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The plans for Harminder Sahib ?

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Is it a Good thing for Harminder Sahib to become Heritage status or as the cartoon hilights, a plot for change ?

Or is there more to the picture, that it may be beneficial to become heritage status if so

Who, what and how does this whole Heritage thing work, what happens in the process?

Who runs it is it ?

Will Sikhs benefit from it and who losses?

Will Harmindar Sahib be lost by Sikhs ? or Is it simply the about who controls the golak and the income or is that left to the current SGPC?

What other sites around the world are under this Scheme,

Also who started the whole thing so become part of Heritage status ? & WHY?


Darbar Sahib World Heritage Site Under Spotlight Once Again

Sunday 19th June, 2005

Fauja Singh - Panthic Weekly Staff

London, UK (KP) - Darbar Sahib being declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO is once again in the spotlight. The SGPC (Sharomini Gurdwara Prabandic Commitee) has decided to call back the dossier it submitted for Darbar Sahib world heritage status yet the Government of India seems determined to have it approved against the wishes of the Sikh Community worldwide.

Sikhs across the world including UK have strongly objected against the dossier on the grounds that they were not consulted. They also objected on various other issues based on the content as well as the language used to create the dossier. Now it seems the Government is determined to still get the world heritage status passed against the wishes of the Sikh community stating that it has consulted with Sikhs world wide when it is widely publicised through the media.

Claims have also been made in the media that the Government has paid various medias vast amount of money for special programs explaining the benefits of world heritage status. As well as the Sikh community not wanting the heritage status it is also clear that the SGPC no longer feels the need for such status if it is to be tied by so many strings from different angles. This is why it has called for the dossier to be returned and world heritage status dropped.

Sikhs across the world are now being urged to contact their local and national representatives urging them to highlight the point that Sikhs have not been consulted. The Sikh Community in the UK is urging community members to send letters to local MPs, the Secretary of State Tessa Jowell, and the Prime Minister. Individuals are also urged to encourage their local Gurdwaras to send letters as well.


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we shouldnt have indian flags at the entrance.

read this


The title of your pic says it all, the Indian government has no jusrusdiction over Harmandir Sahib, who are they to make any plans for it.

Itll be classed as an Indian cultural site if this goes through, and they will get funds and expertise for maintenance etc whereas this should be done via seva not financial grants. read the link mate

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Over the lasy couple of centruies we have seen:

Every Bunga and traditional school of learning destroyed to make way for a parkarma

Ancient Samadhs of great Sikh shaheeds torn down

Appaling renovation work caried out on the Darbar sahib in the naem of sewa which will ultimately destry the structure

No city planniing which means taht teh site is dominated by neon signs from adjoining hotels,guest houses and dhabas

encroachment of the site by commerical businesses

The tearing down of the ancient Akal Takht in the name of "beadbi"

ancient trees chopped down

The comic renovation of teh Rangharais Towers which now resemble a disneyland style view of a 18th century structure

The utter debasement and destruction of the buildings during 1984

The plastering over of invaluable ancient wall paintings during teh 1999 gold seva

the tearing off of the gold panels made by skilled craftesmen during Ranji singhs reign and replaced by shoddy copies.

Its clear that the entire site needs soem kind of protection. Its clear taht the current custodians dont provide that protection. What UNESCO World Heritage Status provides is the abiolity for conservators and architectural historians to use UNESCO experts to intervene when any of these kinds of seva are planned. It also gives the same people leverage over city authorites to stop some of the encraochment. UNESCO WHS applies to the Vatican, Westminister Cathedral & Canterbury Cathedral - ie three major religious sites. It is also in polace for the Palace of Westminister a temporal site. WHS has no impact on the runnign or function ofthe buildings, it is simply there to assist conservators in protecting teh FABRIC ofthe buildings.

This was vociferously opposed by a gang of politicos and khalistanis who shouted hysterically when it was clear that the application was ebing made. They whipped up all kinds of smoke screens and false arguments under the broader issue of "sovereignty" and forced teh SGPC hand to rescind the application. What they haev done is give free reign to the kar seva wallahs to ply their trade even further into the complex itself.

Its a great shame that they took somethign (politically innocous and fundamentally positive and dragged it deep into their paranoid and murcky political and grimy world and forced it to be stopped.

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YES. Do you honestly think that UNESCO has any hand in running the British Houses of parliament at either a political or funding level ?? THey are experts that can be called on to look atteh FABRIC of the building.


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"UNESCO WHS applies to the Vatican, Westminister Cathedral & Canterbury Cathedral - ie three major religious sites"

I recall Jasdev S Rai making a comment that the Vatican itself was not subject to WHS, where do you get your information from ?

On another note, say for example that Harimandir Sahib was granted WHS status, and Baba XYZ Singh comes along with his coterie, adamant to tile over some important artefacts in the name of 'Seva'; What powers would UNESCO have to stop this, and exactly how would their powers be enforced?

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World Heritage


Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world’s heritage.

What makes the concept of World Heritage exceptional is its universal application. World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.

UNESCO's World Heritage mission is to:

encourage countries to sign the World Heritage Convention and to ensure the protection of their natural and cultural heritage;

encourage States Parties to the Convention to nominate sites within their national territory for inclusion on the World Heritage List;

encourage States Parties to establish management plans and set up reporting systems on the state of conservation of their World Heritage sites;

help States Parties safeguard World Heritage properties by providing technical assistance and professional training;

provide emergency assistance for World Heritage sites in immediate danger;

support States Parties' public awareness-building activities for World Heritage conservation;

encourage participation of the local population in the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage;

encourage international cooperation in the conservation of our world's cultural and natural heritage.

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I get my information from the WHS website whereas Jasdev Rai tends to pull information from out of his backside (remeber this was the man who made a complete fool of himslef during the Bezhti affair by desperalty trying to hog the media limelight and insterad looking very stupid while on Newsnight).

Look on the WHS website you will see the centre of the Catholic Church (the Holy See ie the entire Vatican City listed) http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/286

Canterbury Cathedral ie the spiritual headquarters of teh Church of England (archbishop of Canterbury adn all that). In fact you will find 21 Cathedrals in 12 countries and a further 25 churches. You will also find Bhuddist, Hindu and Shinto temples and at least two mosques.


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Thanks for tha extract. Note how it says on every line "encourage" or "help". thaht is all that UNESCO can do they can assist and provide leverage. In a world where sikh conservationists and historians have very few allies against the hordes of kar seva babas and revisionists the WHS is a powerful tool to make sure that any seva that is doen is at least sympathetic to the buildings

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  • 4 weeks later...

India withdraws dossier on Golden Temple

By Sanjay Bumbroo - TNS

Jul 18, 2005, 21:33

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The Government of India has officially withdrawn the nomination of Harmandir Sahib proposed to be taken up for consideration at the 29th session of the World Heritage Committee.

This has been confirmed through a communication, received by Dr Jasdev Singh Rai, a member of the UK-based Sikh Human Rights Group, from the Department for Culture, Media and Sports (a copy of which is in the possession of The Tribune).

Earlier, the SGPC had unanimously passed a resolution to withdraw the dossier on the plea that Harmandir Sahib did not require recognition from UNESCO or any other international body.

However, Indian government can reapply for the World Heritage Status in 2006. In case the dossier is sent again, the case could be heard by the year 2007, after a gap of two years.

Talking to TNS on phone today, Dr Rai said the British Government had taken up the case of WHS (World Heritage Status) with the World Heritage Centre (WHC) on behalf of British Sikhs. Earlier, Dr Rai had raised an objection that Sikhs from all over the world had not been taken into confidence at the time of sending the dossier to UNESCO.

Dr Rai said the representation made by the British Government was highly significant. British Sikhs now have the support from their own government in asserting their stake to Harmandir Darbar Sahib. Harmandir Sahib has an international significance for Sikhs all over the world. If the application is made again the British government will insist on consultation with British Sikhs as well Dr Rai said.

Dr Rai also praised Bibi Jagir Kaur, president of the SGPC for maintaining a firm stand on the heritage matter and withdrawing SGPC’s support for the application. Dr Rai said SGPC chief had grasped the complexity of the issue and took a stand on Sikh principles.

Dr Rai has also written to Bibi Jagir Kaur to take initiative in order to set up an International Gurdwara Parbhandikan Committee and get NGO consultative status at the UN like other religious communities.

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I never know whether Jasdev Rai is chronically paranoid or too stubborn to admit that he's talking balony. Either way the actions of him and his merry morons in UK and US gurdwaras who lobbied hard becuase of the "sovereignty" issue have shot the sikh community in the foot. They completely ignored UNESCO and its insistence that they were not about to take over the site. read UNESCOs clarification below and someone please explain why they continued to oppose the application:

UNESCO clarifies on Harmandar Sahib status

Varinder Walia

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 4

The Director, UNESCO, Prof M. Tawfik, has categorically stated that after granting the World Heritage Status (WHS), it becomes the responsibility of the organisation (UNESCO) to protect the site from any external aggression. Such security would have been provided to Harmandar Sahib, if it had received the WHS.

This is part of the minutes of the meeting, held in the office of the Chairman National Commission for Minorities, copy of which has been given to The Tribune by the Chairman (NCM), Mr Tarlochan Singh, here today. He was here to preside over the installation ceremony of the president of the Rotary Club.

Giving details of the meeting, the NCM Chairman informed that Mr Babu Rajeev, Director-General, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), had clarified that the inscription of Harmandar Sahib on the WHS would not in any way alter the management status of the shrine. The management of Harmandar Sahib would continue to remain with the SGPC even after the inscription of the shrine on the WHS. Neither in the nomination dossier nor in the site management plan, there was any proposal to replace the present management system. Therefore, the question of the new management system, after inscription on the WHS list does not arise.

Much to the embarrassment of the SGPC executive committee which had recommended the withdrawal of the dossier, all three members who attended the meeting concluded that the apprehensions raised by the committee were unfounded.

The ASI Director clarified that there was no proposal to interfere in the management of the core precinct (Darbar Sahib complex). UNESCO did not and would not impose any management directions on the WHS, he said. Any suggestion from UNESCO as an expert body would only be advisory in nature with regard to upholding and conserving the heritage value of a site. Full responsibility for protection as well as suggested conservation of the heritage property would be with the SGPC, he added.

He said the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was only a nodal agency for such tangible heritage in India in so far as UNESCO was concerned. Therefore, the ASI reports to the World Heritage Committee on all matters of importance on WHS.

Professor Tawfik, Director, UNESCO, however, clarified that the purpose of granting WHS to a particular historical monument was to preserve it for generations to come for record and for their posterity. He said the Director-General, ASI, had taken a wise decision by withdrawing the dossier. He urged the ASI to take the initiative of organising a discussion in the form of seminars or debates to discuss on the issue to appraise the apprehensions of the Sikh community.

He said a country could send only one nomination for WHS every year, but India had lost the chance to send the nomination this year. “We have only withdrawn the nomination of Harmandar Sahib this year, but there is no bar on resubmitting the application next year.

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I was asking Good old mum about this, and she said the classic line!

"People start of with good intentions, but sowly want control of it, ie: place your man on the outskirts and then slowly move him up the ranks eventually becomes pardhan.

I think the example was one of the local gurdwara's the man, started of coming, then became commitiee/secretary/ then treasurer/ then opted for pardhan but being a mona (hair cut Sikh) backed down after Sangat blasted him and said you have to practice Sikhi before you go in front of the sangat.

I can see why people are concerned over this, 1st UNESCO, 2nd Attendances on meetings, 3rd joining the commitee, 4th being paid etc.

Could this is me over thinking or just cautious?

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Its quite sad that people today are so evil that they are using Darbar Sahib as a commercial entity.

This really angers me. moreover why are we as a people not doing anything? where the f**k is the unity of the sikh people? these people, jagir kaur (brings shame to the name kaur), badal..etc. should be slapped up and killed.

problem is Panjabi Sikhs in Panjab don't really give a toss.

People outside Panjab, especially RICH PANJABI SIKHS now think they can just waltz in throw $20million dollars and install some stupid filteration systems that don't even work properly and think they own the place.

We need a revolution.

We need another Jarnail Singh. (sadly our people at that time got so sucked into properganda against him, they did not fully support him, else 1984 would never had happened).

how much more longer is this evil going to go on?

how much?

Sorry I am just so ^%%$%$% angry. I'm gonna go cool off.


With regard to rich punjabis throwing money at the water filtration system. This was an idea dreamt up by some kar seva wale. The Tutt brothers from the USA agreed to pay for this. They did not seek any publiciy for this and remained very much in the back ground. This is unlike the Soho Road wale who like to mention/boast about the kwik fit gold plating job they did. I went to a wedding at Soho Road Gurdwara a few months ago and the Giani took time out to mention how they used money doanted for marvelous projects like the GOLD PLATING etc.

During the sarovar seva, the kar seva wale wanted to make a bit of money /donations from overseas Sikhs so they started giving them special passes so only these overseas wale could do "seva" in the sarovar. Of cause this was wrong but this was all down to the kar seva wale. This gave locals a bad impression of the overseas Sikhs waltzing around thinking they owned the sarovar becasue some kar sava wala gave them a special pass.

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you'll be happy to hear you got a plug in - possibly - the tribune yesterday in Khushwant Singh's article on 'european perspective in sikhs', is it the times of india he writes I can never remember. Anyway, I've got it at home. He names the book.

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Hi tSingh,

Thanks for this. Yes, it appeared in his syndicated column in The Telegraph. Khushwant Singh also very kindly wrote a jacket quote for us having read the first draft of the book and was very supportive when we did Warrior Saints. He's extremelly prolific and still very quick and an honour for us to have worked with him albeit very breifly. The full artcle is below:


This above all - Khushwant Singh

Divine burden

I t is a daunting task, translating the Adi Granth, with its nearly 6,000 hymns which would take a relay of reciters, reading non-stop, two days and nights to finish. For the Sikhs it is the word of god, told through six of their ten gurus and sants, both Hindu and Muslim.

Many people have translated the more popular portions: Acharya Vinoba Bhave and Osho Rajnish did a commendable job rendering the morning prayer, Japji, in Hindi and English. The first to try his hand at translating the entire Adi Granth was the German scholar Trumpp. He gave up after a few pages. The task was taken up by M.A. Macaulliffe who had Sikh scholars to assist him. All his translations are incorporated in his six volumes on the Sikh religion. The translations, though literal, read poorly.

The first Sikh to undertake the task was Manmohan Singh of Amritsar. He translated the scriptures into Punjabi and English prose. They were accurate but no attempts had been made to capture the melodic element in the hymns. Next came Gopal Singh Dardi who had undoubted ability to handle the task. He presented his translations to the pope, claimed to have been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature and persuaded Indira Gandhi to nominate him as a member of the Rajya Sabha and then the governor of Goa and Nagaland. Somehow I felt that anyone who could do that sort of thing could not have imbibed very much from the gurus’ teachings. I did not read his translation.

The SGPC then commissioned Gurbachan Singh Talib, a professor of English, to do the translations and published them. They too are lacking in poetic content. Two years ago, G.S. Maken of Chandigarh published four volumes of his translations. I went through them, cover to cover, and learnt a lot about the faith I was born into without knowing much about it. Maken too did not try to capture the poetry of the original.

The most recent translation is by Kartar Singh Duggal, published by Hemkunt Press in four volumes: The Holy Granth — Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Duggal has written scores of novels and collections of poetry, won many awards and been a member of the Rajya Sabha. He rightly describes his renderings as transcreations instead of translations, and has done his best to convey the meaning of the hymns in verse. His work is bound to be more acceptable to readers than any of the others. His volumes should find a place in every public library in the country and abroad, and hopefully in some private homes as well.

References in context

While examining old documents for writing The History of the Sikhs, I came across many Indian names and places which early European visitors had spelt out in English and which made amusing reading. For instance, Sikhs had six different spellings: Sikhs, Sicques, Sykes, Sicks and Seecks. Khalsa was Colsa or Colassa. Amritsar was Ambarsar, Amritsaria and Umraotisioux. And so on.

Nevertheless, though not entirely reliable as source material, they provided reliable corroboration of events that took place in the 17th and 18th centuries. Father Jerome Xavier, a Jesuit priest, mentions the martyrdom of Guru Arjan in Lahore in 1606. References to the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur in Delhi (1675), and the execution of Banda Bairagi and 700 of his followers in Delhi in 1716 were noted by agents of the East India Company as well as travellers financed by it.

After the execution of Banda Bahadur, Sikhs reorganized themselves into several independent misls and ravaged the plains from the Ganges to the Indus, including Delhi and its suburbs. The sight of one Sikh on horse-back, with matchlock on his shoulder and kirpan dangling by his side, struck terror in the hearts of people: he was like a one-man army (sava lakh fauj).

In 1768, Francis Xavier wrote, “Among 10,000 men there will be at least as many commanders and what is more each independent of the other.â€

In 1716, a Swiss national, Major Polier, sent a note of warning to the English about Sikh potential as “a snake with many headsâ€. He wrote, “As for the Seikhs, that formidable aristocratic republick, I may safely say, it is only so to a weak defence-less state, such as this is. It is properly the snake with many heads. Each Zamindar who from the Attock to Hansey Issar, and to the gates of Delhi lets his beard grow, cries wah gorow, eats pork, wears an iron bracelet, drinks bang, abominates the smoking of tobacco and can command from ten followers on horseback to upwards, set up immediately for a Seik Sardar, and as far as is in his power aggrandizes himself at the expense of his weaker neighbours; if Hindu or Mussulman so much the better; if not, even amongst his own fraternity will he seek to extend his influence and power; only with this difference in their intestine divisions, from what is seen everywhere else, that the husbandman (sic) and the labourer, in their own districts, are perfectly safe and unmolested, let what will happen around them.â€

It is hard to believe that when Baghel Singh of the Karorasinghia misl was invited by Emperor Shah Alam to take Delhi under his protection, all he asked for was land to build Delhi’s seven historic gurdwaras and collect a third of all octroi duties. He left only two Sikhs agents in Subzi Mandi to see the undertaking was fulfilled.

You will find all this in the delightful compilation, Sicques, Tigers, or Thieves (1606-1809), edited by Amandeep Singh Madra and Parmjit Singh.

Many of the characteristics of the Sikhs noted by foreign observers persist to this day. They are notorious for being unable to come together to work as a team. Everyone regards himself a jathedar (leader), even if he has no jatha (troop) to lead. The Sikhs themselves are well aware of the shortcomings in their character:

Where there is one Sikh, there is one Sikh;

Where there are two Sikhs, there is a Singh Sabha

Where there are three Sikhs, there is rowla-rappa (rowdiness)

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