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The Sikh Gurus and Khalistan

Bijla Singh

Lifestyle and Message of the Gurus

Sikh Gurus and the Sikh State

Gurbani and the Sikh State

    Raj Karega Khalsa

Religion Precedes Nationality



The Khalistan movement especially armed struggle of the Sikhs against the Indian government has received much negative coverage from the Indian media and the Indian government. As part of the malicious anti-Khalistan propaganda, many Indian journalists and paid writers have dubbed the Khalistan movement not only as ‘anti-national’ but anti-Sikhi and against the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib. Numerous faulty reasons are advanced towards the latter perspective such as Sikh Gurus never carved out a Sikh State, Khalistan is not mentioned in Gurbani, politics is not part of religion, and armed struggle is immoral, among various others. Therefore, in this article we shall repudiate such misinformed assertions and prove how the concept of Khalistan is perfectly in line with the message of Gurbani, as well as in harmony with the lifestyle the Sikh Gurus lived, practiced, and propagated.

We must make it clear that Khalistan is not a mere name or a geographical place but a political State that ensures the sovereignty of the Sikhs as a distinct nation and safeguards their religious and political rights. With this in mind, our approach to the question of Khalistan being in accordance to Sikhism is to discuss the message of the Gurus and how they demonstrated it through practical means, and analyze Shabads (sacred scriptural text) in Gurbani that advocate political State as well as provide correct contextual interpretation of verses that are used to oppose the concept of sovereign State for the Sikhs.

Lifestyle and Message of the Gurus

In this section, we shall discuss many important deeds of the Sikh Gurus and events from their lives to show their relevance to the modern day Sikh struggle. As each event is discussed, its application to the current struggle is explicated to prove that the concept of Khalistan and the armed struggle of the Sikhs are not against Sikhism.

Let us begin our discussion from the very beginning when foundations of Sikhism were laid. During the times of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, there was no such thing as India or Indian nationalism. Unity between people of India was nonexistent. Muslims were the rulers and Hindus the vanquished ones. There was no mutual harmony between the two. Muslims, being the rulers, considered Hindus as kafirs (infidels) and therefore, held them in contempt. Meanwhile, the Hindus considered the Muslims as malechas (filthy) and hated them. Hindus were further divided into numerous groups. On the one hand, they were being suppressed politically by the Muslims and on the other hand they were socially exploited by the Brahmins who had barricaded them in the steel walls of the rigid caste system. Supposed religious saints had escaped into mountains and hilly areas, remaining unconcerned about the plight of people under slavery. Hindu warriors namely Rajputs and Kshatriyas in order to save their petty principalities had become subservient to the Muslims and failed to protect their Hindu brethren. It was in this upheaval and dark times that Guru Nanak Dev Ji came to this world.

From the very beginning, Guru Nanak Dev Ji assessed the social, religious and political situation of India and strongly condemned all the falsehood that prevailed in all spheres of life. Guru Sahib did not just limit himself to delivering purely religious teaching but also formed political ideas which he preached to his disciples. Metaphysical usage of political phraseology in his verses prove his familiarity with contemporary politics, government and administration. He has used phrases like 'Sultan, Patshah, Shahi-alam, takht, taj, hukm, aml, Pathani-aml, Wazir, diwan, naib, muqaddim, raiyat etc. as well as made references to the court and palaces, royal canopy, armour, cavalry, trumpets, treasury, coins, mints, salary, taxes and even to revenue-free land in his verses.[1] This proves that Guru Sahib was not aloof from politics nor was his newly founded religion free from political philosophy.

Gurmit Singh states:

Sikhism, right from the time of its founder had political dimensions. Guru Nanak’s political ideas were in the nature of an embryo which developed into a full-fledged organic institution in the period of later Gurus.[2]

To begin with, he was critical of the rulers who had failed to protect their subjects. He vociferously condemned the Lodhi rulers of his times for neglecting and failing to discharge their duty of protecting their subjects from the atrocities inflicted by the army of the foreign invader, Babar. He made a scathing attack on such irresponsible and neglectful rulers.[3] In compositions popularly known as Babarvani (in the Sikh Holy Scripture) Guru Sahib has made critical remarks about the Lodhis as well as condemning atrocities committed by Babar. Kehar Singh in his Political Ideas of Guru Nanak writes:

The misdeeds of the Lodhi Kings and their administrators came in for sharp and severe criticism at the hand of Guru Nanak. They are referred to as veritable butchers and dogs and in such other derogatory terms. Babur’s attack and indiscriminate carnage at Eminabad and then at Lahore has been depicted in a very forceful and pathetic manner….From the above description, one thing becomes certain that according to Guru Nanak one should not be (and perhaps one cannot be) indifferent to the political events [emphasis added].[4]

The Hindu warrior class, the Kshytrias, was equally condemned for betraying their own people by adopting Muslim customs, language and dress code as well as becoming the tool of rulers to consolidate and strengthen their empire. Guru Sahib states:

The Kshatriyas have abandoned their religion, and have adopted a foreign language.
The whole world has been reduced to the same social status; the state of righteousness and Dharma has been lost. (662)

The protective shield of the Hindus had been broken and people were left at the foreign invaders’ mercy. Unjust, oppressive as well as neglectful rulers are unfit to rule, according to Guru Nanak Dev Ji. While he preached virtues such as sympathy compassion, humility, mercy, love, and self-sacrifice, he also laid equal stress on power, courage and bravery.[5] He never refrained from condemning the cruel deeds of the rulers. In his teaching, he laid down a socio-political doctrine which clearly defines the attitude of his church towards the political authority.[6]

Hence, from the very beginning Guru Sahib did not remain aloof from political matters and conditions of his time, but was a vocal advocate of civil rights and freedom. According to Gurmit Singh, if Guru Nanak Dev Ji had the means, he would have taken up arms against the oppression and injustice.[7]

Let us understand the last few decades of Sikh history in light of the Sikh principles. It is a known fact that thousands of innocent Sikhs were brutally massacred in June and November 1984 by the Hindu majority. The rulers who were responsible for ensuring safety of life and property of the Sikhs turned against them. The very army that was supposed to protect them from foreign invasions instead invaded their own holy places and reduced them to dust. Sikhs had to undergo a long drawn struggle with no hope of justice on horizon. While rulers like Indira Gandhi, and Rajiv Gandhi are no more, it does not mean that the government policies against the Sikhs have changed. There has been no reformation in the governmental policies and attitude concerning the Sikhs. Therefore, both the Indian government and its stooge Punjab government are unfit to rule. The solution, therefore, is the same as the one initiated by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Pritam Singh Gill explains:

Sikhism wanted to establish a society different from the Hindu society in most of its institutions. It was impossible for the Sikhs to do that if the State was to be inimical towards them….In the atmosphere of intolerance on the part of the State, the Sikhs were bound to look to the formation of their own State [emphasis added], because the alternative was extinction at its very birth.[8]

Since this was the attitude of the early Sikhs, following in their footsteps to establish a separate Sikh State is in no way against the Sikh teaching. Therefore, Sikhs who are currently struggling to establish their own independent state called Khalistan are the true followers of their faith. Without a political State, there is every danger of Sikhism being absorbed into Hinduism and disintegration of the Sikh nation which would result in its ultimate extinction. Thus, we learn that the current struggle of the Sikhs is founded upon the principles taught by the founder of the Sikh religion.

Looking back in history, we learn that the successive Gurus followed on the footsteps of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. They all remained independent and sovereign. Many cities, towns and areas were founded by the Gurus where Sikhs flourished as a distinct community. For example, Guru Nanak Dev Ji founded the city of Kartarpur Sahib, Guru Angad Dev Ji founded the city of Khadoor Sahib, Guru Amardas Ji founded the city of Goindwal Sahib, Guru Ramdas Ji founded the city of Amritsar, Guru Arjan Dev Ji founded the city of Tarn Taran Sahib, Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji founded the city of Kiratpur Sahib, Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji founded Anandpur Sahib, and Guru Gobind Singh Ji built many forts to fortify the city and protect it from invasions. This was no less than building of a nation at micro level. Further, all these cities provided separate place of worship, Gurdwaras, for the Sikhs where they were provided with religious and worldly education, training in arms, spiritual upliftment, and full freedom to practice equality and their faith. These gurdwaras also served as the main centers for Sikhs to assemble and hold discussions over religious and political matters concerning the Panth. The reason behind building large number of gurdwaras and Sikh centers was to keep the nascent Sikh community away from the influences of Hindu customs and allow it to grow into an independent nation.[9] Establishment of Khalistan lies on the same principle for it seeks to keep the tiny Sikh minority away from the influence of the Hindu majority that wishes to see its destruction and disintegration. Only through a political state can Sikhs flourish and prosper as a distinct community and progress as a nation.

As Sikhs grew in large numbers, they began to call their Guru Sacha Patshah, a true sovereign king, who decided their religious and social matters and provided guidance in everyday matters. Bhai Gurdas Ji refers to the fourth Guru as emperor.

Now Guru Ram Das, a Sodhi emperor, seated on the Guru-seat is called the True Guru. (Vaar 1)

A canopy was held over the Guru and royal whisk was waved over his head. All successive Gurus were held in same honor and respect.

When Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, left for Lahore to sacrifice his life, he instructed his son the following:

My dear son, very hard times are ahead for the Sikh community. The forces of Evil are busy cutting down the very roots of fundamental human rights. I have tried to break the shackles of slavery of common man in a peaceful manner but now the times have changed. The Moghul kings have lost all humaneness and have turned beasts. I will still persuade Jahangir to leave this policy but if the peaceful persuasion, even at the cost of my bodily tortures, fails, then, take it for granted that it is no use enduring tortures for changing the conscience of the Moghul rulers just as it is useless to lie down for sympathy before a horned beast. In that case, then, try to meet the Evil with armed resistance.[10]

This passage gives us a clear understanding about the approach Guru Sahib himself laid down in resisting tyranny and oppressive regimes. Sikh freedom fighters followed the same footsteps in their struggle by first raising their demands peacefully and as a last resort raised arms in their defense when the government attempted to suppress them by force. It is a well recorded fact that Sikhs had been peacefully protesting in large numbers since 1947. Whether it was to establish a Punjabi State, rights over natural resources, autonomy rights or equal treatment at par with Hindus, Sikhs always raised their demand peacefully. It was only after the government had turned a blind eye to the Sikh demands and decided to suppress them using physical force that the Sikhs resorted to arms, which is perfectly justified according to the Sikh teachings. Meeting force with force and fighting on equal footing is justified in Sikhism. Pritam Singh Gill affirms:

….a citizen, for the sake of protection of his just rights is entitled to use arms if the methods of peaceful persuasion fail. Political offence should be met by political defense if an honorable life is to be lived. Force should be met by force, if extinction is to be avoided.[11] So if a Sikh is convinced that there is no change of heart in the persecutor after all persuasions, he stops offering the second cheek. He then takes up the sword to fight against tyranny. There is a limit to persuasion. If the tyrant persists in his atrocious behaviour, a Sikh must take up cudgels. It is a sin to let tyrant continue oppression and go scot free.[12]

Kehar Singh corroborates:

The use of violent methods for the sake of righteousness, as a matter of last resort, is one of the established doctrines of the Sikhs.[13]

Bhagat Singh echoes:

According to the Sikh Gurus…the people’s exercise of the right of rebellion is a sort of religious duty because injustice and oppression are unacceptably to God. The right of rebellion against the ruler inevitably leads to the permitting of the use of force.[14]

Therefore, demand for Khalistan and Sikhs resorting to armed resistance to achieve their objective is not anti-Sikh. Rather, it is a religious duty and an obligation according to Sikh injunctions.

Continuing our discussion about the Sikh Guru period, Guru Hargobind Ji wholeheartedly followed the instructions of Guru Arjun Dev Sahib. Giani Gian Singh explains that Guru Hargobind after donning two swords namely Miri symbolizing temporal power and Piri for spiritual power, he addressed the congregation declaring that he had decided to form an army to fight the tyranny of the rulers of the day. He asked his followers to be fully armed because religion could not be saved without resorting to arms and that was must for the survival of their religion.[15] To inspire Sikhs in warfare, he started the tradition of singing martial ballads, presided over disputing parties to provide a resolution, kept horses and weapons and trained Sikhs in art of warfare – all responsibilities accorded to rulers of the time period. Pritam Singh Gill explains:

The Guru gave the Sikhs full military training according to the times. He taught them the art of swordsmanship, riding, wrestling and hunting. All this meant that the Sikhs would not necessarily remain passive in the event of persecutions; if need be they would measure swords with the persecutor.[16]

Further, he built Akal Takht (royal throne), symbol of sovereign chair of the State, a seat from where the State-law is promulgated and enforced. Thus construction of Takht was an open declaration by the Sikh nation of its character as political sovereigns.[17] Construction of Akal Takhat symbolized assertion of Sikh sovereignty because it was a 12 feet high platform resembling the platform for the Emperors, while construction of even an ordinary pedestal of a height of more than 2 feet was prohibited by the then government.[18]

Guru Hargobind also introduced for the first time the practice of beating a drum (Nagara) at the time of langar. The beating of drum at Akal Takht also amounted to declaration of Sikh sovereignty.[19] He also for the first time hoisted the Sikh flag at Akal Takhat in 1608 A.D. Thus, Akal Takht became the general headquarter of the Sikhs. It also became the highest seat of temporal power of the Sikhs. Here Guru Hargobind sat like a king and administered justice to the Sikhs. He wore a turban with a royal aigrette and he was addressed as Sacha Padshah i.e. the true emperor as compared to king of Delhi.[20] Therefore, while Harmandar Sahib became a focal point of religious authority, the Akal Takhat Sahib became symbol of Sikh temporal power. Such a place gave Sikhs the feeling of building their own kingdom.[21]

Guru Hargobind Sahib fought six battles, achieving victory in all of them. His open adoption of the policy of Miri and Piri had left absolutely no doubt that the political affairs were essential part of the teachings of the Sikh Gurus, and an integral part of the faith.[22] Further, at the time of appointing a successor, he instructed Guru Har Rai Sahib to keep the existing contingent of 2200 mounted soldiers.[23] Guru Sahib’s instructions to the newly appointed successor, Guru Har Rai Sahib, are noteworthy to our discussion. Kavi Santokh Singh and Saroop Das Bhalla have provided a detailed account of the discussion between the two Gurus. Guru Hargobind Sahib instructed:

While you must do your utmost to maintain peaceful relations with all political forces, you must always keep the Sikhs in defense-preparedness, in the city-state of Kiratpur. You should thus give firm security to religious, cultural and political existence of the Sikh people [emphasis added]. For this purpose you must maintain the present minimum strength of the Sikh army of two thousand and two hundred well-trained and well-equipped horsemen.[24]

Guru Har Rai Ji asked:

If the Mughal armies mounted an attack on us with massive forces on some aggressive pretext or the other, and in the frantic intoxication of their imperial power and armed strength, refuse to listen to words of peace, what should I do then, dear Grandfather? What is your divine command and counsel to face such a situation? Should we remain peaceful and non-violent in the face of such an onslaught or should we resist it with all the power at our command?[25]

In response to such an inquiry, Guru Sahib responded:

In such circumstances do not hesitate to fight relentlessly for your religious and political freedom. Fear not the armed strength and political power of Imperial forces. The grace and divine protection of Guru Nanak is ever with you. The enemy forces will fade before your courageous resistance, as the fog vanishes before the light of the sun. The eternal Spirit and Light of Guru Nanak are in your heart and soul. You have the apostolic power of the pontific throne of Guru Nanak. Fear not any temporal power. The despotic armies which attack you may come with the thunder of unexpected hailstorm, but they will also disappear like hailstones melting in the face of fire.[26]

It is amply clear that according to the counsel of the Gurus, keeping a well-trained army and raising arms to fight oppression is not only just and righteous but in fully accordance to the Sikh principles. Sacrifice of the ninth Guru was no less important in the sphere of politics. One of the contributing factors behind Guru Sahib’s sacrifice was to curb the oppressive policy of Aurangzeb to forcibly convert all the Hindus to Islam. Guru Sahib sacrificed his life for the sake of religious freedom which saved the Hindu religion from extinction. Although Guru Har Rai Ji, Guru Har Krishan Ji and Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji did not participate in any wars during their reign as Gurus, they never prohibited the use of force and remained champion of righteousness throughout even against the heaviest of odds.[27] Thus, Sikhs fighting to keep their distinct identity and resisting the Hindu onslaught on their customs and way of life is not against the tenets of Sikhism.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Guru, further consolidated and organized the Sikh community. He transformed Sikhs into saint-soldiers and resumed the military activities of his grandfather (Guru Hargobind Ji) with renewed vigor, zeal, energy and enthusiasm due to the increasing oppressive nature of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Sikhs were instructed to present weapons and horses to the Guru and all were trained in military exercises.[28] He also made a war drum, the Ranjit Nagara, which was beaten every day. Sikhs were trained in military exercises and training drills. An independent Sikh army was raised to defend the Sikh nation against all hostilities. Guru Sahib fought more than 15 battles most of which were against the Hindu hill chiefs, whose own greed, combined with their allegiance to the Mughal regime, led to the repeated conflicts.

In 1699, all Sikhs were instructed to keep swords with them all the time as one of five articles of faith. The Sikhs had been transformed into the Khalsa, an army of God, through the Amrit (baptismal) ceremony. The seed of the Saint-Soldier was planted by Guru Nanak Sahib and was realized in 1699 by his successor, Guru Gobind Singh, who himself became a part of the Khalsa and transformed from Guru Gobind Rai to Guru Gobind Singh. Establishment of the Khalsa was a hallmark of the mission of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Khalsa was instructed to remain sovereign, deeply religious, active in the political field, and keep arms to defend its integrity and honor.

This had far reaching consequences, for now a distinct nation had been fully established that was ready to fight the tyrant rule and destroy it root and branch. The Sikhs had to endure a long lasting life and death struggle for nearly half a century and suffer numerous holocausts this quest to end tyranny and oppression. Guru Sahib explains purpose of Khalsa to one Jait Ram saint as follows:

The age is full of evils. The wicked rule in it and cause suffering to saints and holy men. Tyrants, therefore, deserve to be punished. They will not refrain as long as they are pardoned. O, Mahant, they who bear arms, who remember the true name and sacrifice their lives for their faith shall go straight to paradise. Therefore I have established the Khalsa religion (brotherhood), given my followers arms and made them heroes.[29]

Therefore, the Khalsa became not only a socio-political order but a corporate body of people who aimed at a new socio-political resolution.[30] Therefore, one of the objectives of the Khalsa order became the establishment of political rule because Khalsa is never to leave or become inactive in the political field. Sirdar Kapur Singh explains:

The Order of the Khalsa, as divorced from political activity and not dedicated to the achievement of political ends, aiming at eventual establishment of a universal equalitarian global Fraternity, has no intelligible connotation.[31]

The objective of dispatching Baba Banda Singh to Punjab was in the same vein: to destroy the unjust rule, stop the wave of foreign invasions that had been flowing from the West for over a millennium, and establish a new State on egalitarian principles. Baba Ji was appointed as the commander of the Khalsa army and instructed to march towards Punjab to punish the perpetrators who had wrongfully martyred many Sikhs and sons of Guru Sahib. Dr. Ganda Singh explains:

Before the departure of Banda Singh for the Punjab, the Guru called him to his side, gave him the title of 'Bahadur' and five arrows from his own quiver as 'pledge and token of victory.' A council of five Pyaras, consisting of Bhais Binod Singh, Kahan Singh, Baj Singh, Daya Singh and Ram Singh, was appointed to assist him, and some twenty other Singhs were told off to accompany him to the theatre of their future war-like activities. A Nishan Sahib and a Nagara, or a flag and a drum, were bestowed upon him as emblems of temporal authority. The secret of his success lay, he was told, in personal purity and chastity, and in the propitiation of the Khalsa, who were to be regarded as his (the Guru's) very self. Thus raised to the position of Jathedar or leader of the Khalsa, and strengthened by the Guru's Hukamnamahs, or letters, to the Sikhs all over the country to join in his expeditions, Banda Singh left for the Punjab.[32]

Obviously, such a step was directly related to raising arms, overthrowing the Mughal rule and in its place establishing the Sikh rule in which there would be no religious discrimination and unequal treatment. The objective was indeed met and Sikhs became sovereign rulers. This tells us that Sikh Gurus were not unconcerned about politics and State suppression, and raising arms as a last resort. They made it a religious duty of every Sikh to uphold righteousness and pursue a life of freedom for all who are subjugated. This fact becomes quite apparent from Guru Sahib’s bold statement written to Aurangzeb in form of Zafarnama (Epistle of Victory). He states:

ਚੁ ਕਾਰ ਅਜ਼ ਹਮਹ ਹੀਲਤੇ ਦਰ ਗੁਜ਼ਸ਼ਤ ॥ ਹਲਾਲ ਅਸਤ ਬੁਰਦਨ ਬ ਸ਼ਮਸ਼ੀਰ ਦਸਤ ॥ ੨੨॥

When an affair outstrips all peaceful machinations; it is legitimate to grip the hilt of the sword. (22)

It is clear from the discussion above that the principles Sikh Gurus taught, practiced, and advocated are inclusive of politics and clearly advocate armed struggle to establish a separate State. Every Sikh Guru was not only a spiritual guide but also the political leader of the Sikh community. Since the divine light was passed on to Guru Granth Sahib, it is only Gurbani that is invested with spiritual authority while temporal authority is now vested in Khalsa (collective body of the Sikhs). Therefore, any worldly leader be it the Prime Minister of India or President of USA cannot be considered a leader of the Sikh nation. Sikhs must look to their Guru Sahib and Khalsa brotherhood for guidance and leadership. Otherwise, it is a deviation from the teachings of the Gurus and a sign of slavery. This is why the need for establishing Khalistan becomes even more important for it lies on the foundations of religious principles.

Sikhs have tried peaceful protests, marches, voluntary arrests etc. but all have resulted in vain. The Indian government has continued its destructive policies unabated. Therefore, it is not irreligious for Sikhs to engage in armed struggle against the Indian suppression to win their freedom and establish a Sikh State.

Sikh Gurus and the Sikh State

A question is usually asked about the Sikh Gurus and establishment of a political State: Why did the Sikh Gurus, especially Guru Gobind Singh Ji, not establish or carve out a separate Sikh State?

To answer this question, we need to be aware of the social and political settings of the time period and the prevailing condition of the majority people. Muslims were the rulers who came from foreign countries and settled in India. The Hindus, being the majority, were the vanquished ones who were oppressed and suppressed by the tyrant Muslim rulers. Hindus were further divided in the rigid caste system which prevented them from forming a united front to face the prevailing social, religious and political challenges of the time. They had been physically and mentally enslaved by foreigners for too long and consequently had lost all hope for their emancipation. They had resigned themselves to fate and looked for some miracle for a solution rather than being active players in the freedom struggle. No one had come forward to their rescue or provided any solution to their problem. The mission of the Sikh Gurus, therefore, was to set up a new society of saint-soldiers on the principles of equality, tolerance and love. The purpose of this society was, and still is, to oppose and defeat the tyrant rule and establish the rule of freedom and equality for all. This could only be done by living among the enslaved and oppressed population so that the majority could be rejuvenated and their spirits kindled with bravery and valor, enabling them to throw away the yoke of slavery and live a life of integrity, honor and prestige. The Sikh Gurus never wanted an empire nor was their war with the ruling class for such a purpose. Bhagat Singh states:

The question never was that the Gurus wanted an empire for themselves. What they wanted, was the organisation of a community with trained motivations and aspirations to live as a fraternal people with a sense of independence and the capacity to discharge complete socio-political responsibilities, including struggle against oppression of the invaders and the establishment.[33]

By establishing a separate Sikh state, Guru Sahib would have deviated from this divinely ordained mission leaving the downtrodden people to their miserable fate. They wanted to raise the consciousness of freedom and enforce people to become active in religious and political arena so that no foreigner could invade their country and trample over their freedom. The goal, thus, was to establish an active society that could defeat the tyrants and secure its freedom. It is the responsibility of the entire community as opposed to a single individual and requires an organized effort. Pritam Singh Gill affirms:

The Guru entered the hearts of the people by producing in them the consciousness of winning four freedoms by concerted action, spiritual freedom, moral freedom, freedom from oppression, and economic freedom.[34]

Regarding Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Pritam Singh Gill further states:

The be-all and end-all of the life of Guru Gobind Singh was to rejuvenate a rotten social order into which the Hindu community had degenerated. This could be done by fighting against the political aggressors, the Mughal rulers, who had reduced the Hindu society to the level of abject slavery.[35]

Hence, the mission of liberating the majority people would not have become successful by carving out a separate Sikh State when millions of ordinary people (mainly Hindus) were suffering from slavery of many centuries. Guru Sahib was not fighting the Muslims or Hindu Kings for a piece of land or an empire. It was rather a war of principles, in which the Sikh Gurus sought to destroy tyranny, oppression and injustice by bringing the downtrodden people to an equal status. Guru Sahib’s message was universal, beyond sectarian differences and bore no enmity or bias towards any community. The war of the Gurus with Mughals would have been painted as nothing more than a personal vendetta to create a separate empire. This would have left serious impact on the egalitarian principles of Sikhism.

Since the mission of the Sikh Gurus was to seek independence of all, Sikhism would have suffered serious setback had the Gurus created a separate State. Further, the land annexed would have belonged to the hill chiefs with whom Guru Gobind Singh Ji had made an agreement not to occupy or take over any land beyond what he had originally purchased. Pritam Singh Gill states:

The object was to fight against the Mughal tyranny and get independence. The Guru never aimed at any expansion of the state. In spite of the fact that the Guru won so many victories against the hill chiefs in the pre-Khalsa period, not a square inch of territory was added to it beyond the area originally purchased. The purchase was made on the condition that the Guru would not pay any tribute to the Raja of Kehlur; the Guru stuck to the conditions. The object was to secure a place where the Sikhs could protect themselves from the tyranny of the government; the Guru never wanted to create a full state at the cost of Hindu hill chiefs.[36]

Those who question why Guru Sahib did not create an empire are ignorant about historical facts and fail to understand the noble deeds of the Gurus. As has been proven, obtaining freedom and sovereignty was one of political objectives of the Gurus for which Sikh society was raised. For this, all foreign invasions and aggression were to be stopped forever and a rule of equality was to be established.

In addition, Sikh Gurus taught that the ultimate goal of life is to practice the religion of householders who are Gurmukhs i.e. saint-soldiers. These Gurmukhs only bow to Supreme God and hold no worldly power above them. The goal of life is not to establish a political State but to seek unity with God and Sikh Gurus being the light of God were fully aware of this fact. For them, worldly dominion held no importance. They taught to fight oppression and injustice. Whether the outcome of the struggle is a government reform or a separate State, depends on the circumstance but in no way did the noble Gurus want to leave the impression that the only solution o every political disagreement is a separate State. However, this does not mean that they preached against the importance of having political power.[37] It also does not change the fact that all the Gurus remained sovereign and did not bow to any political authority. They were called ‘True King’ and ‘King of Kings’ by the Sikhs. They were leaders of the Sikh nation. They owed allegiance to none but God. Darshan Singh confirms:

The argument that the tenth Master did not carve out a political empire for himself vanishes in the light of the fact of the Gurus being Sir Sahan ke Shah. The worldly dominion was insignificant for the Sikh prophets. All the same, the tenth Master and his Khalsa owed political allegiance to none. The Khalsa was not a subject of any of the then states or principality.[38]

All the Sikh Gurus founded new towns and cities where they remained sovereign leaders of the Sikh nation. Sikhs called the Guru ‘True King’. Sikh Gurus had their own army and kept royal regalia, which were no less than being rulers. All the cities founded by the Gurus were sovereign city states. The fight of the Sikh Gurus was one against social, religious and political suppression. They took constructive measures to reform the society by repudiating caste system. They infused the martial spirit and bravery in the Sikhs to fight tyranny and oppression. The result was establishment of a new society which culminated in the form of Khalsa Panth; and it was this Panth that Guru Sahib prepared to take administration in their own hands to establish a true democratic rule. Pritam Singh Gill confirms:

In the times of Guru Gobind Singh, the society in India had degenerated due to two factors: stratification due to the caste division and the foreign rule. The Khalsa Panth was created for infusing the spirit of equality and abolition of slavery. The Guru wanted to give administration in the hands of those people who had high ideals of life. The best people of this type could be good administrators. The Khalsa means talented and pious and those who deserve to rule.[39]

Hence, we see that a new nation was established in order to fight oppression, injustice and tyranny for all times to come. Life events of the Sikh Gurus and their teaching are ample proof of the fact that they advocated the Sikhs to live as a sovereign nation and establish their rule based on Sikh principles. Creating the Khalsa order as explained earlier is the hallmark of their mission. Hence, it became the responsibility of the Sikh nation to establish a new political order to dispense justice, freedom, and equality for all. For such purposes, Guru Sahib set the scene by establishing four takhats (thrones or seat of authorities) to establish Sikh sovereignty and safeguard people from all sides. Purpose of Akal Takhat, while remaining the symbol of supreme political sovereignty of the Sikhs, was to exercise its authority over Punjab, West Pakistan, Hindu Kush, Rajasthan and North-Central areas of India. Takhat Hazoor Sahib’s authority was to manage and control the entire South India. Takhat Patna Sahib’s authority was to control and manage Bangaal, Asaam, East Pakistan and some parts of East-Central India. Takhat Kesgarh Sahib was to control Himachal, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Himalayas, Gadhwal etc. What this means is that Guru Sahib wanted the newly formed society to establish its political authority in all directions and Takhats were established to control and manage the occupied territories. However, Khalsa is never to stop here but extend its rule all over the world. As the rule is extended and more countries are occupied, more takhats are to be established.[40] This is why Guru Sahib uttered the words “Raj Karega Khalsa” meaning that the Sikhs or Khalsa shall establish their rule all over the world as absolute rulers. It is the Khalsa that is fit to provide true leadership to the world and must therefore, keep arms. Sirdar Kapur Singh explicates:

A sovereign man, the Khalsa, fit to provide true leadership and meaningful service to society, must be a man of deep religious faith and humility and must be in possession of the power of arms [emphasis added] to maintain his own integrity and to function truly in relation to society.[41]

Bhai Rattan Singh Bhangu in his work Panth Parkash explains the significant observation on this aspect of the basic characteristics of the Order of the Khalsa:

The Khalsa is never a satellite to another power.

They are either fully sovereign or in a state of war and rebellion.

A subservient coexistence they never accept.

To be fully sovereign and autonomous is their first and last demand.

In current political situation, the Sikhs have been enslaved under the majority rule. Therefore, the current struggle for Khalistan is a war against the majority rule which seeks to subjugate and suppress all other minorities. It is a war against oppression and injustice being meted out to the Sikhs by the Indian government which is elected by the Hindu majority and thrives on the support of the communal Hindus. The bedrock of the Sikh struggle is to remain sovereign in religious, social, political, and economic spheres.

The danger Sikhs are facing is twofold: State oppression and the majority rule. Sikhs fought against the State peacefully until they were physically attacked and massacred in thousands. Then Sikhs raised an armed struggle during which thousands of more innocent Sikhs were massacred. The role of majority Hindus during this struggle cannot be ignored. A Hindu State without the support of Hindu majority could not have done the damage to such an extent. It cannot be forgotten that the Hindus celebrated the attack on Darbar Sahib in 1984 in jubilant manner and distributed sweets and liquor to the Indian military. The Indian media also reported one-sided story. The official version produced by the Hindu majority government was considered the only correct version in which all Sikhs were branded as terrorists. Hindu civilians with State support fully endorsed and participated in the Sikh massacre of November 1984. Not a single Hindu came forward to testify against the mobs and government officials who openly participated against the Sikhs in rape, murder, and loot. Indian government runs on majority Hindu support and the majority Hindu relies on State support for its supremacy over minorities. Minorities are insignificant to play any role to amend the laws.

Consequently, one could ask whether it would be a viable option to somehow replace the current Indian government, replace rulers and introduce new policies granting the Sikhs equal rights. Darshan Singh answers it quite nicely:

….the Sikhs cherish the political values of equality, freedom and universal fraternity. To translate these values into reality, political power is a necessary requirement [emphasis added]. Fighting injustice, dislodging one set of people from power and allowing another set to assume power in its place without taking upon itself the responsibility of running the public affairs according to its cherished values has never been the Khalsa way of looking at political matters.[42]

Therefore, the matter is not just about replacing the old rulers with new ones; it is about Sikhs having their own rule to carve out their position in world politics so they could represent themselves. Further, even if we assume the rulers are replaced in India, the danger of majority rule will still be imminent. On the one hand, there will be a danger of majority influence on minority Sikh population resulting in eventual absorption of Sikhs in the fold of Hinduism. On the other hand will be the threat of Hindu majority voice in political arena where any demand of Sikhs will be looked upon as anti-national, unsecular, and unpatriotic, which, unfortunately, is the current condition in India. The collective Sikh voice is suppressed by the use of violence, threats, media bias, and other exploitive means. This is not freedom when the majority unanimously opposes every just and valid demand of the minority Sikh nation. Pritam Singh Gill affirms:

The religious interests of a religious majority are automatically safe because they protect these by their majority vote. Whenever there is a clash, the minorities suffer. They have to live at the mercy of the majority community which behaves like a dictator. The majority community is as communal as any other minority community but nothing can be legally established where the decision is taken by counting of votes. How can secularism, therefore, protect the minorities against the dictatorial temper of the majority community.[43]

Any demand, regardless of its validity, of the minority even if the entire community supports it, can be deemed as anti-national if the majority does not approve of it. When Sikhs demand recognition of their separate identity based on their religious and historical traditions, the majority Hindus see it as a threat to national unity because they rather see Sikhism vanish into the fold of Hinduism. When Sikhs demand rights over Punjab’s natural resources despite its constitutionality, the majority Hindus see it as a sign of secession. Every Sikh demand is seen as anti-Hindu which translates into anti-Indian. This is all but quite natural in light of the fact that Hinduism is all about caste system which rests upon the foundations of inequality, intolerance, and hatred. Sikh religion on the other hand is entirely opposite and advocates equality, brotherhood of humanity, tolerance, love, and unanimity. Hence, Sikhs have no option but to aspire for their own separate Sikh State to save their culture, language, identity, religion, heritage, holy places, and honor. Pritam Singh Gill corroborates:

Sikh culture is monotheistic and democratic; it must therefore be saved and this can be done only with the help of political force. For this the Sikhs require a state of their own [emphasis added]. They have all the attributes of a separate nationality as separate language, culture, religion and traditions, and therefore can aspire for a separate State if their culture is in danger.[44]

He further states:

In the world as it is, force can be met by force; force is an essential part of State; therefore, the Sikhs must have their own State; only then they would be able to protect themselves against religious persecution carried on by the State.[45]

In the light of discussion above, it is evident that the Sikh Gurus fought for political sovereignty of the people and raised the Sikh nation to fight against oppression, suppression, tyranny, and injustice. Sikh Gurus lived as sovereign rulers and the Sikh nation did not owe allegiance to any political power. Sikh struggle for Khalistan against India is also on the same principles. Neither should Sikhs be aloof from politics nor should they remain pacifists. Sikhs are made sovereign and their struggle to establish a separate Sikh State is fully accordance to the Sikh principles.

Gurbani and the Sikh State

In this section, we shall discuss Gurbani Shabads and concepts explaining Sikh philosophy on independent Sikh State while refuting misinterpretations used against Khalistan. It is quite often asked by supporters of India why the word ‘Khalistan’ is not mentioned in Gurbani. The answer is very simple. It is neither the goal nor the ultimate objective of the Sikh way of life. It is not a divine principle that a State must be named Khalistan. It could have any other name the Sikhs so choose. This does not mean, however, that the concept of a Sikh State is anti-Sikh. It simply means that in order to lead an independent life, a separate State can be established if required. Besides, the Sikh Gurus never supported the idea of Sikhs having only one State or advocated any State name in particular. War for an independent State must be fought on Sikh principles and its establishment must also be on the Sikh principles. The lifestyle of the Gurus and their message clearly prove that a separate Sikh State, be it Khalistan, Sikhistan, Khalsa Raj or anything else, is not against Sikh teachings. What the Sikh Gurus advocated was opposing the rule of tyranny, oppression and injustice. This is exactly what the Sikhs are doing in striving for independence of Khaistan.

In Gurbani, the concept of Raj-Yog is mentioned numerous times. A true Sikh, Gurmukh, is instructed to practice Raj-Yog in his life. For example:

ਤੂੰ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ਕਰਿ ਰਾਜ ਜੋਗੁ ॥੧॥ (੨੧੧)

By Guru's Grace, practice Raja Yoga. (211)

Raj refers to royalty or worldly authority while Yog refers to spirituality.[46] An ideal godly person, a Gurmukh, is to have worldly authority as well as being a spiritual person. A Gurmukh is an embodiment of ethical and moral virtues. He is not just a saint but a soldier as well. He is not only humble but also possesses martial spirit. He stands for right, truth and justice. He is not afraid to fight injustice and lay down his life for righteousness. While remaining steadfast in his faith, he fearlessly defies tyrant and oppressive rulers. A true Gurmukh who practices Raj-Yog is the one who has risen above all materialistic attachments while living in the world. He sees no difference between all humans; all are equal to him. Being an active householder, he remains absorbed in the remembrance of God while forever willing to raise arms in defense of righteousness. Guru Gobind Singh Ji speaks of a true Sikh in the following verse:

ਧੰਨ ਜੀਓ ਤਿਹ ਕੋ ਜਗ ਮੈ ਮੁਖ ਤੇ ਹਰਿ ਚਿਤ ਮੈ ਜੁਧ ਬਿਚਾਰੈ ॥

Blessed is the life of that person in the world, who has God’s Name in his mouth and heroism in his heart.

These ideals prove that Sikhs are not to remain other-worldly or away from politics. Having a political authority is very much part of the Sikh way of life because only God oriented people serving as rulers can bring about true justice, fairness and equal treatment to the entire humanity. Only a society of Gurmukhs can serve as a true role model for the world. They would set up a country where there are no sorrows, corruption, injustice, poverty and other immoral practices. Such a country in Gurbani is called ‘Begumpura’ (State without sorrows).

ਬੇਗਮ ਪੁਰਾ ਸਹਰ ਕੋ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਦੂਖੁ ਅੰਦੋਹੁ ਨਹੀ ਤਿਹਿ ਠਾਉ ॥

ਨਾਂ ਤਸਵੀਸ ਖਿਰਾਜੁ ਨ ਮਾਲੁ ॥ ਖਉਫੁ ਨ ਖਤਾ ਨ ਤਰਸੁ ਜਵਾਲੁ ॥੧॥

ਅਬ ਮੋਹਿ ਖੂਬ ਵਤਨ ਗਹ ਪਾਈ ॥ ਊਹਾਂ ਖੈਰਿ ਸਦਾ ਮੇਰੇ ਭਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

ਕਾਇਮੁ ਦਾਇਮੁ ਸਦਾ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੀ ॥ ਦੋਮ ਨ ਸੇਮ ਏਕ ਸੋ ਆਹੀ ॥

ਆਬਾਦਾਨੁ ਸਦਾ ਮਸਹੂਰ ॥ ਊਹਾਂ ਗਨੀ ਬਸਹਿ ਮਾਮੂਰ ॥੨॥

ਤਿਉ ਤਿਉ ਸੈਲ ਕਰਹਿ ਜਿਉ ਭਾਵੈ ॥ ਮਹਰਮ ਮਹਲ ਨ ਕੋ ਅਟਕਾਵੈ ॥

ਕਹਿ ਰਵਿਦਾਸ ਖਲਾਸ ਚਮਾਰਾ ॥ ਜੋ ਹਮ ਸਹਰੀ ਸੁ ਮੀਤੁ ਹਮਾਰਾ ॥੩॥੨॥ (੩੪੫)

Begumpura, 'the city without sorrow', is the name of the town. There is no suffering or anxiety there.

There are no troubles or taxes on commodities there. There is no fear, blemish or downfall there. ||1||

Now, I have found this most excellent city. There is lasting peace and safety there, O Siblings of Destiny. ||1||Pause||

God's Kingdom is steady, stable and eternal. There is no second or third status; all are equal there.

That city is populous and eternally famous. Those who live there are wealthy and contented. ||2||

They stroll about freely, just as they please. They know the Mansion of the Lord's Presence, and no one blocks their way.

Says Ravi Daas, the emancipated shoe-maker: whoever is a citizen there, is a friend of mine. ||3||2|| (345)

Begumpura is not simply a utopia, spiritual or immaterial place. It is a heavenly place that must be emulated in this world for the benefit of humanity. In this State, God is the True King who is the father of all and all humans are His children. No one is discriminated, treated unjustly and suffers in poverty in this State. This is the kind of a State envisioned in Gurbani and Sikhs who practice Raj-Yog are instructed to set up such a State. Hence, Sikh rule of Khalistan would only be a first step towards realizing that goal.

Gurbani strongly lays emphasis on living an independent life. Consider the following verses for example:

ਫਰੀਦਾ ਬਾਰਿ ਪਰਾਇਐ ਬੈਸਣਾ ਸਾਂਈ ਮੁਝੈ ਨ ਦੇਹਿ ॥

ਜੇ ਤੂ ਏਵੈ ਰਖਸੀ ਜੀਉ ਸਰੀਰਹੁ ਲੇਹਿ ॥੪੨॥ (੧੩੮੦)

Fareed begs, O Lord, do not make me sit at another's door.

If this is the way you are going to keep me, then go ahead and take the life out of my body. ||42|| (1380)

One may ask how this justifies Khalistan. First of all, it does not advocate Khalistan any more than it advocates the existence of India, USA, Canada, UK and Australia. In other words, the Shabad is not specific to any country. Rather, it embodies divine principles of living an independent life of honor and integrity. Although, the Shabad is giving general principles but it is the application of such principles that give support to the idea of Sikh State. Some of the salient points of the verses are as follows:

  1. One must ask and beg from Supreme God only. No one else can be looked upon as a means of reliance.
  2. One must not become a beggar-like. He must beg from God only. Hence, he must remain sovereign and keep his head high to preserve his honor.
  3. Death is preferred to violation of any of the two points above.

Applying the above mentioned points to the Sikh way of life, we can clearly see that Sikhs are religiously bound not to beg in front of the Indian government for any rights. Delhi rulers are humans and not God. Hence, Sikhs must not extend their hands towards the government begging for rights they have been given by God. Whenever they raise a demand, they must keep their honor intact by being steadfast in their faith, remaining high in spirits and not bowing to any worldly ruler. If their status and honor is maligned, disrespected or attacked in any form or fashion, they must raise arms to keep their sovereignty or die fighting. They must not become subjects of the government nor are they to accept any slavery. This is why each and every Sikh is called ‘Sardar’, the ruler.

Accepting Indian rule is a sign of slavery in itself. Sikhs cannot have any ruler except God above them. Khalsa being sovereign ruler in its own merit must not submit to the Indian rule. Whether it is a religious right or a political demand, a Sikh cannot be a beggar standing at the doorsteps of Indian rulers seeking justice and fair treatment. Indian rulers have already disrespected and attacked the honor and prestige of the Sikhs. Therefore, Sikhs must follow Gurbani principles of either fighting to win their freedom or die fighting. An honorable death is better than a life of dishonor and disrespect.

A particular Gurbani verse is sometimes quoted to prove that the creation of a Sikh State is rejected in Gurbani. The verse is as follows:

ਰਾਜੁ ਨ ਚਾਹਉ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਚਾਹਉ ਮਨਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਚਰਨ ਕਮਲਾਰੇ ॥ (੫੩੪)

I do not seek power, and I do not seek liberation. My mind is in love with Your Lotus Feet. (534)

If one asserts from the above verse that Sikhs must not create their own State for living then where is the justification for living in a Hindu state, India, or any other foreign country for that matter? Must not Sikhs then retire to a different place altogether which is not an organized territory or under any political rule? This way, Sikhs would become recluses, which is against the Gurbani injunctions. Hence, Sikhs must remain active householders fully participating in political affairs. Since this is the case then the actual implication of the above verse must be wholly different.

The verse speaks in the first person clearly stating that to have an individual desire to rule or seek salvation is wrong. The reason being that since Gurmat is not just an individualistic religion; the Sikhs must remain active in all spheres of life. A Sikh cannot be selfish and solely concerned about his own ends i.e. have a personal desire to rule or attain salvation. He remains active in the society and works towards bringing the greater benefit to others. When he fights, sacrifices or raises arms, it is not for any personal benefit or gain but to bring peace and harmony and restore justice. All his endeavors are for the welfare of society.

Guru Sahib states in the above verses that he seeks the love of God and His continuous remembrance (Naam Simran) as a mean of living a spiritual life. He does not seek either worldly rule or salvation (stay in heaven) as an alternative, which are not part of a true spiritual lifestyle. The verse, therefore, is teaching us that anything in place of God’s remembrance and love is harmful to the pure religious way of life. Without the love of God, everything else is insignificant and unimportant. The gist of the message is that whether one is entangled in worldly affairs by being a ruler or has achieved salvation, he must not forget God. God’s remembrance must remain the center of one’s way of life and such a person does not get allured by the political power or material gains. Despite being a ruler or a liberated one, he mentally remains unattached and unaffected by such things and keeps himself absorbed in Naam Simran. The following supporting verses bring home our point:

ਰਾਜ ਨ ਭਾਗ ਨ ਹੁਕਮ ਨ ਸਾਦਨ ॥ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਨ ਚਾਹੀ ॥੨॥ (੪੬)

(In exchange for Naam) Imperial power, fortunes, royal command and mansions - I have no desire for these. ||2|| (406)


ਸੁਲਤਾਨੁ ਹੋਵਾ ਮੇਲਿ ਲਸਕਰ ਤਖਤਿ ਰਾਖਾ ਪਾਉ ॥

ਹੁਕਮੁ ਹਾਸਲੁ ਕਰੀ ਬੈਠਾ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸਭ ਵਾਉ ॥

ਮਤੁ ਦੇਖਿ ਭੂਲਾ ਵੀਸਰੈ ਤੇਰਾ ਚਿਤਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਨਾਉ ॥੪॥੧॥ (੧੪)

Were I to be a Sultan, to raise armies and to set my foot on the throne;

were I to possess the regal command; this would be worthless.

O Nanak! To possess all this and to forget Him (would be worse). (14)

Therefore, the verse under discussion does not oppose Khalistan or a Sikh State. On the contrary, it provides sublime principles for Sikhs to live by and carry on their struggle. Khalistan must be fought on the Sikh principles and Sikhs must be strict followers of their faith if they are to achieve victory. Political sovereignty at the cost of religion (Sikh way of life) will not be achieved and the Sikh movement would be bound to failure if the essence of Sikh life is ignored in its quest. No Sikh struggle can continue without religious awakening. Hence, Sikhs must always remember God, pray to Him, beg from Him for blessings and victory, and never forget Him during any worldly affair.

As to the question why Gurbani does not mention any particular rules to govern the State, Kharak Singh and Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon expound:

It is common knowledge that specific rules and regulations in the religious field are always dated. They often become rituals and cause complication. The important thing, therefore, in any religious or ethical system is not the laying down of any particular code or rules which can be more of hindrance than a help, but the values ingrained in it. So far as the values are concerned, the Guru Granth clearly indicated the attributes of God, the Sovereign, and explains how any temporal ruler failing to live by those virtues and values forfeits his right to sovereignty.[47]

Albeit the Sikh Gurus did not give any dated laws concerning a political State, their teachings and deeds have clearly emphasized the importance of a political State for the Sikh nation to survive, flourish, prosper, and grow. Politics remains an inseparable part of the Sikh teachings. Puran Singh states:

No man or society that has risen from the dead into the life of the spirit can tolerate political subjugation or social slavery to unjust laws or rules. Politics, in the sense of fighting against all social injustice, all tyranny, all wrong taxation of the poor, all subjugation of man to man were the ‘politics’ of the Guru. Without freedom no true religion or art can flourish anywhere.[48]

Raj Karega Khalsa

Sikhs all over the world recite ‘Raj Karega Khalsa’ slogan every day to remind themselves the prophecy of the Sikh Gurus that the Khalsa shall rule one day and this rule will eventually spread all over the world. The couplet is as follows:

Raj Karega Khalsa Aqi Rahe Na Koe, Khuar Hoe Sabh Milainge Bache Saran Jo Hoe

The Khalsa shall rule; none shall stand in defiance to it. All others, tasting ignominy, shall come into the fold. Those accepting superiority of the Panth shall be saved.[49]

This litany finds recorded in Rahitnama Bhai Nand Lal, almost contemporaneous with Guru Gobind Singh. It is also confirmed in the Suraj Prakash of Bhai Santokh Singh (1840 A.D.) and Prachin Panth Prakash (1830 A.D.) of Rattan Singh Bhangu.[50]

S. Kapur Singh has translated this verse as follows:

The Sikh people shall remain free and sovereign [emphasis added], always none challenging this position. All, everyone must eventually accept this position, no matter how unpalatable and bitter it is to them. And behold, peace and safety is in such a concession or submission.[51]

Hence, it is clear from above that the Sikh nation has long held its belief of political sovereignty in the prophecy of the Gurus and the Sikh people have always aspired for their own State ruled in accordance to the Sikh way of life.

Some government backed writers claim that the word ‘Khalsa’ in the slogan refers to the ‘pure ones’ and not just the Sikhs. However, it is nothing but their sheer foolishness. We quote Dr. Ganda Singh, an eminent Sikh historian to refute their false claim:

It is not always correct, particularly in the context of this couplet, to translate the word 'Khalsa' as pure. The word for pure is Khalis. Derived, of course from Khalis, Khalsa is, in fact, a technical term which in the days of Mughal administration meant inalienable lands or revenues directly looked after or administered by the government or the king. Guru Gobind Singh applied this word specifically to those of the Sikhs whom he had baptized as Singhs, the lions. To them he gave the name of Khalsa, 'his own'.[52]

Therefore, Sikh Gurus have clearly demonstrated the message and principles of Gurbani throughout their life and set precedent for the Sikhs to emulate. By following such principles, Sikhs have every right to establish and govern the Sikh State, consolidate their rule and expand it further.

Religion Precedes Nationality

Before we conclude this article, there remains one point that needs to be clarified and emphasized. It is the question of whether to give precedence to religion or nationality via political allegiance. In other words, is one a Sikh first and then American, Canadian etc. or is it the other way around? Therefore, it is pertinent to discuss this question within the parameters of Gurmat so that Sikhs of current times could have an accurate understanding about whether to give precedence to religion or nationality when it comes to their loyalty and faith.

To obtain a clear answer to our question, we turn to Gurbani. In Gurbani it is written:

ਸੂਰਾ ਸੋ ਪਹਿਚਾਨੀਐ ਜੁ ਲਰੈ ਦੀਨ ਕੇ ਹੇਤ ॥ (੧੧੦੫)

He alone is known as a warrior, who fights in defense of religion. (1105)

From the above verse, which is commonly known to the Sikh world, we learn that a true warrior and a hero is someone who fights in defense of his religion i.e. a true Sikh who is a saint-warrior always fights in defense of his religion, Gurmat. Hence, his allegiance is owed to his religion first and then to anything else. Therefore, if one’s nationality or government service asks them to take any action against their own religion or community then they must not oblige as religion takes precedence. It is the Sikh religion that provides them their identity and character, not mere political alliance. Nowhere in Gurbani is it written that one must fight for a State or a government. Rather, the continuous emphasis in Gurbani is laid on fighting for truth, righteousness and justice. This is so because the foundation of religion and religious way of life rests upon divine principles, and ethical and moral values. The Sikh Gurus preached and worked hard to unite humanity on religious principles not political matters.

Further, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji in his composition Bachittar Natak makes it amply clear that the Sikhs must owe their foremost allegiance to their religion. However, those who do not will be plundered by political rulers and will not find any solace in the hereafter. Guru Sahib says:

ਬਾਬੇ ਕੇ ਬਾਬਰ ਕੇ ਦੋਊ ॥ ਆਪ ਕਰੇ ਪਰਮੇਸਰ ਸੋਊ ॥ ਦੀਨ ਸਾਹ ਇਨ ਕੋ ਪਹਿਚਾਨੋ ॥ ਦੁਨੀ ਪੱਤਿ ਉਨ ਕੌ ਅਨੁਮਾਨੋ ॥ ੯॥

ਜੋ ਬਾਬੇ ਕੇ ਦਾਮ ਨ ਦੈਹੈਂ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਤੇ ਗਹਿ ਬਾਬਰ ਕੇ ਲੈਹੈਂ ॥ ਦੈ ਦੈ ਤਿਨ ਕੌ ਬਡੀ ਸਜਾਇ ॥ ਪੁਨਿ ਲੈਹੈਂ ਗ੍ਰਿਹ ਲੂਟ ਬਨਾਇ ॥ ੧੦॥

ਜਬ ਹੈੂ ਹੈਂ ਬੇਮੁਖ ਬਿਨਾ ਧਨ ॥ ਤਬ ਚੜਿਹੈਂ ਸਿਖਨ ਕਹ ਮਾਂਗਨ ॥ ਜੇ ਜੇ ਸਿਖ ਤਿਨੈ ਧਨ ਦੈਹੈਂ ॥ ਲੂਟ ਮਲੇਛ ਤਿਨੂ ਕੌ ਲੈਹੈਂ ॥ ੧੧॥

ਜਬ ਹੁਇ ਹੈ ਤਿਨ ਦਰਬ ਬਿਨਾਸਾ ॥ ਤਬ ਧਰਿਹੈ ਨਿਜ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਆਸਾ ॥ ਜਬ ਤੇ ਗੁਰ ਦਰਸਨ ਕੌ ਐਹੈਂ ॥ ਤਬ ਤਿਨ ਕੋ ਗੁਰ ਮੁਖ ਨ ਲਗੈਹੈਂ ॥੧੨॥

ਬਿਦਾ ਬਿਨਾ ਜੈਹੈਂ ਤਬ ਧਾਮੰ ॥ ਸਰਿਹੈ ਕੋਈ ਨ ਤਿਨ ਕੋ ਕਾਮੰ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਦਰ ਢੋਈ ਨ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਪੁਰ ਵਾਸਾ ॥ ਦੁਹੂੰ ਠਉਰ ਤੇ ਰਹੇ ਨਿਰਾਸਾ ॥ ੧੩॥

The Successors of Baba Nanak and those of the Emperor Babar, Have both been created by the Supreme Lord.  Recognize these (Guru Nanak's) as the True Sovereign of Religion (Supreme in spiritual matters), And those (of Babar) as the Ruler of the people (Supreme in temporal matters).(9)

Those who withhold moneys owing to the Guru, for the spread of Dharma (e.g. tithes, sums promised and donations). The successors of Babar shall seize them and take away those sums forcibly from them. They shall inflict severe punishments on them. Later on their hearths and homes will be pillaged desperately.(10)

When those renegades will be penniless, They will go to the Sikhs to collect alms. Those Sikhs, who will give away charity to such people, Will be plundered by the malechhas (wicked persons).(11)

When the wealth of those (renegades) will be wiped out, They will turn their hopes to the Guru. When they will come to have a sight of the Guru, The Guru will turn his face away from them.(12)

Then without seeking the permission of the Guru they will return to their houses. None of their affairs will be successful. They find neither shelter in the house of the Guru, nor an abode in. heaven. They remain in despair in both worlds.(13)

Before we discuss the verses given above, it is important to understand the background and political circumstance in which the above verses were revealed.

The verses describe the expedition of Prince Muazzam (later known as Bahadur Shah), the eldest son of Aurangzeb, in the sub-mountainous region of the Punjab. This expedition was ordered by Aurangzeb to reestablish imperial authority in this area which had been shaken by the defeat of Mughal forces at the hands of the Sikhs. Aurangzeb had ordered all his commanders to prevent Guru Gobind Singh Ji from collecting his followers. This was the background of the expedition of Muazzam. On the arrival of Prince Muazzam, all the hill chiefs had taken refuge in obscure hilly hide outs. Some Sikhs had deserted Guru Gobind Singh Ji also and had sought shelter in hilly obscure places. Aurangzeb had ordered his commanders to pierce into these ambushes. Those who had left Guru Sahib were caught, imprisoned, tortured and made to pay heavy fines. On the other hand, Guru Sahib and his Sikhs were left alone by the Prince. It was in this background that Guru Sahib wrote the above verses.[53]

Explaining the implied meanings of the verses, Pritam Singh Gill elucidates:

There are two forces which claim allegiance of men’s souls on earth, the truth and morality as Religion (House of Baba) and the State (House of Babar) as embodiment of secular power. The primary allegiance of man is to the religion [emphasis added] (truth and morality) and those who fail in this allegiance suffer under the subjugation of the State as they have no courage and hope which is born through unswerving allegiance to religion. The Church must correct and influence the State without aiming to destroy it. The two must exist side by side but the primary allegiance is towards Religion, Truth and Morality.[54]

Surjit Singh Gandhi affirms:

There is no doubt left by the Guru about the meanings of this text. He says that there are two forces which claim allegiance of men's souls on earth, the truth and morality as religion, and the state as embodiment of mere utilitarianism and secular politics. The primary allegiance of man is to the truth and morality and those who fail in this allegiance suffer under the subjugation of the earthly state [emphasis added][55]… In this perpetual struggle between the state and the church for exclusive possession of the soul of man, a man of culture and religion shall not lose sight ever of his primary allegiances. He who does so does it at his own peril, for, by doing so, he helps give birth to times in which everything is force, politics of utility and poverty.[56]

Sardar Kapur Singh in his book “Baisakhi” commenting on this passage, writes:

There are two forces which claim allegiance of men’s souls on earth — the truth and morality as religion (house of Baba) and the state (house of Babar) as embodiment of secular power. The primary allegiance of man is to the religion [emphasis added] (truth and morality) and those, who fail in this allegiance, suffer under the subjugation of the state as they have no courage and hope which is born through unswerving allegiance to religion. The church must correct and influence the state without aiming to destroy it. The two must exist side by side but the primary allegiance is towards religion [emphasis added], truth and morality.[57]

The message given by the Sikh Gurus is unambiguous. Those who repudiate their allegiance to Gurmat, suffer grievously without hope, at the hands of the State. Further, their prayers will go to waste, as Guru Sahib will not give them any blessings and they will suffer in this world as well as hereafter. This is so because such people neglect their religious duty and refuse to take a stand on ethical and moral ground. Instead of standing for religious principles, they stand besides political State and help it to commit tyranny, oppression and injustice while exploiting human citizens. Hence, they cease to be Sikhs and their religious allegiance stands repudiated. This is why the Guru Sahib turns away from such people because they are real traitors and betrayers.

This gives us a clear understanding of the fact that Sikhs are not Indians, Americans, Australians, or Canadians etc. Rather, they are Sikhs and they are part of the Khalsa brotherhood. They can live in any country they so desire but their foremost allegiance remains concentrated to their religion. They must not speak or act in any way or manner which goes against the collective benefit and progress of the Sikh nation. Without it, there can be no unity and solidarity in the Sikh nation. We must always think, speak and act as being part of the Khalsa Panth. Pritam Singh Gill elucidates the meaning of the Panth by stating:

The word ‘Panth’ indicates collectivism; it means ‘we all together’, and not mere individuals. Its underlying sense can be understood from the daily conversation of the Sikhs that has been prevalent since the days of Guru Gobind Singh. Suppose four or five persons were going to Lahore and we put them a question, “whither bound?” The answer would be, “The Panth has attacked Lahore.” The Sikhs, in those crucial days of life and death struggled against the Mughal rulers, had stopped talking as individuals. They would always call themselves as ‘we’ and never as ‘I’ or ‘he’.[58]

Hence, being part of the Khalsa Panth, all Sikhs are obligated to think in collective terms and never as individuals. While it is acceptable to have a disagreement, the disagreeing parties must be unified that the Panth’s welfare is supreme. The disagreement must present a viable solution that is progressive and brings the most benefit. It will be against the spirit of the Panth and irreligious to speak and/or act against the Sikh faith by taking side of the State government.

When one becomes part of the Panth by taking Amrit, they become a contributive member of the Sikh nation. His father, mother, place of birth and residence etc. start anew. The newly initiated Sikh gets a new identification and all past alliances religious, political and social (tribe, caste etc.) stand rejected. Thus, it becomes even more pertinent to think for the betterment of the new Khalsa family and stand behind it in all perils. The Sikh’s power, energy, time, thinking and will remain solely dedicated to the Panth. Pritam Singh Gill explains:

On joining the ‘community’ each member is supposed to surrender all his natural rights to the collective whole; each individual places his person and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the ‘General Will’. Similarly, all Sikhs by surrendering their will to the common will or collective personality become one with it.[59]

Gurmit Singh corroborates:

Sikhism claims the entire allegiance of man and everything that motivates the Sikh community springs from a power source of religion. It is an all embracing religion which deals with social life as well as relationship inter se between Sikhs. It also provides guidelines with regard to affairs of the State and with regard to relationship between the church and the State.[60]

The Sikh Gurus never owed their political alliance to any government. As we have already explained previously, they all remained sovereign and independent. They never bowed to any worldly ruler or sided with one ruler over the other due to political aspirations. Their actions were always grounded in religion and they never lost sight of moral values. None of their actions ever brought any harm to humanity, Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike. They always spoke and fought against tyrannous and unjust governments, rulers and leaders. They condemned exploitation, oppression and discrimination at the cost of their own lives.

Moreover, buildings of Harmandar Sahib and Akal Takhat were also constructed to convey the same message that religion is always higher and takes precedence over politics. Whereas Harmandar Sahib is the religious authority, Akal Takhat is the symbol of political sovereignty of the Sikhs. It is culmination of Miri-Piri system. While these two structures tell us that religion and politics go together, we also learn the following salient points:

  1. Harmandar Sahib is built on lower platform signifying that one must be humble while walking on a religious path. Akal Takhat on the other hand is built high and tall teaching that in realm of politics, one must keep his head high, stand firmly and boldly and never bow to any worldly ruler. This tells us that while we must remain humble and shed our ego, we must not bow to any worldly ruler and always take stand on religious principles. Hence, religion takes precedence.
  2. Two flags are hosted in between the two structures. The flag for Harmandar Sahib is taller and flies higher than the flag of Akal Takhat. It serves as a reminder of the sublime principle that religion is always above and higher than politics because religion makes one an ethical, moral and a virtuous person.
  3. Person sitting inside Harmandar Sahib cannot see Akal Takhat whereas the person sitting at Akal Takhat gets a clear view of the inside of Harmandar Sahib. This teaches us that when conducting religious affairs, politics must be kept out and one must not have any political inclinations. On the other hand, while engaging in politics or discussing and deciding political matters, one must always keep religious principles and divine injunctions in mind so that his actions bring welfare to humanity.

In addition, owing allegiance to any particular country over Gurmat has its disadvantages and requires Sikhs to go against their religion. We present just a few points to clarify the matter:

  • Allegiance to a country means submission to its constitution. A State constitution consists of man-made laws, which are subject to change over time. These laws can be against the teachings of Gurmat from time to time. For example, Article 25 of the Indian Constitution denies the Sikhs their separate identity by categorizing them as Hindus. Legality of taking intoxicants is another example. Hence, Sikhs who align themselves to a country over Gurmat are submitting to men i.e. government officials who not only write and approve laws and policies but can also be against the prosperity of the Sikhs. As a result, such imperfect men unworthy to be rulers become their (Sikhs’) supreme leaders rather than their Guru. We must remind that Gurbani does not consider anyone other than God to be the Supreme Leader.
  • Governments change over time and remain in power for limited amount of time. This would require Sikhs to change their allegiance as the government changes. A new government or a party that comes to power can reject previously passed laws or enact new ones. As laws change, so does the allegiance and loyalty of the citizens of the country. Precedence to Gurmat ensures that Sikhs never have to keep changing their mindset over certain issues/matters as they remain dedicated to the divine principles of Gurbani and their loyalty remains unshaken.
  • State governments divide humanity on the basis of race, ethnicity and nationality etc. Anyone living outside the boundary is considered an alien, a foreigner or even an enemy. For example, an Indian is considered an enemy by Pakistanis and vice versa, and it is considered patriotic to hate and speak against the people of the other country. Gurmat on the contrary teaches the complete opposite. Gurmat principles are universal that break the sectarian differences by teaching brotherhood of humanity and fatherhood of God.
  • State government requires loyalty and faithfulness towards a piece of land thereby dividing humanity on imaginary lines and preventing humans from becoming a homogeneous society. In contrast, Gurmat teaches loyalty towards divine principles that are not subject to change over time. Gurmat also teaches that since everything is temporary and created by the Almighty, it is prudent to rise above the world and be attached to the Creator alone rather than the creation. Such an attitude and viewpoint is all-encompassing and much larger which will bring one closer at heart with other humans.

It becomes evident from the above discussion that religion is always higher and takes precedence over politics, political alliance and nationality. Thus, Sikhs are Sikhs first and then anything else which means having foremost allegiance to religion is well according to Gurmat. Siding with a government that uses political power against the prosperity of Sikhs is an irreligious and anti-Sikh act. Therefore, it is harmful and destructive for Sikhs to take the side of a country especially India that has continually attacked the Sikh religion, Sikh Gurdwaras, killed Sikhs in fake encounters, and raped Sikh women to demoralize the Sikhs so that they live a life of humiliation and degradation, and forever remain subservient to the ruling majority. Sikhs, therefore, must remain sovereign and fight for their sovereignty. Struggle for Khalistan is part of the Sikh ideology and implementation of Gurbani principles. Khalistan is a must in order for Sikhs to survive politically. Gurmit Singh states:

The principle of giving to every ethnological or cultural unit of humanity a homeland, a place with right to work out her destiny unhindered has been internationally recognised and creation of such a homeland for the Sikhs is the only way for the Sikhs to make their impact on the world and to survive politically.[61]

Hence, Sikhs who are fighting for Khalistan are neither traitor nor is their endeavor anti-Sikh in any way. At the same time, those who oppose the current Sikh struggle can neither be considered Sikhs nor moral and ethical human beings because they are siding with the tyrannous and oppressive government that wishes to destroy every single minority group by any means necessary.

Before concluding this section, we wish to address one common misconception that India is a secular country and therefore much better than theocracy. In the preceding discussion it has been proven that Sikh rule as advocated by Sikh Gurus will be theocratic which advocates egalitarian principles. There is hardly any country in the world that is truly secular. Since our discussion is not about theocracy versus secularism, it is sufficient enough to state that there is not a single Sikh principle that advocates suppression of non-Sikh communities on any basis. Gurbani teaches that only the true God-oriented people are worthy to rule because only those people above their base desires can deliver justice and equality to all humans. On the other hand, people devoid of spirituality and driven by materialism will be corrupted by power in one way or another. Thus, secularism is not better than Sikh theocracy. Nonetheless, we will keep our discussion confined to whether India is a secular country.

Gurmit Singh Advocate explains that from the beginning of Indian struggle for independence, the appeal of Congress has never been for all Indians but for the majority Hindus. He states:

Hindus being majority community soon flooded the Congress ranks because they found in its demand for introduction of democratic principles and opportunity to rule over the country because ultimately democracy meant the rule of majority. Hindu Congress leaders organising anti-British movements concentrated more on appealing to the communal sentiments of the people rather than rousing national enthusiasm. Leaders like B.G. Tilak organised ‘Ganesh Festival’ and ‘Shivaji Festival’ and tried to infuse religious fervour among the Hindus. The result was that the religious pride was made to precede the national pride [emphasis added] and Congress leaders appeared to be active protagonists of Hindu revivalism.[62]

Mohandas Gandhi, the so-called Mahatama, when appealing to masses did not speak as a national leader addressing all sections but as a Hindu leader. The Hindus were “We” others were “they.”[63] Hence, the so-called Indian nationalism in reality is Hindu nationalism which proves that for the majority Hindus religion precedes nationality.

Naba Gopal editor of National paper and founder of National Society writes in his paper that the Hindus certainly formed a nation by themselves. He supported his theory by the following argument:

Nationalism is based on unity which is brought about, sustained and promoted in different people by different means such as love of liberty among the Greeks, Romans and the English and the Mosaic law among the Jews. The basis of national unity in India is Hindu religion [emphasis added]. Hindu nationality embraces all the Hindus of India irrespective of their locality or language. The Hindus are destined to be a religious nation.[64]

Gurmit Singh explains that in India, Hinduisation and Nationalism are treated as synonyms which is why the minorities are suppressed and shunned as communal. This is so because:

Indian nationalism is founded not on the bedrock of a synthesis of various Indian religions, cultures and historical traditions as it ought to be but is rather of Hindu character which it has retained, consciously or unconsciously ever since.[65]

He further explains that the Sikh attitude of being under the garb of secularism is the cause of all problems because it prevents Sikhs from fully asserting their separate identity and nationhood. He explicates:

Until we give up this strategy of presenting our demands under the cover of secularism we will continue to suffer. We have failed to learn a lesson from our past mistakes. Unless we decide to move out from the ivory tower of secularism in which we are caged, there is no hope for the succeeding generations.[66]

Therefore, it has been proven that India is not a secular country but a Hindu country which seeks to assimilate all other minority communities. We conclude this section by reiterating that for Sikhs religion takes precedence over everything else especially nationality. Sikhs are a separate nation and their survival as Sikhs depends entirely on their religious commitment and dedication.


It has been proven from the ongoing discussion above that the Sikh Gurus not only taught politics to be an inseparable part of religion but also took constructive steps in clearly demonstrating it in practice. When political regime becomes corrupt, immoral, exploitive, suppressive, discriminatory, dishonest, oppressive, and tyrannous and fails to fulfill its obligated duty of protecting its citizens, then it is fully justified to condemn the government and take necessary steps to either reform or completely overthrow the ruling party. Raising arms in defense of truth and righteousness is also equally moral and ethical. Every Sikh is duty-bound to stand against falsehood and bring peace and harmony to the society and establish a rule of equity, equality and justice. Using arms and force to repulse evil forces is justified by the teachings and the actions of the Gurus. The Sikh struggle for an independent Khalistan is built on such principles and ethical values. Therefore, the Sikhs who are fighting against the Indian government and putting their lives on the line are neither anti-nationalists, secessionists, extremist, and terrorists nor can they be labeled as traitors and betrayers. They are fighting for the betterment, prosperity and progress of the Sikh nation and are the true torch bearers of the Sikh ideals and loyal servants of the Guru. Their armed struggle and war against the Indian government is neither anti-Sikh nor against the principles taught by the Sikh Gurus. Thus, Khalistan struggle is completely in line with the Sikh thought and ethos.

Based on the discussion above, Khalistan is needed for some of the following reasons:

  1. Complete religious freedom without any State interference in religious matters.
  2. Complete political autonomy where Sikhs as a distinct nation can prosper and grow in their own terms rather than under the umbrella of Hindu majority and make their mark in world politics.
  3. End of discrimination, injustice and unfair treatment.
  4. Right to be governed by the laws based on Sikh principles i.e. freedom to live as a Sikh because the Gurus have made Sikhs sovereign.
  5. End of economic exploitation of Sikhs (i.e. loot of Punjab’s natural resources).
  6. Save Sikhism as a distinct religion. Without this there is every possibility of disintegration of Sikh society through Hinduization.
  7. Sikhism and Sikh society can make valuable contribution to the world culture only when allowed to flourish in an autonomous or independent area.[68]
  8. Realization of the final destiny of the Sikh nation by bringing ‘Raj Karega Khalsa’ to reality. It will be the first State that provides political representation to all Sikhs in the world.
  9. It is a way out of the conditions of rootlessness and individual irresponsibility into which the Sikhs are being reduced through atomization of the Khalsa and secularization in India.[69] In present India, Sikhs are being forced to owe allegiance to India at the cost of their religion.
  10. Freedom to owe primary allegiance to Sikh religion rather than a political State.

Raj Karega Khalsa Aqi Rahe Na Koe


[1] Singh, Gurmit. History of Sikh Struggles Vol. 1. p. 21. Print

[2] Ibid, p. 19

[3] Kaur, Gurdip. Guru Nanak’s Philosophy of Politics. Bathinda: Mahant Bhal Tirath Singh 'Sewapanthi', 1994. p. 52. Print

[4] Singh, Kehar. Political Ideas of Guru Nanak. p. 38

[5] Gill, Pritam Singh. History of Sikh Nation. Jullundhar: New Academic Publishing Company, 1978. p. 65. Print

[6] Singh, Gurmit. op. cit., pp. 20-21.

[7] Ibid, p. 19.

[8] Gill, Pritam Singh. Trinity of Sikhism. Jullundhar: New Academic Publishing Company, 1973. p. 236. Print

[9] Kaur, Madanjit. The Golden Temple Past and Present. Amritsar: Guru Nanak Dev University, 1983. p. 1. Print

[10] Gill, Pritam Singh. Trinity of Sikhism. op. cit., pp. 246-47

[11] Ibid., p. 247

[12] Ibid., p. 258

[13] Singh, Kehar. “Sikh Political Values: An Analysis.” op. cit., p. 46

[14] Singh, Bhagat. “Political Institutions of the Sikhs in 18th And 19th Centuries.” Perspectives on Sikh Polity. New Delhi: Dawn Publishers, 1993. p. 150. Print

[15] Singh, Giani Gian. Panth Parkash, p. 118

[16] Gill, Pritam Singh. Trinity of Sikhism. op. cit., p. 155

[17] Singh, Gurmit. op. cit., pp. 24-5

[18] Bannerjee, A.C. Guru Nanak To Guru Gobind Singh, p. 136

[19] Ibid

[20] Niharranjan Ray. The Sikh Gurus and The Sikhs Society, p. 25

[21] Gill, Pritam Singh. History of Sikh Nation. op. cit., p. 155

[22] Gandhi, Surjit Singh. A Historian’s Approach to Guru Gobind Singh. Amritsar: Singh Brothers, 2004. p. 446. Print

[23] Gill, Pritam Singh. History of Sikh Nation. op. cit., p. 170

[24] Singh, Kavi Santokh. Suraj Prakash, Ras 8, Ansu 56, verses 41-42. Translation taken from Life of Guru Hari Krishan by Dr. Trilochan Singh.

[25] Ibid. verses 43-44. Translation taken from Life of Guru Hari Krishan by Dr. Trilochan Singh.

[26] Bhalla, Sarup Das. Mehma Prakash, p. 535. Translation taken from Life of Guru Hari Krishan by Dr. Trilochan Singh.

[27] Gandhi, Surjit Singh. op. cit., p. 220

[28] Ibid., p. 108

[29] Macauliffe, M.A. The Sikh Religion, Vol. VI, pp. 228-29.

[30] Singh, Gurmit. op. cit., p. 10

[31] Singh, Sirdar Kapur. The Baisakhi of Guru Gobind Singh. Amritsar: Guru Nanak Dev University, 2001. p. 39. Print

[32] Singh, Ganda. Life of Banda Singh Bahadur. Patiala: Punjabi University, 1999. pp. 17-18. Print

[33] Singh, Bhagat. Ibid., p. 146

[34] Gill, Pritam Singh. History of Sikh Nation. op. cit., p. 191

[35] Ibid., p. 215

[36] Ibid., p. 214

[37] Singh, Darshan. op. cit., pp. 37-38

[38] Singh, Darshan. op. cit., p. 22

[39] Gill, Pritam Singh. History of Sikh Nation. op. cit., pp. 258-59

[40] Singh, Sirdar Kapur. “Navan Takhat.” Raj Karega Khalsa Te Horr Nibandh. Ed. Gurmukh Singh. Amritsar: Singh Brothers, 2013. p. 88. Print

[41] Singh, Sirdar Kapur. op. cit., p. 40

[42] Singh, Darshan. op. cit., p. 22

[43] Gill, Pritam Singh. Trinity of Sikhism. op. cit., p. 242

[44] Ibid., p. 232

[45] Gill, Pritam Singh. History of Sikh Nation. op. cit., p. 156

[46] Kohli, Surindar Singh. Real Sikhism. New Delhi: Harman Publishing House, 1994. p. 163. Print

[47] Singh, Kharak and Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon. “Raj Karega Khalsa: Its real Meaning and Intent.” Perspectives on Sikh Polity. op. cit. p. 199

[48] Singh, Puran. “Sikh Spirit and Politics.” Perspectives on Sikh Polity. op. cit. p. 84

[49] Singh, Nripinder. The Sikh Moral Tradition Notes. New Delhi: Manohar Publishers & Distributors, 2008. Print, p. 15

[50] Singh, Gurmit. History of Sikh Struggles Vol. 1. op. cit., pp. 36-7

[51] Ibid, p. 36

[52] Ibid, p. 37

[53] Gill, Pritam Singh. Trinity of Sikhism. op. cit., p. 240

[54] Ibid., p. 240

[55] Gandhi, Surjit Singh. op. cit., p. 176

[56] Ibid., pp. 446-47

[57] Singh, Gurmit. Failures of Akali Leadership. op. cit.,  p. 14

[58] Gill, Pritam Singh. History of Sikh Nation. op. cit., p. 254

[59] Ibid., p. 255

[60] Singh, Gurmit. History of Sikh Struggles Vol. 1. op. cit., p. 3

[61] Singh, Gurmit. Failures of Akali Leadership. op. cit., pp. 89-90

[62] Ibid, p. 46

[63] Ibid, p. 47

[64] Mazumdar, Dr. R.C. Three Phases of India’s Struggle for Freedom. p. 8. Quoted in Failures of Akali Leadership by Gurmit Singh, p. 46

[65] Singh, Gurmit. Failures of Akali Leadership. op. cit., p. 46

[66] Ibid, p. 56

[68] Singh, Kehar. “Introduction.” Perspectives on Sikh Polity. Ed. Kehar Singh. New Delhi: Dawn Publishers, 1993. p. 20. Print

[69] Ibid.