Sikhs and Sangh: ‘Singh’ and Sangh
The Sangh in the spirit of unity and brotherhood acknowledges Sikhs as a significant and organic part of the broader Hindu society. Many efforts have been made to strengthen this spirit
Sikhism is a movement of social, religious and national consciousness. When Babur attacked small town of Aemnabad (Saidpur), then Shri Guru Nanak Devji called it an attack on Bharat itself. “Khursan Khasmana Kiya, Hindustan Daraya”, He thus declared that when the time has come to face the truth , I will not be afraid to do so even at the cost my life. In the same way, Shri Guru Nanak Devji also alerted that this is the aggression on spiritual-cultural indentity of Bharat. Sikhism is evolved as a protector of this nation from external agressions and internal differences, as the facilitator of social integration and national aspirations.
The thinking behind Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) also rests on the same principles. Unless entire society is organised on certain ideals, we cannot ensure the deserved glory for this nation. There is no place for caste, class or regional parochialism in the Sangh. Guru Sahibs have founded Sikhism with the imagination of social, religious and national dignity and integration, Sangh is striving for the similar manifestation. Though some people have tried to create the myth that RSS is the biggest enemy of Sikhs, there is no contradiction whatsoever. In fact the RSS respects all the sects and strive for the coordination among them. Hindu being a way of life, though there are different interpretaions in different sects, the underlying principles are the same. There is no contradiction with this world view of RSS and Sikhism, rather Sangh accepts Sikhism as a culturally rich part of the broader Hindu society. Few curious people may argue that all this is theoretically fine, but should also need a practical implementation. This is a brief analysis in the same direction:
Arya Samaj, SGPC and RSS
Punjab’s culture has always been progressive and revolutionary. The entire lobour class of Punjab followed the path of Guru Gobind Singh Maharaj’s Khalsa and the trading class despite having ancient worshipping traditions devoted themselves to the message of Guru Sahibs and Shri Guru Granth Sahib.
The reforms movement by Arya Samaj had the biggest impact on the society in Punjab. Father and uncle of Sardar Bhagat Singh themselves were Arya Samajis. On the other hand, Satyagraha was performed for earadicating corrupt practices in Gurudwara administration with the tacit support from the British. Arya Samaj played a critical role in the same.
This harmony was disrupted when some so-called low caste people were ill treated. After their plea to Arya Samaj leaders in Amritsar to leave the sect, these leaders publicly cut their hair despite the efforts by Singh Sabha to change their mind. It categorically divided the religious leadership in Punjab. The same leaders had worked together in Shudhi Movement. In Punjab, Sangh was started after a meeting at Bhai Parmanand’s place. Many of the Arya Samajis were simultaneously working for Sangh. Akalis and Sanghis were also together in opposing the Muslim League. The horrors of Partition were also faced by them together.
Punjabi State Movement
After Independence, the warmth which was promised by Pandit Nehru was missing and it led to parting ways of Akalis with Congress, distance with Sangh also increased. Creation of a separate Punjab on the linguistic basis could not bring Akalis to power as the new state also included present day Haryana and two districts of Himachal Pradesh which didn’t make Sikhs a majority. The movement demanding a separate state based on language was opposed by Arya Samaj with the support from the then Jan Sangh. When the language based census was undertaken, Jan Sangh requested the Hindu population living in cities of Punjab to report Hindi as their language. However RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Guruji in a public meeting in Amritsar made it clear that everyone’s language and life style is designed in Punjabi here and thus it must be reported so. After the creation of Punjab, Balasaheb Deoras visited there. Jana Sangh’s office bearers met him. After the meeting a larger consent was made on the issue of Punjabi language. Thus once again harmony was established. Akali Dal’s President Master Tara Singh participated in the meeting held at Bombay’s Sandeepani Ashram where the VHP was formed along with Jatthedar of Akal Takht Sahib Gyani Bhupendra Singh. In his speech he said, “I have been talking about Punjabi state-Khalistan, but I wish that Hindus become ‘real’ Hindus. Sikh becomes ‘real’ Sikhs. In my last days I surely want to see that Hindus and Sikhs are brothers, and real sons of Hindustan.”
Emergency and Extremism
In 1960s Deendayal Ji was instrumental in bringing Akali Dal and Jan Sangh together. In 1970s, Akali Dal and RSS strongly opposed the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi and carried out Satyagraha throughout the country which further smoothened the relation. After Emergency, a huge rally of Sangh was organised in Amritsar, which was presided over by Akali leader Mohan Singh Tood. During the days of extremism almost 17 swayamsevakas were killed in Moga. But Sangh leadership strctly ordered its cadre not to react at any cost. From different parts of the country, Sangh sent Pracharaks to Punjab who without bothering for their lives continued to work for restoring peace and harmony in the society. Rashtriya Suraksha Samiti was also formed. Under the leadership of Sardar Chiranjeev Singh many saints and Sadhus reached Amritsar from Haridwar to appeal for peace. This led to the message of Guru Sahibs to come as a rescue from the crafted turmoil and made the Hindus and Sikhs come closer.
Sangh and Akalis
Sangh always had coordination with Akali leadership. In 1970, Saint Logowal presided over the Prant Shivir of the Sangh at Patiala. In 1997, both Shiromani Gurudwara Committee’s President Sardar Gurcharan Singh and Prakash Singh Badal participated and share the dais at a Prant Rally of the Sangh.
Sikh and Sangh
Shri KS Sudarshan while speaking at a meeting of National Commission for Minorities said, “The Sangh in the spirit of unity and brotherhood acknowledges Sikhs as a significant and organic part of the broader Hindu society and it also deeply respects the specificity and independent identity of Sikhism.” After this seepch, General Secretary of Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee Bibi Kiranjeet Kaur said all the dilemmas come to halt forever. If anyone has some printed source opposed to it, they must be destroyed. Thus, it is prayed to Guruji that Singh and Sangh together move to secure, defend and work for the supreme glory of this country.
The writer is national president of Rashtriya Sikh Sangat