ARTICLES - ENGLISH/PUNJABI

The Truth of Ragmala

The Truth of Ragmala

Karminder Singh, PhD (Boston).

dhillon99@gmail.com1

Ragmala is the name of a composition that is found on the final page (1430) of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS). It consists of 10 paragraphs. The style of compositions found within the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is such that the writer of every verse is specified within the composition, But such is not the case with Ragmala. There is no indication anywhere within Ragmala if it is composed by any Guru, Bhagat or any of the 35 writers of the SGGS. This article thus explores the truth of Ragmala, its origins and its substantive content.

A Kavi (poet) named Alam has written a granth (text) titled Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla. As the name suggests, the book is a narrative of two individuals: a male by the name of Madhav Nal and a woman named Kaam Kandla. More specifically it narrates the story of a relationship between the two individuals. Paras 61 and 62 of Kavi Alam’s composition (page 13 of his granth) is as follows:

ਬੋਲੈ ਕਾਮ ਕੰਦਲਾ ਨਾਰੀ । ਆਵ ਚਤੁਰੁ ਬਿਚ ਛਨ ਭਾਰੀ । ੬੧।

Boleiy Kaam Kandla Nari. Aav Chatur Bich Chun Bhari.

ਬਾਜੇ ਸਭ ਸੰਗੀਤ ਤੰਤ ਬਿਰਤ ਘਨਤਾਲ ।

ਬਹੁਰ ਅਲਾਪਹਿ ਰਾਗ ਕਟ ਪੰਚ ਪੰਚ ਸੰਗ ਬਾਲ । ੬੨।

Bajaiy Sabh Sangeet Tunt Biret Chantaal.

Bahur Alapeh Rag Kat Panch Panch Sang Baal.

It is clear from para 61 that Kaam Kandla is a woman (ਨਾਰੀ Nari). Para 62 makes clear she is engaged in the profession of dance, song, drama and play acting. Read collectively, both paras make clear that the composition is about Kaam Kandla’s profession; dance and song abilities; and her relationship with the individual named Madhav Nal.

THE ORIGIN OF RAGMALA AS FOUND ON THE FINAL PAGE OF THE SGGS

As shocking, appalling, and outrageous as it may seem, paras 63 to 72 of Kavi Alam’s Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla – the narrative of Kaam Kandla’s drama, dance and song – is what is found  in the SGGS on page 1430. More specifically, paras 63 to 72 of Kavi Alam’s poetry (copied and pasted as Ragmala in the SGGS) is a snapshot description of a scene of the dance, song and drama of Kaam Kandla. As dreadful and scandalous as it may seem, these paragraphs are advocated as spiritual messages and recited as Gurbani during every bhog ceremony by our clergy.

E:\User\Desktop\SIKH BULLETIN\Photos of Writers\Ragmala.png

Ragmala as recorded in the SGGS on the final page

A side by side comparison of the composition of Kavi Alam’s composition and that found on the final page of the SGGS as Ragmala will help us decipher the truth pertaining to the origins of the latter.

Para 63

of Kavi Alam’s Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla

Para 1 of Ragmala

as found on page 1430 of the SGGS

ਚੌਪਈ । ਰਾਗ ਏਕ ਸੰਗਿ ਪੰਚ ਬਰੰਗਨ ਸੰਗਿ ਅਲਾਪਹਿ ਆਠਉ ਨੰਦਨ । ਪ੍ਰਥਮ ਰਾਗ ਭੈਰਉ ਵੈ ਕਰਹੀ । ਪੰਚ ਰਾਗਨੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਉਚਰਹੀ । ਪ੍ਰਥਮ ਭੈਰਵੀ ਬਿਲਾਵਲੀ । ਪੁੰਨਿਆਕੀ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਬੰਗਲੀ । ਪੁਨਿ ਅਸਲੇਖੀ ਕੀ ਭਈ ਬਾਰੀ । ਏ ਭੈਰਉ ਕੀ ਪਾਚਉ ਨਾਰੀ । ਪੰਚਮ ਹਰਖ ਦਿਸਾਖ ਸੁਨਾਵਹਿ । ਬੰਗਾਲਮ ਮਧੁ ਮਾਧਵ ਗਾਵਹਿ । ੬੩ ।

Chaupai. Rag Eyk Sang Panch Brangan. Sang Alapeh Atho Nandan. Pritham Rag Bhairon Veiy Karhi. Panch Ragni Sang Ucharhi. Pritham Bhairavi Bilavli. Puniaki Gaveh Bangli. Pun Aslaykhi Ki Bhayi Bari. Eh Bharion Ki Pancho Nari. Pancham Harakh Disakh Sunavaiy. Bangalam Madh Madhav Gaveh. 63.

ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪਸਾਦਿ ॥ ਰਾਗ ਮਾਲਾ ॥ ਰਾਗ ਏਕ ਸੰਗਿ ਪੰਚ ਬਰੰਗਨ ॥ ਸੰਗਿ ਅਲਾਪਹਿ ਆਠਉ ਨੰਦਨ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਥਮ ਰਾਗ ਭੈਰਉ ਵੈ ਕਰਹੀ ॥ ਪੰਚ ਰਾਗਨੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਉਚਰਹੀ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਥਮ ਭੈਰਵੀ ਬਿਲਾਵਲੀ ॥ ਪੁੰਨਿਆਕੀ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਬੰਗਲੀ ॥ ਪੁਨਿ ਅਸਲੇਖੀ ਕੀ ਭਈ ਬਾਰੀ ॥ ਏ ਭੈਰਉ ਕੀ ਪਾਚਉ ਨਾਰੀ ॥ ਪੰਚਮ ਹਰਖ ਦਿਸਾਖ ਸੁਨਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਬੰਗਾਲਮ ਮਧੁ ਮਾਧਵ ਗਾਵਹਿ ॥ ੧ ॥

Ek Oangkar Satgur Parsad. Ragmala. Rag Eyk Sang Panch Brangan. Sang Alapeh Atho Nandan. Pritham Rag Bhairon Veiy Karhi. Panch Ragni Sang Ucharhi. Pritham Bhairavi Bilavli. Puniaki Gaveh Bangli. Pun Aslaykhi Ki Bhayi Bari. Eh Bharion Ki Pancho Nari. Pancham Harakh Disakh Sunavaiy. Bangalam Madh Madhav Gaveh. 1.

Note: Differences between the two versions are denoted in RED.

The changes to para 63 of Kavi Alam’s composition in the version of the SGGS are as follows:

  1. The phrase ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪਸਾਦਿ Ek Oangkar Satgur Parsad has been added. There is no such phrase in the original by Kavi Alam who is a Muslim poet.
  2. A new title has been created namely ਰਾਗ ਮਾਲਾ Ragmala. The original title is Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla. Kavi Alam does not use the word Ragmala in his composition.
  3. The word ਚੌਪਈ Chaupai has been removed from the SGGS version, even if the poetic form of the copied version is still Chaupai. (Note: Chaupai is a specific form of Indian poetry).
  4. The number 63 – representing the 63rd paragraph of Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla – has been changed to 1 – to represent the first paragraph of a new composition titled Ragmala.
  5. The punctuation has been changed from single ਡੰਡੀ dandee ([) to double ਡੰਡੀ dandee (]).

Based on the above changes, the following questions need answers.

  1. Who lifted, copied, stole, or plagiarized Kavi Alam’s work and inserted it into the SGGS on the final page (1430)? Since there is no Mehla title and the word “Nanak” is not found anywhere in Ragmala, nor is the name of any bhagat used, it is clear that the act of plagiarism is not the work of any of our Gurus or any of the 35 writers of the SGGS. We know that none of the 35 writers would ever indulge in any theft of someone else’s work.
  2. What was the need to lift, copy, steal and plagiarize this non-spiritual poetry and include it as “Gurbani” into the SGGS – other than to corrupt and contaminate the purity of the SGGS.
  3. Why was ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪਸਾਦਿ Ek Oangkar Satgur Parsad added – other than to mislead us Sikhs into thinking that this poetry was Gurbani?
  4. Why was the word ਚੌਪਈ Chaupai removed? Retaining it may have exposed the act of copying and stealing a composition from outside the SGGS – given that Chaupai is never the poetic form in the entire 1429 pages of the SGGS?
  5. Why was the numbering “63” changed to “1” – other than to mislead us Sikhs into thinking that this stolen poetry of Kavi Alam is a “Gurbani composition” that begins here at para 1?
  6. Why was the punctuation of every verse changed from single ਡੰਡੀ dandee । to double ਡੰਡੀ dandee ॥ – other than to mislead us Sikhs into thinking that this lifted, stolen and plagiarized poetry was indeed Gurbani and inserted into the SGGS by Guru Arjun, because the Guru used the double dandee ਡੰਡੀ ॥ throughout the SGGS?

This is how para 65 is written in Kavi Alam’s Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla and Ragmala as found on the final page within the SGGS.

Para 65

of Kavi Alam’s Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla

Para 3 of Ragmala

as found on page 1430 of the SGGS

ਚੌਪਈ । ਦੁਤੀਆ ਮਾਲਿ ਕਉਸਕ ਆਲਾਪਹਿ । ਸੰਗਿ ਰਾਗਨੀ ਪਾਚੋਂ ਥਾਪਹਿ । ਗੋਂਡਕਰੀ ਅਰੁ ਦੇਵ ਕੰਧਾਰੀ ਗੰਧਾਰੀ ਸੀ ਹੁਤੀ ਉਚਾਰੀ । ਧਨਾਸਰੀ ਏ ਪਾਚੋਂ ਗਾਈ । ਮਾਲਕੌਸ ਰਾਗ ਸੰਗਿ ਲਾਈ । ਮਾਰੂ ਮਸਤ ਅੰਗਮੇਵਾਰਾ । ਪ੍ਰਬਲ ਚੰਦ ਕਉਸਕ ਉਭਾਰਾ । ਕੌ ਖਟ ਅਉ ਭਉਰਾ ਨਦ ਗਾਏ । ਮਾਲਕੌਸ ਰਾਗ ਸੰਗਿ ਲਾਏ । ੬੫ ।

Chaupai. Dutiya Mal Kausak Alapeh. Sang Ragni Pancho Thapeh. Gondkri Ar Dev Kandhari Ghandari Si Huti Uchari. Dhansri Ey Pancho Gayi. Malkaus Rag Sang Layi. Maru Mast Angmewara. Parbal Chand Kausak Ubhara. Kao Khat Aao Bhaora Nad Gaye. Malkaus Rag Sang Laye.

ਦੁਤੀਆ ਮਾਲਕਉਸਕ ਆਲਾਪਹਿ ॥ ਸੰਗਿ ਰਾਗਨੀ ਪਾਚਉ ਥਾਪਹਿ ॥ ਗੋਂਡਕਰੀ ਅਰੁ ਦੇਵਗੰਧਾਰੀ ॥ ਗੰਧਾਰੀ ਸੀਹੁਤੀ ਉਚਾਰੀ ॥ ਧਨਾਸਰੀ ਏ ਪਾਚਉ ਗਾਈ ॥ ਮਾਲ ਰਾਗ ਕਉਸਕ ਸੰਗਿ ਲਾਈ ॥ ਮਾਰੂ ਮਸਤਅੰਗ ਮੇਵਾਰਾ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਬਲਚੰਡ ਕਉਸਕ ਉਭਾਰਾ ॥ ਖਉਖਟ ਅਉ ਭਉਰਾਨਦ ਗਾਏ ॥ ਅਸਟ ਮਾਲਕਉਸਕ ਸੰਗਿ ਲਾਏ ॥ ੧ ॥

Dutiya Malkausak Alapeh. Sang Ragni Pancho Thapeh. Gondkri Ar Devgandhari. Ghandari Sihuti Uchari. Dhansri Ey Pancho Gayi. Mal Rag Kausak Sang Layi. Maru Mastang Mewara. Parbal Chand Kausak Ubhara. Khaokhat Aao Bhaoranad Gaye. Asht Malkausak Sang Laye.

Note: Differences between the two versions are denoted in RED.

The changes to para 65 of Kavi Alam’s composition of the version in the SGGS are as follows:

1. The word ਚੌਪਈ Chaupai has been removed.

2. The number 65 – representing the 65th paragraph – has been changed to 1.

3. The punctuation has been changed from single ਡੰਡੀ dandee । to double ਡੰਡੀ dandee ॥.

4. There are other changes (errors) in the process of lifting, copying, stealing and plagiarizing of Alam’s original poetry. For instance, ਦੇਵ ਕੰਧਾਰੀ ਗੰਧਾਰੀ Dev Kandhari Ghandari has been changed to ਦੇਵਗੰਧਾਰੀ Devghandari in line 3. ਮਾਲਕੌਸ ਰਾਗ Malkauns Rag has been changed to ਮਾਲ ਰਾਗ ਕਉਸਕ Maal Raag Kausak in line 6. These errors are either genuine mistakes or purposive – to hide the act of plagiarism and make the copied composition appear original.

This is how para 66 is written in Kavi Alam’s Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla and Ragmala as found on the final page within the SGGS.

Para 66

of Kavi Alam’s Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla

Para 4 of Ragmala

as found on page 1430 of the SGGS

ਸੋਰਠਾ। ਪੁਨਿ ਆਯੋ ਹਿੰਡੋਲੁ ਪਾਂਚ ਨਾਰਿ ਸੰਗਿ ਅਸਟ ਸੁਤ । ਉਠੈ ਸੁ ਤਾਨ ਕਲੋਲ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਤਾਲ ਮਿਲਾਇਕੈ ।੬੬।

Sortha. Pun Aiyo Hindol Paanch Nar Sang Ast Sut. Uthaiy So Taan Kalol Gaveh Taal Milayaeykay. 66.

ਪੁਨਿ ਆਇਅਉ ਹਿੰਡੋਲੁ ਪੰਚ ਨਾਰਿ ਸੰਗਿ ਅਸਟ ਸੁਤ ॥ ਉਠਹਿ ਤਾਨ ਕਲੋਲ ਗਾਇਨ ਤਾਰ ਮਿਲਾਵਹੀ ॥ ੧ ॥

Pun Aieyo Hindol Punch Nar Sang Ast Sut. Uthey Taan Kalol Gaen Taar Milavhi.

Note: Differences between the two versions are denoted in RED.

The changes to para 66 of Kavi Alam’s composition of the version in the SGGS on page 1430 are as follows:

1. The word ਸੋਰਠਾ Sortha has been removed.

2. The number 66 – representing the 66th paragraph – has been changed to 1.

3. The punctuation has been changed from single ਡੰਡੀ dandee । to double ਡੰਡੀ dandee ॥.

4. There are changes (errors) in the process of lifting, copying, stealing and plagiarizing of Alam’s original poetry. For instance, ਗਾਵਹਿ ਤਾਲ ਮਿਲਾਇਕੈ Gaveh Taal Miyaeykay has been changed to ਗਾਇਨ ਤਾਰ ਮਿਲਾਵਹੀ Gaen Taar Milavhi. Again, these errors are either genuine mistakes or purposive – to hide the act of plagiarism and make the copied composition appear original.

This is how para 72 is written in Kavi Alam’s Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla and Ragmala as found on the final page within the SGGS.

Para 72 of Kavi Alam’s Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla Final paragraph

of Ragmala as found on page 1430 of the SGGS

ਚੌਪਈ। ਖਸਟ ਰਾਗ ਉਨਿ ਗਾਇਆ ਸੰਗਿ ਰਾਗਨੀ ਤੀਸ । ਸਭੈ ਪੁਤਰ ਰਾਗੰਨ ਕੇ ਅਠਾਰਹ ਦਸ ਬੀਸ । ੭੨ ।

Chaupai. Khast Rag Un Gaya Sang Ragni Tees. Sbhaiy Putr Ragun Kay Athareh Dus Bees.

ਖਸਟ ਰਾਗ ਉਨਿ ਗਾਏ ਸੰਗਿ ਰਾਗਨੀ ਤੀਸ ॥ ਸਭੈ ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਰਾਗੰਨ ਕੇ ਅਠਾਰਹ ਦਸ ਬੀਸ ॥ 1 ॥

Khast Rag Un Gayey Sang Ragni Tees. Sbhaiy Putr Ragun Kay Athareh Dus Bees.

Note: Changes made within Ragmala are denoted in RED.

The changes to para 72 of Kavi Alam’s composition of the version in the SGGS on page 1430 are as follows:

1. The word ਚੌਪਈ Chaupai has been removed.

2. The number 72 – representing the 72nd paragraph – has been changed to 1.

3. The punctuation has been changed from single ਡੰਡੀ dandee । to double ਡੰਡੀ dandee ॥.

4. There are changes (errors) in the process of lifting, copying, stealing and plagiarizing of Alam’s original poetry. The phrase ਉਨਿ ਗਾਇਆ Un Gaya has been changed to ਉਨਿ ਗਾਏ Un Gayey. As is the case with other paras, this error is either a genuine mistake or purposive – to hide the act of plagiarism, as well as to cover up the original intent of the composition. When Kavi Alam uses the phrase ਉਨਿ ਗਾਇਆ Un Gaya in the singular tense – he is referring to the rendering of multiple rags by a single singer – Kaam Kandla – and a single scene of a single performance of hers. The plagiarist has attempted to alter the tense to plural – to suggest that Ragmala is about multiple singers (35 composers of the SGGS).

WHAT CAN BE MADE OF THE CHANGES TO RAGMALA

The following observaions regarding the changes made in the process of lifting, copying, stealing and plagiarizing of Alam’s original poetry and inserting it into the final page of the SGGS as Ragmala can be made.

  1. The changes appear to be made to conceal the act of lifting, copying, stealing and plagiarizing of Alam’s original poetry. The changing of the paragraph numbering (63 to 72) to numerical “1” throughout the entire Ragmala within the SGGS seems to be in line with such a motive. Using the original numbering would have given away the act of stealing – since a composition cannot begin with paragraph 63, and since readers would inquire about paragraphs preceeding 63 (1 – 62) and succeeding (after 72).
  2. The changes suggest that the person/s who committed this act is unschooled in the numbering process of the SGGS. Verses, couplets, shabds, saloks, paurees etc are numbered successively and cumulatively within the SGGS. But in Ragmala, every couplet ends with the numeral “1”. This act alone makes Ragmala a composition that does not fit into the style and structure of Pothi Sahib or the SGGS.
  3. The changes suggest that the person/s who committed this act of thievery has rudimentary knowledge of the structure of Gurbani and the SGGS. This is why the phrase ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪਸਾਦਿ Ek Oangkar Satgur Parsad is added – to provide credence to lie that the composition is Gurbani. This is also why the poetic forms as indicated though the words ਚੌਪਈ Chaupai and ਸੋਰਠਾ Sortha are removed – even if the copied composition retains both these poetic measures within Ragmala. This is because the person committing the corruption of Gurbani knows that these two poetic forms are never used in the entire 1429 pages of the SGGS and naming them would readily give away his act of theft.
  4. The changes suggest that the person/s who committed this act is unschooled in the knowledge of rag and taal. Alam Kavi uses the (correct vocabulary) such as ਮਿਸ਼ਟਾਂਗ, ਬਰਬਲ, ਕਾਲਿੰਗਾ, ਮਾਲਵ, ਕੁੰਕਨੀ, ਸੁਹਵਿ, ਜਲੰਧਰ (Mishtang, Barbal, Kalinga, Malav, Kunkni, Suhv, Jlandhar), but the person who lifted the poetry and inserted it into the SGGS altered these words into wrong or meaningless ones namely ਮਸਤਅੰਗ, ਪ੍ਰਬਲ, ਕਾਲੰਕਾ, ਸਾਲੂ, ਗੁਨਗਨੀ, ਸੂਹਉ, ਜਬਲੀਧਰ and ਸਬਲੀਧਰ (Mastang, Parbal, Kalanka, Salu, Gunguni, Suhou, Jablidhar, Sablidhar). None of the 35 writers of the SGGS could have done such blunders. There is no way that Guru Arjun would have made such errors while compiling the Pothi Sahib.
  5. These changes (errors) are either genuine mistakes or purposive. If purposive, their intent is to hide the act of plagiarism; make the copied composition appear original; as well as to cover up the original intent and meaning of the composition.

THE BACKGROUND OF KAVI ALAM’S MADHAV NAL KAM KANDLA.

The opening verse of Kavi Alam’s text is as follows:

ਸੰਨ ਨਉਸੈ ਇਕਾਨਵਾ ਆਹੀ। ਕਰਹੁ ਕਥਾ ਅਬ ਬੋਲੳੇ ਤਾਹੀ।

San Nausaiy Ekanva Ahi. Krho Ktha Ab Bolo Tahee.

The verse makes it clear that Alam composed his text in the year 991 Hijri which corresponds to 1640 Bikarmi or 1583 AD. This was the period of Emperor Akbar. The Pothi Sahib was completed in 1661 Bikarmi (1604 AD), which was the reign of Emperor Jahangir. It is therefore clear that Kavi Alam had composed his Madhav Nal Kam Kandla a full 21 years before the completion of Pothi Sahib.

Kavi Alam makes clear he was a Muslim. Hence the reference to the year of 991 Hijri. His manglacharan or opening verse of Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla makes clear that his obeisance is to Prophet Muhamad.

ਹੁਤੋ ਨਗਰ ਪੁਹਮ ਪਰਚੀਨਾ। ਤਾਂ ਮੈਂ ਪੁਰਖ ਮੁਹੰਮਦ ਕੀਨਾ।

Huto Nagar Puhm Parchina. Ta Mein Purakh Muhamad Keena.

Kavi Alam further establishes his Islamic credentials by writing that he was a follower of prophet Muhamad’s teachings. He writes:

ਗੌਸ ਕੁਤਬ ਕਾਦਰੀ ਕਹਾਯੋ। ਜਗ ਸੈਦ ਮਹੰਮਦੀ ਆਯੋ।

ਬੰਸ ਰਸੂਲ ਕੀਉ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸਾ। ਪੁਰਵੈ ਨਾਮ ਲੈਤ ਜੋ ਆਸਾ।

Gaus Kutb Kadri Kahayeo. Jug Said Muhamdee Aiyo

Bans Rasul Keeyo Pargasa. Purvaiy Nam Laiyt Jo Asa.

On page 2 of his Madhav Nal Kam Kandla, Kavi Alam makes clear that he was a contemporary of King Akbar. He writes

ਦਿਲੀ ਪਤਿ ਅਕਬਰ ਸੁਲਤਾਨਾ। ਸਪਤ ਦੀਪ ਮਹਿ ਜਾਂਕੀ ਆਨਾ।

Delhi Pat Akbar Sultana. Sapt Deep Meh Janki Ana.

THE GIST OF MADHAV NAL KAM KANDLA

The crux of Kavi Alam’s compositon is derived from para 62 of Madhav Nal Kam Kandla.

ਚੌਪਈ। ਰਾਗ ਏਕ ਸੰਗਿ ਪੰਚ ਬਰੰਗਨ ॥ ਸੰਗਿ ਅਲਾਪਹਿ ਆਠਉ ਨੰਦਨ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਥਮ ਰਾਗ ਭੈਰਉ ਵੈ ਕਰਹੀ ॥ ਪੰਚ ਰਾਗਨੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਉਚਰਹੀ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਥਮ ਭੈਰਵੀ ਬਿਲਾਵਲੀ ॥ ਪੁੰਨਿਆਕੀ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਬੰਗਲੀ ॥ ਪੁਨਿ ਅਸਲੇਖੀ ਕੀ ਭਈ ਬਾਰੀ ॥ ਏ ਭੈਰਉ ਕੀ ਪਾਚਉ ਨਾਰੀ ॥ ਪੰਚਮ ਹਰਖ ਦਿਸਾਖ ਸੁਨਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਬੰਗਾਲਮ ਮਧੁ ਮਾਧਵ ਗਾਵਹਿ ॥ ੬੩ ॥ ਲਲਤ ਬਿਲਾਵਲ ਗਾਵਹੀ ਅਪੁਨੀ ਅਪੁਨੀ ਭਾਂਤਿ ॥ ਅਸਟ ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਭੈਰਵ ਕੇ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਗਾਇਨ ਪਾਤ੍ਰ ॥ ੬੪ ॥ Chaupai. Rag Eyk Sang Panch Brangan. Sang Alapeh Atho Nandan. Pritham Rag Bhairon Veiy Karhi. Panch Ragni Sang Ucharhi. Pritham Bhairavi Bilavli. Puniaki Gaveh Bangli. Pun Aslaykhi Ki Bhayi Bari. Eh Bharion Ki Pancho Nari. Pancham Harakh Disakh Sunavaiy. Bangalam Madh Madhav Gaveh.

Meaning: Within the Rag Akhara (song and dance drama arena) of Kam Kandla (the primary character and dancer of the composition- the context of which is coming from paras 61 and 62) there are five beautiful women actors (Barangan) who sing and perform with their 8 sons (ਆਠਉ ਨੰਦਨ Atho Nandan). First they rendered (ਕਰਹੀ Karhi) Rag Bahirav. The five Raginis rendered in concert with each other (ਸੰਗਿ ਉਚਰਹੀ Sang Ucharhi). Bhairawi and Bilawli rendered first, then Puniya Ki and Bangli. Then came Asleykhi’s turn to render. These were the five women (actors) of Bhairav. Pancham, Harakh, Disakh, Bangalam, Madh, Madhav, Lalit and Bilawal – sang in their own styles. These were the 8 sons of Bhairav who sang and acted in the Rag Akhara.

Paras 63 and 64 above of Kavi Alam’s compositon – as derived from page 13 of Madhav Nal Kam Kandla – comprise the first two paras of Ragmala as contained on page 1430 of the SGGS. Readers may want to ask what – if anything – this story of the song and dance arena of the dancer Kam Kandla, her troupe of singers and dancers, and their feats have to do with Gurbani, Sikhi and Gurmat.

How do we know that paras 63 and 64 above (first two paras of Ragmala as in SGGS) are about the accomplishments of the dancer girl Kam Kandla? The answer lies in the preceeding paras (61 and 62) which read as follows:

ਬੋਲੈ ਕਾਮ ਕੰਦਲਾ ਨਾਰੀ । ਆਵ ਚਤੁਰੁ ਬਿਚ ਛਨ ਭਾਰੀ । ੬੧।

Boleiy Kaam Kandla Nari. Aav Chatur Bich Chun Bhari.61.

ਬਾਜੇ ਸਭ ਸੰਗੀਤ ਤੰਤ ਬਿਰਤ ਘਨਤਾਲ ।

ਬਹੁਰ ਅਲਾਪਹਿ ਰਾਗ ਕਟ ਪੰਚ ਪੰਚ ਸੰਗ ਬਾਲ । ੬੨।

Bajaiy Sabh Sangeet Tunt Biret Chantaal.

Bahur Alapeh Rag Kat Panch Panch Sang Baal.62

Both the above paras are missing from the Ragmala as contained on the final page of the SGGS. They were omitted by the individual/s who lifted, copied, stole and plagiarized Alam’s poem and added it to the final page of the SGGS. The reason for this omission is clear. Adding these two paras would have given away their thievery and deceit in wanting to corrupt and contaminate the contents of the SGGS with the exploits of a dancer girl named Kam Kandla. They hence decided to start their thievery from para 63 onwards – making the act of detecting their criminal act a little more difficult than cursory.

All in all, then, paras 61- 72 of Kavi Alam’s Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla contain a narrative of a scene from the song and dance drama from the arena of the dancer girl Kaam Kandla. Paras 63 – 72 of this narrative are the ones that are lifted and inserted into the final page of the SGGS under a composition titled Ragmala with the words ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪਸਾਦਿ Ek Oangkar Satgur Parsad stamped above it.

Paragraph 72 of Kavi Alam’s Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla is as follows:

ਚੌਪਈ। ਖਸਟ ਰਾਗ ਉਨਿ ਗਾਇਆ ਸੰਗਿ ਰਾਗਨੀ ਤੀਸ । ਸਭੈ ਪੁਤਰ ਰਾਗੰਨ ਕੇ ਅਠਾਰਹ ਦਸ ਬੀਸ । ੭੨ ।

Chaupai. Khast Rag Un Gaya Sang Ragni Tees. Sbhaiy Putr Ragun Kay Athareh Dus Bees. 72

This is how it appears as the final paragraph in Ragmala as contained on page 1430 of the SGGS:

ਖਸਟ ਰਾਗ ਉਨਿ ਗਾਏ ਸੰਗਿ ਰਾਗਨੀ ਤੀਸ ॥ ਸਭੈ ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਰਾਗੰਨ ਕੇ ਅਠਾਰਹ ਦਸ ਬੀਸ ॥ 1 ॥

Khast Rag Un Gayey Sang Ragni Tees. Sbhaiy Putr Ragun Kay Athareh Dus Bees.

Read together with paras 61 and 62, the meaning of para 72 is: Kaam Kandla and her group of performers rendered 6 rags deploying 30 women actors. In that drama arena of dance and song 48 of their sons participated.

Readers might want to ask what – if anything – this concluding para has got to with Gurbani, Gurmat and Sikhi – to have been made into the final verse of SGGS. How did a scripture filled with the spiritual journeys of 35 writers and divine enlightenment come to end with a statement that describes the song, dance and drama of Kam Kandla and her troupe?

SHEDDING LIGHT ON KAVI ALAM, MADHAV NAL AND KAM KANDLA.

Alam is recorded as a poet who worked in the court of Emperor Akbar. His primary work pertains to the glory of Akbar as an epitome of religious tolerance. His rendition of the narrative of Madhav Nal and Kam Kandla is amongst his secondary works. All indications are that both Madhav Nal and Kam Kandla were not mythological characters but persons who actually existed.

Madhav Nal was a Brahmin who was a resident of a place called Pushpavati Nagri Balhari located within the district of Katni in Madh Pardesh. He was an accomplished musician who played the flute. Kam Kandla was a singer, dancer and performer in the court of King Gobind Rao Chand who reigned from Samvat 919 (862 AD). She was a Muslim. In a vast majority of the literature about her, she is described as a prostitute. Kavi Alam’s composition is the story of the tumultuous relationship between Madhav Nal the Brahmin and Kam Kandla the dancer – the gist of which is that both the Brahmin and Kam Kandla were exiled from the court of Gobind Rao Chand as a result of their illicit relationship. The act of a Brahmin conducting a love relationship with a Muslim woman was seen as an insult by the Brahmin community within the court of Gobind Rao Chand and they successfully petitioned for Madhav Nal’s and Kaam Kandla’s execution or exile. Spared his life, and in exile, Madhav Nal built a mandir to commemorate his relationship with Kam Kandla. The official site of the government of Madh Pardesh contains mention of Madhav Nal, Kam Kandla and the archeological ruins of Kam Kandla Mandir here: https://katni.nic.in/en/tourist-place/pushpavati-township-bilhari/2

In essence then, the story of Madhav Nal and Kam Kandla is centuries old. It is thus natural that it is found in numerous texts in as many languages. The earliest record is of a 11th century Sanskrit version titled Madhav Nal Akhyan. In 1528 AD Gujrati poet Ganpat wrote Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla Parbodh in Rajasthani language. This version has 2565 verses. In 1560 Kaushallabh wrote Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla Chaupai in the same language. In 1583 Kavi Alam wrote Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla in Hindi for Emperor Akbar. He captured the entire story in 353 verses. In 1680 Damodar Kavi wrote Madhav Katha and in 1780 Budh Singh Kavi wrote Madhav Katha.

The one text that has absolutely no place for the exploits of a dancer girl’s song, dance and drama skills is the SGGS. Nevertheless, paras 63-72 of Kavi Alam’s Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla have been surreptitiously inserted into the final page of the SGGS by corrupt elements presumably to contaminate the divine spirituality of Gurbani. A vast majority of Sikhs have missed this cruel joke, but have instead chosen to believe that paras 63-72 of Kavi Alam’s composition is Gurbani indeed.

MADHAV NAL AND KAAM KANDLA IN THE DASAM GRANTH.

The illicit affair between Madhav Nal and Kam Kandla is the subject of Charitar 91 in the DG. The Charitar consists of 66 paras. The first para reads:

ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਚੰਦ ਨਰੇਸ ਕੇ ਮਾਧਵਨਲ ਨਿਜ ਮੀਤ। ਪੜੇ ਬੁਯਕਿਰਨ ਸ਼ਾਂਸ਼ਤਰ ਖਟ ਕੋਕ ਸਾਰ ਸੰਗੀਤ।

Gobind Chand Nares Kay Madhav Nal Nij Meet. Prrey Buyekiran Shastar Khat Koke Saar Sangeet.

Meaning: King Gobind Chand had a personal friend named Madhav Nal. He was a scholar of grammar, philosophy and music.

Paras eight, nine and ten speak of Madhav Nal going to the court of Kaam Sein where Kam Kandla danced together with 360 other women.

ਚੌਪਈ । ਕਾਮਾਵਤੀ ਨਗਰ ਚਲਿ ਆਯੋ। ਕਾਮ ਕੰਦਲਾ ਸੌਂ ਚਿਤ ਭਾਯੋ। ੮।

Chaupai. Kamawati Nagar Chal Aiyo. Kaam Kandla So Chit Bhayeo.

Meaning: Madhav Nal came to the village of Kamawati. Where he fell in love with Kaam Kandla.

ਕਾਮ ਸੈਨ ਰਾਜਾ ਜਹਾਂ ਤਹ ਦਿਜ ਪਹੁਚਯੋ ਜਾਇ। ਪ੍ਰਗਟ ਤੀਨ ਸੌ ਸਾਠ ਤ੍ਰਿਯ ਨਾਚਤ ਜਹਾਂ ਬਨਾਇ। ੯।

Kam Sein Raja Jhan Theh Dih Phuncheyo Jaye. Pargat Teen Sau Sath Triya Nachat Jhan Bnayey.

Meaning: Where Kaam Sein was king, therein is the court where He (Madhav Nal) arrived. 360 women danced in this court.

ਚੌਪਈ। ਮਾਧਵ ਤੌਨ ਸਭਾ ਮੇ ਆਯੋ। ਆਨ ਰਾਵ ਕੋ ਸੀਸ ਝੁਕਾਯੋ। ਸੂਰਬੀਰ ਬੈਠੇ ਬਹੁ ਜਹਾਂ। ਨਾਚਤ ਕਾਮ ਕੰਦਲਾ ਤਹਾਂ।

Chaupai. Madhav Taun Sbha May Ayo. Aan Rav Ko Sees Jhukayo. Surbeer Baithay Bho Jhan. Nachat Kaam Kandla Thaan.

Meaning: Madhav came to this court. He bowed to the King who was in the presence of warriors. Kaam Kandla danced therein.

Para 53 describes Kaam Kandla as a prostitute who was not worth fighting a war between two kings that resulted over the issue of who possessed her.

ਦੈ ਬੇਸਵਾ ਇਹ ਬਿਪ੍ਰ ਕੋ ਸੁਨ ਰੇ ਬਚਨ ਅਚੇਤ। ਬ੍ਰਿਥਾ ਬੁਝਾਰਤ ਕ੍ਰਯੋ ਕਟਕ ਏਕ ਨਟੀ ਕੇ ਹੇਤ। ੫੩।

Deiy Besuva Eh Bipar Ko Sun Ray Bachan Acheyt. Birtha Bujharat Karyo Katak Eyk Nati Kay Heyt.

Meaning: Listen O fool, give this prostitute to the Brahmin. Why are armies fighting and killing men over a dancer woman?

The concluding para says that despite the war over which kingdom possessed her, Madhav Nal and Kaam Kandla were finally united.

ਕਾਮਾ ਦਈ ਦਿਜੋਤ ਮਹਿ ਧੰਨਯੋ ਬਿਕ੍ਰਮਾਰਾਇ। Kama Deyi Dijot Ko Dhanyo Bikarmaraye.

THE FRAUDULENT CASE FOR RAGMALA AS GURBANI.

Despite the outrageous nature of the truth and origin of Ragmala, a vast majority of our clergy, derawadis, taksalis and sampardayess have attempted to make the case that Ragmala is indeed part and parcel of the SGGS on the basis of the following arguments.

  1. Ragmala is Gurbani. Those making this argument are unable to tell us what the spiritual message of Ragmala is. They are also unable to tell us how a composition that is copied, lifted and stolen from a pre-existing text can qualify as “Gurbani” to begin with.
  2. Composed by Guru Arjun. The argument is that the author of Ragmala is Guru Arjun. Yet, those making this argument have provided no explanation as to why the phrase “Mehla 5” is not found within the heading of Ragmala. Nor can they tell us why the word “Nanak” is missing from the entire composition. The proponents also cannot tell us why Ragmala cannot be found in the Kartarpuri Birr – the first and original text prepared under the supervision of Guru Arjun and in the scribe of Bhai Gurdas. These proponents further cannot tell us why the phrase “Mehla 5” has only come to appear on copies of the SGGS that are beginning to be “discovered” after the Sikh Reference Library was looted in the aftermath of the 1984 attack on Darbar Sahib Complex.[1]3 Was the looting of Sikh artefacts a deliberate act aimed at corrupting and altering the contents of precious manuscripts that were stored in the complex? Are these altered texts now being “discovered” at various locations for the purpose of achieving these objectives of the powers that be?
  3. It is composed by Bhai Gurdas. This claim is made by Dr Charan Singh, father of Bhai Veer Singh.[2]3 There is no evidence to support such a claim. There is no bani of Bhai Gurdas within the SGGS.
  4. Ragmala is the Contents Page, Glossary or Index Page of the Rags used within the SGGS. This argument makes sense only if one glosses over the details. There is a total of 84 rags, raginis (female rags) and names that represent “children of rags” are mentioned in Ragmala. Of these, 59 are not used in the SGGS. To begin with, the SGGS does not have the notion of raginis or “wives” or “children” of rags within it. The rags of the SGGS are gender-neutral.

Of the 31 rags that are used in the SGGS, ten are not mentioned in Ragmala (Majh, Bihagra, Vadhans, Jaitsri, Ramkli, Mali Gaura, Tukhari, Parbhati, Jaijawanti & Nat Narayan). How could the Ragmala qualify as the Contents, Index or Glossary of the SGGS when it omits mention of a full on third of the rags used in the SGGS? How could it qualify as such when 70% of its “contents” (in the form of rag names) are not used in the SGGS. Readers might want to ask if they have ever come across such a defective Contents Page, flawed Index or faulty Glossary of any other text? And here we are talking of a text that was edited by none other than Guru Arjun and Guru Gobind Singh. Were our Gurus capable of committing such low grade literature sins?

  1. Rags visited Guru Arjun. The narrative that is contained within Gurbilas Patshahi 6[3]3 is that to show their appreciation to Guru Arjun for composing the Pothi Sahib in rags, they (the rags) descended from the heavens and appeared before the Guru. Guru Arjun is thus said to have asked Bhai Gurdas to record all their names in Ragmala. This narrative is also contained within the Fareedkoti Translation of Ragmala. The notion that musical scales called rags can be accorded the ability to “descend from the heavens” and appear as life-filled beings “in the presence of Guru Arjun” is ridiculous, to say the least.

This story however crumbles upon the examination of some cursory details. The authors of Gurbilas do not tell us as to what happened to the 10 rags that are used in the SGGS but are not mentioned in Ragmala? Did they fail to show up in this “visit” to Guru Arjun? Gurbilas also does not explain why 59 rags and “raginis” that are not used in the SGGS showed up to express their appreciation and got mentioned in Ragmala. Shouldn’t these 59 rags and raginis be expressing their regret for being left out of the SGGS?

The other point is that the appreciation by the rags ought to have been given to the 35 writers who composed their bani in rags and not merely the editor of Pothi Sahib. Did these rags “descend from the heavens” to “express their appreciation” to Bhagat Farid? To Guru Nanak and the other Gurus? To Kabir? To Namdev? When these composers were writing their bani in rags?

Gurbani reading Sikhs must have been considered truly mindless by the individuals who ventured into adulterating and corrupting the SGGS. As if the act of inserting the plagiarized compositon pertaining to song, dance and drama of the dancer woman Kam Kandla and her troupe into the SGGS in the form of Ragmala was not enough, dubious and mentally challenging justifications are offered by the authors of Gurbilas and Fareedkot – leaving one to wonder if both the acts of inserting Ragmala and justifying its contents as “Gurbani” were done by the same forces or at least acting in collaboration with one another.

THE BLUNDERS WITHIN RAGMALA

It is an insult to Gurbani reading Sikhs that the individual/s who plagiarized Kavi Alam’s composition into the SGGS as Ragmala made careless slip-ups. But for Sikhs looking for the truth of Ragmala, these bloopers are a blessing because they tell us that none of the 35 writers and two editors of the SGGS could have ever been involved in the Ragmala process. Some of these bungles are as follows.

  1. Kavi Alam mentions the name of one rag as ਪੰਚਨ Panchan. But the plagiarists have recorded it as ਚੰਪਕ Champak in Ragmala. Similarly, rag ਮਾਲੂ Maloo is wrongly recorded as rag ਸਾਲੂ Saloo. Rag ਬੰਗਾਲ Bangaal has been changed to ਬੰਗਾਲਮ Bangalam, ਕਾਲੇਖੀ Kalekhi to ਕਛੇਲੀ Kacheli, ਕਾਲਿਂਗਨ Kalingan to ਕਾਲੰਕਾ Kalunka, ਸਿੰਧਰੀ Sindhri to ਸਿੰਧੂਰ Sindhur, ਬਰਬਲ Barbal to ਪਰਬਲ Parbal, ਕੁੰਕਨੀ Kunkuni to ਗੁਨਗੁਨੀ, Gunguni, ਕੌਖਟ Kaukhat to ਖੌਖਟ Khaukhat, and ਜਲੰਧਰ Jalandhar to ਜਬਲੀਧਰ Jablidhar.
  2. The rag that is used in the SGGS is ਸੂਹੀ Suhee. But in Ragmala it is recorded as ਸੂਹਉ Suho. Similarly, ਤਿਲੰਗ Tilang is altered to ਤਿਲੰਗੀ Tilangi and ਮਲਾਰ Malar to ਮਲਾਰੀ Malari. In the same manner ਗਉੜੀ Gaurri is adulterated to ਗਵਰੀ Gavree and ਕਾਨੜਾ Kanrra to ਕਾਨਰਾ Kanra. Since Guru Arjun composed bani in all these rags, how could he have made such blunders when recording them in Ragmala – if indeed Ragmala was composed by him?
  3. The Ragmala para pertaining to rag Deepak is ਅਸਟ ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਮੈ ਕਹੇ ਸਵਾਰੀ ॥ ਪੁਨਿ ਆਈ ਦੀਪਕ ਕੀ ਬਾਰੀ॥੧॥ Asth Putar Mein Khay Swari. Pun Ayi Deepak Ki Bari. The word ਅਸਟ Asth means eight. The para is thus meant to list out the eight sons of rag Deepak. But it then goes on to list nine. (1) Kalinka ਕਾਲੰਕਾ, (2) Kuntal ਕੁੰਤਲ, (3) Rama ਰਾਮਾ, (4) Kamal ਕਮਲ, (5) Kusam ਕੁਸਮ, (6) Champak ਚੰਪਕ, (7) Gaura ਗਉਰਾ, (8) Kanura ਕਾਨੁਰਾ, and (9) Kalyana ਕਲਿਆਨਾ. Nirmla Bhai Veer Singh acknowledges the ਚੰਪਕ Champak error, but “rectifies” this blunder of “nine sons of Deepak” by counting ਕਾਨੁਰਾ Kanura and ਕਲਿਆਨਾ Kalyana as one rag. It is difficult to imagine that Veer Singh did not know that his reasoning was laughable. Readers might want to ask if Guru Arjun would make such a numerical blunder – saying rag Deepak had “eight sons” and then gone on to list out nine.

What these errors, blunders and bloopers make clear is that our Gurus – and the 3 writers of the SGGS – had nothing whatsoever to do with Ragmala.

THE ROLE OF AKAL TAKHAT IN THE RAGMALA ISSUE

The truth of Ragmala was first exposed by a series of essays published by Khalsa Samachar – the official organ of the Singh Sabha Leher beginning 1902. Gyani Mangal Singh provided the following points in his article that was published on page 4 in Issue 36, Volume 3, of 1902.

  1. The composition titled Ragmala in the SGGS is lifted from paragraphs 63 to 72 of Kavi Alam’s Madhav Naal Kaam Kandla.
  2. The Suraj Parkash Granth in Asu 46 Ras 3 Adhiyae 47 Chand 38 till 41 says that Guru Arjun had completed the Pothi Sahib at Mundavni and that Dhirmal had added Ragmala to the Birr that was in his possession. ਰਾਗ ਮਾਲਾ ਗੁਰੁ ਕ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਹਿ।ਹੈ ਮੁੰਦਾਵਣੀ ਲਗ ਗੁਰ ਬੈਨ। ਇਸ ਮੇ ਨਹਿ ਸੰਸੇ ਕਰੀ ਅਹਿ। ਜੇ ਸੰਸੈ ਅਵਲੋਕਹੁ ਨੈਨ। ਮਾਧਵ ਨਲਿ ਆਲਮ ਕਵਿ ਕੀਨਸ ਤਿਸ ਮਹਿ ਨ੍ਰਿਤਕਾਰੀ ਕਰਿ ਤੈਨ। ੪੧। Rag Mala Guru Krit Neh. Hai Mundavni Lug Gur Bain. Es Meh Neh Sansay Kre Eh. Jay Sansay Avlokho Nain. Madhav Nal Alam Kav Keenus Tis Meh Nritkari Kar Tain. (Sooraj Parkash). Meaning: Ragmala is not the creation of the Guru; have no doubt about that. It is the work of Alam Kavi pertaining to Madhav Nal and the song of a dancer woman.

The Khalsa Samachar editors called for the removal of Ragmala from the SGGS. The Panch Khalsa Diwan published the SGGS minus the Ragmala in 1917.

The issue of Ragmala came before the committee that had worked for years to draft the Sikh Rehat Maryada (SRM) in 1925. The group had come to an agreement to remove Ragmala from the SGGS. The draft published in 1938 made clear that the bhog should be at Mundavni and Ragmala should not be read.[4]3 However, just days before the final draft of the SRM was to be presented to the SGPC in 1945, nirmla Bhai Veer Singh – an influential member of the committee published an essay in Khalsa Samachar saying he had discovered “new evidence” that would prove that Guru Arjun had composed Ragmala. He asked the SRM committee for time to present the evidence and hold its final decision.

The “evidence” of Bhai Veer Singh never saw the light of day. It was a bluff intended to cloud the Ragmala issue. In 1945 AT Jathedar Mohan Singh Nagoke summoned a joint meeting of derawadis, taksalis and scholars and gave both sides an opportunity to state their case for and against Ragmala. The pro-Ragmala group could not provide any evidence that the composition was Gurbani and walked out in protest. Despite this, Jathedar Nagoke took that position that the reading of Ragmala would be optional but that it would not be read at the AT.

The SRM stipulation pertaining to Ragmala was thus adjusted in the final draft as follows: ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੇ ਪਾਠ (ਸਾਦਾਰਨ ਜਾਂ ਅਖੰਡ) ਦਾ ਭੋਗ ਮੁੰਦਾਵਣੀ ਉਤੇ ਜਾਂ ਰਾਗਮਾਲਾ ਪੜ੍ਹ ਕੇ ਚਲਦੀ ਸਥਾਨਕ ਰੀਤੀ ਅਨੁਸਾਰ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾਵੇ। (ਇਸ ਗੱਲ ਬਾਬਤ ਪੰਥ ‘ਚ ਅਜੇ ਤੱਕ ਮਤਭੇਦ ਹੈ, ਇਸ ਲਈ ਰਾਗਮਾਲਾ ਤੋਂ ਬਿਨਾਂ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੀ ਬੀੜ ਲਿਖਣ ਜਾਂ ਛਾਪਣ ਦਾ ਹੀਆਂ ਨਾ ਕਰੇ)।[5]3 Translation: The bhog of the paath (sadaharan or akhand) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib can be upon Mundavni or Ragmala in accordance with the ongoing practice of the local community. (There is a dispute within the panth on this matter, as such no one should endeavor to write or print a text of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib without Ragmala).

For all intents and purposes the decision to ensure Ragmala remained as an intergral part of the SGGS amounted to a pathetic dereliction of duty by the SRM committee and by extension the SGPC and AT. The SGPC dictated that while the bhog at Darbar Sahib would include the reading of Ragmala, that at AT would be at Mundavni (meaning Ragmala would not be read). Such ambiguity was exploited by Jasbir Singh Roday of the Bhindranwale dera when he became AT Jathedar in March 1988.

Roday decreed to replace the SRM with the Maryada of Bhindran dera. On March 30, 1988, Roday issued a directive at Anandpur Sahib to start the reading of Ragmala at Sri Akal Takhat. The SGPC resisted the move by issuing its own decision (Resolution No. 11, passed on 11 June 1988) to delay Roday’s directive. In May 1993, the SGPC took the decision to revert to the Maryada prevalent before March 30, 1988, at Darbar Sahib and Akal Takhat.

In 2004, AT issued an advisory that read: ਸਾਰੇ ਸਿੱਖ ਜਗਤ ਨੂੰ ਇਹ ਆਦੇਸ਼ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਰਾਗਮਾਲਾ ਵਿਰੁੱਧ ਲਿਖਣ, ਬੋਲਣ ਅਤੇ ਕਿੰਤੂ ਪਰੰਤੂ ਕਰਨ ਤੇ ਅੱਗੇ ਵਾਸਤੇ ਪੂਰੀ ਤਰਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਪਬੰਦੀ ਲਾਈ ਜਾਂਦੀ ਹੈ। ਇਸ ਦੀ ਉਲੰਘਣਾ ਕਰਨ ਵਾਲੇ ਦੇ ਖਿਲਾਫ ਉਪਰੰਤ ਪੰਥਕ ਰਿਵਾਇਤਾਂ ਅਨੁਸਾਰ ਕਾਰਵਾਈ ਕੀਤੀ ਜਾਵੇਗੀ। Translation: The entire Sikh world is advised that writing or speaking against Ragmala or questioning it is completely forbidden from this point on. The transgressor of this advice will be dealt with in accordance with panthik customary practices.

A 2004 AT Advisory against writing and speaking about Ragmala

This advisory meant that the AT is not only in pathetic dereliction of its duty to ensure the truth pertaining to Ragmala prevails; it is complicit in the attempt to ensure the truth remains hidden. At the very least it is acting on behest of the derawadi, taksali and sampardayi groups that want the Sikh world to accept Ragmala as Gurbani – and not question it. This advisory seeks to stop the critics of Ragmala but gives license to the proponents to carry on with their efforts. The threat of dealing with the transgressor “in accordance with panthik practices” is meant to silence those who are determined to expose the truth. Such an advisory makes clear that the Sikh world cannot rely on the AT for spiritual leadership and genuine direction.

SPINNING RAGMALA AS A SPIRITUAL COMPOSITION

All the research relating to the truth of Ragmala has not prevented some Sikhs from wanting to spin Ragmala as Gurbani containing (non-existant) spiritual messages.

In response to my video on the subject of Ragmala[6]3 a viewer wrote the following: “Ragmala is a master piece… It is written by Guru Arjan Dev…It was stolen (from) the SGGS … by Kavi Alam in Madhav Nal Kam Kandla…There is such (a) thing as God and his wives and his 48 sons.” The reader goes on to provide a “spiritual translation” of Ragmala. [7]3 A sampling of the translation is provided for the benefit of the readers. The first para is translated as:

ਰਾਗ ਏਕ ਸੰਗਿ ਪੰਚ ਬਰੰਗਨ ॥ ਸੰਗਿ ਅਲਾਪਹਿ ਆਠਉ ਨੰਦਨ ॥ Rag Eyk Sang Panch Brangan. Sang Alapeh Atho Nandan. There is one tune (God). The whole world sings His praise in classical Tunes in the group of five.

One of the middle paras is translated as ਪੁੰਨਿਆਕੀ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਬੰਗਲੀ ॥ Puniaki Gaveh Bangli. Your praises are sung in melodious tunes. ਪੁਨਿ ਅਸਲੇਖੀ ਕੀ ਭਈ ਬਾਰੀ ॥ Pun Asleykhi Ki Bhai Bari. Then comes the turn of other truthful tunes.

The final para is translated as ਸਭੈ ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਰਾਗੰਨ ਕੇ ਅਠਾਰਹ ਦਸ ਬੀਸ ॥੧॥੧॥ Sbhaiy Putr Ragan Kay Atharah Das Bees. All are sons of the Creator of music (God) whether eighteen, ten or twenty. ||1||1||

The only claim that can be accepted – even if grudgingly – is that “Ragmala is a masterpiece.” But it is masterpiece of Kavi Alam. It is a masterpiece of Kaam Kandla’s song and dance exploits.

To suggest that Kavi Alam “stole the Ragmala” may make sense only if logic is put on the back burner. Why would Alam compose paras 1 -62 of a narrative of Madhav Nal’s affair with the dancer girl Kaam Kandla in “master piece” poety, and then decide to steal a mere ten paras (63-72) from the Ragmala of the SGGS? The very fact that the ten paras from Ragmala fit perfectly into his “master piece” rendition of Kaam Kandla’s exploits makes it abundtantly clear that the Ragmala is indeed about Kam Kandla’s adventures. Why didn’t Kavi Alam steal ten paras from Jup, Sodar, Anand, Sukhmani, Salok Kabir or Salok Mehla 9 or any other of the five thousand verses?

To suggest that “God has his wives and 48 sons” is to peddle a fiction that not only does not exist within Gurmat, Gurbani and Sikhi; it is a creative narrative that cannot be found in any of the scriptures of any religion that we know of. One does not have to go beyond the first verse of the SGGS to know that the God of Gurbani is Ajooni.

The translation is no more than plucking stuff from thin air. The translation of the first verse as “There is one tune (God). The whole world sings His praise in classical Tunes in the group of five” is both ludicrous and wrong. Such a translation begs the question: “where in Gurbani is God a tune? In any case “rag” is not a tune; it is a scale within which one can fit a million tunes.

The translation of the middle para as “Your praises are sung in melodious tunes. Then comes the turn of other truthful tunes” employs selective omission. Why are the words ਪੁੰਨਿਆਕੀ Puniaki, ਬੰਗਲੀ Bangli and ਅਸਲੇਖੀ Asleykhi omitted from the translation? Because they don’t fit into translations plucked from thin air? And what exactly are “truthful tunes?” Are there “un-truthful tunes out there?”

THE FLOW CHART OF CORRUPTING GURBANI

The methods deployed by the Hijackers of Sikhi in contaminating and corrupting Gurbani and the SGGS can be summed up in the following steps. First, seek out non-Gurbani compositions. It does not matter if these compositions are non-spiritual, belong to the belief systems of others, are folklore or are downright offensive. Second, smuggle these compositions into the Sikh scripture; albeit with some errors or changes (purposive or genuine). Third, put a Gurbani stamp of approval on the heading of the composition.

This pattern is observable in the Dasam Granth and the Sarab Loh. Compositions are lifted from the Markandey Puran, Shiv Puran, Sahansar Maal etc with changes made to the titles. For instance, Kaal Ustat is changed to Akaal Ustat; Durga Ki Vaar is altered to Bhagauti Ki Vaar etc. The stamp of approval is ੴ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਫਤਿਹ ॥ Ek Oangkar Sri Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh and ਪਾਤਸ਼ਾਹੀ ੧੦ ॥ Patshahi 10. This is sufficient for a vast majority of Sikhs to accept these stolen compositions as “Gurbani” and as “authored by the 10th Guru.”

We see this flow chart in operation in Ragmala as well. The only difference is that the Gurbani stamp of approval is ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪਸਾਦਿ Ek Oangkar Satgur Parsad. For reasons best known to them, the Hijackers refrained from adding a “Mehla 5.” Not that it would have made any difference. A vast majority of Sikhs unthinkingly accept Ragmala as Gurbani authored by Guru Arjun even without the “Mehla 5.”

CONCLUSION

That Ragmala is a plagiarized composition, is not Gurbani and is devoid of any spiritual messages is supported by overwhelming evidence. The appropriate action is therefore for the Sikh panth to stop reading, reciting or singing it. The other appropriate action is to have it expunged from the SGGS.

The reality however is that the compromised positions of our lead religious institutions such as the AT and SGPC will ensure that such an action is not expected to happen. The other reality is that Sikh writers, thinkers, researchers and academics lack the resolve to deal with the difficult issues pertaining to the sanctity of Gurbani. The final reality is that the Sikh community has descended to a level of pathetic slumber that ensures we will never be able to resolve such core issues. It would be impossible to convice the Sikh on even a personal level to not read or recite the Ragmala within the confines of his own own home.

These three realities hold the real truths of Ragmala to ransom. These three realities mean that the sanctity and purity of Gurbani within the SGGS will remain sullied, soiled and stained with the tainted narrative of Kaam Kandla within its pages.

REFERENCES

Arjan Singh Vaid Kaviraj Gyani, Ragmala Nirnnaiy (Punjabi), Amritsar: Gyani Press.

Balbir Singh Dr, Ragmala Da Swaal (Punjabi), Delhi: Bhai Veer Singh Sahit Sadan, Fourth Edition, 2006.

Charan Singh Dr, Gurmat Sangeet Nirnnaiy: Ragmala (Punjabi), 1925.

Harbhajan Singh Dr, Ragmala Da Vivad Atay Ek Visesh Sidhant Charcha (Punjabi), Amritsar: Bibek Parkhashan.

Karminder Singh Dhillon, The Hijacking of Sikhi, Revised Edition, KL: KSD, 2022.

Lal Singh Sangrur Gyani, Ragmala Daman (Punjabi), Khalsa Jatha Nairobi, 1956.

Madan Singh, Ragmala: A Reappraisal in Context of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, UK: MS.

Sant Tehal Singh, Gur Gira Ragmala Mandan Parbodh (Punjabi), Lahore: Gurbaks Press, 1908.

Shamsher Singh Ashok, Madhav Nal Kaam Kandla Tay Ragmala Nirnnaiy: Parrchol (Punjabi), Amritsar: SGPC.

Sher Singh Gyani, Ragmala Darpan (Punjabi), Amritsar: Punjab Steam Press, 1917.

Soora Monthly, Ragmala Varey Vichar (Punjabi), Amritsar: Locket Printers, Third Edition, 1994.

  1. Dr Dalvinder Singh Grewal, “Where are the 1984 Sikh Manuscripts and Articles?” in The Sikh Bulletin Vol 1/2022. https://www.sikhbulletin.com/Bulletins/SikhBulletin2022Issue1.pdf4 3
  2. Charan Singh Dr, Gurmat Sangeet Nirnnaiy: Ragmala (Punjabi), 1925. 3
  3. This is a blasphemous book about the “life” of Guru Hargobind Ji that was authored jointly by nirmlas Gurmukh Singh and Darbara Singh during the period 1830 – 1840. Prior to Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha’s expose’ regarding its authorship, the nirmlas had spread the lie that an individual by the name of Sohan Kavi had authored it. It was banned in the 1970s by a decree of the Akal Takhat due its deviant and deeply blasphemous content. In 1998 it was republished by then Darbar Sahib granthi Joginder Singh Vedanti. It was banned by the SGPC yet again in 2000 after Gyani Gurbaksh Singh exposed its blasphemy. See Karminder Singh Dhillon, The Hijacking of Sikhi, Revised Edition, KL: KSD, 2022, p.55-58. 3
  4. Madan Singh, Ragmala: A Reappraisal in Context of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. UK: Self-pub. Page 11 3
  5. SGPC, Sikh Rehat Maryada, (Punjabi) 1998, page 18. 3
  6. See Ragmala https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2aKiZgtPGw5 3
  7. Commnent by Swarn Bains at https://www.sikhphilosophy.net/6 3