Spirituality Temporalism Multimedia About Us
The "Fanatic Namdhari Cult" Release Controversial Book, considered a Full-Scale Scathing attack on the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, could cause long term angst in the Sikh community.
NAMDHARI BOOK - NEWS REPORT IN INDIAN MEDIA
Book row snowballs as Tohra faction declares Namdharis are not Sikhs
In a move that could fast snowball into a full scale intra-community crisis, the G S Tohra-led Sarb Hind Akali Dal declared that the Namdhari sect followers are not sikhs and asked the head of the sect to apologise for having published a controversial book that questions the status of holy sikh book Guru Granth Sahib.
SHAD general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, addressing the media here, also demanded immediate arrest of the author and publisher of the book 'Purakh Guru' saying it was a direct attack on the sikh ideology and identity and was part of a sinister gameplan to destroy the sikh way of life.
Former Akal Takht jathedar and president of Akali Dal (Panthic) Jasbir Singh Rode and several other intellectuals, in separate statements here, also demanded a ban on the book.
"We also urge the Akal Takht jathedar and the SGPC to take note of the contents of the book, highly repugnant to the sikhs, and guide the community," bhaur said. When a reporter asked whether the Akal Takht should deal with the community the same way as the Nirankari sect was dealt with, bhaur said, "The decision is to be taken by the Akal Takht. We cannot instruct it to take a particular view."
The row had erupted after some sikh intellectuals, akali leaders and think-tanks had taken strong exception to the book published by Sarb Hind Namdhari Darbar, Bhaini Sahib which questions the general sikh belief that the tenth sikh guru Gobind Singh passed on the guruship to Guru Granth Sahib and advocates that no book but only an individual can be a guru.
The namdhari sect is currently headed by Jagjit Singh, who is described by its white robes and white turban sporting followers as their "Satguru".
Bhaur said since the namdharis question the Guruship of Guru Granth sahib, believe in an individual as their Guru and do not (rpt not) believe in the institution of baptism (amrit), "by no stretch of imagination can they be called sikhs."
"A sikh is clearly defined in the Sikh rehat Maryada (Sikh code of conduct) and in the Sikh Gurudwara Act, 1925 passed by Parliament and anyone not adhering to its provisos cannot be a sikh," he said.
Bhaur also strongly criticised the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's decision of setting up a chair in the name of 'Satguru' Ram Singh in the Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar and asked the ruling Akali Dal chief to stop all grants to the sect's institutions.
Asked why he and leader of his party, former SGPC president Tohra, kept mum all these years about the Namdhari sect's activities, Bhaur said "the book has come to our notice only now."
He said the Namdharis, also known as Kuka sect, had made sacrifices during the freedom struggle against the British Raj and "we could never imagine that they may do such a thing."
He said the SGPC had warned the sect as far back as 1941 through a resolution asking them to desist from the practice of tearing apart leaves from the Guru Granth Sahib to be recited separately calling it Patra Path (page wise recitation). "The namdharis at that time had assured that they would stop this patra path," he said.
He also appealed to the Namdhari sect leader to withdraw the book on its own and apologise to the sikh community. "If the Punjab government failed to impose a ban on the book immediately, our party would start a people's agitation against it on the issue," he declared.
Rode, a former jathedar of the Akal Takht and a staunch rival of Badal, called upon the Sant Samaj, Nihang Singhs' organisations and other community fora to take a strong stand against the sect's activities aimed allegedly at destroying the sikh culture.
"The Akal Takht jathedar should now shoulder the responsibility and give a clear direction to the community as to its relations with the Namdharis," he said.
Sikh Missionary College, a leading seminary of the community, also adopted a tough stance on the issue. Editor of its monthly journal 'Sikh Phulwari" Harjit Singh said the book was part of a sinister and dangerous plan to strike at the roots of Sikhism.
"The community should take a strong stance against those who advocate the concept of individual gurus," he said, adding the seminary would be holding an emergency meeting of its supreme decision making panel to deliberate on the issue. EOM
Vice Chancellor Ahluwalia says Namdharis not sikhs
Renowned scholar of Sikhism and Vice-chancellor of Punjabi University Patiala, Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, today said Namdharis cannot be part of the mainstream sikh community as they do not believe in the guruship of the Guru Granth Sahib which is the spiritual fountainhead for sikhs.
"It is rather the sikhs who think of Namdharis as being their part. This thinking is further reinforced when political leaders of the community share stages with the sect's leaders. Otherwise it is very clear that Namdharis believe in an individual as their Guru and therefore cannot be sikhs," Ahluwalia told reporters here.
Asked to comment upon the ongoing row about the book "Purkh Guru" published by the Sarb Hind Namdhari Darbar, Bhaini Sahib which questions the status of the sikh holy book, Ahluwalia said he was aware of the controversy.
"What the book contains is a very well known fact regarding the Namdharis that they do not believe in the guruship of Guru Granth Sahib and believe in what they call the continuation of the individual gurus from the tenth guru Gobind Singh onwards. It is not their hidden agenda but open claim. It is for the sikhs to decide whether to consider them as part of the community.
"My view is that anyone who does not believe in the Guru Granth Sahib and believes in an individual as a Guru cannot be a mainstream sikh," Ahluwalia, who heads the influential Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, a leading sikh think-tank, said.
Commenting on the recent controversy about the RSS-backed Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, which has raised the hackles of akalis and sikh intellectuals, Ahluwalia said the root cause of the row was the battle for supremacy between the moderate and radical elements within the BJP.
He said the moderates led by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee were under attack from radical forces inside the RSS and statements like sikhs being part of hindus were being made to create trouble for Vajpayee.
"The sikhs should see through the trapand refrain from any over-reaction," he said.
Meanwhile, the Akhand Kirtani jatha International, in a statement here, welcomed the stand taken by G S Tohra-led Sarb Hind Akali Dal against the allegedly blasphemous book published by the Sarb Hind Namdhari Darbar, Bhaini Sahib and asked other forums of the community to take a clear stand on the issue.
"It is for the first time that akali factions are taking unambiguous stand on the Namdhari issue and the Akhand Kirtani Jatha International wholeheartedly appreciates the statement of Sukhdev Singh Bhaur on the issue," Jatha's spokesman Prof Gurmukh Singh, who earlier headed the SGPC's sikh history and research board, said.
TOHRA AND MANN AKALI FACTIONS DEMAND BAN ON CONTROVERSIAL BOOK
Jalandhar, May 11: The G.S. Tohra-led Sarb Hind Akali Dal today demanded a ban on a controversial book published by the Namdhari sect of the sikhs and expressed deep concern over what it called the increasing incidents of onslaught on the sikh ideology and identity.
SGPC member and senior leader of the Sarb Hind Akali Dal Surjit Singh Cheema and district president Jagjit Singh Gaba, in separate statements, said the book was an example of how efforts were being made to distort the sikh traditions and belief.
Akali Dal (amritsar) leader Anoop Singh Minhas also demanded a ban on the book and said his party MP Simranjit Singh Mann would take up the matter in Parliament. "Hurting religious sentiments is a cognizable offence and action must be taken under the law against the author and the publisher," he said.
In a strongly-worded letter to the SGPC, the mini parliament of sikhs, Cheema demanded immediate action in the matter and a ban on the book which he claimed not only hurt sikh sentiments but also committed sacrilege.
The book 'Purakh Guru', published by the Sarb Hind Namdhari Darbar, Bhaini Sahib, questions the general sikh belief that tenth guru Gobind Singh passed on the 'Guruship' to the sikh holy scripture 'Guru Granth Sahib' and claimed that no Granth or 'Panth' can ever be the guru and only an individual can be termed a guru. The Namdhari sect is led by a leader described by its white habit and white turban sporting followers as 'Satguru'.
Cheema also sent a copy of the resolution to the SGPC passed by 'Khalsa Panth Tercentenary sub-committee' in December 1998 demanding a ban on the book.
Gaba said the SGPC must take action against the author and those who authorised its publication and distribution. "It is indeed strange that the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal very often shares the stage with the leader of a sikh sect which does not even recognise the Guru Granth Sahib as Guru. The ruling Akali Dal should rise above vote bank politics at least when the very ideological and spiritual fountainhead source of the community is being attacked," he said.
The akali leaders also demanded immediate scrapping of the chair set up in the name of Satguru Ram Singh in the Guru Nanak Dev University till the book was withdrawn by the sect. They also urged Akal Takht jathedar to issue a clear direction to the community in this regard.
The ruling Akali Dal leaders, when approached for reaction in this regard, said they would much rather prefer the top leaders to articulate the party's view point on the matter.
Sarb Hind Akali Dal general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur said he would give the party's detailed reaction to the controversy tomorrow in a press conference as he was still in the process of studying the book.
Efforts to contact the sect's headquarters in Ludhiana in Bhaini Sahib did not yield any result.
Earlier, leading sikh think tanks Akhand Kirtani Jatha International' and 'Social and Panthic Watchdog Group' had demanded a ban on the book by the Punjab government and its immediate withdrawal by the sect.
Badal's decision to set up a chair in the name of 'Satguru Ram Singh' had evoked strong criticism from several quarters within the community.
The Sikh Missionary College, Ludhiana, a leading seminary which conducts courses in sikh scriptures and prepares sikh missionaries, has also been consistently opposing the Namdhari and some other sects' propagation of the concept of an individual guru.
The Namdharis do not believe in the institution of baptism, sanctified by the tenth sikh guru, and the sect is led by an individual, though sikhs in general do not believe in the concept of any individual as guru. SIKH THINK TANKS DEMAND BAN ON BOOK BY NAMDHARI SECT
Jalandhar, May 10: Close on the heels of the controversy regarding the perceived RSS' designs on ideological roots of sikhism, the community's think-tanks have now trained their guns at the Namdhari sect for allegedly using sacrilegious language in a book and claiming that the sikh holy book Guru Granth Sahib cannot be Guru of the sikhs.
'Akhand Kirtani Jatha International' and 'Social and Panthic Watchdog Group', in separate statements issued here, said the book 'Purakh Guru' published by Sarb Hind Namdhari Darbar, Bhaini Sahib contains claims that the Guru Granth Sahib and the 'panj pyaras' (five beloved ones) of tenth guru Gobind Singh were never accorded the status of Guru.
Both organisations demanded that the punjab government immediately impose a ban on the book and ask the Namdhari sect to withdraw it from the market.
"Not only has the book's contents hurt the sikh sentiments but a sacrilege has been committed through use of objectionable language," Prof Gurmukh Singh, one of the five members of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha's top decision making panel said.
He also urged the Akal Takht jathedar to issue a clear and unambiguous clarification about the Namdhari sect, known for supporting white habit and white turbans. More PTI SPS
"Till the time that the Akal Takht verdict is not pronounced, the academic chair set up in the name of Satguru Ram Singh in the Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Amritsar must remain dormant," Prof Singh, who earlier headed the SGPC's Sikh History and Research Board and the leading seminary Gurmat College Patiala, demanded.
The Social and Panthic Watchdog group's statement was also accompanied by a copy of the book which is easily available in the market. "Guru can only be an individual, not a granth or panth," the book claims, adding that those believing the scriptures as guru were flush with money and other resources which they are employing in propagating the 'falsehood.'
The group took particular objection to a statement in the book that "it is not difficult to sway people into celebrating the 'guru granth sahib gaddi diwas' or believing that granth sahib was guru." Sikhs across the world believe in the guruship of the scriptures and sikh shrines are centred around the idea of Guru Granth Sahib as the Guru.
Interestingly, the current incumbent leader of the Namdhari sect is considered close to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who recently announced the decision to set up a chair in the name of the sect's guru in the GNDU.
Another sikh seminary, the Sikh Missionary College, Ludhiana has also been consistently opposing the Namdhari and some other sects' propagation of the concept of an individual guru.
Recently, SGPC member Surjit Singh Cheema and representatives of several Singh Sabha committees had held a special meeting here to demand a ban on the book alleging that it contained several blasphemous references to sikhism.
Sikh legislative affairs expert Gurcharanjit Singh Lamba said the Namdharis did not believe in the institution of baptism, sanctified by the tenth sikh guru, and the sect is led by an individual, though sikhs in general do not believe in the concept of any individual as guru.
"Even in the past there have been several tussles between the sect and the mainstream sikhs. The SGPC had passed a resolution as far back as 1941 against the Namdhari sect for reciting the scriptures on a page-wise basis after taking apart leaves of the holy granth sahib calling it 'patra path'.
"It was high time that sikh intellectuals discussed and sorted out the matter but as with other matters related to the community, there is more noise and hardly any reasoned debate on such issues," he said