हिरण्यरेता

हिरण्यरेता

29-11-2020

18:47

Let me quote @Koenraad_Elst On the myth of "Sikhs protected Hindus". ""In the Guru lineage, we don’t see much physical fighting for Hinduism. Guru Nanak was a poet and a genuine saint, but not a warrior.

His successors were poets, not all of them saintly, and made a living with regular occupations such as horse-trading. Guru Arjun’s martyrdom was not due to any anti-Muslim rebellion but to the suspicion by Moghul Emperor Jahangir that he had supported a failed rebellion by

Jahangir’s son Khusrau, i.e. a Muslim palace revolution aimed at continuing the Moghul Empire but with someone else sitting on the throne. Arjun refused to pay the fine which Jahangir imposed on him, not as an act of defiance against Moghul sovereignty but because

he denied the charges (which amounted to pleading his loyalty to Jahangir); it was then that Jahangir ordered a tougher punishment. At any rate, Arjun was never accused of raising the sword against Jahangir, merely of giving temporary shelter to Khusrau.50

Tegh Bahadur’s martyrdom in 1675 was of course in the service of Hinduism, in that it was an act of opposing Aurangzeb’s policy of forcible conversion. An arrest warrant against him had been issued on non-religious and nonpolitical charges, and he was found out

after having gone into hiding; Aurangzeb gave him a chance to escape his punishment by converting to Islam. Being a devout Muslim, Aurangzeb calculated that the conversion of this Hindu sect leader would encourage his followers to convert along with him.

The Guru was tortured and beheaded when he refused the offer to accept Islam, and one of his companions was sawed in two for having said that Islam should be destroyed.

At any rate, he stood firm as a Hindu, telling Aurangzeb that he loved his Hindu Dharma and that Hindu Dharma would never die,-a statement conveniently overlooked in most neo-Sikh accounts.51

He was not a Sikh defending Hinduism, but a Hindu of the Nanakpanth defending his own Hindu religion.

HOWEVER, EVEN TEGH BAHADUR NEVER WAS A WARRIOR AGAINST THE MOGHUL EMPIRE; INDEED, THE BIRTH OF HIS SON GOVIND IN THE EASTERN CITY OF PATNA WAS A SOUVENIR OF HIS OWN ENLISTMENT IN THE PARTY OF A MOGHUL GENERAL ON A MILITARY EXPEDITION TO ASSAM.

Tegh Bahadur’s son and successor, GOVIND SINGH, ONLY FOUGHT THE MOGHUL ARMY WHEN HE WAS FORCED TO, AND IT WAS HARDLY TO PROTECT HINDUISM.

His men had been plundering the domains of the semi-independent Hindu Rajas in the hills of northeastern Panjab, who had given him asylum after his father’s execution.52

Pro-Govind accounts in the Hindutva camp equate Govind’s plundering with the Chauth tax which Shivaji imposed to finance his fight against the Moghuls; they allege that the Rajas were selfishly attached to their wealth while Govind was risking his life for the Hindu cause.

The Rajas, after failed attempts to restore law and order, appealed to their Moghul suzerain for help, or at least to the nearest Moghul governor.

SO, A CONFRONTATION ENSUED, NOT BECAUSE GOVIND SINGH HAD DEFIED THE MIGHTY MOGHUL EMPIRE, BUT BECAUSE THE MOGHUL EMPIRE DISCHARGED ITS FEUDAL DUTIES TOWARD ITS VASSALS, I.C. TO PUNISH WHAT TO THEM WAS AN UNGRATEFUL GUEST TURNED ROBBER.

Govind was defeated and his two eldest sons killed in battle; many Sikhs left him in anger at his foolhardy tactics.

During Govind Singh’s flight, a Brahmin family concealed Govind’s two remaining sons (Hindus protecting Sikhs, not the other way around), but they were found out and the boys were killed.53

The death of Govind’s sons provides yet another demythologizing insight about Govind Singh through its obvious connection with his abolition of the Guru lineage.

A believer may, of course, assume that it was because of some divine instruction that Govind replaced the living Guru lineage with the Granth, a mere book (a replacement of the Hindu institution of gurudom with the Book-centred model of Islam).

However, a more down-to-earth hypothesis which takes care of all the facts is that after the death of all his sons, Govind Singh simply could not conceive of the Guru lineage as not continuing within his own family.54

AFTER HIS DEFEAT AND ESCAPE (made possible by the self-sacrifice of a disciple who impersonated the Guru), GOVIND SINGH IN HIS TURN BECAME A LOYAL SUBJECT OF THE MOGHUL EMPIRE.

He felt he had been treated unfairly by the local governor, Wazir Khan, so he did what aggrieved vassals do: he wrote a letter of complaint to his suzerain, not through the hierarchical channels but straight to the Padeshah.

In spite of its title and its sometimes defiant wording, this “victory letter” (Zafar Nâma) to Aurangzeb is fundamentally submissive. AMONG OTHER THINGS, GOVIND ASSURES AURANGZEB THAT HE IS JUST AS MUCH AN IDOL-BREAKER AS THE PADESHAH HIMSELF:

“I AM THE DESTROYER OF TURBULENT HILLMEN, SINCE THEY ARE IDOLATORS AND I AM THE BREAKER OF IDOLS.”55 Aurangzeb was sufficiently pleased with the correspondence (possibly several letters) he received from the Guru, for he ordered Wazir Khan not to trouble Govind any longer.

After Aurangzeb’s death in 1707, Govind tried to curry favour with the heir-apparent and effective successor, Bahadur Shah, and supported him militarily in the war of succession:

HIS FIGHT WAS FOR ONE OF THE MOGHUL FACTIONS AND AGAINST THE RIVAL MOGHUL FACTION, NOT FOR HINDUISM AND AGAINST THE MOGHUL EMPIRE AS SUCH. IN FACT, ONE OF THE BATTLES HE FOUGHT ON BAHADUR SHAH’S SIDE WAS AGAINST REBELLIOUS RAJPUTS.

As a reward for his services, the new Padeshah gave Govind a fief in Nanded on the Godavari river in the south, far from his natural constituency in Panjab.

To acquaint himself with his new property, he followed Bahadur Shah on an expedition to the south (leaving his wives in Delhi under Moghul protection), but there he himself was stabbed by two Pathan assassins (possibly sent by Wazir Khan, who feared Govind Singh’s influence

on Bahadur Shah) in 1708. His death had nothing to do with any fight against the Moghuls or for Hinduism.

SO FAR, IT IS HARD TO SEE WHERE THE SIKHS HAVE ACTED AS THE SWORD-ARM OF HINDUISM AGAINST ISLAM. If secularism means staying on reasonable terms with both Hindus and Muslims, we could concede that the Gurus generally did steer a “secular” course.

Not that this is shameful: in the circumstances, taking on the Moghul Empire would have been suicidal. In his last months, Govind Singh had become friends with the Hindu renunciate Banda Bairagi. This Banda went to Panjab and rallied the Sikhs around himself.

At long last, it was he as a non-Sikh who took the initiative to wage an all-out offensive against the Moghul Empire. It was a long-drawn-out and no-holds-barred confrontation which ended in general defeat and the execution of Banda and his lieutenants (1716).

ONCE MORE, THE SIKHS BECAME VASSALS OF THE MOGHULS FOR SEVERAL DECADES UNTIL THE -MARATHAS BROKE THE BACK OF THE MOGHUL EMPIRE IN THE MID-18TH CENTURY. ONLY THEN, IN THE WAKE OF THE MARATHA EXPANSION, DID THE SIKHS SCORE SOME LASTING VICTORIES AGAINST MOGHUL AND PATHAN POWER.

They established an empire of sorts including most of the North-West, but as we already saw, its greatest monarch Ranjit Singh was a conscious and committed Hindu by any definition.

We may conclude that Ram Swarup has a point when he questions the Hindu attitude of self-depreciation and gratefulness towards the Sikh “sword-arm”. Sikh history has its moments of heroism, but not particularly more than that of the Marathas or Rajputs.

And like the Rajputs and Marathas, Sikhism also has a history of collaboration with the Moghul throne. "

Short summary is that "मराठे नही होते तो चटनी बन गयी होती। बडे़ आये हिन्दूओं की रक्षा करने। पहले अपनी रक्षा करो।" 😊


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