(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)
There are many sources of information, which need to be considered when undertaking any research topic, in this case, accurate research cannot be based on a single book or single source.
Below is a list of resources, which are used for this section on www.amritworld.com: –
1. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji
This Holy Scripture is the living Guru of Sikhs. The word ‘Nihanga’ has been used once in this holy book. I have tried to analyze the word ‘Nihanga’, in this page: – http://www.amritworld.com/eng/nihangs/in_gurugranth.html
2. Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Ji
The word ‘Nihang’ has been used for many times in this ‘Granth’. It is compulsory to analyze the compositions of this ‘Granth’ in order to do research on Nihangs. The results of my study on this front can be found on the following page: – http://www.amritworld.com/eng/nihangs/in_dasamgranth.html
3. Sri Gur Sobha
This book was written by ‘Sainapati’, who was a ‘Kavi’ (poet) in the holy court of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. He remained in the holy company of Guru Gobind Singh Ji for many years, so his description is very important and has been used as a key text in my readings.
4. Gur Bilaas Paatshaahee 10 (Kuyer Singh)
Written in 1751 AD, this book is another important resource of Guru-history. I have also quoted this book in my articles on www.amritworld.com.
5. Bansaavalinaama Dasaan Paatshaaheeyaan Ka
This book was written in 1769 AD by Kesar Singh Chhibbar, who had personally met with Mother Sundari Ji (wife of Guru Gobind Singh Ji), Bhai Kirpal Singh Ji (maternel uncle of Guru Gobind Singh Ji) and Bhai Sahib Mani Singh Ji and other noble souls. Although this book is a ‘Bansaavali-nama’ (genealogy), the writer has given many details of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s life and later history thereafter.
6. Guru Keeyaan Saakheeyaan
It is claimed that this book was written in 1790 AD. The author, Swroop Singh Kaushish, gives such information, which is not found in other old texts. That said, it is worth noting that several modifications have been made in this book subsequently.
7. Gur Bilaas Paatshaahee 10 (Sukha Singh)
Written in 1797 AD, this book is another important resource of Guru-history. In this book, the writer has copied many lines from Bhai Kuyer Singh’s ‘Gur Bilaas’, nonetheless, Bhai Sukha Singh, who was a ‘Granthi’ of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Sri Anandpur Sahib is an important source.
8. Pracheen Panth Prakaash
Though this book is not as old as ‘Sri Gur Sobha’ and others from the same period, it is considered important to know the Sikh history after Guru Gobind Singh Ji left for his heavenly abode. Bhai Ratan Singh Bhangu wrote this book in 1841 AD. The word ‘Nihang’ has been used for many times in this book.
9. New Panth Prakaash
Written by Giani Gian Singh in 1878 AD, the ‘New’ Panth Prakaash is another important resource to know the Sikh history. The writer has given history of Sikh sects, like ‘Nihangs’, ‘Udasis’, ‘Nirmalas’ and is a crucial text for this study.
10. Twareekh Guru Khalsa
This is another book by Giani Gian Singh, which describes history in simple Punjabi.
(Also see: The Reading List).
Recordings of ‘Katha’ by Nihang chiefs are useful to understand their points of view; one can get idea how they explain and consider history to account for their beliefs. No doubt, such ‘Katha’ will not be considered a good resource from an academician’s point of view, but it is useful to understand how the Nihangs seek to have their views accepted amongst the common Sikh ‘sangat’.
Interaction with ordinary Nihangs
One cannot understand the living standard of ordinary Nihangs, unless he interacts with them. There is no other way to understand what kind of problems they face in daily life. It is necessary to understand if all the Nihangs have same views over ‘Rahat’ (code of conduct) or tradition, or they differ on some items, however this is a time consuming task given the lifestyle that they lead and their worldview. Nonetheless, ordinary Nihangs are good source to understand their roles in political affairs. In recent years, I tried my best to understand their way of life, their thinking, their religious beliefs and outlook.