Carl wrote:Atri ji,
That was a better way of putting it. But IMHO even in dharmaarthic terms, Sikhism played a more activist reform role than the Marathas. Sikhism was willing to modify and reset different broken or jammed iterations in society. It was willing to harvest memes and was capable of forging a new gotra of sorts, or at least a new identity. I don't think Marathas came anywhere close to that level of ability.
Well in that case you need to compare the work of saints in MH which gave the ideological backbone to the maratha renaissance. This was the real reason of their success. Give u an example. Twice every year for at least past 1300 years there is a mass pilgrimage in Deccan called as "vaari" wherein the surge of humanity (akin to mahakumbha) gathers at pandharpur. All the saints and social reformers of deccan since days of Rashtrakutas rose out of this movement. They include mathematicians like Bhaskaracharya to yogis like changdeva and nivruttinath to saints and reformers like eknath, namdev, gnaneshwara, tukaram, ramdas, and countless others.
The very reason there was no need to start a new path to "accommodate" ropers is that they did not grow that strong socially. Secondly, this movement challenged the rituals, caste domination by brahmins, status of woman, almost every aspect of society. Almost all bhakti saints except gnaneshvara, eknath and ramdas were non-brahmins. Most of them were from castes which are today in OBC, SC categories. Except gnanedhvara and ramdas, all were married and professional house-holders. They did not encourage sannyasa, but popularised "naama-smarana" and karma-yoga. This essentially did away with rituals. And this qas prior to islamic invasion on deccan.
Ramdas started akhadas and countless hanumaan mandirs in every village imparting training to his disciples in combat and also "intelligence gathering". All this was destroyed after 1882, but thats a different story.
The point is that this could materialize because
1. The demographics was in favor
2. The system which ensuered the bi-annual gathering of the "sajjana-shakti" was in place in form of vaari, in spite of the darkest phase in history of deccan.
3. The saints kept the dharma relevant to common man and institutionalized a model which ensured their participation.
The reality of punjab was different on all three counts when nanak baba rose. There was no instution similar to vaari, the demographics was perhaps not in as much favor, geography too plain and simple, no major temple left standing to start and propagate a vaari institution.
Sikh-panth was in much more hostile conditions than bhakti movement of deccan. Hence i differentiate between moksha-maarga and dharmaarthik maarga. Whatever u said matathas did not do, they need not do. Saints were doing that.
It is so funny when i hear arguments about how different "hinduism" is from "sikhism" because what gurus taught and did is exactly what the bhakti saints did and taught. Yet british could nor play their game in deccan whereas they could in punjab. Partly to blame is arya samaaj. Earlier the sikhs come out of this chakravyuha the better it is.
As far as dharmaarthik performance is concerned marathas were much more complete on dharmarthik parameters than sikhs simply owing to longetivity. Sikhs could not throw up a series of successful kings which upheld dharma and punished mlechhas, something which marathas could do all over india outside their home base continuouslt for a century and quarter. And all the great work of MRS was lost in partition.
Hence i have trouble calling it a "sikh empire". It was logical name then, but not after "sikhism" became to be known as different religion. Because the gurumat gets to carry all the blame of their post mrs kings. And "sikh empire" gets the halo of the karma of gurus. What you described were feats of sikh pantha or guru-mata.
Sikhs should bring back this narrative which has been hijacked by gora funded individuals.