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Home / Cities / In Dhadrianwale-Sikh bodies tussle, it’s reason vs ritual

In Dhadrianwale-Sikh bodies tussle, it’s reason vs ritual

cities Updated: Feb 05, 2020 21:39 IST
Avtar Singh
Avtar Singh
Hindustan Times, Sangrur
Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale
Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale

With activists of traditional Sikh organisations, including seminary Damdami Taksal, camping at Kanakwal Bhanguan village near Lehragaga town of Sangrur district to stop controversial Sikh preacher Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale’s religious discourse (diwan) at nearby Gidrani village, the standoff between the two sides has come to the fore once again.

It was the second day of three-day discourse on Tuesday amid heavy police deployment in the area.

The Sikh activists led by Amrik Singh Ajnala, head of a Damdami Taksal faction, were adamant on disrupting the sermon, alleging that Dhadrianwale is distorting Sikh history and misinterpreting Sikh principles with his ‘self-made’ rationality.

“As per the Gurbani, meditation with recitation of God’s name (naam japna) is essential part of Sikhism. But Dhadrianwale rejects it as parroting the written word. He also opposes the Sikh tradition of getting up during ‘amrit wela’ (early morning) and rather preaches that it should be the discretion of an individual as to when they want to get up. It should not be, according to him, followed as a norm,” said Ajnala, who was also appointed the parallel jathedar of the Takht Kesgarh Sahib during the 2015 Sarbat Khalsa. He, however, resigned as one later.

“Dhadrianwale says there is no heaven and hell in the universe even as Gurbani refers to both. He even terms the Golden Temple and the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhism, as mere buildings,” Ajnala added.

Ajnala and his supporters said they will not tolerate Dhadrianwale’s views which hurt the Sikh sentiments. “We will oppose his sermons in Mansa district from February 8 to 10,” he announced.

The Ajnala-led faction also believes that slain militant leader and 14th head of Damdami Taksal Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale is alive. This belief was also countered by Dhadrianwale.

“It is my belief that Bhindranwale is alive, but Dhadrianwale does not subscribe to the view this,” he said.

“Dhadrianwale also distorted Sikh history by saying Guru Gobind Singh was an outcome of the struggle in his life but we believe all Sikh Gurus were avatars (incarnations),” Ajnala said.

‘I stand by my words’

Dhadrianwale said he stands by his words, claiming that the Gurbani teaches us to think rationally. “To me, reason comes first and faith is second. The Guru Granth Sahib teaches us to use logic at every step,” Dhadrianwale told HT.

“These protesters are backed by the Akal Takht and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SPGC). The Takht has given me one more month to appear before it, but I will not go there. I want to ask as why a five-member committee was not formed to probe the then jathedar Gurbachan Singh’s role in granting pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim,” said Dhadrianwale.

He, however, rejected the allegation that he ever referred to the Golden Temple as a common building, “I have been preaching same views for the past three years. I am a practical man and learn from my surroundings. This is an era of science and we cannot deny logic. The next generations will think beyond our views,” he added.

Harpal Singh Pannu, professor of Guru Gobind Singh chair, Central University of Punjab in Bathinda, said both sides should respect each other’s views.

“One can express their faith in their own way while others may think of it rationally,” the professor said.

SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal denied allegations levelled by Dhadrianwale, insisting that he should appear before the Akal Takht.

What Taksal, others say

Dhadrianwale distorts Sikh history

He misinterprets Gurbani, questions Sikh principles

He rejects ago-old Sikh traditions and rituals such as ‘amrit wela’ and ‘naam japna’.

He defies edicts of the Akal Takht and does not appear before it as humble Sikh

He terms Golden Temple and Akal Takht as ordinary buildings

He is spreading atheism in Sikhs by eliminating devotion

What the preacher says

Rationality comes first and faith second

Sikh principles and Gurbani are all about learning and following the rules of nature

Jathedars of the Sikh temporal seats are practically ‘pujaris’ (Hindu priests).

The concept of God as preached by traditional Sikh bodies should not be followed.

Sikh historical scripture ‘Suraj Parkash Granth’ is not authentic.

Every Sikh should have scientific outlook while practicing religion.

Rejected the claim that he ever referred to the Golden Temple as a common building