TIKA, derived from the root tik, a loan word from the aboriginal languages, meaning `to mark` or `to explain`, signifies commentary, exegesis or explanation, especially of a scriptural text. Originally meant to provide a simple paraphrase of the spiritual and mystical revelations, a tika may now embrace an exhaustive analysis and interpretation of the text. Such tikas and commentaries have been part of the Indian religious tradition since ancient times.In tracing the history, reference is made to Yaska Muni (circa 700 BC) who mentions in his Nirukta numerous preceding commentators of the sacred scriptures.
During AD 800 to 1500, a large number of tikas were written on Badarayana`s Brahmasutra and on the Bhagavadgita by scholars holding different views and proffering different interpretations of the works. Every new interpretation of a text gave birth to a new school of thought which subsequently developed in some cases, into a new and independent sect.In the Sikh tradition, interpretation of the Gurus` word and teaching had begun contemporaneously with them and among written works instances can l)e cited of the expository verse of Bhai Gurdas (d. 1636) and the prose discourses of Miharban (1581-1640).
The first regular tikas to appear were those of the Udasi sadhu Anandghana who wrote during 1795-1802 commentaries of Japu, Arati, Oankar and Siddha Gosti. He was followed by Santokh Singh (Garbganjam Tika) and Tara Singh Narotam (Tika Guru Bhav Dipika). A major exegetical work was a commentary encompassing the entire Sikh Scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, which was commissioned by Raja Bikram Singh, ruler of the princely state of Faridkot.
The work completed in 1883 is popularly known as the Faridkot Tika. Two other full scale tikas of the Guru Granth Sahib are Sri Guru Granth Sahib Darpan by Professor Sahib Singh and Sri Guru Granth Sahib JiSatik by Giani Bishan Singh. Bhai Vir Singh, the famous poet and savant, launched another tika of the Guru Granth Sahib, though he did not live to complete it. He had covered 607 pages of the original texts and his work has been published in seven volumes.
1. Taran Singh, Gurbani dian Viakhia Pranalian. Patiala, n.d.