Sikh community objects to being called ‘Gaubhakt’, blames RSS

Shri Bharati’s Prakashan’s address on the booklets is Hedgewar Bhavan, Mahal, the same address as the RSS headquarters.

Nagpur: As per the news published in TOI, Even as the controversy over alleged distortion of history of the Sikhs and their Gurus in state education board textbooks is yet to be resolved, booklets printed by a Nagpur-based publisher have caused a row by projecting the Sikh Gurus as ‘gaubakhts’ and ‘Hindus’.

Sikh organizations like Lok Bhalayi Insaf Welfare Society and United Sikh Movement have alleged that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was behind these “objectionable” booklets as the publisher’s address was same as that of the Sangh HQ.

Lok Bhalayi president Baldev Singh Sirsa will now move the Punjab and Haryana high court to seek a ban on these booklets.

A senior functionary of the RSS has, however, denied any connection with the publisher of these booklets.
Controversy brews over Sikh Guru being called ‘gaubhakt’

Protesting against the portrayal of the Gurus and events of their lives in these booklets, the Sikh groups have claimed that the content of these booklets is focused on nationalism and Hindutva. “It has been presented as if the Sikh Gurus were fighting for the nation, instead of their own principles and causes,” Sirsa said.

“On Page 9 of a Hindi booklet titled ‘Guru Teg Bahadur’, it is mentioned that Jahangir while persecuting the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Arjan Dev, ordered his soldiers to make him lie down inside a cow and for this, a cow was slaughtered. The booklet adds that Guruji was a ‘gaubhakt’ and he demanded to take a dip in the Ravi before complying,” he added.“In the same book, the reason behind the martyrdom of the ninth Sikh Guru (Guru Teg Bahadur) has been presented as a martyrdom for ‘entire Hindu community instead of Kashmiri Pandits’,” he said, showing one of the booklets.

Similarly, a booklet titled ‘Guru Gobind Singh’ maintains that the 10th Sikh Guru had ‘Hindu blood’ in him. Another magazine, ‘Guru Puttar’ allegedly presents “halftruths” about the Aurangzeb attack on Guru Gobind Singh at Qila Anandpur (now Anandpur Sahib).

United Sikh Movement secretary-general Capt C S Sidhu claims that entire history was distorted to present that Sikhs were against the Muslim community.

These booklets have been published by Shri Bharati Prakashan and writers of these works include Satyapal Patayit and Harbhajan Singh Hanspal. Shri Bharati’s Prakashan’s address on the booklets is Hedgewar Bhavan, Mahal, the same address as the RSS headquarters. There are several booklets on the lives of the Sikh Gurus, each 40-page booklet is available in Marathi and Hindi and is sold for Rs10.

When contacted, Shri Bharati Prakashan’s Gangadhar confirmed, “We have published these magazines. How many do you need?”

On thequestion of content, he said, “Guru Arjan Dev Ji was a ‘gaubhakt’. You tell me, was the blood of Guru Gobind Singh was not a Hindu-blood? It was Hindu blood. The content is correct in the magazines published by us.” Shri Bharati was among the 10 ‘nationalist publishers’ who were brought together by the RSS at one stall to showcase literature on Indian nationalism during the Delhi Book Fair in January 2018, according to one of the Sikh groups.
These booklets have been sold for many years. In 2013, an official complaint to the Punjab DGP was filed by Sirsa.

“I also brought it into the notice of state government and the SGPC at that time but no action was taken,” Sirsa claimed. “The publishers are openly supported by the RSS, which wants to dilute the history of Sikhs and the Gurus. I also wrote to SSP Amritsar (rural) and the Punjab police chief, but no action was taken. I will now knock on the doors of the high court to stop this distortion of our history,” he added.

When contacted, former SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said the matter had never cometohis notice. SGPC additional secretary DS Bedi also claimed the supreme Sikh body was unaware of the matter. Bedi, however, alleged the RSS and its units had been publishing defamatory and distorted content about the Sikh Gurus for long.

On the other hand, a senior RSS functionary contacted by TOI said Shri Bharati Prakashan was not a part of the RSS and he may have to look into the matter. Others RSS members that TOI contacted said such books have been available since decades. “Some of the writers may have passed away too,” they said.