The Akal Takht is all set to go tech-savvy so that all messages or orders issued from the highest temporal seat of Sikhism reach the members of the community worldwide at the click of a mouse.
Noting the changing trends in the field of communications, the Sikh high priests have decided that the Akal Takht will have an exclusive website of its own. It will no longer have to depend on the website of the SGPC for establishing communication with the 'panth' (community members).
The website will be formally launched on April 1. It is through the efforts of SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar that the website of the Akal Takht has become a reality.
This was announced here on Monday after a meeting of the high priests in the Golden Temple complex. Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh presided over the meeting, which was attended by Damdama Sahib jathedar Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Takht Kesgarh Sahib jathedar Giani Tirlochan Singh, Takht Patna Sahib jathedar Giani Iqbal Singh and Takht Hazoor Sahib deputy jathedar Giani Jyot Inder Singh.
"For establishing direct contact with the Sikh 'sangat' and for all information related to the Akal Takht, we have decided to have this website. This will enable the 'sangat' to know about the latest edicts (hukamnamas), directives (adesh) and messages (sandesh) issued by the Akal Takht," Giani Gurbachan Singh told mediapersons after the meeting.
Warning on loudspeakers
The Sikh clergy viewed with concern reports that their directive on lowering the volume of loudspeakers in shrines was not being adhered to by the managements of gurdwaras. The high-pitched volume, particularly during early hours and in the evening hours, was a cause of disturbance, the clergy noted.
"The high volume disturbs youngsters preparing for their examinations and also disturbs those who are sick," the clergy said, making it clear that everyone must abide by this order.
Desecration of gurdwaras in Pakistan
The Akal Takht took a strong view of reports of desecration of Sikh shrines in Pakistan and incidents of showing disrespect to Guru Granth Sahib.
Referring to complaints in this regard before the clergy, Giani Gurbachan Singh said the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) had been directed to ensure that such incidents do not occur again. The PSGPC should pay particular attention to the management of shrines in Pakistan, he said.
The jathedar, however, made no mention of a recent incident in the Sindh province of Pakistan where the head of a dera recited hymns from Guru Granth Sahib without covering his head. The SGPC had asked the Pakistan government to register a case against the dera head.
After considering appeals and requests from Sikh groups and organisations, the clergy decided that henceforth, the "Gurtagaddi Diwas" of Guru Har Rai will be celebrated as "Environmental Day" by all Sikhs. A US-based organisation, EcoSikh, had celebrated the 'Gurtagaddi Diwas' last week as environment day. A number of organisations and managements of gurdwaras had also joined EcoSikh in its initiative.