We all are born equal, with a human right to preserve our religious and cultural heritage, improve our economic inheritance and freedom to mould our destiny. The subcontinent of India with its multiracial and multicultural makeup has also attempted to be the homeland for the Sikh Nation over the last two centuries. Until the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the forced colonial union, which gave an artificial geographic and political unity, the cleavage of culture, religion and aspirations was indeed large on the subcontinent. Four religions — Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism — with their own world views claimed the allegiance of the people. The Hindus, Christians, Moslems and Sikhs met at a thousand points, on battlefield and festivals, around marketplaces and in homes, in schools and sports arenas, at marriage parties and funeral processions, on spiritual heights and in the lowlands of mundane affairs. We have learned from each other, interacted with each other, our tongues have mixed to produce new and rich languages, in music and poetry, painting and architecture, in styles and dress and ways of living. We have left a mark on each other and yet we remained distinct with emphasis on our separateness. We mixed, but never fused; we have coexisted, but never have surrendered our individuality and identity and never will.
Efforts have long been made to confuse the word ‘Nation’ with community. According to all dictionaries, there is a distinct difference between a Nation and a Community, “A Nation is a body of people marked by common descent, language, culture, heritage and historical tradition,’ while a community is a “Body of persons leading a common life in the same locality.”’ ““The above definitions may look simple though, but make the point very clear. That the Sikhs are a ‘Nation’ as they came into being, through a period of over two centuries, to develop a code of conduct and conclusion of its ‘Tenets’ by Guru Gobind Singh, who inaugurated the “Order of Khalsa.’ The infant Nation (Khalsa Panth) was subjected to the bloodiest civil war in the history of the human race, which lasted 100 years, but the Nation did survive. Sikhs have a common descent inasmuch as their ancestors constituted lineage. Sikhs have a common language — Punjabi with its own script — Gurmukhi (from the mouth of Guru). Although some Hindus in India and some Muslims in Pakistan, also speak Punjabi, they do not use “Gurmukhi’”’ script. They differ diametrically in their way of life, from others. Their scriptures, ceremonies, code, customs, appearance, and modes of dress are worlds apart. They are not confined to a particular locality or region, but are spread all over the world. Sikhs are not a community, as it is commonly (thought) known and mistakenly understood; of course we have gotten used to it for such a long time that these wrongly disseminated notions sometimes are difficult to remove. However, let this message go from this time and place to friends and foes alike, that Sikhs are a Nation by any definition.
We are still struggling for asserting our rightful claim to our identity and nationhood. We are badly disorganized and hopelessly led so that we are completely unaware of our potentialities. We should have a sense of destiny; we must know who we are, where we are and which direction we ought to take. People understand and respond to what the newspapers and other avenues of the powerful media keep on feeding to them. Our information today is what we have picked up from these sources. This information has no relation to truth or reality. Unfortunately we have badly neglected this field and have consequently — suffered enormously. I am happy that the Sikh National Trust, Stockton has accepted the responsibility of giving a ringing voice to the Sikh Nation through the weekly newspaper, WORLD SIKH NEWS. It is significant that its first issue will coincide with Our Lord, Guru Gobind Singh’s birthday. I offer my felicitations on this auspicious occasion and_ sincerely appeal to all my dear sisters and brothers to extend every possible co-operation to the World Sikh News so that it should truly develop into the United VOICE OF THE SIKHS.
Wahe Guru ji Ka
Khalsa Wahe Guru ji Ke Fateh
Ganga Singh Dhillon
Chairman Sri Nankana Sahib
Article extracted from this publication >> DECEMBER-28-1984