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Thread: Sikh History

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    Liberté, Unité, Egalité Senior Contributor Tronic's Avatar
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    Sikh History

    Quote Originally Posted by lemontree
    The panth was formed by the 10th guru, Guru Govind Singhji, after Guru Teg Bahadur was executed at Chandni Chowk, Delhi for refusing to convert to islam. It was religious persecution that formed the Khalsa panth. The guru's followers were never threatened by any non-muslim ruler on the basis of religion. Please point of any such instance, as I am not aware.
    I just gave you an instance. It were the Hindu Sivalik Kingdoms who were out hunting for Guru Gobind Singh, not the Mughals. The Mughals only joined the fray much later!


    You are getting selective now, the Anandpur battle of 1701 was between a combined force of the Mughals abd the Shivalik kings (who were vassels of the Mughals).
    Sivalik Kings had been waging war against Guru Gobind for decades before the Mughals even came into the picture. Battle of Bhangani had nothing to do with the Mughals.

    Before that in 1688 the battle of Bhangani, was not for religious reasons, but a pre-emptive strike against a rising military force in Anandpur, which is on the foot hills for the Shivaliks. The Khalsa panth came up in 1699 and the prime reason was religious persecution, the guru's had armies before that too.
    This is a partial look at history. Look at my earlier response to you: "The first kingdoms to declare war against the Khalsa were the Sivalik kings, who were Hindus, not Muslims. They felt that a strong Sikh military and political force in Punjab would erode their own power, so they declared war."

    You are just reiterating what I have already said, but excusing the war waged by the Sivalik Kingdoms against Sikhs as nothing but a 'power struggle' but the Mughal wars as being driven by religious hatred. This is double standards. Both, the Hindu Sivalik Kingdoms and the Mughals were driven by the same thing; the fear of loosing power to the Sikhs. Both their aims were the same, kill the Sikh Guru and destroy the Sikhs as a political and military entity.


    Who are the 5 extra guru's that you mention? There are only 10.
    This is why you need to study Sikh history before painting it with communal colours, LT. I never said there were 15 Gurus, but 15 Sikh Saints. Sikh religion has 10 Gurus, and 15 Saints.

    Your preference aside, you cannot deny that the Khalsa panth was formed due to communal nature of mughal rule. With two guru's being executed on religious grounds the conflict assumes a communal nature.
    I grew up in a Sikh family. I've heard all the stories from my elders of the battles and the persecution as I grew up. There is not an iota of communal hatred in that history, because we get it as it is. Yes, the Afghans carried out the two great "holocausts" of the Sikhs, and the wars against the Mughals are infamous for their bloody nature, but we also learn the other side, the stories of Hazrat Mian Mir, a Muslim, laying down the foundation for the Golden Temple. The teachings of the 5 Muslim saints of the religion, which by the way are found in the Sikh holy book. We learn about the first Guru's disciple and the orator of the Sikh faith, Bhai Mardana, who again was a Muslim. If we learn about the Mughal armies surrounding Guru Gobind Singh's tiny force at Chamkaur, we simultaneously also hear about Muslims such as Nabi Khan and Gani Khan risking their own lives to protect the Guru and escort him out in the cover of darkness. We certainly do not grow up with a completely communal perception of our own history.
    Last edited by Tronic; 10 Apr 13, at 18:47.
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    Contributor cataphract's Avatar
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    I'm not very well versed in Sikh history, so I can't contribute anything to the thread. However, I have a question for those who know their stuff: why was Sikhism largely restricted to Punjab and could not spread to other parts of the subcontinent?

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    Liberté, Unité, Egalité Senior Contributor Tronic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cataphract View Post
    I'm not very well versed in Sikh history, so I can't contribute anything to the thread. However, I have a question for those who know their stuff: why was Sikhism largely restricted to Punjab and could not spread to other parts of the subcontinent?
    It's due to the fact that although Sikhism is a proselytizing religion, most Sikhs still identify themselves as an ethno-religious group.

    Sikhism today is not exactly the same religion as the one founded by the first Guru. Baba Nanak and the first 4 Gurus proselytized the religion, but the 5th Guru onwards, Sikhism started to shape itself into a military order, due to the strong political turbulence in Punjab during that time. Today's Sikhism is largely influenced by the historic 'Misls' and 'Jathas' (military orders which are/were based along ethnic identities). Converts don't really figure into these Jathas, not having a military history or lineage to stand by, hence converts aren't greeted with the same enthusiasm as in other religions.

    There is also a controversial incident regarding conversion of non-Punjabis to Sikhism. BR Ambedkar, a famous leader of the Hindu 'untouchables', approached the Sikh clergy, asking to facilitate his and millions of his followers conversion to Sikhism. The Sikh clergy along with a right wing Sikh political party, the Akalis, blocked the move. Ambedkar, along with millions of untouchables ended up converting to the Buddhist faith.

    Although, there is a large Caucasian Sikh community in the United States, who have parted ways with the mainstream Sikh religion and established their own separate sect. This resulted in the Punjabi Sikh clergy branding them as heretics.

    It's really not surprising why Sikhism is restricted to Punjab.
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    Contributor cataphract's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tronic View Post
    It's due to the fact that although Sikhism is a proselytizing religion, most Sikhs still identify themselves as an ethno-religious group.

    Sikhism today is not exactly the same religion as the one founded by the first Guru. Baba Nanak and the first 4 Gurus proselytized the religion, but the 5th Guru onwards, Sikhism started to shape itself into a military order, due to the strong political turbulence in Punjab during that time. Today's Sikhism is largely influenced by the historic 'Misls' and 'Jathas' (military orders which are/were based along ethnic identities). Converts don't really figure into these Jathas, not having a military history or lineage to stand by, hence converts aren't greeted with the same enthusiasm as in other religions.

    There is also a controversial incident regarding conversion of non-Punjabis to Sikhism. BR Ambedkar, a famous leader of the Hindu 'untouchables', approached the Sikh clergy, asking to facilitate his and millions of his followers conversion to Sikhism. The Sikh clergy along with a right wing Sikh political party, the Akalis, blocked the move. Ambedkar, along with millions of untouchables ended up converting to the Buddhist faith.

    Although, there is a large Caucasian Sikh community in the United States, who have parted ways with the mainstream Sikh religion and established their own separate sect. This resulted in the Punjabi Sikh clergy branding them as heretics.

    It's really not surprising why Sikhism is restricted to Punjab.
    The bolded statements above make a bad combination. Apparently you guys have the caste system too, which doesn't help in proselytization.

    As for Ambedkar converting to Sikhism, aren't you glad he didn't? Otherwise, you'd have to deal with Mayawati Kaur today
    The neo-Buddhist dalits are a vengeful, hateful community these days.

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    Liberté, Unité, Egalité Senior Contributor Tronic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cataphract View Post
    The bolded statements above make a bad combination. Apparently you guys have the caste system too, which doesn't help in proselytization.
    Sikhism does not have the caste system per se, but all South Asians do, regardless of religion. Though "caste" system in Punjab, and North Western India is really mislabeled. Most of the "castes" are actually just different ethnic clans. Rajputs, Jats, Gujjars, Gakhars, Tarkhans, etc, are not hierarchical like the Varna system of Hinduism. Each ethnic group dominates a different region in North Western India and Pakistan depending on their historical conquests.

    As for Ambedkar converting to Sikhism, aren't you glad he didn't? Otherwise, you'd have to deal with Mayawati Kaur today
    The neo-Buddhist dalits are a vengeful, hateful community these days.
    As long as she stayed away from Punjab, I wouldn't really care..
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    No sense in carrying ancient grudges. Better to concentrate on the here and now. Most sikhs I know in real life have no internal confusion about who the enemy is. Neither do I other Indians of different faiths that I know. Including muslims.

    The fact of the matter is that lemontree is right. And just because we have 180 odd muslims of our own does not change reality, or mean that we need to be diplomatically correct. India's enemy is a form of Islam which does not recognize us as ancestral brothers but as those that resisted and did not turn.

    And that form of Islam lives next door, and will forever try to get within. We need to recognize that and be on our guard. Together. Not get caught up in history.

    That said, their women are really pretty. Maybe that's what keeps them safe from us.

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    Liberté, Unité, Egalité Senior Contributor Tronic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doppelganger View Post
    No sense in carrying ancient grudges. Better to concentrate on the here and now. Most sikhs I know in real life have no internal confusion about who the enemy is. Neither do I other Indians of different faiths that I know. Including muslims.

    The fact of the matter is that lemontree is right. And just because we have 180 odd muslims of our own does not change reality, or mean that we need to be diplomatically correct. India's enemy is a form of Islam which does not recognize us as ancestral brothers but as those that resisted and did not turn.

    And that form of Islam lives next door, and will forever try to get within. We need to recognize that and be on our guard. Together. Not get caught up in history.

    That said, their women are really pretty. Maybe that's what keeps them safe from us.

    I have no problems if people want to identify certain communities as their enemy; just don't use my faith to do so. I see a lot of Indians using my religion's warring history against the Mughals and the Afghans as a tool to take digs at Muslims or Islam. I opened this thread to delve into Sikh history, which most Indians know nothing about, and correct certain misconceptions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tronic View Post
    I have no problems if people want to identify certain communities as their enemy; just don't use my faith to do so. I see a lot of Indians using my religion's warring history against the Mughals and the Afghans as a tool to take digs at Muslims or Islam. I opened this thread to delve into Sikh history, which most Indians know nothing about, and correct certain misconceptions.
    Again you got it wrong. There is no one community which is the enemy. If that was so 180 million muslims would not be living peacefully cheek by jowl with 900 million of us.

    It is a mindset and a certain ideology which is the enemy. And those infected by such cannot be cured. They can be either contained or eliminated. Sikhs came from us. Just as our Muslims did. Just as our Buddhists did. But Sikhism and Buddhism were birthed on dharmic soil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doppelganger View Post
    Again you got it wrong. There is no one community which is the enemy. If that was so 180 million muslims would not be living peacefully cheek by jowl with 900 million of us.

    It is a mindset and a certain ideology which is the enemy. And those infected by such cannot be cured. They can be either contained or eliminated. Sikhs came from us. Just as our Muslims did. Just as our Buddhists did. But Sikhism and Buddhism were birthed on dharmic soil.
    If you are pointing to ethnic Indic attributes, I would understand, however, if you are hinting at Pan Hinduism as a sort of cradle, I would disagree. Hinduism had its own divides and segregations.
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    Liberté, Unité, Egalité Senior Contributor Tronic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doppelganger View Post
    Sikhs came from us. Just as our Muslims did. Just as our Buddhists did. But Sikhism and Buddhism were birthed on dharmic soil.
    Another trend I've noticed, to establish camps which pit the "Dharmic" religions against the "Abrahamic" religions.. Sikhs view all of humanity the same. And so too, I believe the Buddhists.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tronic View Post
    Sikhs view all of humanity the same. And so too, I believe the Buddhists.
    That is commendable of course. But it doesn't stop a large chunk of the rest of humanity from viewing you as unequal or trying to convert you. Or, for that matter, hating the fact that your ancestors violently resisted conversion and conquest.

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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tronic View Post
    Another trend I've noticed, to establish camps which pit the "Dharmic" religions against the "Abrahamic" religions.. Sikhs view all of humanity the same. And so too, I believe the Buddhists.
    Noticed that myself. Also noticed it is often accompanied by the most bizarrely ahistorical claims: 'dharmic religions have never had a war over religion'; 'people can only be born hindu, they can't convert' etc. Trying to make the world a simple place always results in this sort of stuff. Kudos for trying to fill in the shades of gray.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Noticed that myself. Also noticed it is often accompanied by the most bizarrely ahistorical claims: 'dharmic religions have never had a war over religion'; 'people can only be born hindu, they can't convert' etc. Trying to make the world a simple place always results in this sort of stuff. Kudos for trying to fill in the shades of gray.
    Can you blame us? Historically, our experience with Islam and Christianity has been traumatic. Btw it is true that orthodox Hinduism does not allow conversion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firestorm View Post
    That is commendable of course. But it doesn't stop a large chunk of the rest of humanity from viewing you as unequal or trying to convert you. Or, for that matter, hating the fact that your ancestors violently resisted conversion and conquest.
    If Sikhs change their ideology with respect to what the world thinks, than we would cease to be Sikhs... It's the ideology which makes the religion, not the other way around.
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    Contributor cataphract's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tronic View Post
    If Sikhs change their ideology with respect to what the world thinks, than we would cease to be Sikhs... It's the ideology which makes the religion, not the other way around.
    But you've already done that when you established the Khalsa - a military response to the terrible repression by the Mughals and as you claim, their Hindu client states.

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