At a time when the VIP culture is under threat from the ideology of the Aam Aadmi Party, Harmandar Sahib here has been showing the way for treating everyone alike, including VIPs.
Even being the Punjab chief minister does not help here. Parkash Singh Badal will have to wait for a few years to get his turn to get an 'akhand path' of the Guru Granth Sahib conducted at the Dukhbanjani Sahib inside the Golden Temple complex. Badal's name is among over 1.3 lakh people who want the 48-hour-long ceremony conducted.
All VIPs and celebrities have to queue up along with commoners to get a religious ceremony conducted at Harmandar Sahib. Such is the rush of people for the religious ceremony that the shrine management has bookings till 2019.
The ceremony is conducted by Sikh priests at two places - Dukhbhanjani Sahib and Har-ki-Pauri. All applicants have to specify where they want the ceremony to be conducted. The 'Dukhbhanjani Beri' (tree) is believed to be even older than the shrine. "The akhand path is held at various places inside the Darbar Sahib. At some places, we have bookings till 2019. Scores of people keep coming for more bookings," Pratap Singh, manager of the Golden Temple complex, told IANS. "No one is a VIP here. Everyone has to wait for his turn," he added.
Other well-known names awaiting their turn include actors Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor and Akshay Kumar and NRI businessman Sant Singh Chatwal. Telecom tycoon Sunil Bharti Mittal and actor Rishi Kapoor have been able to get the ceremony conducted after waiting for years.
SGPC secretary Dalmegh Singh said the list of people who wanted to get the ceremony conducted was long.
"It is a good thing that the shrine does not entertain VIPs separately. Before god, everyone should be equal. Some shrines in other parts of India allow VIP darshan. That is not good," Jagmohan Singh, a volunteer at the shrine, told IANS.