Just as the Hindu society, the modern-day Sikh society is also caste ridden. The only difference is that the Hindu society has Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishya’s, Shudras and the Sikh society has Jatts, Sainis, Labana, Mazahbi, Khatris, Aroras, Tarkhans Sikhs, and so on. With the exception of may be some enlightened Sikhs, most Sikhs are prone to caste prejudices.
However, we never get tired of boastingly explaining to foreigners that, unlike Hindu society, Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak does not recognize the division of society on the basis of caste. What a Joke!
Let alone marriages, even Gurdwaras are built along caste lines! Our Gurus tried to eliminate this evil from the society, and taught us to do the same.
A brief history of distortion of the Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak
Here is a brief history of distortion of the Gurbani/Gurmat/Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak.
Upon the fall of the Sikh Raj of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur in 1718, Baba Banda Singh, and his entire army of Sikhs was captured and executed. Authentic Sikhs – because there was a price on their heads and limbs – would take refuge in the jungles and hills of Punjab and nearby states. This created a void and vacuum in Sikh Gurdwaras, Sikhi Parchaar, Sikh institutions, and virtually everything connected to the Sikh psyche. This void and vacuum was filled by the anti-Skhi groups such as Udasi, Nirmalas, Deeraa-Vaad Sants or Baabaas etc.
Udasi controlled for about 60 years. If we recall the true Sikh history, this Udasi group was the follower of the DISOWNED son of Baabaa Nanak, Sri Chand.
The Nirmalas replaced Udasi and controlled for next about 150 years. Who are Nirmalas? In short, these Nirmalas are Brahmins who were educated and trained in BANARAS in Brahmanical ways. They descended into Sikh Gurdwaras and institutions disguised as Sikhs beginning 176.
Nirmalas purpose of taking control of Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak was to distort, corrupt and taint Baabaa Nanak’s Unique Sikhi and Universal Message through manufactured books (close to three dozens), distorted Sikh history, fabricated tales of miracles called Sakhis-ਸਾਖੀ written by them, using vedic and puranic slants in interpretations and translations of the Gurbani etc. In short, they wanted to take Sikhi back to the belief system that existed prior to the birth of Baabaa Nanak in 1469. Their main objective was and is to reinstate and reinstall the pre-1469 stale beliefs that were rejected by Baabaa Nanak, including the madness of belief in JAAT PAAT (Casteism).
The present day self-serving Pujaaree (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.) and the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ) etc. in Sikhi, appears to be none other than Brahmins (Bipar) in Sikh Masks! They have distorted, corrupted and tainted Baabaa Nanak Unique spirituality.
The UNIQUE and REVOLUTIONARY spirituality of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is NOT meant to regurgitate pre-1469 spiritual concepts or practices of Yogis, Brahmins or Bipar-Vaad etc. To the contrary, the Gurmat or Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak has critiqued and debunked all pre-1469 narratives.
Sikhi demands removal of the cancer of Jaat Paat – casteism
- ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਸੋ ਤੇਰਾ ਰੂਪੁ ॥: Whatever is seen is Your form (sggs724).
- ਏਕ ਨੂਰ ਤੇ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਕਉਨ ਭਲੇ ਕੋ ਮੰਦੇ ॥੧॥: From one Omnipresent and Omnipotent Creator, the entire Creation has been created then whom can we call good and who is bad? ||1||
- ਜਾਣਹੁ ਜੋਤਿ ਨ ਪੂਛਹੁ ਜਾਤੀ ਆਗੈ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਹੇ ॥: Recognize the Light (Jot within all), and don’t ask or consider Jaatee, as there is no Jaat in the world hereafter (sggs 349).
The Gurmat rejects the Brahminical practice of casteism, which divides the mankind, resulting in hatred, inequality, injustice, disharmony, and so on. To the contrary, the Gurmat teaches to bring about the positive social change by removing the evil of Jaat Paat etc.!
Hence – regardless what Got (ਗੋਤ), surname or group you identify with – if you believe in the madness of Jaat Paat, then how you can call your a Sikh Baabaa Nanak or SGGS!
Instead, you may be a follower of Bipar (Brahminism). Why?
Because the madness of belief in Jaat Paat is the product of the Brahmin’s crafty mind or thinking (ਸੋਚ) and texts such as Mannu Simriti etc. along with fake and concocted stories (ਗੱਪ ਕਹਾਣੀਆਂ), falsehood (ਝੂਠ), disfigured history with embellishments and imaginary facts.
To say it otherwise, Sikhs who practice or believe in the madness of Jaat Paat as the Brahmins do are fraud or bogus Sikhs in disguise. Because, the true Dharma as taught by the Gurmat does not believe in this madness.
Hence, such anti-Gurmat forces (anti-Gurus and anti-teaching of the Gurbani-SGGS) who propagate Bipar-Vaad thinking (ਸੋਚ), distort Sikh tenets, corrupt Baabaa Nanak’s teaching which critiques and debunks the Brahminical practice of caste system. In other words, they simply want to superimpose Bipar-Vaad onto the Wisdom of the SGGS.
- ਗਰਭ ਵਾਸ ਮਹਿ ਕੁਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਤੀ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਬਿੰਦੁ ਤੇ ਸਭ ਉਤਪਾਤੀ ॥੧॥ ਕਹੁ ਰੇ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਬਾਮਨ ਕਬ ਕੇ ਹੋਏ ॥ ਬਾਮਨ ਕਹਿ ਕਹਿ ਜਨਮੁ ਮਤ ਖੋਏ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜੌ ਤੂੰ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਣੀ ਜਾਇਆ ॥ ਤਉ ਆਨ ਬਾਟ ਕਾਹੇ ਨਹੀ ਆਇਆ ॥੨॥ : There are no caste distinctions for the fetus within the mother’s womb. All humans are created equal from the one material at conception. ॥1॥ So, tell me O Brahmin, at what point did you become a Brahmin? Realize that living in false pride as a Brahman results in squandering of one’s life. ||1||Pause|| O Brahmin, since you consider yourself a Brahmin born out of a Brahmin mother. Then why didn’t you enter the world through some other process, some other way (as the rest of us humans)? ॥2॥ (sggs 324).
In other words, those so called Sikhs who practice or believe in the madness of casteism (Jaat Paat) are in fact followers of Bipar-Vaad which is bent on distorting the pure teachings of the SGGS.
- ਕਬੀਰ ਕਾਗਦ ਕੀ ਓਬਰੀ ਮਸੁ ਕੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਪਾਟ ॥ ਪਾਹਨ ਬੋਰੀ ਪਿਰਥਮੀ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਪਾੜੀ ਬਾਟ ॥੧੩੭॥: Kabeer, the religious books (of Pandits/ Pujaaree) are like a prison made of paper, and the rituals (Karamkaand) written in ink are like the doors of that prison. The stone idols have spiritually drowned the people of this world (in the ocean of worldliness), and Pandits (i.e. the clergy/Pujaaree) are plundering people (i.e. robbing people by engaging them in useless rituals and idolatry Poojaa and though donation-Daan etc.). ||137|| (sggs 1371).
For example, just take a careful look at the currently available Teekaas of the SGGS on the Internet. They are primarily based on (1) literal translation, (2) incident (time, location, person etc.) based interpretations, (3) framework of Shastras, Vedas, Purans, other Hindu texts, Yogic system etc.
The Gurbani asserts the caste or Jaat Paat relates only to the gross body-frame; not to one’s mind!
- ਦੇਹ ਨ ਨਾਉ ਨ ਹੋਵੈ ਜਾਤਿ ॥: ‘Deh’ (i.e., subtle body – soul) has no name or ‘Jaati’ (sggs 1257).
- ਸਭ ਜੋਤਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਜੋਤੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਕਰਤੇ ਸਭੁ ਸਚੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਪਾਸਾਰਾ ॥: Sabh joti teree jotee… (sggs 1314).
In other words, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS tells us that the caste-conscious person is simply a Manmukh (Saakat, Mayadhaaree…) who has confounded his True Identity (Jot Saroop) with the non-Jot or the physical body-frame.
Consequently, owing to false ego-sense and Haumai (false ego-sense), such deluded person identifies himself/herself and others as Jatt Sikh, Saini Sikh, Bhapa Sikh, Mazhabi Sikh, Tarkhan Sikh, Labana Sikh etc.
- ਅਗੈ ਨਾਉ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਇਸੀ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਦੁਖੁ ਖਾਤਾ ॥: One’s fame (ਵੱਡਾ ਨਾਮ) and social status do not accompany one in the hereafter; thus (consumed in these) the Manmukh suffers. (sggs 514).
- ਸਾਕਤ ਨੀਚ ਤਿਸੁ ਕੁਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਤੀ ॥੭॥: Saakat is always interested in low activities, and loses his family-name or social standing. ||7|| (sggs 239).
- ਮਾਇਆਧਾਰੀ ਅਤਿ ਅੰਨਾ ਬੋਲਾ ॥ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਸੁਣਈ ਬਹੁ ਰੋਲ ਘਚੋਲਾ ॥: Mayaadhaaree ati anna bolaa… (sggs 313).
The negative side of having some power (e.g. pride or superiority complex of higher caste) for a while is that it gets to one’s head. Anything we practice for a long time becomes a core part of our identity. This is the problem with Brahminical Soch (thinking). Also, this is the problem with those Sikhs and the Sikh Pujaare groups who believe in the madness of casteism (Jaat Paat) as the Bramins do.
Consequent of such madness perpetuates social inequality, divisions, separateness, ‘Baad Bibaad’ (strife, conflicts, ਝਗੜੇ, ਵੈਰ-ਵਿਰੋਧ), and so on. It’s a curse. For example, the casteism is practiced so blindly in some rural parts of Punjab that people have established caste-specific Gurudwaras, cremation grounds, wells, places of congregation, cooking and eating, and so on.
Then why so many Sikhs practice this madness?
- ਹਉਮੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਹੈ ਅਤਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਤਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਜਾਇ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਭਗਵਾਨੁ ॥੨॥: Haumai, self-centeredness (ਮੈਂ ਮੈਂ, ਮੇਰੀ ਮੇਰੀ) and ‘Jaati’ (pride of being superior, separate, different…), (gives rise to) too much anger and pride (i.e., all Bikaar). (If) died through the Shabad (i.e., becoming absorbed in Naam, Hukam, Shabad-Vichaar, Wisdom….), then ‘Jaati’ (pride of being superior, separate, different…) goes away, (and then one’s) light merges into the (Supreme) Light and (he) Realizes ‘Bhagwaan’ (Mool, Parmaatam…). ||2|| (sggs 429).
Furthermore, the Pujaaree groups are succeeding in their alliances with management to convert Gurdwara programs into Brahamanic practices.
Also, the Gurdwara programs are restricted to only singing and recitations without Shabad-Vichaar. If there is any Shabad-vichaar, it is only by the illiterate or self-serving Pujaaree (clergy)..
But, alas, we are reverting back to pre-1469 times!
- ਸਬਦੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੀਐ ਸਚੈ ਮਹਲਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇ ॥੪॥: Through Internalizing the Message of the Shabad, conquer your ego, and enjoys the spiritual peace by realizing the Creator within. ||4|| (sggs 429).
- ਹਮਰੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਪਤਿ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਉ ॥: The One Creator’s Naam is my social status and honor. (sggs 353).
- ਜਾਤਿ ਬਰਨ ਕੁਲ ਸਹਸਾ ਚੂਕਾ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥੧॥: ||1||: Doubt about Jaati, Varan, and Kul (caste, social class, lineage…) is eliminated by the Gurmat (following the Teaching of the Gurbani) through the Shabad-Vichaar ||1|| (sggs 1198).
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਤਿ ਪਤਿ ਸਭੁ ਆਪੇ ॥: To the Gurmukh (Enlightened Mindset), the Creator Himself is his social class, status and honor. (sggs 117).
- ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਸਭ ਨੀਚ ਜਾਤਿ ਹੈ ਬਿਸਟਾ ਕਾ ਕੀੜਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: Without the Naam, all are low class, like maggots in manure (sggs 426).
Relatively the older Sikh generation may not change, for they feel comfortable and are used to Jaat Paat.
Also, with old age, Haumai (false ego-sense) tend to become stubborn, stronger, bloated…
- ਅਬਰਨ ਬਰਨ ਸਿਉ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਗਾਵਨਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਗੀਤ ॥: (Those people whose) mind loves to know the high and low social class (caste…), (they) always speak in egotism (sggs 1162).
However, we Sikhs (learners of the Gurbani), old or young, around the world should educate ourselves of the true Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS and become self-aware of challenges.
On the basis of the Universal Teaching of the SGGS, particularly the youngsters should come forth and challenge and break this mad practice of casteism (Jaat Paat) in Sikhi. They must come forth and confront those who are trying to propagate this evil practices in the Gurdwaras, homes, communities etc.
Listen to the ultimate edict (ਫੈਸਲਾ) of Baabaa Nanak:
- ਜਾਤਿ ਜਨਮੁ ਨਹ ਪੂਛੀਐ ਸਚ ਘਰੁ ਲੇਹੁ ਬਤਾਇ ॥ ਸਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਸਾ ਪਤਿ ਹੈ ਜੇਹੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇ ॥: Do not ask about (someone’s) ‘Jaati’ or birth (family). (If you must ask, then ask) how to realize Truth in the Heart. (Jaat Paat of a person) is as he acts (sggs 1330).
As evident, Sikhi we see out there today is not a Sikhi of the SGGS. Instead, it’s a Sikhi of the self-serving Pujaaree.
- ਭੇਖੁ ਭਵਨੀ ਹਠੁ ਨ ਜਾਨਾ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸਚੁ ਗਹਿ ਰਹੇ ॥੧॥: I know nothing about religious robes, pilgrimages or stubbornness; O Nanak, I only hold tight to the Truth ||1|| (sggs 843).