Plagiarism is quite common in academia, especially in the disciplines of humanities whereas ghostwriting is generally the domain of propagandists. I had heard of ghostwriting by scholars, but I had not actually seen it until I saw a reference to it, in 2004, in Planned Attack on Aad Guru Granth Sahib: Academics or Blasphemy.1 In 1992, in a letter addressed to W.H. McLeod, Joseph T. O’Connell and Pashaura Singh, Jasbir Singh Mann asked the following questions.2
1. When and how you came across GNDU Manuscript 1245 and where it was before 1987?
2. Who could publish article under the authorship of Dr. Loehlin in 1987 & 1990 suggesting, “Western friends of Sikhism and the Sikhs likewise have noted this lack of critical interest on part of the Sikhs. Fortunately, many of their scholars and research experts are doing research on textual and historical problem?”
Mann has boldly questioned the integrity of the three, but none of them has responded to his questions as yet. However, Pashaura Singh does mention in his Ph.D. dissertation an article published in 1987 under Loehlin’s name containing the above statement.
“The Sikhs will hold a unique position among the religions of the world if they prove through careful textual criticism the widely accepted belief that the Kartarpur Granth is the MS dictated by Guru Arjan.” 3
And, he cites the following reference for the above statement.
C. Loehlin, “The Need for Textual and Historical Criticism”, The Sikh Courier (Spring-Summer, 1987), p 18. Originally, this paper was read at the Punjab Historical Conference and published in its proceedings, 1966.4 Archer’s comments may be seen in “The Bible of Sikhs”, The Review of Religion (January 1949), pp 11-25).
The Need for Textual and Historical Criticism
The examination of C. Loehlin’s 1987 article “The Need for Textual and Historical Criticism”4 by Gurnam Kaur and Kharak Singh5 found out that that the first part (roughly a page and one third) of this article is word-for-word as the paper “Textual Criticism of the Kartarpur Granth” that C. H. Loehlin read at the Sikh Studies Conference at Berkley in 1976, and it was published later in 1979.6 Thus, C. Loehlin is the same person as C. H. Loehlin. But, it is astonishing that the article cited by Pashaura Singh makes no mention of Loehlin’s 1979 paper. Furthermore, a long note by Jodh Singh about his examination of the Kartarpur Granth (Kartarpuri Bir) in Loehlin’s 1979 paper is completely missing in the 1987 article cited by Pashaura Singh. And, there are other significant differences between these two articles. For example, the statement of Archer in Loehlin’s 1979 article that questions the authenticity of Kartarpur Granth is reproduced, while Loehlin’s statement affirming its authenticity is omitted.
The problem of the book is acute. This is considered to be the Adi Granth, the “original” or only copy in existence of the “original”. But it bears no date, not any scribe’s name, nor is its history clear. Its authentically [authenticity] cannot be proved. It is said that Guru Teg Bahadur hid it once for fourteen days in the River Beas, to protect it … but there is no sign of water-damage. There are copies here and there, in the Golden Temple, for example. 4
From Dr. Jodh Singh’s careful investigation, then, the authenticity of the Kartarpur Granth’s claim to be the original manuscript dictated by Guru Arjan is established by the blank pages scattered throughout the Book. The cryptic writing at the beginning turns out to be, probably, the ink formula used, often given in old manuscripts. The authenticity of the disputed Rag Mala (List of Tunes) at the end also has been proved.6
Further, the following paragraph, written in third person, in which Archer and Loehlin’s remarks are amplified and emphasized as the comments of well meaning friendly critics, is not found in Loehlin’s 1979 paper.
The above observations are not so superficial, as they might at first seem. For one thing, Dr. Archer’s statements are those of a trained observer. Both are the reaction of friendly critics who know how irreplaceable such a book is. Both are from men who have had to study the involved subject of textual criticism of the Christian Scriptures, in an effort to establish, the original text with no original manuscripts of it extant. The Sikhs will hold a unique position among the religious [religions] of the world if they prove through careful textual criticism the widely accepted belief that the Kartarpur Granth is the MS dictated by Guru Arjan. This should not be impossible, and there are qualified Sikh scholars to do it. To this end, would it not be possible to obtain photo-static copies of the entire book? This would not only preserve to the world the ancient book but make it available for intensive study as well. 4
In addition, the 1987 article cited by Pashaura Singh contains some extra material which is not present in Loehlin’s 1966 paper or its 1979 updated version. The extra material consists of references to writings of Giani Partap Singh about Dasam Granth suggesting its literary criticism to determine the authorship of its various contents, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan’s friendly warning to Sikhs in his Introduction to The Sacred Writings of the Sikhs about the general decline of living up to the ideals laid down in the Aad Guru Granth Sahib, and the following statement at the end of the article, which is part of Mann’s second question.
“Western friends of Sikhism and the Sikhs likewise have noted this lack of critical interest on part of the Sikhs. Fortunately, many of their scholars and research experts are doing research on textual and historical problem.” 4
Besides, there is material from J. S. Grewal and S. S. Bal’s Guru Gobind Singh that questions Sikh traditional views about the Baisakhi of 1699, and the investing of Guruship in either the Khalsa Panth or Aad Guru Granth Sahib.
If we turn to contemporary and near contemporary evidence enough of the details gets confirmed, but not all. That a considerable number of Sikhs used to visit Anandpur at the time of Baisakhi and that on the Baisakhi of 1699 many of the Sikhs were especially asked to come, that the Khande ki pahul was administered to those who were willing to become the Guru’s Khalsa (though no exact figures are mentioned anywhere), that a considerable number of people – the brahmans and khatris in particular rejected the pahul, that the Khalsa were required to wear their keshas and arms, that they were required not to smoke, that the appellation “singh” came to be adopted by a large number of the Khalsa – all this is there in the earliest evidence. But the dramatic call for the laying down of life for the Guru, his request to the five beloved that they should initiate him into Khalsa by administering pahul, the vesting of Guruship in either the Khalsa panth or the Adi Granth – all these very important and interrelated items are not to be found in the available contemporary evidence. In fact, in the near contemporary records left to posterity by the Sikhs themselves, there are frequent references to “five weapons” rather than to five k’s; and the Adi granth is not given exclusive preference over the bani of Guru Gobind Singh.
As these vital points are sanctified by the belief of a large number of the followers of Guru Gobind Singh from the late eighteenth century down to the present day, it may be argued in fact that that the strength of that belief goes in favour of their authenticity. It is not being suggested that their authenticity is definitely unwarranted. But one cannot help thinking that the authenticity of these vital points is yet to be firmly established, unless of course one refused to think historically and for oneself. Search for more contemporary evidence must be made; the later tradition and historical circumstances under which it came into existence must be thoroughly examined; and, meanwhile, the historian may suspend judgment on these vital points. 4
On the other hand, considerable material from the 1979 article is left out. Moreover, a note in the 1987 article cited by Pashaura leaves the impression as if Loehlin was employed by the University of California at Berkley (DR. C. H. Loehlin, Berkley University, USA).4 However, there is no evidence that Loehlin even lived near Berkley not to speak of him being associated with the University in any manner or capacity in 1987 as he was staying in “Westminister Gardens”, an assisted living facility and an affiliate of Southern California Presbyterian Homes (1420 Santo Domingo Avenue, Duarte, California 91010). It was confirmed by Dr. Jasbir Singh Mann in 1992, when he visited Mr. Rollins, the Executive Director of the facility. He told Mann that since 1983 Dr. Loehlin was incapable of doing any academic work. According to records of the Home he neither wrote nor revised any such paper.7 Further, Loehlin’s daughter, Mrs. Marian Davies told Mann, “She does not recall that her dad published any article on Sikhism in later years of his life when he moved to Westminister Gardens.” 8 C. H. Loehlin was born on May 14, 1897 in Brooklin, New York and died on September 27, 1990 in San Gabriel, California (Presbyterian Historical Society, 425 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147).
It is bizarre that the 1987 article cited by Pashaura Singh was published three years later in The Sikh Review, March-April, 1990, pp. 55-58? What is even more bizarre is that here the author is Dr. C. Loehlin, not C. Loehlin and there is no mention of him being at Berkeley, nor is there a mention of either his 1966 paper or the 1979 paper. Besides, the first three reference numbers are omitted. It seems that these changes were made to create the impression that the article was a brand new article written by Dr. C. Loehlin!
Now the question is why C. H. Loehlin, who raised textual issue at the Punjab Historical Conference in 1966, would raise the same issue after so many years in 1987 in an obscure non-academic publication, The Sikh Courier published in England, without reference to his 1979 paper? Moreover, why would he publish the same article twice under different initials in different journals three years apart? Besides, the information about Loehlin’s health in 1980s casts doubt on the authorship of this article by him. However, the statement, “Western friends of Sikhism and the Sikhs likewise have noted this lack of critical interest on part of the Sikhs. Fortunately, many of their scholars and research experts are doing research on textual and historical problem,” contains a strong clue about the ghostwriter’s footprints. From this statement it is clear that the article was written to justify the textual and historical study of the Adi Granth and to appeal to the Sikhs that it would be done by scholars who are friends of the Sikhs.
To my knowledge nobody, especially non-Sikhs, ever consulted Sikhs for doing research on Sikhism. Why does the author of the above statement want to assure the Sikhs that research on the textual and historical problems will be done by friendly scholars. These “friendly scholars” who were involved in the textual study of the Adi Granth were Piar Singh, Gurinder Singh Mann (J. S. Hawley, supervisor) and Pashaura Singh (W. H. McLeod, supervisor). Who among these scholars was trying to assure the Sikhs of his friendship? Was it someone who had a credibility problem among the Sikhs, and could that person be W. H. McLeod .9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
Gatha Sri Adi Granth and the Controversy
In 2004, I came across references to Piar Singh’s Gatha Sri Adi Granth and the Controversy (1996) in McLeod’s Discovering the Sikhs: Autobiograhy of a Historian. The first part of the tile Gatha Sri Adi Granth is the same as Piar Singh’s Gatha Sri Adi Granth (Punjabi) published by Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) in October 1992. But due to the controversial nature of the book, GNDU suspended its sale immediately on December 16, 1992. The ban on this book started immediately a passionate debate in the media between Piar Singh and his supporters on one side and others who saw major flaws in Piar Singh’s research. This debate lasted until 1995.
Gatha Sri Adi Granth and the Controversy deals with the controversial debate and MS 1245 (GNDU), Mohan Pothis and Mulmantra. It’s main thrust, however, is the repudiation of Daljeet Singh’s Essays on the Authenticity of Kartarpuri Bir which exposes McLeod’s “scholarship, methodology and ethics”, 10 and the attacks on Daljeet Singh, Dr. Jasbir Singh Mann (California), Sikh clergy (Amritsar) and the Institute of Sikh Studies (Chandigarh). It did not make any sense to me why this book was published in Michigan, USA.15 To satisfy my curiosity I made inquiries about the publisher of the book and found that it was available from a certain Jaswant Singh of Michigan. When I called Singh in Michigan, to place an order for the book, he told me that the banned book was also available. So I purchased both books from him. I was in for a bigger surprise when I read the last paragraph of the Preface.
I owe my gratitude to a number of friends who have helped me see this book through. Seeking indulgence of others, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to Mr. Robert Moore, the distinguished Language Instructor of Grand Ledge Public Schools, Michigan (U.S.A) who has taken immense pains to go through the draft of the book, make corrections and suggest valuable improvements. My profound thanks are due to Dr. Jaswant Singh who has managed to see the book published through the Anant Education and Rural Development Foundation, Inc, Michigan (U.S.A.). I owe my thanks to him for prevailing upon Dr. Pashaura Singh as well to lend me, for reproduction in this book, the photocopies of the facsimiles of the Kartarpuri Bir, that he possessed.16
Who is Jaswant Singh and what is his field of expertise? There is no evidence that Singh is involved in Sikh studies or that he promotes Sikh studies or Sikhism. Jaswant Singh did not publish any book on Sikhism before Gatha Sri Aadi Granth and the Controversy. Besides, how did Piar Singh know Jaswant Singh? What is the relationship between Pashaura Singh and Jaswant Singh, and who introduced Piar Singh to Robert Moore? To make some sense, I studied Gatha Sri Aadi Granth and the Controversy and compared some of the statements in this book to quotes in Discovering the Sikhs: Autobiography of a Historian. It becomes abundantly clear that someone put words in the mouth of a dead man, Piar Singh (1914-1996), to defend W. H. McLeod and Pashaura Singh and to malign Daljeet Singh (1911-1994), Jasbir Singh Mann, and the Institute of Sikh Studies in Chandigarh. But their main target is still Daljeet Singh.
Due to the following reasons it is highly unlikely that Piar Singh wrote Gatha Sri Aadi Granth and the controversy.
First, when Piar Singh was asked, “Why are you bowing to the ignorant clergy to defend your research work?” “Because I am a devout Sikh” was his reply. Pashaura Singh too gives the same justification for his repentance before the Sikh clergy.17, 18 So why would a devout Sikh publish another controversial book to defend his book, Gatha Sri Adi Granth, which was banned by the Sikh clergy?
Second, comparison of the language of Gatha Sri Adi Garnth and the language of Gatha Sri Aadi Granth and the Controversy demonstrates that Piar Singh could not be the author of latter. Piar Singh was a lecturer in Punjabi at the Government College, Ludhiana and in 1955 through 1957, I remember him as a soft-spoken, polite, and a sweet person. Here is a case in point: Commenting on Daljeet Singh’s Essays on the Authenticity of Kartarpuri Bir and the Integrated Logic of Sikhism, which he studied in 1987, Piar Singh says, “The learned author has not brought out any new information/fact, he has simply reiterated the rational exposition/interpretation of Bahi Jodh Singh’s Kartarpuri Bir de Darshan. The author claims that there are many features/attributes of Kartarpuri Bir which could not be in copied versions. This is indeed a tall claim.”19 Later he does not mention Daljeet Singh’s name even once; he simply tries to demolish Bhai Jodh Singh’s findings and arguments about the authenticity of Kartarpuri Bir one by one, methodically, without resorting to unprofessional language.20 However, some of the statements we find in Gatha Sri Aadi Granth And The controversy appear as outbursts of a vindictive person against “his enemies”.
Third, why would Piar Singh ask Robert Moore, the language instructor from Michigan and who had no expertise on the subject matter, to proof read the draft of his book? Wouldn’t Piar Singh ask people like Prof. S. S. Dosanjh, Prof. Hracharan Bains, and Prof. Darshan Singh Maini or Gurdarshan Singh Grewal (Advocate General) or Pritam Singh (retired IAS officer), who defended his academic freedom,21, 22 to proof read the draft and write the foreword?
Fourth, Gatha Sri Aadi Granth and the Controversy does not in any manner enhance Piar Singh’s integrity or scholarship; instead, it portrays him in poor light. It makes him look like a simple-minded person who did not know what he was talking about. For example:
· Piar Singh’s conclusion about the Kartarpuri Bir is seriously flawed and way of the mark. Both Pashaura Singh (The Guru Granth Sahib: Canon, Meaning and Authority) and Gurinder Singh Mann (The Making of Sikh Scripture) disagree with Piar Singh, but agree with Bhai Jodh Singh and Daljeet Singh’s conclusion supporting the authenticity of Kartarpuri Bir.
· Of the ten books listed on the cover of Gatha Sri Aadi Granth and the Controversy to highlight Piar Singh’s academic accomplishments, with the exception of the controversial Gatha Sri Aadi Granth, none is about Sikh theology or history.
· Under “Print Media Bibliotheca” (printed twice), there are about 60 references for and against Piar Singh. Among Piar Singh’s defenders – S. S. Dosanjh, Hracharan Bains and Darshan Singh Maini, Gurdarshan Singh Grewal and Pritam Singh, there is no one who is/was involved in Sikh Studies. Moreover, they defend Piar Singh’s academic freedom, not his work. On the other hand Piar Singh’s thesis is criticized by Prof. G. S. Dhillon, Prof. Balkar Singh, Prof. Prithipal Singh Kapur, Giani Gurdit Singh, Prof. Vikram Singh and Prof. Inder Singh Ghaggha, who are teachers/scholars of Sikh Studies. Besides, Piar Singh is defended by communists/Marxists (Harcharan Bains and S. S. Dosanjh), the communist media (Nawan Zamana) and the Hindu media (Jansata, Tribune, Punjabi Tribune, India Today, Indian Express, and Hindustan Times). 21, 22
· According to Gatha Sri Aadi Granth and the Controversy, Pashaura Singh’s thesis was criticized because his supervisor was W. H. McLeod, and Piar Singh’s problems arose from the perception that “Dr. Piar Singh and Pashaura Singh both, on call from Dr. McLeod, Chairman of the Sikh Studies at a Canadian University, have challenged the authority of the Guru Granth Sahib.” 23 In that case one would expect that Piar Singh would not do any thing that could be used as evidence of collaboration between him, McLeod and Pashaura Singh. In other words, Piar Singh would stay away as far as possible from Pashaura Singh and McLeod, and not utter or write anything about them that could be construed as a collaboration between the three. On the other hand in Gatha Sri Aadi Granth and the Controversy, Piar Singh is depicted as a defender of Pashaura Singh and W. H. McLeod. 23 Moreover, Gatha Sri Aadi Granth and the Controversy was published by Jaswant Singh of Michigan, a close friend of Pashaura Singh. Pashaura Singh was a lecturer at that time at the University of Michigan. Would Piar Singh in his right mind do these things if he thought that his problems arose from the perceptions that he was collaborating with McLeod and Pashaura Singh?
The ghostwriter has created an alibi by putting words in the mouth of a dead man (Piar Singh, who died in 1996) to defend W. H. McLeod and Pashaura Singh, and to malign Daljeet Singh (1911-1994), Jasbir Singh Mann and the Institute of Sikh Studies. Daljeet Singh was the main target. It is worth noting that neither McLeod nor Pashaura Singh responded to Daljeet Singh’s criticism of their works when he was alive.
I have presented evidence and arguments to prove that C. H. Loehlin is not the author of “The Need for Textual and Historical Criticism”, and Piar Singh, in all likelihood, is not the author of Gatha Sri Adi Granth and the Controversy. I leave up to the readers to draw their own conclusions.
The date of death of Dr. C. H. Loehlin in the article typed inadvertently as September 27, 1990 is wrong. He was born on May 14, 1897 in Brooklyn, New York and died on September 27, 1987 at the age of 90 in San Gabriel, California (Presbyterian Historical Society, 425 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147).
1. Bachittar Singh Giani, Ed. Planned Attack on Aad Guru Granth Sahib: Academics or Blasphemy. Chandigarh: International Centre of Sikh Studies, 1994, pp. 13-14, 46-48, 302.
2. Ibid., p. 302.
3. Pashaura Singh. The Text And Meaning Of The Adi Granth (Ph.D. Thesis). Toronto: University of Toronto, 1991, p. 92.
4. C. Loehlin, “The Need for Textual and Historical Criticism”, The Sikh Courier, Spring-Summer, 1987, p 18.
5. Gurnam Kaur, Kharak Singh. “Blasphemous Attacks” in Planned Attack on Aad Guru Granth Sahib: Academics or Blasphemy, Bachittar Singh Giani, Ed. Chandigarh: International Centre of Sikh Studies, 1994, pp. 39-62.
6. C. H. Loehlin, “Textual Criticism of the Kartarpur Granth”, in Sikh Sudies: Comparative Perspective on a Changing Tradition, Eds., M. Juergensmeyer and N. G. Barrier. Berkley: Graduate Theological Union, 1979, pp. 113-18.
7. Bachittar Singh Giani, Ed. Planned Attack on Aad Guru Granth Sahib: Academics or Blasphemy. Chandigarh: International Centre of Sikh Studies, 1994, pp. 46-8.
8. Ibid. P 48.
9. Gurdev Singh, Ed. Perspectives on the Sikh Tradition. Chandigarh: Siddharth Publications, 1986.
10. Daljeet Singh. Essays on the authenticity of Kartarpuri Bir and the Integrated Logic and Unity of Sikhism. Patiala: Punjabi University, 1987, pp. 37-8, 55-59, 72-74, 81-83.
11. Baldev Singh. “Understanding W. H. McLeod and his work on Sikhism”, SikhSpectrum.com, August, 2005; www.glbalsikhstudies.net.
13. Baldev Singh. “My Favorite Author”, SikhSpectrum.com, May 2007.
13. Baldev Singh. “Un-academic, Unethical and Unsolicited Advice”, SikhSpectrum.com, May 2007.
13. Baldev Singh. “Sant Tradition or Sant Mat”, SikhSpectrum.com, November 2007.
15. Piar Singh: Gatha Sri Adi Granth and the Controversy. Michigan: Anant Education and Rural Development Foundation INC, 1996.
16. ibid., p. viii.
17. W. H. McLeod. Discovering the Sikhs: Autobiography of Historian. Delhi: Permanent Black, 2004, p. 101.
18. Pashaura Singh. “Recent trends and prospects in Sikh studies.” Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses, 1998, 27 (4), pp. 407-425.
19. Piar Singh. Gatha Sri Adi Granth (Punjabi). Amritsar: Guru Nanak Dev University, 1992, p. 67-8.
20. Ibid., pp. 174- 203.
21. Piar Singh. Gatha Sri Adi Granth and the Controversy. Michigan Anant Education and Rural Development Foundation INC, 1996, pp. 167-71.
22. Ibid., p. 60.
23. Ibid., pp. 55-56, 62, 160-61.