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Aurangzeb Road Denigrates Guru's Martyrdom


The Times of India, Dec. 8, 2002

A war of words has broken out once again on the eve of the shaheedi divas [martyrdom day] of the ninth Sikh Guru, Teg Bahadur, over the authorship of Bachittar Natak, so far accepted in Sikh circles as the autobiographical work of Guru Gobind Singh. Sikh scholars see this as a basic text that contains the evidence of the ninth Sikh Guru's martyrdom for the 'sake of the sacred thread' (going by Dr. Gopal Singh's translation of Bachittar Natak). However, scholars feel attempts have been made time and again to 'denigrate' the Guru's martyrdom. The lobby that has been active to carry out this programme was instrumental, it is perceived, in getting the Dec. 7 meeting of Akal Takht jathedars cancelled in which a decision was to be taken on banning Biparan Kii Riit Ton Sach Daa Maarag, the controversial book by Gurbakhsh Singh Kala Afghana. This book is being seen by scholars as the latest attempt to rob the Sikhs of a separate identity.

'It is painful for the community to see that there is a road named in the honour of Aurangzeb in New Delhi where Gurdwara Sees Ganj is situated,' said Sikh scholar Gurcharanjit Singh Lamba, a spokesperson of the Social and Panthic Watchdog Group. Sikh Vision, another Sikh organisation, has also registered its protest against the naming of the road after Aurangzeb. 'A continuous attempt has been made by the R.S.S., Sikh missionary colleges, the N.C.E.R.T., and other Sikh organisations, besides Kala Afghana, to denigrate the martyrdom which was made for the dignity of another religion, for the Mughals were at that time converting Hindus to Islam by force under Emperor Aurangzeb's rule,' said the Sikh scholar.

'First it was Swami Dayanand Saraswati in the book Satyarth Parkash, then came a frontal attack from Bhag Singh Ambala, who even claimed that Bachittar Natak was not authored by Guru Gobind Singh. For this he was declared tankhiah [violator]. He later apologised. Then came the attempt at distortion of Sikh history by Harbhajan Singh, head of Sikh Missionary College, Amritsar. Then came the N.C.E.R.T. book Medieval India written by Satish Chandra which contained the view that the order for beheading Guru Teg Bahadur was part of a law and order problem and not connected with the conversion of Hindus. Fauja Singh, a Sikh historian, also committed a blunder from which he had to retract later. 'Last in this conspiracy is Kala Afghana who, curiously, is being shielded by a lobby which is protecting his book,' said Lamba.