"In the constitution of the Khalsa commonwealth, the greatest act of genius of Guru Gobind Singh was when he transferred the divine sovereignty vested in him to the God-inspired people, the Khalsa."
- Prof. Puran Singh
On Vaisakhi Day 1699, ‘The Rider of the Blue Steed' inaugurated a highly dynamic personality - the Khalsa.
This community's ‘Light of Life' ceaselessly radiates glory, justice and love. The Nash doctrine enforced on Vaisakhi day freed us from the shackles of slavery: shattered inequities due to caste-apartheid or lineage, eliminated doubts borne out of a polluted mind, and eradicated sexism through annihilation of patriarchal hegemony.
Today, Vaisakhi has become a reminder to all Sikhs to reflect on the Guru's vision of personal and community development as articulated in the Guru Granth Sahib. It implores us to revive the Spirit Ascendant that changed the destiny of South Asia and beyond through unparalleled sacrifices. It demands us to think strategically and respond to the critical issues and challenges we Sikhs are facing worldwide, both internally and externally.
In today's global Sikh reality, Vaisakhi translates into making genuine and concerted efforts on three fronts simultaneously: break intra-Sikh barriers of prejudice and hostility among people and institutions due to gender, caste, social-strata, tribe or clan; confront global powers, not conform, when they act against the well-being of the Sikh nation and the rest of humanity; and build inter-religious understanding, especially where prejudice runs strong through strategic alliances with like-minded people who live by the principle, ‘The end does not justify the means'.
Let us become active agents of freedom. Let us treat women with dignity and respect in our private and public lives. Let us identify and align with the unrepresented and under-represented communities: from the Dalit struggle in India to genocide-laden Darfur. All this is possible once every Sikh recognizes and maintains the Guru-granted sovereignty.
Guru Nanak and Guru Arjan share great insights with us on Vaisakhi. To them, Vaisakhi is a beautiful moment: submitting to the Guru in totality, feeling the divine presence in everyday life, and discovering the Divine via infinite wisdom. At that moment, one is ready to be part of the Guru Khalsa Panth, the collective whose utter volunteer spirit becomes Guru-like.
This is not the panth of jutts, bhapas, ravidasis, or the andocentric males. Our Panth is One Panth that belongs to the One Force. One Panth that frees and empowers each and every person. One Panth that lights a fire in the gut and explodes the creative potential. One Panth that makes us humble and courageous concurrently. One Panth that delivers justice to the enemy within and outside. One Panth that is sharpened by the Ten Nanaks and follows the Guru Granth Sahib.
Which Panth do you belong to?
Claim your legacy!
[Harinder Singh is a co-founder of the Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI). He is actively engaged in educational programs as a fulcrum for social change.]