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Hum Hindu Naheen Hain!
We Are Not Hindus!

I.J. SINGH

 

 

The following is being re-published from our archives. The issue it addresses has recently come to the forefront with India now in the stranglehold of a rabid, fundamentalist brand of extremist Hindus who are hell-bent on dragging the country back into the Middle Ages.

 

 

The Internet is abuzz these days and Sikhs worldwide are seriously upset.

A luminary of the right wing Hindu movement in India has written an article.  At any time, many articles get published that carry significant errors of both omission and commission but this has both, and is also indecorous in the extreme.  It weaves its inaccuracies in a pattern that is meant to challenge and goad Sikhs to respond in kind - preferably not in a sensible, considered and mature fashion. 

Of course, it has the Sikhs boiling mad. But a considered response still waits.

The author, Tewari, wrote it after a visit to The Golden Temple at Amritsar.  I have seen parts of his essay, and it consists of nothing more than a series of impolite and unwelcome diatribe and demands.

He tells us that many names of the Hindu pantheon occur in the Guru Granth ... and they do. The count runs to several thousand - hence, he claims that Guru Granth is nothing more than a derivation of the Vedas and restatement of the Hindu religion.

He, then, goes on to rename the premier Sikh place of worship, the Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple) at Amritsar as a shivalya - a Hindu temple that is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.

He clearly does not know that the Guru Granth, in addition to the writings of the Gurus,  has those in it compositions of many saints and bards who would not ever sit and break bread together, much less be caught on the adjoining pages of the same holy book in hindudom - as they are seen in the Guru Granth. 

You see, some of these saints were so-called 'low-caste' Hindus and others were Muslim.  In traditional Hindu belief, neither has an acceptable place or right to pursue a religious calling or read the scriptures.  I add here that neitrher do Hindu women.

He goes on to demand that Sikhs purge the Guru Granth of these 'unacceptable' writings, especially those by Muslims. He also wants the Sikhs to change the menu of the Sikh community meal (langar) that is a most attractive part of every Sikh service around the globe. (Sikhs cook with onions and garlic which are anathema to the traditionally prepared Hindu religious meal.)

His is a virtual mishmash of fulminations and demands covering the gamut from our fundamental beliefs to our widespread practices.  I am not even going to classify them into what is trivial and what is nonsense.  To my mind that would be an inappropriate and mindless exercise. Such inferences as he has advanced need to be immediately relegated to the nearest trash bin.

Why? For answer to that let's take a longer look at some historical nuggets.

Tewari's issues are posited not for serious dialog; they are raised to get our goat.  We need not - indeed must not - fall into the trap.  It would not be productive.

In the last century, Swami Dayanand, a Hindu religious reformist, wrote his magnum opus, Satyarth Prakash that has become the Bible of the Hindu right wing that wants to reinvent the rich multifaith Indian culture as Hindutva - a new society based on the Hindu religion and culture. Satyarth Prakash also has passages attacking the integrity, character and teachings of the major non-Hindu prophets of other religions - including Jesus, Mohammed and Guru Nanak.

The book continues to enjoy widely distributed reruns amongst the right wing Hindus. Despite all attempts to inform the publishers, the insulting passages against other religions remain.

In fact such attempts to deny Sikhs an independent place in the sun are even older - they are largely, if not entirely, the initiatives of Hindu thinkers and writers since the times of the Gurus.

I find it intriguing that there has been a serious attempt in history that continues to this day by the larger Hindu society around us in India to claim Sikhi as an off shoot of Hinduism. This tells me that there must be much in Sikh teaching that Hindus admire so much that they wish to own it without giving up the label of Hindu. 

I remind you that no one seeks identity and commonality with someone that is not admired.  Seriously, I am flattered by this except that I wish to reject the stultifying embrace - a boa constrictor's love it would be - simply because it infringes on my right to define myself as I wish to - with warts and all.

I know well that at the periphery of any religion, where a movement comes into contact and overlaps with the religions of its neighbors, mixed practices arise.  Nevertheless, such admixture does not mean that the two intertwined traditions are not separate and independent identities.  If one wants to catalogue the ways that cultural practices of Hindus and Sikhs overlap,  Harjot Oberoi's "Destructuring Religious Boundaries" would be a good read.

But attempts to push such a mixture as proof of commonality of religious doctrine have existed from the times of the Gurus half a millennium ago. People fail to see that the Gurus taught largely in the languages and cultures of India. The context of time and culture cannot be ignored.  Hence, the metaphorical references to Hindu mythology and practices.  After all most converts came from the caste-ridden Hindu society.

Our critics fail to see that there are copious references to both the Hindu and Muslim pantheon in the Guru Granth.  Ram, for example occurs reverently as the name of God a myriad times; but the historical Ram, too, is mentioned and then he is summarily dismissed.  In Hindu belief and practice, there is no distinction between the two Rams and the two are entirely conflated. 

Our Hindu critics also fail to see that Islamic names of God - Allah, Rahim, etc, too, occur repeatedly.  Had there been easy access to Judeo-Christian literature, I am sure some would have reference, a place or commentary in the Guru Granth.

The Hindu way of life rests on the centrality of the Brahmin, Caste system, the Codification of Hindu practice by Manu, and the place of the 'Mother' Cow as the great nurturer. These fundamentals lie rejected by the Founders of Sikhism.

As an aside, clearly, the Old Testament is at the root of Christianity and Islam. But to now on this basis to deny the independent existence of either or to label Christians and Muslims as Jews (Reformed?) would be asinine, at best.  They have recognizable ties to Judaism that are rooted in history, tradition and teaching, but they are now independent realities. 

Similarly, all Indic religions have overlapping practices.  It is the denial of their independence and growth that is galling.

Hindu thought has always been unaccepting of the growth of such independent movements. Witness the fact that Buddhism that originated in India now has only a marginal existence in the land of its birth, even though it enjoys a growing popularity and acceptance outside India. It was decimated in India by the muscular anti-Buddhist policies of Hindu zealots.

India became independent only in 1947.  For the first time in almost a millennium, the majority religion - Hinduism - was able to flex its muscle.  Look at its first act: In the Constitution of the new nation, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains are lumped together for legal purposes under the rubric of Hindus.  Perhaps it saves a few drops of ink and a few lines of print, but their independent existence is denied even on paper.

The history of the struggle for Punjabi speaking linguistic state is a fascinating chapter in the Sikh struggle for an equal place at the table in India.  I see the events of 1984 as a logical but tragic chapter in the same saga.

Sikhi is now and has been from its inception under siege.  As long as Sikhs keep their independent identity and treasure the unique message of Guru Granth, they will thrive.

Circling the wagons - as a clarion call - will not do.  We need to be both clearheaded and resolute; just one attribute of the two will not be sufficient.

Yet, Sikhism teaches us to accept and respect the separate identity of the Hindu way of life, and similarly respect the vision of other faiths.  It is the same acceptance that we expect in return - no more and no less.

We all have the right to write comparative papers on our religion and the religion of our neighbors.  But to deny them their independence is a funny way to win friends. 

But the Hindu view has been consistently negative.  In the early 20th century, the renowned Sikh scholar, Bhai Kahn Singh (Nabha), had to respond with a booklet titled "Hum Hindu Nahin" (We Are Not Hindus).

It is not our business to tell Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists or Jews, etc. how to define the requirements of their respective faiths.  Why, then, should a Hindu want to tell us how to reshape ours? 

And this is not the first time that some Hindu has stuck his nose where it does not belong. Between Dayanand and now Tewari, and even before these two, there were many, many more who tried to finish and destroy the Sikhs as an independent people - from Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali, Jehangir, Aurungzeb to the petty Hindu Hill Rajas in the eighteenth century and Indira Gandhi in the twentieth. Some even thought they had achieved their goal and there were no more Sikhs. 

Yet here we are today. 

And I assure you, my readers, that the pattern and attacks will continue - so stay cool, and act but in sehaj, laced with a dollop of humour.

To the deniers of a place to Sikhs and Sikhi, I would say: Remember - your freedom of expression ends where my nose begins!

 

First published on February 2, 2010; re-published on August 2014

Conversation about this article

1: K. Singh (Boston, MA, U.S.A.), February 02, 2010, 12:37 PM.

Where can one find this rant by Tewari? Is it online?

2: Harleen Kaur (New Delhi, India), February 02, 2010, 1:25 PM.

Here, Mister, read MY lips: We were never Hindus. We aren't Hindus now. We will never be Hindus. We left Hinduism behind five centuries ago ... for ever. We WILL NOT slide back into the ditch to be with you any more. We respect your right to practice YOUR faith the way YOU want to, but don't make the mistake of taking our defence of your (and everybody else's) rights as a subscription into or endorsement of your beliefs and practices. R-E-A-D O-U-R L-I-P-S - Buddy, it'll save you a lot of time to get into other mischiefs.

3: K. Kaur (Canada), February 02, 2010, 2:27 PM.

For all those Sikhs, especially the younger generation, who were or are having a hard time understanding these attacks on Sikhism and Sikhs in India please read: "Percussions of History: The Sikh Revolution" & "In the Caravan of Revolution" by Jagjit Singh. They provide excellent insight into the differences between Hinduism and Sikhism. Once I had read them, I began to understand the restrictive and discriminatory nature which is fundamental to Hinduism and its need to control and dominate the minds and lives of people, compared to Sikhism which was designed to empower all sections of society, and give them the voice and strength to stand up for their rights as well as the rights of others. You will see that Sikhism is the antithesis of Hinduism and why it seems as such a threat in the minds of Hindus. If allowed to spread, Sikhism has the potential to liberate not only those who embrace it but the rest of India as well and this is not what the 'powers that be' want to happen. It all boils down to power, dominance and control!

4: Amardeep (U.S.A.), February 02, 2010, 2:37 PM.

As they say, no one kicks a dead dog. We should conduct consensus/ survey of Sikhs, asking them the question, are you Hindus? Otherwise it is a dictatorship, and violation of basic human rights. What a wastage of life, if your life is dedicated to spreading hatred and hate crimes?

5: Tejwant Singh (Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.), February 02, 2010, 3:16 PM.

K. Singh: Here it is - http://www.sanghparivar.org/forum/harimandir-sahib-golden-temple-the-holy-city-of-amritsar

6: Tejwant Singh (Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.), February 02, 2010, 3:38 PM.

One wonders why the honchos at the Akal Takht, S.G.P.C. and the Badals are silent about this!

7: Gurjender Singh (Maryland, U.S.A.), February 02, 2010, 10:33 PM.

Every Sikh leader in the Punjab Government in India and the S.G.P.C. does not care about being labelled a Hindu. If they protest, they are afraid of losing votes and their elected positions. Their Sikh employees are silent, because they cannot speak against their Government, otherwise they will lose their jobs. The Indian constitution has labelled us, over our vociferous protests, as Hindus since 1952. No Sikh leader, either in the centre or at the state level, raises this issue. Please wake-up, Even our marriage and birth certificates clearly categorizes us as Hindu. We are are just watching and ignoring the reality of a white-wash.

8: H. Singh (San Diego, California, U.S.A.), February 03, 2010, 1:56 AM.

I would like the author to explain what is it that attracts the Hindus to admire and want to absorb Sikhi within their fold, if in fact the Sikh Gurus rejected the central tenets of Hinduism. One can't be a fool and a boa constrictor at the same time in this situation ... or can they?

9: I.J. Singh (New York, U.S.A.), February 03, 2010, 8:45 AM.

H.Singh ji, things are not always so black and white as logic tells us. Love and hate, being two sides of the same coin, often co-exist. Hence the idea of sibling rivalry. The two - Sikhism and Hinduism have coexisted largely in the same space and culture. This reminds us of all the Punjabi Hindus who (used to) frequent gurdwaras who have said to me that the only religion of Punjab is Sikhi but the culture of Punbjab - nay of Northwest India - is Hindu. Sometimes I see strains of this idea in Sirdar Kapur Singh as well. I have to add that I reject such formulations entirely. And these are the same Hindus that rejected Punjabi as their mother tongue, even when they could speak no other language. The Hindus of Punjab do carry some very mixed attitudes about Sikhs and their religion - of admiration and a lot of envy, jealousy and denial at the same time. And they have tried throughout the existence of Sikhism a mixture of two attitudes - reject it entirely or insist that it is but a sect of Hinduism. Many Sikhs show a similar confusion. On the other hand, Hindus are not clamouring to include the out-castes into their fold because there is no admiration or envy there at all, only rejection.

10: Jodh Arora (Jericho, New York, U.S.A.), February 03, 2010, 11:54 AM.

I am glad you quoted Dayanand but the effect of his preachings did hurt Sikhs tremendously. As we have seen in Punjab since 1880 that many Sikhs converted one way or the other to Hindus. And in my times I had seen enough of troubles hurting Sikhs in Punjab. The thirteen districts left in Punjab were then trifurcated. How those Aryasamajis - followers of Dayanand - tried to kill Punjabi and convert many Sikhs, like Chiranjeev Singh, a Sikh look-alike but a Hindu at the core. My fear today is that the Sikhs living outside Punjab are their targets. Since there is a lot of illiteracy in India, they can easily become their victims. Likewise, they are assisted by the M.P.s Sidhu and S.S. Ahluwalia. Sidhu wore a dhoti, janeu and tikka when he attended a havan. You know it well that the Badals too will want us all to be quiet.

11: Tejwant Singh (Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.), February 03, 2010, 12:17 PM.

This piece of hatred should be rebutted point by point in the national media. This hate-monger is doing nothing but drumming up the feelings of many ignorant people. There is a tinge of jealousy and envy in the warning in his essay where he states that their sheer numbers can mob us down. The author is also a hindu pundit who refused to take langar because it contained garlic and onions but relished the kheer made out of "holy bufflao" milk. There appears to be a more sinister side to his provocation which is not necessarily directed towards the Sikhs, because his claims are all bogus and lack depth, deep knowledge and the spiritual significance of the Guru Granth. It is all about money. Hindus built a temple exactly to replicate the Harmandar Sahib in Amritsar ... and, surprise, which no one visits! The visits of the Queen of England and the more recent trip by the Prime Minister of Canada to Harmandar Sahib proves that. Both of them refused to visit the mandir despite the urging and fierce campaign by the well known Hindus both in India and living in the U.K. and Canada. The top hindu temples do not get as much donation from their devotees as the Sikh gurdwaras do. Many Hindus visit Darbaar Sahib, Bangla Sahib and other gurdwaras across India and of course devotion breeds a softer heart which makes one donate money and other things to the places where one finds true solace. So, this rant by the pundit, no matter how ineffective it may sound or turn out to be, is mainly directed towards the Hindus to create a wedge among those who visit the gurdwaras. He wants their money for the mandirs. The rest of his rhetoric does not affect the Sikhs because we know that his bark has no bite.

12: Gurjender Singh (Maryland, U.S.A.), February 03, 2010, 2:38 PM.

After reading the comments, I am writing again to say to all readers: please keep in mind that what is right or fair or wrong do not count any more. What is happening around us and what is in written history and movies which are used by masses, counts more. One can talk and discuss views at sikhchic.com but the reality for Sikhs is completely different outside the gurdwaras. No one will read our lips unless until this is recognized in history books and the Indian constitution. God bless us.

13: Harmohan Singh (Srinagar, Kashmir), February 05, 2010, 5:09 AM.

Hum hindu naheen! There can't be two opinions about it. The time has come for Sikhs to stand up and say in one voice "WE ARE NOT HINDUS" if we want to maintain our identity. I would suggest every body to read the book "Hum Hindu Nahi Hain" by Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha.

14: Gurmukh Singh (London , United Kingdom), February 06, 2010, 6:01 PM.

As usual, Dr I.J. Singh has dealt most methodically with the issue referred to by, amongst others, S. Sewa Singh Mandla of the House of Lords 1983, Mandla v Lee, fame. In that case too it was a question of distinct Sikh theo-national (quomi) identity. The case is a milestone legal decision, which safeguards theo-social identities of distinct communities. The diagnosis of the undercurrent in Hindu-Sikh love-hate relationship is spot on and the guidance for the correct Sikh approach to such provocations clear. Truly, IJ's pen is a community resource!

15: Singh (U.S.A.), February 06, 2010, 6:28 PM.

Where can we get a copy of "Hum Hindu Naheen Hain" by Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha. Is it available online? [Editor: Try the 'Sacha Sauda' bookstore - phone # 1.905.459.8351 - Brampton, Ontario, Canada.]

16: Tejwant Singh (Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.), February 07, 2010, 2:15 PM.

You can also try 'Nanak Parchar Sabha' in Los Angeles - Telephone # 1.213.624.2242. Ask for Gurdip Singh Malik.

17: Mohan Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), August 11, 2014, 9:48 AM.

Guru Arjan, The Tenth Master: "I am not a Hindu, nor am I a Muslim" [GGS:1136.11].

18: Kaala Singh (Punjab), August 11, 2014, 1:27 PM.

I have a few questions for Mr. Tiwari and his ilk: 1) If the Golden Temple is a Hindu Temple why was it attacked by the Hindu Army in 1984 with tanks and heavy weapons? Why were the innocent "Hindu worshippers" killed Nazi style and why was the reference library containing ancient "Hindu texts" destroyed. 2) Why were innocent Sikhs nee Hindus killed in their thousands in November 1984. It is because in their hearts they know that we are not what they claim in their falsities. We are being told we are Hindus because some of our ancestors were Hindus. If that is the logic them all Christians and Muslims must be Jews and all humans must be apes as the ancestors of all humans were apes, right? Mr.Tiwari, there is something called evolution, when people think with their honest minds and hearts and decide what they want to be and yes, we decided to improve ourselves by being Sikhs. We parted ways 500 years ago and we are not going back.

19: Karam (Ahmedabad, India), August 11, 2014, 1:35 PM.

Instead of wasting our time answering their stupid questions and claims, we should be more aggressive with these fools. Who named them Hindus? Which holy granth of theirs has the word 'Hindu'? it is a known fact that "hindu" is a amorphous collection of umpteen, diverse and divergent ideas and concepts of god. Shaivism itself has many branches and many even defy the vedas. We need to arm ourselves with facts and then beat them at their own game ...

20: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), August 11, 2014, 8:18 PM.

It has been eons since we have had a post from Dr. I. J. Singh even if it is a re-post. Please do keep writing and share your erudite thoughts. My dear friend Krishan Bughtiar ji from UK is so deeply entrenched in th Guru Granth Sahib that wherever he goes he carries the two volumes of 'sainchis' with him. One of his relatives taunted him that he had become a Sikh. His reply: "I am highly privileged to be called as such'. It is the Guru Granth Sahib that has made him a better Hindu, if you ask me.

21: Harcharan Singh (Singapore), August 11, 2014, 9:17 PM.

Agree whole heartedly with Karam. We ourselves should write a book entitled: Hindus Hindu Naheen. Because Hinduism has no founder, or has any central or united beliefs, no common vision ... the list goes on. In fact a close study of Sikhism in contrast to Hinduism will show that Sikhism is a world religion with systematic, central concepts that apply to all its adherents whereas Hinduism is the opposite of that.

22: Sunny Grewal (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada), August 11, 2014, 10:02 PM.

"Hinduism" as we know it today did not exist before the colonial period. When the British came to India and imparted their education on the first batch of a select few Hindus, these men realized the shortcomings of their own culture and established different organizations to create what we call today as Hinduism. Hinduism is a manufactured religion. I feel quite sorry for Hindus, an entire culture which has to pretend that the greatness of others is their own. Then again, if I came from a majority community known for barbaric and backward practices and a history of a thousand years of cowardice, while my tiny neighbors broke the mold, I'm sure I'd be envious as well.

23: Ajit Singh Batra (Pennsville, New Jersey, USA), August 11, 2014, 10:25 PM.

Moral and spiritual nature of Truths are accepted by all relgions. There may be some differences in detail and application. But at least they agree on this aspect: on what should be the right code of human conduct and how a human should behave towards his/her fellow beings. Hindus should be proud that so many religions that it has evolved from the same source as Jainism, Buddhism and, ultimately, Sikhism. Instead, Hindus are acting like beasts when they declare Sikhs (and Buddhists and Jains, for that matter) are Hindus. Sikhs are not Hindus and they never will be! Sikhs believe in freedom of thought and respect for Truth. It seems that there is no "light of religion" left in Hindu practices.

24: Col Dr Dalvinder Singh Grewal (Ludhiana, Punjab), August 12, 2014, 12:55 AM.

I can relate to an incident when the RSS tried to interfere in establishment and acceptance of Sikh independent identity. In 2002-03 when Prof Badungar was the President of SGPC, he was accosted by the then RSS boss in a dhaba near Beas when he was on route to Amritsar from Patiala. In those day the movement for a separate Sikh calender was in progress and it was in the air that a separate Sikh calender will be launched soon. Prof Badungar was threatened by the RSS goons that if he launched the calender he will not only lose his Presidentship of SGPC but also the favour of Badal. I being then under President SGPC, being the Principal GNEDC Ludhiana, watched the event closely. Badungar did not go to Amritsar and returned to Ludhiana and then proceeded to Talwandi Sabo; got the calender printed that very night and next day the calender was released at Talwandi Sabo. This was a shocker for RSS and also for Badal. As a result Badunger had to lose his Presidentship of SGPC within days. The new calender however became a reality, though RSS remained active against it and through sants and politicians was able to change its shape and create confusion among Sikhs about the calender. This is just one example of the how RSS has been regularly interfering in Sikh affairs and trying to stifle the Sikh independent identity.

25: Mohan Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), August 12, 2014, 9:42 AM.

In India Jains are not Hindu, Bodhis are not Hindu, Sikhs are not Hindu, Muslims are not Hindu, Christians are not Hindu, Dravids (South) are not Hindu, Dalits are kept away at a distance from schools and temples, then what is Hindu? People living beyond river Sindhu were known as Sindhu and then Hindu! Those who sing songs of Hindutva, even they have no clue of what it is to be Hindu. Today, because of the Hindi language, people have started singing songs of Hindutva! But still it is nowhere close to being a national language. It is only the RSS that is behind it all! Now, the BJP has to eat the fruits of their seeds/deeds.

26: Rup Singh (Canada), August 12, 2014, 12:47 PM.

@ # 18 ,19, 22 and 25, very well said. Thanks. Knowledge is the ultimate weapon. The best defence is a good offence ... I mean knowledge and the ability to articulate it.

27: Sarabjit Singh (USA), August 12, 2014, 8:49 PM.

This past weekend in our local gurdwara, a retired professional gentleman from India gave the sangat highlights of Article 25 of the Indian constitution which describes Sikhs as Hindus. Their organization has been fighting this all the way to the Supreme Court in India yet it gets shelved and no action is being taken. He described examples where a Sikh head of the family passes away and the property/land cannot be transferred to their children if they say they are Sikhs. They have to write a letter stating they are Hindus and then the transfer can occur. This gentleman felt there are many ways the assimilation of Sikhs into Hinduism is occurring and we need to be aware and act before it is too late in India.

28: Col RJ Singh (Jalandhar, Punjab), August 13, 2014, 5:10 AM.

We should not give too much weight to statements of the RSS. Golwalkar is a sick man and also the Tewari quoted above. If a man who is sick and propagates a philosophy which is read by his followers who also become sick to various degrees, do we Sikhs then need to start discussing with them about Sikhism? We have a glorious history of hundreds of years. Let the crazies sort out their problems on their own.

29: Ravinder Pal Singh Kalra (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), August 13, 2014, 2:49 PM.

Dear all, as mentioned under various comments, let's not let anyone (knowledgeable or ignorant) stir us up un-necessarily. If they think Lord Shiva is Mahadev and Harmandar Sahib is a Shivalaya, it means they acknowledge that Guru Granth Sahib is Lord Shiva himself. And everyone very well knows what happens when you mess with Shiva. Watching some episodes of the TV serial 'Mahadev', when Brahma and Vishnu had a fight about who's bigger, they went to Shiva who then asked them to measure his dimensions. They both ultimately gave up as they could not fathom the end of him. Now scriptures to scriptures - If Brahma wrote the Vedas, Krishna's (Vishnu) teachings are Gita, then Guru Granth Sahib is the Shiva by their own definition. But we don't focus on the idols and the pictures. We focus on the Word. Hence the reason why we don't call it Shiva. We remove the dot and call it Siva, i.e., there's no one else except you. And we are very well aware of the author of our scripture and under whose name it's all written. If the Hindus want the hindu-specific teachings only from the Guru, they are more than welcome to take them. If the Muslims want to take away only Baba Farid and Baba Mardana, let them do so. They all need to be aware of one thing though. There is a non-Mazhab called Sikh and its followers will die fighting till the last drop of their blood if another attempt is made at the integrity of Guru Granth Sahib. We don't belong to Punjab or India alone. We are the children of the Universe and are not limited to the Solar System either. We bow before all the planets for giving us home but we very well know that Akal Purakh is not limited within the confines of the Solar System alone. At the end, to quote the author who ultimately chose to himself become a bunch flowers for Hindus and Muslims to distribute amongst themselves, 'ehran mutt ved hathiyaar ...' - He chalks out the blue print in Japji Sahib and executes it in the tenth form as Amrit of Nitnem. Yes, he replaced the janeu with the Kirpan in this process, conveying his message very clearly. "Chun kar az hama heeltey dar guzasht / halal ast ... " People might call him Nanak, Nirankar, Gobind, Budh, Allah, Ram, Krishna, Jesus, God or an illiterate person who didn't know vedas. He lets them toil to understand him while he sits at his throne in every right minded heart only asking us to always listen to the conscience before taking any major step or even while dwelling on a simple thought. Maybe I'm ignorant or misguided but I do know "ek pita ekas key hum barik" and "manas ki zaat sabhey ekey pehchanbo"... We the human race have more pressing things to do than fight about the obvious, i.e., there is a God and the whole Universe including all human religions and its followers including the atheists are created and destroyed by Him at his Will and he chooses to keep what he likes and send into oblivion what he doesn't.

30: N Singh (Canada), August 13, 2014, 4:56 PM.

I think the worst thing that happened to India was that the Mughals were not successful. If they had succeeded, this plague known has Hindutva would have been wiped out permanently. What a tragedy.

31: Rup Singh (Canada), August 14, 2014, 8:13 PM.

@ 30 - N Singh ji. Always remember Guru Tegh Bahadar gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect the rights of the Hindus to practice their faith. Gurus and Sikhs also fought many a battle with the Mughals. Did they not demolish the Darbar Sahib? We should not seek nor want the success of tyrants. Bulley Shah's Kaafi (Poem): "Don't ask when, Don't ask where / I say this to you now,/ If Guru Gobind Singh had not lived / Then all would've been circumcised."

32: Jasbeer Singh (New Delhi, India), August 15, 2014, 11:12 AM.

@31 and @32 - you both are correct. Reason is that the information that we have, we're not sharing it with anyone, even not with our near and dear ones. Nor is this valuable information written in Hindi books. On the parchaar side, we and our committees are up to arranging katha and kirtan samagams only. We don't have forums, seminars, sessions, classes for this information sharing. We end up only expressing our anger/ frustration on blogs and websites. Something needs to change from village to state to country to world or vice-versa.

33: Sarvjit Singh  (Massachusetts, USA), August 15, 2014, 2:24 PM.

I think we should not react to such rants. It is clear in the minds of Indians that Sikhs are a separate entity. I always respond to such comments by saying if you think Sikhism is similar to Hinduism then why don't you embrace it and take Amrit and follow Guru's path. Instead of wasting energy in disproving them, just live and preach our way.

34: H. Kaur (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada), August 16, 2014, 1:18 AM.

I would like to say it is not necessarily admiration that gets Hindus (and not just the Hindutva ones) saying Sikhi is Hinduism. I think it is more fear than anything else. Anything that is a threat to Hinduism they tackle by trying to twist the philosophy and claim the followers to be Hindus. I remember as a high school student, long ago, watching on TV a Christian missionary traveling around in India. He spoke about another Christian missionary who came to India a long time ago and was transformed into a Hindu deity, part man part peacock. His followers essentially were now worshiping him as Hindus. The young missionary pointed to the idol and lamented this tendency of Hindus to swallow up and destroy all that was good around them.

35: N Singh (Canada), August 17, 2014, 12:56 AM.

@31 Guru Tegh Bahadar gave the ultimate sacrifice for the Hindus because at the time they were the suppressed race. If it had been any other group he would have done the same. His sacrifice does not bestow a 'special status' on them nor do we have any 'special' relationship with them. In fact amongst those who converted to Sikhi there were many of Islamic origin as well. Unfortunately this fact seems to have been buried for some reason, probably because the Hindus have made it shameful for anyone to be considered Islamic, and like everything else including female infanticide we have taken this on as our own. It is all false propaganda on their part. If we are going to get anywhere, then we need to start dealing with the truth and not the half-baked truths that have been passed on to us from them.

36: Gurdarshan Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), August 17, 2014, 7:30 AM.

It is time for all Sikhs to drop the theme "Hum hindu nahin" but use positive affirmative statements such as "Hum Sikh Hain", etc (without the word 'hindu" being mentioned). By saying "hum hindu nahin hain", we are at one level agreeing and confirming that there is a hindu element in our past. In my growing up in Malaysia with Malay Muslims, with mandatory Islamic classes from primary one to secondary 5 ("O" level), the teaching of Islam taught me my Sikhi perspective when comparing with Muslims. I saw many similarities. Only later did I hear that we Sikhs were being compared with hindus and found it alarming that we are actually silently acknowledging hinduization of Sikhi. For example, celebrating Diwali with the excuse of Guru Hargobind's story; praying to Gurus' pictures; mathha tekna before baba-s, etc. Why should we? Sikhs were never part of Hinduism -- not today, not 500 years ago. My forefathers may have joined Sikhism because of their love for the Guru and we have been Sikhs for hundreds of years, battling oppression by a variety of tyrants. We can't be Hindu if our forefathers were living in the jungle during the great holocaust ... because they were Sikhs! It is time that we Sikhs stop comparing ourselves with Hindus. We must produce literature stating that we are Sikhs and we are part of the Ik Oankar - One Universal. We must correct the story of Guru Tegh Bahadhar's sacrifice. Guru Sahib had sacrifice for the love, harmony of humankind, the meek comprising the minority religions including the Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, etc. We should start creating literature that gives the true essence of Gurus' saakhis and teachings. The next story of mine may not be related to the above topic but recently I was at my daughter's primary school waiting near the student's toilet. I saw two signboards on the entrance to the toilet. At the entrance, a Muslim child is told to recite a certain doa/prayer. Once the child is out, he/she is to recite another doa. These doa-s are to protect the child and expressing gratitude for the same. A child stops at the entrance, folds his hand, and recites the doa. Later, on emerging, another doa. Similarly, I prefer that our great scholars of Sikhi develop such traditions for our young generation -- just as how my childhood was free of hinduism.

37: Rup Singh (Canada), August 17, 2014, 1:37 PM.

@ 35 N Singh ji: First you say that "I think the worst thing that happened to India was that the Mughals were not successful." And then @31: "Guru Tegh Bahadar gave the ultimate sacrifice for the Hindus because at the time they were the suppressed race. If it had been any other group he would have done the same." I just don't understand this contradiction. By Mughal success, do you mean forceful conversion to Islam and killing those who refused to ...?

38: Kaala Singh (Punjab), August 19, 2014, 1:04 PM.

We need to understand one important thing in this Hindutva rhetoric. Sikhs are indigenous people of the land of Punjab and have inalienable rights to this land of our Gurus and ancestors. Under the international law, should the indigenous people of a land choose to determine their political destiny which may be different from what it now, they have every right to do so. We have witnessed that in the case of, to take but two examples, Quebec and Scotland. The Indian State is well aware of this fact and by denying that Sikhs are a distinct people it seeks to take away this right from the Sikhs. Propagating the myth that Sikhs are a sect of Hinduism has more to do with selfish, narrow-minded and shortsighted political, economic and security interests than religious and spiritual discourse.

39: Aryeh Leib (Israel), August 20, 2014, 5:00 AM.

To paraphrase David ben-Gurion, "What matters is not what the Hindus say, but what the Sikhs do". What they say is of no value if the Panth gets its own house in order.

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