Jump to content

Sicques, Tigers Or Thieves


Recommended Posts

Avaliable in UK

From the authors of Warrior Saints, introducing a fascinating new reconstruction of Sikh History through eyewitness accounts:

"Sicques, Tigers or Thieves" : Eyewitness Accounts of the Sikhs (1606-1809), Amandeep Singh Madra and Parmjit Singh. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2004

see www.sicques.com for more information

In 1810, Sir John Malcolm published the ground-breaking Sketch of the Sikhs. Contrary to popular belief, Malcolm was not the first European to write an account of the Sikhs. In the previous two centuries, soldiers, travellers, administrators, scholars, missionaries and empire-builders had witnessed the development of the Sikhs. The letters, diaries, newspaper accounts and memoirs of these men and women have been painstakingly researched and compiled to shed light on a little-understood period of Sikh history.

A fascinating account of the Sikhs as seen by foreign travellers in the land which was to become their kingdom. They give us an insight into the macho self-image that Sikhs have to this day - anything you can do I can do better. This spirit of upmanship has sustained the community miniscule in numbers but grand in achievements - KHUSHWANT SINGH, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR (History of the Sikhs)

Better than time travel... a richly-peopled, intimate journey through the dawn of Sikh history - CHRISTY CAMPBELL, AUTHOR (The Maharajah's Box)

"Sicques, Tigers or Thieves" promises to include the following highlights:

1. Over 35 of the earliest European accounts of the Sikhs in one volume, many previously unpublished.

2. Over 20 of the earliest images of Sikhs including those by, or commissioned for, Europeans.

3. The only European written account of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan in a new translation of the original 17th century Portuguese text.

4. The first ever translations of French accounts of Sikhs.

5. Several early British newspaper reports of Sikh military activity in the late 18th century, not known to have previously been published in any other work.

6. The chroniclers, many unaware of the traditions of this new faith group, have often witnessed unorthodox practices and extrapolated these as articles of faith. In many cases these statements provide a useful insight on early Sikh practices, but in some instances they can be misleading (the editors introductory remarks and endnotes will address these areas).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“…now that they have put on their iron bracelet, fifty of them are enough to keep at bay a whole battalion of the King’s forces…â€Antoine-Louis Henri Polier, 1776

“This extraordinary modern People is in possession of nearly the whole of the fertile Country of the Punjaab...†John Griffith, 1794

“They accept only one God, worthy of the adoration of all men.â€Anquetil du Perron, 1788

“A Sik’h wishing to become a Singh... goes to the Akalees, or priests of the sect, at Amrutsur, who ask him if he wishes to become a convert to their persuasion, and... after the performance of certain ceremonies, he is given to drink a sherbet made of sugar and water, from the hand of an Akalee.†Captain Matthews, 1808

http://www.sicques.com/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes i would agree, the accounts are mind blowingly insightful.

The book gives an outlook of the 19th century that was severly missing, one which should help paint a clearer and more honest picture of the Khalsa.

Although many accounts contain bias (as some are written by enemies/foes of the Khalsa), the consistency of the points raised legatimise the the overall themes of the accounts.

I have no doubt that the image of the Khalsa potraited in these first hand accounts wil be difficult to read for more puritanical readers.

However for those impartial historians, this is a truely a must read text.

And i agree with beast, it's very 'heavy' reading...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thank you for your kind comments - it is welcoming ot get some constructive comments from readers.

We didnt realise when we started the research taht the vast bulk of the records would be firmly in the 18th century. In fact from about 1740 to 1810. This gives a really detaile insight into the values, norms and parctices of the sikhs from the period after the Gurus but before the heady days of the sikh courts. I recall some dreadful sikh history book from India that devoted some 8 chapters on the lives of the gurus and a similar number of chapters on RAnjit Singh but just 9 lines - yes 9 lines - on the century bewteen those two periods !

THe problem is that the records havent been well published in the past - whether they are european or persian - wiht this book and with J S Grewals excellent "Sikh History from Persian Sources" we can now start to better undertsand a really critical period in our history.

Some people have been upset at the title, but for me it sums up the entire 18th Century for the Sikh people. The title comes from a scribbled note in a letter from the traveler George Forster. He was traveling through sikh territory in the punjab spying on the sikhs whilst dressed as a turkish horse trader. Throughout his letters he is petrified of the sikhs - absolutely scared whitless - its very funny and in absolute sharp contrast to the rather patronising view of sikhs by the brits some 100 years later when brits refered to sikhs as "excellent men - who woudl willingly take a bullet for their master or our mem sahibs"!. Well in the 18th C the tables were turned and we scared the pants of the brits - as george Forster finally and with great relief escapes from the Sikh territory he wildly scribbles in his final letter "Unhurt by Sicques, Tigers or Thieves I arrive at Nurpur " We couldnt not use that as the title could we ?

Once again, thanks for your kind comments

with regards

aman

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“I was singularly delighted with the gestures of the old man: I never saw a countenance so expressive of infelt joy, whilst he turned about from one to another, as it were, bespeaking their assents to those truths which his very soul seemed to be engaged in chanting forth.†Charles Wilkins, 1781

“This extraordinary modern People is in possession of nearly the whole of the fertile Country of the Punjaab...†John Griffith, 1794

“One quality particularly raises the character of the Sik’hs above all other Asiatics; and that is, their higher veneration for truth.†Captain Matthews, 1808

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the guru's epitomized culture!

calligraphy, poetry, horsebreeding, weapon wielding, weapon building, music! comparative theology, adornments.....you name it!

This book (along with warrior saints) is another category, archiving, which joins the ranks of the aforementioned...in the timeless era of the guru's legacy!

I have written about this in another thread, but I DO stress the importance of buying this book, giving it as a gift to people, and opening up their horizons..

These accounts give us a view of what people saw from sikhs....when you read this, you will realise that each of us, individually, is here to etch our own names into the book of life....as sikhs aren't just a group who sat there like robots, pre-programmed with certain slogans, who did their duty and left it that.

alrighty, back to studying.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 years later...

Sorry to bring up an old thread but I've just read this book. Only about 40 or so pages into it but already I get the feeling of the difference between Sikhs then and Sikhs now.

Before, I used to think of Sikhs at the time as Lions compared to modern house cats.

Now, I think of them as like Sabre-Toothed Tigers, far more ferocious and vicious than anything that walk the Earth now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to bring up an old thread but I've just read this book. Only about 40 or so pages into it but already I get the feeling of the difference between Sikhs then and Sikhs now.

Before, I used to think of Sikhs at the time as Lions compared to modern house cats.

Now, I think of them as like Sabre-Toothed Tigers, far more ferocious and vicious than anything that walk the Earth now.

Fateh!

Makes one wonder what happened to us in the last few centuries, doesn't it?

K.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fateh!

Makes one wonder what happened to us in the last few centuries, doesn't it?

K.

Complacency and contentment is what went wrong bro - the truth is that many of our lot are living far more comfortable lives than our forefathers did, hence we have gone from being ferocious lions/tigers who had to fight to get everything, to lazy Garfield-like pussy cats.

I can't remember where I read it, but there is a quote from a book or report that states that in times of war and crisis, the numbers of Sikhs always increase.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the past what did people have for entertainment?? Gurbani.

Today what do we have for entertainment? TV, movies, all sorts of fiction books, Internet with it's numerous distractions.

I'm sure people entertained back then as they do now, but with our greater affluence it seems to have become fashionable to waste our time 'hanging out' with people rather than pursuing productive tasks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Laziness was always there......distractions were always there....These people were probably called 'terrorists' by their kin in their time...similarly the honest jhujaroos are called terrorists by their kin now as well.....Same cycle, modern wheel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

not really. back then if you went and learnt to shoot all day or practiced sword skills, most people would think that was a good use of time. now the kids just play call of duty. we were a lot more militant back then, but we never realised how adaptable and intelligent the forces of the british empire and centralised hindu fanaticism would be in disarming us. now they have changed the rules of the game so much that i'm not sure a complete return to the militant way would get us back to where we were.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The whole Warrior culture has all but disappeared.

This includes Warrior Bani i.e. Chandi Di Vaar, Warrior Kathaa/Singing i.e. Dhadhi, Warrior appearance, Warrior skills (Shastar Vidya), Warrior psychology/strategem...

Anyone who takes Khande de Pahul and the name 'Singh' should through duty ensure that he attains the above Warrior aspects - even to a basic level. May be go and spend some time at a Nihang Chhawnee as a sort of 'national service' lol. Not only would a Singh learn about amritvela and sampuran NITNEM, but also about hardcore seva and hard physical work... alongside many of the aforementioned 'Singh' qualities - which Nihangs have preserved through their strong traditions.

a

Reading a book about Sikh history and starting a karate/gatka class is simply not enough. The Yodhveer aspect of a Khalsas life needs to be taken as seriously as the spiritual aspect.. this is where we have a huge gap.

When one learns true combat/battlefield arts, its clear as day to see where the 'ferocious' reputation of the Singhs who truely fight like Lions comes from.

Many self appointed gatka ustaads teach their students that Singhs never killed, they just injured, and that they calm and peaceful during yudh etc etc. These sort of fairy tales don't help either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The whole Warrior culture has all but disappeared.

This includes Warrior Bani i.e. Chandi Di Vaar, Warrior Kathaa/Singing i.e. Dhadhi, Warrior appearance, Warrior skills (Shastar Vidya), Warrior psychology/strategem...

Anyone who takes Khande de Pahul and the name 'Singh' should through duty ensure that he attains the above Warrior aspects - even to a basic level. May be go and spend some time at a Nihang Chhawnee as a sort of 'national service' lol. Not only would a Singh learn about amritvela and sampuran NITNEM, but also about hardcore seva and hard physical work... alongside many of the aforementioned 'Singh' qualities - which Nihangs have preserved through their strong traditions.

a

Reading a book about Sikh history and starting a karate/gatka class is simply not enough. The Yodhveer aspect of a Khalsas life needs to be taken as seriously as the spiritual aspect.. this is where we have a huge gap.

When one learns true combat/battlefield arts, its clear as day to see where the 'ferocious' reputation of the Singhs who truely fight like Lions comes from.

Fateh!

May the new yudh vidya section on this forum awaken the interest in this side of Sikh life again.

Many self appointed gatka ustaads teach their students that Singhs never killed, they just injured, and that they calm and peaceful during yudh etc etc. These sort of fairy tales don't help either.

Hilarious! I remember being told by an elderly Nihang that Singhs used to chatka their enemies and drink their blood when they were suffering from thirst so that they could continue to fight, and that Singhs used to consume sukhnidaan and become intoxicated and fight elephants bedecked in armour singlehandedly. Just goes to show how emasculated we have become as a Panth.

K.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are Singhs from Tarna Dal and Buddha Dal both in the UK and Canada.

You must take what you read in this book with a grain of salt - a lot is 2nd or 3rd hand accounts i.e. hearsay. Also bear in mind that just because things may have been done in the past, it doesn't make them right or representative of the Khalsa. You only need to look at newspaper reports today to see why.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kalyug.... looks like you have an ambition to get 'banned from the Panth' lol.

There maybe some truth to what you say, as puratan bakra chatka traditions, used to see senior Akalis drink the blood of a Bhakra (which had received a clean cut) - this is an aspect of Warrior Psychology which is found in many Warrior traditions around the world...

During Jang, Akali Babais were said to haev been told by their younger suboridinates 'Baba Ji, Jang toh pehla, ishnaan karlo' to which the Babi used to reply 'Mein ote jaake dushmana de khoon de naal ishnaan karunga'... again Warrior mentality, same as when Shaheed Akali Nihang Baba Gurbaksh Singh Ji Nihang/Shaheedi Misl adorned a Grooms garlard of flowers before running into a 100,000 strong army with 30 brave Singhs in oder to meet his bride - death... these sorts of traditions are still spoken about by bajurg Akali Babai and some are found in ithihaasik granths but for our many reformist-puritan influenced non-combat educated youngsters today, these sorts of 'Bir-Rasi stories' are nothing more than myths..

The problem today is, that we are filled with a kaum of football players who have never kicked a football, or for those that have they have simply played with mates in teh park or bounced a ball off their garden wall. We look at the past and present Premier leagure players and say they are fake.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

good points guys. but i feel that times have moved on as well. if we were saint soldiers again, we would still face many problems and not be able to regain what our ancestors once had. what we need to be is 'saint-soldier-scholars' and by that i mean we need to sharpen our minds. the world we live in is one where geopolitics is first and foremost, and to survive you need to strive to skew events and set the stage so that the battles are just a formality (or fun!).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest caveman

Kalyug.... looks like you have an ambition to get 'banned from the Panth' lol.

There maybe some truth to what you say, as puratan bakra chatka traditions, used to see senior Akalis drink the blood of a Bhakra (which had received a clean cut) - this is an aspect of Warrior Psychology which is found in many Warrior traditions around the world...

During Jang, Akali Babais were said to haev been told by their younger suboridinates 'Baba Ji, Jang toh pehla, ishnaan karlo' to which the Babi used to reply 'Mein ote jaake dushmana de khoon de naal ishnaan karunga'... again Warrior mentality, same as when Shaheed Akali Nihang Baba Gurbaksh Singh Ji Nihang/Shaheedi Misl adorned a Grooms garlard of flowers before running into a 100,000 strong army with 30 brave Singhs in oder to meet his bride - death... these sorts of traditions are still spoken about by bajurg Akali Babai and some are found in ithihaasik granths but for our many reformist-puritan influenced non-combat educated youngsters today, these sorts of 'Bir-Rasi stories' are nothing more than myths..

reacding your post brang a smile to my face, I give thanks.

http://www.shastarvidiya.org/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...