Patna jathedar to abide by Akal Takht edict, will not attend RSS convention
Giani Gurbachan Singh had called upon Sikhs to boycott the function after several organisations protested the RSS’s alleged agenda to subsume Sikhism into the Hindu identity.punjab Updated: Oct 25, 2017 11:00 IST
Jathedar of Sikh temporal seat Takht Patna Sahib, Giani Iqbal Singh, will not attend a convention being organised by the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat in New Delhi on Wednesday, after the highest temporal seat Akal Takht underlined its edict to not engage with the Sikh wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh.
The function is being held to mark the 350th birth anniversary of the tenth Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh.
Giani Iqbal Singh has purportedly succumbed to the diktat from Giani Gurbachan Singh, jathedar (head priest) of the Akal Takht in Amritsar, who on Monday called upon Sikhs to boycott the function after several organisations protested the RSS’s alleged agenda to subsume Sikhism into the Hindu identity.
Giani Gurbachan specifically asked Sikhs to abide by a hukamnama (edict) of July 2004 by the Takht that had asked Sikhs not to support the Sangat’s march on completion of 400 years of Guru Granth Sahib.
While Giani Iqbal Singh was not available for comment, Sangat national chief Gurcharan Singh Gill told HT over phone: “We made all arrangements for Giani-ji (Iqbal Singh), booked a ticket from him! When I checked in the afternoon, I was told he’s unwell. We are waiting for him.
Sources said Harvinder Singh Sarna, who heads the Gurdwara Patna Sahib body management, has prevailed upon Giani Iqbal Singh, who heads one of the five Sikh temporal seats, not to attend the function.
Gill, however, insisted that the Sangat functions independent of the RSS and its political body Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It must be underlined, though, that while Gill will deliver the opening address at the function, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat will deliver the concluding address. In between, schoolchildren will sing Gurbani hymns.
“We have no political motive behind the function and never have taken part in gurdwara management politics too. When we talk about the Guru, it should be a matter of pride for all Sikhs,” Gill said.
However, Sikh historian Pirthipal Singh Kapur explained, “The issue is not what Rashtriya Sikh Sangat is doing about Sikhs. It is that they are making Guru Gobind Singh just a ‘national hero’, comparing him to Shivaji, which is wrong. Guru Gobind Singh is the creator of Sikhism (with establishment of Khalsa in 1699) which is recognised as the fifth largest religion in the world.”