal to England, (First Published 1808) Reprint, Languages Department Punjab, 1970, 321
[8] See Prachin Panth Parkash, Sikh Itihas Research Board, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Sri Amritsar, 1984, 501.
[9] Bhangu, 164.
[10] Shamsher Singh Ashok, Veer Nayak Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, Punjabi University, Patiala, 1984, p.76.
[11] Ganda Singh, (quoting Ibrat Namah, 274-275 in) Ahmed Shah Durrani, Asia Publishing House, Bombay, 1959.290. and Hari Ram Gupta, 198.
[12] Ganda Singh, 295.In the same work, Ganda Singh also quotes Abdali as writing to Amir Naseer Khan his Bloach ally to goad him into holy war against the Sikhs, “how can you think of going to Mecca while this depraved sect is wreaking havoc? Jihad on these idolators -- is more meritorious than Hajj. --- come so that we may destroy this faithless sect and enslave their women and children --- fatwa of the Ulema has already been issued –.” Ahmed Shah Durrani, p. 296.
[13] Rehatnama Bhai Nandlal, for instance, has the instructions: 1) A Sikh, “should never run away from the battlefield and steadfastly stick to his Dharma.” 2) He should never forsake the discipline and should always face the enemy in the battlefield and should never turn his back.” Surinder Singh Kohli, Sikh Ethics, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 1975, 71 and 72.
[14] “—Yet, although assailed on either side by squadrons of horse and battalions of foot, no Sikh offered to submit, and no disciple of Gobind asked for quarter. They everywhere showed a front to their victors, and stalked slowly and sullenly away, while many rushed singly forth to meet assured death by contending with a multitude. The victors looked with stolid wonderment upon the indomitable courage of the vanquished, --.” Joseph Davy Cunningham, A History of the Sikhs, (1849), S. Chand & Co.,Delhi, 1966, 284-285.

[15] Notes on Indian History, 144.
[16] History of The Sikhs, 277, 276.
[17] Bhangu, 166.
[18] See Dewan Amarnath, Memoirs of the Reign of Ranjit Singh, reproduced in Rare Documents on Sikhs and their rule in the Punjab, (Ed. H. S. Bhatia), Deep & Deep Publications, New Delhi, 1981, p.151.
[19] Hari Ram Gupta, History of the Sikhs, vol. II, (4th edition), Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi, 1992, 266.
[20] Quoted by Gupta, 271.
[21] See, Ganda Singh, Ahmed Shah Durrani- Father of Modern Afghanistan, Asia Publishing House, Bombay, 1959, p. 264; see also, Hari Ram Gupta, History of the Sikhs Vol.II, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd, 1992, 168.
[22] Ganda Singh (Ed.), The Punjab Past and Present October 1984, Punjabi University, Patiala, 6.
[23] Ganda Singh, “Sirhind in the eighteenth century”, in Sirhind Through the Ages, Fauja Singh (ed.), Punjabi University, Patiala, September 1972, 104-105.
[24] Kapur Singh, Sachi Sakhi, Navyug Publishers, Delhi, 1979, 30-37. See also S. M. Ikram and S. A. Rashid’s History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan, quoted in Fauja Singh’s, Sirhind Through the Ages, 60. “The rhetoric and appeal of Shaikh Ahmed’s letters kindled religious fervour and resulted in a religious revival – which completely altered the history of the sub-continent”.
[25] Prem Singh Hoti, Khalsa Raj de Usraiyee, (3rd ed.) Lahore Book Shop, Lahore, 1942, 36.
[26] Gallic Wars And Other Writings, Random House Inc., New York, 1957, 8.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Of burqa-clad historians, puerile approaches, sycophantic opinions and the destruction of Sikh ethos [Contemporary history]

Recently I was invited to the Guru Nanak Dev University. I was to present my views to the seminarians trying to understand Guru Nanak’s teachings. It was a very gracious invitation by the head of the department that could not have been refused.

Just before the seminar began, some students sang the poem ‘deh shiva bar mohe ihe’. Those who revere it as the composition of the Tenth Guru believe (against all available evidence) that Shiva in the verse alludes to Akalpurakh. Those who know the context and the meaning explicitly assigned to it in the composition know that it is another name of Parbati, the consort of Lord Shiva of Hindu trinity. They who understand this much cannot be seen praying to a mythical being as worship of Akalpurakh alone is permissible in the Sikh faith.

I stood up in the worshipful mode as I did not want to create a scene by walking out or by remaining seated. Had I known that this would be sung, I would have come in a little late and saved myself the embarrassment. Now it became necessary for me to disassociate myself from the homage to Parbati.

Before beginning my presentation I said words to the effect: ‘now that the students have started the proceedings by worship of Parbati, I shall be looking forward also to a cup of hashish (bhang), Shiva’s favourite drink.’ It was natural to expect a stimulating cup as without drinking it no worship of Shiva is complete.

Then I remembered what the department had done to my article. I had written an original article on a hitherto little touched upon theme, namely “Sikh war ethics: spiritual inspiration and impact on history.” I also saw Prof. Shashi Bala Julka, who had been corresponding with me in connection with that article written on her invitation. Initially she had liked the article and had promised several times to publish it. Eventually some change came about in her attitude and it was decided that the article in that form should not be published. Her argument against publishing the article was that it was ‘controversial’. The argument was unacceptable as it is the university’s business to deal with controversies in rational manner.

She had told me that the article had been referred to a ‘Sikh historian’ and that the referee had found it ‘controversial’. She had not named the ‘Sikh historian’ or the sick historian.

My plea was that the article must be published as it was and the ‘sick historian’ may write to point out the nature of controversy it raises. I will try to counter the argument. Thereafter, we must leave it to the scholars to judge who is right and who is wrong. This according to me was the only method of resolving academic controversies.

The ‘sick historian’ perhaps refused to shed his veil (burqa) of anonymity and the article remained unpublished—so it remains up to now.

So, seeing Dr. Julka sitting in front of me, I remarked that I may not pursue Parbati issue further as it may erupt into a ‘controversy’ which the learned Doctor disapproves of. According to me, I had settled the five year old issue in a lighthearted and meaningful manner. As an aggrieved party, I had the right to say more, but I did not do so. I found that even this much could not be tolerated in an academic gathering which should have been geared to accommodate all kinds of viewpoints. Dr. Jaswinder Kaur made some sarcastic mention of it in her presentation. I interpreted those as mild though fully and wholly unwarranted but said nothing about it to maintain decorum.

During the recess I discovered that the ‘Sikh historian’ who had given puerile comments about my article being controversial was none other that Dr. Kirpal Singh. I also came to know that the decision to withhold the article was taken by the entire department of Guru Nanak Studies and not by Dr. Shashi Bala Julka alone.

I reproduce the entire correspondence on the subject below and leave it to the scholars and lay people to make what they will of it. A few words about Dr. Kirpal Singh whom I have known and have closely observed for several decades, will be found to be in order by the reader. According to me he is the hatchet man of the forces inimical to Sikh culture, his function is to confuse Sikh point of view, to destroy Sikh ethos and to dismantle the Sikh identity by challenging all expressions of it based on authentic Sikh values. He does not pit a rational opinion against a thesis but an emotional one based on his own warped understanding of patriotism. He hopes that the support of the permanent cultural majority will lend dignity to his feather weight musings. Do we need enemies when we have such friends!

I may also mention here that I wrote to Dr. Jairup Singh, the Vice-Chancellor of the University to bring the matter to his notice. My communication remained unacknowledged. It has often been observed in academic circles that our universities were being controlled by forces that had other interests at heart. They were understood to be operating under the influence of dwarfed and amorphous concept of national interest. Consequently they were making an all out effort to obliterate the Sikh culture and to ascribe new meaning to the Sikh scripture in their quest for uniformity. This perception was based on observation. Now there appears to be even more tangible evidence on the subject.

Next week, I will put the article in question on this blog-spot so that the reader may judge whether it was worth publishing or not.




Dr. Shashi Bala Date 30-1-06


Respected Prof. Sahib,

As you are aware, the Department of Guru Nanak Studies has been publishing a bi-annual Journal of Sikh Studies since 1974. It covers a wide range of areas pertaining to Sikhism viz. religion, philosophy, history, sociology, art, music and hermeneutics. The journal has wide circulation and has acquired encouraging recognition not only in India but at the international level also. Besides articles, the journal also includes book reviews relating to Sikhism and other allied fields.

You are an eminent scholar in the field of Sikh studies. Therefore, on behalf of the department of Guru Nanak Studies, I feel honoured to request you to oblige us by contributing an article in your specialization for publication in our journal.

It is requested that the article should be unpublished before, and references should be placed at the end of the manuscript. A brief bio-data may also be enclosed along with your article.

I will feel obliged if you could send your paper through e-mail or floppy/ CD on MS Word, by the end of March,2006.

With regards,

Yours Sincerely


(Shashi Bala)

Tue, 7 Feb 2006 03:16:46 -0800 (PST)

Ref. No. 221-272/DGNS dated 30.1.06

Dear Dr Shashi Bala ji,

Thank you for the invitation to write for your esteemed Journal of Sikh Studies.

I will be sending my article by about the end of March on e-mail as required by you.


Yours sincerely,

Gurtej Singh


Fri, 7 Apr 2006 12:03:17 +0100 (BST)

Respected Sir,

Sat Siri Akal!

I am waiting for your article for publication in the Journal of Sikh Studies as you have promised earlier.Please send it as early as possible.


With deep regards,

Yours Sincerely,

Shashi Bala

Tue, 11 Apr 2006 05:26:57 -0700 (PDT)

Dear Ms. Shashi Bala Julka,

I am sorry for the delay. I was really very busy.

I hope you will like the article. This subject has not been paid much attention to. It may be of interest to scholars.


Yours Sincerely,

Gurtej Singh

Sikh_War_Code.docSikh_War_Code.doc (100k) [Preview]

Tue, 11 Apr 2006 05:57:45 -0700 (PDT)

Please ignore the earlier attachment as it contains the rough draft which was inadvertently attached due to operational error.

Sikh_War_Code.doc (70k) [Preview]

Thu, 11 May 2006 11:26:29 +0100 (BST)

Respected Sir,

I am sorry I could not reply you earlier due to internet problem at my home as well as at office. Now I have seen and download the attachment. I am very grateful to you for your positive response to my letter and hope to get the similar cooperation from you in future also. Your valuable research paper is preserved for the next issue of the journal i.e in Aug as the previous one has already been sent in the press. I deeply regret for the delay due to the failure of internet system

Thanks and with profound regards. Shashi, Dept of Guru Nanak Studies, GNDU, Asr

Wed, 10 Jan 2007 19:04:47 -0800 (PST)

Dear Dr. Shashi Bala ji,

I am interested in knowing whether you could publish my article on Sikh War Ethics. If it is published, could you please let me know the details of the publication?


Gurtej Singh


Thu, 18 Jan 2007 00:14:15 +0000 (GMT)

Respected Sir,

I am sorry to say that your article on Sikh War Ethics is still in the process of publication. I could not include it in the second volume of the Journal of Sikh Studies as this volume was special issue relating to the life and martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev.

I would like to seek your permission for publishing it in the next issue i.e. 2007.

With Profound Regards,

Yours Sincerely,

Shashi Bala, G.N.D.U.

Fri, 9 Feb 2007 01:37:44 +0000 (GMT)

Respected Sir,

I replied to your e-mail earlier but got no reply from your side. Regarding your article, I may submit that it is in the process and I was waiting for your reply and consent to include it in the Journal of Sikh Studies, 2007.

With due apology, I already replied that in the first issue of the journal, we could not include it as the jounal was already sent to the press. The second issue was special issue on Guru Arjan Dev' Life and Martyrdom and another Journal Perspectives on Guru Granth Sahib includes articles relating to the themes of The Scripture.

Due to the above stated reasons, the article could not be published so far. As the theme of your article is most relevant, I would like to seek your permission to include it in the next issue, if you have not sent it for publication anywhere. I used to read your articles in the Sikh Review.

Hoping to get your cooperation for the dissemination of Sikh perspective of philosophy and religion, and waiting for your consent.

With deep regards,

Shashi Bala, G.N.D.U.Amritsar.

Fri, 9 Feb 2007 01:54:01 -0800 (PST)

Dear Dr. Shashi Bala ji,

The article was written for your journal. It has not been sent to anyone else.The Sikh Review is publishing my translation of Panth Parkash.

You may publish the article sent to you in the Journal.


Gurtej Singh




Dr. Shashi Bala Date 9-4-07


Respected Sir,

As you know, the Journal of Sikh Studies is a referred

Journal. Your article entitled ‘Sikh War Codes: Spiritual Inspiration and Impact on history’ was sent to the referee approved by the Vice Chancellor and the details for modification as suggested are attached herewith. I hope you won’t mind to change the article accordingly.

With regards

Yours Sincerely


(Shashi Bala)

Gurtej Singh

742, Sector-8




Report of referee regarding publication of research paper in the Journal Journal of Sikh Studies


2. Whether accepted/rejected/revised: SHOULD BE REVISED BEFORE PUBLICATION

3. If accepted:

a) to be published in original form: NO

b) to be published in modified form: YES

c) Details for the modification: SEPERAE SHEET ATTACHED

(attach sheet if necessary)

d) Broad comment about the paper: SEPERAE SHEET ATTACHED

(attach sheet if necessary)


The first para of the article as cited above either be deleted or reconstructed. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism inculcated in his followers the spirit of fight against tyranny and injustice and defend the weak and downtrodden. He is considered Prophet of Peace who wanted reconciliation between the warring Hindus and Muslims. It would be inadvisable to associate Guru Nanak with War Code whatsoever. Similarly, Guru Arjan’s hymn quoted in the first para referred to above, is a description of struggle against five evils in our body viz Kaam, Krodh, Lobh etc. He does not refer to any external enemy because he saysn ‘Sagal Sang Humko Ban Ayee…’. Association of war code with his hymns is not proper.

On pages 4, 7and 8 there are references to Operation Blue Star and Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala. His role in the Operation Blue Star is controversial so it would be better to avoid it.

On page 7, it has been stated that Indian Govt. claimed that they have burnt the Sikh reference Library which is not correct. The Govt. has never claimed to have burnt the library. There is no question of deliberate burning of the library. The library was burnt no doubt but why—is not known. It would thus be better to delete all these references from the article.

Wed, 18 Apr 2007 05:07:46 -0700 (PDT)

From: Gurtej Singh,

# 742 Sector 8,

Chandigarh- 160009

To: Dr. Shashi Bala


Department of Guru Nanak Studies,

Guru Nanak Dev University , Amritsar.

April 18, 2007

Dear Dr. Shashi Bala ji,

Many thanks for your letter No. 361/GNS dated April 9, 2007. I am very glad that you have finally decided to spell out your objections to my article written on your kind invitation.

I am not sure the objections raised by the anonymous referee whose opinion you sought, are valid or precise. I propose to deal with them as follows:

1A). The referee says, ‘Guru Nanak was a prophet of peace and he cannot be said to have had political concerns.’ Politics is very much a part of human life and the situation has been that way since the dawn of civilization. Humankind is moved through politics and for that reason many momentous social and economic changes have come about through the instrumentality of politics. Destinies of nations have been profoundly affected by politics. Every prophet and incarnation including our own Buddha, Ram and Krishna have been preoccupied with politics. The same is true of Sumerian, Semitic and Graeco-Roman gods, prophets and figures of eminence all over the world. If any change has to be brought about in the ways of humans and if an attempt to establish permanent peace has to be made, it has to be done through politics. A prophet who wishes to establish ‘Ramrajya’ has of necessity to resort to war. Sri Ram, the incarnation of Vishnu had started fighting wars in his childhood and continued doing so till the very end of his human existence. The same is true of Sri Krishna. The same is true of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Durga and Indra. They are known to be armed (some to the teeth), they promoted conflict, took sides in the battles and adorned battlefields as warriors. All the time they had the idea of establishing peace nearest to their hearts. Prophet Muhammad’s religion is all about peace as the very name Islam suggests; yet he fought wars and made Jihad compulsory for believers. Moses not only led his flock in war but is on record as claiming that God Himself fought for his army. All the time he was leading the Jews to peace and prosperity. Jesus Christ the ‘prince of peace’ as his followers call him, had deep-rooted social and political concerns. The scholars are now piercing the wall of propaganda built around him by twenty centuries of all out effort by the Church, to discover that he was perhaps the leader of a local sect engaged in resisting the Roman Empire by violent means (see the Dead Sea Scrolls). It is recorded that he overturned the tables of the money changers thus resorting to reform by violence. All his companions at the Last Supper were armed and one is reported to have cut off the earlobe of the governor’s minion with his sword. His statement that he had come to promote conflict and to bring about warlike conditions in every family he came in contact with, is a part of the New Bible. His authentic image takes care of his social concerns which are reconcilable with his image as a prince of peace as in the case of almost every other prophet or incarnation in human history.

Why does your University think that such reconciliation, in the case of Guru Nanak, is impossible?

1B). By pretending to promote Guru Nanak exclusively as prophet of peace, your University is trying to defame his successors who organized the Sikhs to resist tyranny. The Sikhs, the Guru Granth, and all Sikh theologians believe that all the Gurus were one and preached the same doctrine. To this school of thought all the Gurus remain ‘princes of peace’ and their resistance to violence remains till today the only method of establishing peace. Bertrand Russell and M. K. Gandhi had no peaceful answer to the violence unleashed by Hitler. Gandhi even contemplated suicide on seeing that his hollow notions about non-violence were not adequate to meet everyday problems arising in the world. Lord Wavell has recorded that he was for establishing peace in Kashmir by sending in the Indian army to counter occupation by forces loyal to Pakistan . He also did not care if human blood flowed in rivers provided the British made an immediate retreat from India. Anyone who does not believe that superior violence is required to meet aggression and assault on human dignity, would be running the risk of being called ‘intellectually challenged.’ This is the lesson of all history.

1C). Rabindranath Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize in return for his help in curbing the Punjabi and Bengali violent resistance to the British rule in India. He travelled all the way to San Francisco to tell the Ghadarites to stop violence against the British colonial power. He was severely and effectively chastised by the freedom fighters. It was in an attempt to deflect the Sikh movement from its true moorings that he invented the theory of one or two Gurus having broken off from the peaceful path of Nanak. True patriots (though I disapprove of earth bound patriotism) and genuine scholars have all along considered this to be no more than a lap dog performance by an imperialist stooge. It constitutes a low grade attack on another culture. Gandhi adopted Tagore’s thesis and went ahead to preach hatred of the Sikhs and their Gurus. To the best of my knowledge, this is not the ideology that the Guru Nanak University was founded to preach.

1D). Guru’s faith is not about ‘interiority,’ in spite of what McLeod and his anthropologist followers have to say on the subject. There are many scholars, including historians and theologians whose books your university and other universities have published, who are clear that Guru Nanak had deep-rooted social, economic and political concerns. Some of them got together to propound the ‘Guru’s Miri-piri system’ as Daljit Singh called it. Noel Q. King is asking ‘how did interiority lead to the promulgation of the Order of the Khalsa and how did their teachings inspire people to become the makers of history?’ This is the position today and the Sikhs are making history even at present. Dr. J. S. Grewal (your own erstwhile head of the History Department and the ex-Vice Chancellor) is aware that the Kabipanthis, Ravidasis, followers of Mirabai and host of other sects and denominations never intervened in history and remain confined to their ‘interiority’ and oblivion. Guru Arjan was not talking about enemies inside the self alone. He was also preparing his people to challenge the tyrant in the mundane world. His asking his followers to get familiar with horses was not about ‘interiority,’ but had something to do with cavalry. His asking his son and the successor Gurus to maintain a permanent force of 2200 horse was not about muttering the name of God but was about meeting the tyrant on the field of battle. It is preposterous to hold that social and political concerns were not an integral part of Guru Nanak’s thought. The Department of Guru Nanak Studies is distorting Sikhi if it is teaching such stuff. My own formulation on the subject (“Political ideas of Guru Nanak,” pp.61-72) is a part of a book published by the Punjabi University (Recent Researches in Sikhism, (Ed. Jasbir Singh Mann et. al, 1992).

1E). Your referee’s interpretation of the hymn of Guru Arjan is by no means final. For one, Jehangir did not accept it and the Guru faced martyrdom. That should be proof enough of its true nature. The historian Ganda Singh and the theologian Teja Singh in their A Short History of the Sikhs also differ with your referee. There are others too, some of whom are mentioned in the previous paragraph. Recently, I read a keynote address at the Punjabi University where some scholars from your university were also present. It was regarding the martyrdom of Guru Arjan and I propounded my thesis more cogently. It has been deemed worth a consideration by several eminent historians and interpreters of the scripture.

2A). I hope your referee is talking about Sant Jarnail Singh in his second paragraph. Sant Jarnail Singh is a well known personality and a person accepted as one of the greatest martyrs of the Sikh faith, by many Sikh and non-Sikh scholars. It is not proper to use his name without the epithet ‘Sant.’ Your referee should get it clear that he was not the only Sant in human history to have defied the might of an empire on the battlefield. I have been watching the recent happenings in the Punjab from close quarters. I have enough inside knowledge about what transpired. For the sake of truth, I must write what I have witnessed and known through eyewitnesses. There is nothing controversial about what I have written about the Sant. It is an eye witness account that has to be recorded for posterity. If, however, someone considers it ‘controversial’ let him present what s/he considers to be his or her side of the controversy. That will provide the future historians with material to formulate their own views. Why should a university want to avoid mention of recent events and why should it dub them as controversial? Contemporary history is a very respectable discipline and countless books appear on the subject every day in today’s world. The Iraq war has been discussed in hundreds of books all over though it is still happening. Besides, the thesis I am proposing in my article, must of necessity mention the Sant to show that a certain ancient tradition is current in the contemporary Sikhs society. It is an integral part of my thesis.

3A). Your referee has not understood the relevant paragraph on page 7 of my article in proper perspective or I have not been able to make myself very clear to him. There are two views about the Sikh Reference Library, one is that it was burnt up and the second is that it was carried away by the invading forces. The government claims that it was burnt. There is no doubt about that. I have discussed the matter with more than one Prime Ministers of India. I know the official government position as well as the factual. Mr. Chandra Shekhar offered to return to the Sikhs the contents carried away by the army. The remark quoted by your referee is to be read in that context.

3B). There is little doubt that the portion of the Sikh Reference Library that was burnt by the invading army. It was burnt much after neutralizing resistance from the Darbar Complex. There was an army man in every square inch of the Darbar Complex when it was burnt. The library was in the ground occupied by the Indian army and anyone who has been to a field of battle knows how the occupying forces behave in such a situation. That the invader’s desire to destroy the culture of the (temporarily) disadvantaged people, is also well known. You know what Shankracharya did to Buddhist universities, libraries and shrines. You also know what Aurangzeb and his kind do to Hindu cultural monuments when their turn came. The lies that such people later invent to cover up their brutality and barbarity are also well known. In the case of attack on the Darbar, such behaviour has been well documented and analysed. Many lies have been nailed by other departments of the government itself. What I have written in this context is based on facts as I best know them.

Lastly, for many weighty doctrinal stances of universal validity connected with the Sikh faith and for many reasons rooted in the most considered philosophical premises known to all societies, I do not subscribe to the theory that your referee is asking me to comply with. Universities all over the world constitute forums where thought flows free and unchecked. Your University wants me to subscribe to a thought that all reason and understanding beckon me to repel with all the force at my command. I am not a party to those at your University who are carrying on relentless propaganda to denigrate Sikhi, to defame the Sikh Gurus and to detract from the thesis presented in the Guru Granth. I resisted, Piar Singh, the earlier spokesman of such evil forces and a stooge of the Euro-centric foreign scholars. I write only to share the truth as I have known it and not to take sides with a people forming this or that gang constituted with the intention of imposing its views on others. How on earth, can I change my views, just to suit the requirements of your Journal; just to see my name in print?

The people of the Punjab are paying through their nose to sustain the University you teach at. They are also paying for the Journal that you publish. They do so in the hope that you will promote their culture and not undermine it at the behest of long dead perverted poets and political leaders completely disoriented from reality. The people’s interest and that of the truth is best served if many differing thoughts interact allowing the student to examine the worth of each and to support either one or more of them. That interest is paramount. I therefore request you to publish the article as it is and let others, who wish to do so, contest its formulations. I will defend my thesis on the basis of the truth as I perceive it. It is not a matter of using this or that word here or of replacing a sentence with another more palatable to the referee appointed by you. Much more is involved.

I must also remind you that I wrote the article for you on your very graciously worded invitation. I would not have sent it for publication in the Journal of Sikh Studies but for you asking me to do so. My views are well known in the small circle of my friends. No one has ever asked me to change them to suit the designs of a rival culture and the political needs of a ruthless group of neo-imperialists.

With kindest regards and all good wishes

Yours sincerely,

(Gurtej Singh)

Copy to the Vice chancellor Guru Nanak Dev University with a request to intervene and to see that the professor does not intimidate scholars in future in the manner she is doing now.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 07:23:12 +0100 (BST)

Respected Sir,

The copy of the Journal of Sikh Studies Vol.xxxi,2007 is ready for publication in the press. As I mentioned earlier, your article needs a little modification as suggested by the external referee who himself is a Sikh historian and retired Prof of Sikh History. Your article is really appreciative being a detailed exposition of Sikh War Code and its spiritual inspiration and its impact on History. I sincerely wish to include it in the Journal but with due apology, again request you to allow a minor modification in the article as we cannot ignore the suggestions of the refree.

Hope to get a positive reply from your side.

With profound regards,

Yours Sincerely,


Prof. & Head,

Deptt of Guru Nanak Studies

G.N.D.U, Amritsar.