Meritocracy - a Sikh Form of Government

Amandeep Singh shares his thoughts on government and the spirit of Sikhi.

The five beloveds (Panj Pyararas) when they offered their lives in love and devotion for  their Guru, established the merit of being the leaders of community.  It is a form of government unique in the history of mankind in which the rule of merit prevails over any other qualifications of individuals. This form of government is unique because the government is of merit and not of a person or a personality. The best practice becomes the general practice. The socio-political setup given in the form of the Khalsa Panth is the amalgamation of both the spiritual and the physical aspects of human life.

Democracy is based on people. This concept, formed by the Greeks, came to flower in the United States under Abraham Lincoln. It is not the final reality of the universe. It was a circumstantial adjustment at the time when history was witnessing slaves and racism at their peak. It should not be understood that democracy is the best form of government for all times in all societies. Democracy does not take the merit of a person into consideration. Societies are comprised of both positive and negative mentalities. How could it be best when a meritorious person of a society has the same standing in terms of their vote as a criminal of the society? Puran Singh remarks, “Democracy is like a heap of sand that keeps moving with the wind”. Various intellectuals including Lord Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde convey similar feelings. Every year in a democratic government the number of elected members who are criminals in thought and action keeps increasing and that is the greatest symbol of failure of Democracy. This is partly due to illiteracy, apathy, unawareness and lack of wisdom in many voters.

A philanthropic society cannot be established unless the leader of the society has an intrinsic love of working to alleviate the sufferings of the common people. A real king is  one who has love for everyone - regardless of caste, religion or place of birth. His state of mind is very religious. When Guru Hargobind wore the two swords of Miri and Piri he was objectionable to many Sikhs. Some expressed their strong displeasure towards the militarization of Sikhs and complained to Baba Budha against the Guru. When Baba Budha went to the Guru to register their resentment, just a glance from the Guru convinced his spirit and all he could utter was “Thyself can never be wrong”. He could feel the softness of love within the Guru. He could hear the harmony of this mystical cry for the pain of human suffering and the responsibility the Guru carried in defending righteousness. The kindness expressed by Guru when he took Painde Khan in his lap after giving him the deathblow reflects the softness of his spirit when he used his sword. His philanthropy was beyond all comparison and shows him to be the emperor of all times. No matter how small the geographical boundaries of the empire, His Empire exists with all merits beyond any limits of time and space.

The spirit of Sikhi is free, and probably Sikhs have to bring forward the idea of the creation of a society that is based on equality and non-discrimination. The enslavement in the idea of democracy throughout the world is simply blind imitation of the West. Following one form of government throughout the world as an ideal form of government in all cultures and all societies is questionable. All flowers in the garden have their unique fragrance, all have distinct colors and therein lies the beauty of the garden. Throughout the world and including the world’s oldest democracy lie the most evil of minds. These polluted minds have only moral pollution to offer to the society. 

Guru Arjan Dev Ji says, “Brahmgiani Parupkar Umaha” meaning that the best person is the one who is most enthusiastic to serve others. Politics today is spreading hate amongst mankind in order to cement political seats and political power. But the Sikh way of life is based on our daily prayer of Blessings for everyone – Sarbhat da Bala. “Na Ko bairi, nahi Begana” (Neither there is any foe nor any stranger). The Sikh Panth is like a river, which quenches the thirst of all: both the cow and the wolf. The society of Sikhs is affectionate, not only for Gods (which to a certain extent, all truly religious people are), but also towards the entire mankind, for each of us has the presence of the Almighty within us. It contributes its earnings to the victims of any natural calamity even if it is in China or in Bangladesh. It is unfortunate today, that unmeritorious, democratically elected individuals govern the society that has its foundation in righteous meritocracy.

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