This article deals with the guidance that the Guru Granth Sahib provides on the topic relating to the use of force. The following Shabads (verse) seek to clarify the position on this important aspect of human exploitation.
|ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋਰੀ ਕੀਏ ਜੁਲਮੁ ਹੈ ਕਹਤਾ ਨਾਉ ਹਲਾਲੁ ॥ ਦਫਤਰਿ ਲੇਖਾ ਮਾਂਗੀਐ ਤਬ ਹੋਇਗੋ ਕਉਨੁ ਹਵਾਲੁ ॥੧੮੭॥|
|Kabīr jorī kīė julam hai kahṯā nāo halāl. Ḏafṯar lėkẖā māŉgīai ṯab hoigo kaun havāl. ॥187॥|
|Kabeer, to use force is tyranny, even if you call it legal.
When your account is called for in the Court of the Lord, what will your condition be then? ॥187॥
|ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋਰੁ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਜੁਲਮੁ ਹੈ ਲੇਇ ਜਬਾਬੁ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥ ਦਫਤਰਿ ਲੇਖਾ ਨੀਕਸੈ ਮਾਰ ਮੁਹੈ ਮੁਹਿ ਖਾਇ ॥੨੦੦॥|
|Kabīr jor kīā so julam hai lėė jabāb kẖuḏāė. Ḏafṯar lėkẖā nīksai mār muhai muhi kẖāė. ॥200॥|
|Kabeer, it is tyranny to use force; the Lord shall call you to account.
When your account is called for, your face and mouth shall be beaten. ॥200॥
When force is allowed
|ਬ ਲਾਚਾਰਗੀ ਦਰਮਿਯਾਂ ਆਮਦਮ ॥ ਬ ਤਦਬੀਰਿ ਤੀਰੋ ਤੁਫ਼ੰਗ ਆਮਦਮ ॥੨੧॥ |
ਚੁ ਕਾਰ ਅਜ਼ ਹਮਹ ਹੀਲਤੇ ਦਰ ਗੁਜ਼ਸ਼ਤ ॥ ਹਲਾਲ ਅਸਤ ਬੁਰਦਨ ਬ ਸ਼ਮਸ਼ੀਰ ਦਸਤ ॥੨੨॥
|ba lachaargi darmian aamdam, ba tadbir teer-o kamaan aamdam (21)|
chu kar az hameh heel-te dar guzasht, halal ast burdan b-shamshir dast (22)
|It was out of sheer helplessness that I came onto the battlefield (since I was surrounded from all sides at Chamkaur). But having decided to battle with your forces, I came with all the battle plans and munitions.
When all the options for solving a conflict have been exhausted completely, only then is the taking of the sword in your hand deemed legitimate.
This bani by the tenth master is in Persian for the convenience of Aurangzeb who was the recipient of this letter, called the Zafarnama or "Declaration of Victory". It clearly defines the steps that are required to be taken before one can consider the use of force. Firstly, the Guru was surrounded by the enemy; secondly, the Sikhs had tried all types of negotiations; including an evacuation of the site. Only when all these options had been exhausted does the Guru say that force can be used.