Sunny Deol film "Singh Sahib: The Great", which was released on Friday, now will be screened across the country as "Singh Saab: The Great".
The producers of the Bollywood movie on Friday conveyed it to Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh on e-mail and fax. The Akal Takht had objected to the word 'Sahib' in the title on the grounds that it violated the Sikh 'maryada' (traditions), as it could only be used for the jathedars of the five Sikh Takhts and the Sikh clergy on important posts in historical gurdwaras.
The Akal Takht jathedar often himself is addressed as "Singh Sahib" in public. Similar is the case with the jathedars of Takhts Damdama Sahib, Keshgarh Sahib, Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib (at Nanded in Maharashtra). Even the head 'granthi' (priest) of the Golden Temple and the Akal Takht 'granthi' take the title.
"We have a message from the film's producers that the movie will be screened as 'Singh Saab'. The title 'Sahib' is reserved for a select few," Giani Gurbachan Singh told the media on Friday after a meeting of the Sikh clergy.
The jathedar had asked the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to take up the issue with the film's producers after Sikh groups had approached him. The movies posters carrying the old title will be replaced and even the promos won't include the word 'Sahib'.
Protests at cinema houses
When the movie opened on Friday at various cinema houses here, various Sikh groups raised slogans outside and called for halting the screening. Police were deployed outside multiplexes and theatres to control the protest, which ended peacefully eventually.
No chairs to disabled people
The clergy also decided that in prayer halls, chairs or any raised platform couldn't be given to disabled devotees during the sermon of Guru Granth Sahib. "Even worshippers with spinal-cord injury would have to be seated either outside or in the verandahs, where the gurdwara managements could install screens for them to catch the discourse," said the Akak Takht jathedar.
'No place for Aulakh'
Asked about the association of drug-case accused Maninder Singh Bittu Aulakh with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the jathedar said people such as Aulakh had no place in the Sikh community. "They are traitors of the 'quam'. The SAD leadership and the government are dealing with Bittu Aulakh as guided by the law," he added.
Bittu Aulakh is under arrest in connection with the drug racket run by dismissed police officer Jagdish Bhola.
Release of Sikh youth
The clergy also directed the SGPC to take all legal measures for the release of Sikh youths who were in jail since the days of terrorism in the state. Based on their request, the SGPC was also told to get them baptised.
The jathedars of the other four Takhts were present.