Akhand Kirtani Jatha (UK)
In 1708 Guru Gobind Singh Ji declared to the Khalsa, "that after him there shall be no human Guru and the Adi Guru Granth shall be the one true Eternal Guru". He also declared that the Panj Pyare would act as the human instruments of the Adi Guru Granth to initiate, baptize and impart Gurmantar and spiritual instructions to all Sikhs; and that the guiding spirit of the Guru would reside in the Khalsa so long it maintains its moral character and distinct form.
During the passage of time the Sikh Panth has faced and triumphed over many threats and challenges. However, the dangers facing the Sikhs and Sikhism in modern times come from internal, as much as external forces. The Amritsar massacre on 13th April 1978 in this regard, was an open confrontation and clash between the Sikhs and their sworn enemy, the Nirankaris, who were consequently excommunicated from the Panth by the Akaal Takhat on 6th October 1978.
Throughout Sikh history there has been no shortage of false prophets who set themselves up as subsequent Gurus and formed rival Guruships, breakaway sects and cults. The Minas, Dhirmalias, Masands, Ram Raiyas, Niranjaniyas, Mahants, Nirankaris, Radhasoamis and Namdhari groups – each created considerable schisms within the Panth.
Breakaway sects receive political patronage and protection by serving the political ambitions and gains of the ruling class, and have done so actively throughout the Afghan. Mughul and British rule. The Niranjaniyas were responsible for the arrest and martyrdom of Bhai Taro Singh and led the Mughul authorities to the secret hideouts of Sikh women and children, resulting in their extermination. It was a Niranjani who supplied information leading to the arrest of Sukha Singh and the persecution of the family of Mehtab Singh, both prominent Sikhs.
When the Mughuls put a price on the head of the Sikhs, the Niranjaniyas minted money. They also helped Ahmad Shah Abdali against the Sikhs and were responsible for the Great Holocaust. Eventually, the Niranjaniyas were mercilessly killed for conspiring against the Khalsa Panth; and in similar fashion the Nirankaris met their fate.
Today, the extremist right-wing Hindu organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Its offshoot ‘Sangh Parivar’ and front organisation like Vishwa Hindu Parshad (VHP), which is active in the west, poses a serious threat to the stability of the Panth by attempting to crystallise a Hindu nationalist identity in which Sikhs and Sikhism are being pressed into the Hindu fold.
The RSS in India and abroad are well entrenched and poised to assimilate Sikhs through propagating and distorting Sikh teachings and history. Similarly, cult figures such as Baba Bhaniara and Ashutosh have earned infamous status within the Panth by debasing and profaning, Sikh rites, and grossly misleading the Sikhs from the true path ordained by Guru Sahib Ji. There is little doubt that the Indian government and right-wing Hindu groups are creating, supporting and promoting such personalities to keep the Panth under its heel.
Bhai Fauja Singh and his companions kept steadfast to this path to the very last breath, giving their mind, body and spirit to the service of the true Eternal Guru and Panth. Their example was a clear demonstration to the world that no matter what the price, the honour of Guru Granth Sahib Ji and the Khalsa Panth would be upheld.
Similarly, Baba Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala, Bhai Shubeg Singh, Bhai Amrik Singh and many others, fought a heroic battle against the Indian army onslaught in Amritsar in June 1984, as well as the ensuing decade-long genocide of Sikhs in Panjab instigated by a brutally oppressive Indian administration.
As we enter the new millennium the Khalsa Panth is again in need of dynamic leadership like that of Shaheed Bhai Fauja Singh Ji and his fearless companions; one that is truly obedient to Shabad Guru and responsive to the needs of the Panth. Only then will the spirit and wisdom of Guru Sahib Ji pervade throughout the Panth and protect it from danger. Panthic responsibility and leadership rests, on the shoulders of each generation. All Panthic Sikh organisations have an equal role to play in developing Panthic solidarity and resisting internal and external pressures. It is the duty of every individual Sikh and Sikh organisation to uphold the sacred duty of defending and strengthening the Panth which was created to spread righteousness and rejuvenate the fallen spirit of humanity through the Ambrosial Naam and teachings of Guru Nanak Ji, Guru Gobind Singh Ji and our eternal master, Guru Granth Sahib Ji.