How Nirmlas derailed Sikhi – Part 1


You may have heard the story of Guru Gobind Singh ordering five Sikhs chosen to go to Kashi, now known as Benares, to study Sanskrit and the Vedas while disguised as Brahmins.

Sikh author and thinker Dr Karminder Singh Dhillon argues that the story was ‘patently fake’.

“The nirmlas [also spelt Nirmalas] concocted a historical cum philosophical lie to establish their legitimacy amongst Sikhs. They created a fake narrative that Guru Gobind Singh ordered five Sikhs to become and remain celibate (bhramcharee). He then ordered them to to go to Kashi, now known as Benares, to study Sanskrit and the spirituality of the Vedas,” Karminder writes in his book The Hijacking of Sikhi.

Nirmla writer Gyani Gian Singh had written in his book Panth Parkash that Guru Gobing Singh picked Ram Singh, Karm Singh, Ganda Singh, Veer Singh and Sobha Singh to go to Kashi on account of their behaviour in the company if the tenth Guru. All five of them and their cheylas always wore white, remained calm, lived a celibate life and undertook excessive meditation. Guru Gobind Singh is said to have given permission to all five to discard their Sikhi garb and to go to Kashi disguised as Brahmins.

In his book, Karminder lists eight reasons why the story was ‘patently fake’. Check out this video presentation to find out more. In the fourth of a 12 series video series digging into the main themes of his book, Karminder discusses the distortion, corruption and adulteration that Sikhi endured for one century and a half at the hands of the nirmlas. In two earlier videos, he outlined the destructive role of the Udasis, a group founded by Guru Nanak’s son Sri Chand.

So, among the eight reasons are that Guru Gobind Singh himself was proficient in Brij, Farsi and Sanskrit. Also, why tells his Sikhs to go Kashi disguised as Brahmins, suggesting deceit and trickery.

“It is patently clear that they story is concocted to provide a fake Guru ordained stamp of approval not just to the nirmla way of life – celibacy included – but to accord legitimacy to the nirmla movement and conspiracy as a whole,” he argues.

What is the origins of the nirmlas? Historical evidence shows that the first group of nirmlas came from Baneras to Punjab after 1765 (57 years after the demise of the tenth Guru) – in the aftermath of the destruction of the Darbar Sahib in Amritsar by Ahmad Shah Durani in April 1762. In stating this, Karminder draws from the research by historian Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer in Sikh Twareekh Vol 2.

He noted that for all intents and purposes, the nirmlas exercised direct control of Darbar Sahib, which they renamed Harmandar Sahib, for 140 years from 1780-1920.

“The period translates into almost six generations. This also means that they controlled the maryada at Darbar Sahib (and most of other major Gurdwaras) for once century and half. During that period the nirmlas – by virtue of their superriority in terms of intellect, resources, passion and intent – succeeded in easing out the udasis from virtually all major Sikh Gurdwaras.”

By virtue of their Benares education, experience and backing, Karminder argued that the nirmlas were better equipped to distort and corrupt Sikhi, which they did by infiltrating into the inner sanctums of the Sikh psyche – their philosophy, literature and Gurbani interpretation and translation.

“Virtually all the deeply distorted texts that the nirmlas wrote during the 140 years they were in control of Sikhi are today presented to the Sikh world as “Classical Sikh Text” or “Puratan Ithias” by Sikh clergy and institutions under their control. This is akin to the Sikhs adopting as mainstream, the distortions that were cunningly created and inserted into the Sikh psyche by the nirmlas,” he argued.


Hijacking of Sikhi – Part 1 (The Plot): Video | Notes

Hijacking of Sikhi – Part 2 (Udasis): Video | Notes

Hijacking of Sikhi – Part 3 (Udasis): Video | Notes

Hijacking of Sikhi – Part 4 (Nirmlas): Video | Notes


Hijacking Sikhi (Asia Samachar, 19 Dec 2020)

Sikhi Concepts: Complete links to videos and lecture notes (Asia Samachar, 3 July 2021)

The Hijacking of Sikhi: After releasing book, Dr Karminder starts 12-part video series (Asia Samachar, 18 July 2021)

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