Kirtan at Takht Damdama Sahib was rescheduled on Tuesday for Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia, a religious offender (tankhaiya) in the eyes of the Akal Takht. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) didn’t treat him as any other Sikh certainly when he came to atone for his religious sin of distorting a shabad (hymn) in canvassing for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Arun Jaitley ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in Amritsar recently.
Listening to Gurbani was one of the several sewas (volunteer services) Sikh high priests had imposed on him. SGPC manager Jagpal Singh asked the ragis (devotional singers) to gather five minutes before the scheduled start of prayers so that the minister could take his “punishment” quickly.
“The Kirtan at Takht Damdama Sahib starts after 3.15 pm normally, but today the SGPC manager called us to begin it at 3.10 pm for Majithia,” ragi Jasbir Singh, who did the duty, confirmed over the phone.
Majithia, also Punjab public relations minister, turned the appearance at Takht Damdama Sahib into a PR event, issuing pictures of him washing utensils and cleaning shoes (which he did symbolically for only a few minutes): probably the first “takhaiya” Sikh to appear at two Takhts in one day (He appeared before Takht Keshgarh Sahib in the morning) and seem proud of it.
The three SGPC members who had adjusted the Takht rules for him got credit in the press note.
Manager Jagpal Singh accepted that he had called up the raagis to start Kirtan ahead of schedule for Majithia.
ANANDPUR SAHIB: Majithia’s journey to atonement began earlier in the day at Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib here.
He is to serve at each of the five seats (the Akal Takht in Amritsar; Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib; Takht Sri Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo; Takht Patna Sahib at Patna; and Takht Hazur Sahib at Nanded in Maharashtra) of the temporal authority of Sikhs to atone for his religious misconduct.
Majithia, who appeared at Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib in flowing beard in the morning, washed utensils in the “langar” (common kitchen) hall, dusted the devotees’ shoes, listened to Gurbani sermon at the Takht, and contributed some money to the “golak” (kitty).
Takht jathedar Giani Mal Singh performed Ardas after the completion of Sewa.
On May 1, Sikh high priests had pronounced Majithia guilty of religious misconduct. The “tankha” includes listening to Gurbani at the five Takhts and performing Akhand Path (uninterrupted recitation of Gurbani) at the Akal Takht. Majithia told the media he was doing it as a “humble Sikh”.