How RSS Fought Khalistani Separatists in Punjab in 1980s – Part Two


Why did RSS become anathema to Akali Dali? Koenraad Elst in his article Are Sikhs Hindus? notes, “RSS view that Sikhism was a branch of large Hindu Dharma umbrella and was inseparable part of Hindu society did not suit the politics of Akali Dal. Hence, SAD and SGPC have viewed RSS with suspicion. This resulted in long-standing animosity against RSS in Akali politics. Compulsions of religious and regional politics forced Akalis to find common grounds with Islam, which was a myth as all the battles by Sikh gurus and Khalsa armies were against Islamist oppressors and fought along with Hindus. While ‘banis’ of various Hindu saints occur in Guru Granthsahib, Muhammad is not mentioned even once in Nanak’s time; nor did any Guru praise Muhammad anytime. There are hundreds of places where the names of Ram and Krishna occur. Guru Gobind Singh was an ardent devotee of Durga. It speaks volumes about opportunistic Akali politics that SAD (Sikh Akali Dal) has had a very longstanding alliance with Jan Sangh and then with BJP to take advantage of consolidation of votes of Hindus with Sikhs to stay in power; but it treats RSS shabbily. SGPC has imposed an undeclared ban on entry of RSS or organisations allied to its philosophy.

“…Though Guru Govind Singh is considered as the founder of the Khalsa order (1699) who gave his Sikhs an outward form distinct from the Hindus, he too did things which Sikh separatists would dismiss as Brahminical. As Khushwant Singh notes, Gobind selected five of the most scholarly of his disciples and sent them to Benares to learn Sanskrit and the Hindu religious texts, to be better able to interpret the writings of the gurus, which were full of allusions to Hindu mythology and philosophy. Arun Shourie quotes Govind Singh as declaring: ‘Let the path of the pure (Khalsa panth) prevail all over the world, let the Hindu dharma dawn and all delusion disappear. May I spread dharma and prestige of the Veda in the world and erase from it the sin of cow-slaughter.’”

Panj piyaras (first five disciples) of Guru Gobind Singh came from different corners of Bharat and different castes. Similarly, the holiest of Gurudwaras are built in different regions of Bharat, not just in Punjab. RSS took a consistent stand to see that there is no divide between Sikhs and Hindus or ‘Keshdharis and Sahajdharis’ (those with uncut hair, beard-moustache and those without)-as Punjabis were called earlier. Guru Gobind Singh occupied a pride of place in the pantheon of great Hindu leaders of Bharat in RSS.

To counter the prevailing atmosphere, RSS swayamsevaks, with some other Hindu leaders, formed Rashtriya Suraksha Samiti (Punjab) in 1982 under the leadership of Omprakash Vaid to promote the idea of Hindu-Sikh brotherhood. The objective of the Samiti was to raise people’s morale, work hard to maintain harmony between Sikhs and Hindus, join the fight with terrorists at ideas level and give moral strength to the citizens of Punjab not to leave Punjab. But, after his death, the work slowed down. It was revived later in a big way in 1986 by Jaikrishan Sharma (ex-prachaarak) as its General Secretary with a small office on the premises of Durgiana Temple. In 1982, no one had a clue when and how it will all end. But, RSS was able to grasp the seriousness of this threat.

One cannot deny the world view of Guru Gobind Singh when discussing Sikh panth. Guru Gobind Singhji’s writings extol Bhagwan Shiv, Durga maa and various other gods in his Dasham Granth. Sanjeev Nayyar, independent columnist, researcher and founder www.esamskrit.com, notes, “The Siachen War Memorial has a plaque which quotes Guru Govind Singh ji and reads, ‘Oh Lord Shiva, grant me this boon that, never shall I shy away from doing good deeds. I should never be frightened away from fighting for justice, Dharma and rightful Cause and I should be determined to emerge victorious from this battle. May every soldier have a pure heart and mind and let not greed come near him. When the time comes for my soul to unite with yours, I should die fighting in the battlefield.”

Khushwant Singh wrote, “The roots of Sikhism lie deep in the Bhakti form of Hinduism. Guru Nanak picked what he felt were its salient features: belief in one God who is undefinable, unborn, immortal, omniscient, all-pervading and the epitome of Truth; belief in the institution of the Guru as the guide in matters spiritual; unity of mankind without distinction of caste; rejection of idol worship and meaningless ritual; sanctity of the sangat (congregation) which was expected to break bread together at the Guru ka Langar; the gentle way of sahaj to approach God while fulfilling domestic obligations; hymn singing (kirtan); emphasis on work as a moral obligation. The Adi (first) Granth is essentially a distillation of the Vedanta in Punjabi, the Dasam Granth is a compilation of tales of valour of Hindu goddesses, some composed by the Guru himself, others by bards of his court. […] Of the 15,028 names of God that appear in the Adi Granth, Hari occurs over 8,000 times, Ram 2,533 times, followed by Prabhu, Gopal Govind, Parabrahm and other Hindu nomenclature for the Divine. The purely Sikh coinage ‘Wahe Guru’ appears only sixteen times.”

This excerpt from Conflict Resolution: The RSS Way by Ratan Sharda and Yashwant Pathak.

Courtesy : VSK Bharat

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