SIKH, a play by Bipinbihārī Nandī, published in Bengali in 1909, traces the consolidation of the Sikhs as Khālsā under Gurū Gobind Siṅgh. Written in long patches of descriptive dialogue, in blank verse, often running to over 15 to 20 lines at a stretch, the book is divided into six scenes with five major characters of historical significance, including Gurū Tegh Bahādur, Gurū Gobind Siṅgh and Emperor Auraṅgzīb. It opens with Auraṅgzīb discussing with one of his trusted generals plans of operations against the Sikhs charging, in absentia, Gurū Tegh Bahādur with waging war against the State. The second scene witnesses Gurū Tegh Bahādur brought to Delhi under custody. Gurū Gobind Siṅgh appears in the third scene vowed to end the tyrannical Mughal rule. The creation of the Khālsā is interpreted as a call for all self-respecting and righteous persons to come under one banner to fight bigotry and injustice. Gurū Gobind Siṅgh's resounding victories led Auraṅgzīb's successor Bahādur Shāh to make overtures of peace. The last scene presents the Emperor as a devotee of the Gurū. He is on his death bed, but has been able to draft a plan of long term settlement with the Sikhs.

        The book projects Gurū Gobind Siṅgh as the symbol of India's unity and honour. Those were the years when many Bengali intellectuals and writers were trying to build up a militant front against the colonial rule of the British. They drew inspiration from the life of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh. The book, however, suffers from grave inaccuracies of fact and interpretation.

Himādrī Banerjee