The atheist movement within the individuals from Sikh background started after the Soviet revolution of 1919. Many educated individuals from Sikh background started reading Marxist philosophy and with that started the atheist movement in Sikhi. This atheist movement which started as a Kirti Lehar became Communist movement later on. Many Gadri Babas and promising youth like Sardar Bhagat Singh fell prey to this movement.
Early Communist leaders of Punjab maintained the Sikh outlook but from inside they were pure atheist and questioned the very basics of Sikhi. Gurbaksh Singh Preetlari, Nanak Singh Novelist etc. were very good writers but they always wrote in such way as to create doubts in the minds of gullible young Sikhs. Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh jee wrote many articles in response to the poisonous anti-Gurmat writings of Gurbaksh Singh Preetlari and successfully countered his propaganda.
Nanak Singh was an excellent novelist and he wrote some of the first Punjabi novels (after Bhai Vir Singh jee). He was greatly influenced by Munshi Premchand (a great Hindi novelist) and he wrote good novels on social evils of Indian society but Nanak Singh was a declared atheist and though he wrote on good subjects but his writings were subtly against religion. In his personal life, he was vehemently against Sikhi and Vaheguru.
The following story is based on a short incident written by Sodhi Harbajhan Singh in his book Bhajan Bandagi Da Prataap:
Nanak Singh Novelist and Karamaat
In 1959, Sodhi Harbhajan Singh was residing at Dalhousie (a Hill city) and one day he did Katha in a Samagam there. Nanak Singh Novelist too happened to be there and was sitting right beside Sodhi jee. After Katha, Nanak Singh approached Sodhi jee and said, “I come to Dalhousie every year and complete one novel here. This time I am writing a spiritual novel and in this novel I have battered Aastiks (believers in God) and have shown atheists in good light. I have written 374 pages but after hearing your Katha I feel like tearing them up. Before I tear up my writings, I would like to discuss with you. I request you to come to my home and there we will discuss this subject of atheism in detail.”
Sodhi jee agreed and accompanied Nanak Singh to his house.There Nanak Singh asked such blasphemous questions that they can’t be repeated by a believer of Gurmat. In any case, Sodhi jee continued to answer his questions with peace and patience. A few days later, Nanak Singh sent a message and called Sodhi jee again for more discussions. Sodhi jee arrived at Nanak Singh’s residence with two of his army companions. This time Nanak Singh declared that this would be the final discussion on this subject. Again, he asked very stupid and blasphemous questions that Sodhi jee continued to answer with patience. Some of the questions were so distasteful that it would be hard for a Sikh to sustain them. As the questions of Nanak Singh continued, all of sudden, the two army companions of Sodhi jee got up and angrily addressed Sodhi jee, “Are you an impotent that you are listening to this blasphemous nonsense of this man? We regret that you told him that we work for the army; otherwise, we would have killed him right now.”
The two army companions left and informed other Sikh soldiers and officers of the Sikh regiment about the blasphemous questions and arguments of Nanak Singh. Few days later, Sodhi jee along with Colonel Sekhon and Major Sandhu participated in the local Nagar Kirtan and there they heard an announcement that the next day, Nanak Singh Novelist would be speaking on the mission of Siri Guru Nanak Dev jee.
Just as this announcement was made, Nanak Singh too happened to bump into Sodhi jee and his companions. Sodhi jee introduced Nanak Singh with Colonel Sekhon and Major Sandhu. As soon as Major Sandhu heard Nanak Singh’s name, he got very upset and angrily said to Nanak Singh, “I have heard that you are going to speak on the mission of Siri Guru Nanak Dev jee tomorrow morning.”
Nanak Singh asked, “yes this is true that I am going to speak tomorrow; do you have a problem with it?”
Major Sandhu was quite agitated at Nanak Singh because he had heard about his very demeaning views about Guru Sahibaan. He responded, “Listen up you dog! Inside your house you curse and utter obscenities at Guru Sahib and outside, you are going to talk on their mission, in order to get praised. My name is Major Jaswant Singh Sandhu and I am an officer at the Sikh regiment stationed here. If I hear that you did lecture at Gurdwara Sahib, I will not be a son of my father, if I don’t hit you on your head with 100 slippers (chhitter).”
Nanak Singh was visibly disturbed when he heard Major Sandhu’s threat. He asked, “can you give me a single instance where I wrote anything against Guru Sahib?”
Major Sandhu responded, “how can you write anything against Guru Sahibaan because you write novels for living and your novels are read mainly by Sikhs? I don’t want to talk too much with you but I promise to hit 100 slippers on your head, if you give lecture at Gurdwara Sahib.”
After this incident, whenever Nanak Singh used to meet me, he used to say that all his doubts had been cleared but he just wanted to see a Karamaat (miracle). Sodhi jee kept telling him that showing Karamaat is not Gurmat but he kept insisting on seeing a Karamaat.
One day, Sodhi jee was walking in upper Dalhousie area and he met Nanak Singh there. He again asked to see a Karamaat. Sodhi jee unintentionally said, “okay you are going to see a Karamaat today. Make a note that today your left leg is going to break.”
Nanak Singh was very happy to see that he was finally going to see a Karamaat but little did he realize at that time that he was going to see this Karamaat at the expense of his left leg. He was supposed to travel in a bus that day and headed towards the bus station. As he was about to get on the bus, he remembered about Sodhi jee’s bachan. He feared that his bus may get into an accident and he may break his leg.
As the day progressed, he started getting worried about breaking his leg. Fear completely took over him and now he started looking for Sodhi jee everywhere. When he finally did meet Sodhi jee, he was visibly disturbed at that time. He was trembling with fear and requested Sodhi jee to take back his bachan and that he did not want to see any Karamaat any longer. Sodhi jee kept insisting that why not he check out to see if Karamaat came out true but he begged not to see it. He said that if at this age, he broke his leg, it would be hard to fix it. At his insistence Sodhi jee took back his Bachan and Nanak Singh was relieved.
Bhul chuk dee maafi jee.