(Book Review by Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)
Book: Dalit Sikh Panth De Raakhe.
Writer: Pritam Singh, M.A., Joint Director (Retd.).
First Edition, January 2003.
Price: Free of Cost.
Publisher: Pritam Singh, M.A.
Printer: Saini Graphics, 35, Phase 7, Mohali.
It will be appropriate here to tell the readers that this book is dedicated to “Guru Bhagats’ Sadhan Ji, Namdev Ji, Ravidas Ji, Sain Ji and Kabir Ji, who, according to the writer, sowed the seed of ‘Sikhi’, 289 years before Guru Nanak Dev Ji. This dedication by the writer shows his mentality and knowledge of history.
The book being discussed is divided into 4 parts.
In the preface (bhoomika), the writer says that he got ‘Mahan Kosh’ as a present from Professor Sukhdev Singh. Then, the writer thought to write on those ‘Dalit’ Sikhs, warriors, religious great men, martyrs etc. according to the writer, this book will break the myth that Sikh Dharma belongs only to landowners and ‘Jatts’. The writers says that people belonging to ‘high castes’ did not help Gurus. After becoming the owerners of land during Baba Banda Singh Bahadur’s ‘Panthak’ reign, Jatts started to call themselves the wealthy. The writers says that the ‘Dalits’ were called ‘Mazahabi Sikhs’, ‘Ramgarhia Sikhs’, ‘Saini Sikhs’, ‘Ravidasi Sikhs’, ‘Chhimbe Sikhs’ and ‘Naayee Sikhs’; and they were turned away from the Sikh organizations. The writer says that even Sikh religion cannot provide social/economic/political freedom to the ‘Dalits’.
The first part of the book is ‘Why did ‘Dalits’ become Sikhs?’ While giving the background of ‘Dalits’, the writers says that the original inhabitants of India are now called ‘Dalits’. They had the kingdom over this country, which was called ‘Jambu Desh’ or ‘Sapt Sindhu’ earlier. According to the writer, Dravids, Anariyas, Das, Dasiyu, Raksh, Baanar, Naag, Asur, Shudra, Achhoot, Jaatav, Mahaar, Naayee, Dhobi, Jheevar, Tarkhaan, Luhaar, Saini, Maali, Ghumiyaar, Chhimbe, Suniyaar, Julaahe, Kamboj and Lubaane were the owners of this country until 800 BC.
While giving the above list, the writer showed clearly that he has no knowledge of history of ancient India and the origin of different castes and races. There is clearly difference between present ‘India’ and old ‘Sapt Sindhu’. Not India, but old Punjab is called ‘Sapt Sindhu’ by some writers.
Continuing with his ‘sermon’, the writer says that the people, who were called ‘shudras’, were called ‘supperessed castes’ after 1919. After 1932, they were called ‘Scheduled castes/scheduled tribes and Harijans. After the independence, they were called scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, backward classes, religious minorities, for example Sikhs, Christians, Muslims and Buddhists etc. After 1960, they were given the name of ‘Dalit’. After 1978, they were called ‘Dalit Shoshat Samaaj’ and after 1984, they were called ‘Bahujan Samaj’.
The writer says that there is description of wars between gods and demons in Rig Veda. The description of Indra’s attack on ‘Adivaasis’ is given. It proves that the civilisation of Sindhu valley was destroyed by Aryan’s attacks.
He says the war between Aryans and Dravidians continued for 700 years. In 800 BC, King Ram Chandra defeated King Bali and King Ravan; and occupied Kishkindha and Lanka. The aboriginals were made ‘Shudras’ and untouchables.
According to the writer, King Ashoka was a ‘Shudra’. The writer does not forget to tell that Aryans (Hindus) were bad-character people. The writer quoted to another writer, who says that Hindus used to eat meat.
The writer says that Bhagat Sadhna (butcher), Namdev (calico printer), Ravidas (leather worker), Kabir (weaver), Sain (barber) wrote Gurbani and sowed the seed of ‘Sikh Religion’. The writer did not mention the names of Shiekh Farid and Brahman Bhagats, like Ramanand, Jaidev etc. The writer says that in 15th centuary, this movement was lead by Guru Nanak Dev, who belonged to ‘Khatri’ caste, which is ‘low’ caste of ‘Kshtriyas’. It makes it clear that the writer does not know that in Guru Granth Sahib, the word ‘Khatri’ has been used for ‘Kshtriya’. Both the words have same meaning. In his zeal, the writer did not care to give any references to make his statement reliable, but continued beating about the bush.
In third part of the book, the writer has given brief history of Bhagat Sadhna Ji, Namdev Ji, Ravidas Ji, Sain Ji, Kabir Ji, Bhai Mardana Ji, Bhai Jeevan Singh Ji, Bhai Alam Singh, Bhai Sangat Singh, Baba Moti Mahira, Bhai Udai Singh, Bhai Bachitra Singh, Shahid Baba Deep Singh, Bhai Bir Singh, Bhai Garja Singh, Bhai Nibahu Singh, Bhai Mahtab Singh Miran-kotia, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, Jassa Singh Ramgarhi, Akali Phoola Singh, Bhai Tara Singh Gheba, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Hari Singh Narva, Akali Godarh Singh, Ram Singh Namdhari, Prof. Gurmukh Singh, Giani Dit Singh, Baba Nand Singh Kalera-wale, Baba Sadhu Ram Tibbe Wale, Shahid Udham Singh, Giani Zail Singh, Bhai Nand Singh, Shahid Beant Singh, Kabaddi-player Balwinder Singh Phidda. According to the writer, all of them belonged to ‘Dalit’ community.
The writer says that after the murder of Indira Gandhi, Bhai Satwant Singh killed Bhai Beant Singh.
The writer wrote that Hari Singh ‘Narva’ was a ‘Ranghreta’. He says that the right word is ‘Narva’, not ‘Nalva’. He says that Kahan Singh Nabha wrote in ‘Mahan Kosh’ that Hari Singh Nalva was a ‘Khatri’, because Kahan Singh Nabha himself was a ‘Khatri’. It is another example, which shows the ignorance of the writer Pritam Singh. Kahan Singh Nabha was NOT a ‘Khatri’. He was a Jatt.
According to the writer, Maharaja Ranjit Singh belonged to ‘Sansi’ tribe. The writer says that Bhai Tara Singh Gheba, Akali Phoola Singh, Bhai Nibahu Singh, Bhai Garja Singh, Baba Deep Singh were ‘Ranghretas’ (‘Mazahabis’).
In the fourth part of the book, the writer gives the names of five beloved ones in this sequence: –
- Bhai Mohkam Chand, Dhobi.
- Bhai Himmat Rai, Jheevar.
- Bhai Sahib Chand, Naayee.
- Bhai Dharam Das, Jaat.
- Bhai Dya Ram, Khatri/Vaish.
According to the writer, all the five beloved ones were ‘Dalits’. The fourth beloved one, Bhai Dharam Das was a ‘Jaat’, not a ‘Jatt’. Then, the writer tells a story, which proves that ‘Jatts’ are ‘low caste people’. The writer says that ‘Khatri’ and ‘Vaish’ are one caste, thus Bhai Dya Ram was a ‘Vaish’, who was on fifth place in the five beloved ones. While changing this sequence, the writer did not care to quote any old book to prove his statement.
All such attempts by the writer show nothing, but his hatred towards so-called high caste people. To prove that the ‘Dalits’ are the protector of the ‘Sikh Panth’, the writer has given false information or changed the facts.