Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh's assertion that nobody should interfere in internal affairs of the Sikhs is highly egoistic, dictatorial and contrary to the Sikh ethos.
The jathedar's statement came after the Sikh clergy's May 15 meeting, which failed to resolve the controversy over the inscription of militant preacher Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale's name at the Operation Bluestar memorial in the Golden Temple complex.
Darbar Sahib is the highest place of respect and worship for the whole humanity, particularly Sikhs. It is open from all sides. It represents the humility and tolerance of followers of the Sikh faith.
A majority of us, including political and religious leaders, read the Bani (Guru's word) but do not adopt it in our everyday life. Knowledge should be discussed in the open. The Sikh religion does not permit gagging of thought and expression. The order against making any statement about the controversy in the public or before the media is violative of the sacred script of Adi Granth.
If Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar had made a wrong commitment to Damdami Taksal leaders under some misconception, then as a devoted and true Sikh, he should admit his fault and rectify the error.
The whole world will admire his moral courage and he would emerge a stronger, cleaner and wiser leader. But if he does not show courage, he will add to his own embarrassment and also cast a cloud over Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who had declared in the assembly that no name would be written and no individual be highlighted on the memorial.
People want that Darbar Sahib should remain a place of peace and spirituality. The doublespeak, narrow vision and lack of open discussion will compound the problem. Only a courageous and bold decision can solve it. An escapist approach will make things even more complicated.
The writer is a senior advocate of the Punjab and Haryana high court. Views expressed are his personal.