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The Sikh Doctrine of Double Sovereignty – Relationship Between the Khalsa and the State

October 11, 2020 | By

Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s 52 Hukams issued at Nanded Sahib (commands) included “Sutantar Vicharna” (staying independent). Renowned Sikh scholar Sirdar Kapur Singh has explained “Sutantar Vicharna” in terms of the peculiar “Sikh Doctrine of Double Sovereignty”. Following are excerpts about the doctrine of double sovereignty from Sirdar Kapur Singh’s write-up ‘ Theo-Political Status of Darbar Sahib ’. – Editor.


author: Sirdar Kapur Singh | Image – Digital Drawing by Parm Singh

The essence of the peculiar Sikh doctrine of double sovereignty is that a man of religion must always owe his primary allegiance to Truth and morality, and he must never submit to the exclusive claim of secular state to govern the bodies and minds of men and whole of Sikh History must be seen as an unfoldment of this Sikh attitude, if it is to be properly understood.

The main substance of this Sikh doctrine is that any sovereign state which includes Sikh population and groups as citizens, must never make the paranoia pretensions of almighty absolutism entailing the concept of total power, entitled to rule over the bodies and minds of men, in utter exclusiveness. Any state which lays such claims qua the Sikhs, shall automatically forfeit its moral right to demand allegiance of the Sikhs.

The 19th century German writer, Schulse supports the basic premise of this doctrine by asserting that the view that the State is absolutely supreme and incapable of doing wrong is misconceived and dangerous. The Sikh history is relentless jehad against this dangerous misconception, and the Sikhs have always insisted that any state fit and entitled to demand their allegiance must ab initio recognise and concede its own self- limited character, arising out of the principles of morality, the principles of Religion, the principles of abstract justice, the principles of the Sikhs’ meta-legal constitution.

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