Guru Granth Sahib on using force
This article deals with the guidance that the Guru Granth Sahib provides on the topic relating to the use of force. The following Shabads (verse) seek to clarify the position on this important aspect of human exploitation.
|ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋਰੀ ਕੀਝ ਜਲਮ ਹੈ ਕਹਤਾ ਨਾਉ ਹਲਾਲ ॥ ਦਫਤਰਿ ਲੇਖਾ ਮਾਂਗੀਝ ਤਬ ਹੋਇਗੋ ਕਉਨ ਹਵਾਲ ॥੧੮੭॥|
|Kabīr jorī kīė julam hai kahṯĝ nĝo halĝl. Ḏafṯar lėkẖĝ mĝŉgīai ṯab hoigo kaun havĝl. ॥187॥|
|Kabeer, to use force is tyranny, even if you call it legal.
When your account is called for in the Court of the Lord, what will your condition be then? ॥187॥
|ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋਰ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਜਲਮ ਹੈ ਲੇਇ ਜਬਾਬ ਖਦਾਇ ॥ ਦਫਤਰਿ ਲੇਖਾ ਨੀਕਸੈ ਮਾਰ ਮਹੈ ਮਹਿ ਖਾਇ ॥੨੦੦॥|
|Kabīr jor kīĝ so julam hai lėė jabĝb kẖuḝĝė. Ḏafṯar lėkẖĝ nīksai mĝr muhai muhi kẖĝė. ॥200॥|
|Kabeer, it is tyranny to use force; the Lord shall call you to account.
When your account is called for, your face and mouth shall be beaten. ॥200॥
When force is allowed
|ਬ ਲਾਚਾਰਗੀ ਦਰਮਿਯਾਂ ਆਮਦਮ ॥ ਬ ਤਦਬੀਰਿ ਤੀਰੋ ਤਫ਼ੰਗ ਆਮਦਮ ॥੨੧॥ |
ਚ ਕਾਰ ਅਜ਼ ਹਮਹ ਹੀਲਤੇ ਦਰ ਗਜ਼ਸ਼ਤ ॥ ਹਲਾਲ ਅਸਤ ਬਰਦਨ ਬ ਸ਼ਮਸ਼ੀਰ ਦਸਤ ॥੨੨॥
|ba lachaargi darmian aamdam, ba tadbir teer-o kamaan aamdam (21)|
chu kar az hameh heel-te dar guzasht, halal ast burdan b-shamshir dast (22)
|It was out of sheer helplessness that I came onto the battlefield (since I was surrounded from all sides at Chamkaur). But having decided to battle with your forces, I came with all the battle plans and munitions.
When all the options for solving a conflict have been exhausted completely, only then is the taking of the sword in your hand deemed legitimate.
This bani by the tenth master is in Persian for the convenience of Aurangzeb who was the recipient of this letter, called the Zafarnama or "Declaration of Victory". It clearly defines the steps that are required to be taken before one can consider the use of force. Firstly, the Guru was surrounded by the enemy; secondly, the Sikhs had tried all types of negotiations; including an evacuation of the site. Only when all these options had been exhausted does the Guru say that force can be used.