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SOME CONCEPTS OF THE SIKH POLITY by Dr. Harjinder Singh ji Dilgeer


Sikh Gurus | Martyrs | Sikh Warriors
Historic Events | Personalities | Institutes


This page was last updated on December 01 2000.





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ANANDPUR SAHIB RESOLUTION: Aanandpur Sahib Resolution is the name given to the manifesto of Shiromani Akali Dal (the supreme-most organisation of the Sikhs), passed by the organisation, on October 16-17, 1973. (It was approved by the General House of the organisation, in 1978, at Ludhiana). This resolution spelled the goal of the Dal as: Khalsa Ji De Boal Bale" (All decision making powers to the Khalsa). It meant an autonomous political territory for the Sikh nation. Also see:- Khalsa Ji De Boal Bale.

AKAL TAKHT SAHIB: Akal Takht Sahib means the Throne of the Almighty (or the Immortal Throne). It was revealed by Guru Hargobind Sahib, on June 15, 1606. The foundation stone of the structure of the Akal Takht Sahib was laid down by Guru Hargobind Sahib himself and the rest of that structure was completed by Baba Budda and Bhai Gurdas exclusively. None else was allowed to participate. Akal Takht Sahib is the Throne of the Almighty. It represent the Sikh concept of oneness of Miri (temporal) and Piri (transcendental). It implies that in the court (or at the throne) of the Almighty, a man of Piri can not escape his role of Miri (and vice versa), on the plea of separation of scope or domain. According to the Sikh concept of oneness of Miri and Piri, sovereignty in both domains (spiritual and temporal) is not distinguishable. It is not unity of Miri and Piri, but it is oneness of the both. According to the concept of Akal Takht Sahib Mir (temporal part) has duty to impart Dharma (Righteousness) and Pir (transcendental part) must not be a silent spectator to injustice, tyranny and inhumanity. In the concept of oneness of Miri and Piri, these two domains do not stand distinguishable, but they are a one whole. The same concept echoes when Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib says "neither fear nor fighten any one" and when Guru Gobind Singh Sahib says that a Sikh should "recite the name of the Almighty from his mouth, but in his heart of hearts, he should be ever-ready for fight for Righteousness." The construction of the Throne of the Almighty, in front of the Darbar (the court) of the Almighty, signifies that He (The Justice) watches His Throne from His Court. The Almighty's Throne and Court can not be separated; both supplement each other. It is wrong to suggest that Akal Takht Sahib is a political seat. It is contradiction in terms. Authority of the Throne of the Almighty can not be restricted to a particualr aspect (political or religious or any other), nor can it be abridged in any form or to any extent. Akal Takht Sahib is a complete wholeness. To sum up, Akal Takht Sahib is the guardian of freedom, justice, humanity, righteousness and spiritualism. Akal Takht Sahib is the supreme-most seat of auhority for the Sikh nation. A Sikh has only one loyalty i.e. to the Almighty; and a Sikh is a subject of the Supreme Sovereign. A Sikh has an obligation to accept the command of the Throne of the Almighty only. During the time of Guru Sahib, the Command of the Almighty was conveyed through Guru Sahib themselves. After 1708, Sarbat Khalsa was invested with the authority to make Gurmatta (the Sikh form of consensus), at Akal Takht Sahib, with sanction from Guru Granth Sahib. The Gurmatta of the Sarbat Khalsa, when released to the Sikh nation from Akal Takht Sahib, becomes a Hukamnama. The Hukamnama of Akal Takht Sahib is final and binding for each and every Sikh. None dare defy it. One who shows his back to Akal Takht Sahib, is excommuniacted from the Sikh Panth (nation). The Sikh nation has always rallied around Akal Takht Sahib to make resolve with regard to the national issues. All the decisions of the Sikh nation have always been taken at Akal Takht Sahib. In the eighteenth century, when different Misls (confederations) of the Sikh Commonwealth were operating in different zones of the Sikh Homeland, the Misls (files) of the territories freed by different sections, were kept at Akal Takht Sahib. Since then, all the expeditions, agitations and national programmes have been, and are, launched with the blessing of Akal Takht Sahib. The caretaker of Akal Takht Sahib is the co-ordinator of the activities of the Sikh nation. Since 1920, the caretaker of Akal Takht Sahib has come to be wrongly called as the Jathedar. This term is neither appropriate nor in accordance with the concept of Akal Takht Sahib. The building of Akal Takht Sahib had been demolished thrice by the Mogul, the Afghan and the Indian armies (last time in June 1984). The present structure was built between 1986 and 1994. Also see: Jathedar.

AKALI: Literally: one who belongs to Akal (the Timeless i.e. the Almighty). In other words an Akali is that person who is loyal to none but the Almighty only. Philosophically speaking, Akali and Khalsa and Sikh are synonymous. The first usage of the term Akali became known when Naina Singh, predecessor of Akali Phula Singh used it as prefix of his name, in the last decades of the eighteenth century. His successor Akali Phula Singh became even more popular. Akali Phula Singh was the caretaker of Akal Takht Sahib in 1800. He was known for his commitment to the cause of the nation. He brought an end to the un-Sikh practices started by the Hindu caretakers of the Sikh shrines. (During dark days of the Sikh history when the Sikhs were living in their hide-outs, the Sikh shrines had been occupied and controlled by the Udasis. This happened again after the annexation of the Sikh Homeland by the British in 1849). Since Akali Phula Singh, the term came to be associated with "commitment, fearlessness, struggle and justice." In 1920, when the Sikhs began Gurdwara Reform Movement, a newspaper was started, on May 21, 1920. It was named Akali, apparently to associate it with the fearlessness and the commitment of Akali Phula Singh.

AKALI DAL-See: Shiromani Akali Dal.

BAJ: Literally : falcon. Guru Hargobind Sahib, Guru Har Rai Sahib and Guru Gobind Singh kept falcons. The root cause of the battle of Amritsar (April 15, 1634) was believed to be a falcon which had flown from the Mogul chief to Guru Hargobind Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib is known as Chittian Bajan Wale (master who has a white falcon). White falcon is very fine-looking, sprightly and spry as compared to the other falcons. Keeping falcon was known as a hobby of the sovereigns. It had nothing to do with the Sikh ideology. It has no significance for a Sikh. Some phoney Sikhs present the bird falcon as a Sikh symbol or a Sikh national bird. During some political and religious agitations, when some falcon appeared in the vicinity of Darbar Sahib, Amritsar or the other Gurdwaras, it was propagated that the falcon belonged to Guru Gobind Singh and had appeared to observe the plight of the Sikh nation. This did boost the Sikh morale, but, it did create a false (blasphemous) myth in Sikhism.

BANDA SINGH BAHADUR, BABA: Baba Banda Singh Bahadur was the first Sikh to re-establish the Sikh rule in some parts of the Sikh Homeland. His reign was the real rule of the Sikhs. It was the true egalitarian system; genuine democracy; real rule of the people; and a bonafide welfare state. Baba Banda Singh Bahadur issued the first Sikh coin and the Sikh seal and launched a new Sikh calender also. Though this rule was short-lived; but it was a rule based on the commands of Guru Sahib. On the other hand (Maharaja) Ranjit Singh's rule (1799 - 1839) was exactly opposite of the command of Guru Sahib.

COINS, The SIKH:- The first Sikh coins were issued by Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, in 1710. It was issued in the name of Guru Sahib. The Persian inscription on it read: Sika zad dar har do alam Teg-i- Nanak Sahib ast. Fateh Gobind Singh shah-i-shahan Fazal-i-Sacha Sahib ast. (meaning: "Coin struck in the two worlds by the Grace of the Almighty, victory to Guru Gobind Singh, the king of kings. The sword of Nanak is the granter of the wishes") The other side read as: Zarb ba Aman-ud-maswworat Shahar Zinat-ut-takht-i-mubarik Bakht (meaning: "coined at the ideal city, the refuge of the world, the ornament of the Fortunate throne") In 1758, a coin is said to have been isssued by Sirdar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. The wording on the coin, which reads "the country of Ahmed (Shah Durrani) captured by Jassa the distiller", however, proves that this coin could not have been issued at least by Sirdar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia himself. It seems that this coin might have been minted by the Moguls or the agents of Ahmed Shah Durrani in order to enrage him against the Sikhs and to insult the Sikhs and their leader. In 1765 the Sikhs had regained sovereignty over the most of the territory of Sikh Homeland. After this, a Sikh coin was issued from Lahore. The coin was named Nanak Shahi. The wording, in Persian, read: Degh-o-tegh-o-fateh-o-nusrat-bedirang Zafat az Nanak Guru Gobind Singh (meaning: "kettle, sword, victory and prompt patronage have been obtained from Guru Sahib, Guru Nanak Sahib to Guru Gobind Singh Sahib"). Again, another Sikh coin was issued from Amritsar, in 1778 with the inscription: Shah Nanak Sahib Fateh Guru Gobind Singh fazal Sikka zad dar har do alam sakht. On the other side of the coin it read: Zarab Amritsar jaloos takht akal bakht sammat 1835. Again, some coins were issued in 1786, 1787, 1789. The inscription on these coins resembled the coins of 1765. (Maharaja) Ranjit Singh occupied Lahore in 1799. He issued a new coin in 1800. Again, in 1803 and 1807, new coins were issued by Ranjit Singh. The inscription read: Tegh Nanak az fateh va fazal Gobind Singh Sacha shahan sikka zad bar simo zar. On this coin, Ranjit Singh's Brahmin ministers added a leaf. In later coins leaf of peacock bird was added in order to please Moran, a Muslim keep of Ranjit Singh. Moran Shahi coins were minted up to 1827. On these coins Akal becomes Kal. The coins issued in 1836 had the sketch of Ranjit Singh on one side and Baba Nanak on the other side. General Sirdar Hari Singh Nalwa too issued coins from Peshawar. Besides these coins some coins were issed by Raja Jai Singh Kanhayia, Raja Sahib Singh Gujrat etc. The Sikh coins can be seen at Sikh Museum (Lahore, Pakistan) and British Museum (London, England). The coin of the Patiala kingdom was named Patiala Rupee and the Mohar was called Raje Shahi. The Raje Shahi rupee was 11 and a quarter Masha (about 10 grams) and the Mohar was ten and three quarter Masha. The inscription on Patiala currrency read: Hukam shud az qadare be choon ba ahmed badshah Sikkha zan bar simo zar az auje mahi ta bamah The coin of Jind State was known as Jindia Rupee. Its weight was like the Patiala Rupee and the inscription on it was the same as that of the Patiala coin. The Nabha coins, Nabha Rupee was 11 and a quater Masha and Mohar was ten and a quarter Masha made of pure metal The inscription on Nabha coin was the same of the Khlasa Misls.

CONSTITUTION OF KHALISTAN: Constituion of the proposed sovereign Sikh State named Khalistan was drafted by Harjinder Singh Dilgeer in 1983. This Constitution was adopted by the Dal Khalsa. It was released on November 29, 1983, at London (England). According to this constitution the Sikh State was to be ruled by the caretaker or Mukh-Sewadar of Akal Takht Sahib. The Constitution foresaw a theocratic Sikh state. The author, later, in his book Kesri Kitab proposed a constitution with a united sovereign Punjab nation, with special rights and proportional representation for the non-Sikhs, in the sovereign Punjab. Also see: Dal Khalsa and Khalistan.

DAL KHALSA: 1. Dal Khalsa was the name given to the whole of the Sikh army in the eighteenth century. In 1733, the Sikh army was divided into two major groups Budda Dal (the veterans) and Taruna Dal (the youthful ones). The whole of the Dal Khalsa (the Sikh army) was led by one Commander Sirdar Kapur Singh (Nawab). 2. Dal Khalsa, an organisation of the Sikh youth, was founded, at Chandigarh, on August 6, 1978. It adopted a sovereign Sikh country as its goal. Some members of this organisation hijacked an Indian airliner on September 29, 1981. In April 1982, its workers were behind the placing the heads of two dead cows outside two temples at Amritsar. The organisation was banned on May 1, 1982. Later, most of its workers fled Punjab. In 1983, this organisation released a draft of the Constitution of proposed soverign Sikh State. Soon after its leadership split into several groups, leading to slow death of the Organisation. The organisation, now, exists only (in England) in papers and newspapers.

DEGH TEGH FATEH: Degh means kettle, Tegh means sword and Fateh means victory. This is the manifesto of the Sikh nation. It means the Sikh nation shall strive for economic and political supremacy and the freedom of the Sikh nation. Prosperity and sovereignty shall go side by side. The Sikh nation shall always be true a welfare state which would provide its residents right to survival as well as complete freedom in every sphere.

DEMOCRACY: Sikh polity is based on democracy. This democracy is not the rule of majority; even the smallest minority too has complete say in this ideology. Its basic institutes are Sarbat Khalsa (the Sikh Commonwealth) and Gurmatta (the Sikh system of consensus). Also see: Sarbat Khalsa and Gurmatta.

GURMATTA: A decision made according to Guru's Matt (counsel). All the decisions affecting the Sikh nation, reached through a consensus, are called Gurmatta. The first examples of this institution can be found from the life time of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib. In the summer of 1705, the capital of the Sikh nation (Aanadpuur Sahib) had been beseiged by the joint forces of the hill rulers and the Moguls. It continued till December 1705. On December 5, 1705, the Sikhs made a Gurmatta asking Guru Gobind Sahib to leave Aanandpur Sahib. Another Gurmatta was made by the Sikhs, in the fortress of Chamkaur, on December 7, 1705, asking Guru Sahib to leave the fortress of Chmakaur Sahib. During the eighteenth century, the Sikhs held several Sarbat Khalsa (the Sikh Commonwealth) gatherings and made Gurmattas with regard to the military, political and the other issues affecting the Sikh nation. If a Gurmatta is concerned with the whole of the Sikh nation, the representatives of all the organisations of the Sikhs, which owe their loyalty to Akal Takht Sahib, must be represented in such a meeting. With Guru Granth Sahib amid them, the Sikh representatives begin the meeting with a vow that from that moment, and during the whole of the proceedings of Sarbat Khalsa, while reaching consensus on any issue, affecting the Sikh nation, they shall not consider themselves associated with any group or organisation. A Gurmatta can be made about the Sikh national issues or the issues regarding clarifications and/or support of the issues pertaining to the fundamental principles of Sikhism. A Gurmatta can not pronounce verdict on Sikh philosophy, not can it change any postulates or theory of the Sikh ideology. A Gurmatta, after it has been passed by the Sarbat Khalsa, is released as a Hukamnama, to the Sikh nation, from Akal Takht Sahib. A Hukamnama can not be issued by the caretaker of Akal Takht Sahib or the Punj Piaray of their own. The decisions of the Sikhs with regard to the issues not relating to the whole of the nation, are called Matta (resolution). Also see: Hukamnama and Matta. HUKAMNAMA Hukamnama literally means: "Royal Order." Akal Takht Sahib is the Throne of the Almighty and the Orders of the Almighy (the King of the Kings) are, of course, Hukamnamas (the Royal Orders). Hukamnama, when it is issued, in a proper manner, is binding on the whole of the Sikh nation. A Hukamnama is the Gurmatta of the Sarbat Khalsa. After it is issued from Akal Takht Sahib, it becomes a Hukamnama. Akal Takht Sahib's verdict in the cases of the petitions made by individuals, is also known as Hukamnama, but if the issue in the petition regards the whole of the Sikh nation, then it must be sanctioned by the Sarbat Khalsa (the Sikh nation as a whole). Also see: Gurmatta.

JATHEDAR: Jathedar literally means the: Dar (the keeper) of a Jatha (group) i.e. one who keeps a Jatha (the leader of a band). The presidents of the Sikh organisations e.g. Shiromani Akali Dal, are called Jathedar. During the agitations, Jathas (the bands, the units) have a leader who is called Jathedar. The term has its origin in the eighteenth century. The whole of the Sikh army had been divided into bands, which were headed by a leader who was known as Jathedar. On October 12, 1920, when the attendants of Akal Takht Sahib left the Takht unattended, the Sikhs present there appointed a Jahta (band) of 25 Sikh, to take care of Takht Sahib. Since then, the igorant leaders of the Sikh nation have been wrongly using the term Jathedar for the caretaker of Akal Takht Sahib and the other Takhts since then. The designation Jathedar of a Takht is not in consonance with the Sikh ideology.

JHOOLDE NISHAN REHAN PANTH MAHARAJ DE:Literally it means: "the flags of the Sikh nation may always flutter." It is a Sikh national supplication that "the Sikh nation might always remain sovereign" and the distinct identity and the entity of the Sikh nation may always be conserved (by the Almighty). It is a sequel to the Sikh phrase Khalsaji De Boal Bale (all decision making powers to the Khalsa). This supplication is often sung during the Sikh processions.

JURISPRUDENCE (The Sikh):- The Sikh legal system is base upon Guru Granth Sahib, the writings of Bhai Gurdas, Dasam Granth, the writings of Bhai Nand Lal, the Sikh customs and traditions from the times of Guru Sahib and with a cautious approach from the customary laws of the Sikh Homeland. The sanction of the Sikh jurisprudence vests in the Sarbat Khalsa, in the name of Akal Takht Sahib. Punj Piaray is the Sikh collegial system. For details see: "Eight Pillars of the Sikh Polity", Appendix II, in the book Akal Takht Sahib by Harjinder Singh Dilgeer (1995).

KHALISTAN: Literally: the Land of the Pure. It is the name given to an independant Sikh State as proposed by Dr. Vir Singh Bhatti, of Ludhiana, in 1940. In 1971, Dr. Jagjit Singh Chauhan revived the slogan during Indo-Pak War. Later, after 1978, various groups of the Sikhs demanded the creation of an independant State. On June 10, 1984, Government of Khalistan (in exile) was declared by the Dal Khalsa at London. It was followed by Dr. Chauhan's Government in Exile, on June 13, 1984. On April 29, 1986, another Government of Khalistan was declared by a Panthik Committee from Darbar Sahib, Amritsar. On October 7, 1987, Council of Khalistan was announced by the caretakers of the Khalsa thrones. Dr. Gurmit Singh Aulakh was selected Chairman. Various Sikh organisations have been participating in the struggle for achievement of this goal. The movement is still going on. Also see: Khalsa-stan and Constitution of Khalistan.

KHALSA-STAN: Literally, it means: the Land of the Khalsa (the sovereign people). The Sikh nation's land was wrongly named Khalistan. Khalisatn is combination of two words: Khalis (the pure) and Stan (the land). According to another analysis the term Khalistan can also mean "empty" land i.e. Khali (empty) and stan (land). Even if the term was "the land of the pure", it should be called Khalis-stan. In case it should mean "the land of the Khalsa" the name ought to be Khalsa-stan.

KHALSA JI DE BOL BALAY: Literally: All decision making powers to the Khalsa. In other words "the rule of the Khalsa" or an independant, fully sovereign Sikh nation with a well demarcated territory. This is the central part of the Aanandpur Sahib Resolution,1973 (the manifesto of the Akali Dal). The Indian government managed to win over some leaders of the Akali Dal who changed the meaning of these words to: "the supremacy of the Khalsa" which negates complete sovereignty. Similarly, in the same document there was another sentence: Desh kal gharana (to carve out an "autonomous set-up with a well demarcated territory") was also changed to the words "to create congenial atmosphere."

KHANDA: The Sikh insignia Khanda consists of one Chakkar (quoit), one Khanda (double-edged sword) and two Kirpans (the Sikh swords) representing the Sikh concept of the oneness of Miri (temporal) and Piri (transcendetal). It has been used by the Sikhs for the past two centuries. The emblem of Khanda is always mounted at the top of the flag-pole of the Sikh flag. It is used as a national insignia and symbol in the houses and the other centres of the Sikhs, signifying the Sikh identity and national cohesion. Nowadays, it decorates even the necktie(s) of some of the Sikhs.

MAHARAJA: Literally monarch. In Sikhism, the institution of "king" or "monarch", as such, does not exist. Sikhism rejects the right of an individual to rule the mind and bodies of human beings. Khalsa means sovereign, hence none can rule Khalsa. Similarly, a Khalsa too can not rule another Khalsa. According to the Sikh philosophy, only the Almighty is "The King" (the Kings of the kings). In Sikhism, the so-called adminstrator of any territory is not a power; he is rather a servant. The institution of "emperor" pre-supposes one who gives orders and the others who obey it. This is not approved in Sikh polity. In Sikhism, the collective leadership (Sarbat Khalsa), consensus (Gurmatta) are basic institutions of the Sikh polity. Historically, the rule of the Sikhs under the leadership of Baba Banda singh Bahdur was in accordance with the Sikh polity, whereas the rule by (Maharaja) Ranjit Singh was exactly the opposite. Ignorant and phony Sikhs consider the personal reign of (Maharaja) Ranjit Singh as the rule of the Sikh nation.

MATTA: Matta means resolution. The decisions regarding the issues which do not affect the Sikh nation as a whole (or the local matters) are called Matta. It affects the persons or the groups covered by its scope. Also see: Gurmatta and Hukamnama.

MIRI AND PIRI: Literally: Miri means Tanscendental and Piri means temporal. This is a unique Sikh doctrine revealed by Guru Nanak Sahib and propounded by Guru Hargobind Sahib. In Sikhism, the administration of the State is based on the principles of Rightousness; hence State is negated to the maximum. According to this doctrine, a man of temporal domain is the defender of spiritualism and a man of religion is the defender of the weak, the needy and the oppressed. In other words, a man of religion must not be silent spectator of tyranny, injustice and inhumanity; and; a man in his temporal capacity, must be the defendor of Dharma (Righteousness). Both Miri and Piri do not stand apart but they exist in oneness. Both these aspects (i.e. Mir and Pir), in the Sikh philosophy of the unity of Miri and Piri, go side by side; not in two persons or two personalities of one person; but in one person, in the perfection of his personality. It is in this concept of Sikhism, that makes a man a Sikh "a saint-soldier". The same sounds when Guru Gobind Singh says that a Sikh must recite the Name of the Almighty with his mouth but in his heart of hearts must be ever-ready for battle for Righteousness (Mukh te Har chitt mai-n yudh bichare).

MISL: Literally: a file. In the eighteenth century, when the Sikh army had become partly successful in freeing its Homeland from the Moguls and the other foreigners, the huge Sikh army (the Dal Khalsa) was divided into 11 groups. Every group had a Misl (file) which was kep at Akal Bunga. In this file the territory freed by each and every Jatha was recorded. later the Jathas came to be known as Misl because of the 11 Misls (files). (After the occupation of Amritsar by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the files disappeared or might have been destroyed). Now the 11 Sikh groups/batallions are referred to as 11 Misls.

MONARCHY- See: Maharaja.

MORCHA: Literally: a trench of defence post. In the modern meaning of the term, it means an agitation, usually peaceful. During the eighteenth century, the Sikhs had to fight a guerilla war against huge forces. In some cases the number of the Sikhs would be too small that the Sikhs had to hide themselves to wait until the army of the enemy reached near them. In such cases the combat was generally between one Sikh compared to ten, twenty or fifty soldiers of the enemy. A Sikh could easily fight this number. The present usage of the term Morcha for an agitation dates back to the early days of the twentieth century. The first regular Sikh Morcha was the "Keys Agitation" (1922), though the term Morcha has been used for the early agitations too, but the publications in which the term appears, were written after 1922. The famous Sikh Morchas were: Keys' Agitation (1922), Jaito (1923-25), Bhai Pheru (1924), Kirpan Morcha (1936), Punjabi Suba Zindabad (1955), Punjabi Suba (1960-61), Chandigarh (1969), Dharam Yudh Morcha (1982-84) etc.

NAGARA, RANJIT : Literally: the drum (Nagara) of victorious (Ranjit) or the "drum of victory". In 1684, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib got a special drum prepared. It was named Ranjit (the winner of the battle-field). This drum was beaten at Kesgarh Sahib throne, at Aanandpur Sahib, every day, as a declaration of the sovereignty of the Sikh nation. Guru Sahib made it obligatory that before the closing of Gurdwara, Nagara must be beaten. Nagara is a symbol of sovereignty. Only the winner of a battle could beat it. Nishan (flag) and Nagara (drum) are an integral part of a Takht (Khalsa Throne) and all the Gurdwaras.

NALWA CONFERENCE: A Conferece held at Ludhiana, on July 4, 1965, in the memory of General Hari Singh Nalwa. The conference asserted "the right of the Sikh nation to self-determination." This resolution was proposed by (former Justice) Gurnam Singh and was supported by Giani Bhupinder Singh (both belinging to different Akali Dals). It is widely believed that Sirdar Kapur Singh drafted the resolution. Almost an alike wording however, had appeared in the manifesto of the Sikh Students' Federation, several years earlier (passed at the annual conference of the Sikh Students' Federation held at Jullundur, on October 8, 1949). This resolution of "right of the Sikh nation to self-determination" became the basis of the Sikh agitation for Sikh Homeland, followed by Khalistan struggle.

NANAK SHAHI: See: Coins.

NATION: See: Qaum

NATIONAL ANTHEM: The Sikh national Anthem is: degh-o-tegh-o-fateh-o-nusrat bedirand; yafat az Nanak - Guru Gobind Singh (meaning: the economic and politcal power and the unending victory has been granted to the Sikh nation through the graceful blessing of Guru Sahib, Guru Nanak Sahib to Guru Gobind Singh Sahib). Some Sikhs, out of ignorance, began using " deh shiva bar mohay ihai shubh karman te kabhoon na taroan..." as the Sikh national anthem. There was another planning of making another verse "khag khand bihandang..." as the national anthem of the Sikhs. The Sikh national anthem "degh-o-teg-....." was sung during the rule of the Sikh States up to 1948, and even a couple of recordings were also available on long play records (LPs).

NISHAN SAHIB: Nishan, literally means: sign, mark, seal, flag; and Sahib is a term used to show respect. Nishan Sahib is the name given to the Sikh national flag. A Nishan Sahib is obligatory for every Gurdwara building. It is a triangular shaped cloth of safforn colour (some earlier sources mention blue colour). The colour of the flag-pole, nowadays, is usually safforn. (earlier it was sky blue). The height of the flag is not fixed but it should be taller than the building; or atleast it should be fitted at the top of the building. At the top of the pole, there should be an iron or steel Khanda (insignia comprising one Chakkar [quoit], one Khanda [double-edged sword] and two Kirpans [the Sikh swords], representing temporal and transcendental. The Sikh flag represents the sovereignty (temporal and transcendental) of the Sikh nation. The origin of the Nishan Sahib is not known but during the time of Guru Hargobind Sahib, there were two flags hoisting at the building of Akal Takht Sahib. Similarly, the origin of the insignia Khanda is unknown,too. Probably it was designed towards the end of the eighteenth or the beginning of nineteenth century. Five Nishan Sahibs are often carried in front of Guru Granth Sahib and/or in front of the Nagar Keertan (the Sikh procession) too. The flags of all the Sikh organisations resemble the Sikh national Nishan Sahib.

PANTH:Literally: Path or "way." In the Sikh context it means the Sikh nation. All the initiated Sikhs form Panth, whereas all the members of a Sikh congregation form a Sangat or Sikh Sangat.

PANTH KI JIT: Literally: "victory to/of the Sikh nation." It is a Sikh supplication seekinh "the Almighty may grant victory to the Sikh nation till the nation follows the Panth (i.e. the Sikh ideology)."

PATIALA DYNASTY: The ruling family of Patiala, with its first major leader Baba Aala Singh. Baba Aala Singh, collaborated Ahmed Shah Durrani more than once. He maintained cordial relations with the Moguls, the British, the Marathas and every power. The Patiala rulers were known to be always in tune with all the potential rulers of Delhi. The early rulers were men of atleast high ethical statndards, but in the begining of the twentieth century, they adopted the life of luxury and sensuousness. Addiction to alcohol and the other intoxicants became a common phenomenon with these rulers. This dynasty tried to establish themselves as the 12th Sikh Misl, but they had never been a part of the Sikh Commonwealth. They were Sikhs but not the members of the Dal Khalsa. After 1947, the Patiala State played remarkable role in rehabilitation of the refugees from the West Punjab. Politically the family always stood by the Congress party (i.e. the rulers) even against the Sikh interests. After the attack of the Indian army on Darbar Sahib, on June 4, 1984, (Maharaja) Amarinder Singh, who was an M. P. of the Congress Party at that time, resigned the party, but within a couple of years, he was again ready to join hands with the Congress.

PRESS (SIKH): The Sikhs have never been able to establish their own newspaper. Before 1947, the Sikhs established Khalsa, Khalsa Samachar, Khalsa Advocate and The Nation papers. Most of them had short lives. A few of them ceased publication after the death of the key-figure behind the paper. In 1920s, the Sikh leaders established a newspaper The Hindustan Times but could not keep it long. A Punjabi paper Akali (later named Jathedar) continued for a long time but, later, due to non-commmercial approach, it had to be closed. Some other papers too met the same fate e.g. Akali Te Pardesi, Qaumi Dard, Akali Times etc. Among the monthlies Sant Sipahi (Amritsar), founded by Master Tara Singh, is the oldest one. Its policy has always remained pro-Sikh nation. [Even today Sant Sipahi is the only genuine Sikh monthly]. In England, Punjab Times and Des Pardes were started after 1965. Their policy too has been changing from time to time. The mood of the editor-cum-owners was the policy of these papers. [Tarsem Purewal, the editor of Des Pardes was killed on January 24, 1995]. Awaz-e-Qaum was started by the International Sikh Youth Federation (Rode group), in 1986. This journal was more of a party bulletin. In Canada, Indo-Canadian Times and Charhdi Kala (and a few others) were being published but their policy too was dependant upon the mood of the editor-cum-owner of the paper. These papers are more of editor promotion than any thing else. The World Sikh News from the United States, under the editorship of Dr G. S. Grewal, has been doing a fine job among foreign newspapers in Punjabi and English. However, further improvements are needed to express the views of the Khalsa Panth more emphatically and assertively. Anti-Sikh school scholars like Gurinder Mann, W. H. McLeod, somehow got promoted. Because of its positive role played on behalf of the Sikh nation since its establishment, i. e., following Operation Bluestar of 1984, the Sikhsı enemy has been trying desperately to damage this paper. Among the Indian English journals, The Sikh Review is the oldest one. It too does not serve the Sikh national interests. Most of its advisors are anti-Sikhism writers. In the past couple of years, The Sikh Review has published several anti-Sikh articles and has promoted anti-Sikhism interests. The Spokesman Weekly, in spite of its pro-Hukam Singh policy, was a good journal. The non-Sikh press in India is simply anti-Sikh in its approach. The western press is either ignorant about the Sikhs, or it has collaborated the anti-Sikh forces because of its ulterior motives.

PUNJ PIARAY:Literally: the Five Beloved Ones. The first five Sikhs who were initiated, on March 29, 1698, at Aanandpur Sahib, were called Punj Piaray. The five who perform the Sikh initiation ceremony are also called Punj Piaray. Nowadays, the Sikh disputes are decided by five Sikhs who are wrongly called Punj Piaray. It is a tradition among the Sikhs to select five Sikhs to decide any dispute or the other cases (but does not have any ideological base and it is not obligatory).

QAUM: Literally: nation. A nation is an aggregation of people who have a common religion, culture, language, history, race etc. and inhabit mainly in a common zone. The Sikhs are not a mere religion or a way of life. The Sikhs are a nation and almost a separate race. They have distict culture, history, heores, race-mentality, language; and are inhabitants of a conjunctive geographical zone i.e. the land of the five rivers. In 1979, Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra re-asserted that "the Sikhs are a Nation." Alike resolutions were passed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee (SGPC) and the Akali Dal. On March 15, 1981, the Sikh Educational Conference passed the same resolution. On April 21, 1981, Jahtedar Gurdial Singh Ajnoha, the caretaker of Akal Takht Sahib, confirmed the same from Takht Sahib. The British House of Lords, in a verdict, in 1983 confirmed the same. The Sikhs had been ruling their Homeland till 1849 in the most of the part of the Sikh Homeland and till 1948 in some parts. In 1947, the whole of the Sikh zone was divided into two parts : one became a part of Pakistan and the other was compelled to become a part of a Hindu-Sikh union. The Sikhs have been struggling to regain their sovereignty.

RAJ KAREGA KHALSA: Literally: the Khalsa shall always remain sovereign. It is the Sikhs' commitment to their national status. It is the resolve of the Sikh nation that they shall not barter their sovereignty with any thing.

SARBAT KHALSA: Literally: all the Khalsa. Sarbat Khalsa is an assembly of the representatives of all the Sikh organisations loyal to Akal Takht Sahib. Historically, the tradition goes back to the eighteenth century. It is based upon the grant of the leadership of the Sikh nation to Panth Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, in 1708. All the national resolves are made by the Sikh nation in the gatherings of the Sarbat Khalsa. Even the national prayer of the Sikhs is on the behalf of the Sarbat Khalsa: (Prathame sarbat khalsa ji di ardas hai..." The first sentence of the second part of the Sikh Ardas). Sarbat Khalsa does not mean a huge gathering of the Sikhs as some Sikh activists claimed about the gathering of January 26, 1986 and after. In other words, the Sarbat Khalsa is the Parliament of the Sikh nation.

SEAL: The seal of Akal Takht Sahib is the Sikh seal. The inscription on it is : Akal Sahai meaning : May the Almighty bless you". This seal is a blessing by Akal Takht Sahib, and, except the caretaker of Akal Takht Sahib (on the behalf of Takht Sahib only), no one can use it. It was used by the Sikh nation during their rule, under the command of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur as well as the Sikh Misls. Even (Maharaja) Ranjit Singh used it for some time, though he had no right because his rule was not the rule of the Sikh nation. (It is claimed that it was a "secular" rule). Some over-enthusiastic Sikh workers and some other Sikhs due to ignorance, began to use it at the top of their letters, but the practice was almost stopped after a Sikh intellectual pointed to the mistake.

SGPC: The SGPC is a body, elected through adult franchise, for the management of the historical Sikh shrines, listed in the Schedule of the Gurdwara Act-1925. This Act covers several Gurdwaras of the Punjab, Haryana, Himanchal and Chandigarh as well as several Gurdwaras left in Pakistan. The management of the Gurdwaras left in Pakistan is just symbolic because it is the Pakistan Government (through AUQAF) which controls the shrines. The elections to the SGPC are (supposed to be) held after every five years; though since 1965, the elections were held only once in the past thirty years (in 1979). Shiromani Akali Dal has always won the elections with a majority of more than 90 % of the total seats. The Indian government, throught its yes-men, tried to capture the SGPC but could not succeed. The SGPC has a huge budget. It is like a "state within a state". The Indian regime has passed a law (the Hindus being the majority they can pass any law, even for the non-Hindu institutes) that all the donations by the Sikhs, particularly by the Sikhs who live abroad, to the SGPC, must be cleareded by the Ministry of Finance. The SGPC, in a way is the "Parliament of the Sikhs". Ideologically speaking, the system of th election of the SGPC is not in consonance with the Sikh ideology. There should be a difference of selection of the management of a political organisation, a club, a union and a Gurdwara.

SHIROMANI AKALI DAL: (Shirmoani) Akali Dal is the primary organisation of the Sikhs. Akali Dal was formed on December 14, 1920, at Akal Takht Sahib, Amritsar. The first organsiational elections were held on Januay 24, 1921. Bhai Sarmukh Singh Jhabal was selected the first Jathedar (president). Its first name was Akali Dal. To distinguish the central body from the provincial Jathas, prefix

Shiromani (literally: the foremost) was added on March 29, 1922. The Akali Dal represents the major section (more than 95%) of the Sikhs. It may have several groups or factions, but it is the only organisation which represents the interests of the Sikhs. The Akali Dal has been ruling the Punjab for several years. If there are fair elections in the Punjab, the Akali Dal shall always win. Akali Dal had to launch several agitations for the presrevation of the identity and entity of the Sikhs and for the rights of the Sikhs. During these agitations, hundreds of thousands of the Sikhs courted arrests and thousands Sikhs have embraced martyrdom. Also see: Akali.

SIKH HOMELAND: The country of the Sikhs. The present Punjab and Chandigarh, most of the area in the Punjab province of Pakistan (the international borders of the Sikh homeland and Pakistan have been decided during the partition day of 14/15th August, 1947), also the areas of Haryana, Himanchal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (doon valley), Delhi comprise the Sikh zone. In political context, the Sikh political zone (Khalsa-stan) comprises of the area between the east of Pakistan border and Yamuna etc. This is the Sikh Homeland, for which the Sikhs have been struggling to form as their autonomous country.

SIKH RAJ: Literally: the rule of the Sikh nation. The Sikhs had been ruling their homeland during the periods of 1709 and 1716 and between 1762 and 1790. Besides the Sikh kings had been ruling the Sikh homeland up to 1849 and also partly up to 1948 (in PEPSU). The Sikhs have been struggling for the return of their sovereignty which they lost (the major part) in 1849 and the rest in 1948. Also see: Akal Takht Sahib, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, Khalsaji De Boal Bale, Khalistan, Khalsa-stan, Miri and Piri, Qaum, Raj Karega Khalsa, Takht etc.

SINGH SAHIB: Literally: the master of the Singhs. This term had been used for Guru Gobind Singh Sahib. It should not be used for any other person as no one can be the Master of the Singhs. (Maharaja) Ranjit Singh liked to be called Singh Sahib. This might be born out of the attitude of flattery of Ranjit Singh by the his courtiers. In the twentieth century, the senior Granthis of the Gurdwaras and the caretakers of the Khalsa thrones are also being addressed as Singh Sahib. This is another act of ignorance of the managements of the Sikh institutions by the leaders of the Sikh Panth.

SRI SAHIB JI SAHAI: Sri Sahib means "the Sikh sword", the Sword of the Almighty, the power of the Almighty (in other words the Almighty) and the word Sahai means "may protect". This is a part of the Sikhs' national supplication to the Almighty that the Sikh nation may always have the protection of the "Sword of the Almighty" (in other words the Almighty Himself) .

TAKHT: Literally means throne. A Sikh is obliged to be loyal to the Almighty and His Throne (Akal Takht Sahib). The concept of Akal Takht Sahib and the doctrine of Miri and Piri means that a Sikh can not be a subject of any other power except the Almighty. The Sikhs are the subjects of the Almighty (Khalsa Akal Purakh ki fauj: meaning the Khalsa is the personal army of the Almighty). The oaths taken by the Sikhs to become the citizens of some countries are not in contravention of this principle because the oath for citizenship is a political formality; and; it does not control the mind and the body of the Khalsa. It is just a procedural oath. Also see: Akal Takht Sahib by Dr. Harjinder Singh Dilgeer, 1995.



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