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‘Akal Takht being misused by politicians’, says Central University of Punjab chancellor Sardara Singh Johl

He said the highest temporal seat of Sikhism should be independent

punjab Updated: Aug 06, 2018 09:15 IST
Surjit Singh
Surjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Akal Takht,Punjab,Central University of Punjab
(From left) Agricultural economist and Central University of Punjab chancellor Sardara Singh Johl, former JNU professor Harjit Singh Gill and US-based Sikh scholar Amandeep Singh during the release of the latter’s book in Amritsar on Sunday.(HT Photo )

Expressing concern over what he termed as the misuse of the Akal Takht by politicians for their narrow ends, renowned agricultural economist and Central University of Punjab chancellor Sardara Singh Johl on Sunday said the highest temporal seat of Sikhism should be independent.

Johl said this at an event at the Khalsa College for Women, Amritsar, to unveil a book titled ‘Akal Takht-Revisiting Miri in Political Imagination’ by US-based Sikh scholar Amandeep Singh. He said there is a need to revive the Takht’s reputation and the book is a commendable effort in this direction.

“The working at the Akal Takht is touching a new low. The jathedars are doing flip-flops while taking decisions. Dictated by someone else, they pardoned Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim and then revoked the pardon,” he said.

“The status of Panj Pyaras (five beloved ones of the Guru) was considered higher than the Guru’s but presently they are employees of the the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). Same is the case of jathedars,” he said.

Johl said: “The jathedar’s position is compared with that of the Pope’s in Christianity. But there are no fair criteria for appointing the jathedar. He should be selected the way the Pope is.”

“There is need for a dialogue between the institution of Akal Takht and a secular model,” said Amandeep Singh, the book’s author.

Harjit Singh Gill, a former professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said, “While interpreting the tenets of Sikhism, some Sikh scholars borrow conceptual terms from other religions but these are there in their own faith.”

First Published: Aug 06, 2018 09:13 IST