Sant Baba Sucha Singh and Punjab Crisis (Dr. Satinder Singh Noor)

Dr Satinder Singh Noor



The social and cultural crisis of Punjab is very deep today. Punjabis have spread all over the world but their socio-cultural crisis has deepened. At this hour of crisis, particularly in Punjab the mind conjures the memories of Baba Sucha Singh with whose sense of initiation, Gurdwara Gur Gian Parkash Jawaddi kalan had become a centre of new social, cultural and religious awakening. Intellectual and philosophic knowledge brought forth by Vismaad Naad shook the thinkers and readers of Punjab and other places. I created a new environment of mutual dialogue. The way activism regarding maintenance of the purity of Gurbani music, popularized this movement far and wide. This was done by the Baba for social and cultural awakening. He proved that when socio-cultural cohesion dwindles away it has its equally damaging repercussion on society, religion and culture. Once again such a dissipation of socio-culture values stores us in the face. Thus being alive to this issue by a conscious being like Baba Sucha Singh, is quite natural. A true homage to the Baba can be given only if the awakening movement restarts in its earlier glory and Jawaddi Kalan once again emerges as the center of dissemination of knowledge.

Sant Sucha Singh brought together the authors and thinkers relating to religion, society, culture, art, literature and music. Rising above an insular outlook, the saint invited the thinkers and representatives of every religion to Jawaddi Kalan. He listened to those ideas also to which he did not conform. Thus in keeping with the ancient tradition, he created an atmosphere of dialogue. through organizing seminars. It would be better to call it a seminar (gosht) rather than dialogue as the former is comparatively more aesthetic in nature. He felt that it is not only our traditionally but a mode of linking together different cultures and ideas in a single culture. That is why he remained aloof from the traditional Sant Babas and Deras and proved himself more up to date in the process. In modern times it has been proved that this is not an age of singularist ideology but that of pluralist culture. He infused social dynamism, healthy society and healthy values in the modernist thinking through his discourses.

That is why vis-à-vis our society sliding down into the dark abysses, his ideals become all the more relevant. Not only that culture, morality and music are losing their sheen, they are losing their reality, their identity. The way scholars started making a mutual exchange of view, their relevance meant a lot for Punjab and Punjabi culture. There used to be ideological difference among the scholars but the focus always remained the same. The thinkers were on the look out for such a center somewhere. There is no doubt that universities and other institutions are playing their respective roles in their own way. But the knowledge movement, of which Gurdwara Gur Gyan Parkash was made the center, the contemplation encouraged by Vismaad Naad, could not be come a possibility on the part of universities and other institutions. The situation, by and large, continues to be the same at present also, Hence a need to revive that movement.

As regards the social, cultural and religious crisis of Punjab it is worthwhile to see how a concern is being expressed about Punjab heritage, how heritage and its constituents like art, music etc. are preserved. Sant Sucha Singh has not only preserved this heritage but has also enkindles in us a consciousness regarding the role of Sikh heritage in the Punjabi heritage. In other words Punjabi heritage is incomplete without Sikh heritage. But given the situation in which the cultural heritage is afflicted with a fanatic, communal or reactionary outlook, the Baba envisioned and disseminated the dynamic perspective of Sikh heritage and created an atmosphere for its preservation in a healthy manner.

Baba Sucha Singh was alive to the expanding space of this culture. This is why a Seminar on Bhagat Namdev was organized in Bombay. It was attended alongwith Punjabi thinkers, by the scholars of Hindi and Marathi as well. The vision of Shabad Yatra owes its genesis to the Baba’s understanding of this expanding space. This vision needs to reach its ultimate realization as yet. It will make the identity of Jawaddi Kalan more distinct and the common Punjabi ethos more explicit. This vision of this expansive space became global not only because of his visits to America and other countries because of spreading the message of Gurbani in the west through English language. The Sikh thought and Gurbani were interpreted with a post-modernist approach and taken to the syllabi of the reputed universities of western countries. It earned a worldwide applause.

Thus Sant Baba Sucha Singh was a visionary and thinker who would have a feel of the Punjab crisis. He spoke less but created an atmosphere conducive to his vision. Therefore concretizing his vision will be the only true homage to him.