Apropos Joginder Singh Ahluwalia’s “Anatomy of Hindus towards Sikhism” (WSN Sept. 20) there is, of course, a group of Sikhs who, though do not disagree that Sikhism & Hinduism are two distinct religions, but believe that they do have a lot in common to share with each other; as they have been doing from its very inception, until the advent of Arya Samaj in Punjab in 1875. They believe that Arya Samaj in Punjab is one of the biggest single factor for the present bifurcation, which has been treacherously exploited by the corrupt politicians for their selfish ends. The Arya Samaj’s “Anatan Dharam” could make no significant dent in Hindu/Sikh amity despite a hundred years of otherwise popular survival in the Punjab, until crafty politics came to their aid to create the wedge by exploiting the ignorant masses. Nevertheless, they strongly maintain that there is still enough in common between them that they can live together in peace, only if the external political and religious forces cease to exert their undue pressure on them. MarTiages between Hindus and Sikhs are still being solemnized today. The greatness of Sikhism does not lie in how different it is from Hinduism, but in its genius for absorbing whatever is best in the contemporary religions and rejecting whatever is unnecessary and superstitious; such that it has successfully stood the test of time. Its greatness is acknowledged by its appreciation and adoption by other religionists. It was virtually accepted by other major religious groups until Arya Amajists, may be inadvertently, though not with much success, created the wedge. I am afraid there is yet another class of Sikhs, who, much though you might like, cannot be convinced that Sikhs can and do no wrong. They do believe that ‘politics’ cannot and should not be divorced from religion, but they strongly decry the making of religious places into ‘battlefields’, slaughterhouses or even political arenas.
Sikhs feel guilty and belittled in their own eyes when killings take place in Gurdwaras, no matter who the victims are. You may well call it a legacy from the Hindu culture.
Article extracted from this publication >> November 1, 1985