Controversy ensues over Guru Gobind Singh’s relics | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Controversy ensues over Guru Gobind Singh’s relics

punjab Updated: May 19, 2015 09:21 IST
Patiala/chandigarh

A controversy has erupted over the authenticity of Guru Gobind Singh’s relics on display as part of the Dharmik Darshan Yatra being taken out across Punjab.

Talking to the media in Chandigarh on Monday, Punjab Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira asked the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to verify the authenticity of the relics that were bestowed upon Peer Buddhu Shah by Guru Gobind Singh in the 1680s after the Battle of Bhangani. Buddhu Shah, a Muslim saint who hailed from Sadhaura (now in Haryana’s Yamunanagar district), had sided with the Guru in the battle against the hill rulers.

Khaira claimed that Sayed Naeem Haider, US-based eight-generation descendant of Peer Buddhu Shah, had told him that the relics concerned had been in his family’s possession for the past 330 years. He said Haider had approached him after the SGPC started the yatra recently.

The former Congress MLA added that Haider had sent him a video showing the relics and documents pertaining to erstwhile Nabha and Jind princely states. Khaira said Haider’s family shifted from Lahore (Pakistan) to the US in 1998 and got Guru Gobind Singh’s relics preserved by an American museum. The relics include a dastar (turban), kanga, kirpan and a hukamnama; besides, there are original documents of scholarship/pension awarded to the family by then princely state of Nabha.

Khaira requested SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar to clear the air on Haider’s claim.


Nabha connection

According to Sikh encyclopaedist Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha’s treatise Mahan Kosh, descendants of Peer Buddhu Shah gave the relics to Maharaja of Nabha in return for gifts and jagir (land).

However, according to Haider, there is no record of this deal. In the video, he claims that his family never gave the relics to anyone. He admits that the Nabha royal family used to give `60 as pension to his family when the rulers of Patiala, Jind and Nabha visited his family to have a glimpse of the relics.

Sikh historian Ashok Singh Bagrian said a research carried out under the guidance of former Punjabi University vice-chancellor Kirpal Singh Narang authenticated that Haider was a descendant of Peer Buddhu Shah.

“However, the Mahan Kosh, the most authentic Sikh encyclopaedia, says that the relics were handed over to the Nabha royal family. It’s time that some historian takes a holistic view of the issue and authenticate the relics,” Bagrian added.

Despite several attempts, Tikka Hanuwant Singh, scion of erstwhile Nabha royal family, could not be contacted for comment.
Former National Commission for Minorities chairman Tarlochan Singh termed the controversy uncalled-for.

“Why was Haider silent for so many years if he was in possession of the relics? I reject his claim. The relics displayed by the SGPC are authentic as these were the ones displayed in the 1960s at Nabha,” Tarlochan said.


Patiala, Guru Gobind Singh, Dharmik Darshan Yatra, Punjab Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira asked the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to verify the authenticity of the relics that were bestowed upon Peer Buddhu Shah by Guru Gobind Singh in the 1680s after the Battle of Bhangani. Buddhu Shah, a Muslim saint who hailed from Sadhaura (now in Haryana’s Yamunanagar district), had sided with the Guru in the battle against the hill rulers.

Khaira claimed that Sayed Naeem Haider, US-based eight-generation descendant of Peer Buddhu Shah, had told him that the relics concerned had been in his family’s possession for the past 330 years. He said Haider had approached him after the SGPC started the yatra recently.

Makkar, SAD slam Congress leader


patiala/chandigarh: Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar said Sukhpal Khaira and others were unnecessarily triggering a controversy over the relics.

“Why did the Peer’s descendant go to the media first instead of approaching the SGPC?” he asked, adding that the relics were handed over to the SGPC by the Punjab government, which had taken their possession after the Punjab and Haryana high court’s order. Talking to HT, he said the Nabha royal family’s descendants had given an undertaking in the court about the authenticity of the relics and handed these over to the state government.

In a sharp and prompt reaction, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) said it seemed that Khaira had lost his mental balance while searching for ‘news’ daily to promote himself. In a statement released from the party head office in Chandigarh, SAD spokesman Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said it was highly condemnable on Khaira’s part to try to derive political mileage out of the relics issue.
Dr Cheema said these relics had been in possession of Maharaja of Nabha and were on display at Heera Mahal, Nabha, since Independence. He added that about 20 years ago, the royal family sold off their palace and moved to Delhi. The descendants of Maharaja of Nabha also took these relics along with them. Later, a case was filed in the high court by the Sikh Sangat of Patiala district, asserting that these relics are the community’s property and should be handed over to them. After hearing the case, the court decided that these relics can’t be handed over to any private petitioner and directed that these be handed over to the state government, Dr Cheema said.