ਤੇ ਸਿੱਖ ਵੀ ਨਿਗਲਿਆ ਗਿਆ a book challenging Hindu Rashtra

And the Sikhs are swallowed (ਤੇ ਸਿੱਖ ਵੀ ਨਿਗਲਿਆ ਗਿਆ) book by Kulbir Singh Kauda is an interesting account of Brahminical appropriation of Indic religious philosophies like Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. All three religions were founded in opposition to the Brahminical framework of Hinduism.


Kauda was a political activist and associated the Shiromani Akali Dal (Mann), a political outfit founded on the principles of Sikh autonomy. As his pseudonym goes, he is quite honest and bitter in the book. The book may not be termed as being academically sound, as experience and anecdotes (not some detailed methodology of data collection and citations of earlier literature) are the basis of making broader generalizations of social processes. This is why parts of it read rhetorical than logical, as they say in Punjabi: ਬਾਬਾ ਜਬਲੀਆਂ ਮਾਰੀ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ। There is some old school misogyny, like his only critique of Amrita Pritam’s feminism is that she smokes cigarettes and has a different hairstyle. There are parts where I bust out laughing, because of innocent ignorance behind assertions. That said, the book is still worth reading and listening.


Using his experience and understanding of human rationality Kauda lashes out on both Sikhs and larger Indian Hindu state for being superstitious and illogical. Some of his observations about Punjab and Sikh politics are enlightening, especially those on encroachment autonomous Sikh space by Sanghis. He like men and women of his generation is very critical of the modern-day spirituality and describes the stupidities of Babas in detail.
He affirms that on the name of patriotism, both British and modern Indian Republic has reduced the stature of Sikhs to scapegoats for slaughtering in war. Casteism to Capitalism, expansion of Hindu Rashtra, and discrimination of some minorities and appropriation of the others, are all viewed from the eyes of a Sikh Revivalist. For him ownership of land, higher economic status is an important tool to assert political and religious autonomy. He views laws framed by Union of India on land and property as a way to marginalize the social, cultural, religious and linguistic minorities. The prominent journalists like Khushwant Singh, Kuldeep Nayar and Mark Tully wrote the political narrative of Punjab crisis. There was very little personal account in their works, except for some anecdotes here and there. Kauda’s book is a personal account of a political, religious and cultural tragedy and how it impacted the psyche of people in small towns and villages of Punjab.


I started reading this book when I was 15 years old. I didn’t finish it at that time. Last year, I bought the new edition with a hope that I will read it, that did not happen as I had the pleasure of listening to the podcast of the book on Digital Punjabi Radio App. Storytel offers books in English, Kannada, Marathi, Urdu, Bangla and Hindi. Punjabi titles are not yet there. Punjabi audio books are provided by Khabarnama Radio and are available for free on Digital Punjabi Radio app.

Cheapskates upper caste urbanites elect fiscally conservative governments

#StatutoryWarning: Broad generalizations ahead.

The agrarian communities and their allied societies whether in Punjab, Haryana or Western Uttar Pradesh tend to be more generous than the urbane Upper Caste Hindu India. This is why a lot of times, governments elected by these urbane Upper Castes tend to be fiscally more conservative than those elected by the agrarian communities. Political behaviour represents individual cultural behaviour.

Whenever I went to villages in Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh, even smaller towns and major cities in the given region, this generous culture has largely stayed intact. You can experience the same generous culture in the villages of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. If people do not have money, they offer you their time and experiences, in many societies, sharing of time and experiences is considered more valuable than sharing of material assets for well being. When I left Punjab and moved to Delhi for studying in Jamia, I experienced the same small town culture of sharing time and food, and not caring about the pennies in the pocket. That is probably because Islam as a religion and many different schools in Islam like Chishtiya Sufism focused on charity and sharing as a way to bring people in the fold and creating a sense of equality in believers, where people eat, pray and have leisure time together.

#SocialNarcissismAhead

This was the exact opposite outside Jamia: in the major cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Except for a tiny amount of well-meaning Savarna Hindus, and working-class communities, I found most upper-caste individuals (comrades, liberals and conservatives all alike) ‘miser,’ or as we say in Punjabi: ਮੀਸਣੇ. They will go on having the pleasure of whatever you share with them (whether you give them your time, assets or money), but not once they will make an effort to reciprocate. Even if they make an effort, it is exactly the opposite of what you need. Now as a matter of principle, if the measures are not reciprocated (in many cases, they are not even noticed by the other), I tend to become fiscally and emotionally conservative, as they are a waste of time and money. In this process, have lost many ‘Upper Caste Friends.’ If one does a census of the people around me, the perceived majority of Hindu India is a tiny minority in my social network.

#ReturnToBroadGeneralization

This is the individual cultural behaviour which is amplified in the politics of the land, where a community share its surplus with others at low cost, out of generosity and under the pressure of the unjust economic system. Instead of reciprocating their behaviour and creating systems for ‘just and fair’ payment, the Upper Caste Hindu Janta of cities patronizes them by shouting: Jai Jawan Jai Kisan or Anna Data, and institute laws and economic systems which instead of reciprocating, create a way more unjust environment for the generous communities and force them to adopt the miserable lifestyle of the urban. Such a system on the name of efficiency encourages competition, not collaboration. Not to forget, thanks to their miser behaviour and lack of generosity, public policies like ‘targeted social welfare interventions,’ and not universal social protection is all handed over to us by this Urbane Woke Upper Caste Janta.