OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada—Sikh24 has learned that the notorious Nidar “Singh” (aka Niddar) has been invited to Toronto to hold a seminar on his so-called “shastar vidiya.” The seminar in Toronto is alarming given Nidar’s track record that can be observed by the types of students he produces. It is essential to understand that his martial art and ideology are intertwined and if one is learned, students are bound to be exposed to the other.
Nidar “Singh,” the self proclaimed ‘Last Sikh Warrior’ has made many far-fetched claims, including his claim of being the last Sikh warrior and his inaccurate claim that Sikhs are of sanatan-mat or a part of Hinduism. Nidar claims to offer an undiluted martial art and ideology called shastar vidiya, but if we take a closer look at Nidar’s philosophy and martial arts past, we are presented with a different picture. Like many Eastern martial arts ‘masters’, Nidar claims to be from a lineage of masters in his martial art, but his “ancient art” is actually an evolution from a very simple art to an adoption of various arts with a goal to sell a demented ideology—that Sikhs are not a separate and distinct kaum (path), but a part of Hinduism.
In order to dissect Nidar’s fabricated art and anti-Sikh ideology, Taranjit Singh, who runs sarbloh.com, wrote his experiences and observations of Nidar “Singh” and his firsthand account of how Nidar’s “puratan” martial art actually evolved and came to be what it is today.
“I came across Nidar and his crew around 12 or so years ago, and he seemed like a harmless enough guy, had some crazy ideas and didn’t give it much thought. Many of my friends started learning what started off as Gatka, then became Hatka, then became, Jhatka Gatka, then became Shastar Vidiya, then became Hindu Sikh Snatam Shastar Vidiya. Things changed a lot, and as other martial artists started to attend, Nidar started to assimilate their techniques into what he claimed was an ancient complete martial art. ‘old words new meanings.’
What we see today from shastar vidiya is a development over the last ten years. Being someone who has seen the transition in style, I can tell you that Nidar moves differently now and his techniques have changed and new ones have been introduced. Now there is nothing wrong with adaption and evolution of a style, indeed it is needed for a style to remain current and relevant. However, for martial arts purists, as Nidar claims to be, this is a problem. If he had learned an ancient and unadulterated style from the last master years ago, where is the new material coming from? Why the change in name and philosophy?”
Without a doubt, Nidar’s art is just that, his own art. It has evolved into what it is today. As a person who practices Gatka, and also acknowledges the martial arts used in MMA, there are glaring similarities with his martial art and some Asian Martial arts and South Indian martial arts, particularly kalaripayattu.
In various workshops Nidar demonstrates his unique pentra dances that are very similar to doing kathak and of those performed by kalaripayattu practitioners, in short these dances have nothing to do with martial arts and are mere ritualism, unlike actual pentras performed by Nihang Singhs. Pentras taught by Nihang Dals help a warrior develop proper stance and coordination.
If anyone followed the UFC and MMA scene, you will see that there were many so called “masters” of various “undefeatable” arts that barely lasted a couple minutes, if not seconds when in the ring before tapping out or getting knocked out. The reason for this is because the martial arts “masters” had never been put into a real fighting situation and thus were blown out of the mixed martial arts scene. A few styles that actually worked surfaced—namely wrestling, boxing, Brazilian jui jitsu, muay thai, kali/eskrima, jeet kun do and many others which seemed to be the most practical in the ring.
Now, you may be wondering what does this have to do with Nidar and his mysterious art of shastar vidiya? After all it is supposedly from the time of Dhan Guru Gobind Singh Ji?
Nidar claims that he learnt this art from an old Nihang Singh in Punjab and that he taught him this exact art many years ago—a typical story many so called eastern masters come up with to sell themselves and get a “religious” following. It may be true that this old Nihang did teach Nidar Singh a bit of gatka/shastar vidiya, but there is no proof that what he is currently selling is the puratan art of the Sikhs or what he says it is. In fact, the firsthand account by Taranjit Singh shows that Nidar was actually developing the art from what he used to call Gatka to eventually Sanatan Hindu Sikh Shastar Vidiya. The Nihang teacher that Nidar claims to have learnt from is Nihang Baba Mohinder Singh who learnt from the Nihang scholar Bhai Gian Singh Ji.
The problem is about honesty and integrity.
Bhai Gian Singh Ji
The claim of Nidar being the last warrior is refuted when Bhai Gian Singh Ji’s history is examined. Bhai Sahib was a scholar for over 40 years and taught countless Sikhs shastar vidiya and Gurmat vidiya. It is very important to note that a Singh who learnt vidiya directly from Bhai Gian Singh Ji is still alive who is also named Bhai Gian Singh and is 98 years old. If for a moment we accept Nidar’s claim that he learnt from late Mohinder Singh who learnt from Bhai Gian Singh Ji, it just goes to show that he did not directly learn from Bhai Gian Singh Ji and if we still want to learn we can learn from Bhai Gian Singh Ji’s pupils, Bhai Gian Singh or Pritam Singh who have learnt directly from Akali Gian Singh Ji both who have taught thousands of Sikhs shastar vidiya or gatka. Bhai Gian Singh Ji recently commented about Nidar saying that he is full of hankar (ego), and this hankar has caused him to break off from the Khalsa Panth into sanatanism or Brahmanism.
Many argue that they do not agree with Nidar’s ideology, but they respect his art for being “real” so long as there is a dichotomy between his art and his ideology.
For a moment if we ignore the ideology of Nidar that promotes alcohol abuse, shaving, drug abuse, disrespect of kakkars and lies that Sikhs are a part of the Hindu pantheon and just look at his art for what it is, we will see that his art has not yet been tested in the mainstream and it is a mash up of different fighting styles. His hook on catching students is because he has mixed various fighting styles and become legitimate in the mainstream, something that is not hard to do given the proper connections and knowledge from different martial arts.
Although it is obvious and clear cut that his martial art is not what was taught by Akali Nihang Baba Mohinder Singh who learned from Akali Nihang Baba Gian Singh, given first hand testimony of an ex student, it would be commendable that someone is teaching the Sikh youth martial arts and self defense—no matter what art it is. If the art were deeply rooted in Hinduism (or any other martial art), this would not be a problem for the Sangat, so long as the sangat were honestly informed about the history of the art. The problem is about honesty and integrity.
A good way to observe the legitimacy of the akhara (group) is to see what kind of students Nidar produces. It is alarming that the students who flock to his akhara all come out with a very similar mindset to the ideology that Nidar promotes—alcoholism, eating meat, mocking naam simran, mock Nihangs and non-Nihangs alike, and consumption of marijuana.
In a Sikh camp in Birmingham packed with young Sikhs, one of Nidar’s students shouted, “We drink alcohol and we eat meat, this is our way, we are going to do this and we are not going to leave our traditions behind.” All of this in front of young children who showed up to learn about Gurmat.
Finally, a lot of noise has been made by the Nidar gang that he was a representative—neigh Jathedar—of Budha Dal. Once sangat followed up, it turned out he was not. In fact, Nihang Singhs all across the globe have disparaged him, while Nihang Jathedars have signed a document stating that Nidar is doing koor parchar and misleading sangat by his brahmanistic and sanatan parchar. They further stated that he should appear at Sri Akal Takht Sahib and receive a punishment to put a stop to this confusion.
Jathedars who signed the below document are as follows: Baba Joginder Singh, Jathedar of Budha Dal; Baba Avatar Singh, Jathedar of Bidhi Chand Dal; Baba Nihal Singh, Jathedar of Haria Vela, Tarana Dal; Baba Gajjan Singh, Jathedar of Tarana Dal (Baba Bakala); and Baba Harnam Singh, Jathedar of Damdami Taksal and Sant Smaaj. The translation below was provided by Taranjit Singh.
To the Esteemed Jathedar of the Akaal Takht,
We feel compelled to bring to your attention that Nidar Singh aka Surjit Singh bains of Wolverhampton UK is involved in anti-Sikh conspiracies by doing anti-Sikh parchaar on his websites and diluting the Sikh philosophy by teaching that Sikhs are a part of Hinduism. With his heinous teachings (koorr parchar) he is misleading the Sikh sangat.
He keeps changing the name of his akhara on his website to include names such as “Hindu Snatan Shiv Akhara” and is falsely using the name of Jathedar Akali Baba Darbara Singh to legitimise himself.
Niddar Singh is stating that the Khalsa was born from Shiv Ji and not guru Gobind Singh ji. He also proclaims falsely that the “Farla” of Nihang Singhs is sprouted from the ganges river and that blue bana is from the colour of Shiva. He is also saying that the chakar that Nihang Singhs wear on their dumalla is a sign of Shivji.
He is saying that the Sikh dharam emerged from Hinduism and that Sikhi is just another samparda of the Hindu dharam and is also teaching that Sikh Shastar Vidiya and Gatka is a branch of the Hindu Dharam.
Nidar Singh’s activities in the UK are upsetting and dividing Sikhs there. Guru Gobind Singh ji made the Khalsa unique. This fake Nihang (nang) is spreading doubts, confusion, and slander within the Sikh sangat.
On the 300th celebration of Guru Granth Ji’s Gurgaddi the sangat of Hazur Sahib kicked him out due to his nefarious activities and anti Sikh parchaar.
By putting the concerns of the Panth (Sikh Nation) first we recommend that this individual is brought before the Akal Takht to answer for his crimes and receive punishment accordingly and the Sikh Sangat be freed of this confusion.
Baba Joginder Singh – Jathedar of Budha Dal
Baba Avatar Singh – Jathedar of Bidhi Chand Dal
Baba Nihal Singh – Jathedar of Haria Vela Dal
Baba Gajjan Singh – Jathedar Tarana Dal (Baba Bakala)
Baba Harnam Singh – Jathedar Damdami Taksal & Sant Samaaj