Badal Says Raja Ranjit Singh Was Agnostic

A view of fuction
VIP attendees at the function

SANGRUR, Punjab—In a state level function held on November 13 to mark the birth anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler of the 18th century, Punjab Chief Minister and Akali Dal (B) leader Parkash Badal triggered new controversy by terming Maharaja a secularist.

The function was organised by the state government in the nearby village of Badrukhan.

As reported by Daily Ajit, Badal said in the function that Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the builder of secular polity. He equated the SAD (B)-BJP regime with that of Maharaja Ranjit Singh by saying that the Punjab government is supposedly trying to walk in the footprints of the Maharaja’s regime so that all could be provided basic needs and justice.

Sikh intellectuals have become concerned over the CM’s remarks about the Sher-e-Punjab which, according to them, are quite misleading and are wrongly interpreting Ranjit Singh’s personality.

One expert quoted in reports said, “The western concept is invented by British writer George Jacob Holyaoke , an agnostic man, who used the term “Secularism” to describe his views of promoting a social order separate from religion. Though the concept does not directly criticize or oppose religious beliefs it directly shows of having no belief in religious belief whereas Ranjit Singh was purely a Sikh by heart.”

He also gave a reference from Oxford dictionary that interprets secular as, “not connected with religious and spiritual matters.”

According to some Sikh thinkers, although Maharaja Ranjit Singh accommodated non-Sikhs in his polity,  this is not secularism and is the principle of “Sanjhiwalta”—seeing everyone as God’s creation, as taught by the Sikh Gurus. The very principle was, subsequently, followed by the Ghadri Babas while struggling for freedom against the British.

The expert said, “Terming the Maharaja’s state as secular is also a misleading statement as the state was based on Sikh ethos whose title was ‘Sarkar-e-Khalsa’ (Khalsa state).”


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