Playing a political masterstroke, Thakur Dalip Singh, the estranged brother of Namdhari sect head Satguru Uday Singh, pledged his support to the Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party --- the two ruling parties in Punjab and Haryana.
Holding a parallel bhog ceremony of sect matriarch Chand Kaur --- who was killed on April 4 at Bhaini Sahib in Ludhiana --- at his dera at Jeewan Nagar in Sirsa, Dalip Singh urged Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar to help unite the faction-ridden community. Dalip Singh said he is ready to touch the feet of his younger brother to unite Namdharis.
But before all this, Dalip Singh fired salvos at those trying to “frame” him. “I was travelling abroad and came back to India in the third week of March. It seems they were waiting for my return to kill our mother. She was 85 and always served the community. I used to consider her as our head after Satguru Jagjit Singh’s demise. I had appealed to her to end this bad blood between the two sides. But they did not allow her to speak to us (for the past seven years),” he said.
At the well-attended gathering, he then targeted the coterie of Uday Singh, saying, “Malik laarte nahi, chamche lara dete hai (the owners don’t fight, it is their coterie who make them fight). They accused me of murdering Avtar Singh Tari, who wanted to install Chand Kaur’s son-in-law Jagtar Singh or her grandson Jai Singh. So who had a motive? I am already been banished from Bhaini Sahib,” he said.
He also trained guns on his brother for “ill-treating” his own mother. Referring to Uday Singh as “aapji”, he said, “You threw me and your own mother out when we were partaking langar at Bhaini Sahib in 2009. You did not let her see Satguru Jagjit Singh when he was admitted to Satguru Partap Singh Hospital in Ludhiana, which belongs to you. For 20 days, she went there every day. What is your mother’s fault that she has been treated so badly by you? You consider yourself a Satguru, but you do not become one by just usurping the guru gaddi (spiritual seat). You also have to have the qualities of a Satguru.” he said.
“You want everything. But there is a hindrance. The Jeewan Nagar dera is with your mother. Jo kirpa Mataji naal kiti, aethe wi karwa do. Sara kuch tuwada ho jayega (the favour you did to Chand Kaur, do it to your mother too. Then everything will be yours),” he said.
During the culmination of the five-hour programme, Dalip Singh, however, gave a clarion call for uniting the community while hinting that politicians, too, are keeping the fire burning. “The donations of the sangat are going into fighting court cases filed by both sides or to politicians or police. I have unilaterally taken some court cases back. This money should go in making hospitals, schools and colleges. Why make more gurdwaras? Our three generations have been fighting. When will it all end? I am ready to touch his feet, if he is ready to unite and let all Namdharis enter Bhaini Sahib,” he added.
“We are with the SAD and the BJP but not because these two parties are in power. Badal has done a lot for the community. He has not just given land but also funds for our memorials. The two CMs (Badal and Khattar) can help us unite,” he said.
Members of RSS, including Punjab Rashtriya Sikh Sangat head Mukhtiar Singh Mokha, while addressing the gathering said they will try to ensure truce between the brothers.
Later, while speaking to HT, Mokha said the RSS and Akal Takht jathedar are willing to intervene if the two brothers decide to bury the hatchet. With aim to increase his following, Dalip Singh also asked the Sikhs to make the community more inclusive. “We are always willing to delete Sikhs from the faith. You have to add more. There are 2 crore Sikhs in the country. Even if one family feeds a poor child, we can add 40 lakh Sikhs per year, not by asking them to not cut their hair or shun non-vegetarian food or drinking but by the teachings of the faith,” he added.
Ceremony after hectic lobbying
Though the Sirsa DC had refused to interfere in the matter, after a delegation of Uday Singh supporters had asked the district administration to stop the Thakur Dalip Singh faction from holding the ceremony, hectic parleys lasted whole night with the government and police, who wanted the dera to defer the event and hold it after the bhog ceremony at Bhaini Sahib on Sunday. Dalip Singh told the gathering, “They wanted me to defer it. How can a son be refused the right to pay last respects to his mother?