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Gurfateh

Old Soldiers

As the famous line from an old army ballad says "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away." - here is a collection of some of my favourite military images.

Most military images are very stiff and formal, staged photographs in regimental formations - my personal favourites are the informal shots which show the day to day life of a soldier.

This is perhaps one of my favourite images, from perhaps the late 19th century , it shows a Sikh soldier in 'Civvies' - off duty - but still wearing his regimental Pagri Badge (a chakar and Bhagauti).

He wears a large tall dastar - the 10 yard army 'safa'. It shows how his beard is tied very clearly - tied upwards and it appears without the use of any 'Fixo' - today it is more common for the beard to be tied 'downwards' as in it is tucked under rather than upwards. I love the 'cheeky' smile and the salute - a great image.

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These next two images reflect the fascination many have with our Kesh and Dastar - It shows Harnam Singh of the 4th Sikh also in his 'civvy' clothes before and after washing and drying his hair.It is from the Desert campaign of the First World War in Kantara, on the east side of the Suez canal in 1914.

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More images of 'ablutions'

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Time for 'Tiffin'

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Veterans at the Delhi Durbar

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Wonderfully staged images of Sikh Gunners

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A Felice Beato image of some of the first recruits to the British Army

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Gallipoli - WW1

The trenches

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Mountain Battery

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Jerusalem

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Desert Diwan - Mesopotamia WW1

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The Memorial erected by The 35th Sikhs battalion in 1894 - located in the Darshani Deori Amritsar.

It reads -

"Eh chakar paltan number 35 Sikh ne tareek 16 (?) April 1894 mutaabak 5 Vasaakh san 1952 Nu Siri Darbar Sahib Amritsar da darshan karan di ar Ishnaan karan di yaadgar vich Ardass karaiya "

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The Saragarhi Memorial

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Sikhs in France WW1

Pipe Band

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Second World War - A Sikh Soldier escorting prisoners of War 1941

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Memorial to Ranjit Singh - Sikh Regiment - Kranji , Singapore

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And to finish another favourite image - Sikh boys boxing , (Army Cadets ?) from the 1940s. Note how the boy on the right is wearing a proper 'Reb' Kacchera

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Hope you enjoyed the pictures

Ranjit Singh 'Freed'

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Illuminating as ever Freed.

One point of interest is the way Sikh soldiers seem to have no problem with carrying maharaj with their shoes on, as the images from Mesopotamia testify. Today this would be unacceptable.

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Illuminating as ever Freed.

One point of interest is the way Sikh soldiers seem to have no problem with carrying maharaj with their shoes on, as the images from Mesopotamia testify. Today this would be unacceptable.

Depends on the situation bro - who knows how far they had to go and in what conditions

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Illuminating as ever Freed.

One point of interest is the way Sikh soldiers seem to have no problem with carrying maharaj with their shoes on, as the images from Mesopotamia testify. Today this would be unacceptable.

Depends on the situation bro - who knows how far they had to go and in what conditions

I just get the feeling that people today have gone overboard in following Dasmesh pita's instruction that Maharaj is our Guru and are taking it really literally.

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Well, some of older pictures you see don't really correspond to what we do today. For instance, there is an old painting of Harmandir Sahib which clearly shows the Granthi reading maharaj and it seems to have been placed on a simple raised platform covered with a plain white clothe. Today they place it in a really ostentatious palki with multicoloured cloth around it.

Also people seem to take Guru with them on expeditions like those soldiers in the picture. I think a lot of us have also seen those magnificent miniature Guru Granth Sahibs that soldiers were issued with by the British Army. Plus most of us have heard of Sham Singh Attari on the battlefield swearing noot to quit the field with his hands on the granth in the First Anglo-Sikh war.

I just wonder if in the old days they put maharaj in a bed and left food laying around for it like today? Also the thing we do when we go abroad and take some cloth to offer to Guru Sahib when we reach our destination...I'm just wondering if that is a new thing.

Basically I'm saying do we treat Maharaj different today than in the past?

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It's a question of faith. If the physical saroop of Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the same for someone as Guru Gobind Singh Ji then their behaviour will reflect this. I wouldn't say we do things much more differently than in the past, especially the Singhs who follow puratan Maryada, which has been in place for ages.

Damdami Taksal, Nihung Dals, Bhai Daya Singh Sampardaye, and more recently Nanaksar all treat Guru Ji's saroop with the utmost respect - some Singhs in the past (e.g Baba Nand Singh Ji) have actually got parthak darshan of Guru Sahib from Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

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The palki thing is almost definitely a new innovation though.

I think some Hinduism has crept in with people beginning to treat Guru sahib almost like an idol with rituals to be performed around with less emphasis on khoj or analysing the contents. I think the saying was, if want you want to find the Guru, KHOJ the bani contained within.

What would your definition/translation of khoj be? Maybe I'm misunderstanding?

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Veerjeeo,

There have been some very rough times in our history, our guru sahebaans preached gursikhee during the time of the mughal invasion and oppression, gursikhs fought through these rough times adjusting to eating leaves and grass, surviving on days without food and water and not to mention living under a constant threat of attack.

They had to live gursikhee according to these times. You hear/read stories that during wartimes, they use to put maharaaj's saroop on top of trees so that they can fight the enemy and they failed to live through that fight, there would be no be-adbee done to guru saaheb, was that wrong? Ofcourse not. Times of today are different, we are not living in an oppressed country or with foreign invaders, we don't have enemies we have to fight besides the 5 vikaar.

My point is according to times and situations they had to adapt and try to keep as much satkaar as they could because guru saaheb's satkaar was of utmost importance

Praatan gursikhs would always be haazar naazar to their guru always up for any sevaa they could get because they KNEW...

sathagur kee saevaa gaakharree sir dheejai aap gavaae ||

It is very difficult to serve the True Guru. Surrender your head; give up your selfishness.

There are many shabds in gurbanee in terms of gur sevaa.

Sevaa is a concept only a handful of people understand and practice, some gursikhs spend their lifetimes doing sevaa from day to night, its everything for them. Many gursikhs leave their families to do sevaa at langar or of guru saaheb to seek the blessings of guru saaheb.

Let me ask you, who is your guru? If it is Sree Guru Granth Saaheb jee then wouldn't you feel obliged to show as much satkaar to your guru as if gurujee was a living person? It comes down to how much shardhaa and pyaar you have for gurbaanee and if you really see gurbaanee as high and AS the word of god that you would do all you can in your power to do maharaaj's satkaar, the most important satkaar of guru saaheb is to understand and analyze gurshabd.

The palki thing is almost definitely a new innovation though.

PLEASE PLEASE backup or reference what you say, because if you don't then you're misleading sangat with your views and thats a paap in itself.

Here's a photo of the wooden paalkee in which the original pothis were carried from Goindvaal to Amritsar by Guru Arjan Saaheb. The paalkee is now at Goindvaal Saaheb.

Bhul chuk muaaf karnee.

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Firstly please don't make this (or any other) discussion by me into one that is one designed to "mislead" the sangat. Think of this as vichaar. I come here with an open mind and discussing stuff, in my opinion, is a great way to share information. I for one don't expect everyone to share my opinions and in the same way we shouldn't characterise people who don't share our opinions as "paapis" or any opinions that differ from ours as "beadbi"

Anyway. Look at the paintings below. They were painted in the heyday of Sikh affluence, so money was no issue. I don't see a palki but quite simple settings for maharaj. I also stuck a picture a miniature granth.

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Dalsingh wrote:"Anyway. Look at the paintings below. They were painted in the heyday of Sikh affluence, so money was no issue. I don't see a palki but quite simple settings for maharaj. I also stuck a picture a miniature granth.

Dalsingh, the 'simple' settings inside Harmandir Sahib are actually quite elaborate. The chandoas from that time were hugely expensive (made with gold thread and adorned with jewels) and were preserved in the toshakhanna until 1984, when they got damaged - i think 1 still remains and is sometimes used on big occassions. The design of Harmandir Sahib means a palki isn't needed.

As for the outdoor painting, who knows what's going on? Besides, paintings weren't always accurate - have a look at Freed's post at www.sikhawareness.com with paintings depicting the British governer with a halo around his head and devtey saluting him.

As veer ji has shown with the photo of a palki from Guru Arjan Dev Ji's time - it's not a new invention. Also, don't forget how much respect Guru Arjan Dev Ji gave to the Pothi Sahib and what they went through to get all the Bani back to the Sangat.

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Gurfateh !

The simple answer here is that traditionally a 'Palki' is for transporting Guru Sahib respectfully from one place to another.

A full size Manja (Bed) is used for Sukhasan - and for Prakash Guru Sahib is 'Braajmaan' placed on a Manji Sahib - small low cot/bed. This is still maintained at Darbar Sahib.

There is no 'Hindu' / ritualistic / or other kind of reason - it is plain Darbari Rasm / Royal custom that is universal to all Royalty - If you look at the Queen of England - She arrives in a Golden Coach - (Palki) - Her arrival is heralded by Trumpets (Narsingha) - She sits on a throne (Manji) with attendants always present (Chaur Sahib and Granthi)

All her subjects bow to her and no one turns their back on her (Matha Tek - Dandot) - they walk backwards to show respect. Above her head there is a Baldaquin - a rich canopy (Chandoa).

There are set times for audience - outside of these times she retires to her private quarters, where she may give private audience. (This is like Prakash - Prakash in the Sheesh Mahal -and then Sukhasan)

The Darbar of Guru Sahib is a Royal Darbar therefore you have the markers of Royalty - The Nagara- royal drum, The Narsingha - Royal Trumpet . Royal Musicians - Raagis.

Even the Architecture of Darbar Sahib is Royal, akin to a Palace - with an area for Public audience , for private audience (Sheesh mahal and the upper floor Pavilion) and a place to retire (Kotha Sahib).

It's all about respect and Royal Protocol - the level of 'display' depends on the situation - for example when the Queen goes hunting - protocol is still maintained but at a less formal level - So there is no Canopy etc - but at a formal occasion like the State opening of Parliament there is full protocol and all traditions are maintained - Trumpets, coaches, regalia and crowns.

THe queen is welcomed and seated on a throne higher than everyone else and everyone faces her and no one especially 'Black Rod' turns their back on her - and No one leaves until she has finished her speech, no one leaves before she leaves - the same as Hukumnama and Sukhasan).

All this is true of Guru Sahib, the level of Darbari Rasm is dependent on the situation but bare minimum is 'Carried on Head with Romallay and Chaur Sahib'.

Guru Sahib is the King of Kings and Darbar Sahib is their Darbar - in no way am I saying the Queen is on the same level as Guru Sahib - I am just giving the reason for the 'Darbari Rasm'.

A Sikh bows their head only to Guru Sahib and a Sikh only recognises the Darbar of Guru Sahib.

Freed

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Thank you for your explanation Freed.

Does anyone know if putting Guru ji on a manji after hours was done in the past?

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