Punjab revenue and public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia took just eight days to complete the tankha (religious punishment) ordained by the Akal Takht for distorting a hymn of Guru Gobind Singh during an election rally in favour of BJP candidate from Amritsar Arun Jaitley last month.
He was finally exonerated for his ‘offence’ when a granthi performed ardas (prayers) at the Akal Takht on Wednesday, seeking forgiveness for the act of blasphemy that the minister claimed he had inadvertently committed. Prior to the ardas, Majithia, as directed by the Takht, deposited Rs. 501 in the golak at the Takht and also made a karha parshad offering of Rs. 101 at Harmandar Sahib.
The Akali leader remained present all through the bhog ceremony on the second floor of the Akal Takht. As part of his penance, he was to hold an akhandpath (recitation of Gurbani) at the Takht, which commenced on Monday, with the bhog taking place on the third day.
In accordance with the April 28 directive of Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, Majithia spent the past three days performing tankha at the Golden Temple.
Like the first two days, he first paid obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum on the final day and then performed sewa (voluntary service) at the Guru Ram Dass langar (community kitchen), cleaning utensils and serving langar.
He also dusted and cleaned shoes of devotees who had come to pay obeisance. Thereafter, he went to the Akal Takht for the bhog ceremony. Others who attended the ceremony included fellow cabinet minister Gulzar Singh Ranike, former Rajya Sabha member Raj Mohinder Singh Majithia, SGPC members Bhagwant Singh Sialka, Rajinder Singh Mehta and other supporters.
Even as Majithia had tendered an apology for distorting a shabad of the 10th Sikh Guru, the Sikh clergy was under tremendous pressure from certain sections of the community to summon the minister. On April 28, he was finally summoned and the tankha was announced from the balcony of the Akal Takht, as is the tradition, with the minister standing below with folded hands.
TANKHA AT OTHER TAKHTS
Majithia commenced his tankha from Takht Damdama Sahib in Talwandi Sabo (Bathinda) on May 6. On the same day, he moved to Takht Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib to carry out the Akal Takht’s orders.
On May 8, he first performed sewa at Takht Patna Sahib in Bihar and then flew to Nanded in Maharashtra to complete the task at Takht Hazur Sahib.
As Takht Hazur Sahib had declared him a tankhaiya (guilty of religious misconduct) on April 24, Majithia had to undertake some additional hours of sewa there. Later, ardas was also performed for forgiveness.