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***Singh Sabha Movement (early 1900's)

After the Nirankari and Namdhari movements of 19th Century. Fresh century was about to be started with a new movement
called Singh Sabha. Nirankari and Namdhari movements had failed to stir Sikh people because of their restricted scope and
schismatic character they acquired. To quote Sardar Harbans Singh in The heritage of the Sikhs "The Singh Sabha which
followed them had a much deeper impact. It influenced the entire Sikh Community and reoriented its outlook and spirit.
Since the days of the Gurus nothing so vital had transpired to fertilize the consciousness of the Sikhs. The Singh Sabha by
leavening the intellectual and cultural processes brought a new dimension to the inner life of the community and enlarged its
heritage. Starting in the seventies of the last century, it marked a turning-point in Sikh history . It touched Sikhism to its very
roots, and made it a living force once again. The stimulus it provided has shaped the Sikhs' attitude and aspiration over the
past one hundred years."
The reason behind the success of the Singh sabha was the motivation to search for Sikh identity and Self-assertion that we
are not just another sect of Hinduism. Earlier, Hindu philosophers had declared Sikhs as "another sect of Hinduism". 2500
years ago, same thing was done to Budhism, when Budha was made "another reincarnation of Vishnu" by Brahmins, thus
ending Budhism in India. Singh Sabha recognized this and started their campaign of awakenings for rural Khalsa, which was
under the direct threat of Christian Missionaries, Muslim Maulalivis and Arya Samajis. Khalsa's moral force and dynamic
vitality was rediscovered and Singh Sabha started to look upon its history and tradition with clear and self-discerning eye.
Everything that was against Gurus teaching was rejected. Rites and customs considered consistent with Sikh doctrine and
tradition were established. For some, legal sanction was secured through government legislation. With this came the
reorganization of Sikh Shrines. Later in 1920's Sikh Historic Shrines like Nankana Sahib, Punja Sahib, Golden
Temple, TarnTaran Sahib, etc were freed from the hold of hereditary Mahants. These mahants were practicing rites and ritual
inconsistent with Sikhism, Including not letting people of "lower caste" into Gurdwaras, publicly smoking, Idol worshipping of
various Gods and Goddesses, and holding Shraddhs and other rituals not followed by the Sikh Gurus.
This period also witnessed the modern development and emergence of new cultural and political aspirations. Higher level of
literacy were achieved by Sikhs. Famous Khalsa college at Amritsar and hundreds ofKhalsa Schools were opened through out
punjab. Many Sikhs ventured outside India at this period and settled at Malaysia, Canada, U.K, Africa and USA. In Punjab, the
Sikhs sought to secure recognition for themselves:
"An English newspaper writes that the Christian faith is making
rapid progress and makes the prophecy that within the next
twenty-five years, one-third of the Majha area will be Christian.
The Malwa will follow suit. Just as we do not see any Buddhists
in the country except in images, in the same fashion the Sikhs,
who are now, here and there, visible in turbans and their
other religious forms like wrist bangles and swords, will be
seen only in pictures in museums. Their own sons and grandsons
turning Christians and clad in coats and trousers and sporting
toadstool-like caps will go to see them in the museums and
say in their pidgin Punjabi: Look, that is the picture of a
Sikh-the tribe that inhabited this country once upon a time.'
Efforts of those who wish to resist the onslaught of Christianity
are feeble and will prove abortive like a leper without hands and
feet trying to save a boy falling off a rooftop.
This was a note which appeared in a Sikh newspaper, the Khalsa Akhbar (Punjabi) of Lahore, May 25,1894, from the pen of its
editor, Giani Ditt Singh (1853-1901). Reporting the observance of the first anniversary of the Lahore Singh Sabha in its issue
for April 22, 1905, the Khalsa Advocate (English) referred to the occupant of a banga in the precincts of the Tarn Taran
Gurdwara who had embraced Christianity and hung a cross on one of its walls to convert it into a Christian chapel.
The KhalsaAkhbar, July 13, 1894, carried this letter in its correspondence columns: "In the village of Natta, Nabha state, a Sikh
married off his daughter according to Sikh custom Most of the population in the village, including Brahmanical Hindus and
some Sikhs, became hostile. They did not let the marriage party stay in the dharamsala. The host, firm in his faith, had to put
up the wedding guests in his own house." A student by the name of Bir Singh contributed a letter to the Khalsa Akhbar,
February 12, 1897, saying: "Near the Dukhbhanjani beri tree in the Golden Temple precincts] there is a room on the front wall

of which is painted a picture. The picture depicts a goddess and Guru Gobind Singh. The goddess stands on golden sandals
and she has many hands-ten or, perhaps, twenty. One of the hands is stretched out and in this she holds a khanda. Guru
Gobind Singh stands barefoot in front of it with his hands folded." A letter in the Khalsa Akhbar, October 8, 1897, reported:
"On Tuesday, Bhadon 31, the pujaris of the Tarn Taran Gurdwara held the shradha ceremony in honour of Guru Arjan. Those
feasted were from outside the faith and they smoked." A correspondent' s letter in the Khalsa Samachar of Amritsar, edited
by Bhai Vir Singh, June 25, 1902, said: "Around the village of Singhpur, Christians and Muhammadans are becoming very
influential. The former have two churches here and the latter two mosques. In this area there is no dharamsala and the
rural Khalsa is rather neglectful of its religious duty." " (These newspaper quotations were taken from Herigate of the Sikhs,
by Sardar Harbans Singh ji.)
These quotations reveal the identity crisis that Sikhism faced at the dawn of new century.
An editorial in the Khalsa Advocate (English), December 15, 1904, summed up the situation which existed before the
emergence of the Singh Sabha thus:
". . . false gurus grew up in great abundance whose
only business was to fleece their flock and pamper their
own self-aggrandizement. Properly speaking, there was no
Sikhism. Belief in the Gurus was gone. The idea of brotherhood
in the Panth was discarded. The title of 'Bhai' so much
honoured by Sikhs of old, fell into disuse and contempt.
Sikhs grovelled in superstition and idolatry... It [Sikhism]
had thus lost all that was good and life-giving in the faith."
Singh Sabha movement not only reform the Sikh institutions of the rituals and rites like casteism but also made sure that in
future, these rituals would not creep back in. Before Singh Sabha, situation was so bad that even Giani Ditt Singh, a very much
honored literary giant of Singh Sabha movement had to withdraw from gurdwara when Karah Prashad was to be served,
reason being that he was from "low caste", and many priests as well well educated devotees were followers of this antiSikhism casteism ritual.
As Sardar Harbans Singh ji say " The decline had started in the very heyday of Sikh power. In the courtly splendor of the days
of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Sikh practice had been utterly subverted. The faith was weakened by the influx of large numbers of
those who had adopted the Sikh form to gain material advantage, but whose allegiance to its principles and traditions was
only tentative. In the words of a character in one of Sir Jogendra Singh's English novels, Rasili: "We failed because we did not
obey the Guru. People established kingdoms and principalities and neglected their poor brethren. The result is what you seethe Khalsahas fallen." But the protagonist is aware of the massive reformation that was taking place. He says, "Sikhism is now
casting off external influences and returning to the solid rock of its own pure faith and divine teachings." In a general way, the
Singh Sabha was an expression of the impulse of the Sikh community to rid itself of the base adulterations and accretions
which were draining away its energy and to rediscover the sources of its original inspiration. Unlike other Indian reform
movements of the period which were the creation of the elite, the Singh Sabha was a mass upsurge. Besides the awareness
that Sikhism as commonly practiced was a corruption of what it originally was, two other motivating factors were at work: a
reaction to what was happening in the neighborly religious traditions and defensiveness generated by Christian missionaries
The Christian missionary activity had started in the Punjab with the influx of the English. Even while Ranjit Singh, the Sikh
sovereign, reigned in Lahore, an American Presbyterian mission had been set up at Ludhiana, the north-western British
outpost near the Sikh frontier. The factors for the choice of this area as "the best field of labour" were its "numerous and
hardy population....a better climate than the lower provinces and....a ready access to the lower ranges of the Himalaya
mountains in case of the failure of health." Another reason was the Sikh population "to whom our attention at first was
specially directed," as says John C. Lowrie in his book Travels in North India. With the end of Sikh rule in 1849, the Ludhiana
Mission extended its work to Lahore. Two of its members, C.W. Forman and John Newton, were set apart for this duty and
sent to the Punjab capital immediately. English and vernacular schools as well as welfare institutions like hospitals and
orphanages followed. C.W. Forman turned out regularly for bazaar preaching.
John Lawrence, who was one of the triumvirate which ruled the Punjab after it was annexed to Britain, was a zealous patron
of Christian proselytization. He contributed towards the Mission funds a sum of Rs. 500 annually out of his own pocket. Other

English of fixers followed his example. It was his ambition to see the conquest of the Sikh dominions followed by large-scale
conversions to Christianity.
Amritsar, headquarters of the Sikh faith, became another important seat of Church enterprise. In 1852, T.H. Fitzpatrick and
Robert Clark, the first missionaries of the Church of England appointed to the Punjab, arrived in station. In the valedictory
instruction given them, they had been told: "Though the Brahman religion still sways the minds of a large portion of the
population of the Punjab, and the Mohammedan of another, the dominant religion and power for the last century has been
the Sikh religion, a species of pure theism, formed in the first instance by a dissenting sect from Hinduism. A few helpful
instances lead us to believe that the Sikhs may prove more accessible to scriptural truth than the Hindus and
The English missionaries were joined by Daud Singh recorded to be the first Sikh ever to have embraced Christianity. He had
been baptized in Kanpur by the Rev. W.H. Perkins, and was transferred to Amritsar as pastor in 1852. The Mission houses
were built in the city by the Deputy Commissioner. Construction of the station church was started. In the wake of the Mission
came a vernacular school, a high school, a school for girls and midwifery hospital. The evangelizing work was rewarded with
the conversion of men like Shamaun, i.e. Simeon, a Sikh granthi (reader of the Holy Book or priest), formerly Kesar Singh of
Sultanwind, Imad-ud-Din, a Muslim maulavi and Rulia Ram, a Hindu Khatri from Amritsar, who had attended the Mission
School and passed the Calcutta entrance examination. Sub-stations of the Mission were opened in important towns of the
Sikh tract of Majha such as Tarn Taran, Ajnala and Jandiala.
Singh Sabha movement was helped by the missionaries activities of Mohammadens and Christians. It grew out of nowhere to
become a founding father of current SGPC and Akali party. Singh Sabha Movement brought back the old ways of Khalsa and
restored the pride and dignity of common urban and rural Sikhs.
The Singh Sabha Movement was a Sikh movement begun in the late 19th century in reaction to the proselytizing activities
of Brahmo Samajis and Christians.[1] The movement's aims were the revival of the Sikh Gurus' teachings, the production of
religious literature in the Punjabi language using the Gurmukhi script, and a campaign to increase literacy.[1]
After the annexation of the Sikh Empire by the British Raj in 1849, Christian missionaries increased proselytizing activities in
central Punjab. In 1853, Maharajah Dalip Singh, the last Sikh ruler, was controversially converted to Christianity. The British
Government decided in 1886 against his return to India or his re-embracing Sikhism. Despite protests from the India Office,
he set sail for 'home' on 30 March 1886. However, he was intercepted and arrested in Aden, where the writ of the Governor
General of India began. He could not be stopped from an informal re-conversion ceremony in Aden, far less grand and
symbolic than it would have been in India, done by emissaries. He therefore returned to Sikhism. Harnam Singh, a Sikh
aristocrat from Kapurthala converted soon after Maharaja Dalip Singh.
Sri Guru Singh Sabha at Amritsar was formed at a meeting on 1st of October 1873. This was attended by several elite Sikhs
including some Gianis, priests, granthis, Udasi and Nirmalas. The following were selected as office-bearers : Thakar Singh
Sandhanwalia President, Giani Gian Singh Amritsar Secretary, Amar Singh Deputy Secretary, and, Dharam Singh (of Majeeth
Bunga) was Treasurer. The organization decided to work to reestablish the real Sikh values.[2]
Singh Sabha at Lahore was formed by the Sikh elite in Lahore on 2nd of November 1879. The Lahore Singh Sabha launched
weekly Gurmukhi Akhbar, in Punjabi, on 10th of November 1880; Professor Gurmukh Singh (of Oriental College Lahore) was
its first editor.
***Ramakrishna Mission (Bengali: ) is an organisation which forms the core of a worldwide spiritual movement
known as the Ramakrishna Movement or the Vedanta Movement.[1] The mission is a philanthropic, volunteer organisation
founded byRamakrishna's chief disciple Vivekananda on 1 May 1897. The mission conducts extensive work in health care,
disaster relief, rural management, tribal welfare, elementary and higher education and culture. It uses the combined efforts
of hundreds of orderedmonks and thousands of householder disciples. The mission bases its work on the principles of karma
The mission, which is headquartered near Kolkata at Belur Math in Howrah, West Bengal, subscribes to the
ancient Hinduphilosophy of Vedanta. It is affiliated with the monastic organisation Ramakrishna Math, with whom it shares
Ramakrishna Paramahansa (18361886), regarded as a 19th-century saint, was the founder of the Ramakrishna Order of
monks[3] and is regarded as the spiritual founder of the Ramakrishna Movement.[4][5] Ramakrishna was a priest in

the Dakshineswar Kali Temple and attracted several monastic and householder disciples. Narendranath Dutta, who later
became Vivekananda was one of the chief monastic disciples. Shortly before his death in 1886, Ramakrishna gave the ochre
cloths to his young disciples, who were planning to become renunciates. Ramakrishna entrusted the care of these young boys
to Vivekananda. After Ramakrishna's death, the young disciples of Ramakrishna gathered and practised spiritual disciplines.
They took informal monastic vows on a night which to their pleasant surprise turned out to be the Christmas Eve in 1886.[3]
The Math and the Mission are the two key organisations that direct the work of the socio-religious Ramakrishna movement
influenced by 19th-century saint Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and shaped by his chief disciple Vivekananda.[7] Also referred to
as the Ramakrishna Order, the Math is the movement's monastic organisation. Founded by Ramakrishna in 1886, the Math
primarily focuses on spiritual training and the propagation of the movement's teachings.[7]
The Mission, founded by Vivekananda in 1897, is an humanitarian organisation which carries out medical, relief and
educational programs. Both the organisations have headquarters at the Belur Math. The Mission acquired a legal status when
it was registered in 1909 under Act XXI of 1860. Its management is vested in a Governing Body. Though the Mission with its
branches is a distinct legal entity, it is closely related to the Math. The elected trustees of the Math also serve as Mission's
Governing Body.[7] Vedanta Societiescomprise the American arm of the Movement and work more in purely spiritual field
rather than social welfare.[7]
In 1980, in an act that caused "considerable debate" within the order, the mission petitioned the courts to have their
organisation and movement declared a non-Hindu minority religion.[35] Many generations of monks and others have been of
the view that the religion propounded and practised by Ramakrishna and his disciples is very much different from that
practised by Hindu masses then. They held that the Ramakrishna's "Neo-Vedanta" is a truer version of the ideals of Vedanta.
So it was honestly felt that this makes the followers of Ramakrishna eligible for the legal status of "minority". It is possible
that the immediate cause for the appeal for minority status was because there was a danger that the local Marxist
government would take control of its educational institutions unless it could invoke the extra protection the Indian
constitution accords to minority religions. While the Calcutta High Court accepted Ramakrishna Mission's pleas, The Supreme
Court of India ruled against the Mission in 1995.[36] The Mission found it advisable to let the matter rest. Today it remains as a
Hindu organisation.[37] The mission has its own hospitals, charitable dispensaries, maternity clinics, tuberculosis clinics, and
mobile dispensaries. It also maintains training centres for nurses. Orphanages and homes for the elderly are included in the
mission's field of activities, along with rural and tribal welfare work.[15]
The mission has established many renowned educational institutions in India, having its own university, colleges, vocational
training centres, high schools and primary schools, teacher-training institutes, as well as schools for the visually
handicapped.[15] It has also been involved in disaster relief operations during famine, epidemic, fire, flood, earthquake,
cyclone and communal disturbances.[15]
The mission played an important role in the installation of photovoltaic (PV) lighting systems in the Sundarbans region of
West Bengal. Due to the geographical features of the Sunderbans, it is very difficult to extend the grid network to supply
power to its population. The PV lighting was used to provide electricity to the people who were traditionally depending on
kerosene and diesel.[16]
The Ramakrishna Math is administered by democratically elected Board of Trustees. From amongst themselves the Trustees
elect President, Vice-Presidents, general secretary, Assistant Secretaries and Treasurer. For the confirmation of the election
of the President, Vice-Presidents and the general secretary, the opinion of monks of twenty years standing is sought and
The Ramakrishna Mission is administered by a Governing Body, which is composed of the Trustees of Ramakrishna Math. The
headquarters of Ramakrishna Math at Belur (popularly known as Belur Math) serves also as the headquarters of Ramakrishna
Mission. A branch centre of Ramakrishna Math is managed by a team of monks posted by the Trustees led by a head monk
with the title Adyaksha. A branch centre of Ramakrishna Mission is governed by a Managing Committee consisting of monks
and lay persons appointed by the Governing Body of Ramakrishna Mission whose Secretary functions as the executive head.[1]
All the monks of the Ramakrishna Order form the democratic base of the administration. A representative meeting of all
monks is held every three years when the report of all the activities of the Organization are approved and the accounts
passed and guidance sought for further development.
This conference places its seal of approval on the decisions taken by the Trustees elected by them and gives policy guidance.
The scope of the Administration follows the detailed rules made by Swami Vivekananda when he was the General President
of Ramakrishna Mission after the monastic brothers opined that there should be specific rules for the work of the
Ramakrishna Mission (as the Ramakrishna Movement is commonly known). These rules were dictated by Swami Vivekananda
to Swami Suddhananda, between 1898 to 1899, and has been accepted as the consensus of the opinion of all the monks of

the Ramakrishna Mission then, consisting of all the disciples of Sri Ramakrishna and their disciples. Later for clear and formal
legal confirmation of these rules, a Trust Deed was registered by Swami Vivekananda and many of the other disciples of Sri
Ramakrishna, during 1899 1901.[8]
The motto and principles[edit]
The aims and ideals of the Mission are purely spiritual and humanitarian and has no connection with politics.[9] Vivekananda
proclaimed "Renunciation and service" as the twofold national ideals of modern India and the work of the mission strives to
practice and preach these ideals.[10] The service activities are based on the message of "Jiva is Shiva" from Ramakrishna and
Vivekananda's message of "Daridra Narayana" to indicate that service to poor is service to God. The Principles of Upanishads
and Yoga in Bhagavad Gitareinterpreted in the light of Ramakrishna's Life and Teachings is the main source of inspiration for
the Mission.[11] The service activities are rendered looking upon all as veritable manifestation of the Divine. The Motto of the
organisation is Atmano Mokshartham Jagad-hitaya Cha. Translated from Sanskrit it
means For one's own salvation, and for the good of the world..[12]