1. Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale’s Speech May1983
Guru’s Image, Guru Khalsa, Assembly of God’s worshippers; constituted and blest by Satguru, Supporter of the humble, the True King; all the Congregation, say aloud:
"Vaheguru Ji ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Ji ki Fateh" (The Khalsa belong to God, Victory belongs to God). Guru’s beloved Khalsa Ji: you are the temporal and the religious authority (of the Sikhs), (assembled) at the sacred place of Sahib Siri Guru Hargobind Sahib, the True King.
THE SIKH FAITH IS UNDER SIEGE
In order to destroy religion, on all sides and in every manner, mean tactics have been initiated. To defeat these, the entire Panth (the Khalsa Brotherhood) assembled under one leadership and started recruitment of Mar-jeevraas (those who have resolved to sacrifice their lives). Just now, on way to this place I, your servant, heard that by now the count has already reached nearly 70,000 and it is expected that the figure that will be announced today, by Satguru’s grace, will reach 100,000. Why have we recruited these 100,000 volunteers? With these 100,000 volunteers, do we have to distribute tickets (for elections to various political offices), or do we have to go some place and preach to people to buy certain goods. No, that is not the purpose. We, all Gursikh (Guru’s Sikh) men and women who have assembled here today, have to resolve whether we are going to spend the days of our lives as slaves or do we wish to shake the (yoke of) slavery from around our necks and live as free people. This is why we are assembled here. Several Gurmukhs (Guru’s devotees), representing newspapers meet with me. Even today, I met just now. He asked: "Sant Ji, in view of the recruitment of 100,000 persons has been completed today, what is your next program?" I answered: "My brother, Dictator Sahib Ji (Sant Harchand Singh Longowal) will tell you this." It is not proper for all (of us) to give statements on our own at various places. He asked: "What do you have in your mind?" I answered: "What Kalgidhar Ji (Siri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib) put in, is there." He went away quietly, knowing I would not give him anything. What is the reason these people keep asking (such questions)? There is only one reason, viz., to figure out a way which they might adopt to destroy the unity of the Panth in order to preserve their own chairs (positions of authority, public offices). There is need for all of us to remain very watchful in this respect.
THE SIKHS ARE SLAVES IN INDIA
Sikhs Are Ignorant
Regarding the brutalities perpetrated by the police at various places, many of our brothers, freshly arrived from the villages, ask:
"Sant Ji, we don’t know about enslavement." In this connection, I have to make some points as to how we are slaves?
The Press Is Hostile
I had a discussion with Ram Jethamalani, a very well-known lawyer at the Supreme Court (of India) and Subramaniam who is a prominent representative of a (political) party. They also asked me similar questions, as to how we are slaves? How are the Sikhs a separate Nation? I consider it important to humbly present some of these questions and answers to you. The reason I have to do this is that such items are not reported in their entirety in the newspapers. Even if they are, it is only one or two newspapers that provide coverage, others stay quiet.
Different Punishment For The Same Offense. Peaceful Protest Is A Crime
Khalsa Ji: a lady born to a house of Pundits, having got the votes of the people, became Prime Minister of India. This is Bibi (lady) Indira Gandhi. In 1977, according to her deeds, a judge of the Supreme Court sentenced her to a few days in prison. To serve this sentence she went to Tihar Jail. Nobody slapped her, she had no wounds. No one used any disrespectful word. A judge had sentenced her. But her colleagues, Pande and others, hijacked a plane to protest their Bibi having been sent to prison. What was the punishment given (to them) for this hijacking? They were given tickets for becoming members of the Legislative Assembly, one in U.P. (Uttar Pradesh) and the other in Bihar. On the other hand, on September 14, (1981) in Chando-Kalan, two busses belonging to the Jatha (Sant Bhindranwale’s group) with copies of Sahib Satguru Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in them, were doused with kerosene and set on fire by government officials including Bhatti (a police official) and some others like him. After that, on September 20, (1981), in Chowk Mehta, I offered myself for arrest after offering prayers to the Guru in the presence of the Congregation. The entire Panth, (including various) associations and organizations, had assembled there. In spite of my surrendering peacefully, Khalsa Ji, one and one-half dozen Singhs, our turbaned Sikhs, were put to death (by the police). When the young men of the (Sikh) Nation did not find any redress or justice coming from any quarter, in order to do what they could to direct the attention of the entire public and the government to this atrocity, to point out what the government had been doing to the Sikhs, they hijacked a plane. These five Sikhs, Gajinder Singh and others, who are in Pakistan, have been exiled. In addition it was said: "These persons are our accused, our criminals, they should be handed over to us, we have to sentence them to death." If a plane is hijacked for the sake of a lady of the Pundits, there is the chair (public office), but if a plane is hijacked for the Beloved (Guru) of the Sikhs there is exile! Hijacking a plane for a lady of the Pundits is patriotism, but, if a Sikh hijacked a plane to protest (the treatment of) his Beloved (Siri Guru Granth Sahib), Manjeet Singh was shot to death at Raja Sansi airport on August 20, (1982). This is an evident sign of slavery. Padey and associates did not damage the plane nor did they hurt any passengers. Nor did these Sikhs, in all three hijackings, harrass any passenger or damage any planes. But, what is the rule? For a fellow with a turban, there is the bullet, there is the crippling injection, there is exile. However, if one says "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Hare Rama, Hare Rama," there is the chair (appointment to high office), This is a sign of slavery, Khalsa Ji.
Sikhs are Denied Right of peaceful Protest
A few days back, Sant Ji (Harchand Singh Longowal) spoke from this stage. That Singh had gone there. I was unwell and could not attend. Lehar Singh is the Singh’s name, Lehar Singh. He is from Jattanwali alias Ramnagar village in District Ferozepur, Tehsil Fazilka. One Bichhu Ram of that place – this name I have heard for the first time, maybe it it new to you too ( the word literally means "a scorpion"). This Bichhu Ram, Thanedar (Station House Officer at a Police Station) arrested this Amritdhari (formally initiated into the Sikh Faith) Sikh. What sin had he committed? The same that all of us have committed. Longowal has committed it, Jarnail Singh has committed it, these stage secretaries have committed it. What was the sin? It was the Rasta Roko (stop the traffic) agitation. He participated in this crime (of peaceful protest). He has contributed his share to the struggle. Khalsa Ji: with his five daughters and his wife, the seven of them including himself, stopped the traffic for two and a half hours. No other man was with him. They arrested and took him away to the police station. He was asked whence he had taken Amrit. I have humbly said this on several occasions that if anyone asks such a question, you should not name any person. You should merely say: "I took Amrit from the Five Beloved Ones (of the Guru)." But many people have got into this habit. They will say: "I took Amrit from the Akalis." Others say: "I took Amrit from Bhindranwale." I do not know why they have started to treat these persons as different. Someone might say: "I took Amrit from Kleranwale (a group of Sikhs owing allegiance to Sant Kleranwale), or from someone else." Amrit is taken from the Five Beloved Ones (of the Guru), not from any man. If anyone takes it from a man, it is not Amrit. Khalsa Ji: when he (Lehar Singh) mentioned the name of the Jatha (Sant Bhindranwale’s group), this Amritdhari Singh’s beard was forcibly shaved off. His beard was cut and he was sent to Amritsar. They also told him: "Go and tell Bhindranwale that we have cut off your beard. He can use whatever force he can against us." He came and told me. The matter was taken up on this stage. If, from this stage, I say something naming someone they say: "Bhindranwala has given out the name of such person, now this name has come on the "List"." This kind of gossip goes on. This is a sign of slavery. A Sikh is not allowed to protest peacefully and stop the traffic even while reciting God’s word.
Hindu Fascists Are Encouraged
Only the Sikh raises the slogan of Hindu-Sikh unity. Our leaders also do this. All of us too keep doing this. Our Hindu brethren held a conference here. They raised slogans of "Hindu-Hindu Bhai Bhai" (Hindus are brothers to one another). There was no mention of the Sikh. Some time back, slogans: "Kachh, Kara, Kirpaan; Ehnoon bhejo Pakistan" (The shorts, the steel bangle, the sword – symbols of the Sikhs – send these to Pakistan); and "Dukki tikki khehan nahin deni, sir te pagri rehan nahin deni" (we are not going to let any second or third group exist, we are not going to let a turban remain on any head) were shouted here. A Hindu shouting these slogans is a patriot but if a son of a Sikh gets up on a stage and says: "We have to get justice for our (murdered) brothers", he is a criminal. This is a sign of slavery.
Police Brutality – The Cases Of Jasbir Singh Of Chupkiti And Jangir Singh
Four Singhs have come to see me today. I had intended that if I could meet that Singh I would present him to you from this stage. However, he could not see me. This was because of the crowds. Four Sikhs have come from Moga after release (from jail). They had been imprisoned in connection with a murder. It was a false charge. In the remaining cases they have been granted bail. Today they have come here. If he is somewhere he can hear my voice, I would request Jasbir Singh of Chupkiti to come up here (to the dais) before the end of this session so he can meet the Congregation. He is an Amritdhari Singh. He is a Granthi (Reader of Siri Guru Granth Sahib) in the Moga area. The name of the village is Chupkiti. He was arrested. Nothing incriminating was found from him. Khalsa Ji: he is a Granthi at a Gurdwara. He was forcibly laid down on the floor and a Hindu policeman sat on his chest. The policeman smoked hand-rolled cigarettes while sitting on his chest. He spat and dropped tobacco in Jasbir Singh’s mouth. There is no punishment for him. There is a man named Jangir Singh. His thigh was cut and a piece of his flesh torn out. The wound was filled with salt. There is no action against those who filled the salt.
Harassment Of Sikhs In Government Service
Thirty-two young men, only of the Sikhs, have been removed from service with the police. No Hindu has been removed.
Sikhs Jailed Without Due Process
Today, many students belonging to the federation (The All India Sikh Students’ Federation), in counts of thousands, have come here. Many other dear Gurmukhs have come and we have assembled here as a congregation. Here is Harminder Singh Sandhu. He too was hung upside down and detained. Bua Singh and his other associates were detained for a year. On the 20th, they were to be released. Khalsa Ji: on the 19th, they were taken out of the jail to a police station and again charged in a case. They (the government) charged: "While in jail you conspired that when you get out you are going to do such and such thing." No one cares about evidence. There is no proof. Khalsa Ji: the turban tied on the head is the sole reason these sins, these crimes, are being attributed to us. Today, or perhaps it was yesterday, I read the names of two students who have both been again detained for another year. Why has this been done? Because they are sons of Sikhs. We are so many gathered here in this Congregation, let any one of you, any devotee of the Guru, get up and tell if any son of a Hindu has ever been detained anywhere in Punjab, even a single one.
Brutality Against Sikh Women
A daughter of a Sikh, a young woman, was stripped naked by police employees. The police officials made her have sexual contact with her father in public. This happened in Ghall Khurd police station. Khalsa Ji: there are no legal proceedings against this evil-minded official. No action is being taken against him. Why? Because this happened to a daughter of the Sikhs.
Hindu Life More Precious Than Sikh
I am not overly interested in anyone’s dying nor in killing, but I will not hesitate in saying this. They say a Hindu was killed in Patiala by a police bullet. How much hue and cry was raised by the Mahasha (Arya Samajist Hindu) Press! They said: "A Hindu has been killed. A great sin has been committed. President’s rule should be imposed in the state". If the Sikhs say the same thing they are called communalists (The Sikhs had been demanding action against the state government without success). One of your men died, you (the Hindu press) started wailing. Here over two hundred Sikhs have been killed by the police, has anyone of them opened his mouth over it? Khalsa Ji: these are signs of slavery. This is oppression.
THE SIKH RELIGION IS DISTINCT
They are not prepared to accept Sikhs as a distinct Nation. I had a conversation with Subramaniam and Ram Jethamalani. They consider themselves to be wise persons. They asked (me): "How are the Sikhs a separate Nation?" I said: "If I prove it will you agree? They answered: "In that case, perhaps". I told them: "The (Sikh) Nation has some attributes that set it apart.
Sikh Scripture Is Different
Our religious authority is different from that of other people. Khalsa Ji: Qura’n has thirty chapters, Geeta has eighteen. Geeta nowhere provides for a Muslim to attain heaven. Geeta does not provide for the deliverance of a Muslim. In the thirty chapters of the Qura’n nothing is written about the deliverance of a Hindu. But the place where we are sitting today, in the Guru (that it belongs to), in the Beloved Guru (Siri Guru Granth Sahib) whom we all revere; Kabir Ji, the weaver, is seated; out of Cobblers, Bhagat Ravidas Ji is seated; of Potters, Beni Ji is seated; of Jats, Dhanna Ji is seated; of Brahmins, Jaidev Ji is seated; of Washermen, Namdev Ji is seated; of Barbers, Sain Ji, the barber, is seated. Who did not get a place here? A Hindu can not touch the ground with his forehead in a mosque. In a Hindu temple, a Muslim cannot touch the ground with his forehead. But has anyone ever been turned away from this (the Guru’s) door? This is our uniqueness.
Only Sikhs Have Free Kitchens
If you travel in this world – I too have had the opportunity to go out in Hindostan to a few places. I have been to Gaya. The Budh Temple in Gaya cost four crores of rupees to build, but if anyone wants a drink of water, he has to pay half a rupee for a glass of water. You will get it for a price, not free. The row of people getting free food will not be found in a mosque or in a Hindu temple. Nor will it be found in a church. The row of people getting free food is only found in the court of Guru Ram Das, Guru Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib. You will not find it elsewhere.
Why The Opposition To Sikh Identity?
Jethamalani said: "I consider the entire population of Hindostan to be a Nation". I said: "How many countries are there (in the world)?" He said: "117." I said: "There are 117 nations. If you accept the existence of Sikhs as the 118th nation, would some calamity strike?" He answered: "None". I asked him: "Section 25 of the Indian Constitution says Jains are Hindu, Budhs are Hindu, and Sikhs are Hindu. If the entire population of India is one nation, what was the need to specially name these three in the Constitution?" He said: "I have no answer". Here is a lawyer of the Supreme Court (of India). He charges twelve thousand rupees for each hour of debate and he says: "I have no answer". It is not in my control that there is no answer. "You tell me if we are a separate nation or not. Why don’t you accept this? Is it because this is a Nation that wishes to live with a sense of honor, it is a Nation that wishes to live with self-respect?", I asked him.
Sikhs Have Always Stood For Justice For All
He (Ram Jethamalani) said: "Hindus are being unfairly treated, there is communalism in the minds of many Sikhs." I asked him: "When the agitation against the emergency (1975-1977) was going on, were handcuffs put on Longowal?" He said: "No". I asked: "How about Tohra (Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee), Talwandi (Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi), Badal (Sardar Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister of Punjab), other Sikh leaders, Bhindranwale?" He said: "No one was handcuffed." I asked him who arrested you? He said: "Hindus". I asked him who were arrested (at that time)? He said: "Hindus". I said: "What then was the need for us (Sikhs) to launch a protest (against the declaration of national emergency and curtailment of civil liberties) from the (Akal) Takhat Sahib? (It was because) we believed in brotherhood of all, we had love for humanity. We had firm conviction in the teaching: Naanak Naam Charrdee Kalaa(n) ["Nanak says: God’s Name is glorious"]. We followed (the teaching): Tere Bhaane Sarbat Daa(n) Bhallaa ["There is good for all in accepting Your will"]. That was the reason we started the agitation from here. Now you tell (us) how many out of your community of 660 million went to jail to protect your rights, and how many out of the community of 17.5 million courted arrest to get you released?" He said: "You had more". I told him: "Now we are struggling on behalf of all Punjabis. We are not making demands. We are asking for our rights, only our rights. And we have to get our rights, it is not that we are not to get them and all this is idle talk. We have to get them even if it means we are cut up bit by bit. We have to get them under all circumstances." Khalsa Ji: when I asked him: "Tell me this. Here the Akali Dal has assembled the entire Sikh Panth in this protest. Out of our 660 million Hindu brothers, how many have courted arrest? How many have gone with us to get us out of jails?" He (had no answer and) was quiet. Khalsa Ji: the Congregation should please pardon me but the weakness is in ourselves. When we sit on this stage and speak, why don’t we talk about the Sikh Nation being distinct? The weakness is ours. We are sinners of the house of our Guru.
Laws Discriminate Against Sikh Beliefs And Practices
Sikhs are a distinct Nation. It is not (really) necessary to be so called but from the worldly point of view and other reasons it has become necessary. When you have to go to a foreign country, if you have been married here according to Anand Karaj (the Sikh marriage ceremony) in the presence of our Guru (Siri Guru Granth Sahib), you will have to certify in writing that you were married according to Hindu rites, not according to Sikh religion in the presence of the Guru. Else you will not be able to travel. Son of a Sikh cannot inherit his paternal property till he is 17. If Chhalli Ram (a Hindu) is born to Talli Ram (Hindu names contemptuously coined by Sant Bhindranwale), he is heir to his father’s property at birth. For these reasons it is necessary to have us declared a separate religion in the Constitution. We cannot acquire more than 17 acres of land, we cannot own property (beyond this limit). But if Gulli Ram is born to Chhalli Ram, even if the property is worth four crore (forty million) rupees, he is the owner of that property. This is (the yoke of) slavery around our necks.
Sikhs Not Allowed Free Travel In India
The country is free, but a line is drawn. A person who has a turban on, whether he belongs to the Congress party or is an Akali or a Communist, cannot reach Delhi during the Asian Games. But a fellow who has cut his hair, is associated with a Hindu there, can go. Isn’t this slavery?
APPEAL FOR UNITY
(During the struggle for freedom of India), you, sons of the Guru who are sitting here, gave 93 heads (93 Sikhs were hanged by the British). All the others gave 7 (the actual number was 28. Apparently, Sant Bhindranwale took the total number of Sikhs hanged as the percentage). Those who gave seven heads now are masters of India and those who gave ninety-three are slaves. Why is it so? It is so because we are greedy. Our misfortune is disunity. We try to throw mud at each other. Why don’t we give up thinking of mud and, in close embrace with each other, work with determination so that we can complete our work. All of us should pay attention to these matters. Khalsa Ji: I implore this Congregation. We are making a pledge here. When earlier pledges were made here I spoke but could not come (to the Congregation) because of ill-health. Some of our brethren thought I had quarreled with Longowal and that was why I had not come. Has our quarrel ended today? I do not know why, influenced by the newspapers, you fall prey to doubts? There are no differences among any of us. We shall work together and die together. But do have faith about this one thing. I couldn’t come myself but I have come to know that Sant Ji (Sant Harchand Singh Longowal) spoke (to you) yesterday. He too said:
"Singhs, don’t be in doubt. Whatever decision is taken will be taken by your assembly". Then why should there be any doubts? Whatever is written in the copy of Anandpur Resolution is known to everyone. I too have a copy. Everyone, you too have copies. If any one (of us) goes back on it, do not be lenient to me and I shall not be lenient to you. But I shall surely tell you: "This is what it contains and here is where we stand. Tell us what you want done." At that time the decision will be in your hands.
I implore all of you in this Congregation. Go to the villages and make every child, every mother, every Singh realize we are slaves and we have to shake off this slavery in order to live.
SIKHS DO NOT WANT KHALISTAN, A SEPARATE SIKH STATE
There is plenty of talk about Khalistan. They ask me: "Sant Ji, are you in favor of Khalistan or not?" I appeal to these news reporters. If you have asked someone a question on an issue once, twice, four times, you should be satisfied. It does not look nice to ask the same question day after day. I shall certainly say it is wrong to ask us these questions. How can a nation which has sacrificed so much for the freedom of the country want it fragmented? But I shall definitely say this: "We are not in favor of Khalistan nor are we against it." Subramaniam asked me: "What does this mean?" I said: "I shall tell you. This is the job of the Center (The Central Government). It is not Bhindranwale’s or Longowal’s job. The Center should tell us, does it want to keep these turbaned people with it or not? (Someone starts to shout the Jaikaara but Sant Bhindranwale stops him saying) I wish to tell you one thing: don’t get carried away shouting Jaikaaras. We wish to live in Hindostan. We wish to live as equal citizens. The Center should tell us whether it wants to keep us with it or not. If the Center wants to keep us with it, it should give us our full rights according to the sacrifices we have made. If it wishes to take a count, it is all right with us. It should give us territory corresponding to 93 heads (Number of Sikhs hanged during the freedom struggle). It can keep the land corresponding to the seven remaining heads. A Singh does not charge any interest. If we did charge interest, they would have nothing left from their share. Over 36 years, the seven heads are not enough to meet the interest (on ninety-three). The entire hundred percent is your right. However, if you do not accept this line of argument, the Center should just tell us if it wants to keep us with it? However, I must say that, standing on this stage, we do not demand it and we do not oppose it either. But, if the Center gives us Khalistan, we shall take it. This time, we shall not repeat the mistake of 1947. But this is Center’s job, the Center is responsible for it. If it wishes, it can keep us with it or if it wishes, it can call us terrorists and extremists and separate us. It is their job. Don’t put the blame on us.
SIKHS ARE DISTINCT – ANOTHER ARGUMENT
This issue come up every day; regarding the Sikhs being a separate Nation. I like to make another humble statement. They say Sikhs are extremists. I asked those leaders: "If the Sikhs are extremists, you should accept the Sikhs are a separate Nation (inasmuch as extremism is their exclusive characteristic). If Sikhs are a part of Hindus, then you should write Hindus as extremists (the characteristics of Sikhs and Hindus being the same on that hypothesis)." When they want to abuse us or use foul language towards us it is exclusively towards people with turbans, but when we ask for our rights, we are told: "You are part of us." hey say: "You are born out of us." I humbly submit that the whole world is born of Sikhs. In a Pundit’s home, in a Muslim’s home, or in a Sikh’s home, no one is born without hair. If all people stayed as they were born of their parents and kept the appearance given them by God, they would not be called Chhalli Ram or Gulli Ram. Everyone would address them as Sardar Ji. Tell me who is born? Who is created by Nature? Don’t get into misunderstandings over this.
BEING A SMALL MINORITY IS NO REASON TO LOSE OUR IDENTITY
One thought being rubbed into the minds of our young brothers is that we (Sikhs) are like salt in the dough (that we are so few). But if the (lump of) salt in the dough is a little too much, the dough is hard to eat. Don’t let this worry you. Our Father (Siri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib) said: "I shall make each of them fight 125,000. Only then shall I deserve to be called Gobind Singh". He told us to fight 125,000. Now that is a far off thing. At this time we are (sort of) sitting low (the ratio of our enemies to us is far less than 125,000).
Unite To Seek Justice
I appeal to the entire Congregation. March together. Regarding the pledge, I said at that time too and, I shall say this again now, only those of my brothers should make a pledge here who have bid their final farewell to their mothers and fathers, who have given up all attachment to property and the world; who are steadfast in their resolve to seek justice for the dishonor of our sisters, for the blood of innocent persons that has been drunk, and for insult to Satguru Granth Sahib. Only such of my brothers, my elders, my mothers and sisters should raise their arms here and make the pledge. Anyone who is still thinking about selling a trolleyful of wheat, who is considering the good price of melons, should go about his business over the next six months and register his name later. Here, there is no promise of seventy-two houris, or of wine made from grapes, or of other comforts of heaven; the tradition here is, Jou tou prem khelan kaa chaaou sir dhar talee galee meree aaou ["If you wish to play the game of love, come to my place with your head on the palm of your hand"]. This is not my way, it is the Guru’s. So, I welcome with great respect all those of you who have come with this attitude; I respect the rest of the Congregation too and request you to be prepared to develop the same attitude.
Bear Arms As Required By The Religion
Also you should acquire weapons. There is going to be no deliverance without weapons. Subramaniam (a member of Indian Parliament) asked me: "Why do you keep weapons, you are a sant (a holy man)?" I replied: "I am not the son of a eunuch. I am a son of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib." I am not saying this myself. It is written: veh pragatiyo marad agamrraa variyaam ikelaa vaah vaah gobind singh aape gur chelaa ["The Distinguished Man, the Unique Warrior manifested. Wonderful is Gobind Singh, Himself the Guru and the Disciple"]. I have a tape-recording of the meeting with him (Subramaniam). He left convinced that it is right for a Sikh to keep any weapons he might like to. He indeed said this, I have a tape-recording. You may listen to it in a gathering of a million. Further, it is a sin for a Sikh to keep weapons to hurt an innocent person, to rob anyone’s home, to dishonor anyone or to oppress anyone. But there is no greater sin for a Sikh than keeping weapons and not protecting his faith.
Government Propaganda: "Sikhs Are Extremists." Are We?
In closing, I wish to ask you to raise your arms before Sant Ji (Sant Harchand Singh Longowal). It is not for this pledge (that Sant Ji is going to ask you for ). It is for another pledge. The Government and the Mahasha (Arya Samajist Hindu) press have started saying that all of us who are assembled here are extremists. I might as well make some of you that. One who takes Amrit and helps others take it; who reads the Gurbani (Guru’s word: Siri Guru Granth Sahib) and teaches others to do the same; who gives up intoxicants and helps others to do likewise; who urges all to get together and work in cooperation; who preaches Hindu-Sikh unity and asks for peaceful coexistence; who says: "If you are a Muslim be a devout Muslim, if you are a Sikh be a devout Sikh, respect your Beloved (Siri Guru Granth Sahib), unite under the saffron Nishaan Sahib (religious flag of the Sikhs), stoutly support the Panth, and be attached to Satguru’s (Siri Guru Granth Sahib’s) Throne and Guru’s Darbar;" persons who preach like this are now all being called extremists by this government and by the Mahasha press. In particular, I have been given a big title. They call me the "leader of the extremists". I am a firm extremist, but of the type which has the characteristics I have described to you. If you too are ready to become extremists of this type, raise your arms when I say the Jaikaara. Not before I say the Jaikaara, only after I say it. First listen as to what type of extremist you are going to become: one who is a Sikh of the Guru (Siri Guru Granth Sahib); who seeks justice for the martyrs; who seeks to support the Panth till his last breath; who, till his death, will stand under the saffron Nishaan Sahib; who will follow the Hukamnamas (orders issued by religious Sikh authorities) – this too, carrying out the Hukamnamas, that’s where it started; who is desirous of seeking justice for the lost honor of our daughters and sisters, for the blood of innocent persons that has been drunk. He, who is an extremist of this type, for him alone I shall say this. He, who is a Sikh of the spinning wheel and the goat (follower of Mahatma Gandhi), or of Radhaswamis or Narkdharis (Nirankaris); firstly such a Sikh would not have come to this Congregation; but if there is any of their Sikh who has disguised himself and come to this Congregation, let him hear too. He, who is their Sikh, he who applies sandhur to a jand tree or waters a pipal tree; such Sikhs should not, even by mistake, raise their arms. He, who is a Sikh of the Guru; who is a son of the Sikhs; who is desirous of getting justice; should surely raise his arms. You will become extremists and will not be able to go back on this. The pledge you make here will not be forgiven. (Sant Bhindranwale shouts the Jaikaara): Bolay so nihaal (Whoever says will be blest) The Congregation responds: Sat Sri Akal (True is the Eternal Lord))
With this I heartily thank all those workers who have come to make the pledge.
SACRIFICE FOR THE FAITH: A STORY FROM SIKH HISTORY
One day from this stage, Sant Baba Harchand Singh Ji Longowal said: "I don’t know what has happened to Jarnail Singh. He no longer leads people in shouting the slogan, "Dityaan baajh nahin rehnaa, Dharam sir dityaan baajh nahin rehnaa" (Without sacrifice it will not survive; the Faith will not survive without sacrifice of our lives). Perhaps his cough has flared up." I had been ill for several days. Sant Ji (Sant Harchand Singh Longowal) knew about this. He thought my cough had worsened. Actually, I did not have much cough but had caught cold. But the Singhs have said this (that I should lead the shouting of this slogan). My body (physical condition) does not permit (me to do it); please accept whatever way I am able to say it. You can shout the slogan aloud yourselves.
When the caps, the knots of people’s hair, and the Janeoo (the sacred threads) of the Hindu society were being piled up at the end of Nauranga’s (Emperor Aurangzeb’s) cot, they (the Hindus) went to Mathura, Kidaarnath, Badrinarayan, Vaishnodevi, Samasyadevi and Shiv Ling (various Hindu holy places) and offered prayers. No one heard their cries. At that time, it is said, a divine letter arrived.
According to history, this letter was from Shiv Ji. Kashmiri pundits came with that letter to our Beloved Guru, Protector of the Faith (Siri Guru Tegh Bahaadar Sahib) at Anandpur Sahib. Upon arrival there, they appealed to him. They bowed their heads. They were sighing, had dry lips, tattered clothes, worn out shoes and were without proper covering for their heads. (Without cover, and shorn of their hair) their heads looked like water-melons. They came to the Guru Sahib and said: "Beloved (Guru), have mercy upon us. In earlier forms (Sikh Gurus preceding Siri Guru Tegh Bahaadar Sahib) you have spoken the words: "He embraces whoever seeks His protection. This is the Master’s Way." We are oppressed; in your mercy protect our honor, hold our hand." Some wise man said about Guru Tegh Bahaadar Sahib: "The only support is at the Feet of God; we should attach our minds to God’s Feet (the Divine Word). The mind is prone to evil, through Guru’s instruction we should turn our minds from evil. If we hold someone by the arm, we must not let go even if we have to give our head (must not betray anyone we have promised to support)." Guru Tegh Bahaadar spoke: "Dhar payeeay dharam na chhodiay (we must not give up our Faith even if it means death)." Thus, our Beloved Guru held their hand. The Kashmiri pundits were overjoyed as a hungry man is when he is given bread; as a thirsty man is when given water; as one rescued from the jaws of death, from the jaws of a tiger, from a fire. Taking them
along, He started on His way to Delhi. Our Beloved Guru has got ready and started off for Delhi. Preaching God’s message to all on his way, meeting Ajari and fulfilling his prayers, our Beloved Guru reached Delhi. There was questions and answers with Nauranga. Here schemes were concocted for the martyrdom of Satguru Ji, the Supporter of the humble. Bhai Mati Das (a companion of Siri Guru Tegh Bahaadar Sahib) was asked: "Smoke tobacco, take a sip of liquor, and chew tobacco, say once, "I am not the Guru’s Sikh"; I shall give you my daughter in marriage." Bhai Mati Das contemptuously (literally: with the tip of his shoe) spurned the offer of Nauranga’s daughter in marriage. The reply he gave at that time. Bhai Mati Das went to the Satguru. Maharaj (Siri Guru Tegh Bahaadar Sahib) asked him: "My brave man, how are you
doing?" He replied: "God is merciful, all is well. I am facing a tough test. I do not want to score 99 percent. I want 100 percent. Have mercy on me. May I pass this test of being a Sikh. Of the Guru’s family, the very first martyr was the Fifth King (Siri Guru Arjan Dev Sahib). Of Sikhs, the first martyrdom for the Faith is going to be mine. Have mercy so I may succeed, the coming generations may then receive guidance from it and be prepared for sacrifices." My throat
does not permit me to recite aloud the sermon Satguru Tegh Bahaadar Sahib Ji, sitting in a cage, in Chandni Chowk, gave to Bhai Mati Das for the protection of the Faith. However, I shall do the best I can, you can repeat it more vigorously. What is it that Satguru Tegh Bahaadar Sahib, sitting in a cage in Chandni Chowk, is telling Bhai Mati Das regarding His dear Faith? (It is): "Dityaan baajh nahin rehnaa, Dharam sir dityaan baajh nahin rehnaa" (Without sacrifice it will not survive; the Faith will not survive; the Faith will not survive without sacrifice of our lives) Repeat after me: (The Congregation repeats the verse). It (Faith) won’t be kept with that much. How many of you are here? Why are you speaking in bird-like chirps. If a slogan has to be shouted for a leader or for a holy man, you make the place resound. It is a matter of Faith. I hope you have not fallen asleep. Is it too warm here? Speak aloud. Here NISA (the notorious law under which the Government carried out arbitrary arrests and killing of any active opposition) won’t apply, this is Guru’s Darbar. It (NISA) applies there, in Gandhi’s Darbar In Guru Hargobind Sahib’s Darbar the NISA of fifty two; yes, fifty two; is destroyed (the reference is to the fifty two Hindu princes for whom Siri Guru Hargobind Sahib is said to have secured release from jail simultaneously with His own release): Dityaan baajh nahin rehnaa, Dharam sir dityaan baajh nahin rehnaa (Without sacrifice it will not survive; the Faith will not survive without sacrifice of our lives). (The Congregation repeats the verse)
Khalsa Ji: this was the slogan that was shouted. Today, the same situation has arisen. Bhai Mati Das had said: "Even if I have to give my head, may I never lose my love for the Sikh Faith". I am sorry to note that some people who hanker after a chair say instead:
"Even if I lose my Faith, may I never lose my chair". And our younger generation has started saying this: "Even if I lose my Faith, may a beard never grow on my face". On whose face do you want it to grow? I shall say this to my young brothers who have cut their beards:
"Resolve here today that you will keep beards, give up intoxicants, and take Amrit". If you find the beard too heavy, (note that) at this place (Harmandar Sahib) God fulfills prayers very quickly. Pray to God saying: "The True King, you were kind to us and made us men and gave us birth in Sikh homes. But we do not like this Sikhism and manhood. Have mercy on us. Make us into women and make women into men. Make this exchange." Some say I consider women to be inferior. I do not consider them inferior. I say this only to make these young men ashamed of what they do, not to imply that women are inferior. Some of our sisters also object: "Sant Ji, why don’t you give the Parshaad of the Five Beloved Ones to us. Why don’t you include women among the Five Beloved Ones?" I shall humbly say this to (our) mothers:
"Mothers, no Sikh is jealous of you. There is no discrimination. But this is your own weakness. It is not in my control. When our Beloved Guru (Siri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib), in 1756 (Bikram calendar, equivalent to 1699 A.D.), asked for heads, he did not say he needed the head of a man or woman. At that time, He only said He needed a head. Of the gathering of 80,000 no woman got up to have her head cut off by the sword. Only those will get Parshaad who had their heads cut off. How can others get it? For this reason, there is no discrimination in our mind. If someone does have it, it is his business. (Some persons shout the Jaikaara) Now, at this time you men shout the Jaikaara about women being mentioned in this manner, but note that in this protest movement, the share of our mothers has not been less than ours. It is true that there is this accusation (of not volunteering when Siri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib asked for a head) but keep in mind that Bhagats, people called Gurus, and those who were Divine Incarnations, were born of them. Stay united. If, in the course of my speech, I uttered a harsh word, I implore the entire Congregation to forgive me regarding me as an humble servant of the Congregation, and an uneducated fallible person. Once again, in concluding, I implore you to take Amrit and be prepared. Keep weapons and whatever orders are given by the Panth, obey them. Work to remove the (yoke of) slavery from our necks. To those who ask me what is in my mind, I say that Guru Sahib knows this and when the time comes, it will become known. We all have to work together. Don’t fall prey to misgivings. "Vaheguru Ji ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Ji ki Fateh" (The Khalsa belong to God, Victory belongs to God).
(Translated from the original in Punjabi by Ranbir S. Sandhu, Sikh Religious and Educational Trust, P.O. Box 1553, Dublin, Ohio 43017)