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.”