Memorandum To Chancellor U. C. Riverside, Dr. Timothy White By Sikh Community of California

Memorandum To Chancellor U.C.Riverside, Dr.Timothy White By Sikh Community of California

Sept. 26th 2008

A)Chronological timeline of communication and meetings between Sikh community members and the academic authorities of University of California at Riverside

O6-26-2003 Dean Pat O’Brien hosted the Second Annual Meeting on Sikh Studies of California. Attendees included members of The Sikh Foundation, Dr. Daniel Aldrich, Senior Counsel, UC Office of the President, Prof. Gurinder Singh Mann (UCSB), Prof. Mark Juergensmeyer (UCSB), Prof. David Goldberg (Humanities Research Institute, UCI), Prof. Inderpal Grewal (UCI), Prof. Kathleen Dhillon (UC Language Consortium, UC Davis), Prof. Joel Martin (UCR), Dr. Harkeerat Dhillon, Riverside physician and Chair of the UCR Campaign for Sikh Studies, and Los Angeles businessmen, Mr. Gurdip Malik, Mr. Sohan Singh Chowdhry, and Bhajneet Malik.

11-18-2003 Sikh Temple Riverside invited Ms. Patricia O’Brien (Dean UCR College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences) and expressed their desire and concerns regarding the Sikh Study Chair. She was given a Memorandum and recommendations of the Sikh community for consideration.

01-29-2004 Ms. Nikki Singh, Crawford Family Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Colby College at Maine delivered a lecture; Sikh Religion and the Arabesque of Pluralism. She could not satisfactorily answer questions related to Sikh theology. She dodged the issue of her mentioning of Rakhri, (page 100, chapter 7 in Sikhism: World Religions by Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh, Published by Facts on File, Inc.), as part Sikh culture.

02-19-2004 Ms. Pat O’Brien sent an e-mail to a member of Coalition of Gurdwaras of California, Dr. D. S. Gill, essentially agreeing to all the recommendations presented to her on November 18th, 2003 for the establishment of the Chair at UCR.

03-04-2005 Mr. Joel Martin, Interim Dean & Costco Professor of College of Humanities, Arts and Social Science, University of California, Riverside announced a short-list of candidates as proposed by the search committee and invited them to the campus.

03-12-2005 Sikhs for the Preservation of Sikhism and Sikh Heritage, Coalition of Gurdwaras of California, and Sikh Temple Riverside representatives gave a Memorandum to Mr. Joel Martin, Interim Dean & Costco Professor of College of Humanities, Arts and Social Science, University of California, Riverside and requested that the university should postpone the upcoming lecture series because of the controversial candidate Mr. Pashaura Singh.

05-29-2005 Chancellor Ms. France A. Cordova was approached via e-mails, personal letters and letters from Gurdwaras of California and Michigan to step in and resolve the issues pertaining to the Sikh Study Chair. She detailed a seven-member committee to meet with the representatives of the Sikh community.

06-14-2005 Members representing Sikh Community met with Dr Wartella the Executive Vice Chancellor along with rest of the members of the academic committee and gave a seminar and submitted a proof of Mr. Pashaura Singh’s questionable academic record. (documents attached)

09-08-2005 Dr. Ellen A. Wartella, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost sent a letter to spokesperson of the Coalition of Gurdwaras of California, Mr. Raminderjit Singh Sekhon expressing that Dr. Pashaura Singh has accepted the position of Professor of Religious Studies and “Dr. Singh was previously considered a candidate for the Dr. Jasbir Singh Saini Endowed Chair in Sikh and Punjabi Studies. It has been determined that he will not hold this chair and, in fact, the search for a chair-holder has been indefinitely postponed pending formal approval of the chair by the University of California Office of the President”. (Letter attached)

O6-05-2007 Mrs.Saranjit Kaur Saini ( Donor for the Chair)writes

Chancellor Dr.Frank A.Cordova for invitation of

Proficient Sikh scholars from Global Pool. No reply

by UC riverside to her Request( letter attached)

06-02-2008 University of California announced the establishment and appointment of Mr. Pashaura Singh to The Sikh Foundation Endowed Dr. Jasbir Singh Saini Chair in Sikh and Punjabi (Language) Studies.

06-20-2008 Sikh community members: Mr. Raminderjit S. Sekhon, Dr. Jasbir S. Mann, Mr. Ajit S. Randhava, Dr. D.S. Gill, and Mr. Bharpur Takhar met with Dr. Stephen Cullenberg, Dean College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences to express Sikh community’s discontentment on the appointment of Mr. Pashaura Singh to the Chair. The members gave Dr. Cullenberg 9 questionable points for Mr. Pashaura Singh to answer and explain pertaining to his research.( (documents attached)

08-22-2008 Dr. Stephen Cullenberg wrote a letter to Dr. Baljeet Sahi, Spokesperson for the Coalition of Gurdwaras of California and Sikhs for Preservation of Sikhism and Sikh Heritage. In his letter he said “I am writing to follow up on the meeting I had with a number of your colleagues (Raminderjit S. Sekhon, Jasbir S, Mann, Ajit S. Randhava, D.S. Gill, and Bharpur Takhar) in my office on June 20, 2008. We discussed the recent appointment of Dr. Pashaura Singh to the Dr. Jasbir Singh Saini Chair in Sikh and Punjabi (Language) Studies. 
 
We had a lengthy and open discussion about our feelings around the appointment of Dr. Singh to this chair. I appreciate and respect the concerns that you and your colleagues have expressed. I know there are many who disagree with his scholarship. However, a recent review of Professor Singh's scholarship, carried out through the University of California's academic personnel process, supported the view that Professor Singh's research was of high quality. Given these differences of judgment, I would hope that we could respectfully agree to disagree while Dr. Singh occupies the Sikh Chair at UCR. Please be assured that we welcome your thoughtful critique of Dr. Singh's research, or any other faculty member's research at UCR for that matter, as such critique is the very essence of the university's mission. 
 
Your colleagues presented me with a letter dated June 20, 2008, which in part queried Dr. Singh on 9 points regarding his research. I showed Dr. Singh these queries and he informed me that he stands by his research. 
 
I know how important this matter is to you and how strongly you feel. This is not an easy issue for the university or one that we take lightly, but we must respect our protocols of peer judgment and open debate. I would hope that you and your colleagues can try to understand and respect our position, as we do yours”.( Email attached) 

B)Dr. Pashaura Singh's Writings on Guru Granth Sahib at a glance. click on/r_link/pashaura.htm

1) In 1975 Dr. Hew McLeod in his book: "Evolution of Sikh Community" started a debate on the text of Sikh Scripture and floated the idea that the Kartarpuri bir must be a first draft, subsequently amended by the Guru himself (p.77). It was done fully knowing the facts brought out in the book Kartarpuri Bir De Darshan, by Professor Jodh Singh, Former Vice-Chancellor Punjabi University Patiala, published in 1968. Professor Jodh Singh reviewed “Evolution of the Sikh Community” and answered the textual questions raised by Dr. McLeod in the book: "Authenticity of Kartarpuri Bir" by Sardar Daljeet Simgh, Published by Punjabi University Patiala in 1987 (Appendix A pages 81-83).

2) In spite of the above documented evidence, Dr. McLeod and Pashaura Singh initiated the research on the Text and history of the Sikh Scripture in the Department of Religious Studies at Toronto in 1987. They introduced MS 1245 from Guru Nanak Dev University and relied heavily on it without establishing its authenticity. The thesis, The Text and the Meaning of the Adi Granth,that Pashaura Singh completed in 1991 under the supervision of Dr. Mcleod and Dr. Joseph T. O'Connell did not answer the following questions: (a) How they came to know about the MS 1245 at GNDU? (b) Who wrote two articles under the authorship of Dr. Lohlin while he was totally disabled and that too after his death? For details see Chapter 6, "Manipulation and Deception" in Discovering Mcleod and His Works by Dr. Baldev Singh.

3) Pashaura Singh faithfully picked up the idea of first draft floated by his mentor and went on to prove that MS 1245 is an early draft of the Adi Granth on which Guru Arjan Dev has worked to finally produce the text of the Adi Granth (Thesis, p.24). On the basis of questionable documents, he questioned the history, originality and authenticity of the text of Sri Granth Sahib. About 30 Sikh Scholars in the book "Planned attack on Aad Sri Guru Granth Sahib: Academics or Blasphemy" (Biodata on pages 323-326, also click on Authors of Global Sikh Studies) presented their critique on the research done by Dr. Pashaura Singh on Guru Granth Sahib. For details of this planned attack, read the introduction pages 1-39.

4) Opinion of Dr. Bishan Singh Samundri (Former Vice-Chancellor, GNDU, Amritsar): "It is indeed very unfortuante that Pashaura Singh's attack on the authenticity of Guru Granth Sahib is sought to be based on a manuscript called a draft by Guru Arjun Dev, when its text bears in its contnets the date of demise of the Fifth Master." See Foreword in the book, "Planned Attack on Aad Sri Guru Granth Sahb: Academics or Blasphemy".

5) Opinion of Justice Ram Singh Bindra (Retd., High Court of Assam and Nagaland): (The Book Planned Attack) "is a very welcome contribution exposing the ugly and sinister designs of the group ending in the thesis of Pashaura Singh aimed at eroding the originality and authenticity of Guru Granth Sahib as is evidenced by the Kartarpuri Bir". See the back cover page of "Planned Attack on Aad Sri Guru Granth Sahib: Academics or Blasphemy", for his full statement.

6)On 25/06/1994 he writes written apology for his research thesis at Sri Akal Takhat Amritsar as follows (letter written in Gurmukhi script is below).

To,

The Five Singh Sahiban, Sri Akal Takht Sahib, Amritsar Sahib

Your Holiness

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa; Waheguru ji ki Fateh. Under orders from Sri Akal Takht Sahib, appearing at the Takht Sahib, this humble servant pleads guilty to the five charges in respect of my thesis (The Text and Meaning of the Adi Granth), read out as well as given to me in writing. I hereby reject in thought, word and deed all such objectionable formulations that occur in my thesis. I beg forgiveness of the Panth for whatever hurt the conclusions drawn by me in my thesis have caused to the Panth. In future I pledge to serve the Panth as a humble servant of the Panth. I also willingly accept whatever decision is announced by the Singh Sahiban.

Sd.Pashaura Singh 25/06/1994

7) After accepting charges at Sri Akal Takhat, he did not refrain from his blasphemous views and published a book "The Guru Granth Sahib Cannon Meaning and Authority" in 2000.

8) Professor Pritam Singh (65 years experience of teaching and analyzing Sikh Manuscripts) proved that Guru Arjan never used Goindwal Pothi (Ahyapur Pothi) for the preparation or a source for Aad Guru Granth in 1604 as suggested by Dr. Pashaura Singh in his book Guru Granth Sahib Cannon Meaning and Authority (p.41) that the text of the extant Goindval Pothis belongs to the original Goindwal Pothis. (See Ahyapur Pothi (Goindwal Pothi).

9) Analysis of Dr. Balwant Singh Dhillon, Head Dept. of Guru Nanak Studies at GNDU (25 years experience of teaching and analyzing old Sikh manuscripts) proved in his book, "Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition" , on pages 89-182 that Goindwal Pothi as suggested by Dr. Pashaura Singh, was never used by Guru Arjan in the preparation or as a source of Aad Guru Granth in 1604. Various forms of Mul Mantar in Goindwal Pothi (see page 135), Arrangement of hymns (see page 149-168), Missing Compositions (see pages 169-172), Kachi Bani or Apocryphal Writings (see pages 173-182)

10) In 1991 while writing his thesis, Pashaura Singh presented MS 1245 as an early draft of the Adi Granth. Struck by the criticism by the Sikh scholars, now he calls it an incomplete draft on which Guru Arjan worked to produce the final version (p.46). Analysis of Dr. Balwant Singh Dhillon, Head Dept. of Guru Nanak Studies at GNDU proved in "Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition" pages 182-258 that MS 1245 as suggested by Dr. Pashaura Singh was never used by Guru Arjan in the preparation or as a source of Aad Guru Granth in 1604. Absent Hymns in MS 1245 (see pages 244-245), Hymns recorded twice in MS 1245 (see page 246), Kachi Bani or Apochryphal Writings in MS 1245 (see pages 247-258)

11) For authenticity of any document following FOUR academic parameters must be established before its use:

a) Date of Document (When it was Written): To establish his finding of early draft in the form of MS 1245 and to prove its early origin, in 1991 Pashaura Singh went on to mislead the scholars that the last date (Samat 1663 Jeth Sudi 4 i.e. June 1606). In thetable of death dates has been inserted later on (Thesis, p.28). Now he calls that the whole table of death dates has been inserted later on (Book, p.51). He has come to the conclusion that MS 1245 was completed in 1599 and it is the same document which Guru Arjan had shown to emperor Akbar in 1598 (Book, pp.45-46). All these are wild conjectures. There is no external or internal evidence to prove them. The internal evidence of the manuscript on folio 1255 clearly shows the death dates of the first five Sikh gurus are recorded by the primary scribe with the same pen and in the same shade of ink. It proves that this document was written after 1606, the year when the fifth guru had expired. Please see Plate XIII on page 235 of the book, "Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition".

b) History of the Document: Pashaura Singh did not go into the history of the document. The dealer who sold this manuscript to GNDU made a statement at Sri Akal Takht on May 5, 1993 that he bought this manuscript from a waste paper dealer going on a cycle in the state of Rajasthan, India in 1979-1980. He also confessed that the note given on the front of the manuscript in relation to the Hymn of Baba Buddha was not based on any research. For details see "Statement of the Chawlas at Sri Akal Takht Sahib" on page 243. Therefore, it is clear that there is no known history of the document prior to 1979-1980. Dr. Pashaura Singh completely ignored to find the history of the document. He failed to note that the alleged hand of Baba Buddha recorded on a separate paper has been pasted on the initial folio of MS 1245 (See Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition, p.208). Ignoring all these facts, Pashaura Singh still puts MS 1245 in the custody of Baba Buddha and his descendents (Book, pp.42-43).

c) Who is the Scribe: Pashaura Singh simply conjectured but was unable to identify who was the real scribe of MS1245. In 1991, Pashaura Singh assumed that the scribe of MS 1245 was a close associate of Guru Amar Das possibly Bhai Gurdas (Thesis, p.28). At that time he suggested that Bhai Gurdas may have further improved his hand-writing by the time he wrote the final draft of the Adi Granth (Thesis, p.26). Now in his book he states that the entire writing work of MS 1245 has been done by one hand only (Book, p.43). All these are very immature statements which have been made to convince the scholars to drive on the highway of textual criticism of Sikh Scripture without any honesty and responsibility. Even a novice in the field of manuscriptology can judge that more than tow scribes have been employed to prepare MS 1245 (See Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition, plates X, XI, XII on pp. 231, 232, 233).

d) Internal Inconsistency: The internal evidence of MS 1245 clearly shows the inclusion of a large number of Apocryphal Writings or Kachi Bani attributed to the Sikh Gurus, (See Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition pp. 247-258). What is the source of these writings? Who were the authors of these writings? Why have such a large number of them found their way into MS 1245? Why would Guru Arjan compose Kachi-Bani to exclude it later on? Why Guru Arjan would compile a document full of Kachi-Bani and would show it to emperor Akbar? Why would Bhai Gurdas write a manuscript full of Kachi-Bani? All these are very important issues which Pashaura Singh has very conveniently skipped over to say that it will be discussed in a separate study (Book p. 46). He has constructed a genealogy of manuscripts to establish a direct relationship between the text of Goindwal pothis, MS 1245 and Kartarpuri Bir. In doing so he blatantly ignores the textual variants which prove that all these manuscripts have not descended one after another (see Pritam Singh, Ahiyapur wali Pothi and Balwant Singh Dhillon Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition, pp. 209-227).

Pashaura Singh failed to establish, based upon the above academic criteria, the authenticity of MS 1245 before its use in his research work. Not only this, he flouts the norms of historical criticism to establish the early origin of MS 1245. For example:

(a) He says there are certain instances of recording of only the opening lines of Guru Arjan's hymns followed by blank spaces and says these hymns were not available to the scribe in their final form (Book p. 45). Would it be possible for anyone to believe that Guru Arjan who prepared this manuscript has no access to his own writings?

(b) MS 1245 does not contain Bhagat-Bani. Pashaura Singh claims that Guru Arjan's primary concern was to fix the hymns of the Sikh Gurus first and then to deal with issue of the Bhagats. He makes a wild claim that Guru Arjan was collecting the hymns of the Bhagats in another volume to include them later in a final recension (Book pp. 50, 51). Where is this volume? He has no answer. Perhaps he will present it at some later stage.

(c) MS 1245 contains only the sawwayas of Kalh Bhat. Pashaura Singh remarks that by the time this manuscript was written some of the bards had not yet appeared in the Guru's court (Book p. 51). In doing so he betrays lack of knowledge that the Bhats led by Bhikha had already appeared in the court of Guru Amardas and their sawwayas in praise of Gurus are well preserved in Guru Granth Sahib.

(d) Regarding the movement of MS 1245 he ignores the notes put on different folios by Piar Singh (See Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition, plate VII, p. 186).

(e) Pashaura Singh acknowledges the fact that the text of Japji in Guru Granth Sahib has come from the copy of Guru Ram Das (Book p. 283). But he contradicts himself when on the basis of MS 1245 he alleges Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan for making modification and revising the text of Japji and its Moolmantra (Book pp. 85-96).

(f) In order to confuse the history of the text Pashaura Singh states that during the 18th and early 19th centuries no one version of the Adi Granth was accepted by all the Sikhs (Book pp. 224, 225). To create history of the text he visualizes Maharaja Ranjit Singh's role to prepare an authorized version of the Sikh Scripture (Book p. 227). All these are sweeping statements which are without any valid and authoritative evidence.

(g) He also concludes that the Dasam Granth enjoyed an equal status with the Adi Granth in the 18 th and 19 th centuries. He says, both the Granths were installed side by side on the same platform (Book p.279). This is again a statement without any evidence. It dilutes the authority of Guru Granth Sahib as a sole canon and scripture of the Sikhs.

(h) Pashuara Singh pleads that Dr. Hew McLeod has revised his view on the issue of so called hymn in Ramkali mode which is found in the Banno recension (Book p.122). This is again a claim without any truth as Dr. McLeod's omnibus volume (1999) carries the same statement that he had made in 1975.

News published in several Newspapers in the US; India Journal, Santa Fe Springs, CA June 24th, 2005. Pages: 28-31, India Post, Union City, Ca. July 1st, 2005. Pages 26-29, by Spokespersons: Mr. Raminder Singh Sekhon and Dr. Baljeet S. Sahi (Coalition of Gurdwaras of California and Sikhs for Preservation of Sikhism and Sikh Heritage)

Pashaura Singh Turns His Back to Sri Akal Takhat

Sikhs Appeal to Jathedar

To prove that Kachi Bani is not different from the Sachi/Pakki Bani of Adi Sri Gurū Granth Sahib, revisions in Mul Mantar and the creation of doubts on the revelatory character of Bani as enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib have become the fastest growing epidemic in the western universities. It was due to such ridiculous and wrong interpretations of Bani by using unauthentic sources; Dr. Pashaura Singh’s Ph.D. thesis caused a strong reaction from Sikh researchers and intellectuals all over the world because of the poor quality of research and misrepresentation of the Sikh history & Sikh Scripture merely on conjectural basis and unauthentic documents. Sri Akal Takhat, the highest Sikh religious and temporal authority at Amritsar also took notice of this based on the report of Sikh Academia. They called Dr. Pashaura Singh to explain the blasphemous statements in his thesis and gave him a list of academic charges in writing. He presented himself before the five high priests and apologized for the wrongdoings he had done. He admitted the wrongdoings in his Research in written& accepted the Punishment. He was Indicted & Declared Tankhaiya (guilty) by Akal Takhat at Amritsar India for his blasphemous writing against the Sikh religion--the 5th largest among the world religions. The details of the issue were published in the journal, “Abstract of Sikh Studies” July 1994 issue as follows:

CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT OF DR. PASHAURA SINGH in Punjabi in his own handwriting at Sri Akal Takht Amritsar on June 25, 1994.

(See next page)

CHARGES AGAINSTYLE="PASHAURA SINGH in 1994

Review committee constituted by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC) through Sri Akal takhat. These charges were given to Dr.pashaura Singh In writing at meeting at Sri Akal Takhat 1n 1994.

Lured by the prospect of getting a Ph.D. degree from the University of Toronto, under the influence of adversaries of the Sikh religion, and purely on the basis of hollow and wild speculation, Pashaura Singh has committed blasphemy, because of his baseless and arbitrary formulations:­

Formulations in the Thesis

(In connection with compilation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib) "Then comes a rare manuscript preserved at Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, which may be regarded as one of the many drafts on which Guru Arjun Dev seems to have worked to finally produce the text of the Adi Granth." (Page 24)

"Further it is claimed that the manuscript contains a hymn written in Bhai Buddha's hand on the third decorated page, which may show his involvement in the creation of the scripture. It is quite possible that his descendants may have preserved the manuscript through the process of handing it over to the next generation. Furthermore, folio 1255a of the manuscript contains the death dates of the first five Gurus only, the last of which was written later on by the same scribe." (Thesis pp. 27-28)

Footnote on page 27

"Gurmukh sevaih sada sacha andin sahaj piar. Sada anand gaveh gun sache ardh urdh urdhar. Andar Pritam vasia sacha dhur karam likhia Kartar. Nanak aap milaiya ape kirpa dhar."

The above hymn is recorded on the decorated page 3 of the Manuscript No. 1245 of the Guru Nanak Dev University, which, it is claimed, is the writing of Baba Budha ji.

The attribution of this hymn to Bhai Buddha is based on the family tradition. Seethe note by Harbhajan Singh and Harcharan Singh Chawla on the manuscript.

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