Brahminism, Islam and Sikhism


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In the later history after the abolition of the British kingdom in India and after the independence of India, the accounts that have generally been drawn around Sikhism, constitute mainly of rivalry between Sikhism and Muslims – there are other accounts like that of Khushwant Singh which say that Sikhism was brought as a secular sect to perhaps unite the divided Hindus and Muslims.

All the accounts produced after the independence of India about Sikhism largely circulated around these ideas only. The idea that did not really come into the discourse of Sikhism, the idea that had been widely discussed by the then British authors was sidelined by the caste Hindu discourse which got precedent in the Independent India. The discourse that did not come around was the discourse of Brahminism.

Though the caste Hindu authors could not really skip this great a phenomenon while writing about Sikhism but they made all the attempts to prove that the relation of Sikhism against Brahmin did not really exist and was merely a fancy. When one goes through the accounts of early Britishers one easily finds what is missing in the other accounts. Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm in his ‘Sketch of the Sikhs’ wrote about Guru Gobind Singh this way,

“The extent to which Govind succeeded in this design will be more fully noticed in another place. It is here only necessary to state the leading features of those changes by which he subverted in so short a, the hoary Institutions of Brahma, and excited terror and astonishment in the minds of the Muhammeddan conquerors of India, who saw the religious prejudices of the Hindus, which they had calculated upon as one of the pillars of their safety, because they limited the great majority of the population to peaceable occupations, fall before the touch of a bold and enthusiastic innovator, who opened at once, to men of the lowest tribe, the dazzling prospect of earthly glory. All who subscribed to his tenets were upon a level, and the Brahmins who centered his sect had no higher claims to eminence than the lowest Shudra who swept his house. It was the object of Govind to make all Sikhs equal”

In his books later Mughals, William Irvine wrote,

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“In all the paragans occupied by the Sikhs, the reversal of previous customs was striking and complete. A low scavenger or leather dresser, the lowest of the low in Indian estimation, had only to leave home and join the Guru, when in a short space of time he would return to his birth place as its ruler, with his order of appointment in his hand.”

The question that then arises is why was it said that the Sikhs are the protectors of the Hindus when they had simply revolted against the religion that perpetuated caste inequality? The case that is usually given is the case of the martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur who is said to have gotten martyred to save the religious symbols of the Brahmins and also about it has been written in the Dasam Granth. But one would see something different in the early accounts of the Sikhs and that if the early Britishers. Malcolm in one of the footnotes of his book thus wrote,

“Some men of the lowest Hindu tribe, of the occupation of sweepers, were employed to bring away the corpse of Teg Bahadur from Delhi. Their success was rewarded by high rank and employment.”

The religious symbols that the caste Hindus have talked about when they talk of the Martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur, are not actually religious symbols but actually caste symbols of the Brahmins, so is it possible that Guru Teg Bahadur gave his life for the Brahmins? No, it can certainly not be and why would then Brahmins not bring the ashes of Guru Teg Bahadur?

To say that both Brahmins and the lower caste individuals were there for this act would be an absurd thing. Go say for the Brahmins always treated them as untouchables. So here is a riddle which raises a further question about why was the act of Guru Teg Bahadur ascribed to the act of saving Brahmins from Muslim tyranny in the Dasam Granth? The only answer that is possible is that the udasi Sikhs had inserted these passages into the Dasam Granth. And those merely are interpolations.

Author – Pritam Singh Tinna

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