Bhai Kapur Singh Sirdar
Bhai Kapur Singh Sirdar (2 March 1909 - 13 August 1986), the son of Didar Singh, was a civilian, parliamentarian and intellectual, who was a master of manysided learning. Besides Sikh theology, he was vastly learned in philosophy, history and literature. He was born into a farming family, at the village Chakk in Ludhiana district on 2 March 1909.
Sirdar Kapur Singh received his Master's degree, first class first, at the prestigious Government College, Lahore, after which he went to Cambridge to take his Tripos in Moral Sciences.
A distinguished linguist he had mastered several of the languages of the east and the west. Besides English, which he could spin around his fingers with extraordinary subtlety and finesse, he had facility in Persian and Arabic as well as in Sanskrit.
In addition to these, he claimed easy acquaintance with such discrete fields as astrology, architecture and space science. In spite of his knowledge covering many disparate areas, Sirdar Kapur Singh's principal focus was Sikh literature and theology. A stickler for accuracy of fact and presentation he stood up foursquare to any misrepresentation or falsification of any shade of Sikh thought and belief. He was most vigilant and unbending in this respect.
Stood against discrimination against Sikhs
Selected into the Indian Civil Service he served in various administrative posts in the cadre. In 1947, he was appointed deputy commissioner of Kangra. He was particularly irked by the growing narrow politics of the government biased against the Sikhs, but what incensed him the most was a circular letter, dated 10 October 1947, that was issued by the state governor, Chandu Lal Trivedi, warning district authorities in the Punjab against what was described as the criminal tendencies of the Sikh people. Kapur Singh filed a strong protest against Trivedi's utterly wild accusation. This seemingly invited the governor's wrath, as charges were brought against him, which led to his dismissal from the service.
Sirdar Kapur Singh became an ardent supporter of the Akali demand for a Punjabi speaking state. After a brief stint as Professor of Sikhism under the authority of the Akal Takht, he joined active politics.
In 1962, he was elected to the lower house of the Indian Parliament and in 1969 he became a member of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha (State Legislative Assembly). He was forthright in speech and an unrelenting critic of the government's policies which discriminated against the Sikhs.
Major influence behind Anandpur Resolution
As a Sikh ideologue he was the moving spirit behind the Anandpur Sahib Resolution that was adopted by the Shiromani Akali Dal in 1973, which like several other of his pronouncements became a crucial enunciation of modern Sikh political formula and policy.
A very stirring Sikh document of the modern period was the Presidential address given at the Hari Singh Nalwa conference convened at Ludhiana on 14 July, 1965, Although it was nowhere specified, that document as well as, all important Sikh political or intrinsically scholarly documents of that period bore the imprint of Kapur Singh's thinking, if not the ink of his pen.
In sonorous phrase, the conference resolution said:
- 1. This Conference in commemoration of General Hari Singh Nalwa of historical fame reminds all concerned that the Sikh people are makers of history and are conscious of their political destiny in a free India.
- 2. This Conference recalls that the Sikh people agreed to merge in a common Indian nationality on the explicit understanding of being accorded a constitutional status of cosharers in the community, which solemn understanding now stands cynically repudiated by the present rulers of India. Further, the Sikh people have been systematically reduced to a subpolitical status in their homeland, the Punjab, and to an insignificant position in their motherland, India. The Sikhs are in a position to establish before an impartial international tribunal, uninfluenced by the present Indian rulers, that the law, the judicial process, and the executive action of the state of India is consistently and heavily weighted against the Sikhs and is administered with unbandaged eyes against its Sikh citizens.
- 3. This Conference, therefore, resolves, after careful thought, that there is left no alternative for the Sikhs in the interest of self-preservation, but to frame their political demand for securing a self determined political status within the Republic of Union of India.
The author's name is not mentioned here, but it is clearly the handiwork of Sirdar Kapur Singh. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee's publication at the time of the Nirarikari attack on the Sikhs is described thus:
Sirdar Kapur Singh, besides being an extraordinarily learned man, was a prolific writer.
In addition to his Parasharprashna, in English, which ranks as a classic on Sikh philosophy, his other works include Hashish (Punjabi poems), Saptasring (Punjabi biographies), Baku Visthaar (Punjabi essays), Pundreek (Punjabi essays on culture and religion), Mansur alHallaj (monograph on a Sufi saint), Sachi Sakhi (memoirs), Sacred Writings of the Sikhs (a UNESCO publication) Read Online Selections From the Sacred Writings of the Sikhs Unesco Collection of Representative Works, Me Judice (English miscellany), Sikhism for Modern Man, Contributions of Guru Nanak, The Hour of Sword, and Guru Arjun and His Sukhmani.
Sirdar Kapur Singh died after a protracted illness at his village home in Jagraori in Ludhiana district on 13 August 1986.
Address to the Indian Parliament, 6 September, I966
See Betrayal of the Sikhs, the minutes of the Indian Parliament, 6 September, I966, featuring Sardar Kapur Singh's address to the Indian Parliament.
List of Writings
A) PUNJABI BOOKS
1) Title:' Sachi Sakhi (1972 Edition)
Publisher: Raj Roop Prakashan, Jalandhar. Pages: 176.
Publisher: Indian Buddhist Society Canada and Punjabi Adbi Sangat Literary Society of Canada. Pages: 131.
3) Title: Sirdar - Jaiteg Singh Anant (Ed.)
Publisher: Haridarshan International Memorial Trust, Chandigarh. Pages: 205.
4) Title: PanchNad - Jaiteg Singh Anant (Ed.)
Publisher: Haridarshan International Memorial Trust, Chandigarh. Pages: 172.
B) ENGLISH BOOKS
1) Title: Sikhism - An Oecumenical Religion
Publisher: Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh. Pages: 85.
A) PUNJABI ARTICLES
B) ENGLISH ARTICLES
1) Title: Spiritual Goal and Sikh Identity.
Publisher: The Sikh Review,
2) Title: These Havan Kunds
Publisher: The Sikh Review, October 1968.
3) Title: The Sikh Martys of Western Punjab
Publisher: The Sikh Review, May 1962. Pages: 2
4) Title: Guru Arjan Martyred by Shamanistic Law
Publisher: The Sikh Review, June 1955. Pages:14
* This article was reprinted in The Sikh Review June 1979, pp 13-23.
5) Title: The Dawn of a New Faith
Publisher: The Sikh Review, April 1955. Pages:15
6) Title: A Review of Our Present Situation
Publisher: The Sikh Review, October 1956. Pages: 2.
7) Title: Ardas or The Sikh Congregational Prayer
Publisher: The Sikh Review December 1957. Pages: 6.
8) Title: Who Killed Guru Tegh Bahadur?
Publisher: The Sikh Review January 1976. Pages: 12.
C) ENGLISH FOREWORDS
A) PUNJABI TRACTS
1) Title: Guru Nanak Dev di Pad Padvi
Publisher: Guru Nanak Dev Mission Patiala, Tract No. 407. Lecture delivered on November 11, 1969. Pages: 27.
B) ENGLISH TRACTS
Publisher: SGPC, Amritsar, 1978. Pages: 40.
2) Title: Mansur Al-Hallaj
Publisher: Punjabi University, Patiala, 1970. Pages: 25.
3) Title: Contributions Of Guru Nanak
Publisher: Punjab University, Chandigarh, 1975-76. Pages: 25.
The paper "Guru Nanak His Status and Salience" was read by Sirdar Kapur Singh on 30th November, 1977, at the Khalsa College, Amritsar.
On Sirdar Kapur Singh