Monday, March 12, 2007

Sardaar Hari Singh Nalwa Jee

In April 2005, whilst I was studying in London I was put in contact with a lady from Channel 4 who was putting together a programme about young people from different religions and their LIFE and EXPERIENCES being members of their FAITH GROUP. The lady arranged a meeting in Tottenham where another Singh and I attended where she asked us questions about different aspects of Sikhi and being a young Sikh.

She asked about RELATIONSHIPS and DATING. I explained that INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS of any kind (physical or emotional) outside of marriage is strictly prohibited and that Sikhi says:
ਦੇਖਿ ਪਰਾਈਆਂ ਚੰਗੀਆਂ ਮਾਵਾਂ ਭੈਣਾਂ ਧੀਆਂ ਜਾਣੈ ॥
dekh paraaeeaa(n) changeeaa(n) maavaa(n) bhaiNaa(n) Dheeaa(n) jaaNai.
Look at the opposite gender as mothers, sisters and daughters, (women should look at the opposite gender as fathers, brothers and sons).
(Vaar 29, PauRee 11 - Bhai Gurdaas jee)

To illustrate the point I shared the following Saakhi:

During the times of Sher-e-Panjab, Raja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh Raaj (kingdom) stretched from Delhi to Kabul, Afghanistan. Raja Ranjit Singh's key general was Sardaar Hari Singh Nalwa (b. 1791), who was a Rehatvaan (strict observant) Sikh of the Guru. Once Hari Singh Nalwa had set up camp with his army in Jamraud in Afghanistan. A local Muslim woman called 'Banno' watched the Sikhs set up camp. She found Hari Singh Nalwa very handsome and attractive, and wished to have an illicit relationship with him.

One day Banno came to see Hari Singh Nalwa. He was sitting in his tent, when the Sikh guards told him that he had a local woman who wished to see him. Not knowing whom this lady was or what she wanted, Sardaar Hari Singh gave permission to come and see him. Banno said, "I had heard of the Sikhs. You are remarkable people. I have been watching you from a distance. I am not married and have no children, but desire to have a son who is like you."

Sardaar Hari Singh did not understand the motivation or intention of Banno and said, "May Waheguru bless you that you may have a son with the qualities of a Sikh." Bano irritably said, "I want to have a son with you Sardaar jee."

Hari Singh Nalwa said, "O sister! I am already married. I am sorry I cannot marry you or give you what you want."

Banno's eyes welled up with tears of disappointment. About to leave, she said, "I had heard your Guru Nanak was great and that no one leaves empty handed from Guru Nanak's House, but today I am being turned away without the wish of a son being fulfilled."

Hari Singh Nalwa, a true example of a Sikh of the Guru, replied, "It is true that no one goes empty handed from Guru Nanak's House. I cannot give you a son, but if you desire a son to be like me, then instead if you accept, from now on I will be your son, and I will consider you my mother." Banno was shocked and overwhelmed by Hari Singh Nalwa's sincerity, high moral character and faith in the Guru. She said, "I had heard that Sikhs of the Guru are great honourable people, but today I have seen it with my own eyes." From that day on Hari Singh Nalwa addressed Begam Banno as "Maa" (Mother) and she addressed Hari Singh as "Putar" (Son).

The lady hearing this story was TAKEN ABACK. Such character OVERWHELMED her and was wonder struck by the HIGH MORAL jeevan (living) of GurSikhs.

Sir Henry Griffin (1838-1908), the famous British dignitary and a prominent writer of significant treatise on the Sikhs, appropriately called Sardaar Hari Singh Nalwa as "MOORAT (Image) of the KHALSA". Sardaar Hari Singh Nalwa's strength, power and success came from his COMMITMENT to Guru Sahib, keeping strong REHAT and FAITH in Akaal Purakh.

The editor of the Tit Bits newspaper of England wrote in one of his columns around 1881:-
"Some people might think that Napoleon was a great General. Some might name Marshall Hendenburgh, Lord Kitchener, General Karobzey or Duke of Wellington etc. And some going further might say Halaku Khan, Changez Khan, Richard or Allaudin etc. But let me tell you that in the North of India a General of the name of Hari Singh Nalwa of the Sikhs prevailed. Had he lived longer and had the sources and artillery of the British, he would have conquered most of Asia and Europe…."

Dhan Guru, Dhan Teri Sikhi

ਧੰਨ ਉਹ ਧਰਤੀ ਧੰਨ ਉਹ ਬਾਪੂ, ਧੰਨ ਵਡਭਾਗੀ ਮਾਈ ।
ਢੰਗ ਜਿਉਣ ਦਾ ਜਿਸਦਾ ਪੁੱਤਰ, ਦੱਸ ਗਿਆ ਸਦੀਆ ਸਾਈਂ ।
“Blessed is that land, blessed is that father, blessed is the great mother.
Whose son has shown the way to live, for centuries to come.”


Anonymous said...

wahegurooo..amazing post veer jeo...
Hope some "amritdhares" can learn from some of them see no shame in such relationships like BF/GF....
Dervinder Singh

Anonymous said...

waheguru great post bhaiji your posts are inspiration, may waheguru bless you with good health.

Anonymous said...

Great people!

Also English was one of the many language that Hari Singh Nalwa Ji knows. He was the great Scholar of his time.

Novtej said...

waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji ki fateh! well written post manveer singh jee, keep up the inspirational work, stay in chardi kala.

Daughters of the Khalsa said...

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ke Fateh

Thank you for sharing this inspiring Sakhi of General Hari Singh Nalwa. It inspired me to write about Bibi Sharanagat Kaur Ji – who became Guru Ji’s Sikh after her encounter with the General. Her journey was daring and courageous, but she made sure the reputation of the General was not destroyed by the rebels of the time.

Anonymous said...

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh,

Paaji, i have a quick question and i hope i do not offend anyone by asking it; if one is to perceive members of the opposite sex as family (brother/sister etc), how can it be possible to find someone to marry (when the time comes) and have a marital relationship with them?

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

Gajan Singh (Anglia) said...

WaheGuru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Veer Ji, will u be at the Youth Keertan Darbaar on 14th April at Rosebery, East London???

Hope to see u there!

Waheguru Ang Sang


Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

Anonymous jee - The issue is about showing respect and not viewing others in a wrong manner.

When seeking a partner, you look for "gunns" (virtues/ qualities) not "kaam" (lust). One shouldn't get intimately involved with anyone outside marriage whether it be a physical intimacy or emotional intimacy.

At the end of the day Vaheguru is always thinking out for you, so have faith in Him. You don’t need to look out for girls and boys to get married to and keep thinking this when meeting someone at university or college etc, rather leave it to Vaheguru.

When you are ready to get married tell elder Gursikhs who will arrange suitable rishta's (match-ups).

Bhaji Gajan Singh jee - On 14th April there is a programme organised at Leamington Spa Gurdwara Sahib where daas has been invited to do a talk in the evening.

Anonymous said...

Paaji, can you clarify what you mean by emotional intimacy?

Also, in many peoples case, leaving arranging Rishta's to elder Gursikhs can be troublesome because they may not know you well enough to be able to arrange a suitable rishta; in which case is it ok for friends to introduce you to someone/ or arrange rista with someone who they think is suitable?
What sort of relationship should there be between people once the rok or engagement has taken place?
i hope you dont mind me asking these questions; its just that there isnt any place or anyone who i would feel comfartable asking these questions and im curious to get a Gurmat perspective on these issues

Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

According to my understanding emotional intimacy means when you "open your heart" to someone. You become a "couple" and create a relationship, which turns into attachment (moh). Although you may not be physically doing anything wrong, but you forge a relationship where you become emotionally dependent on the individual.

For example a girl and boy have a relationship on an emotional basis rather than physical - when the girl gets married she may still think of her ex-boyfriend and vice versa.

From personal experience I remember a Panjabi girl and boy (cut hair) who told me that they were girl friend and boyfriend but they are not committing any kurehat and that their parents knew. They said they planned to get married straight after studies. One would think it's "innocent" and that there's "no harm in it" (even the parents were happy with it).

Waheguru. A year later this person was crying and said their relationship was over. It had a mental impact on her. Even though they were not "physically intimate" but their "emotional intimacy" would definitely leave a mark on her mind (and also on the boy’s mind).

Rather than pursuing an individual, one should look at the virtues (gunn) of a person and think, "I want a partner who has these gunn".

Answering the question about Bacholay (match-makers) - It could be a friend, family member, member of local Sangat or elder Gursikh. The main thing is that I think there should be a middle person involved as a mediator. Why? Suppose you have a friend who you wish to marry. You ask her, "Would you marry me?" If she doesn't feel same way - you will always feel uncomfortable when you meet that person and things would not be the same. It can be embarrassing, pressurising and it does not reflect good on the person asking - the person will think, "has he just been thinking of marrying me since I first met him?" Guru Sahib has warned us to avoid any situation, which gets us entangled in desires and lust (kaam). One should see every woman with the same vision one sees one’s mother, sister or daughter.

A bachola (match-matcher) who knows both parties matches the gunn (virtues) of the two individuals. If both personalities are good for one another's jeevan and Rehit then great.

One can look at the Saakhi of Guru Amardaas Sahib jee asking her daughter what type of husband she wants. She didn’t say “I want to marry Bhai Jethaa”. The Saakhi says that the Mata Bhani said, “I would like a husband with the virtues (gunn) Bhai Jethaa has”. Guru Sahib overlooked socio-economic factors (which many of us nowadays get stuck in) and matched the virtues of both parties and asked Bhai Jethaa whether he accepts marriage to his daughter. This illustrates that one should look at virtues of a person rather than the person itself... rest is in Guru Sahib's hands.

I am no expert - my views are based on vichaar with Gursikhs and personal thoughts on experiences of others. Do Ardaas, read Gurbaani and do as much Simran – Waheguru Himself shows one the true way. Keep faith and Waheguru will look after you.

Bhul Chuk Maaf Karnee jee.

"Tu Samrath Vadaa, Meree Math Thoree Raam"

Anonymous said...

thank you paaji! :)

Mr. Singh said...

Waheguru.This truly is a great sakhi and shows the great character of the sikhs back in the day. Something which is sadly lacking in todays generations.

I've heard this sakhi before, but have no reference on the internet about it. Can anyone point me in the right direction about finding a source for this on the net please