The seeds of sibling rivalry were perhaps sown early on. A doting grandfather, Satguru Partap Singh always wanted to see young Thakur Dalip Singh on the throne. But that was not to be. And the bitter elder brother, whose modest dera at Sirsa in Haryana is in sharp contrast to the sprawling one of his younger brother Uday Singh, the Namdhari sect head at Bhaini Sahib, in an interview to HT says he is an ascetic who has denounced material possessions and never staked a claim to the guru gaddi (holy seat).
Q: You have given a call for uniting the faith but why have you been holding parallel programmes accusing your brother of usurping the holy seat?
You wouldn’t ask this if you knew about the atrocities inflicted on me, my parents and followers. He (Uday Singh) threw out not just me but his own mother from Bhaini Sahib. He issued an advisory in dera’s newspaper ‘Satjug’ that meeting our father should be avoided. He dragged his own mother to the court. How can a son be so ruthless against his own parents? What was their fault? They got me thrown out of Mastangarh dera too. He wanted everything and I wanted nothing. Yet he banished anyone and everyone associated with me.
Q: With so much of bad blood, how is unity possible?
A heart can change anytime. Even a small incident can bring an awakening. And we are real brothers. If Sonia Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee can come together at Ramlila Maidan for unity of the country, why not two brothers for unity of their country.
Q: Were you offered a truce deal by Chand Kaur that you set up a parallel dera at Jeewan Nagar?
I treated her like my mother. Will you accept something from your father, if it comes through someone else? Some people came to me with the offer. She never conveyed it to me.
Q: Will RSS and Akal Takht broker peace?
If two brothers have to end differences, they don’t need any intermediaries. If they want to pitch in, they are most welcome.
Q: You could have set up your own parallel dera?
It would have divided the community forever. I live the life of an ascetic who has denounced material possessions and never staked a claim to the guru gaddi. I have nothing and even my daughters do jobs for their living and I am proud of them.
Q: Has the killing of Chand Kaur made you opt for a truce?
I have tried to bring unity and offered to touch his (Uday Singh’s) feet earlier too. It is the faith which is suffering. The deep divide is dividing families too --- there is tension between even husband and wife and brothers in some families as one supports me and the other him. This war has to end to save the faith.