Search the Community
Showing results for tags 'rabid indian historians'.
How Intelligentsia is discrediting the Martyrdom of Guru Teghbahadur. Integral to comprehending the Sikh versus State dynamic is the historicity of the Sikhs, as a collective, vis-a-vis political absolutism. It is no wonder, then, that political powers from time to time have continually targeted the Sikh past in a bid to neuter Sikhi of it’s temporal purview. Whereas historically the Sikhs were more erudite regarding their past, their modern descendants exhibit no such tendency owing to intellectual atrophy. Sampradaic (traditional) sophistry is content with reciting vague passages from the infamous Suraj Prakashwhereas mainstream historians have jumped onto the political bandwagon in a bid to acquire financial incentives. A canard from one such historian, Dr. Fauja Singh, which has now become the adage of those who would do Sikh history harm posits: – The martyrdom of Guru Teghbahadur Ji, the ninth Nanak, was not affected for the general freedom of conscience. – The aforementioned Nanak was no man of faith. His death was well-deserved as he was a marauder. – Contemporary Sikh records which contend otherwise are either fabrications, or late interpolations- the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, who is said to have ordered the Guru’s execution, was not present in Delhi at the time thus rendering these records obsolete. Summarily, it is concluded that the Sikhs possess no history of their own and must rely on non-Sikh historicity and sophistry to relate their past. It is deplorable that whereas our forebears possessed an intellect honed to the point of perfection, our present generation can barely differentiate between bona fide reverence and dog-whistle politics. In light of the latter, is it any wonder then that we accept the below asinine criterion for our historiography? 1.) Sikh history is retained in Persian records irrespective of the latter’s bias. 2.) Sikh literature, definitions of self etc. are irrelevant. If they are to be ever utilized, than only in a corroborative/supplementary fashion. (1) 3.) The Nanaks were nothing more than unremarkable citizens of the Hindu-Mughal theophany. Their conduct, then, is to be solely scrutinized under contemporaneous legal/social mores. (2) 4.) The Sikh philosophy-cum-praxis is not distinct from post-colonial Hinduism (as opposed to Hinduism’s pre-colonial geographic explication) and must be judged under neo-sanataan/vedic norms. (3) 5.) European records- lacking comprehension and rationalism- are to be treated as Fide dignus; any substantiation to the contrary is to be ignored. (4) Initially cemented by Latif, Sarkar and Gupta these guidelines have today developed into axiomatic lifelines for both Sikh and non-Sikh historians. Conforming to this imbecilic criterion, Dr. Fauja Singh published his vilification of the ninth Nanak in the renowned Journal of Sikh Studies in 1974. Immediately taken to task by several eminent scholars, Singh sought the assistance of Dr. Satish Chandra (NCERT) who subsequently had his work published in curricular texts. (5) A dean at the History department of Punjabi University, Singh’s mendacious propaganda carried the seal of academic approval- an element which the opponents of the Sikhs have taken due notice of. His canard, based on an ambivalent chronicle compiled at least a century after Aurangzeb’s demise and translated by an Orientalist, promulgates: ‘Tegh-Bahadur collating many acolytes grew powerful and many people became part-and-parcel of his retinue. Another fakir, Hafiz Ada(a)m of the order of Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi had also collated a multitude around him. Both men amalgamated their forces and commenced subsisting on plunder and rapine…’ (6) For those conversant with Sikh history, any Sikh forming a coalition with the order of the bigot Sirhindi- irrespective of their status as Guru or acolyte- would have instantly been faced with a draconian censure from their own community. It is crucial to note here that Sirhindi, and his political patrons, had been instrumental in having the fifth Nanak executed and the sixth arraigned. (7) Dr. Fauja Singh and his ilk of scholars, for all their airs of sophistry, have completely bypassed this conspicuous point and instead painted a rosy picture of congenial love between the house of Nanak and the house of the chauvinist Sirhindi. Singh’s fictions, if analyzed briefly, imply the following: -Guru Teghbahadur, in reality, never asked to be declared Guru and the epithet is of later origin. – The Guru’s real name was Tyag Mal and he was dedicated to a pre-Marxian philosophy which radically differed from the ideology of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. -The Guru planned and coordinated a pre-mature revolution (allegations of plunder and rapine) after collating unsavoury individuals around him. -He perceived himself to be on the path to success but failed to take into account the military prowess of the Mughals. –The Mughals, after a brief skirmish, apprehended him and brought him to Delhi. -Under justified legal mores, the Guru was shown the error of his ways and then beheaded as penalty for his mutinous reign. –Aurangzeb was not present in Delhi at the time but liaised via letter with his Delhi satrap. Sikh records, particularly the Bachittra-Natak, are fallacious when addressing this point. As a mockery of the historian’s discipline, Dr. Fauja Singh provides sources for his fictions and herein lies his weakness- his sources, if scrutinized attentively, are full of contradictions and (shockingly) make no mention of Guru Teghbahadur subsisting on plunder and rapine or even confronting the Mughals on the field of battle. What are these sources? Below is a brief description of them: The Memoirs of Mirza Mohammad Khan- Aurangzeb’s official historian, Mohd. Khan deifies his emperor whilst making no mention of either the Sufi saint Sarmad’s martyrdom (his only sin was that he confronted Aurangzeb in direct contradiction of Islamic injunctions which forbade rebellion) or either the ninth Nanak’s beheading. (8) Truly his master’s voice, Khan’s memoirs nonetheless provide an insight into how the contemporary Mughal regime went about it’s daily tasks. The Munta-hab-ul-lubab of Kafi Khan- Aurangzeb’s initial injunction, concerning sophistry, was to censor all impartial historians and instead patronize those who towed the state line. Dissenters were executed and/or imprisoned. (9) Compiled during this perilous period, the Munta-hab-ul-lubab was prepared under the nom de plume of Kafi Khan. Similar to Mohd. Khan’s memoirs in that that it makes no mention of either Sarmad of the ninth Guru’s martyrdoms, the lubabnonetheless is devoid of the deification found in Memoirs and is often impartial concerning some of the Mughal state’s excesses. (10) The Ma’asar-i-Alamgiri- Compiled by Must’ad Khan, the Alamgiri was intended as a political omnibus charting 40 years of Aurangzeb’s incumbency. (11) Insightful regarding political policy, the Alamgiri does not concentrate on the concerned Mughal’s day-to-day reign. The Sayyar-ul-matakharin- Written by Ghulam Hussain Khan, the matakharin charts the history of the sub-continent from 1702-1786. Mixing fact with fiction, Khan relays largely on hearsay and populist rhetoric to chart the lives of seven Mughal emperors and depict the ever-increasing proliferation of the British in Bengal. (12) Historians believe the work to first have been compiled in 1785, and then published in 1897. Only one manuscript is in existence. Hussain Khan, if indeed that was his real name, makes no mention of his own self or his times. His description of the British is sketchy and almost mythological on some points. Interestingly enough, however, the matakharin makes mention of Guru Teghbahadur’s martyrdom. Hussain Khan narrates that: 1.) Perceiving the Guru’s ever-growing influence, Aurangzeb ordered him arrested. 2.) It was reported, by the Mughal’s intelligence, that the Guru’s acolytes were all peace-loving men and the Guru himself was a pacifist. 3.) The Governor of Lahore arraigned the Guru. 4.) Subsequently, the Guru was executed via dismemberment. His cadaver was cut into four pieces and each piece was then displayed at the four gates of Lahore. What compelled Hussain Khan to relate such fibs? It is impossible to argue that he was biased against the Sikhs as his mythologizing is ubiquitous. Can it be that he offered his services to some British officer who, in a moment of sheer gullibility, commissioned him to write a history of the sub-continent? Is the deification of the British, then, some ploy to flatter his patron and part him from his gold? Whatever Hussain Khan’s intent, his work soon enough was brought to the attention of two British Army Officers; the hon. Reymond and John Briggs. Reymond, it seems, was an auxiliary in Brigg’s bigger scheme of things. In 1830, both men would publish a translation of the matakharin for which Briggs would claim the sole credit (whatever happened to Reymond? It seems his secondary status deserved no recognition). (13) Sensitive to the political airs of the day, particularly where the Sikh Empire of Ranjit Singh was concerned, Briggs incorporated the general bias of his day into his translation. (14) No longer was Guru Teghbahadur a pacifist. Rather he was a rapacious mercenary, extorting the impoverished and collating bandits around him. As such, he was well deserving of his faith. The heathen Sikhs had to be taken away from the shade of such Gurus and be placed in the keep of the Abrahamic preceptors. The discipline of historic research, which has swept through the sub-continent, over the past century it seems has failed to budge the ossified brains of indigenous historians. Rather than establish a biography of their sources, they are content with reiterating the latter’s canards verbatim. Let us now turn to Dr. Fauja Singh’s second contention: the absence of Aurangzeb. The Bachittra-Natak states: ‘Shattering the pitcher of his mortal coil on the head of the Delhi emperor, did Teghbahadur depart…’ (15) Several other Sikh sources also mention, more clearly, the presence of Aurangzeb at the Guru’s execution. Sir Jadhunath Sarkar was the initial historian to doubt the veracity of this fact based on his sources viz Khafi Khan and Must’ad Khan. Both men, it must be noted, make no mention of the Guru’s martyrdom whilst Sikh accounts posit Aurangzeb to have been in Delhi on that fateful day in November 1675 when the Guru was executed. Sarkar, owing to his bias, dismissed both the matakharin and Sikh accounts on the basis that both were inferior compared to prior Persian records. His corroborative texts were the journals of two contemporary Portugese travelers Ormez and Dr. Fryer, and the mercenary Manucci. On the basis of their references, Sarkar dismissed the presence of Aurangzeb at the Guru’s execution but matters however were no so black and white as he believed. Do the Persian accounts tally with Sarkar’s supplementary accounts? The answer is a plain negative. The Satnami rebellion, which transpired prior to the Guru’s execution and an event in which he played a critical role, is depicted by Kafi Khan as having occurred in 1082 Hijri (Islamic calendar) and- in sheer contradiction- in 1084 Hijri. (16) This gap of two years is neither explained by Kafi, nor commented upon by Sarkar who believes the work to have been untouched. If 1082 Hijri is converted into the Julian chronology, then Sarkar’s theory regarding Aurangzeb’s absence falls flat on it’s face. Must’ad Khan posits the Satnami bellicosity having transpired in 1082 Hijri which, if converted to Julian mores, becomes 1673. (17) Sarkar proclaims the latter date to be authentic, but then his Portugese narratives betray him. Ormez, in concurrence with one of Kafi Khan’s dates, depicts Aurangzeb as having confronted the Satnamis in 1674- a year prior to the Guru’s martyrdom making it plausible that the Mughal was present in Delhi during the latter episode. Fryer, whilst reporting to officials, narrates how intelligence has been received that Aurangzeb has commenced a campaign against non-Muslims and those who dare confront him on the field of battle. His report carries the colophon of September 1674-January 1675 (18), again making Aurangzeb’s presence in Delhi during November viable. Manucci, on the other hand, narrates that Aurangzeb commenced his Jihad in 1679. (19) It was on the basis of this chronological quandary that Sarkar presented us with his half-baked theory that Aurangzeb was not present in Delhi during the Guru’s execution. Compare this, then, with Sikh tradition which is unmoved in it’s date of November 1675 and claim of Aurangzeb’s presence. We need not delve further into any more inconsistencies which, both Sikh and non-Sikh, historians have birthed in a bid to acquire fame on the basis of controversy. However a blunt rejoinder should be served to the Sikhs- once more they stand on the cusp of history, yet today they can no longer protect their own past. Unless they cease with their moronic tendency to perceive only the positive and ignore the negative, they will be held culpable by future generations of having decimated their own heritage. It is high time now that they awaken, and protect the moral characters of their Gurus. Sources: (1) S. Kapur Singh, Sikhism and the Sikhs, pg. 293-294. (2) Ibid. (3) Ibid. (4) Ibid. (5) Ibid, pg. 298. Among the historians who challenged Fauja Singh were Prof. Teja Singh, Dr. Ganda Singh and S. Kapur Singh. Fauja Singh, enjoying close proximity with Chandra, used political connections to have his work thrust into the limelight and it was subsequently published in national textbooks. More recently, the infamous Bikram Lamba (self-proclaimed motivational writer) has contended the accuracy of Fauja Singh’s views (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/guru-teg-bahadurs-martyrdom-reality-bikram-lamba)- Lamba, doubtless, has fallen into the same trap as Fauja Singh. (6) Paraphrased from A Short History of the Sikhs, vol. i, Dr. Ganda Singh and Professor Teja Singh. (7) S. Kapur Singh, Theo-Political Status of Sri Darbar Sahib. (8) S. Kapur Singh, Sikhism and the Sikhs, pg. 295. (9) Accessed from http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/feb/16francois.htm (10) Hodgson C, (2015), Indigenous Historians of India and their works, (unpublished thesis); pg. 210. (11) Ibid, pg. 230. (12) Accessed from https://archive.org/details/siyarulmutakheri00ghulrich (13) Sikhism and the Sikhs, pg. 297. (14) Ibid. (15) Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Bachittra-Natak, Dasam Granth (translation ours). (16) Sikhism and the Sikhs, pg. 302. (17) Ibid. (18) Referenced in A New Account of East India and Persia, pg. 1275. (19) Mogul India 1653-1708, Manucci, pg. 239. https://tisarpanthdotcom.wordpress.com/2018/02/04/veiling-the-sword/