Amrit’s Interview on ‘Akhand Bhaarat’ Issue

(हिन्दी अनुवाद उपलब्ध है.)

(Born in Iran, Jagjivan Jot Singh Anand is a scholar of Persian. He is known for his translation of ‘Zafarnama’ in Hindi poetry. In January, 2008, he interviewed Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’ on ‘Akhand Bhaarat’ issue).

Jagjivan Jot Singh: Please tell something about your family background.

‘Amrit’: Originally, I belong to ancestry of ‘Rishis’. My ancestors were ‘Vedic’ saints and scholars. The accurate period of time is not known when they moved to North West Frontier Province in present Pakistan. They owned land there and many of them became farmers.

Our village ‘Muharhi’ was in Tehsil ‘Abbotabad’ (now Abbotabad is a district), North West Frontier Province (Suba Sarhad).

When Guru Gobind Singh distributed the ‘Khande Kee Pahul’ in 1699, he appointed Bhai Sahib Bhai Rocha Singh Ji to preach Sikhism in Suba Sarhad etc. My ancestors were very much impressed by the teachings of the Gurbani.

During and after the kingdom of Ranjit Singh in Punjab, there was decline in Sikh values in Punjab. In those days, my ancestor Pandit Roop Lal Ji asked his son to be an ‘Amritdhari’ Sikh.

From then till now, every person in our lineage became ‘Amritdhari’ before his marriage. It means, my great-great-great-great-grand-father, great-great-great-grand father, great-great-grand father, great-grand-father, grand-father, father and I were born to ‘Amritdhari’ parents.

After the India-Pakistan partition in 1947, my father (he was a child at that time), my grand-father and great-grand-father reached India.

My father Bhai Avtar Singh Ji was a scholar of Sikh texts and was a preacher/priest. He served as Granthi and ‘Kathavachak’ in various Gurdwaras in different cities of India. He was once an active member of Shiromani Akali Dal. He took part in Punjabi Suba agitation and spent two years in jail during this agitation.

I was born in Chandigarh in 1972. I am a post-graduate in Punjabi.

Jagjivan Jot Singh: You arrange Gurmat Classes for the young generation. Generally, what do you do in these classes?

‘Amrit’: I remained busy with my websites, so I could not arrange ‘Gurmat’ classes for some time. Now I intend to restart such classes.

We explain Sikh Rahat Maryada and Guru History in our Gurmat classes. Previously, we used to teach Gurmat Sangeet and Gatka as well in Gurmat classes. I always highlight the fact that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji contains holy hymns of various holy souls belonging to different religions/castes/languages. Thus, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji teaches us a great lesson of universal brotherhood. There is no place for extremism in Sikhism. The God Almighty never differentiates between Muslim Shiekh Fareed Ji and Hindu Bhakt Ramanand Ji, nor does a true Sikh do.

Jagjivan Jot Singh: …response of this among the younger generation?

‘Amrit’: Everyone accepts Guru Granth Sahib Ji’s message of love, peace, harmony and universal brotherhood.

Jagjivan Jot Singh: Tell us about your website

‘Amrit’: I started as a small website 5 years ago and slowly-slowly it got recognition. AmritWorld receives visitors from every corner of world.

To spread the message of Sikhism is the main mission of The mission of AmritWorld is explained in the Mission Statement, which is available on the website. Our religious and political views are given in Memorandum of Understanding, which is available on our website.

Jagjivan Jot Singh: It is amazing that a Sikh like you is talking about Akhand Bharat on the site

‘Amrit’: These words are a part of daily prayer of Indian Sikhs, “Hey Akaal Purkh apney Panth dey sada sahaayee daataar jeeo! Sri Nankaana Sahib te hor Gurdwareyaan Gurdhaamaan dey , jinhaan ton Panth noon vichhorheyaa gya hai , khulley darshan deedaar te sewa sambhaal daa daan Khaalsa ji noon bakhsho “.

(O Immortal being, always helpful to your Panth! Sri Nankaana Sahib and other Gurdwaras and places of the Guru from which the Panth has been separated bestow on the Khalsa the beneficence of unobstructed visit to and free management).

This prayer of Indian Sikhs can be fulfilled only if a confederation of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh comes into existence in shape of Akhand Bharat. So as a Sikh, it is very natural that I favour Akhand Bharat.

Every religion suffered a lot from Indo-Pak Partition in 1947, but Sikhs suffered the most. A big part of Sikhs living in the part that was going to become Pakistan came to India. A small part remained there in Pakistan. A few converted to Islam. And we often forget another part of Sikhs who moved to Afghanistan etc. Sikhs were separated from the birth place of Sikhism, Sri Nanakana Sahib. Like many of Hindus who were forced to leave Pakistan in 1947, thousands of Sikhs too reached India empty handed. Many of them were landlords there in Pakistan. They had no option but to live in refugee camps. My great-grand-father, grand-father and father had to leave their beloved village with their family.

As a Sikh, and as a son of NWFP (Suba Sarhad), I firmly believe that MY ‘Suba’ (state) is the actual ‘Sarhad’ (border) of my country ‘Bharat’.

Jagjivan Jot Singh: What is your concept of Akhand Bharat?

‘Amrit’: It is a very simple concept. Present Pakistan, India and Bangladesh should be united again. And it is possible either.

If these three countries cannot unite as a single country at once, they should at least make a confederation of three independent countries.

Indo-Pak-Bangladesh confederation should work as a confederation of three independent countries in the beginning. All the three countries will have their separate representatives in UN.

Internally, all of these countries will have their separate parliaments. Once or twice (or as required) in a year, there can be joint parliament sessions of all of three countries.

Armed forces should work in their respective countries, but there must be a council of the Armed Forces’ chiefs of all three countries.

Internal borders can be there, but people can cross borders after getting a permit, which should be easy to get. There should be no need of passport and visa.

Once this is achieved successfully, further steps can be taken. Subsequently, other neighbour countries, like Sri Lanka and Burma etc (even Indonesia, Nepal, Myanmar, Malaysia and Thailand), can be invited to join us.

Finally, all the countries in this confederation can emerge as a single country, which beyond doubt will be a peaceful world power.

There are reasons to do this step by step. A separate article is needed to explain it.

Many points need more clarifications and explanations, which I am going to do on my website in near future.

Jagjivan Jot Singh: Why is there the need of Akhand Bharat?

‘Amrit’: Whether or not we accept it, but it is a reality that world powers, like USA, tries to interfere in our (India and Pakistan etc) internal matters. Very recently, it was said by a few American leaders that they would attack targets within Pakistan even if Pakistan does not allow US to do so. Similarly, US’s view on ocean between Sri Lanka and India (Ram Setu Area) is a kind of US interference in our matters. A strong Akhand Bharat can stop this.

Every province in Pakistan is associated with a different ethnic group. Pakistan’s multilingual and multiethnic nature has never been addressed by its leaders. The ethnic conflict peaked in 1971, when Bengalis revolted and Pakistan split in half with the creation of Bangladesh. Sectarian clashes between Shias and Sunnis are common in Pakistan. A leading British journal ‘The Economist’ has described Pakistan as ‘the world’s most dangerous place’. There could be some truth in this statement. Unrest among different ethnic groups in any country can turn it into a dangerous place. The present trends in Pakistan’s politics suggest that our leaders have not learned the lesson yet. The Akhand Bharat can be a peaceful solution to problems of separatist movements in Pakistan and India. A confederation of India and Pakistan itself can be a permanent solution to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan was formed on religious grounds. When India was divided into two countries in 1947, not only land, but the British Indian Army, the Indian Civil Service and other administrative services, the railways, and the central treasury, and other assets were also divided between India and Pakistan. But they forgot to divide Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Sheikh Fareed Ji Shakkar Ganj, Sai Mian Meer Ji, Baba Bulle Shah and many more.

Guru Nanak is though Guru of Hindus, but he is a ‘Peer’ (Muslim saint) for many Muslims as well.

Nanak Shah Faqeer.
Hindu Ka Guru, Musalmaan Ka Peer.

Even Iqbal, the national poet of Pakistan, paid tribute to Guru Nanak in these words: –

“Phir Uthhi Aakhir Sadaa Tauheed Kee Punjab Se.
Hind Ko Ek Mard-E-Kaamil Ne Jagaaya Khaab Se.”

Nanakana Sahib of Guru Nanak is situated in present Pakistan. Sikhs in India long for Guru Nanak’s Nanakana. Muslims in Pakistan long for Ajmer Sharif and Roza Sharif in India.

From Rai Bular and Nawab Daulat Khan to Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan, there is a long list of Muslims who served Sikh Gurus with devotion.

Not only ordinary Pakistani Muslims, even top leaders in Pakistan visit Sri Harmandir Sahib, Sri Amritsar Sahib to pay their respect for Gurus. I remember Maulana Fazul-ur-Rahaman, a pro-Taliban Islamic leader from Suba Sarhad and the chief of Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam, visited the holy shrine of Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar Sahib. Even a Pakistani President sent a ‘Galeecha’ (carpet) for Sri Darbar Sahib Amritsar out of his devotion toward Sikh Gurus.

The then Law minister of Pakistan Syed Afzal Haider, a descendant of Baba Farid, transliterated Sukhmani Sahib (a composition included in Sri Guru Granth Sahib) in five scripts, including those in Persian, Roman, Shahmukhi and Gurmukhi. Famous Pakistani Singers, for example late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Shaukat Ali etc, sang the Gurbani.

Pakistani Muslims took part in 300th anniversary of the Khalsa in 1999 in Sri Anandpur Sahib Ji in Indian Punjab.

During his visit to Pakistan, my father Bhai Avtar Singh (late) asked a Pakistani Muslim, “Why don’t you allow Sikhs to visit Sai Mian Meer’s Dargah freely?”

He smiled and replied, “You Sikhs will start claiming the Dargah as a Sikh shrine because Sai Mian Meer Ji was a very close friend of Guru Arjun Dev Ji”.

A common Sikh does not feel that Sai Mian Meer Ji and Shiekh Fareed Ji belonged to ‘another’ religion. The annual festival of Baba Sheikh Fareed Agman Purb in Faridkot is a SIKH festival. Sikhs organize even ‘Nagar Keertan’ (Sikh religious procession) there on this occasion. Both Tilla Baba Farid and Godri Sahib are Gurdwaras, and not mosques. On the other hand, Sheikh Farid’s holy place in Pakpatan (in Pakistan) is a Muslim Dargah.

Descendants of Bhai Mardana Ji chose to go to Pakistan in 1947 as they considered themselves Muslims. They still visit India and sing holy hymns of ‘their’ beloved Gurus in Gurdwaras.

A confederation in shape of Akhand Bharat is needed for Indian Sikhs to allow unobstructed visits to, and free management of, Sri Nankaana Sahib and other Gurdwaras and places of Gurus from which they have been separated.

These words are a part of daily prayer of Indian Sikhs, “Hey Akaal Purkh apney Panth dey sada sahaayee daataar jeeo! Sri Nankaana Sahib te hor Gurdwareyaan Gurdhaamaan dey , jinhaan ton Panth noon vichhorheyaa gya hai , khulley darshan deedaar te sewa sambhaal daa daan Khaalsa ji noon bakhsho “.

(O Immortal being, always helpful to your Panth! Sri Nankaana Sahib and other Gurdwaras and places of the Guru from which the Panth has been separated bestow on the Khalsa the beneficence of unobstructed visit to and free management).

Historic Gurdwaras are situated in Bangladesh as well.

Such a confederation is needed for Pakistani and Bangladeshi Sikhs as well, so that they can have unobstructed visits to Gurdwaras situated in India.

Hindus and Muslims in this region will in the same way benefit, as they will be able to visit their sacred shrines within the confederation. Famous Hindu shrine Katasraj and many other shrines are now in Pakistan. Famous Muslim shrines of Ajmer Sharif, Roza Sharif and Dargah of Hazrat Nizzamuddin etc are in India.

Many Muslims were converted to Sikhism in 1947. They grew up believing in Waheguru, while their families across the border believed in Allah. They want very much to meet their relatives in Pakistan. Similarly, a lot of Sikhs and Hindus were converted to Islam and they want to meet their relatives in India. Also, there are thousands of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs who were not converted but could not cross border in 1947. They too desire to meet their relatives living the other side of the border. Emotions and tears of such people need Akhand Bharat.

The confederation (Akhand Bharat) will be good for economic growth of the region. There is potential for many advantages under such an India-Pakistan-Bangladesh confederation.

Jagjivan Jot Singh: What is the response of this idea of Akhand Bharat?

‘Amrit’: I discussed my idea of Akhand Bharat with many persons living in India and Pakistan. I talked to a few people of Indian origin living in western countries. Everyone appreciates the idea. Now, I intend to bring a whole section on Akhand Bharat issue on my website.

Jagjivan Jot Singh: How the concept of Akhand Bharat is taken in India?

‘Amrit’: The wikipedia, the online encyclopedia mentions: –

Akhanda Bharat (Hindi: अखण्ड भारत, literally Undivided India) is a term that refers to regions that had a Hindu majority in the past, before the Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent and post-colonial partition. Popular conceptions of Akhand Bharat differ. Some regard Undivided India as Akhand Bharat, while some opine that Afghanistan, Sout-East Asia and even Iran, which come within the Indian sphere of influence form a part of Akhand Bharat. It includes all of the current Republic of India as well as the nation-states of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan (particularly the Punjab and Sindh region), Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Apart from Afghanistan, this is basically the same as the formerly-existing Indian Empire which lasted until the end of the colonial era in India in 1947. Akhanda Bharatam is the Sanskrit name for this region.

The geographic frontiers of this region is held to range from the Himalayan region in the north to the ocean in the south, the borders of Bharatavarsha as outlined in the Vishnu Purana.

These regions tended to be predominantly influenced by Dharmic religion and culture prior to the introduction of Christianity and Islam, of which the concept of partition was created. Thus, religious and ethnic nationalism often has an influence on the concept of Akhanda Bharata. The concept is sometimes subscribed to by nationalist Indians as well as Hindu nationalists and organizations such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and political parties such as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Practically, it seems that no political party is serious on the issue of Akhand Bharat. According to news papers, during his visit to Pakistan in 2005, the then president of the BJP Lal Krishan Advani disassociated his party from the Sangh Parivar’s Akhand Bharat concept, saying the emergence of both countries as separate sovereign nations was ‘an unalterable reality of history’. He said further, “I am stating this only because I find there are still some misconceptions and false propaganda about what the BJP thinks of Pakistan.”

In response to LK Advani’s statement, the VHP passed a resolution, which read,

“From sage Aurobindo to the new generation, everyone is committed to the cause of akhand Bharat (greater India). By describing Pakistan as an unalterable reality of history, Advani has insulted crores of patriots, including Aurobindo….”

No serious efforts have been made to achieve the goal of Akhand Bharat. We should understand that even if every single Indian is convinced to make Akhand Bharat, it is not possible until most of Pakistani and Bangladeshi citizens favour it. So, we need to popularize this concept in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Jagjivan Jot Singh: Do you think that your concept of Akhand Bharat impregnated with the noble philosophy of Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj centered on ‘Sanjhiwalta’ will succeed?

‘Amrit’: Guru Nanak Dev does not belong to Sikhs only. He is a common saint for Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus. And, his message is common for Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji said, “Kaaya Kapparh Tuk-Tuk Hosi, Hindustan Samaalsi Bola”. (The body-fabric will be torn apart into shreds, and then India will remember these words). (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, page 723).

I am sure that whenever ‘Kaaya Kapparh’ of people of Hindostan is ‘Tuk-Tuk’ (torn apart into shreds), the Hindustan will ‘Samaalsi’ (remember) ‘Bola’ (words) of Guru Nanak. In 1947, even Hindustan itself was ‘Tuk-Tuk’ (torn apart) into separate countries. Should Hindustan not remember the ‘Bola’ (words) of Guru Nanak Dev? The words of truth spoken by Guru Nanak Dev are still words of truth, “Sach Kee Baani Naanak Aakhai, Sach Sunaaesi Sach Kee Bela”. (Nanak speaks the Word of Truth; he proclaims the Truth at this, the right time). (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, page 723).

The words of Guru Nanak Dev Ji are still relevant. If we follow the message of universal brotherhood, peace and love given by Muslims’ Peer Nanak Shah and Hindus’ Guru Nanak Dev, I am sure the concept of Akhand Bharat is very fruitful.

Germany was divided into two countries in 1949. Germans realized their mistake and in 1990 both the countries unified and emerged as a single country. Why can Pakistan, India and Bangladesh not do so?

Jagjivan Jot Singh: What kind of challenges the Panth is facing these days? …their remedies?

‘Amrit’: There are many challenges, but the biggest challenge is given by those, who are trying to create suspicion about Gurbani among Sikhs.

Well researched articles/books are needed to refute claims made by such people. Sikh preachers should be provided with wonderful training. Not many persons read books. Only preachers can use these well-researched books. They further can use these research works to teach common people.

There is lack of well-qualified and dedicated preachers. A good preacher cannot be made in one or two years. It takes a long time to turn a scholar into a good preacher. So, we need a proper policy for long run.

(हिन्दी अनुवाद उपलब्ध है.)

3 thoughts on “Amrit’s Interview on ‘Akhand Bhaarat’ Issue

  1. Saswata Sanyal

    Dear Amrit Ji
    Amrit literally means a drink that makes one immortal.I write from the core of my heart that your thoughts once absorbed by us will remain immortal to us.My ancestors were also from erstwhile East Pakistan(Bangladesh now) and i think the plight of minorities who had to flee east Pakistan were at its worst because the west saw a transfer of population unlike the eastern side. In spite of that i never harbour any ill feelings about my brethren in Bangladesh and always considered us to be one. I admit our ancestors had done a blunder to row seeds of hatred amongst us which resulted in the partition of our country.But as youth of the 21st century, i think it is our duty to undo the past mistakes. If Berlin wall can be broken, why not the Wagha or the Petrapol and Benapol border. Ruhab is a gr8 frined of mine an we along with lot of like minded people do dare to dream of an union, not of another separation.Please take part in our Orkut community as your feedback and suggestions will be very valuable to guide us towards enlightenment.

    Yours truly

    Saswata Sanyal

  2. Amrit Post author

    Dear brother, thank you very much for visiting my website and sharing your views.

    Please post my interview in your orkut community, if you want so.


    Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’

  3. Rubab

    dear sir,
    I highly admire the Idea of akhand Bharat and appriceate it.
    Indo-pak bangla confederation can solve many of our problems. like kashmir, muhajirs etc.
    JS singh Chauhan, one of the foremost supporter of khalistan has given an Idea that the problems of south Asia can be solved by making United States of South Asian republics. Inspired by his idea, I have started a comunity
    on orkut.Its name is “United states of south asian republics” I have dreamt that in this great country, all the disturbed parts like kashmir, khalistan, tamil-elam, waziristan, will be “states”. here the states does not mean administrative units like bihar or UP. But the states mean the political units.I have dreamt it a federal system like USA or earst while USSR.
    I know that it is a day-dream today. But if we can not even dream, how will we affort? Once the formation of USA was also a dream, especialy during those days. But it was the caliber of lincon and other great leaders that the dream could come true. When the East and west gremany can unite, when the european union is considering to have one constitution, when the proceeding of unification of S and N korea are going on, why cant we try so?
    Look at some countries which are seperated from some big countries- where do they stand. East -timor: no place in international politics, a weak country. Kosova: there is still ambiguity whether it is independent or not.
    Sir, I whant to post the above interview in my comunity- as an article written by you.
    Would you pls grant me permission to do so?
    With regards
    yours truely
    {“Nithhalla Chintan” in the above comunity}

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