Satnami's

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Apparently these Satnamis leader was Jeewandas Chandel, perhaps from Barabanki and wrote his own text which is similar to our ideology. He was brought to Sikhi by Bala Lal/Dayal Ji. And had meeting with Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji and became close to Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. Later they rebelled against Aurangzeb (at Mahindergarh, district of south Haryana) and after initial success they were forced to run. Some say they were large in numbers, 20,000. It is said that Satnamis were so much a fear in Muslims that Aurangzeb, wrote ayets or verses of Holy Kuran on banners to put psycholgical motivations to his forces.

After their mass-persecution and defeating started, they took refuge in areas of present day Chhatisgarh state. There they lived the life of tribals. And faith became some rituals. Some of them became Christian, following Christian missionary preaching, including former CM of Chhatisgarh Ajit Jogi.

Very few people know that numbering more over one crore and spread in the areas of Jharkhand, Bengal and Chhatisgarh, Satnamis are those Sikhs who had taken on Emperor Aurangzeb at the behest of Guru Teg Bahadur against his decision to charge jeziya and destruction of temples and teaching centres of Hindus & Sikhs.

Rebelling against Auranzeb, for a considerable time, they had in their possession the whole areas of Southern Haryana and North Rajasthan. These Sikhs associated themselves with Sikhism during the visit of Guru Nanak. They recited Satman and have kept themselves associated with Satnam till date.

In 1667, Aurangzeb declared that all Hindus would pay five per cent Jeziya tax. On April 9, 1969 he passed orders that all Hindu temples, and educational institutions be destroyed and their religious activities be banned. This decision was implemented ruthlessly (Masir-e-Jehangiri 1947, p. 51-55, Sarkar, History of Aurangzeb Part 3, p. 265). On hearing these orders, Guru Teg Bahadur started from Assam towards Punjab in December 1671 and reached Delhi in January 1672 (Punjab Past and Present, April 1975, p. 234). In Delhi he gave the call “bhai kau ko det nahi, na bhai manat aan” (Neither I cause fear to anyone nor I accept fear). It were these Satnamis who implemented this call of the Guru.

The great Satnami revolt occurred in the reign of the Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb. Many Hindus resented Aurangzeb’s strict Islamic policies – which included reviving the hated Islamic Jiziya tax (poll tax on non-Muslim subjects), banning music and art, and destroying Hindu temples. The revolt began in 1672 when a Moghul soldier killed a Satnami. Other Satnamis took revenge on the Moghul soldier, and in turn the Moghul soldiers went about repressing the Satnamis. The result was that about 5,000 Satnamis were up in arms. They routed the Moghul troops situated in the town, drove away the Moghul administrators and set up their own administration in its place. The uprising gained the enthusiasm of Hindus in Agra and Ajmer also.

Though totally lacking in weaponry and money, the Satnamis inflicted several defeats on the Moghul forces.

When Guruji was in Delhi, the leader of Satnamis came to pay obeisance along with his associates and described the details of atrocities leased on Hindus. Guruji understood that the time had come to face the tyranny and that by sitting in fear, Mughals would only be more enthused. This was the main reason he called upon every Sikh to be fearless. It included Jagjivan Das also.

On receiving the call, Satnamis congregated and decided that they being followers of Guru Nanak would not pay anything to anyone else except the Guru. When government officials came to their houses to collect taxes they declined. The soldiers tried to force; but were beaten back. The ruler of the area attacked them, they retaliated. The Mughal forces fled from the area of Narnaul Rumour spread in the area that the Satnamis were blessed hence they cannot be defeated by anyone.

On the other hand, fear spread in the royal circles. The fact that Satnamis could not be defeated would result in rebellion in other parts as well. Situation would go out of control. Aurangzeb lost his sleep over this. He was already worried due to the rebellions in Afghanistan and Peshawar. Afghanistan had already been seceded for long to a rebellion. Rebellion at Narnaul being so near the capital could cause serious repercussions possibly resulting in loss of power also.

The Satnamis were not sitting complacent either. They had fortified themselves under the leadership of Jagjiwan Dass Chandel and were prepared for any eventuality. The entire information was constantly relayed to Aurangzeb. He had the task in hand to break the fortification of Satnamis and to break the myth of their being invincible.

Understanding the need of the hour, Aurangzeb decided to tackle this rebellion on a large scale. He prepared a contingent of forces under his general Salar Sayyad Ahmed Khan. He wrote with his own hands the ayats of quran on the thwart any magic. Addressing the forces he said,” The ayats on your flags will keep you safe and nobody will be able to defeat you because you are going to annihilate the Kaafirs (Mahan Kosh, P. 147)

Armed with guns and weaponry these forces reached Narnaul and encircled the few Satnamis. How could these unarmed Satnamis take on the heavily armed enemy for long? None of the Satnamis surrendered. They reached Madhya Pardesh gradually, closely following by the Mughal forces. Along with their families they scattered themselves in the forest of what is now Chhatisgarh. Aurangzeb, army was recalled as they were required else where.

Since then these Satnamis remained in these forests. Worse happened when they were oppressed a lot by the rich and strong sections of local rich population. Satnamis lived in their huts reciting satnam and remained aloof from the rituals of Pandits. Later Guru Ghasi Das (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghasidas) united them, thwarting the oppression of Pandits and spreading education among them. When the Britishers came they converted some of them to Christianity. Guru Ghasidas established Satnami community in Chhattisgarh, India based on "Satnam" (meaning "Truth") and equality. The Guru's teachings and philosophy is similar to Buddhism. He opposed all Hindu beliefs and cultures including idol (Murti) puja. Satnam nothing to with Hinduism. Former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi’s family is one of those Satnamis, who became Christian.

Few years back, the house of a Satnami near Dhamtari caught fire. Everything in his house was destroyed except a wooden box which contained a Granth. The news spread far and wide. The Script of the Granth could not be underdtood by the educated local. Few Punjabis also lived in the area. Once of them visited the site and found that this was and ancient beer of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The housekeeper informed that his ancestors used to read and worship the Granth (Dainik Bhaskar, Raipur Education, November 8, 2003).

Where people of Dhamatri came to know of this, they expressed a wish to construct a Gudwara there. The housekeeper gifted the land for the Gurdwara and realising there his ancestors were Sikhs, Partook amrit himself. From then on, many of the Satnam Foundation of Raipur assisted by Scottish Sikh Council, alongwith other associations, which continues even now.

Few organizations are contributing their mite for the welfare of these three tribes. Besides organization approved by the Panth, these include local organization, as Gurmat Parchar Sanstha Nagpur, Satnam Foundation Raipur, Guru Angad Dev Educational and Welfare Society Ludhiana, Trust for the Welfare of Vanjara and Other Weaker Sections of Society Chandigarh etc. But the monetary part is taken care mainly by foreign organization, prominent amongst them being the Scottish Sikh Council, British Sikh Council etc. These efforts keep them attached with the Gurughar. For this the whole Sikh community needs to made efforts unitedly at global level.

Hindu's perspective

We pay our obeisance to the Great Satnami's of the finest caliber, despite being drawn mostly from sections of the society which have at times faced intense discrimination from other Hindus. Despite this they observe religious lifestyles of the highest moral standards, and as we have seen, served Hindu society militarily too. What is particularly unique about their revolt is that it happened right under the very noses of the Moghul capital and traditional stronghold (Delhi and Agra). As such, their achievement gains even more in our eyes.

British Historian accounts on Satnamis

SATNAMI. The word satnami is derived from satnam, lit. the True Name , a term used in some religious traditions including SIKHISM to denote the Supreme Being. Literally, a Satnami is one who believes in and worships only the True Being and as such every SIKH is a Satnami. However, the term has been adopted by at least three religious bodies as a title of their respective sects. The Sadhs, a unitarian sect of northern India founded in 1543 by Birbhan and which is also said to be an offshoot of the Raidasis, employ this term among themselves. Probably, it was this sect of the Sadhs which was responsible for the Satnami revolt against AURANGZIB in 1672. The next sect calling itself Satnami was founded by Jagjivan Das (b. 1(582) of Sardaha in the Barabanki district in Bihar. He began his religious career as a Kabirpanthi and, according to some authorities, these Satnamis are merely a branch of that faith. These Satnamis profess to adore the True Name alone whom they consider the cause and creator of everything in this world. He is said to be formless, without a beginning and without an end. Their moral code enjoins upon them indifference to the world ; devotion to the GURU ; clemency and gentleness ; rigid adherence to truth ; honest discharge of all social and religious obligations; and the hope of final absorption into the Supreme. Fasts are kept, at least to a partial extent. Their distinctive mark is a white flag on a white post known as Jaitkham in Chhattisgarh, usually a white silk is worn on the right wrist.They were known to have dressed simply like saints, and keep shaved heads (and were hence also called mundiyas), and abstain from intoxicants and animal foods. These tenets are still practised by many today. Today the sect numbers over 15 million, and followers are to be found in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh , Gujarat, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh), Maharashtra. This huge spread is due to the fact that those who survived the genocide following their rebellion against the Moghuls spread out into small units over vast tracts of land. On the forehead is worn a white tilak, consisting of one perpendicular streak. They bury their dead. Consumption of flesh and alcohol are taboo. They were nicknamed by the people as Mundiyas (Shavelings) because of their habit of shaving the body clean of all hair. Guru Naanak was also a Mundia \ Mundak \ Satnami. He proceed Satnam Culture and mission with the sikh name as per demand and time. every sikh is first a Satnami.

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