Historical Events That Have Shaped Sikhs Militaristic Identity| Physical death I do not fear, death of conscience is a sure death. – Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindrawale. | Divesh Sharma Monday, December-03-12 MMParveen Singh
Sikhism’s Militaristic Identity
Since the creation of Sikhism by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Sikhs have repeatedly had to take on a militaristic identity to survive in this world. There have been many instances in the past, which have led Sikhs to have to put their beliefs aside, and had to pick up weapons to save their own people from persecution. From The Great Sikh Holocaust (1762), to Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (1919), leading all the way up to Operation Bluestar and its aftermath (1984), Sikhs have been prosecuted for no other reason than that they are different and want to live their lives according to their own rules and regulations. Sikhism was created because Guru Nanak Dev Ji believed that most of the Hindu and Muslim traditions were not feasible, therefore they must be forsaken, and a simple, religious outlook on life must be adopted. However, this simple, religious outlook has been constantly overshadowed by a militaristic identity-which has been forced upon the Sikhs by certain historical events that have taken place from the beginning of Sikhism, with the latest event taking place less than thirty years ago. This militaristic identity is a direct offspring of the Guru’s teachings to bow your head to the One True Lord. If a Sikh shall not be granted the permission and freedom to do so, they prefer death.
It is known to everyone that during the reign of the 10 guru’s, the Moghul’s were also in power for the rest of the country. The Moghuls had made life very miserable and had left no stone unturned to diminish the identity of Sikh’s off the face of this planet. In all reality, the Afghans had also attempted to intimidate Sikhs into converting to Islam—that obviously did not work out. In the 1700’s, the Afghans were led by Ahmed Shah Durrani. He was a very strong leader who did not take no for an answer. Throughout the 1700’s, Ahmed Shah Durrani invaded India five times—the sixth time being the time of the Great Sikh Holocaust. (The Great Holocaust (Wadda Ghalughara)) Durrani was a merciless killer, who wanted nothing more than to diminish the Sikhs and take over whatever little wealth they had. Durrani had played a dirty battle by surprising the Sikhs while they were still trying to ensure that the women, children and elderly were well away from the chaos that was about to unfold. However, the surprise element of the attack did not faze them. They were ready to take on the Afghan army head on, and fought around the train that the women, children and elderly were aboard. The Sikh army gave their all to protect the honour of their women, and the lives of their children and elders. An eyewitness states: “Fighting while moving and moving while fighting, they kept the baggage train marching, covering it as a hen covers its chicks under its wings. More than once, the troops of the invader broke the cordon and mercilessly butchered the women, children and elderly inside, but each time the Sikh warriors regrouped and managed to push back the attackers.” (Sikh Holocaust of 1762) Eventually they parted ways, and the Sikhs had lost many lives, for the reason that they refused to bow down to anyone other than their One True Lord. It is a shared sentiment in the Sikh community, that if you love something, fight for it—don’t back down without giving it your all. This shared sentiment is the basis for the Sikh community because they will give their lives to protect their religion, honour and beliefs—no one is above the One True Lord, and if they were not granted the permission to bow their head to Him, they would rather die—which is exactly what they have done. Sikhs picked up weapons to protect their people and religion, and...