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The Sindh Story


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Thrown to the Wolves

INDIA BECAME FREE; but it was a fissured freedom. In the churning of Indian humanity we had got not only the nectar of freedom but also the poison of partition. Was Pakistan inevitable? It was --- and it was not.

The over-all all-lndia causes of partition are well enough known. At the root of it all was history. The Hindus had an acute sense of grievance over the Muslim mayhem in India. But the Muslims on the other hand were dismayed that Islam, which had prevailed everywhere else, had been checkmated in India. In the celebrated words of poet Hali:

Woh deene Hejazi ka bebak beda

Nishan jiska aqsai alam mein pahuncha

Kiye passipar jisne saton samandar

Woh dooba dahane mein Ganga kay aakar.

(The fearless flotilla of Islam, whose flag fluttered over all the world, the ship that crossed the seven seas, came here and sank in the Ganga.)

In the eighteenth century, Hindu society stood up triumphant from Attock to Cuttack and Delhi to Deccan --- having contained the poison of the preceding centuries like a `Nilakantha'. Islam stood tamed --- and Indianized. And then came 1761 and the defeat of the sovereign power of the Mahrattas in the Third Battle of Panipat, which opened the way to British rule in India. It also revived the Wahabis and the Waliullahs, who took Islam back to fundamentalism and greater fanaticism in hopes of an Islamic revival.

On top of all this came Gandhiji's Khilafat movement for the restoration of the Khalifa, the deposed Sultan of Turkey, as the spiritual leader of the Muslims of the world. It communalised politics and turned religious leaders into political leaders. Overnight, the mullahs became Netas (leaders). Jethmal Parasram of Sindh was only too right when he said: ``Khilafat aahay aafat'' (``Khilafat movement is a disaster''). By whipping up the fanaticism and extra-territoriality of Muslim Indians, the Khilafat agitation greatly widened the gulf between Hindus and Muslims.

Gandhiji did not help matters when he appealed to the religious sentiments of the Hindus also. His talk of satya (truth) and ahimsa, brahmacharya and Ramarajya struck a responsive note in the Hindu heart, but it left the Muslim cold. Many Congress meetings in Sindh ended with distribution of `Kanah Prasad' from the neighbourhood gurdwara. After the Khilafat movement had petered out, the Congress discovered that it had only one active Muslim worker, Maulvi Mohammed Sadiq of Karachi. Later Comrade Taj Mohammed joined the Congress in Shikarpur. The Congress had only one Muslim MLA Khoso of Jacobabad, an AMU graduate. But the Jacobabad District Congress Committee office had a separate water pot (surahi) for him! No wonder they all felt that ``the Congress is a Hindu movement.''

Tilak was, if anything, a profounder Hindu than Gandhiji. But he had kept the struggle political, secular --- and moved the Hindus and the Muslims alike. Gandhiji heightened the struggle -- but he also divided it.

And then there was a third factor the British presence. It worked both ways.

During the Muslim rule the Hindu was kept down. When the Muslim hand was replaced by a neutral hand, things changed dramatically. The Hindu came into his own. By and large, Brahmins and Vaishyas had not converted to Islam. Their traditions of learning and trading blossomed forth into higher education and big business. Large sections of the Hindu society forged ahead, leaving the Muslims far behind.

As a perceptive observer in Sindh noted: ``The offices are full of Hindus and the jails are full of Muslims.'' The Muslim mind, rooted in mediaevalism, and still basking in the sunset of the Mughal empire, could not comprehend the dynamics of modernity. It reacted to the new situation by staging a riot or throwing a spanner in the freedom movement.

On the other hand, when the Hindu asked for Independence, the British booked Muslim support with many favours and then used the Muslim dissent as a veto to stall Indian independence. The Hindu now saw the Muslim as a stooge and a traitor.

This was the all-India context in which partition took place. But it also had a local Sindhi context, which only made matters worse.

The biggest single factor in Hindu-Muslim tension in Sindh was the conversions which continued even under the British rule. These incidents rocked the province and poisoned relations between the communities. The most sensational in this genre was what came to be known --- and published --- as ``The Great Sheikh Case''. In 1891, Moorajmal Advani, a cousin of Showkiram Advani, the mukhi of Hyderabad Hindus, became Muslim His three sons also became Muslim. One of them, Mewaram, invited his wife Mithi Bai with her four children --- Khushali, Nihali, Parmanand, and Hemi --- to join her. She refused. Mewaram moved the sessions judge of Hyderabad, an Englishman, under the Guardians and Wards Act, to secure the custody of the two elder children. The Hindus took it as a challenge. Showkiram's sons Navalrai and Tarachand, collected a sum of 25,000 rupees to fight the case. The Muslims reportedly collected 40,000 rupees. The Hindu case was argued by Jairamdas's father, Daulatram. The Muslims engaged Effendi, the founder of the Karachi madrassa. The fat was in the fire.

Khushali, who was only eight at the time, told the court that, for her, father had died the moment he changed his faith. She said that if the court must hand her over to her father, it must first do her the favour of hanging her. The court ruled that it would be a crime to hand over the two girls to Mewaram. Mewaram moved the higher court but meanwhile the two girls had been married off and the court dismissed the appeal. Mewaram then brought forty camel-loads of armed Muslims to physically seize the two younger children, but the latter escaped through a back-door. Mithi Bai and her children then moved to the security of Amritsar, since the Muslims were scared of the B)Sikh s. Her son P.M. Advani made name as Principal of the Blind School in Karachi.

Soon after, Deoomal, elder brother of Acharya Kripalani, became Sheikh Abdul Rahman. Since he did not dare become Muslim while his eldest brother, Thakurdas, was alive, he took him for a swim to the Phuleli canal with Muslim friends and had him drowned. Some time later when the widowed sister-in-law wanted to visit her mother, he escorted her out and took her to a Muslim locality. She was never heard of again. Soon after, Deoomal himself became Muslim. Later he kidnapped his 12-year young brother Nanak from the school, got him converted, sent him to the Frontier. Nanak died fighting for the Turks against the Italians in 1911.

The problem with these new Muslims was that they did not like to inter-marry with the old Muslims; they therefore tried to convert more Hindus to enlarge their endogamous circle.

In 1908, Jethanand Lilaram of Thatta became Sheikh Abdul Majid. Since he was twenty plus at the time, he won the case. But advocacy of his case by Bhurgri made the latter a leader.

Maulana Taj Mohammed of Amraot near Larkana, a top Khilafat leader, converted seven thousand Hindus in the countryside. To this day Amraot preserves the list of those converts.

In 1927, Karima of Larkana with her four kids eloped with a Hindu and became Hindu. She won the case. The Muslims looted shops. The Hindus held 80 Muslims responsible --- including Khuhro, who later rose to be Premier of Sindh. All of them were acquitted. But the bitterness grew.

Bawa Harnamdas of Sadhbela, Sukkur, described the Situation aptly to Mr. Jinnah when the latter called on him at that island temple in 1930 and made an offering of Rs. 100. Mr. Jinnah asked him why there was communal tension in Sindh. And the Bawa said in Sindhi: ``Shaikh putt shaitan jo; na Hindu, na Musalman'' (the new convert Sheikh is the son of satan; he is neither Hindu nor Muslim).

Tension further grew with polemics. One Nathuram wrote Islam jo itihas (History of Islam) in reply to the mulla attacks on Hindudharma. He was sentenced to eighteen months jail and 1,000 rupees fine. He appealed to the Chief Court of Sindh. Some Muslims feared he might be acquitted. And so, one Abdul Qayum stabbed him to death in open court. When Judge O'Sullivan asked Qayum why he had done it, the later said that punishment for insulting Islam must be death, not just jail. Qayum was hanged. The Government refused to hand over his body to the Muslims who, nevertheless, dug it up and took it out in procession. Those were the times --- 1934 --- when the British did not tolerate any trifling with authority. And so the outraged Commissioner of Sindh, Gibson, ordered machine- gun fire, killing sixty-four Muslims, further souring Hindu- Muslim relations.

Another complicating factor was the status of Sindh. It was part of Bombay Presidency. In those days there were only a few huge provinces. But being a distinct geographical and linguistic unit, Sindh felt neglected as a remote area. In 1913, Harchandrai Vishindas, as chairman of the Reception Committee to the Karachi session of the Congress, first raised the issue of separation of Sindh.' But when the issue was raised at the Aligarh session of the Muslim League in 1925, it was transformed from a Sindhi demand into a Muslim demand. When, however, it was suggested that the Muslim-majority Sindh may be separated from the distant Hindu-majority Bombay, and then attached to the adjoining Muslim-majority Punjab, even the Sindhi Muslims refused; they had no intention of living under the shadow of a ``big brother''.

The majority of the Muslims --- led by Sheikh Abdul Majid --- favoured separation. But important leaders such as Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto (father of Z.A. Bhutto) and Sir Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah opposed it. And so, for long, did the Sindh Muslim Association, representing the Muslim elite. They were not sure of the solvency of the province; the area had a deficit of two crore rupees. And they liked being part of a big and prosperous Bombay Presidency.

Hindus were, if anything, even more divided --- with Jethmal always favouring separation, Jairamdas always opposing it, and others changing sides with time and circumstance. A separate Sindh would mean full provincial set-up and a consequential job increase, most of which would inevitably go to the Hindus because of their education. An autonomous Sindh would come into its own --- economically, culturally, and otherwise. But they were also afraid of the Muslim majority --- and what that might mean for their security.

Interestingly enough, the rest of Bombay was also in two minds on the subject: they liked it bigger --- from Jacobabad to Hubli-Dharwar; but they thoroughly disliked the block of Sindhi Muslim MLAs who always danced to the British official tune. The Nehru report of 1928 favoured separation.

After much argument, thirty leaders from both sides signed the Sindh Hindu-Muslim pact in 1928. It laid down:

1. Sindh shall be separated.

2. Hindus will have 10 per cent weightage.

3. There will be joint electorates in Sindh.

4. There will be justice and equality for all.

It is sad to say that the Sindh Hindu Conference in Sukkur failed to ratify the Agreement. Bawa Harnamdas of Sadhbela Mandir of Sukkur was too apprehensive of Muslim aggressiveness to agree to a separate Sindh. (Had the Conference met in Karachi or Hyderabad, it would very probably have confirmed the Pact.) The Hindus now said they would accept separate Sindh only if joint electorates were introduced all over the country --- which was very high-minded, but hardly realistic.

This going back of the Hindus on their word was a disaster. In the Simon Commission there was a tie on this issue, but the chairman cast his vote for separation in 1930. At the Ottawa Imperial Trade Conference in 1932, Sir Abdullah Haroon of Sindh went along with the British business interests --- and the latter promised to separate Sindh. And so Sindh was born as a separate province on I April, 1936 as an act of favour to the Muslims by the British.

Even so, things were quiet enough. And everybody looked to the new dispensation with hope, not unmixed with fear. Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, in his message to the ``Azad Sindh'' issue of Al-Wahid (16 June, 1936), a leading organ of Muslim opinion, said: ``The communal situation in Sindh, Punjab and Bengal threatens to assume ugly forms. I want Sindh to have the glory of solving the Hindu-Muslim problem for the rest of India to follow.'' But the ensuing assembly elections dashed those hopes. The elections returned 24 of Bhutto's Ittehad Party, 6 of Ghulam Hussain's Muslim Political Party, 5 of Majid's Azad Party --- all Muslims, 9 Congressmen, 3 Europeans, I Labour representative (Naraindas), I women's representative (Jethi Sipahimalani) 11 independent Hindus.

But Sir S. N. Bhutto himself was defeated by Sheikh Abdul Majid of the Azad Party, who campaigned with the Koran on his head as proof that he was a better Muslim! The governor did not invite Khuhro, the new leader of the Ittehad Party, to form the government; he invited the old British favourite, Sir Ghulam Hussain (1878--1948), though he had the support of only five members. Once in the saddle, Sir Ghulam Hussain was able to put together the majority, like any Bhajan Lal of present-day Haryana. He won over independent Hindu MLAs by making one of them Speaker. However, early in 1938, the government fell. Meanwhile Khuhro had joined the Muslim League and the new Ittehad Party leader, Allah Bux Soomro, 38, became Premier.

Allah Bux (1900--43) was the finest Premier Sindh ever had. Though a zamindar and government contractor, he habitually wore Khadi. Immediately on entering office, he lifted the externment orders on Obaidullah Sindhi (1872--1944), a Sialkot Sikh who had become a Muslim, a leading revolutionary who had been vegetating in West Asia. (The Muslim League gave a reception in honour of Obaidullah. But when they started to chant: ``Muslim ho, to Muslim League mein aao'' --- If you are a Muslim, then join the Muslim League --- he walked out in protest; he was thinking in terms of a''Sindhu Narbada Party''.) He withdrew the magisterial powers from the Waderas. He followed the Congress line and fixed 500 rupees as minister's salary. Nominations to local bodies were ended. The unassuming Allah Bux sat by the side of the driver, never used the official flag on the car bonnet, never accepted any receptions or parties. In the train he would use the upper berth -and let others use the more convenient lower berth. On one occasion when flood-waters threatened Shikarpur, he breached the canal to flood his own lands --- and saved the city. But above all he was non-communal and nationalist.

That was reason enough for the communal Muslims to try to topple him. A huge League conference was held in Karachi in October 1938. Here the League stalwarts roared against the Hindus, the Congress, and Allah Bux. The conference set-up was comic-opera, complete with Arab sands, date trees and horsemen in the Arab head-dress, Iqaal. They even adopted a resolution which talked of self-determination for the ``two nations'' of Hindus and Muslims. Pir Ali Mohammed Rashdi felt that Mohammed Ali Jinnah was indifferent to this resolution. ``He just allowed us to use it as a hint, a threat, a political stunt.'' The real object was to topple Allah Bux somehow, anyhow. They got 29 Muslim MLAs to join the League. With the help of 3 European MLAs, they could have formed a government of their own. When, however, a no-confidence motion was moved, only 7 of them voted for it. And the League leader Hidayatullah himself quit the party and joined the Allah Bux ministry.

Indeed the League was so rootless in Sindh that when they announced a public meeting for Jinnah in Jacobabad, nobody turned up. Rashdi had to request his local friend Hakim Kaimuddin to ask his Hindu friends to produce an audience. The Hindus, as good friends, obliged. They even pocketed their ``Gandhi caps ` to avoid embarrassment to Jinnah; but they refused to shout ``Jinnah Saheb Zindabad'' with any gusto.

However, the League persisted in its mischief. The respected Pir of Lawari, near Badin in the Hyderabad district, had organised a local Haj for those who could not afford to visit Arabia. It had gone on since 1934. The pilgrims gathered on Ziwal-Haj, read namaz while turning to the durgah, went to a local well renamed ``Zam Zam'', addressed the Pir as ``Khuda'' and greeted each other as ``Haji''. It gave these poor people great spiritual satisfaction. But the fanatics denounced it as un- Islamic, agitated violently, and forced Allah Bux to ban it in 1938.

Success here only whetted the League appetite. Meanwhile, under Hindu pressure, the government regularized a small unauthorized Hanuman temple on Artillery Maidan near the Sindh Secretariat and banned the Om Mandali which has since become the Brahma Kumaris organization. All this encouraged the Leaguers' belief that the government could be brow-beaten. They now mounted a big agitation to topple Allah Bux.

Manzilgah was a couple of dilapidated structures on the bank of the Sindhu in Sukkur near the Sadhbela Island Mandir of the Hindus. It had long been used as a government godown. The Muslims now claimed it to be a mosque. The Hindus opposed the claim as fake; they also feared that a mosque near Sadhbela would be used to provoke controversy and tension.

Allah Bux was on the horns of a dilemma. Ghulam Hussain before him had held Manzilgah to be government property and had refused to hand it over to the Muslims. Allah Bux sent Muslim officers to inspect the Manzilgah. They came back and reported that the original Persian inscriptions described it as an inn and that the ``mehrab'' was a later addition. But the Leaguers were determined to create trouble. From 3 October to 19 November, 1939, under the leadership of G.M. Syed, Khuhro and Sir Haroon, they forcibly occupied Manzilgah. On I November, 1939, Bhagat Kanwar Ram, the well-known singer-saint of Sindh, was gunned down at Ruk railway station --- and nobody was arrested. Sukkur district observed complete hartal for fifteen days. When Pamnani, MLA, said that the Pir of Bharchundi had got Kanwar Ram killed (earlier the Pir's son had been beaten for kidnapping Hindu girls) he, too, was gunned down. The Sindh Hindus were stunned.

But worse was to follow. Word went round that killing one Hindu was equal to doing seven Haj pilgrimages. Sixty-four Hindus were killed and property worth several million was looted or burnt in the Sukkur countryside. In this violent atmosphere, G.M. Syed said on the floor of the Assembly that the Hindus shall be driven out of Sindh like the Jews from Germany --- a statement he has very much regretted since. But the damage was done.

It was a tragic situation, in which the Congress should have understood Allah Bux's dilemma. Here was a man who had presided over the All-India Azad Conference in Delhi in 1940 and said: ``The Muslims as a separate nation in India on the basis of their religion, is un-Islamic.'' And the Congress should have understood why he had vacillated on the Manzilgah issue. As Gandhiji rightly pointed out in the Harijan (2 December, 1939), the basic problem was that self-administration was new to Sindh. ``Sindh is nominally autonomous and to that extent less able to protect life and property than the preceding government. For it has never had previous training in the Police or the Military arts.'' But Congress joined hands with Muslim League to topple the Allah Bux ministry! (And when Khoso, the only Congress Muslim MLA, objected, he was expelled from the Party!) It was a great gift made by the Congressmen of Sindh to the Muslim League, two days before that party met in Lahore and adopted the Partition resolution on 25 March, 1940! The Muslim leaders have since freely admitted that the Manzilgah issue was a bogus (``hathradoo'') agitation, staged just to topple Allah Bux.

Responsible Hindus were shocked by the short-sightedness of Sindh Congressmen. Professor N.R. Malkani wrote to Sardar Patel to do something about it. And the Sardar wrote back: ``I have received your distressing letter of the 1st March 1940. Our friends of the Congress Assembly Party in Sindh have acted in a manner which has brought discredit to the organization and to themselves . . . The Hindu Panchayat of Sukkur has, it seems, succeeded in coercing them to a line of action which they would not have taken if they had the choice or the requisite courage to stand by the principles of the Congress . . . They talk of wider interest of the country in relation to their action, while they forget that they are not serving the local, much less the wider interest.''

The League ministry fell the following year and Al]ah Bux came back to power. But the damage had been done. The Muslim League branches in Sindh went up from 30 to 400. During this one League year the British officers covered themselves with infamy, in serving the communal cause.

Justice Weston was appointed to inquire into the Manzilgah riots. When the Muslim Anjuman blamed the Muslim League for the violence, the judge turned on them! When the parties and the judge went to examine the Manzilgah site, Rashdi, the League ``counsel'', picked up Weston's shoes and kept them in the shade. Weston was thrilled. When they came out, Rashdi again took the shoes and placed them before Weston. The judge in his excess of joy forgot even elementary discretion. He now left his car and sat in Rashdi's car, as the party drove to Rohri. Rashdi writes in his memoirs that Weston even asked him that day in the car as to when the Muslims were going to claim Sadhbela. No wonder Weston in his report blamed the Hindus for the riots. This same partisan judge was now appointed lo decide about the Manzilgah. And he decided that it was a mosque! The Manzilgah issue died down --- but not before it had delivered a body-blow to Hindu-Muslim amity in Sindh.

Allah Bux came back to power. But the British were now bent on seeing him out. When the ``Quit India'' movement started, he renounced his old title of Khan Bahadur and the new one of OBE (Order of the British Empire). He also resigned from the National Defence Council. The Governor now declared that he had no confidence in him --- the Assembly's confidence notwithstanding --- and dismissed him! A few months later he was murdered in broad daylight, while going in a tonga in his home-town of Shikarpur. The League minister Khuhro was arraigned --- but he escaped with the benefit of doubt.

Meanwhile British partiality for the League continued. The 1946 Assembly elections returned 28 Leaguers, 22 Congressmen, 7 anti-League Muslims, and 3 Europeans were nominated. The 22 Congressmen and the 7 anti-League Muslims had formed an alliance. They were one more than the League. But the Governor, Sir Francis Mudie, installed a League ministry and asked the 3 nominated Europeans to support it!

Even then, with a Leaguer elected Speaker, the League was reduced to 29 in a house of 60. But the Governor would not call the Assembly session. On top of that, when Mir Bundeh Ali Khan Talpur quit the League, the Governor sent his secretary to him, asking him to rejoin the League on promise of a ministership. When the Assembly had to be called to elect Sindh's representatives to the Constituent Assembly, the Governor adjourned the House on the very day that it was scheduled to take up the no-confidence motion. His excuse was that the Assembly, called to elect members to the Consembly, could not conduct any other business. Interestingly enough, at the same time, the British Governor of the Punjab allowed the Punjab Assembly to take up the motion of no-confidence against the non-League Khizr government, though it, too, had been called for electing representatives to the Consembly.

Later, when the Sindh Assembly session became constitutionally due, the Governor did not summon it --- because the League was by then down to 25; instead, he dissolved the Assembly, called for fresh elections and kept the Leaguers as ``care-taker government''. In the ensuing elections, massive rigging by the Muslim zamindars and officers, at the instance of the British higher-ups, gave the League 35 seats, as against only 2 to Nationalist Muslims. Before the election petitions could be taken up, the rigged Assembly had voted for Pakistan!,Governor Mudie was duly rewarded for his services by being elevated from the governorship of Sindh to that of the Punjab. Pir A.M. Rashdi has aptly described Mudie as ``Katikoo'' (master crook). The fate of Sindh was sealed by ``Quide-e-Azam Mudie'' even more than by the other Quaid, Mr. Jinnah.

The Congress could have at least partly saved Sindh, but it acted like Chamberlain who had abandoned Czechoslovakia to Hitler in 1938 with the statement that it was ``a far-away country about which we know little.''

The Thar Parker district had a Hindu majority and the Congress should have claimed it. Indeed it had traditionally been more a part of Marwar than of Sindh. On the eve of Partition, the Sindh government promptly merged Sanghar district wit4 Thar Parker district --- to cancel out its Hindu majority. But even then the case of Thar Parker district was on par with that of Sylhet in Assam, where the Muslim League had demanded --- and got --- part of the district, through a plebiscite.

In 1928, when there was talk of separation of Sindh from Bombay, Jodhpur State had laid claim to the Amarkot (Umarkot) area of Thar Parker district. Jodhpur's case was that Amarkot had traditionally been part of its Marwar area. The Britishers had taken the area from Jodhpur temporarily for defence purposes. However, the Sindh Congress had opposed the move.

Another area India could have got was the native Khairpur state. as big as any district. For years the Mir of Khairpur had been kept confined to a house in Pune. In the Nineteen Forties the Khairpur Dewan was Aijaz Ali of U.P. The Number Two man was Mangharam Wadhwani, Treasury Officer. Aijaz Ali had ousted Mangharam. When the transfer of power was approaching, Mangharam met the Mir in Pune and promised to have him restored to his throne --- on condition that he removed Aijaz Ali and acceded to India. The Mir agreed. Mangharam met Mountbatten and Sardar Patel. The Mir was duly restored to his state; Aijaz Ali was sent away. The Mir was now prepared to accede to India. But Pandit Nehru declined the offer --- even as he had returned the accession papers of the Kalat state in Baluchistan.

Had New Delhi played its cards in Khairpur and Thar Parker, the frontier of India would have touched the mighty Indus. Indeed India could have asked for a plebiscite in the whole of Sindh, for the majority of Sindhis had voted against the League in the 1946 general elections. In these elections, the Muslim League got only 46.3 per cent vote in a province with a 71 per cent Muslim population. For every four votes polled by the League, three were polled by the nationalist Muslims led by G.M. Syed and Maula Bux!

In a house of sixty, ten MLAs were returned unopposed. Only one of them was a Muslim. Had polling taken place in these ten constituencies also, the League percentage of the popular vote would have come down to less than forty!

So there was a clear anti-League majority of the popular vote in Sindh. In failing to avail of all these favourable factors, the Congress did little justice to Sindh and even less to India. The Congress threw not only NWFP to the wolves --- as complained by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan; it threw Sindh also to the wolves.

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Allah Bux (1900--43) was the finest Premier Sindh ever had. Though a zamindar and government contractor, he habitually wore Khadi. Immediately on entering office, he lifted the externment orders on Obaidullah Sindhi (1872--1944), a Sialkot Sikh who had become a Muslim, a leading revolutionary who had been vegetating in West Asia.

obaidullahs father also converted to islam as well. this obaidullah was a communist and he tried to enlist russian support to fight the british rule in india. The brits refused to let him back into india when they found out what he was trying to so.

its amazing how easy it was to muslims to convert hindus to islam. i mean 7000 hindus converted by one guy? crazy. why the sikhs dont this much emphasis on parchaar i dont know.

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why the sikhs dont this much emphasis on parchaar i dont know.

They used to. It was post annexation when we started adopting the idiot position of 'we don't convert'. This thinking has now become so deeply ingrained and commonplace that many Sikhs think that it is an actual article of faith.

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obaidullahs father also converted to islam as well. this obaidullah was a communist and he tried to enlist russian support to fight the british rule in india. The brits refused to let him back into india when they found out what he was trying to so.

His name was Buta Singh. His father died when He was few months old. His grandfather died when he was four year old. His mother took him to her father. He too died in few years. Buta Singh was greatly influenced by a muslim maulvi in neighbourhood when he was still a kid. Lack of father figure made him rely on whatever teachings he got. He became muslim at age of 15.

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They used to. It was post annexation when we started adopting the idiot position of 'we don't convert'. This thinking has now become so deeply ingrained and commonplace that many Sikhs think that it is an actual article of faith.

Babas or Sants are great missionaries. Actions of some of Babas have made Babas very unpopular to common Sikhs. This is just one of the points.

It needs a great discussion to find ways to make us hungry again.

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What is needed is to get out of the 'Parchaar for Punjabis' mentality and start doing parchaar to all people i.e. going to them. That is where the future lies. If we look at our Guru Sahiban and early sampryadas, we see parchaar was done (and even taken) to Hindus and Muslim, amongst others.

But the was some parchaar is done today, is in total condradiction to how it was done traditionally i.e. Singh Sabha Vs Nirmalai.

If you want Hindus to join the Panth, then you need to engage intelligently, respectfully, in a language and medium they understand, Singh Sabha and associated bodies fall flat on their face in this field. Nirmalai on the other hand, were located in prime Hindu pilgrimage locations and ensured the Khalsa Panth would not diminish through their excellent parchaar and winning of hearts and minds over the Hindus.

Today, Sikhs are to busy bad mouthing Muslims and Hindus to even consider inter-faith parchaar.

The Seva Panthis are a superb example of a Sikh medium whose teachings were popular with all dharms, but had Gurbani at its heart.

As an example, hindus or muslims reading recent posting on this forum wouldn't even give Sikhs the time of day, let alone being 'enlightened' and wanting to convert.

Manmat, Krodh, Moh, Hankaar have replaced Bibek Budhi, Daya and Dhiraj.

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Nirmalai on the other hand, were located in prime Hindu pilgrimage locations and ensured the Khalsa Panth would not diminish through their excellent parchaar and winning of hearts and minds over the Hindus.

Shaheediyan bro, where are all the excellent sikhs that the Nirmalas have produced?

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If you want Hindus to join the Panth, then you need to engage intelligently, respectfully, in a language and medium they understand, Singh Sabha and associated bodies fall flat on their face in this field. Nirmalai on the other hand, were located in prime Hindu pilgrimage locations and ensured the Khalsa Panth would not diminish through their excellent parchaar and winning of hearts and minds over the Hindus.

Nirmale are still located in many Hindu centers. How many Hindus have converted to Sikhi is to be seen. I went to many Hindu cities where Nirmale are also located, I have rarely seen Sikhs there. So your theory that Nirmale are great for Prachar to Hindus also falls flat. Singhs Sabha is over. It was over long ago even before our grand parents generation. But while Singh Sabha was in full force, it did massive prachar converting whole biraadharees to Sikhi. Lobanas for example mostly converted during that period, before that they were mostly Hindus.

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If you want take out nirmale work then panth have no history to take inspiration from before singh sabha movement. Gurpartap Soraj Parkash granth is one of few historic granths which is first thing taught in samparda's like damdami taksal both mehta and bhindranwale is written by no other than a nirmala- kavi santokh singh who was a student of bhai santa singh nirmal scholar. Faridkot teeka of sri guru granth sahib ji is written by nirmala scholars, very first sri dasam granth sampooran teeka written by nirmala pandit narian singh which is widely appreciated by the panth, new jathas including akj members- kulbir singh quote them from time to time.

To read more on nirmale orgins, contributions to the panth, please read stuff by tsingh on sikhawareness forum. One will learn thing or two with only open mind, this order is highly enrich and requires more than few post to understand them especially their bhek. One cannot judge them by wearing googles of tat khalsa.

Nimala history pervades much of Sikhi's past; exegetical, philosophical, dharmic/aatmic vidya, yog abhyaas, shaastrarth, raag vidya, ayurvedic vidya...Just an quick overview that many recent influential panthic figures were Nirmale or educated by Nirmale such as Sant Attar Singh Mustuana, Sant Baba Nand Singh ji (Nanaksarvale), Sant Gurbachan Singh Bhindranwale, Sant Sundar Singh Bhindranwale, Baba Jagjit Singh Herkhowal, Baba Jwala Singh Herkhowal, Sant Mukhtiar Singh Saarang, Sant Bishan Singh Muralewale...a few more famous historical Nirmale; Sant Ishar Singh ji Rarasahib, Baba Bir Singh Naurangabd, Baba Sahib Singh Bedi, Baba Karam Singh Hoti Mardan....

Would there be much Sikh history if it weren't for the work of Nirmala scholars like Gyani Gyan Singh ji works and Kavi Santokh Singh ji- soraj parkash granth?

Sant sunder singh ji bhindranwale link with nirmale:

Sri Maan Baba Sundar Singh ji took gian from Udasi and Nirmala Mahapurukhs, even bathing Jawala Das Udasi with his own hands to get knowledge of God, Baba Sundar Singh ji never discriminated or compartmentalized others like this he was so thirsty for brahmgyan he went wherever it was to be gained, he learnt from Baba Ram ji Udasi, Baba Gulab Singh Nirmala and Sri Maan Baba Bishan Singh ji Nirmala who was his Gurdev! Baba Bishan Singh ji travelled to Badree Nath and learnt Sanskrit from Pandit Tara Singh for 9 years--this is from Damdami Taksals own website--who are we with our Khlasa Utopian self-righteousness to question the ways of brahmgianis when our own forefathers were more open-minded than us. Are these Nirmale and Udasis good enough to instruct Sri Maan Baba Sunder Singh, but not good enough to be considered Sampardais when Guru Nanak Sahib and Guru Gobind Singh blessed both of these Sampardais?

first sant attar singh ji maustanewale link with nirmale

Sant ji initially learnt gurmukhi and paath from Sant Buta Singh in the local dera. Then it was through Sant Gyani Jodh Singh Ji, a Nirmala rom the naurangabad upsamrdaya, who was a granthi in the army, visited the local gurdwara, and become the inspiration for Sant ji to take amrit. Sant Jodh Singh ji was the shish of Sant Ram Singh Virakat, the shish of Bhai Maharaj Singh Ji. Sant Jodh Singh was one of the panj pyaray from whom Sant ji took amrit. Sant ji spent some time in Sant Jodh Singh ji's seva before becoming thoroughly virakat to perform tapasya.

Sant Ji went to Hazur Sahib during which time he befriended Svami Bhagat Singh Nirmala. ogether they went on a tirath yatra taking in Omkareshvar, Ujjain, Ajmer, Vrindavan, Mathura, Haridvar and Rishikesh. While in Rishikesh Sant ji would rise at 2am and take ganga ishnan, have his food with ganga jal, etc. Sant ji then went on yatra to joshimath, hemkunt sahib, gangotri, badrinath, etc. Sant ji met with a number of very importan Nirmala including Pandit Nihal Singh Thoha Khalsa. Sant ji attended the ardh kumbh mela in hardvar twice in his lifetime. The first time, Sant ji met with Pandit Ishar Singh Ji Dhodharvale and stayed in his ashram in Haridvar. Sant Ji also took part in a katha smagam in Haridvar put on by Nirmal Panchayti Akhara. Sant Ji was also very close to Sant Sahib Das Ji Udasi whose dera is still in Sangrur. Sant Ji heard the katha of Yog Vasistha from Sant Sahib Das. Sant ji's teachings are also advaita. One saakhi recounts that a Nirmala sadhu asked Sant Attar Singh Ji about bhagti and Sant ji explained that there are three levels; kanishta (meaning lowest) in which it is felt that there is jiva and a colossal number of other jivas, then madham (middling) in which one recognises jiva and colossal Braham, and uttam (highest) in which there is only Braham, pervading both yourself and the colossal world around you. Even after attending the Panch Khalsa Divan of Teja Singh, the next event in his biography was attending the ardh kumbh, implying no ideological affinity with Teja Singh beyond prachar. Sant Ji also met with and stayed with; Sant Bishan Singh Muralewale, Sant Chanda Singh of Damdama Sahib, Mahant Gulab Singh ji of muktsar (Sant ji attended the opening ceremony of Mahant Gulab Singh's bunga), Mahant Mastaan Singh Nirmala, Sant Ram Singh Thamali, among many others. Obviously Sant Ji met with many other great personalities during his life, but the Sants that he chose to spend time with were nearly always Nirmala.

Sant nand singh ji kalera link with nirmale

Details for the Baba Harnam Singh ji parampra . A key clue came from one of Baba Khem Singh ji's journals on Sriman 108 Baba Harnam Singh ji, in which there was a photo of a Nirmala I recognised who was being used as a source on life stories of Baba ji. This photo guided me to the right upsamprda. And here are the details...

Baba ji was part of the Pandhori Nijhraan upsamprda of Nirmalay. This is the full parampra for Baba Harnam Singh ji...

Guru Gobind Singh ji

Sant Bhai Seva Singh ji

Sant Milaap Singh ji

Sant Divaan Singh ji

Sant Mustaan Singh ji

Sant Mul Singh ji

Sant Ram Singh ji

Sant Harnaam Singh ji Bhuchowale

Sant ji had three important shish;

- Sant Nand Singh ji

- Sant Ram Singh ji Mulookewale (present shish is Sant Balwinder Singh ji I think)

- Sant Narayan Singh ji

Sant Khem Singh ji is present Mahant of Dera Rumi Wale.

The text does not refer to Sant Nand Singh ji having studied any adhyatamic vidya with Baba Harnam Singh ji (and judging by the author, he certainly would have outlined exactly what had been studied if he knew). This explains the lack of study of shaastraan in Nanaksar nowadays, and validates the claim of being bihangams (non-scholastic Nirmala). It states that Baba Harnam Singh ji in his lifetime also had darshan of his dada gurdev, Baba Mul Singh ji.

If it weren't for sant khalsa nirmale yudhas and tyagi-bairaagi nirmale scholars parchar in picture bottom along with other puratan samparda's like- nihangs and udasis, one would be sullah with their willy circumcised or one would just be ganja with a tilak on your forehead and one won't be able to sit on leather chair at the moment and brag about contributions of singh sabha lehar.


It easy sit on a computer, claim others anti-panthic without studying any contributions. No group is perfect in the khalsa panth, every group has their own malech/bad apples, but its wrong to brush them all anti-panthic because of mistakes of few.

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When I say Nirmale I mean real traditional Nirmale, not Sant Mahpursh and sampradayak Sikhs.

Bro, no one is saying Nirmale have not done any prachar. My comments were directed towards Shaheediyan who said that Singh Sabha is a failure because of lack of prachar while Nirmale are good for prachar, and I just pointed out saying that right now I don't see any prachar from Nirmale either. Singh Sabha movement was over long ago. Nirmale also had their high time in which they did a lot of prachar. Currently if anyone is doing prachar it is Sant Mahapursh.

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Mithar, there is some validity in your point. Having spoken to a well respected Nirmala Sant last year, he shared with me his concerns about some important Nirmala teaching centres like the one in Rishikesh, where the Nirmalai Sants are teaching youth Sanskrit only. They do not place importance on gurbani. This is (I think) a product of Nirmala exclusion during the early Singh Sabha period, where the Nirmala were pretty much forced into Hindu sangat. Over generations parchaar and teachign has gone more towards the hindu audience where as historically (as N3O has shown) it was all encompassing. Todays observations are a matter of political history and evolution.

It is not too late to reverse the trend, and indeed we have our own Nirmalai in the UK doing excellent work to give education of and promote puratan Sikhi.

Its not about who is the hero and who is the villian, groups change, circumstances change and create change, we should look beyond our bias and seek the truth, give credit where ever it is due. Saying that, many groups are not what they used to be, for many reasons, some not their own, but that does mean throw them out, they all still contain much value - we need to leave this attitude of chucking the baby out with the bath water.

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Someone made the point once before, if everything was so cushty prior to it, there would have been no need for the Singh Sabha lehar. That isn't to say that SS is the be all and end all of interpreting Sikhi. Not at all. Some things (out of many) we need to face is the weak way traditional sampardayas confront the blight of caste. Be honest, most of them condone it and practice it. Also, the way some traditional sampardayas go on is like there has been no change in the world of late. The world has changed so much in the last few centuries, probably more than at any other time of known human itihaas. Yet the traditionalist parchaar strangely seems to ignore this?! Some change is occurring from what I've heard in Giani Thakur Singh's vichaars. But is it enough and fast enough?

More and more I realise flaws in the SS approach, but one thing I cannot fault them on is the way they attempted to grasp the bull by the horns and face down the challenges of their time, be it hypocrite white Christian evangelicals or the progressive (for Hindus) Arya Samaaj. They never ignored politics or technological change either and although personally I don't particularly like their political approach (to much white sycophancy), at least they had one. We have so much to thank traditional movements like nirmale for, especially in terms of literature but they need to now start addressing the challenge of post 'enlightenment' thought and the impact it has had and is having on the globe, especially in terms of the minds and spirituality of people. Trying to negate it through silence is the easy route that just doesn't cut it. That is what they appear to be doing?

Edited by dalsingh101
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The context of this discussion is around parchaar to none Sikhs, lets try and keep it focused on that, esp when looking at groups like Singh Sabha and Puratan Sampryada re approach.

Even as late as Sant Baba Nand Singh Ji, Sikh Mahapursh had Hindu and Muslim followings, where is that today?

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The context of this discussion is around parchaar to none Sikhs, lets try and keep it focused on that, esp when looking at groups like Singh Sabha and Puratan Sampryada re approach.

Even as late as Sant Baba Nand Singh Ji, Sikh Mahapursh had Hindu and Muslim followings, where is that today?

Let's not forget the the SS dialog wasn't only between Sikhs but also directed towards Hindus (albeit in an exclusionary manner) and whites. The SS directed their narrative to a wide audience and if it wasn't about converting some others, it was certainly about checking some of their anti-Sikh vichaars.

Thing with Panjab is that prior to annexation, yes people were infinitely more porous with their religious beliefs and crossed over in a way that is considered wrong by many today. If partition never happened, you can bet there would be, say, Sikh followers of Mian Mir's dera. I'm not sure if this would make them fully fledged Musalman's though. So I'm not sure if your example of Sant Baba Nand Singh ji is a good one?

Edited by dalsingh101
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the consensus of Panjab from around 1911 to 1941 show a great increase in the Sikh population, with the Sikhs percentage almost doubling in number from 7 to around 12-13%.

This was down to the Singh Sabha movement, and the parchaar they did, especially amongst the lower castes. This may have even increased further had partition not taken place. But anyways although a lot of people say that such and such samprdaye did so much preaching here and there, the SinghSabha lehar did, (especially given the circumstances of the state, and the tensions running through each community,)a tremendous amount of sustained parchaar.

also neo bhaji, the nirmalas went away from the panth themselves. They could never be and never were driven out, but they chose to classify themselves as non-sikhs so how can youblame singh sabha for this?

what is the point of teaching sanskrit when Gurbani is clearly not written in it? THese kind of activities would make anyone thinktwice about going to Nirmalas to learn about Gurmat.

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After having met with a sikh convert since 1984 this weekend, he told me, that if he knew that Sikhism was only a panjabi religion at the time he converted, he would never have converted.

You make it sound as if he has regretted converting. But, seeing as new converts often need support networks, I'm not surprised.

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Yes he has regretted it. He gets more headache in sikhism than anand. However he remains a sikh since he is married to a sikh bibi

Oh well. Says it all. Conversion to be with someone. White men do it all the time. Even though they would probably have never considered it for a moment before meeting their partner.

Such is the way of the world.

We do need to open up a bit as a quom though. For diversity and growth. I don't know what it is about Panjabis that makes them so insular these days. Our itihaas indicates our forefathers were much more accepting or open to converts than we are now. Even if they did have strict tests like 21 days of eating bacon etc. One thing that gets to us is people bringing their own mindsets that are in stark contrast to ours, like thinking two Amritdhari gay men are alright to be married......

Rabh jannay

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Its not about who is the hero and who is the villian, groups change, circumstances change and create change, we should look beyond our bias and seek the truth, give credit where ever it is due. Saying that, many groups are not what they used to be, for many reasons, some not their own, but that does mean throw them out, they all still contain much value - we need to leave this attitude of chucking the baby out with the bath water.

Maybe you could do with taking your own advice sometimes. No offence but you really need to expand your reading material away from sanatan fairytale websites and read some real history books. Firstly you badmouth the Singh Sabha and accuse them of having fallen flat in bringing Hindus to Sikhism and then you post that sactimonious advice! FYI as Chatanga Bro posted, Singh Sabha was probably the best vehicle of Sikhi parchar since the times of the Gurus. When the Nirmalas and Udasis were in charge they faced a docile and pro-Sikh influenced Punjab population (1765-1870)and parchar for them would have been easy. They also had a powerful Sikh kingdom at Lahore and minor Sikh states beyond the Satluj. Where are the statistics and facts of how many Hindus they converted to Sikhism? Or were they as seems likely just presenting Sikhism as another mat of the Hinduism? When the Singh Sabha came about all communities were attempting to create boundaries between themselves and the others. Arya Samaj were attempting to convert low caste Sikhs into Arya Samaj, Qadianis and Muslims as well as Christians were doing their best to convert Sikhs. Yet it was Singh Sabha which not only put an end to Sikh conversion to other religions but also brought non-Sikhs into Sikhism. Singh Sabha also created the nucleus of a Sikh political leadership something otherwise the Sikhs rather than being considered one of three parties in deciding the political future of India, the Sikhs would have been like the Sindhis under a 'traditional' Nirmala or Udasis leadership who would not have had a clue about politics!

You might want to rethink your defination of Singh Sabha parchar as a Punjabi centric. Singh Sabha through Chief Khalsa Diwan sent parchar Jathas to Sindh, NWFP and even Afghanistan. They fact that there are so many Sindhis who follow Guru Granth Sahib is due to these parchar activities. The successor to Singh Sabha, the SGPC even sent parchar Jathas to UP, Bombay and Kerala. Obviously the parchar nowadays is not the same as it was before but SGPC and DSGMC parchar jathas still convert hundreds of Hindus every year outside Punjab. Singh Sabha type parchar is the one which is also bringing many Vanjaras, Satnamis and Lobanas into Sikhism in southern India. Compare this with your heroes, the Nirmalas and Udasis, rather than bring any Hindus to Sikhism, I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't confuse some Sikhs into thinking that Sikhism is just a sect of Hinduism!

The difference between the type of parchars is that the Nirmalas/Udasis approached the Hindus using the idiom current in Hinduism. They may have laid a lot less stress of Sikhism as offering a casteless society, they would have laid stress on Sikhism as being a part of the Indic culture etc. This is why although the political success of the Khalsa brought many Hindus into the Sikh ranks, once the Lahore kingdom was annexed, these people quickly reverted back to Hinduism. When the Muslim lost power, there was no case of Muslim en masse reverting back to Hinduism and this can only have been that they knew what the boundaries of their faith were. This show how important boundaries are and how the Singh Sabha parchar alway laid stress on the boudary between Sikhism and Hinduism.

I will give you an example of how Singh Sabha influence contributed to bringing Hindus to Sikhism. In the area where I am from, Ludhiana district the Sikh Jats were in the ratio of 2:1 (130,000 to 75,000)to Hindu Jat about the time the Singh Sabha started it's parchar. The Singh Sabha had parchar jathas which would tour the villages exhorting Sikhs to take Amrit and to stop worshipping at the Udasi Deras and Sufi Khankahs. In our area, the Udasis Babas were Jats and hence there was not much of the pull from the Jat society towards Singh Sabha Sikhism. But the effect of the parchar jathas was such that Sikh Jats stopped giving their daughters in marriage to the Hindu Jats. In fact the Sikh Jats only took daughters from Hindu Jats. They would only give their daughters in marriage if the Hindu Jat family would become Sikhs. The Singh Sabha also worked with the British army, as the Granthis of the regiments were avid readers of the Singh Sabha newspapers and were hence influnced by them. When the soldiers retired to their villages they would become a focus of Singh Sabha parchar in their villages. So the outcome of this parchar was that before partition there was no such thing as a Hindu Jat in our villages.

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This is why although the political success of the Khalsa brought many Hindus into the Sikh ranks, once the Lahore kingdom was annexed, these people quickly reverted back to Hinduism.

this also gave birth to the "tradition" that Hindus brought up their 1st son as a Singh. They only did this to eat well, and then when there was no glory in bringing up 1st sons as part of a fallen empire, they just did the things they have been doing for yugs.

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Oh well. Says it all. Conversion to be with someone. White men do it all the time. Even though they would probably have never considered it for a moment before meeting their partner.

No he become a sikh for spiritual reasons, and after a few years meet a sikh bibi and got married with her.

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