Sunday, December 10, 2023

The True Essence of Khalsa and the Misconceptions of Khalistan

by Pushp Pal Singh

When people who have nothing to do with India start talking of Khalistan, it is important to know who or what is KHALSA and what was Khalsa Raj during Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s time.

Guru Nanak who was born in NankanaSaheb, now in Pakistan, was the founder of Sikhism and he preached of an inclusive society with a Universal Brotherhood where all human beings are equal without any distinction of cast creed sex etc., and for him, Sewa (service of humanity) was above everything else.

From Sikhism to Khalsa (The pure one – Khalas) the change was brought in by the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1699 on Baisakhi day by baptizing 5 Sikhs – Panj Pyare (note this) who were from different casts and different states all over India like Bhai Daya Ram hailed from Lahore, Bhai Dharam Rai was from Hastinapur in Uttar Pradesh, Bhai Himmat Rai came from Jagannath in Odisha, Bhai Mohkam Rai from Gujarat and Bhai Sahib Chand was from Bidar, Karnataka.

This proves that Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s concept of Khalsa was pure (Khalas) men from all over the country and not just one state who would unite and fight injustice against anyone not just Sikhs and he demonstrated this at the age of 8 years when he requested his father to save the Kashmiri Pundits from the tyranny of Aurangzeb.

Neither the founder of Sikhism Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji nor the founder of Khalsa Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji preached for just Sikhs/Khalsa.

Talking of Khalsa Raaj under Maharaja Ranjit Singh with its capital in Lahore stretched from Afghanistan to Delhi to China including Kashmir, thus anyone who talks of Khalsa Raaj has to know Sikh history and what they stand for.

Guru Gobind Singh’s Khalsa was not restricted to Punjab but it was part of the entire country from Punjab in the North and Karnataka in the South, Odhisha in the East and Gujarat in the West, in fact, he united the country against tyranny of Aurangzeb, thus how can the place of first 5 Khalsas be out of anything to do with Khalsa or what is being termed as Khalistan?

Now the Guru who gave birth to Khalsa, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, his birthplace is Patna Saheb in Bihar and he died in Nanded Saheb in Maharashtra, do the dreamers of Khalistan propose to have their Khalistan without these places too?

If they are serious about Khalsa Raaj they have to include all these places and ask Pakistan to hand over Lahore, our capital city during Maharaja Ranjeet Singh’s time.

A large number of sacred Gurudwaras are already outside of India and we need Visa from Pakistan country to visit places such as Nankana Saheb, Kartarpur Saheb, Panja Saheb, etc. to name a few of the famous and most visited Gurudwaras by Sikhs from all over the world.

Pakistan wants to keep this issue alive and supports the terrorists and that is the reason the so-called Khalistanis have to date not given the map of their proposed Khalistan. They know if they include Lahore, Nanakana Saheb etc., the next moment they will be kicked out of Pakistan.

If they are talking of only Punjab as Khalistan then for visiting other holy places in Delhi, Bihar, Maharashtra, etc. also Sikhs will need visas like now in Pakistan, thus their Khalistan will not include most of Khalsa history.

Do Sikhs in India want Khalistan? Like every religion and community, Sikhs do have their grievances, but if one travels through the length and breadth of India, one finds the presence of Sikhs everywhere, doing good business and preaching their own faith without any hindrances, enjoying full freedom and respect in far-flung places too. Be it north-east, south-west or any place in the entire country.

Sikhs may be just 2% of the population but we have had a Prime Minister, a President, Army and Air Chiefs, not to talk of Chief Ministers and Governors all over the country.

What has been the price paid for the Khalistan movement? Sikhs all over the world have paid a heavy price for the so-called Khalistan movement, run mostly by people who left Punjab (India) for a few dollars and some of their present spokesmen are not even Sikhs, they have cut hair and no turbans, is this the Khalistan they want?

After the Khalistan movement, Sikhs suffered major losses of literature and religious items besides structural damage to the Darbar Saheb in 1984.

As a result of the Khalistan movement in Punjab heavy price was paid by thousands of Sikhs who were staying outside Punjab as they were burnt alive and their businesses destroyed. The damage is still being felt by the victims.

Do they realize how their foolish moves affect the Sikhs living in other states who are part of greater Indian society?

Thus the Khalsa of Guru Gobind Singh Ji is meant to be not only all over India but all over the world as it is now, and not confined to a small state to become another Pakistan, with a poor economy and rule of fundamentalists, not by people who follow Guru Nanak’s teachings of Universal Brotherhood and Nishkaam Sewa or Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s teachings of Manas Kee Jaat Sabhey Ekai Pechanbo.

Going by the teachings of our Gurus, Khalsas have served humanity all over the world be it during the Covid panedemic, helping out in war-torn areas or floods etc. Sikhs are known all over the world for serving humanity, even at the risk to their own lives. Khalsa means the pure ones, and it can be anyone. The word Khalsa was first used by Bhagat Kabir in Guru Granth Saheb, page 655, where he says “Kahu Kabir Jan Bhe Khalase Prem Bhagat Jeh Jaanee” Says Kabir those humble people become pure – they become Khalsa – who know the Lord’s loving devotional worship II4II3II

(The writer of this article, Captain P.P SIngh, a senior journalist, tragically passed while it was under process for publication)

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