LM NEWS 24
LM NEWS 24

ISN’T IT TIME TO COMMEMORATE GURU TEG BAHADUR, ‘DHARAM KI CHADAR’

Ggurudwara_Sis_Ganj_Sahib[/caption] It is an intriguing theory and one still proudly worn on the sleeve by many an Indian politician and businessperson. The flaw in this ideology is that if a person adopted unethical means to gain power, then why would that person suddenly give up a successful habit when in power. It is no wonder that our politicians not only adopt unethical approach to gain power, but continue with corruption, lies and other unethical habits in power. How else would they get rid of pesky journalists, ambitious opposition and avoid embarrassing situations. Chanakya niti had become a common approach to survival. Most leaders, including religious ones, had become adept at deception as a means to survive threatening situations, instead of putting up a fight. No wonder that a few thousand Mughal forces were able to conquer vast tracts of India. Everyone was adept at survival but not necessarily with honour and dignity. Chanakya niti is a deviation from older Vedic thinking of supremacy of dharam and that of the stoic moral position taken by the Pandavas  in Mahabharata.  Chanakya gave credence to suspending it in the pursuit of power. Guru Teg Bahadur restored the principle of supremacy of dharam in all aspects of life and showed that it is better in the longer term to fight and sacrifice with honour than engage in unethical and deceptive survival. Guru Teg Bahadur went to the Mughal court. Three other compatriots were brutally executed when they refused to convert to Islam. When it came to Guru Teg Bahadur, he presented his head which was cut off. Beneath was a small slip of paper, ‘I have given my head but not my soul’.  The Gurdwara Sis Ganj in Delhi is the place this execution occurred. Remaining calm to the end, the Guru showed Indians that if they wish to resist Mughal tyranny, then they have to learn to sacrifice. We don’t know what happened to the Pandits or whether they learnt anything from the Guru. But large numbers of Kashmiris seem to have converted to Islam. In Punjab on the other hand resistance to the Mughals  arose from this sacrifice, eventually destroying the Mughal empire and leading to the Sikh rule under Ranjit Singh. The erosion and eventual halt to Mughal will in Punjab and the north saved India becoming another Islamic country. Islam succeeded in Iran, Afghanistan and was almost triumphant in India. It succeeded in Malaysia and some other far eastern countries in mass conversions. Most Indian historians acknowledge this. The BJP and RSS both call Guru Teg Bahadur, ‘Hind ki chadar’. They honour Guru Teg Bahadur as the dharmic leader who changed the history of India. But it is not hind ki Chadar that the Guru should be known as. His sacrifice was not for survival of the Kashmiri Pandits who had come pleading to him to show a miracle in the court of Aurangzeb to save Hinduism. Guru Teg Bahadur in reality rejected one of the central premise of Chanakya, the suspension of dharam in the pursuit of power or in the art of survival. Guru Teg Bahadur restored the principle of ‘dharam’ or morals and ethics as central to all aspects of one’s life. Not only Sikhs but many Hindus and Muslims followed the Guru’s message and joined his son, Guru Gobind Singh in resisting tyranny. Banda Bahadur’s forces and eventually the Misl forces that brought an end to Mughal rule in North India were mixed armies of Sikhs and non Sikhs who followed in the shadow of Guru Teg Bahadur’s sacrifice. It was a turning point after several centuries of submission to Mughal rule. Alas today, Indian politicians, whether at village level or at the central level, revel in claiming  ‘chanakya niti’ in outwitting opposition. Indians wear the art of deception with honour. Unsurprisingly, politics in India is one sordid field of corruption, deceptions, rapes, murders etc. Even the Akali Dal has abandoned the way of the Gurus and adopted chanakya niti. In defence of Chanakya, his political theory in other aspects of State craft is profound and worthy of study even today. But the suspension of dharam in the pursuit of power is the enduring stigma attached to his name that has given a unique immortality to the art of deception in politics. On the other hand, the upholding of dharam even in the pursuit of power and in surviving tyranny, is the lasting contribution of Guru Teg Bahadur ji. The Guru is not ‘Hind ki Chadar’ but ‘Dharam ki Chadar.’ If the Indian State were to recognise the Guru’s martyrdom officially for its proper persona and character, we may have Ram Rajya or the Sikh political ideology of ‘Halimi Raj’ instead of a State dripping with chanakya niti. Modi may not have had to take 500 rupee notes out of circulation and the State would not be engaging in extrajudicial executions, torture and illegal detentions to survive. //

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