HAQĪQĀT-I-BINĀ-O-'URŪJ-I-FIRQĀ-I-SIKHĀṄ, a Persian manuscript by unknown author, contains, as its title literally signifies, the Truth about the Origin and Rise of the Sikh Sect. On the basis of internal evidence, the work appears to have been prepared sometime between 1783 and 1785. Copies of the manuscript are available at Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, London; Khālsā College, Amritsar; and at Punjab Historical Studies Department of Punjabi University, Paṭiālā. An English translation of the manuscript by Indubhūsan Banerjee was published in India Historical Quarterly, XVII, 1942, under the title "A Short History of the Origin and Rise of the Sikhs."

         The earlier portion of the work dealing with the Sikh Gurūs is an imperfect account and betrays the author's ignorance about the origin and development of Sikh brotherhood during the first two hundred years. For example, Gurū Nānak's progeny is called Bhallās instead of Bedīs; the next seven Gurūs are given only a couple of sentences; Gurū Tegh Bahādur is described as a rebel and a tyrant who took pleasure in shooting down his horses and men; and the incidents from the life of Bandā Siṅgh Bahādur overlap those from the life of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh; Bandā Siṅgh is mentioned as launching upon his exploits in the reign of Farrukh-Sīyar who in fact became emperor five years after the death of the Gurū. Thereafter, however, the author's account comes nearer to those of his other contemporaries and can be useful to serious students of history. Describing government's expeditions against Bandā Siṅgh and his ultimate capture and execution, the author bears testimony to the fact that not a single Sikh out of the one thousand and six hundred captured along with Bandā Siṅgh accepted the offer to convert to save his life. He particularly mentions a young Sikh whom the Kotwāl (executive magistrate) of Delhi offered to accept as his own son and get him a reprieve only if he accepted Islam; but the offer was bluntly rejected and the boy met his death as serenely as did his other brothers-in-faith.

         The author praises Zakarīyā Khān, governor of Punjab (1726-45), and describes his rule as an era of peace and plenty. A brief account of Nādir Shāh's invasion is also given. After Zakarīyā Khān's death, a tussle for power between his two sons, Yāhīyā Khān and Shāh Nawāz Khān, is described. The latter used the Sikhs against his brother, but when later he himself came into power, he persecuted them. Shāh Nawāz invited Ahmad Shāh Abdālī to invade India, but as the Shāh descended upon Lahore, Shāh Nawāz fell out with him and had to flee to Delhi. Ahmad Shāh's defeat at the hands of the Mughals, during this first invasion, brought Mu'in ul-Mulk (Mīr Mannū, according to Sikh chroniclers) to power in Punjab as governor. The author describes the gruesome atrocities Mīr Mannū perpetrated upon the Sikhs. After one of his subsequent invasions, Ahmad Shāh annexed Punjab and appointed his own son Taimūr Shāh his viceroy at Lahore, with his experienced general Jahān Khān as his deputy. But Taimūr Shāh and Jahān Khān were driven out of Lahore by a combined force of Ādīnā Beg, the Sikhs and the Marāṭhās. The defeat of the Marāṭhās in the battle of Pānīpat (1761) and the merciless slaughter of the Sikhs (1762) occupy penultimate portions of the work. The remaining section of the book deals exclusively with the Afghān-Sikh contest for power. The occupation of the Punjab by the Sikhs was completed under eminent Sikh sardārs (chiefs) like Chaṛhat Siṅgh, Tārā Siṅgh Ghaibā, Jassā Siṅgh Rāmgaṛhīā, Harī Siṅgh, Lahiṇā Siṅgh and Gujjar Siṅgh of Bhaṅgī misl. The account ends with the re-conquest of Multān by Taimūr Shāh in 1779.

         The author supplies details about territories possessed by different Sikh sardārs and briefly describes some of the Sikh customs and practices such as pāhul, kaṛāh prashād and ardās. According to him, the Sikh term ardās is a modified form of 'arzdāsht, Persian term meaning prayer or request made to elders or to the rulers. The Sikh ardās is their prayer to the Gurū or God. The author is familiar with many other terms used by Sikhs such as Gurū, Nānakpanthī, (Gurū) Granth, Panth, Khālsā, Dal, Dal Khālsā, Khālsā Jīo, Buḍḍhā Dal, Vāhigurū, Vāhigurū Jī Kī Fateh, Mahāprashād, Buṅgah, Shabad, Salok, Gurū Kā Sikh, Misl, Nihaṅg, Sukkhā, etc. Erroneously he equates sukkhā with Nihaṅg; sukkhā is an intoxicating drug popular with Nihaṅgs. The author of the Haqīqāt states that the Sikh faith has no prejudice against Islam. Rather the Sikh religion treats all human beings as equals. In Gurū Nānak's scripture humility, according to this work, has precedence over meditation and the whole world is considered to be God's manifestation.


    Kirpal Singh, A Catalogue of Persian and Sanskrit Manuscripts. Amritsar, 1962

Bhagat Siṅgh