Sikh Nation and Social Revolution
THE SIKH REVOLUTION
Sikhism is the only indigenous revolutionary philosophy of the Indian subcontinent that took birth in Punjab in the Indus Valley.
It was formally consecrated by Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th successor of Guru Nānak, at Anandpur Sahib, on the Vaisakhi day 1699 A.D;
by administering Amrit from the same iron bowl to the initiates, thereby abolishing of the divisive Hindu Caste System among its followers, which had divided the society and rendered it powerless.
On this day he also laid down distinct religious code of conduct (Sikh Rehat Maryādā) for the initiated Sikhs. He named the initiated Sikhs, Khalsa literally meaning sovereign.
Sikh initiation (baptism) was made open to all men / women, rich or poor, peasants or labourers, the learned or illiterate alike irrespective of gender, race, creed and caste.
Any five initiated Sikhs (Panj Pyare) could baptize others so that no particular priestly class was allowed to be created.
There was to be no special class to have monopoly of Divine Knowledge or religious rights and ceremonies. Socially no invidious distinctions were to be made between man and man.
Amrit revolutionized the outlook of the initiated men who had hitherto been regarded as Mlechcha (unclean) and polluted from birth were changed into exceptionally new warriors.
People divided as Hindus, Muslims, low and high castes were united as one brotherhood taught to live together and eat together in mutual love. They were trained to defend themselves together against the state repression.
The Khalsa, as a combined body of the Sikhs, was made the supreme authority amongst the Sikhs in all matters. No leader, however, great, could challenge the authority of the Khalsa Panth. The guidance of the community lay with their collective wisdom and decisions.
The Hindu hill Rajas around Anandpur Sahib, had been quite willing to pay lip sympathy to the ideal of casteless society preached by Guru Nānak,
but they were not willing to soil their lips by drinking Amrit out of the same bowl along with the Śūdras and accept the ‘Naash doctrine’ of Sikhism as Guru Gobind Singh wanted them to do.
They took it as a threat to their Varṇa Ashram Dharma, whose entire fabric was based on the caste system.
They walked away from the ceremony and vowed to destroy Guru Gobind Singh and his newly created "Khalsa Panth"--"The Sovereign Sikh Nation". Guru Gobind Singh accepted the challenge and defeated them in all the battles they fought with him.
Guru Gobind Singh inspired the Sikhs with the desire of being socially free and nationally independent.
Guru Gobind Singh left this mortal world in 1708.
The political position of the Sikhs at that time was that of guerrillas:
The Sikhs under Banda Singh (1708-1715 AD), declared the independence of the `Sikh Nation' in 1709 A.D; and occupied vast areas of the Punjab between Delhi and Lahore,
destroyed Sirhind, killed its Governor Wazid Khan, who was responsible for slaughtering Guru Gobind Singh's younger sons, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh and appointed Sardar Baj Singh as its governor.
The Sikhs established the capital of the emerging Sikh State at Mukhlis Garh in the Shivalik foothills and renamed it as Lohgarh.
Banda Singh issued orders under the royal seal, minted Sikh coins, started the Sikh Calendar and introduced land reforms granting propriety rights to the tenants of land in the areas under the Sikh occupation.
Banda Singh was captured alive along with about 800 Sikhs on December 17, 1715 AD in village Gurdas Nangal about 4 miles away from the town of Gurdaspur (Punjab).
They were taken to Lahore and then to Delhi along with Banda Singh in an iron cage with fetters, on an elephant back. The procession reached Delhi on February 27, 1716.
The Sikhs were offered the choice between acceptance of Islam or death, all chose the latter, not even a single one agreed to apostate. When all attempts to win Banda Singh failed, He was executed on June 9, 1716 AD.
After the death of Banda Singh, the Muslim Government of Hindustan vowed to eliminate the Sikh nation from the face of the earth.
The Sikhs left their homes and hearths took refuge in jungles and the mountains of the Punjab and the desert area of the Punjab adjoining Rajputana.
The Mughal rulers and their Hindu collaborators perpetrated atrocities on the Sikhs and their families. Thousands of Sikh men, women and children were arrested imprisoned, tortured and massacred.
For many years just being a Sikh was a crime punishable with death, but the Sikhs refused to yield and continued their struggle for survival and independence. The more violent the methods were adopted to suppress the Sikhs, more firm in their faith they became.
Two most mighty Empires of Asia at that time, the Mughal Empire of Hindustan in Delhi and the Pathan Empire of Afghanistan from Kabul under Ahmad Shah Abdali,
simultaneously vowed to destroy the Sikhs root and branch as both of them considered the Sikhs as their arch religious and political enemies.
They adopted every possible measure to subjugate and exterminate the Sikhs from the face of the earth but the Sikhs refused to submit and continued their struggle for survival and independence.
Against all odds they managed to maintain the organization, which the Guru had built up.
They were determined to create a land for themselves where they would be free to practice their religion and not be persecuted for their beliefs.
After a gruesome, hard and determined struggle of about 50 years, they overcame all oppression, destroyed the Muslim rule and domination in their homeland by 1765 AD, and earned a place under the sun and emerged as sovereigns of Punjab.
The Sikh leaders (Sardars) established small confederacies in the form of Misls throughout the length and breadth of the Punjab
between Afghanistan in the west and Jumna (Yamuna) River (up to Delhi) in the east, Korakorarn mountain range in the north and plains of Sindh in the south.
Thus entire Sikh homeland came under the Sikh rule in 1765.
In 1799 AD; all the Sikh Misls on the western side of the river Sutlej consolidated themselves under the leadership of Ranjit Singh
and formally established Sikh Kingdom based on Sikh traditions, values and principles under the supremacy of Akal Takht Amritsar with Lahore as their Capital.
The Sikh government was named "Sarkār Khalsa".
The Sikhs for the first time in the history of this region reversed the tide of attacks from Central Asia and Middle East since the Aryans had discovered the route through the hills to loot or rule the Punjab and Hindustan.
They subjugated the turbulent Afghans (Pathans) and entered into many international agreements with the adjoining countries.
The revolution started by Guru Nānak reached its zenith.