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Sikh-Rajput Relations During the Eighteenth Century


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Sikh-Rajput Relations During the Eighteenth Century

- Balwant Singh Dhillon

Rajputana, the land of Rajputs, lies toward the south-west of Punjab – the home of the Sikhs. Though, there were so many thikanas of Rajputs, sprinkled all over Rajputana, yet the ruling houses of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Kota and Bundi were the prominent ones in medieval India. Except the Ranas of Udaipur, almost all the ruling houses of Rajputs had joined the mansabdari system to serve the Mughal state. Since the times of Emperor Akbar, Lakhi jungle, the south-western tract of Punjab had often been held by the Bikaner house as a part of their jagir that they had got in lieu of their services rendered to the Mughals.[1] No doubt the Rajputs were the immediate neighbors of the Sikhs and vice-versa, and they often came into contact with each other but very little is known about the relations between these two great people. Interestingly, almost all the historical works written so far are totally silent over this issue. The present study is a preliminary attempt that looks into the nature of relations between the Rajputs and the Sikhs, especially during the eighteenth century. It also makes use of the contemporary Rajasthani source material which has remained unnoticed so far.

Early Contacts

In the Janamsakhi tradition there are scores of references that during one of his sojourns in India, Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, visited the land of Bikaner or the country of Rajputs and had a dialogue with the Vaishnavites there.[2] However, all the places visited by Guru Nanak and the persons who came into contact with him are still shrouded in mystery. There exists a Sikh religious center commemorating Guru Nanak’s visit to Kolayat, an ancient town in the south-west of Bikaner. It is equally note-worthy that sacred hymns of Guru Nanak had traveled to Rajputana at an early stage, chiefly through the musicians who used to perform kirtan at religious festivals. There are scores of Rajasthani manuscripts dating back to the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century in which the hymns of Guru Nanak are found recorded in Devnagari script.[3] It suggests that Guru Nanak’s Bani and its message were not altogether unknown to the people of Rajputana.

On close examination of the Sikh literature one can discern that the two prominent personalities of Bhakti tradition namely, Dhanna (Jat) and Pipa (Rajput), both from Rajasthan, have been highly appreciated for their spiritual perfection.[4] Their writings had found their way into the early Sikh scriptural tradition. In 1604, these writings found acceptance with Guru Arjan when he was preparing the canonical text of the Sikh Scripture.[5] Therefore the writings of these two figures of Rajasthan have found permanent abode in the Sikh Scripture. It exhibits the all-embracing nature of the message of the Sikh Scripture, which was an open invitation to all races including the people of Rajputana that they are welcome to fathom the wisdom of Sikh Gurus and their Bhaktas.

It is an established fact that after the war of succession in 1658, emperor Aurangzeb took keen interest in the religious affairs of the Sikhs. In fact he desired to place a person of his choice on the Guruship of Sikh Panth. Firstly, he kept Ram Rai, son of Guru Har Rai as a hostage in the Mughal court. Later, when Guru Har Rai expelled Ram Rai from the Sikh Panth for altering the Bani of Guru Nanak, Aurangzeb guaranteed a jagir to Ram Rai in the Dehra Dun hills.[6] Obviously, to rehabilitate him, and to use him to counter the growing influence of Sikhism. In pursuance of his policy to interfere in the religious affairs of the Sikh community, Aurangzeb summoned Guru Harkrishan to the Mughal court though he was a child and had committed no offence. The Sikh sources describe that during his visit to Delhi, Guru Harkrishan stayed in the mansion of Mirza Raja Jai Singh of Jaipur. These sources eulogize the Rani of Jaipur for looking after the Guru and providing all the hospitality.[7] In November 1665, Aurangzeb got Guru Tegh Bahadur arrested and brought him to Delhi. It is said, Raja Ram Singh of Jaipur intervened on behalf of the Guru and got him released from the Mughal custody on the condition that instead of going back to Punjab he would preach his mission in the north-east.[8] Subsequently, Guru Tegh Bahadur left for his sojourn in the north-east and his missionary work in the provinces of Bihar, Bengal and Assam which is well known to the students of history. Our sources confirm that during his tour in the north-east, he remained for a short time in the company of Raja Ram Singh of Jaipur who happened to be there on a military expedition against the Ahoms.[9] It is believed that Guru Tegh Bahadur played a major role to boost the morale of Rajput soldiers to face the occult powers of the Ahoms.[10] It is said that Guru Tegh Bahadur was instrumental in bringing around the Ahoms for negotiation which resulted in the ceasefire.

After the creation of Khalsa in 1699 Guru Gobind Singh came into clash with the hill chiefs, which turned into a battle between Guru Gobind Singh and the Mughal subedars of Punjab. Subsequently, on the promise of safe passage, in December 1705, the tenth Guru vacated Anandpur Sahib. However, it turned out to be a breach of faith on the part of the Mughals, which resulted in the martyrdom of the Sahibzadas and hundreds of devout Sikhs. In order to apprise Aurangzeb of the injustice done to him by his subedars, Guru wrote a letter of victory (the Zafarnama), which was delivered to the Emperor who was at that time in the Deccan.

Guru Gobind Singh’s Sojourn in Rajputana

On the invitation of Aurangzeb, in October 1707, Guru Gobind Singh left for Deccan with the sole objective to discuss the injustice done to him. Although the Emperor had directed the Mughal officials of Punjab to facilitate Guru Gobind Singh for his onward journey to Deccan, yet instead of getting any help from the Mughals, Guru Gobind Singh followed an unconventional path which passed through Rajputana.[11] Obviously, the journey through Rajputana was a bit hazardous but in Guru’s mind his safety and the well being of his Sikhs were a top priority. For that he depended on the people of Rajputana instead of believing the Mughals. We are told by Sikh sources that during his journey towards Deccan, Guru Gobind Singh stayed at Nohar (district Hanumangarh) and Sahawa (district Churu) where Gurudwaras have been built at places sanctified by the tenth Guru. Even the footprints of the Guru’s party and beast of burden are still preserved in gypsum on the banks of a pond in Sahawa.[12]

We are informed that Guru Gobind Singh halted at Dudu, which was a prominent center of the Dadupanthis. Here Dadupanthi saint Jait Ram played host to the Guru and his party and had a dialogue over the issue of use of force.[13] Guru Gobind Singh explained to Jait Ram that to always remain non-violent is not in the interest of mankind. Instead of submission, evil forces must be resisted. Perhaps this dialogue between Guru Gobind Singh and Jait Ram proved to be a turning point in the history of Dadupanth. Ever since its origin, the Dadupanth had been a pacifist movement observing the norms of Ahimsa but in the eighteenth century we observe Dadupanthi disciples who had taken arms organized themselves into armed bands.[14] Significantly, it was during his discourse with Jait Ram that Guru Gobind Singh came to know about the presence of Madho Das in Nanded who later joined the ranks of Khalsa to serve the Panth as Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.[15] During his sojourn in Rajputana, Guru Gobind Singh also visited Pushkar, an ancient pilgrimage center. A Gurdwara commemorating the visit of Guru has come up on the banks of Pushkar Lake. Another Gurdwara in the memory of Guru’s journey towards Deccan has also come up at Baghaur.[16] Except the above-mentioned nothing is known about other places associated with Guru Gobind Singh’s sojourn in Rajputana.[17] According to Sikh sources, Guru Gobind Singh was at Baghaur when he heard the news of Aurangzeb’s death at Aurangabad on Feb 20, 1707.[18] As Aurangzeb had divided his empire among his sons therefore war of succession was very much imminent. Consequently, the political situation at the Mughal court was quite fluid and therefore for the Guru to continue his onward journey to Deccan was of no avail. In these circumstances Guru Gobind Singh suspended his journey to Deccan and set off for Delhi.[19]

Shahzada Muhammad Muazzam (later on Bahadur Shah) was at Jamrud in N.W.F.P. when he got the news of his father, emperor Aurangzeb’s death. He immediately rushed back to Agra and en route reached Delhi on June 1, 1707.[20] In the meantime Guru Gobind Singh had also arrived at Delhi. According to Sikh sources Bahadur Shah sought help from the Guru to ascend the Mughal throne of Agra. It is said Guru Gobind Singh dispatched a party of his armed Sikhs to support Bahadur Shah in his war of succession.[21] On June 8, 1707 Bahadur Shah defeated his brother Azam Shah in the battle of Jajau and captured the Mughal throne of Agra. The Mughal as well as the Sikh chronicles inform that Guru Gobind Singh had a meeting with Bahadur Shah at Agra. The meeting was held in a very cordial atmosphere and some gifts were also exchanged.[22] It looks quite plausible that during his meeting with Bahadur Shah, Guru Gobind Singh demanded punishment to Mughal officials responsible for the injustice done to Sikhs and his family.

Though, Bahadur Shah had occupied the throne, yet he was not fully secure on it. He was obliged to Wazir Khan, the subedar of Sarhind and the chief culprit of the Guru, for raising a huge amount to finance the war of succession.[23] Therefore to take action against Wazir Khan and his associates for committing atrocities on the Guru and his family was most unlikely. At the same time Bahadur Shah didn’t want to give impression to Guru Gobind Singh that he was totally unconvinced and unconcerned of his demand for justice. Instead of taking any instant decision, the Emperor decided to engage the Guru in a prolonged dialogue, obviously to make a bid for time. In the meantime the political scenario in Rajputana had changed. Rana Amar Singh of Udaipur had not bothered to come personally and congratulate the new Emperor. Mirza Raja Swai Jai Singh of Jaipur had espoused the cause of Azam Shah before the battle of Jajau. A dispute between him and his younger brother, Kanwar Bijai Singh had arisen over the issue of succession. It prompted Bahadur Shah to annex the state of Jaipur to the Mughal Empire.[24] Obviously Mirza Raja Jai Singh was looking for an opportunity to regain it. Significantly, the Rajputs of Jodhpur under the lead of Raja Ajit Singh had ejected the Mughal officials from Jodhpur.[25] All these factors suggest that Rajputana was simmering with discontent. It compelled Bahadur Shah to nip the Rajput revolt in the bud. Accordingly, he set off from Agra (November, 1707) to arrive at Amber on January 20, 1708. While he was on his way to Ajmer, Bahadur Shah got report from the Deccan that Muhammad Kam Bakhsh had declared himself independent. “From this time he resolved as soon as he had dealt with the Jodhpur to march into the Deccan to suppress Kam Bakhsh.â€[26]

As the matter of Muhammad Kam Bakhsh who had claimed himself emperor in the Deccan, was more serious and demanded urgent attention, instead of getting bogged down in the desert of Rajputana, Bahadur Shah adopted conciliatory approach to strike peace with the Rajputs. On April 2, 1708 Bahadur Shah left Ajmer for his onward journey to the Deccan. Before leaving Ajmer, he made sure that Raja Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur and Raja Ajit Singh of Jodhpur should not be left behind to awake the crises again. Therefore he took along with him both the Rajas. According to William Irvine, “there acquiescence in the semi-captivity was apparently nothing but a mask for further plans.â€[27] Very truly, when the royal entourage was in the vicinity of pargana Mandeshwar of central Malwa that on April 30, 1708, Rajas were successful to make good their escape to surface a month afterwards (May 30, 1708) at Udaipur.[28] Here the three Rajput chiefs- Rana Amar Singh of Udaipur, Raja Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur and Raja Ajit Singh of Jodhpur entered into an agreement for joint resistance to the Mughals.[29] Now we must leave Bahadur Shah’s march into the Deccan to resume our subject of enquiry to see what Guru Gobind Singh had been doing after his meeting with Bahadur Shah at Agra in July 1707.

A news in the Akhbar-i-Darbar-i-Mualla of July 24, 1707 informs that “in response to the Emperor’s instructions [Guru] Gobind [singh], [the 9th] successor of Guru Nanak, came duly armed and joined his company. The Guru made a nazar of one thousand gold mohars to the Emperor and received in return a khillat, robe of honour and a medal studded with precious jewels as a present and got his leave.â€[30] The above meeting finds mention in the hukamnamas of Guru Gobind Singh written on October 2, 1707 to the sangats of Dhaul and Khara wherein he refers to some “other things which were progressing satisfactorily.â€[31] On the basis of above two documents we can safely infer that Guru Gobind Singh was pleased with the interview, friendly negotiations were in progress and on the termination of it he desired to see the whole of Khalsa assembled again in Kehloor. Khafi Khan, a contemporary historian reports that during Bahadur Shah’s march to Deccan, Guru Gobind Singh with two or three hundred spearmen, came to the Emperor and accompanied him.[32] According to the author of Tarikh-i-Bahadurshahi, “Guru Gobind Singh one of the descendants of [Guru] Nanak had come into these districts to travel and accompanied the royal camp. He was in the habit of constantly addressing assemblies of worldly persons, religious fanatics and all sorts of people.â€[33] On the basis of above evidence we can say that Guru Gobind Singh accompanied Bahadur Shah to Rajputana. It means for about six months (November 1707 to April 1708) Guru Gobind Singh remained in Rajputana. As told by Khafi Khan Guru Gobind Singh occasionally separated himself form the royal camp to preach his mission. It is most probably that the Guru came into contact with Dadupanthi saint Jait Ram and taught him that instead of submission evil must be resisted. As described earlier henceforth Dadupanthi disciples took to arms and organized themselves into armed bands. It can largely be attributed to the influence of Guru Gobind Singh. Khafi Khan also informs that Guru Gobind Singh used to address assemblies of worldly persons and all sort of people. It suggests that many of the Rajputs, a warrior class had got fascinated to Guru Gobind Singh’s spirit of defiance. It is also believed that the confederacy of the Rajput chiefs that they had formed at Udaipur to fight the Mughals jointly, was also the outcome of Guru Gobind Singh’s influence to which they might have been exposed while coming into contact with him.[34]

Attempts to Form Sikh–Rajput Alliance

Since October 1707 Guru Gobind Singh had been in the company of Bahadur Shah. He traveled with the Emperor to Rajputana and then to Deccan solely for his own purpose. At last he realized that the Emperor would not redress the wrongs done to him by the Mughal officials of Punjab. Therefore in the beginning of September, 1708 Guru Gobind Singh separated himself from the Emperor to encamp at Nander. Here he met Madho Das, a bairagi and converted him into the order of Khalsa and renamed him Banda Singh. Before his demise on October 7, 1708 at Nander, Guru Gobind Singh sent Banda Singh to the Punjab to carry on the struggle against the Mughals. On the other hand when Bahadur Shah was busy in the Deccan, Raja Ajit Singh had expelled the Mughal faujdar from Jodhpur to reoccupy it. Similarly, in August 1708 Raja Jai Singh had taken possession of Amber after driving away the Mughal forces stationed there. The Mughal faujdars of Mewat, Narnaul and Ajmer were unable to control the Rajput insurrection.[35] It compelled Bahadur Shah to make haste to Rajputana. Accordingly, he crossed Narbada on December 25, 1709 to reach in the vicinity of Ajmer on May 15, 1710. On the intercession of Shahzada Azim-ush-Shan, Bahadur Shah again resorted to conciliatory approach to settle the issue with the Rajputs.[36] When the negotiations with the Rajputs were going on, the Sikhs under the leadership of Banda Singh Bahadur had taken possession of Sarhind on May 22, 1710. Bahadur Shah thought of to resolve the Rajput crisis at the earliest as uprising of the Sikhs was more serious and of more far reaching consequences.

The first news of the Sikh outbreak was brought to Bahadur Shah on May 30, 1710 when he was approaching Ajmer on his return march from the Deccan.[37] On June 21, 1710 having patched up with the Rajputs, Bahadur Shah devoted his full attention to the new trouble in Punjab. Our sources confirm that the Sikhs had routed the army of Wazir Khan, the faujdar of Sarhind and were successful to liberate a considerable area falling under the chakla of Sarhind. Towards the end of 1710 the Sikhs had become virtually the master of a large tract extending from Panipat to Pathankot. The Mughal commanders who were assigned the military campaign to subdue the Sikhs, had very little or limited success. It brought the Emperor to the battle scene in the Punjab to personally supervise the campaign against Banda Singh Bahadur. The alacrity with which Banda Singh Bahadur moved from one place to another coupled with his power to strike the Mughal centers of power was a serious challenge to the Mughal authority. Bahadur Shah was compelled to mobilize all the military power including that of the Rajputs in order to subdue the Sikhs.

Banda Singh Bahadur was not only a military commander but a statesman also. To overthrow the Mughal empire which had vast resources of men and material, was not an easy task. He knew his ability and limitations as well. Exhibiting the qualities of a true statesman, Banda Singh Bahadur worked out a strategy to get together all the forces that were reeling under the atrocitious and unjust rule of the Mughals.[38] In the immediate neighborhood of Punjab, Banda Singh Bahadur entered into tacit understanding with the hill chiefs who were somewhat dissatisfied with the Mughals. “It was with his tactfulness and statesmanship and the demonstration of use of force that Banda Singh Bahadur made the hill chiefs his allies. It provided him easy excess to the hills.â€[39] In this manner he has no cause to worry from the hill chiefs who ruled from Sirmour in the east to Jammu in the north-west of Punjab. We observe when the exigency demanded Banda Singh Bahadur often went into the hills to avoid open and protracted battles with the Mughals. We have already seen how the dissatisfied Rajput chiefs had formed triple alliance to fight against the Mughals.[40] Though, Bahadur Shah had patched up with the Rajputs yet Banda Singh Bahadur knew the fragility of peace in Rajputana. In this situation Banda Singh Bahadur took initiative to form the Sikh Rajput alliance, which was of great significance, and advantageous to both the parties.[41] Infact Banda Singh Bahadur aspired to capitalize upon the discontent of Raja Jai Singh and Raja Ajit Singh over their fortunes under Bahadur Shah.[42] Our sources confirm that as early as May 1710 i.e. before the take over of Sarhind Banda Singh Bahadur had opened his communication channels with the Rajput chiefs of Jaipur and Jodhpur.[43] According to a news that appeared in the Darbar-i-Akhbar-i-Mualla of May 28, 1710 "it was brought to the notice of the Emperor that Raja Jai Singh and Raja Ajit Singh had got the letters of Guru [banda Singh Bahadur] and their replies had been dispatched to him".[44] Though the contents of these letters are not known yet we can foresee that Banda Singh Bahadur was very anxious to from a Sikh–Rajput alliance to overthrow the unjust Mughal rule.

In order to restore Mughal rule in Punjab as well as to subdue the Sikhs towards the end of December 1710, Bahadur Shah had encamped at Sadhaura.[45] However Banda Singh Bahadur escaped into the Sirmour hills to appear in the Bari Doab. Even Lahore, the provincial capital city was not safe from the Sikhs.[46] In these circumstances the Emperor haste into Lahore to remain there till his death in February 1712. From the very beginning Bahadur Shah desired that Raja Jai Singh and Raja Ajit Singh must join the Mughal expedition against the Sikhs. From December 26, 1710 onward we come across numerous express orders of the Emperor asking the Rajas to present themselves at the Mughal court.[47] Instead of adhering to the Royal edicts, the Rajas followed the wait and watch policy. There may be more than one reason for it. As Banda Singh Bahadur had invited the Rajas to join him in his struggle against the Mughals, the Rajas had not yet made up their mind either to join the proposed Sikh–Rajput alliance or to support the Mughals against the Sikhs. Secondly, they wanted to extract maximum benefit in the form of jagir from the Mughals. We observe that their Vakils present at the Mughal court were working overtime to extract as much as they can. Therefore the Rajas deliberately kept on dilly-delaying their arrival at the Mugal court. On June 4, 1711 Mahabat Khan, the third Bakshi, summoned the Vakil of Raja Jai Singh and told him that due to the delay of the Rajas his position at the royal court has become precarious and his rivals are leveling various types of charges.[48] In an another report of June 4, 1711 the Jaipur Vakil describes that at the Mughal courts the Rajas are labeled as liars and impression is that they would never turn up and who knows for what purpose they have got together.[49] An arzdasht of June 9, 1711 from Jaipur Vakil to his master unfolds that by the grace of God he is quite hopeful that for a few more days Guru [banda Singh Bahadur] would not be captured so that the Emperor may remain entangled in the Punjab.[50] A letter of June 13, 1711 from his Vakil counsels Raja Jai Singh that the negligence shown to the letter of Guru [banda Singh Bahadur] was not good on our part as it has aggravated the situation very badly and in future we need to be very careful.[51] It suggests that a letter from Banda Singh Bahadur meant for Jaipur chief had fallen into the hands of Mughals. In the Mughal court there was apprehension that Banda Singh Bahadur may go to Ajmer via Lakhi Jungle[52], obviously to join the Rajputs. A vakil report submitted on September 16, 1711 unfolds that there were strong apprehensions in the Mughal court that the Rajas were in league with Banda Singh Bahadur.[53] When Bahadur Shah was encamped at Lahore a report came that Banda Singh Bahadur has appeared near Ropar and may again go to Sadhaura. Therefore the Emperor devised a military strategy according to which the Rajas were asked to station their forces at Ropar and whenever the situation demands they were to support Muhammad Amin Khan to subdue the Sikhs.[54]

All these reports provide significant insights into the proposed Sikh–Rajput alliance which was a cause of serious concern for the Mughals. However, the alliance failed to take off, chiefly because of the indecisiveness as well as selfish interest on the part of Rajput chiefs. Instead of throwing away the Mughal yoke forever they were satisfied if they are left in quite possession of their hereditary country coupled with an increase in their jagir or mansab at the Mughal court. At the same time the Mughal nobles especially Shahzada Azim-ush-Sham and Muhabat Khan were constantly in touch with the Rajas. They promised the Rajas to protect their interests and finally succeeded to persuade them to join the Mughal expedition against the Sikhs. Our sources indicate that the Rajas instead of entering into an alliance with the Sikhs decided to help the Mughals. According to a report of September 21, 1711 Raja Jai Singh and Raja Ajit Singh had reached in the vicinity of Delhi for their onward march to Sadhaura.[55] Another dispatch of October 9, 1711 describes that Bhup Parkash Raja of Nahan who was imprisoned in Salimgarh sent his men with a request to the Rajput chiefs to intervene to get him free from the prison. The Rajas wrote back, they were the servants of the Mughal Emperor and are going to Sadhaura. They advised the chief of Nahan that he should write to his men at Nahan that wherever the Sikhs were found they must be made captive.[56] Though the Rajas along with their forces had encircled Sadhaura, yet Banda Singh Bahadur again offered to them to form an alliance with him. The Akhbar-i-Darbar-i-Mualla of November 30, 1711 informs that “the rebel Guru [banda Singh Bahadur] wrote to Raja Ajit Singh and Raja Jai Singh that they should come to his territory. They [the Sikhs] should be considered to have reached their territory. The Rajas killed the spies of the rebels and told that they were the servants of the Emperor. The rebels would be captured or killed soon.†It further adds, "Muhammed Amin Khan wrote to Raja Ajit Singh and Raja Ajit Singh if they jointly marched against the rebel leader they could capture or kill him soon. The Rajas wrote in reply that the matter be reported to the Emperor. In case the Mughals were attacked by the rebels they [Rajas] would immediately reach there".[57]

It seems as soon as Raja Jai Singh and Raja Ajit Singh got new appointments as subedars of Ahmedabad and Saurath respectively and other benefits of jagirs, they left the battle front of Sadhaura. A news of January 12, 1711 of Akhbar-i- Darbar-i-Mualla states that on December 25, 1711 the rebel Guru [banda Singh Bahadur] came to know that Raja Jai Singh and Raja Ajit Singh had departed for their country. He [banda Singh Bahadur] collected his men and raided on the thana where the said Rajas were stationed.[58] The Jaipur records confirm that before their return march to Rajputana, the Rajas visited Haridwar to perform the piligrimage.[59] Anyway, the main objective i.e. the subjugation of Banda Singh Bahadur, for which the Rajas had been called to Sadhaura was far from accomplished. The Mughals who entertained apprehensions that the Rajput Rajas were in league with the Sikhs, had very tactfully prevented the Rajas to enter into any understanding with the Sikhs. To recapitulate, we can say that when the Sikhs under the leadership of Banda Singh Bahadur were fighting the Mughals to establish their own rule, the Rajput chiefs were sitting on the fringe totally unconcerned. They were satisfied to administer their hereditary possessions under the suzerainty of the Mughals. Unfortunately, they spurned Banda Singh Bahadur's proposal of Sikh–Rajput alliance which would have been a formidable challenge to the Mughal empire at that time. Who knows if the proposed alliance had become a reality then the downfall of the Mughal empire might have been hastened and the geo-political scenario of the Indian sub-continent would have been totally different.

Sikhs in Rajputana

During the governorship of Zakariya Khan (1726-1745) and Mir Mannu (1748-1753), the Mughal government had adopted strong measures to root out the Sikhs from Punjab. They were hunted like wild animals, prices were fixed on their heads, tortured and beheaded in the most barbaric manner at public places in Lahore. In the face of persecution and extreme hardships, the Sikhs were compelled to seek shelter in the forests, hills and deserts. According to the traditional Sikh sources, to avoid persecution at the hands of Mughals and their allies in Punjab, some Sikh warriors along with their families moved to Rajputana and even some of them joined the services of Jaipur state.[60] So far no independent source was available to corroborate the above tradition. The Sikh presence in Rajputana in early eighteenth century has been a matter of conjecture only. However, recently the author of this write up has come across a number of Rajasthani documents which prove that Jaipur state had taken the services of some Sikh leaders chiefly from military point of view. The Jaipur records confirm that as early as 1739, S. Gurbakhsh Singh, a leader of the Sikhs had come into contact with the Jaipur state. In 1740, the same S. Gurbakhsh Singh was entrusted to employ 500 Sikh horsemen and 500 riflemen on behalf of the Jaipur state.[61] The expenditure incurred by the Jaipur state on the hospitality of S. Gurbakhsh Singh is duly recorded in the Jaipur records. Similarly, another Sikh leader S. Mir Singh, a jamiatdar along with his armed band was in Jaipur and was honored with a siropao costing Rs.48.75 at that time.[62] It was the time when Marathas had made inroads into northern India and had started levying tribute on the Rajput states.[63] It seems Jaipur state in order to supplement its armed forces has no inhibition to enroll the armed Sikhs into its army. On the other hand, the Sikhs who had come under the onslaughts of Mughal governors of Punjab, not only got safe refuse in Rajputana but also livelihood to survive there. It was mutually beneficial to both the parties. Thus it was the beginning of a new chapter in the relations between the Sikhs and the Jaipur state.

The defeat of Marathas by Ahmed Shah Abdali in the battle of Panipat in April 1761 was a severe blow to the Maratha expansion in northern India. On the other hand the Sikhs who had suffered heavily in the running battle (Wada Ghallughara of 1762) at the hands of Ahmed Shah Abdali, threw out all the Afghan faujdars from Punjab. In January 1764 they had reoccupied Sarhind and in March 1765 had taken possession of Lahore. The Sikhs had struck a coin at Lahore to declare themselves sovereign rulers of the country from Indus to Jamuna. Having liberated the Punjab, the Sikh misls fanned across the Jamuna into former Delhi Mughal province to establish rakhi system. A close look at the Rajasthani sources confirm that the Sikh incursions were not confined only to Jamuna-Gangetic Doab but some parts of Rajputana had also come under their rakhi system.

In the Jaipur records, especially Tozi Sikhs, Siyah Hazoor and Dastoor Kaumvar, we come across numerous entries from 1765 onward which relate to the Sikh leaders namely Kesar Singh, Khushhal Singh, Tara Singh, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, Kahn Singh, Bakht Singh, Sham Singh, Jassa Singh Ramgharia, Dulcha Singh, Baghel Singh, Dharam Singh, Kalyan Singh, Param Singh, Sardar Singh, Sahib Singh etc. who were in Jaipur. Besides the Sikh leaders their vakils such as Munshi Mitha Lal, Munshi Ram Kishan, Jai Kishan, Harjas Rai, Nar Singh Das, Gujar Mal, Amolak Ram, Balak Ram, Munshi Mansab Rai, Diwan Desa Ram, Ram Dayal, Roora Mal, Abhai Ram, Mahesh Das, Basant Rai etc. who visited Jaipur on behalf of the Sikh leaders to discuss important matters also find mention in these records. The expenditure incurred on the hospitality of the Sikh leaders and the gifts presented to them and their vakils are dully recorded in the above mentioned sources. The Sikh leaders and their vakils visited Jaipur year after year. What exactly was the purpose of their visit and what transpired between the Jaipur ruler and the Sikhs? For all these questions thorough investigation of Jaipur records is required.

The Sikh–Rajput Alliance

In November 1764, Jawahar Singh, the Jat raja of Bharatpur in order to take revenge on the Ruhela chief Najib Khan for the death of his father, Suraj Mal, had led an expedition on Delhi. At that time he sought the help of Sikhs who were in the vicinity of Delhi. In January 1765, about 12000-15000 Sikhs supported the Jat Raja and saved him from the rout of this misadventure.[64] In 1766, taking advantage of the dissentions in Bharatpur house, Maratha Supremo, Malhar Rao marched on Bharatpur to take possession of Dholpur. Jawahar Singh again requested the Sikhs and agreed to pay Rs.7 Lakh in order to deal with the Maratha menace. Accordingly, in March 1766 about 20000-25000 Sikhs went to Jawahar Singh’s succor and chased away the Marathas to expel them beyond the river Chambal.[65] There was a boundary the dispute between the Jaipur and Bharatpur state. In order to browbeat the Jaipur army, Jawahar Singh engaged a corps of 20000-25000 Sikhs who had come at that time to his country perhaps to collect the rakhi amount.[66]

In Rajasthani there are a number of kharitas (letters) which describe the Sikh incursions into Bharatpur and Jaipur territories. A kharita written on February 21, 1768 by a Jaipur official informs that the Sikh army has crossed over Jamuna and the Jat detachment holding its thana there, has fled away after setting fire to two villages of the pargana. The Jaipur army having vacated Narnaul, has encamped at Hindon. The author advises the officials in Jaipur to make efforts to strengthen the fort of Swai Jaipur.[67] Another kharita written by Sampati Ram Bankawat informs that the fort of Kama and the area around it has come under the attack of joint army of the Sikhs and the Jats.[68] Similarly, another letter written on March 24, 1768 by Nathu Ram to Sanghi Jiv Raj of Jaipur describes that the Jat army of 15000 swars under Rattan Singh and Samru Firangi has reached Khohri and fought a severe battle with the army of Jaipur. It further adds that the Sikh army has departed against the Deccanis (Marathas).[69] All these documents provide significant insights into the Jat–Sikh alliance which was a matter of serious concern for the Jaipur ruler. With the help of Sikh army, Jawahar Singh had not only prevented the Maratha onslaughts on the Jat dominions but was also making inroads into the Jaipur territory. As discussed above in December 1767, Jawahar Singh with his immense force and artillery forced his way into the Jaipur territory to make pilgrimage to Pushkar. While he was on his return journey, he was attacked by the Jaipur forces and was compelled to retreat in haste. The Jaipur forces followed him upto Kama where in February 1768, a fresh Sikh corps came into his rescue and Jaipur forces had to withdraw.[70] In the meantime, Jaipur ruler Swai Madho Singh had died on March 5, 1768 and the throne passed on to his elder son, Prithvi Singh, a boy of five. The regency was led by the widowed queen with the help of her father Jaswant Singh Chundawat supported by three ministers–Khushali Ram Bohra, Raj Singh Kachwaha and Firuz Khan.[71] The regency at Jaipur realized that to prevent the Jat juggernaut and Maratha menace, it requires the support of a formidable ally. The Mughal emperor’s authority was on the wane. Naturally, they looked towards the Sikhs with whom they had some contacts since 1739. Significantly, in the Jaipur records there is a Rajasthani document which describes the parleys that led to the Sikh–Rajput alliance. The document in question written by Ram Narayan, a Jaipur official on March 12, 1768 Saturday, states that “ the report regarding the arrival of Sikh army has already been submitted. Raj Singh has also received a dispatch signed by all the Sikh leaders. In it they have expressed grief and deep sorrow at the demise of Maharaja [swai Madho Singh] who was foremost among the rulers of Hindustan. The Sikhs have assured to abide by the terms already agreed upon. The Jaipur officials namely Gokal Chand Katara, Nand Ram and Azmat Khan had advised Raj Singh to from an alliance with the Sikhs that they would jointly invade the Jat territory to levy tribute and the terms of agreement already enforce would be acceptable to the Jaipur state.[72]†The author further adds that “the Sikh leaders will meet tonight to take decision on the above proposal.†Though, in the above document the names of Sikh leaders holding the parleys are missing, yet another document informs that on March 13, 1768 the Sikh leaders namely S. Sham Singh and S. Bakhat Singh were present at the investiture ceremony of new ruler (Prithvi Singh) of Jaipur.[73]

A kharita written by Gangadhar on April 25, 1768 makes clear that Jaipur state had won over the Sikhs and had agreed to pay Rs.2 Lakh as rakhi. However, there was a dispute over the distribution of amount and the Sikhs were divided into two groups. Khushhal Singh, Jai Singh Kanhayia, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia and Tara Singh led one group whereas Baghel Singh, Sham Singh and Jassa Singh Ahluwalia led the second group.[74] An another kharita written on April 26, 1768 states that the Jaipur had deputed its vakils to see off the Sikh leaders who were on their return journey. It states that both the groups along with their forces have reached Badarpur via Tilpat Ghat.[75] An undated kharita reports that Bhatt Ji and Rawat Ji have informed that the Pathan had returned and died. Now the power of Sikhs is on the rise in the month of Vaisakh, they will hold a grand assembly to decide about the future action. The Sikhs intended to come (to Rajputana). The payment of Rs.1 Lakh has to be made to them. It suggests maintaining good relations as it is in the interest of Jaipur state.[76]

A perusal of Jaipur records confirms that the Rajput–Sikh alliance formed in March 1768 remained in force for quite a long time. An entry in Siyah Hazoor and Tozi Sikhs as well is very note-worthy in this respect. It states that on March 3, 1788 Monday, S. Baghel Singh came and had a meeting with Shri Hazoor (Swai Partap Singh) who was camping in village Ladhuwas of pargana Riwari. They shook hands and thereafter sat very closely on the same carpet. For one hour they held discussions on important matters. After that the Maharaja send him off and presented to him four bundles containing costly gifts. Interestingly, the gifts included a sarpech and a kalghi (plume) as well.[77] It suggests that S. Baghel Singh was no more a marauder or mercenary but a respectable leader of the Sikh Panth holding equal status to any ruler of Hindustan. To close this discussion we would like to quote another very important document which holds great merit to look into the Rajput–Sikh alliance. The document in the from of a treaty signed on January 25, 1787 is as under:

(Mark of sword in saffron colour)

Ahadnama between Sarbat Khalsa Ji and Maharaja Swai Partap Singh

That there exists acknowledged friendship between Sarbat Khalsa Ji and Maharaja Dhiraj, Partap Singh Bahadur. It has been agreed upon by both the parties that the friends and foes of one party will be treated as friends and foes of the other. Sarbat Khalsa Ji will act according to the wishes of the Maharaja and the Maharaja will act according to the Sarbat Khalsa Ji. That any newly conquered territory in the zila of Bagar will be divided between both the parties after deducting the expenses of army. And the rakhi in the new territories shall be of Sarbat Khalsa Ji. There is no discord whatsoever between Khalsa Ji and Maharaja. And if the enemies of the Maharaja create disturbances, Sarbat Khalsa Ji shall join him. The holy Guru is a witness to this agreement and might sword is in between. Written on 5th Rabi-ul-Sani, 28th regnal year of Shah Alam.[78]

The above treaty bears the seals of eight Sikh Sardars–Baghel Singh, Dulcha Singh, Rai Singh, Raja Diwan Bahadur Singh, Nihal Singh, Gurdit Singh, Karam Singh Bahadur and Sada Singh. On July 31, 1788 the Sikh leaders had proposed similar treaty to Maharaja Bijay Singh of Jodhpur also.[79] Another undated document dispatched by S. Baghel Singh reminds the Jaipur ruler to abide by the treaty. According to it “the friendly relations of the Khalsa with the family of Maharaja Swai Partap Singh will continue as before. The Khalsa agrees to devastate the opponents of the Maharaja. The Maharaja should not act against this agreement and pay off the army expenses as already settled.â€[80]

Conclusion

To sum up the foregoing discussion we can safely state that the holy writings of Guru Nanak had traveled to Rajasthan quite at an early stage. The musicians, who used to sing devotional songs at religious festivals, were largely responsible for transmitting the bani of Guru Nanak to the people of Rajputana. Similarly, the devotional writings of Dhanna and Pipa, who belonged to Rajputana, had found their way in to the Sikh scriptural tradition. All these factors suggest that Sikh Scripture and its tenets were not unknown to the people of Rajputana. The analysis of Sikh sources confirm that Sikh Gurus enjoyed cordial relations with the Rajput chiefs, especially of the Jaipur house. Guru Tegh Bahadur and Raja Ram Singh of Jaipur had come into personal contact and lend helping hand to one another to solve the crisis they faced. During his sojourns in Rajputana, Guru Gobind Singh came into contact with religious and the ruling classes of Rajputana. It seems, a lot of Rajputs were attracted to Guru Gobind Singh, chiefly because of his spirit of defiance and struggle against the unjust rule of the Mughals. The triple league that the chiefs of Udaipur, Jaipur and Jodhpur had formed in 1708 to fight against the Mughals, can largely be attributed to the influence of Guru Gobind Singh. Similarly, Dadupanth's decision to arm their disciples was the direct outcome of a discourse of Guru Gobind Singh that he had given to Mahant Jait Ram over the issue of the use of force.

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur had opened his communication channels with the Rajput chiefs quite at an early stage of his struggle. In May 1710, he had proposed a Sikh-Rajput alliance to Raja Jai Singh and Raja Ajit Singh in order to wage a joint struggle against the Mughal empire. The proposal of such an alliance was of far reaching consequences and it would have been a formidable challenge to the Mughals, however, due to their selfish interest the Rajas spurned the offer, which was a big reprieve to the declining authority of the Mughal emperor.

During the period of persecution at the hands of Mughal subedars of Punjab, the Sikhs took refuge in Rajputana and some of them joined the Jaipur army. We also observe that during the last half of the eighteenth century, to guide the course of Sikh-Rajput relations, Jats and Marathas were major factors. Raja Jawahar Singh of Bharatpur enjoyed very good relations with the Sikh leaders. With the Sikh support he was successful in warding off Maratha inroads in to his dominion and aspired to occupy the fort of Kama, which was a bone of contention between the Bharatpur and the Jaipur states. At the same time the Marathas were expanding their hold on Rajputana and had levied chauth (one fourth) on almost all the Rajput states. After the demise of Swai Madho Singh in 1768, the regency at Jaipur was in dire need to wriggle out of the crisis created by outside forces. The Sikhs at that time had become the sovereign rulers of Punjab, and they had successfully established their rakhi system in Jamuna-Gangetic Doab including the Jat state of Bharatpur. Naturally, Jaipur looked towards the Sikhs, entered into a Sikh-Rajput alliance and agreed to pay the rakhi. In this context Jaipur preferred the Sikhs over the Marathas as the incidence of Sikh rakhi was much less than the Maratha chauth. Consequently, the Rajput-Sikh relations had come to a full circle.

The Rajputs who were reluctant to join the alliance proposed by Banda Singh Bahadur, were now very eager to sign the treaty with the Sikhs. The treaty of January 25, 1787 signed between the Sikh leaders and Swai Partap Singh bears testimony to the above fact. However, it requires an in-depth analysis to look into the impact it had on the contemporary Indian politics. Anyway, the study of Sikh-Rajput relations is a very fascinating subject, which is awaiting the attention of scholars for quite a long time. However, analysis of contemporary Rajasthani sources is full of promise and it can shed light on the lesser known but significant facets of Sikh history.

Notes and References

1. Farmans, Manshurs and Nishans Addressed by the Imperial Mughals to the Princes of Rajasthan, Directorate of Archives, Govt.of Rajasthan, Bikaner, 1962, pp.1, 6,25,36,71.

2. Miharban, Janamsakhi Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji (Sachkhand Pothi), ed. Kirpal Singh, Khalsa College, Amritsar, 1962, pp. 331-356.

3. Winand M. Callewaert, "Manuscripts, a Precious Goldmine," The Journal of Religious Studies", Panjabi University, Patiala, XXII, 1993, pp. 158-173.

4. Varan Bhai Gurdas, 10:13, 23:15, 24.5.

5. Three hymns of Dhanna and one by Pipa have been included in Guru Granth Sahib, see pp. 487-88, 695.

6. Ganda Singh, A short History of the Sikhs, Panjabi University, Patiala, 1989, p. 46.

7. Sarup Das Bhalla, Mahima Parkash, Bhasha Viibhag Punjab, Patiala, 1971, pp. 642-45; Kesar Singh Chhibber, Bansawalinamma, ed. Raijasbir Singh, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, 2001, pp. 62-63; Giani Gian Singh Tawarikh Guru Khalsa, Bhasha Vibhag Punjab, Patiala, 1970, p. 634.

8. S.K.Bhuyan, "Guru Tegh Bahadur in Assam," Panjab Past and Present," April 1975, pp. 125-129; Ali-ud-din,"Ibratnama", Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur: Farsi Sarot, ed. Piar Singh, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, 1976, p. 113.

9. Hukamname, ed. Ganda Singh, Panjabi University, Patiala, 1967, pp. 13,15,16; Ganda Singh, Makhiz-i-Tawarikh-i-Sikhan, Sikh History Society, Amritsar, 1949, p. 83.

10. S.K. Bhuyan, op.cit., p. 129., Sarup Das Bhalla, op.cit., pp. 727-32.

11. Sikh History from Persian Sources, ed. J.S. Grewal and Irfan Habib, Tulika, New Delhi, 2001, pp. 98-99; Sainapat, Gur Sobha, ed. Ganda Singh, Panjabi University, Patiala, 1980, p. 95., Sukha Singh, Gurbilas Patshahi Daswin, Bhasha Vibhag Punjab, Patiala, 1989, p. 370.

12. The above information is based on the field work conducted in December, 2000 by the author in search of Rajasthani Sources of Sikh History which is an advanced stage of its publication.

13. Rattan Singh Bhangoo, Sri Guru Panth Parkash, ed. Balwant Singh Dhillon, Singh Brothers, Amritsar, 2004, pp. 71-72, Sukha Singh, op.cit., pp. 372-373.

14. Gopal Narayan Bahura and Chandarmani Singh, Historical Documents in Kapad Dwara Jaipur, Jaigarh Public Charitable Trust, Jaipur, 1988, pp. Vi, 163, 180.

15. Rattan Singh Bhangoo, op.cit., pp. 71-72.

16. Sainapat, op.cit., p. 99; Sukha Singh, op.cit., p. 378., the Gurudwara building is not very old but a recent construction.

17. In order to unravel the mystery surrounding the places sanctified by Guru Gobind Singh in Rajputana, S. Piara Singh Bains a retired Rajasthan Police Officer now settled at Bikaner, is working extensively on this project.

18. Sainapat, op.cit., pp. 98-99., Sukha Singh, op.cit., pp. 378-79.

19. Sainapat., op.cit., p. 105.

20. William Irvine, The Later Mughals, Oriental Books, New Delhi, 1971, pp. 19-20.

21. Sainapat, op.cit., p. 107; Sukha Singh, op.cit., pp. 385-87.

22. Hukamname, p. 82., Sainapat, op.cit., p. 114., "Akhbar-i-Darbar-i-Mualla," Eng. Tr. and Ed. Bhagat Singh, The Panjab Past and Present, Panjabi University, Patiala, Vol. XVIII-II, Oct., 1984, hereafter cited as Akhbar-i-Darbar-i-Mualla, p. 24.

23. William Irvine, op.cit., p. 20.

24. Ibid., p. 46.

25. Ibid., p. 45.

26. Ibid., p. 47

27. Ibid., p. 67.

28. Ibid., pp. 49,67., see also Jadunath Sarkar, A History of Jaipur, Orient Longman, Bombay, 1984, p. 161.

29. William Irvine, op.cit., p. 67.

30. Akhbar-i-Darbar-i-Mualla, p. 24.

31. Hukamname, pp. 187, 189.

32. Elliot and Dowson, History of India As Told by Its own Historians, Vol. VII, Kitab Mahal, Allahabad, p. 413.

33. Ibid., p. 566.

34. The point of formation of Triple League by the Rajput chiefs under the influence of Guru Gobind Singh, was brought forth by S. Piara Singh Bains of Bikaner during his discussion with the author in Oct., 2002 at Bikaner.

35. William Irvine, op.cit., pp. 67-70.

36. Ibid., p. 71-73.

37. Ibid., pp. 104-105.

38. The Rajput chiefs have appointed their representative known as Vakils at the royal court. They used to send their dispatches in the form of Vakil reports or Arzdashts. Such Vakil Reports and Arzdashts submitted in Persian and Rajashtan to the Jaipur rulers are now in the Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner. For Banda Singh Bahadur's tacit understanding with the hill chiefs the readers are referred to Vakil Report Rajasthani, No. 52 and Arzdasht Rajasthani, No. 203.

39. Muzaffar Alam, The Crisis of Empire in Mughal North India, OUP, Delhi, p. 161.

40. See above note 29 and 34.

41. One such letter of Banda Singh Bahadur proposing the Sikh-Rajput alliance is in theJ.N. Sarkar's transcripts, National Library, Calcutta. J.N. Sarkar has got its copy from Kapadwara Collection when he was commissioned to write the History of Jaipur. For the contents of proposed alliance, see Jeevan. Deol, "Eighteenth Century Khalsa Identity: Discourse, Praxis and Narrative,"Sikh Religion, Culture and Ethnicity, eds. Christopher Shackle, Gurharpal Singh Arvindpal Singh Mandair, Curzon, 2001, p. 44.

42. Muzaffar Alam, op.cit., p. 161.

43. Akhbar-i-Darbar-i-Mualla, p. 27.

44. Ibid.

45. Arzdasht Rajasthani, Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, hereafter cited as Arzdasht Rajasthani, No. 195.

46. Vakil Reports Rajasthani, Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, hereafter cited as Vakil Reports Rajasthani, No. 46,48, 311, 351.

47. Arzdasht Rajasthani , No. 195, also see Vakil Reports Rajasthani, No. 37,44, 311.

48. Vakil Reports Rajasthani, No. 61.

49. Ibid., No. 60.

50. Arzdasht Rajasthani, No. 203.

51. In Rajasthan State Archives there is another category of documents in Rajasthani which are known as Kharitas. It originally means a bag in which a letter when sent to a great person is enclosed. For the document in question see Kharita Rajasthani, No. 73.

52. Ibid., also see Vakil Reports Rajasthani, No. 57,261.

53. Vakil Reports Rajasthani, No. 67

54. Vakil Reports Rajasthani, No.67,72,75,76,77,81,83,106,118; also see Arzdasht Rajasthani, No. 212.

55. Akhbar-i-Darbar-i-Mualla, p. 85.

56. Ibid., pp. 87-88.

57. Ibid., pp. 94-95.

58. Ibid., pp. 97-98.

59. Vakil Reports Rajasthani, No. 121.

60. Rattan Singh Bhangoo, op.cit., p. 227.

61. In the Jaipur Records there are loose sheets on which accounts relating to different persons of different castes and religious denominations are recorded. These records have been further copied into a multi-volume document known as Dastoor Kaumvar. In the Tozi (account) sheets there are hundred of entries which relate to the Sikhs. These entries have been recorded under the name of different Sikh leaders. For the entry in question, see Tozi Sikhs, No.4.

62. Ibid., No.6

63. Jadunath Sarkar, A History of Jaipur, p. 183.

64. Jean Deloche (ed.), Wendel's Memoirs on the Origin, Growth and Present State of Jat Power in Hindustan (1768), Institute Francais De Pondicherry, Pondicherry, 1991, pp. 84-85.

65. Ibid., pp. 93-94; also see Hari Ram Gupta, History of the Sikhs, Vol. III, Munshi Ram Manohar Lal, New Delhi, 1980, pp. 54-55.

66. Jean Deloche, op.cit, p. 98; Jadunath Sarkar, op.cit., p. 256.

67. Kharita Rajasthani, No. 368.

68. Ibid., No. 259.

69. Ibid., No. 362.

70. See above note 66.

71. Jadunath Sarkar, op.cit., p. 259.

72. Kharita Rajasthani, No. 380.

73. Tozi Sikhs, No.31

74. Kharita Rajasthani, No. 387.

75. Ibid., No. 372.

76. Ibid., No. 56.

77. Tozi Sikhs, No.54

78. Gopal Narayan Bahura and Chandarmani Singh, Catalogue of Historical Documents in Kapad Dwara Jaipur, p. 46. Its facsimile appears at No. 54 at the end of above work.

79. Bisheshwar Nath Rue, "A Treaty Proposed by Sikh Leaders to Maharaja Bijay Singh of Jodhpur," Journal of Indian History, Vol. XXVI, Part I, April 1948, serial No. 76, The University of Travancore, Trivandrum, 1948, pp. 65-66.

80. Gopal Narayan Bhaura, op.cit., p. 44.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thats an interesting point Amardeep (be it in jest).

All the so called proud "high" caste Sikhs have all become shudrai since they immigrated to the west i.e. cleaning their own toilets, doing their own DIY (even joining the artisan professions in their thousands to cash in on the comparatively lucrative building trade in the west) etc etc.

I have no idea why they are still disillusioned about their supposed distinct caste/identity!!!

I personally come across some stupid cases of caste affiliation in the west which are laughable. A Brahmani who used to work for my mum, used to say that she would not eat at the house of non-Brahman, yet my mum used to regularly catch her eating KFC (which must have come from a hygenic Brahman outlet) - she even used to claim that chicken was classed as vegetarian!

When I used to work in the Civil Service, I recall (more than once) coming across cases of Brahman women who refused to work for 'low caste' Line Managers - and they got away with it quoting it as a practice of religious freedom! Idiots!!

Same old, nothing has changed since the revered Bhagat Ravidas Ji's time!

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The untouchable traditions of the brahmins is a thing of the past. Long ago they would have to wash themselves if the mere shadow of a low caste touch them. Today with western education, most Brahmins atleast no longer follow these useless rules.

But it is equally sad that long long long ago, Brahmins were priests who would spend all their lives in religious studies and worship. Today you never see such Brahmins, except for a hand full. Rajputs would live as warriors, but you know longer see Rajputs who can even use the sword, they have taken the same rout as the Khatris who long ago also abandoned their warrior Dharm and became businessmen.

A Sikh on the other hand should ideally be like a Brahmin in terms of his Dharmic knowledge, like Ksatriya in terms of his warrior skills and do seva like a shudra. But unfortunately we don't see many Sikhs who live these ideals.

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