I have heard many of Niddars students talking of Shastar Vidiya as the “lost art” “essential for all sikhs to learn” “without shastarvidiya sikhs could not have won wars” “Sikhs are weak without Shastar Vidiya training” and this is all in the context of expressing the art of Niddar as the timeless art. Well I have to disagree very strongly.
The Sikh Regiment is to this day recognised as one of the bravest forces to fight during the world wars winning medals, accolades and victoria cross medals. In the years to 1945, 14 Victoria Crosses were awarded to the Sikhs, a per capita record given the size of the Sikh Regiments. In 2002, the names of all Sikh VC and George Cross winners were inscribed on the pavilion monument of the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill next to Buckingham Palace, London.
But they fought with guns, grenades and bayonets, there is no mention from the British of Shastar Vidiya. So how did they without Niddar singhs “Akali Nihang Baba Darbara Singh Suraj Bansia Ranjit Shiv Akhara” manage to survive and perform so many acts of valour such as the Battle of Saraghari.
Battle of Saragarhi is the incredible story of 21 men of the 36th Sikh Regiment (currently the 4th Sikh Regiment) who gave up their lives in devotion to their duty. This battle, like many others fought by the Sikhs, highlights the heroic action by a small detachment of Sikh soldiers against heavy odds. This encounter took place on 12 September 1897 in the Tirah region of North-West Frontier Province (now in Pakistan, which then formed part of British India). In keeping with the tradition of the Sikh Army, they fought to the death rather than surrender.
The Battle at Saragarhi is one of eight stories of collective bravery published by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). It has been mentioned as one of the five most significant events of its kind in the world which includes the Saga of Thermoplyae associated with the heroic stand of a small Greek force against the mighty Persian Army of Xerxes in 480 B.C.
According to niddars students we are as Sikhs all crippled by lack of shastar vidiya yet we have definitive proof of Sikh bravery without his martial art.
So how did they manage such military prowess without shastar vidiya? the ancient hindu timeless art which tragically failed to defend india from countless invasions.
So how did they manage without Shastarvidiya? well The secret is in what makes a Sikh soldier special and that is the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the stories of bravery and sacrifice from a young age that fill the heart of Punjabis with ‘beer rass’ warrior spirit. With such a pedigree and history of sacrifice from our ancestors. with such examples of bravery as Baba Deep singh Ji, Bhai Mani Singh ji , Sukha Singh Mehtab Singh, Bhai Randhir Singh Ji, Bhai Fauja Singh Ji and countless others, our roots give us strength, our Guru Gives us purpose and we must always be ready to fight for honour and justice. This Sikh Spirit is what made the Sikhs into great warriors not some hocus pocus pentras and hand movements.
This is not an old school Kung Fu film where if you learn the ancient “Snake in Eagles Shadow” and then you become unstoppable, without purpose and without spirit all martial arts are useless. Spirit and purpose for Khalsa comes from Bhagti and devotion to the Guru.
slok kbIr ]
salok kabeer ||
ggn dmwmw bwijE pirE nIswnY Gwau ]
gagan dhamaamaa baajiou pariou neesaanai ghaao ||
The battle-drum beats in the sky of the mind; aim is taken, and the wound is inflicted.
Kyqu ju mWifE sUrmw Ab jUJn ko dwau ]1]
khaeth j maa(n)ddiou sooramaa ab joojhan ko dhaao ||1||
The spiritual warriors enter the field of battle; now is the time to fight! ||1||
sUrw so pihcwnIAY ju lrY dIn ky hyq ]
sooraa so pehichaaneeai j larai dheen kae haeth ||
He alone is known as a spiritual hero, who fights in defense of religion.
purjw purjw kit mrY kbhU n CwfY Kyqu ]2]2]
purajaa purajaa katt marai kabehoo n shhaaddai khaeth ||2||2||
He may be cut apart, piece by piece, but he never leaves the field of battle. ||2||2||