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Reflections On Baba Dayal And Nirankari Movement - Book By Navtej Singh

Table of Contents For 'Reflections on Baba Dayal and Nirankari Movement' By Navtej Singh




  Foreword S. Swarn Singh Boparai Vice-Chancellor (v)
  Exordium Dr Navtej Singh (vii)

(Inaugural Address)

The Nirankari Sikhs

Dr Man Singh Nirankari 1
2. (Key-Note Address) Reflections on Baba Dayal and Nirankari Movement Dr J.S. Grewal 19
3. Presidential Address S. Harvinder Singh Sarna 24
4. Social Context of Nirankari Mission Dr Joginder Singh 26
5. Some Aspects of Nirankari Lehar and Literature Dr Nazer Singh 33
6. Nirankari Chalen Da Chitha Analysis of A Documentary Evidence of the Sikh Tradition of Rehitnamas (Code of Conduct) Dr Madanjit Singh 40
7. Beliefs and Practices of the Nirankari Sikhs: Reflected in Hukamnama of Baba Darbara Singh Dr K. S. Bajwa 64
8. Baba Dayal: Harbinger of Sikh Renaissance Dr Kirpal Singh 87
9. Nirankari Movement and Sikh Resurgence Dr G. S. Dhillon 94
10. Early British Conception of the Nirankari Movement Dr Navtej Singh 98
11. Nirankari Movement : Socio-Religious Backdrop Dr G.S. Nayyar 105
12. Revelations Recorded by Dr Man Singh Nirankari: Historical Significance Dr Suba Singh 112
13. Nirankari Movement : Contribution of Baba Dayal Dr Shiv Gajrani 118


Foreword Of 'Reflections On Baba Dayal And Nirankari Movement' By Navtej Singh

Sikhism emerged against the backdrop of rejecting Brahmanical rituals and practices and as a distinct movement to Hinduism and Islam. Its evolution and consolidation in the form of Panth by the time of Guru Gobind Singh was unique. During periods of crises and challenges the community stood to maintain its discrete identity.

Gradually with passage of time, during the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Sikhs began to adopt Brahmanical rituals and practices contrary to the essence of Sikhism. First time, it was noticed by Baba Dayal who began to preach against this degradation. In this sense it became the 'First Sikh Reform Movement'. After Partition the movement continued to preserve its distinct vis-a-vis Nirankaris founded by Baba Avtar Singh in the twentieth century.

Yet, lack of information and knowledge on the subject and movement was being felt by both the academia and the common people. It was with this object that on proposal of Dr Man Singh Nirankari, the Department of Punjab Historical Studies organised Seminar on 12 May, 2006. The issues taken up are very relevant and pertinent. Apart from discussion on causes of origin and contributions of the movement; other points explored are the social categories involved, popular perception and media along with identification of factors of its being continously a distinct identity within the Sikhism.

I am sure, publication of these research papers will help in re-understanding of the movement and also in locating its historical significance. The Department of Punjab Historical Studies deserve congratulations for hard work and bringing out its volume. Its publication during the prevailing socio-cultural conflicts assumes greater significance.



Exordium of 'Reflections On Baba Dayal And Nirankari Movement' By Navtej Singh

The idea of holding one-day Seminar : 'Reflections On Baba Dayal And Nirankari Mvement' came from Dr Man Singh Nirankari, who made a proposal to our wothy Vice-Chancellor to take initiative at the earliest possible, considering his old age. In the continuity of promoting academic and research activities in our University, the Vice-Chancellor asked me to necessary arrangements to organize the Seminar on 12 May 2006. It was in April. Inspite of time being too short, response from eminent scholars was equally prompt and over-whelming. It gave me confidence. In fact, it was the first time that our University was holding seminar on a very significant historical devdelopment in Sikh and Punjab History.

The political ascendency achieved by the Sikhs during the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was not without prevalence of many non-Sikh practices among the Sikhs. A number of Brahmanical rituals were being observed by the Sikh against which the Sikhism had originated and developed. It was for the first time that a Sehajdhari Sikh took notice of this religious degradation and advocated to the Sikhs to follow and practise Sikh code of conduct in their socio-cultural living. In his endeavour, he had to face tough opposition not only from Hindus but also from Sikhs. Nevertheless, Baba Dayal was committed to his mission of freeing the Sikhs from non-Sikh practices. Under his successors the mission was carried forward with the issuing of hukamnama, a code of conduct for the Sikhs and the 'Anand Marriage' practice.

In the Seminar, issues taken up were: Socio-Cultural and religious scenario during the early nineteenth Century; personality of Baba Dayal and his understanding of Sikh situation, activities and contributions; his successors and consolidation of the mission; attitudes of the Sikhs and state; location of areas of influence of their activities and the social categories involved; popular perception and media; post-colonial scenario vis-a-vis its future. Thus, the focus was on its origin, nature and evolution of the Nirankari Movement. Further, the identification of causes of its being continuously a distinct identity by itself was given serious thought. In other words, what keeps the common Sikhs away from this movement? Was an important issue to look into.

During this deliberations 15 papers were presented; of which 10 are in English and 5 in Punjabi language. Dr Mna Singh Nirankari delivered the 'Inaugural Address'- a ;personality whose lineage can be traced directly from the founder of this movement, Baba Dayal. Dr Nirankari, now at the age of 94, was not trained as a historian or theologian, but as a doctor. After he obtained his M.B.S.S. degree in 1937 from Lahore, he spent two yeras at Edinburgh and finally joined the Provincial Medical Service. Most of his Career was spent at Medical College, Amritsar, where he became Principal in 1971. His writings, which appear in great numbers from the late 1960's onwards, deal not only with distinctively Nirankari subjects but also with those aspects of Sikh history and thought which Nirankaris share with other Sikhs.

The seminar was presided over by S. Harvinder Singh Sarna, President, Delhi Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee; who, at present is deeply involved in Panthic and political affairs of the Sikhs in India and abroad. Eminent historian and former Vice-Chancelloe of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar delivered the 'Key-note Address'. Professor Grewal has enriched our understanding of the Sikh History by contributing immensely. The scholars and historians who presented their papers included : Dr Kirpal Singh, Dr G.S.Dhillon , Dr Madanjit Kaur, Dr G.S. Nayyar, Dr Joginder Singh, Dr Suba Singh, Dr K.S. Bajwa, Dr S. Gajrani, Dr Nazer Singh, Dr Navtej Singh, Dr k.S.Dhir, Dr Sukhdial Singh,Baba Jagdarshan singh, Sh. Krishan Lal and S. Varinder Singh Bhatia. Dr H.S. Shan also presented his paper but due to certain unavoidable reason, his paper could not be included for publication.

On behalf of my department and personally I am grateful all the above scholars and historians who spared their precious time to participate in the Seminar. I am specially thankful to Dr Man Singh Nirankari. S. Harvinder Singh Sarna, Dr J. S. Grewal, Dr R. K. Sehgal and Dr Parm Bakhshish Singh, who assisted in several ways to make the Seminar successful. Our Honourable Vice-Chancellor S. Swarn Singh Boparai, Kirti Chakra, Padam Shri deserve special gratitude for his cooperation and blessings to the academic and research activities of our Department. Lastly, my thanks are due to my colleauges and staff in the Department, particularly S. Charanjit Singh, who with full dedication and hard-work performed his duty of reading the proofs.

I am sure that publication of these papers will be welcomed and hope that this book will help in providing more information and different perspective to understand the Nirankari movement and its contribution in the historical evolution of the Sikh community.

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Reflections On Baba Dayal And Nirankari Movement - Book By Navtej Singh

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