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Don't politicise Akal Takht: Scholars


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Don’t politicise Akal Takht: Scholars

Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 12

Sikh scholars have called for radical changes in management of the Akal Takht demanding that it be freed from the control of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and political parties like the Shiromani Akali Dal. This demand was raised during the two-day seminar on ‘the concept and role of Akal Takht’ organised by the Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, which concluded at the Shivalik Public School here today.

In the keynote address, Dr Kharak Singh, an eminent Sikh scholar, suggested that the authority of Akal Takht should vest with the guru panth in attendance upon Guru Granth Sahib instead of the SGPC. “The jathedar of Akal Takht should run its independent administration and be a spokesman of Akal Takht. An 11-member advisory board of eminent Sikhs well-versed in gurmat and committed to Sikh ideals should assist him,†he said.

Dr Kharak Singh traced the history of Akal Takht. He said with constitution of the SGPC in 1925, Akal Takht and its jathedar became subservient to the SGPC administration. “This downward slide in the image and role of Akal Takht and near absence of its underlying all inclusive philosophy of Guru Granth Sahib and Guru Panth or “piri and miri†has reached its nadir today with the Akal Takht jathedar being a puppet in the hands of ruling political party governing the SGPC and Akal Takht merely a paper tiger whose edicts are being followed more in their breach than in compliance,†he said. Giani Gurbachan Singh, Head Granthi, Sri Harmandar Sahib, who inaugurated the seminar recommended that the spiritually and intellectually strongest person among the Sikhs should occupy the seat of the Jathedar of Akal Takht in the tradition of Guru Hargobind who appointed Bhai Gurdas as the first jathedar of Akal Takht.

Dr Jagjit Singh stressed the need for insulating the office of the jathedar from the whims and dictates of the ruling clique in the SGPC and make him moral conscience keeper of the entire Sikh panth. “A committee of 31 prominent Sikhs appointed by the newly formed International Sikh Confederation should re-elect a person for this office,†he said.

Dr Sukhdial Singh said Akal Takht is a symbol of Khalsa resurgence. Dr Kirpal Singh, cleared the confusion regarding the year of establishment of Akal Takht and fixed 1609 as the year of its establishment.

Giani Kewal Singh, former jathedar, Damdama Sahib, said there was a need to coordinate the activities of various takhts. He further reiterated that jathedars were constantly working under pressures of political parties and individuals. “Akal Takth has allowed individuals to become bigger than the panth,†he said adding that there is an urgent need to create a system in which Akal Takht is answerable only to the panth. Giani Harinder Singh, president, Kendri Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Mr Gurdev Singh, chairman, Institute of Sikh Studies, Mr Ashok Singh Bagrian, Secretary, also spoke on the occasion.

Volume 1 of English translation version of Rattan Singh Bhangoo’s ancient Sikh epic Guru Panth Parkash (Prachin Panth Parkash) translated by Prof Kulwant Singh and published by the Institute of Sikh Studies was released by Giani Gurbachan Singh on the occasion.

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