From granthi’s son to head of highest temporal seat, Giani Harpreet Singh acting jathedar of Akal Takht
The 45-year-old Sikh scholar studied till Class 12 in a government school and was a diploma holder from a Gurmat college when he became a granthi in the SGPC-managed Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Muktsar 15 years ago.
A village gurdwara granthi’s son, Giani Harpreet Singh, who has been appointed as the acting jathedar (head priest) of Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, has come a long way.
The 45-year-old Sikh scholar was born in Gidderbaha town of Muktsar district. He studied till Class 12 in a government school and was a diploma holder from a Gurmat college when he became a granthi in the SGPC-managed Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Muktsar 15 years ago.
“I have done all my higher studies after becoming a granthi,” Giani Harpreet Singh said, adding: “I am leaving it to Almighty to help me sail through in these tough times our Sikh Panth is facing.” Refusing to answer queries related to sacrilege incidents, the newly appointed jathedar said he would seek support of all Sikh organisations for the betterment of the Panth.
Giani Harpreet Singh, who is father of two daughters, joined Punjabi University, Patiala, for a diploma course in divinity about 10 years ago and then joined a master’s degree course in comparative religious studies. He is currently doing PhD in comparative study of teachings of Quran, the holy scripture of Muslims, with Guru Granth Sahib.
“He is very humble. Even after taking over as the jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, he used to come to me like any other student. I think his understanding of other religions will help him function better,” said Muhammad Habib, under whom he is doing his PhD research.
In 2015, Giani Harpreet Singh was made acting jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib following Giani Gurmukh Singh’s removal and his appointment was regularised last year. He was closely associated with Sikh preacher Giani Mewa Singh.
Former Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Kirpal Singh Badungar expressed confidence that Giani Harpreet Singh would emerge as a seasoned jathedar. “There was no controversy during his stints as the granthi and jathedar. A keen learner, he has eagerness to gain knowledge, a trait missing in the current clergy,” he said.