How Ramji Das became Bhagat Puran Singh of Pingalwara Fame (4th June, 1904 – 5th August, 1992)

October 18, 2013

To start with let me explain to my readers what the word ‘Bhagat’ means.
This word is used for a person whose everyday deeds are ‘Su-Karma’ which means ‘Superior Deeds’. One can say that such a person has a pure soul and sees everyone as an embodiment of God. People observe his or her daily Karmas and automatically start calling such a person a ‘Bhagat’, meaning a fulltime devotee of God Almighty. But a wrong kind of deed can lower the prestige of such a person and people would automatically stop using the word ‘Bhagat’ for such a person.

Bhagat Puran Singh 1904 to 1992

Bhagat Puran Singh 1904 to 1992

Portrait of Bhagat Puran

Portrait of Bhagat Puran

Bhagat Puran Singh, the former Ramji Das, was in reality a born Saint. His Karma earned him the title of a ‘Bhagat’ from the public at large and he never faulted from the esteemed status. He didn’t have to wait for someone’s permission to do good deeds for the needy like Mother Teresa had to seek permission from her Church to start doing something for the downtrodden. Bhagat Puran Singh was a freelance ‘do-gooder’ who didn’t have to look over his shoulders for some religious institution to finance his efforts like Mother Teresa was assured financial support by the Church.
And let me caution my readers, before I go any further, that among the Punjabi business community there is a surname called ‘Bhagat’ which should not be assumed by the reader in the superior category: It is just another surname.

Ramji Das was born on 4th June, 1904 into a Hindu family in a small town called Rajewal or Rahon in Ludhiana district of Punjab, India. His father died of heart failure after hi money-lending business failed. To make both ends meet, Ramji Das’s mother worked as a servant in the house of a doctor in Sahiwal, now in Pakistan’s Punjab.

Despite her miserable condition she encouraged him to study up to the matriculation level (10th Standard) so that he could get one of the much sought after Government jobs. But his mind was not inclined to bookish studies and he failed to pass the Matriculation Examination. Instead he would spend hours browsing books in the Dyal Singh Library, Lahore searching for knowledge.

Then a miracle happened in the life of Ramji Das when he was still a young man. Once he had to go to some place and walking was the only option available to him due to his financial position. Motorized transportation -as one sees nowadays- did not exist in the rural areas at that time. Moreover, paved roads in the rural areas of Punjab and even in the rest of India, did not exist in those days. People either walked or they went by bullock carts or Raths (Ox driven Chariots) or on horseback: Only the rich could afford a horse or a Rath of their own.

After walking the whole day Ramji Das stopped at a village before sunset. There was no place to stay for the night as most villages did not have a Sarai (Inn) which were otherwise located at convenient distances on major highways only. The village he stopped at had a Mandir (Temple) and he went there with the hope to find shelter for the night. It was time for the evening Arti prayers and the priest asked him to take a broom and clean the courtyard of the Mandir, which he did.

After the Arti prayers, when it was time for dinner, the priest sat down in full view of Ramji Das and ate his meal. He had walked many miles and was very hungry but the priest had no considerations for a hungry man and threw the leftovers to a stray dog. Ramji Das had to spend the night on an empty stomach drinking water from a pot kept outside.

A few months after this unfortunate incident, Ramji Das was travelling in another direction when he stopped at a village with a Gurdwara (the door to the Guru) as the Sikh place of worship is called. He went there because he had heard that one could always find shelter and food at a Gurdwara.

Image of Guru Granth Sahib, the Scriptural Guru of the Sikhs for all times to come

Image of Guru Granth Sahib, the Scriptural Guru of the Sikhs for all times to come

A Granthi reading Guru Granth Sahib

A Granthi reading Guru Granth Sahib

It was time for the evening prayers and Ramji Das got thoroughly involved in doing Sewa, (selfless-service) without the Granthi having to ask him to do so. (Granthi is the person appointed to read the Sikh scripture called ‘Guru Granth Sahib’)

A normal thali (Indian plate) of Langar food in India

A normal thali (Indian plate) of Langar food in India

And what Ramji Das had often heard -one can always find shelter and food at a Gurdwara- actually happened to his pleasant surprise. When it was for dinner, the Granthi brought food for him in a Thali -the Indian metal plate. And when it was time to sleep he gave him a string cot which is commonly used in rural areas of Punjab. And the biggest surprise of all surprises, just when Ramji Das was falling asleep, the Granthi was there with a glass of hot milk and a piece of Gudd (Jaghari) which is traditionally taken with milk to help digestion.

This is how Langar is served in a Gurdwara to one and all without caste considerations

This is how Langar is served in a Gurdwara to one and all without caste considerations

Ramji Das went to sleep wondering about the vast difference in the moral and religious standards of the Indian society. Troubled thinking about the double standards of the Hindu priest he went to a Sant (Saint) in Lahore and narrated his unique experiences. The Sant is believed to have told him, after meditating upon the issue, that it was Gods’ calling and Ramji Das had to decide what he must do in life.

It didn’t take him long to make up his mind and he went to Gurdwara Dehra Sahib in Lahore, Pakistan. (This Gurdwara commemorates the spot where Guru Arjan Dev, the Fifth Guru of the Sikhs was martyred on 30th May, 1606 on orders of Mughal Emperor Jahangir) Ramji Das voluntarily went through the Amrit-pan ceremony (baptismal) for initiation into the Khalsa Panth, ‘The Universal Brotherhood of the Pure’ -the final and the highest level in the Sikh faith. At the end of the Amrit-pan ceremony Ramji Das adopted the name ‘Puran Singh’. Since ‘Singh’ meaning ‘Lion’ is suffixed to first names of all male volunteers joining the Khalsa Panth, the connotation in this case means ‘being lion-hearted and brave’. And he truly turned out to be lion-hearted and brave.

Bhagat Puran Singh wearing the black belt of the mini-sword as part of the Khalsa Panth

Bhagat Puran Singh wearing the black belt of the mini-sword as part of the Khalsa Panth

Puran Singh, the former Ramji Das, went through another transformation as if God Almighty had pre-programmed a noble-path for him. Since he was greatly inspired by the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib and the Sikh Gurus he continued to visit Gurdwara Dehra Sahib and did Sewa of many kinds: Stocking-up water near the entrance so that the Sangat (congregate of devotees to the Gurdwara) could wash their feet and clean up before entry; helping in the dairy of the Gurudwara’s Langar (kitchen); cleaning utensils in the Langar; making Rotis and serving food to the seated Sangat; sweeping and mopping the floors of the Gurdwara and doing any other service wherever and whenever needed.

One day, someone fell from the roof of the Gurdwara and was badly injured. Puran Singh immediately rushed him to the local hospital. Experiencing inner joy after helping him, Puran Singh took an old and abandoned man, whose leg was vermin-infected and badly bleeding, to a hospital. The man thanked Puran Singh saying, “Son! Now I can die peacefully.”

Bhagat Puran Singh carrying his first destitute in 1934

Bhagat Puran Singh carrying his first destitute in 1934

Bhagat Puran Singh with his first destitute in 1934

Bhagat Puran Singh with his first destitute in 1934

Due to this incident, service of humanity became the mission of Puran Singh’s life. He began to wander the lanes of Lahore looking for injured and physically handicapped people, taking them to hospitals with whatever money his pocket allowed. Once he even washed the clothes of an old beggar who was suffering from diarrhea.

On a moonless night in 1934, someone left a four year old child -a boy stricken with leprosy- at the door of the abovementioned Gurdwara Dehra Sahib. The then Head Granthi of the Gurdwara asked Puran Singh to keep an eye on the helpless child. Puran Singh named the child ‘Piara Singh’ meaning ‘the loved one’ and went a step further: Rather than pass the child over to the center for lepers he decided to care and raise him himself. He would carry Piara Singh on his back and go begging from door to door asking, “Give something for him and not for me.” This incident completely transformed his life. He then founded the famous Pingalwara (home for crippled, lepers and the destitute) in Lahore, now in Pakistan. Seeing his devotion people had already started calling him ‘Bhagat’ Puran Singh while he was still in Lahore.

After the partition on 14th-15th August 1947, when Pakistan became a separate country, the Pingalwara was shifted from Lahore to Amritsar, across the border. The idea for Pakistan to become a separate country was broached by the Muslim League party as a separate country for Indian Muslims. Once their demand was met and the new Country was demarcated, their thugs began ethnic cleansing -killing non-Muslims through well-planned assaults. With threat to their lives almost all Sikhs and Hindus left Pakistan and many Muslims crossed over from India: But all did not go across and some even came back to India to claim their ancestral homes. This conflagration, running into millions, created the largest human exodus in the world across any border killing in the process at least one million innocents besides shattering an age-old cordiality. It was an insensitive human calamity created by self-seeking politicians, both from the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League. The Sikhs were not keen that a separate country should be carved out along religious and ethnic line because they were not really concentrated in any particular region and were spread thinly all over having converted to Sikhism from both Hindus and Muslims during the previous 500 years.

As a result of this cross-border exodus, Bhagat Puran Singh reached Amritsar in 1947 to a camp with over 25 000 refugees. He found a large number of them critically wounded and incapable of nursing themselves. The situation had developed very suddenly and the Indian Government had not made plans for such a contingency. But Bhagat Puran Singh, being an evolved soul, took the initiative: With some chloroform and turpentine oil he started treating their wounds. He would often go into nearby neighborhoods to request people food and medicines for the needy.

Bhagat Puran Singh collecting donations

Bhagat Puran Singh collecting donations

Bhagat Puran Singh carrying destitutes on his personal cycle Rikshaw

Bhagat Puran Singh carrying destitutes on his personal cycle Rikshaw

Bhagat Puran Singh offering the last Ardas (prayer for the soul to rest in peace) for an abandoned patient

Bhagat Puran Singh offering the last Ardas (prayer for the soul to rest in peace) for an abandoned patient

Bhagat Puran Singh with Bhai Piara Singh, the leprosy ridden abandoned boy

Bhagat Puran Singh with Bhai Piara Singh, the leprosy ridden abandoned boy

 

 

 

 

From 1947 till 1958, Bhagat Puran Singh did not have a permanent dwelling. He could be seen sitting outside the Golden Temple, the Chief Khalsa Diwan, Post Offices, Railway Stations and sitting under a tree outside the office of the local Civil Surgeon. He was all along urging people to donate to his noble mission, the Pingalwara. He would wander the streets asking for donations.
Subsequently the Pingalwara was registered as ‘The All India Pingalwara Charitable Society’ headquartered at Tehsilpura -a suburb of Amritsar- on Grand Trunk Road, the National Highway-1.

Pingalwara Grand Trunk Road Amritsar Punjab India

Pingalwara Grand Trunk Road Amritsar Punjab India

Bhagat Puran Singh died in 1992 but long after his death, the home he founded still tends the castaways of the society: The diseased, disabled, abandoned, forlorn, the poor, physically and mentally handicapped people. There is no discrimination by religion and no one is asked to convert to Sikhism unlike Christian Missionaries doing so. In fact, almost 95% inmates of the Pingalwara are of non-Sikh faith with no conditions whatsoever to change their faith.

Humility is my mace_Bhagat Puran Singh

Humility is my mace_Bhagat Puran Singh

Humility is my mace_Bhagat Puran Singh

Humility is my mace_Bhagat Puran Singh

The other uniqueness of Bhagat Puran Singh is that though he never finished his basic schooling, he became a writer, a (self) publisher, an environmentalist, and a philanthropist. A pioneer and an early advocate of what we today call the ‘Green Revolution’, Bhagat Puran Singh was spreading awareness about environmental pollution and the increasing soil erosion long before such ideas became popular. Pamphlets with his writings on various subjects, such as environmental awareness, were printed on re-used paper and freely distributed personally by him and his helpers.

Bhagat Puran Singh's Press

Bhagat Puran Singh’s Press

Bhagat Puran Singh was honoured in 1979 by the Government of India with the Padma Shri award, given for exceptional and distinguished service in any field. But he was among the citizens of India who returned their awards and medals in protest after the Indian army’s avoidable attack on the Golden Temple in 1984. He peacefully expired on 5th August, 1992 at Amritsar due to old age -his mission was done and his time had come. By the time he left for his heavenly abode he had served the needy for over 60 years starting much before 1934 when he first carried the four year old leprosy stricken child on his back.

Bhagat Puran Singh was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 –a year before his death- for his selfless work: Feeding, clothing, tending the sick and dying people. But he was never given this world famous prestigious award even though he had served for more than 60 years with serious financial limitations and with whatever money the general public would donate.
Compare this disparity to Mother Teresa, who, by the time she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 had served the needy for 29 or 30 years only -establishing her ‘Missionaries of Charity’ on 7th October, 1950 under financial protection of the Church.

I have nothing say against Mother Teresa: I am trying to point out the double standards of people who decide who did a greater deed.

MotherTeresa

MotherTeresa

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu the future Mother Teresa

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu the future Mother Teresa

What could be the reason for this obvious disparity?

1. Was it because Bhagat Puran Singh was not a Christian?

2. Was it because he came from a developing country and was not from Europe?

3. Was it that the Nobel Committee found this turban wearing maverick out of place?

4. Was it because he had not travelled far and wide by fancy jetliners and not met prominent international personalities like Jet-Set Mother Teresa had done? She was a frequent international traveler meeting prominent world personalities. An international exposure obviously helps in networking and fund raising.

President Reagan of America presents Mother Teresa with the Medal of Freedom 1985

President Reagan of America presents Mother Teresa with the Medal of Freedom 1985

5. On the contrary to move around within Amritsar, Bhagat Puran Singh peddled his personal three-wheeled Cycle-Rikshaw, the cheapest taxi in India. And he travelled by buses and trains even when he had to visit New Delhi to receive his Padma Shri award from the Indian Government.

6. Perhaps, the Nobel Committee had not been able to objectively compare the vast difference in the circumstances under which Bhagat Puran Singh and Mother Teresa worked. This may have happened because whoever presented the proposal to the Nobel Committee had not, probably, highlighted the significant differences in their work environments.

In my humble opinion, Bhagat Puran Singh’s work had been of Greater Significance than Mother Teresa’s!

Bhagat Puran Singh’s selfless service was of greater significance than Mother Teresa’s. Yet when she died even the President of India went for her funeral with much media hype whereas Bhagat Puran Singh’s death went almost unnoticed at the national level. If the President of India went for her funeral, because he was a Christian himself, then he should have gone in his personal capacity not using the National facilities and the media should have reported it accordingly. And there were prominent politicians hunting for Christian votes.

Shame on the so-called Great Hindu Culture! For a foreign missionary to come and to do what Mother Teresa did in Calcutta, it’s a blot on the so-called ‘Great Hindu Culture’: But it’s not surprising. It was because of the selfishness of the Brahmins in general which changed Ramji Das to Bhagat Puran Singh. And then the right-wing diehards Hindus cry foul when some people get converted to Christianity.

Bhagat Puran Singh chair:- Bhagat Puran Singh Chair for Studies in Selfless Service to Humanity was established at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar in 2005. Objective of this chair is to highlight the contributions of Bhagat Puran Singh in the betterment of our society and how his philosophy can be used for a healthy and prosperous future. After his demise Dr. Bibi Inderjit Kaur is the present head of the Pingalwara.

Dr. Bibi Inderjit Kaur the present head of the Pingalwara

Dr. Bibi Inderjit Kaur the present head of the Pingalwara

Five Rupees Commemorative postage stamp by Ministry of Communications and Information Technology 2004

Five Rupees Commemorative postage stamp by Ministry of Communications and Information Technology 2004

Stamp on Bhagat Puran Singh
A Rupee Five Commemorative postage stamp on Bhagat Puran Singh was released by the Ministry of Communication & Information Technology in 2004 paying tribute to a great self-regulated personality.

18 Responses to “How Ramji Das became Bhagat Puran Singh of Pingalwara Fame (4th June, 1904 – 5th August, 1992)”

  1. Roopak Says:

    I read your blog with great interest as I want to know more about Sikhism. I would like to buy your book “Someone will come”. I mailed you a couple of months back but did not hear back from you. Please do email me so that I can get more information from you.

    • tejwantsingh Says:

      Dear Roopak,
      Thank you for your comment and very sorry for the delayed reply.
      My second book titled ‘Someone Will Come’ is yet to be published because I am having a hard time finding an Agent in America. I have had it properly line-edited from renowned American editors and it’s absolutely ready for the next process.
      This book is basically meant for American audience because most of them don’t seem to realize that not all people who wear turbans are Muslims.
      My book also tells the reader about the valorous past of the Sikhs.
      The first book titled ‘The Bold Brave and Fearless’ is available on http://www.amazon.com for on-line purchase.
      Is there anything else I can provide do let me know at my email singhtejwant@hotmail.com
      Wishing you good luck,
      Tejwant Singh

  2. Bikram Singh Says:

    Great website!

  3. Teena Says:

    Bhagat ji dee tarif lai shabad nahi . Bus rab banke punjab vich aaye sun

    • tejwantsingh Says:

      Dear Teena ji,
      Thank you for your comments.
      I am waiting for someone from the SGPC or some prominent Sikh organization outside India to take up this subject with the Nobel Committee Norway so that Bhagat ji can be recognized at the International level. If that is done then the true picture of Sewa in the Sikhi-way would get highlighted and, hopefully, the misconception people have about us would be removed.
      This Blog is intended to inform the less-informed and thereby widen awareness about the Sikhs.
      It was just last week that I met heads of the Dharam Prachar Committee and the Historical Research Wing of the SGPC and informed them about my Blog site. They were pleasantly surprised to read about Bhagat ji. They had not seen the site earlier, probably, because their emphasis is on Punjabi whereas this blog in English is intended for a wider span at the International level besides local regions. The Stats of this site shows that it is being seen in most of the English speaking countries and even in some Muslim regions: Some nasty comments from Muslims show that.
      Waheguru ji ka Khalsa Waheguru ji ki Fateh
      Tejwant Singh

  4. Abhishek Says:

    Dear Mr Tejwant.

    Thanks for sharing such important information.Bhagatji is really a great Soul.
    He should be awarded Nobel. Our indian heros are unfortunately unsung.
    However I would like to say that criticising a community spreads hatred only.In every community there are good and bad people.and every community has made its contibution in nation building.Needles to say persons of dutt Bhramin origin have made important contribution in sikh history.

    • tejwantsingh Says:

      Dear Abhishek,
      Thank you for your comments.

      As far as the contribution of the Dutt community is concerned there is no doubt about it. But for my information and future guidance can you list them out in your reply please?

      In every society and in all religious communities there are a varying number of good and bad people depending upon how their deeds are viewed by others who take it upon themselves to judge them: Gurbani states ‘Hum Nahi Changey Bura Nahi Koye’ meaning ‘Neither I am good nor is anyone bad’. The incident quoted in this write up which changed the life of Bhagatji highlights the malaise which had pulled down the Indian society due to the Caste system.

      For example it is often claimed by many Brahmins that secrets to various scientific inventions and futuristic idea –which are now the hallmark of technical progress- were revealed to our ancestors (I suppose they were all Rishis) through their meditative powers. And I assume that all such Rishis were Brahmins. If this is accepted as the truth then those Rishis perhaps must have written down the formulae or the intricate processes in Sanskrit which people now claim that the Europeans took away through deceit. (Most of them were probably sold by those who held them without realizing their importance).

      If such important information was hidden away in Sanskrit text which a Brahmin alone could read -because others were not permitted to do so- then such highly valuable secrets remained with the Brahmins and died with them. Had the Caste System not been a great shackle on the Indian society, then that futuristic information would have been shared with the general public. And such sharing would have ignited the thinking process and such advanced scientific inventions would have occurred in Bharat.

      Because there was no Caste System in the European society and education was available on merit, there was a serious process of scientific discussion. Needless for me say anymore on this subject accept that all scientific ideas have come to us Indians whose brains were locked up in ‘steel cages’, from the West. The only contribution we can claim is the Indian Numerals which are called Arabic Numerals, unfortunately.

      The article about Bhagat Puran Singh highlights achievements through progressive thinking ‘out of the box’.

      It also highlights the double standards of those who decide the Nobel Prizes.

      And it also highlights our Government’s lack of self-esteem like the President of India and many political leaders went rushing for Mother Teresa’s funeral whereas Bhagat Puran Singh passed away without any fanfare –that is how a true saint passes away.

      Thank you once more and I await your reply listing out the contribution of the Dutt community to Sikhism.

      Group Captain Tejwant Singh (retd)

      • Abhishek Says:

        Dear and respected sir.
        Thanks for your reply. Though u must b knowing better than me but as mentioned I will quote few of them.
        Greatest of all mohyals is no doubt Bhai
        Mati dasji.Then All the brothers bhai sati das. Bhai dayal das. Father hira nand. History of title bhai itself is testimony.then mohan singh mirpuri.baba praga sen.sardar karan singh dutt.baba budha and many more.

        In the last I will also mention name of the great Banda singh bahadur who according to some resouces was of bhramin origin( not sure). In the last I would also like to mention that Guruji Shri Gobind Singh maharaj had said that He has saved tilak and janeu from extinction. Sir caste system has still not ended even after change of religion through bhraminism has ended.

        sat shri akal. jai ram.

      • tejwantsingh Says:

        Dear Abhishek,
        Sat Shri Akal! May Waheguru ji bless you with the Naam.
        Thank you for additional information about the contribution of Dutt community to the cause of righteousness. My congratulations! I had heard something like that long time ago before I started taking interest in writing about Sikhism.
        I wonder if you are aware of the fact that the ‘fountain chowk’ or the triangular crossing in front of Sheesh Ganj Gurdwara in Chandni Chowk is now named Bhai Mati Dass Chowk. Since not many people know about the sacrifices made by Guru’s Sikhs, there is a board put up there to explain why the place is so named.
        Another information about Sheesh Ganj Gurdwara is that there is a Masjid next to it which was associated with Kotwali during the Mughal rule: During those times, if any non-Muslim convict was ready to accept Islam he was made to read the Kalma in that Masjid and all his crimes were forgiven even if they of the worse kind.
        Indeed it was a supreme decision for Bhai Mati Das and his brothers to accompany Guru Teg Bahadur ji knowing fully well that they were going on a one-way journey. That is true devotion. And it is interesting to note other names you have mentioned. Truly the contributions of the Dutt community are invaluable.
        And you have written about Baba Buddha. In Sikhism Baba Buddha refers to the person who used to apply Tilak on the forehead of the succeeding Guru when the Guru Gaddi was passed from one to the next. This practice started when Guru Nanak dev ji decided to pass the Guru Gaddi to his servant Lahna who passed the test compared to Baba Shri Chand who didn’t make it. Guruji gave Lahna the name Angad meaning ‘part of me’. Thus he became Guru Angad. Baba Buddha continued to perform this noble task up to the Sixth Guru and his descendants to do succeeded him and so on so forth.
        If this Baba Buddha you refer to is the same person, then let me correct you that he was a Jat of Randhawa Gotra. When he was young boy he had a long chat with Guru Nanak Dev ji when he was tending his buffaloes in the wild and the Great Guru happened to pass that way. His original name was Booda which is quite common in the rustic rural areas implying a person who does not know much. Since he asked very interesting and deeply meaningful questions about life and death, Guru Nanak Dev ji is believed to have commented that you are not Booda but you are a Buddha -meaning you are a wise man.
        And about Banda Bahadur, I have read several well researched books by well-known Sikh writers which mention that he was a Dogra from Jammu area named Lakshman Das. He was very fond of Shikar and once he killed a doe (female dear). When he cut her up he found that she was pregnant. Therefore he felt very sorry and went into ‘Vairaag’ (sorrow for his sins). He renounced the worldly life and became a Vaishnav Bairagi adopting the name Madho Das until he met Guru Gobind Singh ji in Nanded on the bank of Godavari River where he had his Dera. Rest is all history as they say.
        Caste system has not ended and so has Brahmanism not ended. Prime example is how the RSS was formed how they promote their ideology. I have been party to several incidents in my life -even as late as one year back- where the RSS is clearly trying to impose Brahmanical control over the mind and body of the Indian society. And in the process they have shown their true colour in trying to undermine the ideology of Sikhism. It has been clearly stated by many individuals that the Guru Granth Sahib writes against the Brahmins and thus tries to lower their superior status. For that matter from the time of Guru Nanak, dogmatic ideas of both Hinduism and Islam have been criticized: and followers to the new faith came from both for that reason.
        The first incident I am mentioning is the calendar the RSS printed long time ago where they had shown through artistic depiction of Shivaji, Rana Pratap and Guru Gobind Singh in a side by side image. The impression any layman would get is that the first two who fought for their Kingdoms were of the same status as Guru Gobind Singh. It was objected to by the SGPC and the RSS was told to not do this in future: they tried to lower Guruji’s status whereas he fought for everyone’s right to worship as they pleased whereas the other two fought for their personal domains.
        How Shivaji conducted with Afzal Khan is a prime example of low character. On 9th November 1659 he agreed to negotiate with Afzal Khan, the commander of the Adil Shahi rulers, but went with a concealed weapon and stabbed Afzal Khan while in an embrace. Such treachery is unprecedented and is the hallmark of unscrupulous people who lack morals. If the RSS is so fond of such treacherous leaders then their intention can be considered immoral too.
        The next incident which struck me with surprise was when one of my Air Force colleagues -a Marathi Brahmin by caste- wanted to know the meaning of some portions of Gurbani. Then he commented all of a sudden, “I think the language of Guru Granth Sahib should be converted into Sanskrit.” Gurbani is in Sant Bhasha which is the language of devotion. The whole idea of the simple language is for the common man to easily understand unlike Sanskrit. And experts of languages agree that most of the words of colloquial Punjabi -as spoken in the rural areas- are Sanskrit words differently pronounced. I heard Narsimha Rao, the former Prime Minister who knew 14 languages, say this during one of his speeches. Bhagti has no language barriers. But some people want to reverse it.
        The third incident which showed the mind set of RSS members was quoted about a year ago in The Tribune newspaper. One Tiwari went to visit Harmandir Sahib and when he came out one of the correspondents asked him for his opinion. Tiwari is believed to have said, “Remove all compositions of Muslims and all words for various Islamic names of God from Guru Granth Sahib and we will accept it.” Then same correspondent asked if he had food in the Langar and Tiwari said, “When they stop using onion and garlic we will eat it.”
        Therefore my dear Abhishek, the scenario in India is still evolving. The society is going through a Mathan –a churning process- like the legendary Sagar-Mathan which was done by the Devas and Demons. Let us see what type of ‘poison’ and what kind of ‘Amrit’ emerges from it.
        Sat Shri Akal!
        Group Captain Tejwant Singh (retired)

  5. Stefan Richter Says:

    Tejwant Singh, you reproduce with the despicable caption ” What a fat and selfish caste ridden Brahmin priest normally looks like” my photograph from the Art Unlimited postcard C 9637, which clearly states on the backside “© Stefan Richter, 2001 / Brahmin (Kanchipuram, India) / Reproduction prohibited”. This clearly is THEFT of intellectual property!

    • tejwantsingh Says:

      Dear Stephen Richter,

      Thank you for the comment. I have not used your postcard to scan this image.

      I found this image of a Brahmin on the internet through google. And there was no warning or caution next to it when many other images of Brahmins showed up on the same page. Had there been any warning or caution I would not have copied it.

      I suppose you have read my article “How Ramji Das became Bhagat Puran Singh of Pingalwara Fame (4th June, 1904 – 5th August, 1992)” and as a sensitive person with a good value system you may have realised the difference between the two religions -Sikhism and Hinduism

      Well now that I have clarified my position and intention, may I request you to grant me permission to keep this image as a part of the write-up?

      However, if you decide to not to grant permission, I shall remove it.

      But if you do grant me permission I shall edit the page and add your name ‘Image with permission from Stephen Richter’.

      Forwarded for your consideration,
      Group Captain Tejwant Singh (retired)

  6. Stefan Richter Says:

    I emailed yesterday regarding my image, reproduced from my postcard, with caption – see above – “What a fat and selfish caste ridden Brahmin priest normally looks like”. Immediately (!) remove my image from this your page ! This is THEFT of copyrighted intellectual property, plus misused in a totally unacceptable and despicable context (caption) ! If you not should do so, the consequences might be quite severe. Btw, I do have excellent connections in India, and in the Punjab. Clear enough ?

  7. Stefan Richter Says:

    Just now, after posting my last message, I see/read your above message of 6:19 pm. I do not care what your article is about, I care about my image, together with your totally despicable caption. You seem to be much too arrogant to understand my point. I very well might use now YOUR portrait with the caption “What an arrogant Sikh normally looks like”. Would YOU like that ? I doubt it. So remove my image immediately. And don’t defend yourself about having found it on google: even if it was shown there, you should have checked on any copyright, and if/when none was indicated, NOT have used it ! If one steals stolen property, out of ignorance, one is still a thief ! You get the message NOW, Mr Bighead ? Btw, in above message you spell my name Stefan as “Stephen”, clearly again showing your ignorance/arrogance, Mr “Group Captain (retired)”. Sat Sri Akal !

  8. Stefan Richter Says:

    “…as a sensitive person with a good value system you may have realised the difference between the two religions -Sikhism and Hinduism”: Mr “Group Captain (retired)” I do not need this your ‘sermon’: I not only “may have realized” the “difference…”, but knowing India since over 50 years very well, with schooling in Bombay, I do know your country, probably in certain aspects much more/better than you yourself. So don’t start preaching, out of ignorance: if YOU yourself would be “a sensitive person with a good value system” you would have never used this despicable caption next to the image of an anonymous Hindu priest. Would you approve of the caption “What a fat and arrogant ex Indian army officer normally looks like” ? Plus if you would be “a sensitive person with a good value system”, you would have immediately deleted my image, without any discussion/comment trying to defend yourself with a stupid argument (google), and offering to caption my image “with permission of Stephen [sic] Richter”, thus provoking these my not very flattering comments on your page… The minimum RESPECT is to spell a person’s name correctly, not misspelling it twice although the correct spelling is clearly visible. As an ex army officer you should indeed know the term ‘respect’, or not ?! Résumé: it was probably high time that somebody ‘showed YOU the mirror’ !

  9. Ranjit Singh Nahal Says:

    Hi Tejwant

    I do enjoy reading your blog and congratulate you on your educational and inspiring articles. What does disturb me is the complete misunderstanding of the “Hindu” religion, to be honest I’m not even comfortable with expression “Hindu” as strictly speaking it is inaccurate as there never was a religion called Hinduism, and there is no mention of Hindu Vedic scriptures. It’s a word made by foreigners for all those who lived east of the Indus River, Indu, Sindu etc.. became Hindu, eventually the complex belief systems were eventually grouped together under Hinduism.

    For me our Sikh Gurus did not criticise the Hindu religion but the wrong practices of the individuals and or the ruling priests, to show us how they had corrupted the ancient teaching with lies and intentionally misinterpretation and how those in power have fooled the masses.

    Even in the Vedic scriptures it is advised that in Kaliyuga there is no need for dev pooja? The best activity suggested in this age is sing the lords praises, Jaap and Naam, in Anand Sahib it states ” Vaydaa meh naam utam so suneh naahee fireh ji-o baytaali-aa.” So is it the Vedic scriptures fault that those who alleged followers do not listen? Since time immemorial the lands between the river Saraswati and River Ganga have been the homeland of the most spiritual beings on the planet, the kingdom of the soul, the route to the Allmighty, our Gurus are part of that same great spiritual family and sacrificed so much in saving those teachings because they were worth saving and at the same time give us some light, as we are low and ignorant, as we must be, why else are we here in this dark age?

    All I know is that I am truly inspired and immensely fortunate that I am from the land that was the mother of Shri Ram, Shri Krishna, Guru Nanak dev Jill, Guru Gobind Singh Ji and countless others, and I have nothing but love and respect for them all.

    Ranjit

    • tejwantsingh Says:

      Dear Ranjitji,

      Thank you for your pleasant, encouraging and informative comment.

      Very sorry for the late reply. I was visiting USA when my computer packed up a few days after your comment showed up. Then some other issues came up which diverted my attention: Concerning my second book titled SOMEONE WILL COME which I am trying to publish in America.

      This is just for your information: Among fictional works there are no books by Indian authors where the main character is a Sikh. Pictorial ones by Khushwant Singh -Coffee Table type- are expensive and beyond the reach of common man. A reader should be able to pick up a book for a few dollars and finish it in a few days. There was only one book in the past by John Masters titled ‘Bhawani Junction’ published in the 1950s about the plight of Anglo-Indian community and their loyalty towards Independent India. Perhaps, my book would be the second one where the main character is a Sikh. My first book is titled ‘THE BOLD BRAVE and FEARLESS’ available on http://www.amazon.com

      I had marked your comment for reply at a later date but one issue after another kept cropping up, even when I came back to India, so much so that I have not been able to write a fresh article for this blog.

      Thank you once again and do keep in touch.

      Warm regards,
      Group Captain Tejwant Singh (retired)


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