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The Sikhs - Book By Dr. Baldev Singh Baddan

Introduction To 'The Sikhs' By Dr. Baldev Singh Baddan 

Guru Nanak was the only Hindu reformer, in the long line of reformers before him, who established a national faith and extricated his followers from the accumulated errors of the ages. Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru, moulded the Sikhs into a distinct community of the Khalsa. He built his militant doctrine to suit the times and by stern discipline developed political independence of the Sikhs. Under his strong hand, the hardy Sikhs, animated with religious fervour, rose by a feeling of nationality they never had before. Thus, Guru Gobind Singh truly laid the foundation of that nation which Majaraja Ranjit Singh, a hundred years later, raised in the Punjab on the ruins of the Mughal Empire. He for once emancipated the land from relentless oppression and persecution of the centuries and fulfilled the prophecy of Guru Gobind Singh that the Khalsa would at last be the master of his own.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh by his wisdom and masterly spirit, founded a military monarchy and gave coherence to the Sikh nation. His rule lasted but forty years. In the absence of his strong hand at his death the state was torn asunder by dissensions between rival princes, queens, Sardars and rapidly went down the way of all governments which will learn to rule intelligently and by wisdom. Only ten years after the death of Maharaj a Ranjit Singh, the whole of Punjab came under British rule after the Second Sikh War in 1849. The last and the fiercest resistance the British encountered in their expansionist designs in India was from the Sikhs, the great and powerful Maharattas having been earlier subdued and Delhi, the traditional seat of power in India, having fallen in the hands of the British.

The British duly appreciated the valour and bravery of the Sikhs for the resolute fight they had given the British in the two wars, and shown them what metal they were made of. After the wars and the resultant annexation of Punjab to the British empire, there started a new phase of Anglo-Sikh relations. Sikh army so assiduously built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh was disbanded but the martial Sikhs found their way into the British army and distinguished themselves in many theatres of war in different parts of the world.

The commendations won by the Sikh soldiers on the coronation of Queen Victoria inspired the author of this book, General Sir John J.H. Gordon, to sketch a brief history of the Sikhs. Some of his observations are based on his personal associations with the Sikhs but he has delved deep in the history books of the time to make this brief story interesting and authoritative and worthy of note by the layman and scholar alike.

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