Thursday, 10 April 2014

Journals of Reverend Joseph Wolff 1832 - Akalis - 1832

In the land of Runjeet Singh (Maharaja Ranjit Singh) are a kind of military, spiritual Dervishes, highly respected, and revered by the nation, and even considered to be sacred. They are called Akalee, immortal. This sect was originally founded by Gooroo Govind Singh, the tenth Gooroo of the Seiks. The Seiks were formerly a spiritual people, and did not aspire to temporal power, they were however in the habit of disturbing the peace of the country, and resisting the authority of the Mahomedan government, from the religious animosity which naturally existed between them. This led to the persecution of the sect, and in the time of Aurunghzeeb, Emperor of Delhi, the Mahomedans succeeded in seizing the Gooroo Dekht Bahadar,(Tegh Bahadur) the 9th priest of the Seiks, who was put to death at Delhi. Gooroo Govind Singh, on his accession to the primacy, invoked the vengeance of God, to revenge this insult, and determined to prosecute a war against the Moghul. After various successes, he was defeated, and obliged to abandon his country. Those of his followers, who remained firm to him in the contest with the Moghuls, he honoured by the nomination of Akalee, or the immortal; and from that time they became a mendicant race. The Seiks became independent during the reign of Furokhseer, the Emperor of Delhi. The Akalee increased in number, and they are noted for their predatory and fanatical habits and impertinence. Seventy years ago, the Seiks established their authority in the Punjab. The Akalee wear a distinctive dress, of dark-blue, and a high cap, in which they generally wear iron rings, resembling a quoit, which the Seiks formerly used as an implement of war. Journals of Reverend Joseph Wolff 1832. 

Akalis - ’ -’Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society’ (Vol IX) called ‘Civil and Religious Institutions of the Sikhs’. 1848

Akalis: a class of fanatics calling themselves Immortals, and who are also known as Govind-sinhis. These are still distinguished by the blue colour of their garments and by carrying steel in the form of the chakar or discus always about their persons. Goroo Govende Singh added to Baba Nanak’s book a millitary code, in which he laid down rules for carrying on war; and he formed a complete military knighthood…’ -’Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society’ (Vol IX) called ‘Civil and Religious Institutions of the Sikhs’. 1848

Akalis - by Cunningham 1849

''Besides the regular confederacies, with their moderate degree of subordination, there was a body of men who threw off all subjection to earthly governors, and who peculiarly represented the religious element of Sikhism. These were the " Akalees," the immortals, or rather the soldiers of God, who, with their blue dress and bracelets of steel, claimed for themselves a direct institution by Govind Singh. The Gooroo had called upon men to sacrifice every thing for their faith, to leave their homes and to follow the profession of arms; but he and all his predecessors had likewise denounced the inert asceticism of the Hindoo sects, and thus the fanatical feeling of a Sikh took a destructive turn. The Akalees formed themselves in their struggle to reconcile warlike activity with the relinquishment of the world. The meek and humble were satisfied with the assiduous performance of menial offices in temples, but the fierce enthusiasm of others prompted them to act from time to time as the armed guardians of Amritsir, or suddenly to go where blind impulse might lead them, and to win their daily bread, even single-handed, at the point of the sword.* They also took upon themselves something of the authority of censors, and, although no leader appears to have fallen by their hands for defection to the Khalsa, they inspired awe as well as respect, and would sometimes plunder those who had offended them or had injured the commonwealth. The passions of the Akalees had full play until Runjeet Singh became supreme, and it cost that able and resolute chief much time and trouble, at once to suppress them, and to preserve his own reputation with the people''. - J. D. Cunningham, 1849.

Khalsa - Qazi Nur Mohammed, a Muslim cleric in the service of Ahmad Shah Abdali, the Emperor of Afghanistan who invaded India numerous times in the mid 1700's.

“When I recall that day, I tremble with the fear of the Doomsday.” “Do not call the dogs (the Sikhs) dogs, because they are lions (and) are courageous like lions in the battlefield. How can a hero, who roars like a lion be called a dog? (Moreover) like lions they spread terror in the field of battle. If you wish to learn the art of war, come face to face with them in the battlefield. They will demonstrate it (art of war) to you in such a way that one and all will shower praise on them. If you wish to learn the science of war, O swordsman, learn from them. They advance at the enemy boldly and come back safely after action. Understand, Singh is their title, a form of address for them. It is not justice to call them dogs; if you do not know Hindustani language, then understand that the word ‘Singh’ means a lion.”Truly, they are lion in battle, and at times of peace, they surpass “Hatim” (in generosity ). When they take the Indian sword in their hands they traverse the country from Hind to Sind. None can stand against them in battle, howsoever strong he may be. When they handle the spear, they shatter the ranks of the enemy. When they raise the heads of their spears towa-rds the sky, they would pierce even through the Caucasus (in the process). When they adjust the strings of the bows, place in them the enemy killing arrows (and) pull the strings to their ears, the body of the enemy begins to shiver with fear. When their battle axes fall upon the armour of their opponents, their armour becomes their coffin. - Qazi Nur Mohammed, a Muslim cleric in the service of Ahmad Shah Abdali, the Emperor of Afghanistan who invaded India numerous times in the mid 1700's.

Akalis - Victor Jacquemont, French traveling historian and naturalist to the Royal Museum of Natural History of Paris, who spent three years in Punjab between 1829-1832.

" The Akalis, or Immortals, are properly speaking Sikh faqirs. Their rule compels them to be dressed in blue and always to carry arms. The sacred pool at Amritsar is their headquarters, but they often spread themselves over the Punjab in large and formidable parties. Ranjit (Maharaja Ranjit Singh), wisely turns their ferocity to his own advantage. He enlists them in his armies, and employs them, preferably against his Mussalman enemies. He has at the moment about 4,000-5,000 of them in the army which he maintains at Attock, ready to march against another fanatic, the Syed. I have only seen two of them in the streets of Amritsar, it was evening and their arms glittered in the light of the torches and the matches of their muskets hung ready lighted. I had never seen more sinister-looking figures. After Amritsar their favorite headquarters is Lahore. One sees them chiefly on the outskirts of the city among the ruins of the Mughal palaces and mosques. This is their lair. Nearly all of them are mounted on ponies and armed with a spear or matchlock, others have only a bow or a sword. They are dressed in tattered blue clothes and most of them wear a long pointed head-dress of the same colour, surrounded at its base with a polished steel ring like a brim of a hat. They are hideous to behold. They live on what they can take if it is not given to them. Sometimes they collect in parties of hundred and mingle among the Rajah's attendants, and when they think themselves strong enough, they threaten him and demand money. They have more than once held him up to ransom, but Ranjit has never ventured to take vigorous measures and give a general order to put them in positions from which they have little chance of returning, and they usually come back in smaller numbers for they fight with desperate courage. " - Victor Jacquemont, French traveling historian and naturalist to the Royal Museum of Natural History of Paris, who spent three years in Punjab between 1829-1832. Taken from " Letters from India ", published in London 1834.

Akalees by M’Gregor 1846

Opposite the great temple or the Durbar Sahib, as it is usually called by the Sikhs themselves, stands the temple of the Ukalees, who, at the present day, exhibit more of the original character of the Sikhs, as established by the early founder of the Sikh religion, than is to be with among the common Sikhs. The Ukalees are extravagant fanatics; they wage war with the followers of all other religions, agreebly to the tenets of their great reformer, of whom we shall speak hereafter. They carry destruction wherever an opportunity offers, and sometimes cross the Gharra on plundering expeditions. The Ukalee is always known by his blue turban, and the circles of chukhurs of steel, resembling quiots, which he wears over it. These are weapons of warfare, thrown with great precision and often deadly effect by the Ukalee. No weapons but fire-arms have any chance against such missiles. Not far from Umritsir (Amritsar) is the city of Taruntara (Taran Tarn). It is chiefly inhabited by the Ukalees, and forms a place of some interest in the history of the Gooroos (spiritual teachers). Taken from the History of the Sikhs: Containing the Lives of the Gooroos; the History of the Independent Sirdars, Or Missuls, and the Life of the Great Founder of the Sikh Monarchy, Maharajah Runjeet Singh by Willaim L. M’Gregor 1846

Sikhs by Mir Ghulam Hussain Khan “The Review of Modern Times” 1763

“The Sycks are Deists in the strictest sense of the word, and of course, perfectly tolerant and harmless; although as soldiers, they are, like the Marhattas, merciless plunderers, and incessant skirmishers. The ceremony of the reception of a Proselyte consists in no more than these two articles: to put on a short dress, of a blue colour, from head to foot; and to let one’s hair grow from head to foot, without ever cutting or clipping or shaving it. One day I got within one of their temples, invited thereto by the tingling of the cymbals: on appearing within the door, an old venerable man bid me leave my slippers, as none could enter, but bare-footed. This admonition I obeyed, and went into a hall covered with carpets, at the northern part of which, there were several cushions covered with a yellow veil, under which, I was told lay Nanec-Shah’s book, who is their legislator. At the southern end of the hall, there were fifteen or twenty men all in blue, and with long beards, sitting, some armed and some not. At the eastern side, but very near to it, two old men with a small drum and a pair of cymbals, were singing some maxims of morality out of that Book, and this they did with a deal of enthusiasm and contortion. On getting within the hall, I saluted the company, which returned the salute, and returned it again when I came out”. - Mir Ghulam Hussain Khan “The Review of Modern Times” 1763, Translated by M. Raymond 1789.

An account of a Akaaleen/Nihangnee from 1842 by a Christian Missionary Rev. J. Caldwell, by Sher Singh

An account of a Akaaleen/Nihangnee from 1842 by a Christian Missionary Rev. J. Caldwell, published in the Foreign Missionary Chronicle. " We were visited this forenoon by a most singular character, an Akalin, or female faqir of a peculiar sect. Like the class of mendicants to whom she belongs, she was armed to the teeth. Over her shoulder was slung a sword, while her belt was graced with a large horse pistol, a dagger, and sundry other weapons of destruction. Another sword hung by her side. Her turban was ornamented with a panji and five or six chakkars. The panji is an instrument made something in a form of a tiger's claws, with five curved blades exceedingly sharp. The chakkar is a steel discus, of six or eight diameters, very sharp also, and no doubt a destructive weapon when hurled with sufficient force. She was, certainly the most dangerous looking lady I ever saw... it appeared by her own statement that she was a widow, and that her husband was an Akali, that after his death she joined the sect and had remained with them ever since. She had, she stated been on a tour to the south of India, and had travelled a great deal since she had became a faqir."

Katha of Baba Santa Singh ji of Prachin Panth Prakash Part 4

Vahiguru ji ka Khalsa Vahiguru ji ki fateh! I was listening to the katha of Baba Santa Singh ji of Prachin Panth Prakash, and decided to try and make it clearer by digitally remastering it. I think it is a lot clearer and louder now. As I listen to them I will post them up with the relevant chapters from the epic work by Bhai Rattan Singh Shahid: http://www.scribd.com/doc/61685716/Sri-Gur-Panth-Prakash-Rattan-Singh-Bhangoo-English see from pages 18 to 26.


Unfortunately pp.11 - 17 are missing which tell how the British asked Rattan Singh to write his epic and mentions General Ochterlony, and Captain Murray. I have heard this was due to Baba Santa Singh ji telling the history of the Badal family and how they were British agents, and then joined the GOI. If anyone has tape number three please send it to me.

Bhai Rattan Singh Bhangu - Nihang Singh in his katha talks about the failure of the devte, and mentions the katha of this in Sarbloh Granth Sahib ji by Guru Gobind Singh ji, hence why the light of Akal Purakh Sahib ji, Guru Nanak became pargat in Kalyug. Bhai Rattan Singh ji then quotes this shabad from Adi Guru Granth Sahib ji Maharaj:

In this dark age of Kaliyuga symbolised by a pair of scissors,
The rulers have turned themselves into butchers.
Dharma or Moral values have disappeared from public life.
The truth, symbolised by Moon, has been eclipsed in this darkest phase.

ਕਲਿ ਕਾਤੀ ਰਾਜੇ ਕਾਸਾਈ ਧਰਮੁ ਪੰਖ ਕਰਿ ਉਡਰਿਆ।
ਕੂੜੁ ਅਮਾਵਸ ਸਚੁ ਚੰਦ੍ਰਮਾ ਦੀਸੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਹ ਚੜਿਆ।

kali kātī râje kāsāī dharmu pankh kari uḍriā.
kūṛu amāvas sachu chandramā dīsai nāhī kah chaṛiā.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Rag Majh, AG, ang 145.

Interestingly Guru Nanak is referred to as Nihkalank by Rattan Singh Bhangu:

ਨਿਹਕਲੰਕ ਤੇ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਹਵਾਯੋ ।੧੨।
nihkalank te nānak kahvāyo.12

Then Baba Santa Singh performs exegesis on the coming of Guru Nanak from the Sri Gur Panth Prakash of Bhai Rattan Singh Bhangu Shahid.