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Somewhat Hamlet Somewhat Othello - Book By Dr. Sukhdial Singh

Introduction To The Book 'Somewhat Hamlet Somewhat Othello' By Dr. Sukhdial Singh

INTRODUCTION

Dr. Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, a prominent scholar, philosopher and a literary critic, has to his credit numerous titles par excellence. He is deeply committed to the fundamentals of Sikh religion and history. He can very conveniently be called the pioneer of 'experimentalist-modernist poetics' and has a commendable contribution in interpreting Sikhism in the modern idiom and perspective. In fact, he has a craving and infatuation for drawing the form of things and meticulusly pervading into the mystery of facts and figures. Besides the wealth of data he manages to have at his disposal with intense ability and hard work, his interpretation of facts is unique and novel. In fact, the fundamentals of Sikh doctrine pertaining to nature, objectives and role of Sikhism in the civilization of the world have judiciously been taken up by the learned scholar projecting the compendium of lndian and western philosophies in the context of Sikhism.

With the above remarks, it will be a judicious venture to delineate some of his conspicuous findings in the field of academics, in the particular context of Sikh religion.

Dr. Ahluwalia, in his efforts to rediscover the universal values of Sikhism, examines point by point the facts and holds that another reformation is required today 'that would hopefully restore the balance between the existential concerns of the Sikhs and the universalistic concerns of Sikhism'. He observes that the Sikh doctrine very much possesses the potential and the dynamics of a new civilization qualitatively different from some earlier Indian civilizations, albeit this potential has still to be realised. Nevertheless, the concept of pluralistic society of Guru Nanak envisages the unrestrained flowing of the personal identities of all the social sections. However, this means a pluralistic polity with the institutions and structures of the minorities getting legitimate share and place in order to enable the minorities to participate in their corporate being in the wholesome body politic of the social order.'

Dr. Ahluwalia thoroughly examines the Sikh postulates and argues that in Sikhism God is deemed to be benevolent in a unique way. As a token of his nadar or grace the Almighty is gracious enough to grant redemption to mankind. It goes without saying that doctrinally Sikh religion has no 'allied concepts of divine displeasure, spiritual censure, or God's wrath'. He says : "Sikhism carved out for its revolutionary praxis a new ideational basis different from that of the reformist Bhakti movement by evolving a new spiritualist­materialist mode of thought."

By getting down to the issue Dr. Ahluwalia expounds the concept of pluralistic society in Sikhism, which Guru Arjan called halemi raj. Decidedly Maharaja Ranjit Singh's liberalism was born out of the Sikh pluralistic tradition which politically implies democratic republican polity. Dr. Ahluwalia stylizes and formalizes the issue by arguing that the Maharaja's eagerness to evolve a representative polity met with half success. Contrary to the democratic republican polity foreseen in the Sikh doctrine and realised dimly during the misl regime, Ranjit Singh, anyhow carved out an empire for himself on semi-feudal lines. The potential of the Sikh movement was eventually half realised. As a matter of fact, the misldari system in the eighteenth century passed through two stages in the process of its flowering. The first stage was when the Sikh Sardars or the striking power of the Khalsa, did not acquire any territories. At this stage they worked together depicting unity of action and harmony in accordance with the democratic spirit envisaged in the Sikh doctrine. But after acquiring territories they became mini rulers in the respective principalities and behaved, as later on seen, in the monarchy of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. This is how the potential of the Sikh movement was half realised.

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