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Hindu-Sikh Relationship (part 4/10)

	    Hindu-Sikh Relationship (part 4/10)

The next upsurge of the Khalsa came in the second half of the
Century. The Marathas had meanwhile broken the back of
Mughal power all over India and the Mughal administration in the
Punjab had distintegrated speedily. A new Muslim invader, Ahmad 
Shah Abdali, who tried to salvage the Muslim rule, had to give up
after several attempts from 1748 to 1767 A.D. His only satisfaction 
was that he demolished the Harimandir and desecrated the
sacred tank with the blood of slaughtered cows, two times in a row.
But the Sikh and non-Sikh Hindus rallied round the Khalsa again
and again and rebuilt the temple every time.

The Khalsa had a field day when Abdali departed finally from the
scene. By the end of the century, Muslim power evaporated all
over the Punjab and several Sikh principalities came up in 
different parts of the province. The strongest of them was that of
Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1783-1839 A.D ) who wiped out the Muslim
rule from Kashmir and the North West Frontier as well. He would
have conquered Sindh and Afghanistan also but for the steam-
roller of British imperialism which took over his farflung
kingdom as well, soon after his death.

 The British had conquered India through their superiority in
the art of warfare. They could not hope to hold such a big 
country by means of military might alone. They had to devise 
policies of devide any rule. The residues of Islamic imperialism
had become their allies quite early in course of the conquest.
Now they had to contend with the national society constituted by
Hindus. It became the main plank of their policy, therefore, to
fragment Hindu society and pit the pieces against each other. At
the same time, they tried to create pockets of solid support for
their regime in India. One such pocket was provided by Sikhs.

 The British planned and put into operation a move to separate
and seal off the Sikh community from its parent Hindu society by
converting it into a distinct religious minority like the Muslims
and the Christians. Tutored Sikh theolgians and scholars were
patronised to make them pronounce that Sikhism was a decisive
departure from Hinduism, the same as Christianity was from 
Judaism. The labours of Christian missionaries and the timings of
Western Indology were mobilized in order to achieve this end.

					[To be concluded]
Authored by Sita Ram Goel. Courtesy: Voice of India.

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