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History Of The Khanda Symbol


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Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh,

I'm interested in learning about the origins of the Khanda, which is today the symbol of the Sikh Panth. There is no mention of it in any puraatan accounts, nor any representation of it in Sikh art before the mid-20th century. Nor was it depicted on the Nishaan Sahib - the only symbols carried on the flag of the Sikh Nation were three shastar - a dhal (shield), a katar (punch dagger) and a tulwar sword. This is evident from old Sikh paintings, as well as the gold engravings at Sri Darbar Sahib dating back to the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Who created the Khanda, and when? How did it come to be so ubiquitous?

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The earliest image I have seen of it was in a congratulatory letter from some British army official to some apna who had evidently been helping them recruit for WW1.

If I recall rightly, the image was dated 1915ish.

If it did come from around about this period, it probably became firmly established by being used by the Singh Sabha lehar, who dominated the Sikh discourse during the colonial period.

They had a very strong presence with periodicals, tracts, books etc. So most literate (and illiterate) people would have been exposed to the symbol in this way.

It then doesn't take much for people who've grown up with the symbol to start incorporating it into artwork, especially calendar art, which would have been ubiquitous in most if not every Sikh home (for free too).

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Do you think it is now time to have the original colours and flags reinstated to distance us from the Saffronisation by hindu influenced SGPC? Personally I'd love to see the yellow and blue nishan sahibs flying at Akal Takht again

Definitely!

It should be THE symbol of us returning to our true roots.

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The earliest image I have seen of it was in a congratulatory letter from some British army official to some apna who had evidently been helping them recruit for WW1.

If I recall rightly, the image was dated 1915ish.

If it did come from around about this period, it probably became firmly established by being used by the Singh Sabha lehar, who dominated the Sikh discourse during the colonial period.

They had a very strong presence with periodicals, tracts, books etc. So most literate (and illiterate) people would have been exposed to the symbol in this way.

It then doesn't take much for people who've grown up with the symbol to start incorporating it into artwork, especially calendar art, which would have been ubiquitous in most if not every Sikh home (for free too).

That's the most plausible explanation I've heard so far. The Singh Sabha was after all started to address the increasing level of religious ignorance among Sikhs, so it's not surprising that they came to associate the khanda with the religion which they had hitherto known little about . I suppose it's rather like how some 3HO Sikhs seem to have associated yoga with Sikhism, because they first heard of the faith through a Yogi.

Do you think it is now time to have the original colours and flags reinstated to distance us from the Saffronisation by hindu influenced SGPC? Personally I'd love to see the yellow and blue nishan sahibs flying at Akal Takht again

I'd always wondered where the Puraatan Nishaan Sahibs had disappeared to. In light of the information in dally's post, it seems that the Tat Khalsa Lehar's substitution of the neela and the shastaars, for saffron and the khanda, was calculated to displace the Nihang Singhs - their ideological enemies - and whitewash their role in Sikh history. The Khalsa's flag was the same as the Nihang flag because in its earliest days, the Khalsa and the Akali Nihangs were one and the same. As long as the Sikh flag was blue and bedecked with weapons, the Nihang Singhs would continue to loom tall in the Sikh imagination. Apparently, they couldn't allow this.

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The origin of the Khanda symbol as we know it today is the Rattray Regiment of the British Army.

However, this is my thoughts on the matter from an historical perspective:

Whilst it was never the symbol of the Sikhs during the time of Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji I think we have to show enough understanding of Guru ji and the Singhs of that era and appreciate the fact that their (especially Guru ji's) knowledge of pre-Islamic ancient Persian was so vast that it actually put the Persians of that era to shame. Whilst things such as the fact that Guru ji gave his sons Persian names, we Sikhs bypassed the Muslim culture around us and took on Persian words such as 'sardar' for nobleman, Dastar for turban, Dastar Bandi for turban tying ceremony for boys etc all give us clues as to which direction Sikhs looked to for words and culture it is in fact the Sikh word 'Nihung' that gives us the best indication of how the Sikhs were more knowledgable about ancient Persian than the Persians. I use the word 'nihung' as an exaample because the sikh history books continously (aand wrongly) state that the word 'nihung' is Persian for crocodile. This is wrong. The fact is that the word 'nihung' doesn't even exist in Persian. Guru ji, however, was so knowledgable about ancient / pre-Islamic Persian culture he knew that such a word did exist in classical ancient persian thousands of years ago (it meant 'mythical sea creature' in ancient Persian). Thus, we cannot and should not rule out the possibility that Guru ji was also knowledgable about another ancient / long-lost pre-islamic Persian symbol that signified martyrdom (or shaheedi) of the young. That ancient symbol was a tulip with two swords on the sides. In 1979, the Iranians 're-discovered' their ancient symbol and made it their national flag, hence why today the Sikhs and Iran have identical flags but my theory is that it is possible that the Sikhs of our Guru's time knew about that ancient shaheedi symbol long before the modern persians 're-discovered' it.

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Kesri was never a Khalsa colour. Original nishan sahibs were blue and basanti. Basanti colour is mustard yellow. It seems due to Sanatanists Nirmala influence Basanti colour was replaced by Kesri.

As for the khanda. The old nishan Sahibs had shastrs like Katar, Kirpan, Chakar. Later this Khanda symbol was added. A khanda symbol contains three Shastrs which 2 Kirpan representing Miri and Piri, a Chakar and a double edged Khanda which are all traditional shastrs of the Khalsa and so this symbol is parvaan.

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The origin of the Khanda symbol as we know it today is the Rattray Regiment of the British Army.

However, this is my thoughts on the matter from an historical perspective:

Whilst it was never the symbol of the Sikhs during the time of Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji I think we have to show enough understanding of Guru ji and the Singhs of that era and appreciate the fact that their (especially Guru ji's) knowledge of pre-Islamic ancient Persian was so vast that it actually put the Persians of that era to shame. Whilst things such as the fact that Guru ji gave his sons Persian names, we Sikhs bypassed the Muslim culture around us and took on Persian words such as 'sardar' for nobleman, Dastar for turban, Dastar Bandi for turban tying ceremony for boys etc all give us clues as to which direction Sikhs looked to for words and culture it is in fact the Sikh word 'Nihung' that gives us the best indication of how the Sikhs were more knowledgable about ancient Persian than the Persians. I use the word 'nihung' as an exaample because the sikh history books continously (aand wrongly) state that the word 'nihung' is Persian for crocodile. This is wrong. The fact is that the word 'nihung' doesn't even exist in Persian. Guru ji, however, was so knowledgable about ancient / pre-Islamic Persian culture he knew that such a word did exist in classical ancient persian thousands of years ago (it meant 'mythical sea creature' in ancient Persian). Thus, we cannot and should not rule out the possibility that Guru ji was also knowledgable about another ancient / long-lost pre-islamic Persian symbol that signified martyrdom (or shaheedi) of the young. That ancient symbol was a tulip with two swords on the sides. In 1979, the Iranians 're-discovered' their ancient symbol and made it their national flag, hence why today the Sikhs and Iran have identical flags but my theory is that it is possible that the Sikhs of our Guru's time knew about that ancient shaheedi symbol long before the modern persians 're-discovered' it.

islami peeps claim it is stylised Allah in calligraphy ....but i prefer my Dad's view that ayatollah was shown the future flag of the true world faith

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it is in fact the Sikh word 'Nihung' that gives us the best indication of how the Sikhs were more knowledgable about ancient Persian than the Persians. I use the word 'nihung' as an exaample because the sikh history books continously (aand wrongly) state that the word 'nihung' is Persian for crocodile. This is wrong. The fact is that the word 'nihung' doesn't even exist in Persian.

About 4 years ago I asked a student I was teaching about this very thing. She brought in a Persian-English dictionary and I specifically asked her to look up crocodile - and nihang was in there. It wasn't the first entry (more towards the latter synonyms) but it was there - so you appear to misled.

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About 4 years ago I asked a student I was teaching about this very thing. She brought in a Persian-English dictionary and I specifically asked her to look up crocodile - and nihang was in there. It wasn't the first entry (more towards the latter synonyms) but it was there - so you appear to misled.

No I'm not misled. Children or adults that draw their conclusions from 'asking one bloke' are misled. I've spent years researching and absorbing knowledge and its the kind of knowledge that deserves alot more respect than an attempt to be trumped by something one solitary bloke told you.

The Persian word for crocodile is 'temsah'. The word nihung does however still exist today in those persian languages that resisted Islamification / Arabisation of their language, such as Kurdish and Armenian where it means, as I stated before, a mythical sea monster / creature and let us remember how a person that sees a crocodile for the first time would be well within his rights to see it as a 'sea monster'.

However, I think it is entirely plausible for the word 'nihung' to appear in a modern day Persian dictionary, as you state. Plausiblle because of the strange and short-lived shift that occurred in Persian in the decade 1935 to 1945. The Shah of Iran, in 1935, made a public announcement asking scholars and poets to discard modern Persian words rooted in Arabic and revert back to old ancient Persian words. He asked the Iranians to embrace what he called "farsi-e-sareh", or 'pure persian'.Thus a shift started to take place in Persian. Its quite interesting really because we often hear our grandparents say the word 'afsar' when referring to an officer of some description and of course we think it must be a colloqiual Punjabi mispronounciation of the English word 'officer'. However, that is not the case. Given Punjabi's extremely close relationship to Persian, the word actually existed in Punjabi long before any English speaker ever set foot in Punjab. The word 'afsar' comes from the pre-Arabisation Persian word for 'crown', thus afsar signifies a servant of the crown. From Punjabi the word was adopted by the brand new language of Urdu and from Urdu the Shah of Iran, in 1935, re-introduced it into the Persian language by deliberately using it, for the very first time in centuries in Iran, in his passionate speech calling for 'farsi-e-sareh'. And so, in 1935, the Persian word 'afsar' was reintroduced into the Persian language despite the fact that we Punjabis had been using it continously for hundreds of years. By the same token, it is entirely plausible that the word 'nihung' could well have re-entered the Persian language to a small degree in 1935 as part of the persianization process because the current, mass used, farsi word for crocodile is rooted in Arabic : 'tamseh'.

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No I'm not misled. Children or adults that draw their conclusions from 'asking one bloke' are misled. I've spent years researching and absorbing knowledge and its the kind of knowledge that deserves alot more respect than an attempt to be trumped by something one solitary bloke told you.

The Persian word for crocodile is 'temsah'. The word nihung does however still exist today in those persian languages that resisted Islamification / Arabisation of their language, such as Kurdish and Armenian where it means, as I stated before, a mythical sea monster / creature and let us remember how a person that sees a crocodile for the first time would be well within his rights to see it as a 'sea monster'.

However, I think it is entirely plausible for the word 'nihung' to appear in a modern day Persian dictionary, as you state. Plausiblle because of the strange and short-lived shift that occurred in Persian in the decade 1935 to 1945. The Shah of Iran, in 1935, made a public announcement asking scholars and poets to discard modern Persian words rooted in Arabic and revert back to old ancient Persian words. He asked the Iranians to embrace what he called "farsi-e-sareh", or 'pure persian'.Thus a shift started to take place in Persian. Its quite interesting really because we often hear our grandparents say the word 'afsar' when referring to an officer of some description and of course we think it must be a colloqiual Punjabi mispronounciation of the English word 'officer'. However, that is not the case. Given Punjabi's extremely close relationship to Persian, the word actually existed in Punjabi long before any English speaker ever set foot in Punjab. The word 'afsar' comes from the pre-Arabisation Persian word for 'crown', thus afsar signifies a servant of the crown. From Punjabi the word was adopted by the brand new language of Urdu and from Urdu the Shah of Iran, in 1935, re-introduced it into the Persian language by deliberately using it, for the very first time in centuries in Iran, in his passionate speech calling for 'farsi-e-sareh'. And so, in 1935, the Persian word 'afsar' was reintroduced into the Persian language despite the fact that we Punjabis had been using it continously for hundreds of years. By the same token, it is entirely plausible that the word 'nihung' could well have re-entered the Persian language to a small degree in 1935 as part of the persianization process because the current, mass used, farsi word for crocodile is rooted in Arabic : 'tamseh'.

Fool. She brought the dictionary in.

Do you think they printed it to fool Sikh people or something.

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Fool. She brought the dictionary in.

Do you think they printed it to fool Sikh people or something.

:blink2: Your penchant for arguing just to make yourself look less useless than you actually are makes you deaf, dumb and blind Dallysingh101. And there is no bigger fool than a man that deliberately closes his eyes and ears and pretends that he just doesn't hear or see. Lets try a second time hoping that you may finally snap out of that ignorant arrogant shell of yours. Its in English, not Swahili. Try reading it this time:

The Persian word for crocodile is 'temsah'. The word nihung does however still exist today in those persian languages that resisted Islamification / Arabisation of their language, such as Kurdish and Armenian where it means, as I stated before, a mythical sea monster / creature and let us remember how a person that sees a crocodile for the first time would be well within his rights to see it as a 'sea monster'.

However, I think it is entirely plausible for the word 'nihung' to appear in a modern day Persian dictionary, as you state. Plausiblle because of the strange and short-lived shift that occurred in Persian in the decade 1935 to 1945. The Shah of Iran, in 1935, made a public announcement asking scholars and poets to discard modern Persian words rooted in Arabic and revert back to old ancient Persian words. He asked the Iranians to embrace what he called "farsi-e-sareh", or 'pure persian'.Thus a shift started to take place in Persian. Its quite interesting really because we often hear our grandparents say the word 'afsar' when referring to an officer of some description and of course we think it must be a colloqiual Punjabi mispronounciation of the English word 'officer'. However, that is not the case. Given Punjabi's extremely close relationship to Persian, the word actually existed in Punjabi long before any English speaker ever set foot in Punjab. The word 'afsar' comes from the pre-Arabisation Persian word for 'crown', thus afsar signifies a servant of the crown. From Punjabi the word was adopted by the brand new language of Urdu and from Urdu the Shah of Iran, in 1935, re-introduced it into the Persian language by deliberately using it, for the very first time in centuries in Iran, in his passionate speech calling for 'farsi-e-sareh'. And so, in 1935, the Persian word 'afsar' was reintroduced into the Persian language despite the fact that we Punjabis had been using it continously for hundreds of years. By the same token, it is entirely plausible that the word 'nihung' could well have re-entered the Persian language to a small degree in 1935 as part of the persianization process because the current, mass used, farsi word for crocodile is rooted in Arabic : 'tamseh'.

As for the ineptitude you displayed with your meaningless hundreds of photographs about Rattray's Regiment: You do realise that when one says the Rattray Sikh Regiment badge is the "origin' of the Sikh symbol" he is NOT saying the Rattray Regiment symbol is the Sikh symbol....don't you ?? I mean you do realise that when a teacher says man's origins lay in apes he is not calling the man an ape....don't you ? :stupidme:

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No I'm not misled. Children or adults that draw their conclusions from 'asking one bloke' are misled. I've spent years researching and absorbing knowledge and its the kind of knowledge that deserves alot more respect than an attempt to be trumped by something one solitary bloke told you.

The Persian word for crocodile is 'temsah'. The word nihung does however still exist today in those persian languages that resisted Islamification / Arabisation of their language, such as Kurdish and Armenian where it means, as I stated before, a mythical sea monster / creature and let us remember how a person that sees a crocodile for the first time would be well within his rights to see it as a 'sea monster'.

However, I think it is entirely plausible for the word 'nihung' to appear in a modern day Persian dictionary, as you state. Plausiblle because of the strange and short-lived shift that occurred in Persian in the decade 1935 to 1945. The Shah of Iran, in 1935, made a public announcement asking scholars and poets to discard modern Persian words rooted in Arabic and revert back to old ancient Persian words. He asked the Iranians to embrace what he called "farsi-e-sareh", or 'pure persian'.Thus a shift started to take place in Persian. Its quite interesting really because we often hear our grandparents say the word 'afsar' when referring to an officer of some description and of course we think it must be a colloqiual Punjabi mispronounciation of the English word 'officer'. However, that is not the case. Given Punjabi's extremely close relationship to Persian, the word actually existed in Punjabi long before any English speaker ever set foot in Punjab. The word 'afsar' comes from the pre-Arabisation Persian word for 'crown', thus afsar signifies a servant of the crown. From Punjabi the word was adopted by the brand new language of Urdu and from Urdu the Shah of Iran, in 1935, re-introduced it into the Persian language by deliberately using it, for the very first time in centuries in Iran, in his passionate speech calling for 'farsi-e-sareh'. And so, in 1935, the Persian word 'afsar' was reintroduced into the Persian language despite the fact that we Punjabis had been using it continously for hundreds of years. By the same token, it is entirely plausible that the word 'nihung' could well have re-entered the Persian language to a small degree in 1935 as part of the persianization process because the current, mass used, farsi word for crocodile is rooted in Arabic : 'tamseh'.

Interesting so you are saying that the Sikhs may have copied or got inspiration for the Khanda from the ancient iranian symbol of the tulip?

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