False Arguments, Fake Translations and Dubious Agendas – The SNSM Letter Saga.
Karminder Singh, Phd (Boston)
It is a lesson in How to Fool Some of the People Some of the Time.
I am of course referring to a letter issued by Dr Jasbir Singh, Jathedar of Sikh Naujwan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM) dated 18 July 2018 titled “SNSM Reaffirms Akaal Takhat’s Stand on Dasam Granth.”
The Dubious Agenda is to promote the DG amongst the sangat in Malaysia.
The False Argument is to promote the DG using the SRM. This, knowing fully well that the words “Dasam Granth” and “Dasam Banee” or any their equivalents do NOT appear even ONCE in the entire SRM. Yes, NOT EVEN ONCE. Nowhere in the entire SRM.
The Fake Translation part is most interesting. Since the “DG” and Dasam Banee” is NOT mentioned EVEN ONCE throughout the SRM, why not insert a bracket somewhere and write in those missing words !
Then there is the nonsensical interpretational “leap over the moon” also known as the Labo Mumbo or simply Labo Nonsense.
This “leap” involves taking the statement “Dus Guruan Dee Banee Atey Sikhiya” from the SRM (referring, of course to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji) and fictitiously REARRANGING it to “Dasam Guru Dee Banee.”
Lo and Behold! Dus Guruan Dee Banee becomes Dasam Guru Dee Banee !! Something that is non-existent is made to exist – plucked out of thin air – and inserted into the SRM – which does NOT mention the DG and Dasam Banee EVEN ONCE.
There is a reason why such nonsense is called Labo Mumbo. It’s as hollow and as shallow as its creator Labo.
Many Sikhs are not impressed. Hence this analysis of the Jathedar’s letter.
Let’s begin with the position that no one is questioning SNSM’s right to issue any letters to its members. What I am questioning is the motive of SNSM in making false and fake claims pertaining to the SRM just 9 days after its Annual General Meeting (AGM) which saw some members of the anti-SRM and pro Bachittar Natak group being appointed in the new line up by the Jathedar.
AN ATTEMPT TO FOOL PEOPLE THROUGH MISINTERPRETATIONS.
There are only two ways one can promote the Bachittar Natak / DG through the SRM. The first way is to MISINTERPRET the SRM. The second is to rely on FAKE translations. The Jathedar of SNSM relies on both.
MISINTERPRETATION ONE – DEFINITION OF A SIKH.
The SRM defines a Sikh as follows:
ਜੋ ਇਸਤਰੀ ਜਾ ਪੁਰਖ ਇਕ ਅਕਾਲ ਪੁਰਖ, ਦਸ ਗੁਰੂ ਸਾਹਿਬਾਨ (ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ ਜੀ ਤੋਂ ਲੈ ਕੇ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿੰਘ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜੀ ਤੱਕ), ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਅਤੇ ਦਸ ਗੁਰੂ ਸਾਹਿਬਾਨ ਦੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਤੇ ਸਿਖਿਆ, ਅਤੇ ਦਸ਼ਮੇਸ਼ ਜੀ ਦੇ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਉਤੇ ਨਿਸ਼ਚਾ ਰਖਦਾ ਹੈ ਅਤੇ ਕਿਸੇ ਹੋਰ ਧਰਮ ਨੂੰ ਨਹੀ ਮੰਨਦਾ, ਉਹ ਸਿਖ ਹੈ ।
Jo Isteri Ja Purakh Ek Akaal Purakh, Dus Guru Sahiban (Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji To Lai Kay Guru Gobind Singh Je Tukk), Sri Guru Granth Sahib Atey Dus Guru Sahiban Dee Banee Tey Sikhiya, Atey Dasmesh Ji Dey Amrit Otey Nischa Rakhda Hai Atey Kisey Hor Dharm Nu Nahin Manda, Oh Sikh Hai.
The Translation is
Whosoever person, male or female who has faith in One Akaal Purakh, Ten Gurus (Sri Guru Nanak Dev till Guru Gobind Singh), Sri Guru Granth Sahib and the Banee and Teachings of the Ten Gurus and on the Amrit of Dasmesh ji and does not believe in another religion, is a Sikh.
The SNSM Jathedar’s letter highlights the statement “Banee and Teachings of the Ten Gurus” and attempts to TWIST and ADD matters OF HIS OWN; which makes a mockery of the definition as well as makes clear the AGENDA of the SNSM letter.
We know that the SGGS only contains Banee of SIX Gurus (Gurus Nanak, Angad, Amardas, Ramdas, Arjun and Teg Bahadur Ji). There is NO Banee of four Gurus (Gurus Hargobind, Har Rai, Har Krishen and Gobind Singh Ji).
So very obviously the words “Banee AND Teachings of the 10 Gurus” must be taken as a whole. There is BANEE ONLY of SIX GURUS and there are TEACHINGS OF ALL TEN GURUS.
It is also obvious that the primary place where the “Banee and Teachings of the 10 Gurus” can be found is the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. So in effect, the phrase “Banee and Teachings of the 10 Gurus” refers to the messages, teachings and advise that is contained within the SGGS ji.
- The SNSM letter mis-translates the sentence ਦਸ ਗੁਰੂ ਸਾਹਿਬਾਨ ਦੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਤੇ ਸਿਖਿਆ Dus Guru Sahiban Dee Banee Tay Sikhiya as “Utterances and Teachings of the Ten Gurus”. The SRM uses the word “BANEE”. Why is Banee being changed to “UTTERANCES”? The reason is obvious. The writer of the SNSM letter wants to obfuscate and cover up the PLAIN FACT that BANEE is only by SIX Gurus.
- The SNSM letter then goes on to CONCOCT a definition of the word “UTTERANCES” of the Gurus as follows:
- Hukumnamas issued by the Gurus
- Banee penned by Guru Gobind Singh ji in Dasam Granth, which is not included in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
- Three of the “Banees from Dasam Granth” – Jaap Sahib, Swaeiy and Benti Chaupai are an integral part of our daily Nitnem and Amrit Sanchar.
THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER.
- As for (a) “Hukumnamas issued by the Gurus” – NO WHERE in the SRM are any such Hukumnamas MENTIONED or REFERED TO. Where and how SNSM usurped the authority to come up with the view that “UTTERANCES” of the Gurus in the SRM refer to these “hukumnamas” is anyone’s guess.
- As for (b) “Banee penned by Guru Gobind Singh ji in Dasam Granth….” It must be noted that the word Dasam Granth DOES NOT APPEAR EVEN ONCE in the ENTIRE SRM. Where and how SNSM usurped the authority to come up with the view that “UTTERANCES” of the Gurus in the SRM refer to these “Banee penned by Guru Gobind Singh ji in Dasam Granth” is again anyone’s guess.
- As for (b) again, “Banee penned by Guru Gobind Singh ji….” It must be noted that the words “Banee of Guru Gobind Singh ji” DOES NOT APPEAR EVEN ONCE in the ENTIRE SRM. Once again, where and how SNSM usurped the authority to come up with the view that “UTTERANCES” of the Gurus in the Definition para of the SRM refer to these “Banee penned by Guru Gobind Singh ji” is anyone’s guess.
- As for (c) “Three of the Banees from Dasam Granth” – Jaap Sahib, Swaeiy and Benti Chaupai… It must be noted that Part Two of the SRM says that the Nitnem Banees of the Sikh are : Jup, Jaap and Ten Swaiey. These Banees are to be read at Amrit Vela.”
NO WHERE in the ENTIRE SRM does it say that JAAP and SWAIEY are “From DASAM GRANTH.” (As stated above the words “DASAM GRANTH” are NON EXISTANT in the SRM.
NO WHERE in the ENTIRE SRM does it say that JAAP and SWAIEY are “penned by Guru Gobind Singh Ji.”
The stand of the PANTH as contained within the SRM is simple. JAAP and SWAIEY are PART OF OUR NITNEM (even if they are NOT from the SGGS). They are PANTH PARVANIT BANEES / RACHNAS. They are Rachnas that are SANCTIONED by the PANTH. They are BANEES FOR NITNEM as ACCEPTED BY THE PANTH when the SRM was formulated.
All Sikhs who aspire to members of the PANTH accept this decision of the PANTH.
- As for (c) again “Three of the Banees from Dasam Granth – Jaap Sahib, Swaiey and Benti Chaupai…” it must be noted that NOWHERE IN THE SRM IS “BENTI CHAUPAI” mentioned as a separate or standalone BANEE. It must be noted that Part Two of the SRM says “Hamree Karo Hath Deh Racha till Payen Gahe Jub Tey Tum) is PART of our evening Banee (REHRAS) including the Dohra Sagal Duar Ko Chadkey and Swaieya Pahen Gahen Jub. So Benti Chaupai is in effect a collection of 24 paras that are INCLUDED or ADDED on to REHRAS.
IT IS CLEAR from the above that the objective of the SNSM letter is to PROMOTE THE BACHITAR NATAK GRANTH under the name of DASAM GRANTH. This promotion is mischievously being sought THROUGH THE SRM. Given that the words DASAM GRANTH and GURU GOBIND SINGH’S BANEE do NOT appear anywhere in the SRM; the SNSM letter tries to achieve this aim by mischievous mistranslations, additions and non-existent claims.
MISINTERPRETATION TWO – USING FAKE TRANSLATION OF SRM CLAUSE ON KIRTAN.
The SRM Clause on Kirtan is as follows:
ਸੰਗਤ ਵਿਚ ਕੀਰਤਨ ਕੇਵਲ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਜਾਂ ਇਸ ਦੀ ਵਿਆਖਿਆ ਰੂਪ ਰਚਨਾ ਭਾਈ ਗੁਰਦਾਸ ਜੀ ਤੇ ਭਾਈ ਨੰਦ ਲਾਲ ਜੀ ਦੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਹੀ ਹੋ ਸਕਦਾ ਹੈ
Sangat Vich Kirtan Keval Gurbani Jan Es Dee Viakhya Roop Rachna Bhai Gurdas Ji Tey Bhai Nan Lal Ji De Banee Da Hee Ho Sakda Hai.
KEVAL MEANS ONLY – ONLY IS EXCLUSIVE (NOT INCLUSIVE)
c) In the Sangat only Kirtan of Gurbani or its explanatory writings of Bhai Gurdas Ji and Banee of Bhai Nand Lal ji is permissible.
The SRM is CRYSTAL CLEAR on the THREE sources of Kirtan. They are all mentioned individually as Gurbani, Writings of Bhai Gurdas and Banee of Bhai Nand Lal.
No where is a FOURTH source mentioned. No Bachitar Natak, NO Dasam Granth, No Banee of Guru Gobind Singh, No Banee of Guru Hargobind ji. No Banee of Guru Har Rai or Guru Har Krishen ji.
NO WHERE in the SRM is the word “GURBANI” used for the three compositions titled Jaap, Swaiey and Chaupai.
THE FAKE TRANSLATION.
The SNSM letter translates the SRM Clause on Kirtan as follows:
“In the Congregation Kirtan only of Gurbani (Guru Granth’s of Guru Gobind Singh’s Hyms) and for its elaboration the compositions of Bhai Gurdas and Bhai Nand Lal may be performed.”
IT is clear that the part of the translation in the brackets is NOT in the SRM. This is a mischievous attempt to WRONGLY DEFINE GURBANI. It is a mischievous attempt to include – in our spiritual Kirtan – rachnas, poetry and hyms that have been LEFT OUT / OMMITTED by the PANTH when it came to Kirtan.
All Sikhs who aspire to members of the PANTH accept this decision of the PANTH – that apart from the THREE sources (Gurbani, Bhai Gurdas and Bhai Nand Lal) ALL ELSE is LEFT OUT / OMMITTED in Kirtan. All else cannot be part of Kirtan.
The SNSM letter has cleverly used a SCREEN SHOT of the SGPC website to falsely show that the above FAKE translation is sanctioned by the SGPC.
Let it be known that there are an equal number of mischievous elements in the SGPC as well who are hell bent on promoting the Bachitar Natak aka Dasam Granth into Sikh spirituality. The case of a fake Dr Anurag Singh with a fake claim as director of research at SGPC is just one example.
In any case, a fake translation is a fake – whether it appears on SNSM website or SGPC.
Even if SNSM does not know this, surely the Jathedar is able to read the ORIGINAL Punjabi version of the SRM and know that the words in the brackets ARE FAKE.
MISINTERPRETATION THREE – PROVIDING PERSONAL OPINIONS TO PROMOTE DASAM GRANTH.
The SNSM letter proceeds to make questionable statements and claims as follows on Page 2:
“We need everyone to know that extracts from Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Banee in Dasam Granth is in our daily Nitnem and Amrit Sanchar Banees and is Sachee Banee. It is therefore illogical that the Dasam Granth, from which the part was extracted be deemed ‘kachee banee’.
The above can be the personal view of the SNSM Jathedar. He is entitled to it. There are many others who have totally opposing views; who don’t believe that the three compositions are “extracts” from the Dasam Granth, or that the DG is “banee” even.
The issue before the sangat of Malayusia is NOT about PERSONAL VIEWS. It is thus irresponsible to be propagating personal views on the platform of SNSM.
The issue is about the Sikh Panth’s accepted Sikh Rehat Maryada. The SRM accepts the 3 compositions mentioned as Panth accepted for Nitnem and Amrit Sanchar. The whole Panth accepts that.
Where these three compositions come from is the subject of debate and research for the scholars. It is not the business of SNSM to wade into such matters. Certainly not by relying on Labo Mumbo’s nonsense.
MORE PERSONAL OPINIONS
The Jathedar of SNSM provides more personal opinions on page 3 where he relies on more Labo Nonsense – and describes “the journey of being an Akhand Pathi” and the “protocol” which passes thought the DUS GRANTHI. He further opines that these texts have to be studied “under the guidance of an able teacher.”
Again, there are many Gursikhs who are Akhand Pathis and have not and do not read the DUS GRANTHI and will never read it.
An Akhand Path is undertaken of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Compositions of the DUS GRANTHI are NOT contained in the SGGS. So is the Jathedar of SNSM going to tell us what would be the need to be proficient in DUS GRANTHI to become an Akhand Pathi of the SGGS when Dus Granthi is NOT part of the SGGS? One hopes the answer is not that Sikhs have to do Akhand Path of the Dus Granthi or Dasam Granth – as is the case in some deviant deras.
So what is the Jathedar of SNSM’s motive in propagating such personal views other than to promote the Bachitar Natak aka Dasam Granth as acceptable spiritual texts. What’s his motive of advancing views that appear to be lifted from the acrimonious, spiteful and rancorous website of Koor Vichar?
Sikhs around the world accept the command of the tenth Master in relation to the SGGS as SABH SIKHAN KO HUKM HAI GURU MANEYO GRANTH. This command refers to the SGGS and not to any other granth.
IMPORTANT POINTS FOR THE SANGAT OF MALAYSIA TO NOTE WITH REGARD TO SRM
I would like to reiterate the following:
1) The SRM is a PANTH PARVANIT document. It was composed, written and published by the Panth. The sangat of Malaysia should accept it in total. This is the way to REAL unity. The kind of unity the Jathedar of SNSM is suggesting – that we unite by accepting the DG – is anti-thesis to Sikhs who accept only the SGGS as their Guru.
2) No individual, organization or group has the right to CHANGE – add or alter – even ONE word there. Not even the Takhats or Jathedars can change it. The SRM was produced through a Panthic process. Any changes MUST GO THROUGH THE SAME PROCESS. No Hukukmnam of any Takhat can CHANGE the SRM.
This has not stopped Jathedars of Takhats from issuing pronouncements (hukumnamas) that change the SRM. Sikhs can REJECT these pronouncements on the basis of the SRM being our Panthic Constitution.
3) The Akal Takhat has issued a Hukumnama to this effect. It says clearly that “no one has the right to change even one word.” Who has given the right to SNSM (or anyone else) to change the meaning of the word GURBANI in the SRM Kirtan Clause by adding words within brackets?
4) The Bachitar Natak aka Dasam Granth is a matter of contest amongst Sikhs. There are some who accept it in total, some in part and others reject it completely. These are personal beliefs. Sikhs who hold these beliefs are everywhere – including as Jathedars of Takhats.
Two Takhats have even done Parkash of that book – CONTRARY to the SRM that FORBIDS the parkash of ANY BOOK other than the SGGS ji, Personal views cannot be imposed on the Sikh Panth at large. The Hukumnamas and Adesh of these two Takhats can be REJECTED as they themselves do not comply with the SRM.
5) Sikhs in Malaysia have all been united on the matter of SRM and the SOLE Parkash of ONLY the SGGS. The SRM is very clear on this: “ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜੀ ਦੇ ਵਕਿਰ (ਤੁਲ) ਕਿਸੇ ਪੁਸਤਕ ਨੂੰ ਅਸਥਾਪਨ ਨਹੀਂ ਕਰਨਾ. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Dey Vaker (Tull) Kisey Pustak Nu Asthapan Nahi Karna. Translation: No other book may be installed in the presence of SGGS.
5) Beginning April of 2016, two groups of Malaysian Sikhs have led the drive to promote the Dasam Granth. They managed to do its Parkash in Gurdwara Sahib Titiwangsa on 26 December 2016. Both these group have not desisted in their zeal to split and divide Malaysian Sikhs. Some members of these groups have infiltrated the SNSM in AGM on 9th July. This letter by the SNSM Jathedar appears to have been issued under the influence and or directive of such influence.
The Jathedar is advised to not play with the sentiments of the Sikh sangat based on the divisive agendas of these groups.
Although the letter is addressed to members of SNSM, its open and public dissemination as well as distribution to Gurdwaras in Malaysia and Singapore needs comment. All Gurdwara Committes and Sangats are advised to ignore the SNSM letter of 18th July.
The contents of the SNSM letter have no merit whatsoever. Its purpose is suspect. Its outcome is a lowered esteem of SNSM in the eyes of the Malaysian Sangat.
I would ask that SNSM focus on developing our youth and refrain from becoming tools of groups with agendas – especially the promoters of Bachitar Natak aka Dasam Granth. Other than splitting sangats, creating violence and fermenting trouble in Gurdwaras, the promoters of Dasam Granth have achieved little else.
Other that preventing a challenge to your position and getting re-elected as Jathedar – for another year – in an unholy compromise with the DG promoters, you have achieved little else Jathedar ji.