Understanding Sikh History-1

ramana
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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby ramana » 18 Jul 2013 22:19

Virendra am cross posting in Understanding Islamic Society thread..

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby Agnimitra » 09 Aug 2013 14:16

This is why the dialectic among subcontinental Muslims is basically between Aurangzeb and Akbar. Or theologically between Sirhindi (Imam Rabbani) and a form of religion that comes close to Sikhi.

The problem is that those who lean towards Akbar cannot go beyond that into Indian civilization. They believe what we know of India today was wholly recreated during Islamic rule and it is never possible to know what it was like before. Thus, the MJ Akbars, the Saeed Naqvis, the Salman Khurshids, etc. are non-Paki moderate model Indian Muslims in the sense that they like Akbar more than Aurangzeb. They want Akbar's India.

X-post from TSP thread:

Peregrine wrote:A distortion of History in respect of Muslim Rule & Rulers in India :

Past present : Letters of discontent - MUBARAK ALI

Throughout the Muslim rule in the subcontinent, from the Sultanate period to the Mughal rule, the views of the ulema contradicted those of the rulers. Despite state policies being in contradiction to religion according to the ulema, the rulers did not permit them to interfere with the state.

During Akbar’s rule, the ulema disapproved of his policy of sulh-i-kul or peace with all. When Mullah Mohammed Yazdi issued a fatwa, several disgruntled nobles and the ulema rebelled against Akbar who dealt with it in a diplomatic manner. He cancelled the maddad-i-ma’ash jagirs belonging to the ulema, only to reallocate them after interviewing the ulema and confirming their loyalty. He also appointed bureaucrats to supervise their conduct, so that in case of misconduct they could be reprimanded. He then continued with his policy undeterred.

During the reign of Jahangir, a religious scholar, Ahmad Sirhindi (d. 1624) wanted to convince Jahangir to change Akbar’s policy towards non-Muslims. He tried to influence the nobles to help fulfil his ambitions and wrote letters to them, expressing his fanatical ideas.

In a letter to Shaikh Farid, a devout Muslim who had supported Jahangir’s succession to the throne against his eldest son Khusrau, Sirhindi wrote that Islam was in critical condition, and insisted that as a man of faith, it was Shaikh Farid’s responsibility to take action to revive the glory of Islam. In the same letter he expressed his pleasure on the assassination of Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru, regarding it an admirable step. He further explained that the government should adopt a policy to humiliate Hindus and that the imposition of jizya rightly kept the infidels in a state of subordination. According to Sirhindi, this was the right time to convince the emperor to eliminate un-Islamic practices which had become a part of the Muslim culture and to eliminate the influence of the infidels. He appealed to Shaikh Farid to play a role in reviving the purity of Islam. If no action was taken and idolatry continued to flourish, the emperor and his nobles would be responsible for damaging the cause of Islam by not creating a consciousness about sharia among the Muslims.

He wrote another letter to Aziz Khan Kuka, Akbar’s foster brother and opposed Akbar’s religious views. In the war of succession, Sirhindi supported Prince Khusrau against Jahangir, yet retained an important position at the court. In his letter, Sirhindi lamented that the forces of Islam were becoming weaker and at this juncture, his contribution would help annihilate irreligious practices and innovations which were influencing the Muslims. He also said that Islam could only be purified by reverting to its original teachings.

Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi wanted to destroy Akbar’s diplomatic relations with the Hindus. In one of his letters addressed to Lala Beg, he expressed his views that sacrifice of the cow was an Islamic rite.

However, the majority of the ulema and people remained estranged from his movement. Jahangir continued with Akbar’s policy and was a great admirer of his father. In Tuzk-i-Jahangiri, he praised Akbar’s wisdom and sagacity.

Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi was not popular among the Muslims because of his extremist religious views. When Jahangir summoned him to his court, he found him arrogant and rude and did not hesitate to send him to the fort of Gwalior for a brief period of imprisonment.

During the emergence of communalisn in the 1930s, Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi was resurrected by some ulema and projected as the champion of Islam. In Pakistani historiography, I.H. Qureshi and S.M. Ikram eulogised him as the defender of Islam and the man who saved it and protected it from the heretical views of Akbar.

Writers of history textbooks portrayed the same image. As a result, Akbar and his policy of sulh-i-kul, multi-cultural unity and secularism were condemned while Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi’s orthodoxy and religious extremism were appreciated. Sadly, his anti-Hindu, and anti-Shia views are also accepted without criticism, totally negating their dire impact on society today. Today, Pakistani society is paying a heavy price for these misdemeanours.

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby Agnimitra » 07 Mar 2014 08:46

Why I think Sikhi is not a non-Vedic religion:

Head, Heart & Connectedness: Browsing the marketplace of identities
If Sikhism is called nastika just because Guru Nanak poetically or rhetorically coaxes us to give up being obsessed with the words of the Veda, then the Bhagavad Gita must also qualify as a nastika text:

याम् इमां पुष्पितां वाचं
प्रवदन्त्यविपश्चितः ।
वेद-वाद-रताः पार्थ
नान्यद् अस्तीति वादिनः ॥
कामात्मनः स्वर्ग-परा
जन्म-कर्म-फल-प्रदाम् ।
क्रिया-विशेष-बहुलां
भोगैश्वर्य-गतिं प्रति ॥

"Men of small knowledge are much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heaven, good birth and karma, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more to religion than this." - Bhagavad Gita 2:42-43
Here, Krishna denigrates the Vedic karma-kanda, or at least those who remain confined to the karma-kanda worldview. The BG isn't considered anti-Vedic; it's one of the prasthana-traya in Vedanta. But this passage is no less denigrating that any verse from the honorable Guru Granth that brushes aside those who remain addicted to Vedic karma-kanda. So if Sikhi gets classified as 'nastika' (and therefore non-Hindu), then does that make the Gita a nastika text, too?

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby Agnimitra » 22 Apr 2014 23:31

Remembering the martyred Guru Arjan Dev Ji on his birthday...

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Sikh Gurus, Vedas and Hinduism

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby SBajwa » 23 Apr 2014 00:23

What does a word Vedanti means?

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby Agnimitra » 23 Apr 2014 01:09

SBajwa wrote:What does a word Vedanti means?

Follower of the Vedanta school (as different from Mimansa, Sankhya, Vaisheshika, etc.) Vedanta is considered the 6th and most 'mature' school (in one sense) from the 6 darshanas.

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby KLP Dubey » 27 Apr 2014 02:01

Agnimitra wrote:
If Sikhism is called nastika just because Guru Nanak poetically or rhetorically coaxes us to give up being obsessed with the words of the Veda, then the Bhagavad Gita must also qualify as a nastika text:


One must conduct analysis based upon the reality, and not sentiments.

The bhagavad gita contains a mixture of different streams of opinion, and it is a syncretic text. Sections of it are certainly "nastika". Overall, it is not reliable since the author(s) seem to be fundamentally confused. The same goes for the teachings of persons such as the Buddha, Mahavira, Sikh gurus etc. Their teachings are concerned with mundane human sentiments like love, kindness, anger, greed, sorrow, etc.

The Veda is not concerned with "religion" or "god" at all. It is eternal, impersonal, and has no specific or pre-determined connection with humankind.

Hence, if "astika" means someone who is convinced of the unfailing validity of the Veda, then he/she may profess any religion with the understanding that all this talk about religion, god, and "brotherly love" is for the "feel good" effects and a mundane mechanism to help us all get along in life. It is just another thing that people need in their lives.

You can enjoy all of that and yet practice Dharma via the Vedic Sound. The thing that usually happens is that once you start doing the latter, you lose interest in the former.

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby svenkat » 27 Apr 2014 08:38

Dubey ji,
What is the 'unfailing validity' you speak of ? What is the 'Dharma via vedic sound".May be in Religion thread?

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby KLP Dubey » 27 Apr 2014 19:59

svenkat wrote:Dubey ji,
What is the 'unfailing validity' you speak of ? What is the 'Dharma via vedic sound".May be in Religion thread?


I have already said enough about it in different threads. When I have just stated (again) that Veda has nothing to do with religion as such, why should it be discussed in religion thread ?

Hinduism is the "religion" which has taken Veda as a basis to gain "spiritual" knowledge, and hence it has gained some "uttama" qualities in relation to other religions. However the Veda has been taken as a basis for many things, and religion is just one of them.

The trouble starts when sentimental folks such as some authors of Bhagavad Gita, as well as Gotama, Mahavira, etc expected Veda to "solve all their problems" and "save them". On the other end some brahmans started touting "paid Yajnas" as a solution for mundane problems. When none of the above "problem solving" and "saving" materialized, the disgruntled folks started getting angry and abusing the Veda.

Veda is not a messiah. The idea of messianism (Moon, Cross, ISKCON etc) is completely incompatible with Veda. What you get out of Veda is determined by your approach to practicing and understanding it. Those who have taken good approaches (such as the developers of Sanskrit language) have gotten rich dividends. Nowadays all sorts of morons are busy declaring they have found Indian history and geography in the Veda. All these fellows will come to grief too.

This has become OT now. Take my comments for what they are worth to you.

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby svenkat » 27 Apr 2014 20:17

I am continuing the discussion in the Off Topic thread.

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby Agnimitra » 28 Apr 2014 13:41

KLP Dubey wrote:
Agnimitra wrote:If Sikhism is called nastika just because Guru Nanak poetically or rhetorically coaxes us to give up being obsessed with the words of the Veda, then the Bhagavad Gita must also qualify as a nastika text:


One must conduct analysis based upon the reality, and not sentiments.

The bhagavad gita contains a mixture of different streams of opinion, and it is a syncretic text. Sections of it are certainly "nastika". Overall, it is not reliable since the author(s) seem to be fundamentally confused. The same goes for the teachings of persons such as the Buddha, Mahavira, Sikh gurus etc. Their teachings are concerned with mundane human sentiments like love, kindness, anger, greed, sorrow, etc.

The Veda is not concerned with "religion" or "god" at all. It is eternal, impersonal, and has no specific or pre-determined connection with humankind.

Hence, if "astika" means someone who is convinced of the unfailing validity of the Veda, then he/she may profess any religion with the understanding that all this talk about religion, god, and "brotherly love" is for the "feel good" effects and a mundane mechanism to help us all get along in life. It is just another thing that people need in their lives.

You can enjoy all of that and yet practice Dharma via the Vedic Sound. The thing that usually happens is that once you start doing the latter, you lose interest in the former.

KLPD ji, I don't disagree with you here. Whether theistic or atheistic, those are orientations that some people fall into and may need to process through in order to come to the point of appreciating Vedic sound. To that extent they are valid to some extent or the other.

The blogpost was to slap down the misuse of such labels as "astika" and "nastika" to divide people and sow greater confusion around 'Veda' and its transcendent centrality to all fields of human endeavour and all cultures and traditions.

Especially with Sikhism, this is unfortunate when people try to Abrahamize it:

Sikh Gurus, Vedas and Hinduism

Following are some of the things the Guru Granth Sahib says about the Veda:
1. God created Vedas (Onkaar ved nirmaye- Rag Ramkali Mahla 1 Onkar Shabd 1)Further, the Guru Granth Sahib very clearly elucidates on the glory of Vedas:

2. With order of God Vedas were created so that humans can decide what is virtue and sin (Hari aagya hoye Ved paap punya vichaariya- Maru Dakhne Mahla 5 Shabd 17)

3. No one can value the importance of Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda and Atharvaveda (Sam Ved, Rig, Yajur, Atharvan brahme mukh maaiya hai traigun, taakee keemat kah na sakai ko….- Marusolahe Mahla 1 Shabd 17)

4. God created day, night, forests, greenery, water and 4 Vedas that are like 4 treasures (Chaar Ved chaare khaani- Rag Maru Mahla 5 Shabd 17)

5. How can glory of Vedas be stated whose knowledge is without end (Ved vakhaan kahahi ik kahiye, oh ve ant ant kin lahiye- Vasant Ashtapadiyan Mahla 1.3)

6. Of the infinite texts, Vedas are the best (Asankh granth mukhi Ved paath- Japuji 17)

7. All the Shastras, Vedas and ancient texts describe the Supreme Lord (Smriti sastra Ved puraan paar brahm ka karahi vakhiyaan- Gaund Mahla 5 Shabd 17)

8. Noble persons elucidate the glory of Vedas but unfortunate people do not understand (Ved bakhiyaan karat saadhujan bhaagheen samjhat nahi khalu- Todi Mahla 5 Shabd 26)

9. Study of Vedas enhances knowledge by blessings of God (Kahant Veda gunant guniya…- Sahaskriti Mahla 5.14)

10. Analysis of Vedas, Shastras and ancient texts enriches the entire family and makes them lucky (Ved puran saasatr vichaaram…. badbhaagi Naanak ko taaram- Gatha Mahla 5.20)

11. Vedas describe the glory of one God (Kal mein ek naam kripaanidhi … ih vidhi Ved bataavai- Rag Sortha Mahla 9 Shabd 5)

12. Do not say that Vedas are false. False are those people who do not analyze (Ved katev kahahu mat jhoothe jhootha jo na vichaare- Rag Prabhati Kabirji Shabd 3)

13. Those who studied Vedas were called Vedis. They initiated noble virtuous acts. Listening to Rigveda, Samveda, Yajurveda and Atharveda destroyed all sins. (Jinai Ved padhyo suvedi kahaaye… Padhe Sam Vedam Yajur Ved Kattham Rigam Ved paathayam kare bhaav hattham… Atharav Ved pathayam suniyo paap nathiyam…- Dasham Guru Granth Sahib Vichitra Natak Adhyaya 4)

Sikh-Gurus,-Vedas-and-Hinduism--

To check more examples of glory of Vedas in Guru Granth Sahib refer the following:

14. Chauth upaaye chaare Veda- Rag Bilawal Mahla 1 Thiti

15. Chache chaar Ved jin saaje chaare khani chaar juga- Rag Asa Mahla 1 Pati Likhi Shabd 9

16. Oordh mool jis saakh talaaha chaar Ved jit laage- Gujri Ashtapadiyan Mahla 1.1

17. Chare Ved hoye sachiyaar- Asadi Var Mahla 1 Var 13

18. Chaturved mukh vachni uchre- Rag Gaudi Mahla 5 Shabd 164

19. Chaturved pooran hari naai Ramkali Mahla 5 Shabd 17

20. Chaar pukaarahi na tu maane Ramkali Mahla 5 Shabd 12

21. Chaar Ved jihwa bhane- Rag Sarang Mahla 5 Shabd 131

22. Brahme ditte Ved Rag Malar Var Mahla 2 Var 3

23. Chaare Ved Brahme kau diye padh padh kare vichari- Rag Asa Mahla 3 Shabd 22

24. Chaare Ved Brahme np furmaayia- Maaru Solahe 3.22

25. Chaare deeve chahu hath diye eka eki vaari- Vasant Hindol 1.1

26. Vedu pukaare vaachiye vaani brahm biaas- Shreeraag Ashtpadiyan 1.7

27. Vedan ganh bole sach koi- Maajh Vaar Mahla 1 Vaar 12

28. Deeva jale andhera jaai Ved paath mati paapan khaai- Raag Suhi

29. Ved pukaarai punn paap surag narak ka veeu- Raag Saarang Vaar 1.16

30. Gurumukhi parche Ved vichari- Raag Ramkali Sidh Gosht Shabd 28

31. Puchhahu Ved pandatiyaan muthi vin maane- Rag Maaru Ashtpadiyan 1.6

32. Man hath kine na paaiyo puchhahu Vedaam jaai- Shri Raag Vaar 3.10

33. Smriti saasat Ved vakhaanai bharmai bhoola tat na jaanai- Rag Maajh Ashtpadiyan 3.18

34. Veda mahi naam uttam so- Rag Ramkali Mahla 3 Aanand 19

35. Hari jeeu ahankaar n bhaavai Ved kook sunaavahi- Rag Maaru 3.9

36. Jugi jugi aapo aapna dharm hai sodh dekhahu Ved puraan- Rag Vilaaval 3.4

37. Saasat Ved puraan pukaarahi dharam karahu shat karam dradaiya- Vilaaval Mahla 4.2

38. Naanak vichaarahi sant jan chaar Ved kahande- Rag Gaudi Vaar 4.12

39. Vaani brahm Ved dharam dradahu paap tajaaiya bal raam jeeu- Suhi Chhant 4.2

40. Das ath chaar Ved sabh poochhahu jan naanak naam chhudaai jeeu- Maaru 4.8

41. Smrat saasat Ved vakhaane jog gyaansidh sukh jaane- Rag Gaudi 5.111

42. Ved puraan smrat bhane- Gaudi 5.144

43. Saasat smrat Ved vichaare mahaapurushan iu kahiya- Rag Gaudi 5.162

44. Ved saasat jan pukaarahi sunai nahi dora- Rag Aasa 5.152

45. Saasat Ved smriti sabhi….- Gujri 5.2

46. Chaar pukaarahi na tu maanahi- Ramkali 5.12

47. Kahant Veda gunant guniya- Salok sahaskriti Mahla 5.14

48. Ved puraan saasatr vichaaram- Gatha Mahla 5.20

49. Ved puraan saadh sang- Rag Gaudi 9.6

50. Ved puraan padhai ko ih gun simre hari ko naama- Rag Gaudi 9.7

51. Ved puraan jaas gun gaavat taako naam hiye mein dhar re- Gaudi 9.9

52. Ved puraan smriti ke mat sun nimash na hiye vasaavai- Rag Sorath 9.7

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby KLP Dubey » 28 Apr 2014 19:05

Agnimitra wrote:Especially with Sikhism, this is unfortunate when people try to Abrahamize it:

Following are some of the things the Guru Granth Sahib says about the Veda:


100% agreement. Sikhism is not a messianic religion at all. Like various Hindu gurus, the Sikh gurus thought it appropriate to comment on Veda in connection with 'god'. I am fine with that.

On a personal note: I found visiting gurdwaras to be a very good experience. My wife's maternal family are khatris who immigrated to India from Swat valley in 1947. They keep up the tradition of good relations with the Sikhs. E.g. Bangla Sahib in Delhi is a very soothing place. The gurbani/kirtan singers do very well in classical ragas (many mentioned in your post). A dip in the tank is mentally and physically refreshing. Clean and well maintained.

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby svenkat » 28 Apr 2014 21:15

Dubeyji,
Whats 'dharma via vedic sound'? I used the search function to go through your posts.Not very succesful in getting the meaning of that cryptic statemenT?

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby ramana » 29 Apr 2014 02:17

I think he is saying Gurubani or chanting the Guru Granth Sahib. Once you just hear it for its sake you lose the why in the how.

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby Prem » 29 Apr 2014 04:08

Is it Shabad Brahman, one of the designations for Parbrahm. ?

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby KLP Dubey » 29 Apr 2014 07:11

svenkat wrote:Dubey ji,
What is the 'unfailing validity' you speak of ? What is the 'Dharma via vedic sound".May be in Religion thread?


The word "dharman" is from the root dhR "to uphold". Dharma means upholding the world-order (Rta) and the Veda is the only reliable basis of dharma. The world-order can only be upheld by correct enunciation of Vedic sounds, which are eternal, impersonal, and universal.

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby svenkat » 29 Apr 2014 09:19

Dubeyji,
Thanks for explaing the concept of 'dharma via the vedic sound'.I appreciate,fwiw,your intellectual honesty in recording your view without considerations of political correctness or the prevailing intellectual fads of the age.

It also helped me in clarifying some of the doubts in my mind.

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby ramana » 30 Apr 2014 00:19

Shekar Gupta on modern Punjab:

There is an aeroplane on my roof

The rest of the country has moved on but Punjab has become a prisoner of its boisterous old stereotype. It has forgotten its entrepreneurial energy, its competitive spirit and slipped into a complacent, decadent trance of perpetual balle-balle.

It can break your heart to tell the story of the terminal decline of a state you so love, where you grew up and then cut your teeth as a reporter. But you also can’t overlook the dire writings on the wall as Punjab approaches the polling date for its 13 Lok Sabha seats. Particularly if you can read the two languages, Punjabi and English, as written here. Punjabi, because what should be India’s most globalised state is actually trapped in the politics of localitis. If you’re blindfolded and left in a street here, you might find it impossible to say where you were, unless you were able to read Punjabi (in its Gurmukhi script). The Punjabification of the state’s walls, signboards, milestones, is now total. But you might still have a chance if you spotted something written in English, even if it is the name of a restaurant, bar or banquet hall.

You will take a minute figuring out what the “burgars” and “nudles” painted on so many fast-food shops mean, or why Lily is always spelt “Lilly”, whether it be the name of a restaurant in Phagwara or a beauty parlour in Bathinda. Or what a prominent, old and serious bookshop in Bathinda, such a famed centre of “learning”, means when its signboard lists “fictions” and children’s books along with military history as its most important offering. If you haven’t figured out already that this, indeed, is Singh’s English and you must be in Punjab (disclosure: I passed my class VI in Bathinda’s Mahavir Sanatan Dharam Public School in 1966 and, to that extent, my formal education too was “via Bathinda”, literally, if not metaphorically), look for other pointers. Which other state would offer you a highway restaurant called Burger Girl? That in a state which snaps viciously at its neighbour Haryana’s heels for the worst female/male ratio (Punjab’s 895 to Haryana’s 879 in the 2011 Census).

There are three ways to understand the gradient and pace of Punjab’s slide. One, just the plain figures and statistics. You ask any Indian to name the richest state in the country. Chances are that the answer will be Punjab. Which was true for decades. But now it is the fifth, after Haryana, Maharashtra and, of course, mini-states like Goa and Delhi. Its school dropout rate is among the highest in the country. For two decades now, its economic growth rate has trailed the national average (1994-2002, 4.32 per cent compared to the national 6.16, 6.61 versus 7.95 in 2002-11). A Washington-based Cato Institute study by Swaminathan Anklesaria Aiyar finds even a decline in the state’s economic freedom index.

Between 2005 and 2011, it slipped from sixth in the national rankings to 12th. A Pratham study showed that in 2007, nearly half of all class III children in Punjab could not read class I texts, and half of all class V students could not solve a three digit by one division problem. According to the state government’s own Economic Survey, medical services are actually declining in terms of hospital beds per thousand population. That also explains the current rage of anti-incumbency against the Akali-BJP government. Punjab’s traditional industries, textiles, foundries, are all dying.

In the course of a 35-minute helicopter ride from Ludhiana to Bathinda, Sukhbir Singh Badal pointed out how you cannot find even a foot of land that is either not cultivated (at the moment, actually, gleaming like bronzed, 14-karat gold with ripe wheat), or inhabited. There is no land left in Punjab to employ more people but through the entire wide landscape, in what is traditionally India’s most fertile and prosperous region, the Doaba (between rivers Sutlej and Beas), you do not spot any industry either. And agriculture can’t grow much more unless the farmer is persuaded to toss out his entrepreneurial laziness and move out of the self-destructive wheat/ paddy cycle. Even there, it is a matter of a harvest or two before Madhya Pradesh starts procuring more wheat than Punjab, having already left Haryana behind. This is just when the state should have been reaping a well-deserved peace dividend after a bloody decade stolen by terror.



IT IS not my case that there has been no peace dividend for Punjab. Having lived through that decade of mayhem, the Blue Star and Black Thunder weeks in Amritsar, the humiliation of proving your identity to “sentries” at militant “checkposts” on Tarn Taran roads at night and once being the only passenger in the so-called Flying Mail to Delhi, which ran at 15 km an hour because of the fear of bombs, I can see a turnaround as dramatic as only something purely Punjabi can be. But a closer look, particularly if you can read writings on the wall between the lines, in Gurmukhi and Singh’s English, and you’d know that Punjab isn’t a state in a virtuous boom. It has lapsed, instead, into a self-destructive chill.


So what’s wrong with being chilled? The challenge lies in translating the meaning of chill into Punjabi, or rather the Punjabi state of mind. It is not a state of cool, but some kind of frenzy. Yet, it is lazy, even somnolent and sterile, rather than the usual hyper-energetic and virile Punjabi stereotype. It is a tired, once-wealthy state, living off its past riches, reputation and residual hormones. Today, it boasts among the largest percentage of drug addicts in the country. You know his political motives but the Congress party’s Ludhiana candidate, Ravneet Singh Bittu (anybody who matters in Punjab has a nickname now, Satinder Singh Satta, Balbir Singh Bittu, Bunty Romana, Satnam Singh ji Shunty and so on), has a point when he tells you that only two businesses open early in the morning in Punjab: liquor and drugs. Scrawny, hollow-eyed customers are already lined up.

But there is a sense of chill alright. If liberal sociologists around the world fret over the threat of a rising, Westernised monoculture, in India it could be a Punjabified one. Weddings, rituals, celebrations, music, food and dressing around the country are acquiring a baroque Punjabi flavour. And Punjabis are celebrating because they think they have arrived. After a long gap, there is a revival of the Punjabi film industry. And here are some recent hits: Jatt & Juliet, Carry On Jatta and, right at this moment, competing with election graffiti is Jatt James Bond.

Each one is a celebration of Punjabi male invincibility, usually featuring a pind (village) bumpkin with a heart of gold and an NRI beauty who ends up inevitably and gratefully in her rightful place: the Jatt hero’s lap. How do I describe this chill? My favourite hoarding is found on an Amritsar crossroad, offering an all-you-can-eat kitty party lunch for Rs 750 per head. It shows six beautifully turned out Punjabi women, shades on their blow-dried heads at a kitty, of course — but each talking on her mobile phone.

While the rest of the country has moved on, Punjab has become a prisoner of its boisterous old stereotype but has, meanwhile, forgotten its entrepreneurial energy, its competitive spirit. Its young are dropping out of school and hitting drugs or liquor or making a desperate dash for the West, not for tech, banking, management or medical pursuits, as their countrymen elsewhere do, but mostly for suboptimal jobs like driving trucks and taxis or chopping onions in the backrooms of desi restaurants. Bhagwant Mann, Punjab’s comedy star and the AAP candidate from Sangrur (more about him in a bit), says, in his own devastating deadpan style, “In Amreeka and Kanada, sir, they are grateful to us Punjabis. It is because of us that they have the best qualified taxi drivers in the world, MBBS, masters, PhD.

So the goras say, balle-balle. Why did you send us back if all of you wanted to come here? And why did that silly Bhagat Singh have to die at just 23?” Punjab today has declined so badly, he says, that “we cannot even look our martyrs’ statues in the eye.” Punjab lost its national stature in all sports long ago. Much smaller Haryana, which used to be the most backward part of old Punjab, now wins more than half of all Indian medals in global competitions. Punjab almost never registers its presence. It once dominated the armed forces. Today, most recruitment rallies go back with vacancies, the young either disinclined or simply physically inadequate. Would you believe that?

One of India’s and the world’s greatest living sporting idols is Balbir Singh. He is a triple Olympic gold medallist in hockey, was coach and manager of the last Indian team to win the World Cup (Kuala Lumpur, 1975) and has been listed by the IOC among the 16 greatest Olympic icons ever, alongside the likes of Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis. At 89, his passion for sport, for the flag and for winning is the way it should always be for a Punjabi, particularly an ageless Jat. But ask him about Punjab’s fall in sports and his eyes mist over: “Sab khatam kar diya ji drugs ney. Ab yeh woh Punjab ka youth nahin hai. Woh toh khokhla ho gaya.”

That is why it is tough to find a contemporary synonym for chill in Punjabi. Because it is a new, very un-Punjabi state of complacent, lazy, decadent trance of perpetual balle-balle. Now you can try translating it back into English.

To understand this better, drive on the GT Road generally southeast from Amritsar, past the richest districts of Punjab, Phagwara, Jalandhar and Ludhiana, and keep your eyes on the walls. The factories are dying, mostly empty shells now, a bit like what you see as you drive out of Kolkata along the Hooghly. As you approach Ludhiana, you also see to your right something you are unlikely to see in a boom state, not even, in fact, in Raipur or Ranchi: emptied, bankrupted shopping malls and many others abandoned half-built. But you also see many gleaming new constructions, some looking like fortresses, Indian or Moroccan, some like European mansions, all with fancy names and a common purpose: partying, mostly at weddings.

This is a cut above your usual banquet hall. In Punjab, these are called, simply, palaces: My wedding is in the seventh palace on the highway to the right, the one that looks like a Swiss chalet, is a likely set of directions. Of course, you may also find one called Jurassik (sic) Park, which promises a wonderful wedding in one of its Jurassik rooms. Just why anybody would wish to get married inside one of those, you do not ask a Punjabi in the chilled 2014. You also see growing new Punjabi aesthetics on display along with their remitted or inherited riches, what you’d aptly call water-tank art. In Punjab, particularly in its NRI zones, you are nobody if the water tank on top of your house is not shaped like something impressive: a football, a giant hawk, an airplane, sometimes an airplane with a propellor in front and one on top so I presume it can fly like a chopper too, why take chances. It also gets more creative than that. At Khanauri Mandi in Sangrur constituency, you’d find a replica of Parliament. And if that pronounces the Punjabis’ commitment to democracy, come to Phagwara to see a tank shaped like, what else, but a tank, a battle tank. This for the Punjabi love of the military.

But you also see a familiar logo: Lovely Professional University, very widely advertised and sometimes derided — unfairly as we’d soon discover — as a teaching shop run by halwais, since the founder family, the Mittals, made their fame and brand name running their enormously successful Lovely Sweets. I would suggest a proper walk around its 600-acre campus, probably one of the finest built in the country. It is India’s largest, with approximately 28,000 on-campus students in all disciplines. “Everything else but medicine,” as Chancellor Ashok Mittal says. It has probably the largest hostel population for a university in Asia, with about 16,000 boys and girls. It has students from over 26 countries, including from Britain, Thailand, Malaysia, all of Africa and even 16 Chinese. Afghanistan has sent 165 of its brightest, president’s scholarship holders.

No surprise that the campus has a street named after Hamid Karzai, who graced its convocation with Pranab Mukherjee last year. There are enormous playgrounds, an underpass and a small flyover, an “en suite” shopping mall where outsiders are not allowed, 40-plus ATMs from eight banks, a post office, and offers ACs in its hostels on extra payment. The campus is fully wifi. This was still a work in progress when I visited BITS, Pilani, to speak there a few months back.

I cannot vouch for its academic quality after a short visit, but the vice chancellor, Professor Rameshwar Kanwar, is a re-import from Iowa State University, where he was a renowned professor of hydrology. What I can vouch for, instead, are two things: One, that it gives you the feel of a wonderfully modern, well endowed, world-class campus and two, you can see students from every state of India — 4,000 from Andhra/ Telangana — and so many countries worldwide. But how come you do not see as many Punjabis as you would expect?

Mittal says their percentage is just around 30, because that is about the number that passes LPU’s tough entrance tests. Of course, he adds, they also weigh in for diversity. But the fact, the cruel fact, is that the education system in Punjab today does not produce too many kids good enough to dominate even its own LPU (as the university now prefers to be known). Other national institutions, the IIT in Ropar, the ISB in Mohali, hardly have any local students. It is a painful truth, but you have to state it. The young Punjabi today is not competitive.

BUT why confine yourself to boring academia and scholarship? Or sports. Today’s young Punjabi, whether half-educated or well qualified, is brilliantly competitive at one thing: escaping overseas. Disappearing to someplace in the West seems so much the dream of the young Punjabi now that even gods have been dragged into the consular business. Look left, and about 5 km short of LPU, you can’t miss the entrance gate to a village called Talhan. It has a concrete “British Airways” jet sitting atop it.

A fitting sign that the village is famous for its Hawai Jahaz Waala gurdwara. This, in fact, is the ancient Gurdwara Talhan Sahib, but somehow a legend has grown around it. That if you present a toy airplane model here, your wish for a foreign visa will be granted. Every day, the gurdwara collects scores of these. Shops around it sell these models in every known airline’s livery. Of the two found in the gurdwara last week, one had Malaysian Airways colours. Hoardings at the entrance and along the route sell dreams of visas and migration to America, the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand. While many offer to help you pass the IELTS, as the examination for basic English language knowledge is called, my favourite is the one that promises to take you overseas without passing the IELTS:

“Doesn’t matter even if you were educated in Punjabi medium.” I don’t know if any of these agents has a deal with god, but you’d wonder why the UK, US, Canadian, Australian and other embassies haven’t set up their extension visa counters here. Young Punjabis today do not want to study, do not want to compete or ride the wave of reform and growth in India. They want to escape and run low-level services overseas or fill up European jails as illegals. This is brawn drain of sorts, modern Punjab’s answer to brain drain. The most flourishing business in Punjab, besides narcotics, is illegal immigration or what is called, for some reason, kabootarbaazi, as if all young Punjabis now are pigeons wanting to fly the coop. This is so infra dig for a people who so admire the hawk and follow Guru Gobind Singh’s credo of being like a hawk fighting the sparrows, one better than sawa-lakh (1,25,000) of those.

Along with drugs, liquor, corruption and high-handedness, this phenomenon is also playing in this election campaign and fuelling an anti-incumbency that, combined with Sonia Gandhi’s inspired action in forcing her topmost leaders into the fight, has made Punjab one of the most closely contested states in India. And nobody is making better use of this new space than the AAP which, in turn, has chosen some candidates brilliantly, either from popular culture or widely respected doctors and activists. How many seats they will win, you ask the psephologists: Yogendra Yadav, Dorab Sopariwala, Prannoy Roy. But I can tell you they will poll a lot more votes than most opinion polls give them so far.

THE most entertaining and politically astute candidate in this campaign is comedian Bhagwant Mann in Sangrur, and many now say he is the frontrunner in what once used to be a communist fortress. He is not a mere clown. Just like Lalu Prasad, he has the ability to load the funniest of his lines with pure politics. “The mightiest fall,” he says. “Lalu used to say, jab tak samose mein aaloo, tab tak Bihar mein Lalu… samose mein toh abhi bhi aaloo hai, lekin Bihar mein Lalu kahan?” In this election, he says, you have a choice of one of three pens to write your fortune with: one, of the Akalis and BJP, is filled with the ink of smack and liquor, the second, of the Congress, with corruption and the blood of 1984 victims, and the third, made in Arvind Kejriwal’s factory, with pure, clean honesty, so check it out.

He devastates the Akalis and their populism. “Don’t say the Akalis have done nothing. They have laid so many foundation stones. Again, don’t say these are useless. Ask ‘awara jhottas (useless male buffaloes)’. If the foundation stones were not there, what would they scratch their butts with? So, your government has even launched a yojana for ‘jhottas’, and soon these buffaloes will come with Badal’s photo painted on their backsides, like everything else that they give you free.”

This is the boldest and most inspirational attack on freebie culture I have heard in a long time. “Now, I believe they are promising you free utensils. Be careful, ladies, now your ‘patilas (pans)’ will come painted with Badal saab’s picture. So, you will have to cook in the kitchen in your ghunghat. And the ‘dolu (bucket)’ will have Kaka Sukhbir, the ‘gadvi (lota)’ Nanhi Chhan (mocking Harsimrat Badal for her very active NGO for the girl child by that name), and on the chamchas?” The crowd has the cue by now. The cry goes up: “Majithia.” He is Sukhbir’s brother-in-law and, in Amritsar, Arun Jaitley’s fate rests in his hands.

Mann even attacks the current madness for emigration. And then, the final turn of the knife at village Kakra, incidentally the birthplace of Diwan Todar Mal, one of Akbar’s navratnas who gave India its land-revenue system: “Today, my friends, we Punjabis can’t even look our martyrs’ statues in the eye. We are so ashamed.”

As I hop off his truck and turn into the mandi town of Bhawanigarh, two different signboards catch my eye: a “Fun and Chill” beauty parlour, and a “Chill” shop where Katrina Kaif sells you her favourite beverages. And the penny drops. Today’s Punjab is best and most cruelly characterised in poet-actor-musician Piyush Mishra’s outrageously brilliant spoof on famous martyr and Bhagat Singh’s inspiration, Ram Prasad Bismil’s “Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna” from Anurag Kashyap’s Gulaal: O re Bismil kaash aate, aaj tum Hindostaan, dekhte key mulk saara kya tashan kya chill mein hai… aaj ka launda yeh kehta, hum toh Bismil thak gaye…” and so on. Mann is only substituting Bismil with one of his followers, Bhagat Singh, and Hindostaan with today’s Punjab in its own chill.

sg@expressindia.com



I blame the Congress for launching the Bihndarnwala movement and reducing Punjab to a pale shadow of itself.

Its the Congress and its hagiographers who dont see who did the damage.

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby prahaar » 30 Apr 2014 02:04

I remember as a kid, opening of liquor shops/bars/etc used to make news in papers about how normalcy is returning and alcohol intake is rising which means Khalistani threat is receding. Makes me wonder how much of this drug/alcoholism is a creation of westernization and how much of willful negligence. SAD in Punjab have failed to arrest the slide.

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby SriKumar » 30 Apr 2014 04:24

It is known that Guru Nanak traveled widely. From Punjab he went variously- to Medina, to Baghdad, to Lhasa, and within India to to Arunachal Pradesh, as far south as Southern TN. He also visited Sri Lanka. At that time (around 1500-1520) it would have been the Vijaya nagara empire in Southern India. Are there any descriptions of his travels to Vijayanagara empire, specifically, his impressions on social, cultural, political and other points. The same goes for other places Medina, Baghdad, Lhasa etc.

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby SBajwa » 30 Apr 2014 21:19

Wikipedia says this about his second travels.

"(1506-1513 AD) Lasted about 7 years and covered the following towns and regions: Dhanasri Valley, Sangladip (Ceylon)."

This is South India and all the way to Lanka.

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby SriKumar » 01 May 2014 06:50

Thanks. I wish there were some details,observations written down somewhere. It would have been great. I dont know of too many people from India who went to Medina, Lhasa at that time.

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby Agnimitra » 07 May 2014 08:05

X-post from STFU-Pak thread:

Agnimitra wrote:Blogpost by Omar Ali has this:
Here is my summary of who may be in a position to save us if the Pak army fails (I sincerely pray to Allah that they do NOT fail)

Punjab can only be saved by the Khalsa.
Pakhtoons can only be saved by Afghanistan.
The Baloch can only be saved by China (i.e. if the Chinese switch sides)
The Sindhis can only be saved by? ...India? I dunno. I await input on this one.

Interesting that he doesn't see "Khalsa" as part of the Indian family.


Paul wrote:It is Punjabi nationalism. They want to remerge the two Punjabs, fall back on their east Punjabi brethren as a fall back option.


Jhujar wrote:This was predicted 4 years ago. They wont to Hindus but ask Sikhs to rescue them . Too much water gone down the Satlej with Hindus. Beseeching the Khalsa proterction they think save their face. Paki still distinguish their "win"in 71 among General Arora, Jacob and Shaw. They did not want to be seen surrendering to Jew, Christian or Hindus.


Agnimitra wrote:That's right. Also points to special significance of the 10 Gurus' creation.

Anyway, when Omar Ali was asked for clarification on teetar, he said this:

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby habal » 07 May 2014 09:00

prahaar wrote:I remember as a kid, opening of liquor shops/bars/etc used to make news in papers about how normalcy is returning and alcohol intake is rising which means Khalistani threat is receding. Makes me wonder how much of this drug/alcoholism is a creation of westernization and how much of willful negligence. SAD in Punjab have failed to arrest the slide.


some amount of drugs/alcohol blame should also be laid at the doorstep of GoI esp under UPA which has wilfully neglected to arrest the drug dealers as a parallel effort to curb the khalistani menace from returning. Khalistanis should have been subverted from within as a force to do something positive instead whatever subversion resulted in a few individuals simply jailed and turned into govt agents. A lot of rogues with Sikh appearance and attire but who were known criminals were also unleashed on the hapless population. As yet, there has been no social study on the population done to check what has been the impact of such anti-terrorism measures on the population. That is if anyone in the govt even cared to know about it. Also the sponsorship of various Deras are the result of GoI sponsoring various entities to divert from Khalistanis control of mainstream Sikhism. This has been going on low-key since the early 90s and is not acknowledged by media for obvious reasons. 1984 also dispirited the state, and as an added insult on those wounds, the Akali Dal govt has recently installed a known human rights abuser as the DGP of Punjab Police, it signalled the end of any positive spirit remaining. This has effectively killed the spirit of the state. Once the Sikhs let go of the imagination of any change happening through revolution, the rest of the state just withered away or were just satisfied to watch things go by. Now what passes for governance in Punjab is the hypocrisy of the Badals.

And now Shekhar bhai turns up and talks about spirit.

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby Yayavar » 08 May 2014 02:01

You assumption seems to be that Punjab == Sikhs who supported Khalistan...or, am I reading you wrong. There are Sikh's who are not Akalis, and there are Akalis who are not Khalistanis, and there are a huge number of Hindus in Punjab too.

It is wishful to think 'Khalistais could have done something positive'... they were the rogues.

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby peter » 15 May 2014 07:01

Supratik wrote:While it is true that the region that is now Pak was under Muslim rule for a couple of centuries more than the rest of North India I don't think that explains the demography. Oppression of non-Muslims was no less severe in the rest of India than Punjab, Sindh or Kashmir. On the other hand there are historical records of Rajput clans voluntarily converting to Islam e.g. the Soomro and Samma Rajputs of Sindh who together ruled Sindh for several centuries. The Rajputs of present POK, salt ranges, Seraiki belt, and Sindh have largely converted to Islam along with other groups. Repression while true do not alone explain their conversion. I bring the Rajputs in becoz it has been observed in the medieval period that when the ruling classes convert the masses follow e.g. Iran, Indonesia, etc. There have to be other reasons.

You have not given any reference. Rajputs converted to save their kingdoms or gain a kingdom or to seek help from the muslims to gain a piece of land. Poor rajputs I am sure also converted to save their families from destruction.

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby Murugan » 03 Sep 2014 11:25

Bandi Chhor Divas

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandi_Chhor_Divas

The Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, was freed from imprisonment in the famous fort of Gwalior by Emperor Jahangir in October, 1619. The reason for the young Guru’s imprisonment was nothing more than religious bigotry. The Guru’s father, Guru Arjan, had been martyred for the same reason. According to Sikh tradition, the Guru agreed to be freed only if the other Indian chiefs (rajahs) imprisoned with him were freed. Jahangir was under pressure from moderate but influential Muslim religious leaders like Hajrat Mian Mir, a friend of the Guru. So he relented grudgingly and ordained, "Let those rajahs be freed who can hold on to the Guru’s coat tails and walk out of prison". He had in mind no more than four or five being freed with the Guru. However, the Guru was not to be outmanoeuvred in this way. He asked for a special coat to be made with 52 coat tails - same number as the rajahs in prison with him! And so the rajahs were freed and the Guru became known popularly as the "Bandi Shor(Shodh)" (Deliverer from prison). He arrived in Amritsar on the day of Diwali and Harmandir Sahib (also known as the Golden Temple) was lit with hundreds of lamps to celebrate his return; the day came to be known as the "Bandi Shor(Shodh) Divas" (the day of freedom).

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Re: Understanding Sikh History-1

Postby Paul » 03 Sep 2014 18:41

As Pakistan experiment fails, Pakjabi nationalism will morph into Punjabi nationalism. You heard it here first


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