Something's Rotten in the State of Denmark!by Prof. DARSHAN SINGH
Singh Sahib Professor Darshan Singh Khalsa
Ex-Jathedar, Sri Akal Takht Sahib, Sri Amritsar
6 December, 2009
Another Massive Attack on the Principles of Sri Guru Granth Sahib
First, it was the attempt to install a Guru from the Bacchitar Natak, parallel to Guru Granth Sahib, and then came an attempt to create a parallel Harmandar Sahib. And now is the worst of all - an attack on the throne of justice itself: a small office in a nondescript street behind the Nishaan Sahib has been designated as the ‘Office of The Akal Takht‘. This office is in competition to The Akal Takht and now its Jathedar does not recognize an appearance at the Akal Takht as legitimate; only an appearance at [this newly designated office in a back street] is deemed appropriate where people are kept in dark about the decisions made - as has been happening over the past many years.
It has been explained in their press release by the Jathedars that the issue of the attendance of one summoned to The Akal Takht is heard only at the ‘secretariat‘. It is also said that this policy of a closed door hearing was adopted ten years ago and is now their our policy. This is proof of the fact that this policy dates from the past ten years and that Surjeet Singh Barnala's case was heard in open public setting, consistent with earlier policies.
I want to clarify that those who are unfamiliar with our old traditions, they may acquiesce to these closed door hearings and then come to some arrangements with you. But, with the Guru's grace, I had cleared this matter with you that we have only one Akal Takht and I will appear only before that Akal Takht. In their note of 17 November, they asked me to appear before The Akal takht; so on 5 December, I appeared there in the presence of the press and the sangat. But today, they do not recognize The Akal Takht and instead recognize only their closed [back-alley office]. I do not to, and will not recognize any such closed room as The Akal Takht.
I had previously fully clarified my position that reverence for Sri Guru Granth Sahib is a matter of significance to the whole Sikh community. Therefore it should be explored at The Akal Takht in the presence of the Panth, not in any closed room. Today, I am still of the same belief. That is why I appeared today at The Akat Takht and waited for almost an hour, so that the truth could be brought before the community. Some responsible brothers - Dalmegh Singh, Secretary; Jasvinder Singh, Advocate; Giani Kewal Singh; Chairman Tarsem Singh and Paramjeet Singh Sarna, Chairman, Delhi Committee, repeatedly tried to bring the Jathedars to The Akal Takht but the latter lacked the courage to face the truth and did not come; they continued to insist that their [back-alley] office would serve as The Akal Takht. After waiting an hour, I ascended the steps to The Akal Takht and presented my file before the Guru Granth Sahib; I prayed for the ability to reverse the insult that Sri Guru Granth Sahib is subjected to at some gurdwaras. After spending about two hours on the premises of Darbar Sahib, I returned.
Almost an hour and a half later [after I had departed], the Jathedars did turn up at the Akal Takht; hiding their own weakness in lies, they accused me of not coming to The Akal Takht, claiming they had been waiting, even though the sangat and the press witnessed the whole episode. Despite this, they did not hesitate to lie at The Akal Takht and, to please their masters, shamelessly declared me a "tankhaaiyya."
The press statement of those who have labelled me selfish and egotistical clearly confirms that "Professor Darshan Singh did present his statement before the Guru Granth Sahib; we have not yet read it nor will we send for it to be read by us." Let the sangat decide who is full of ego and selfishness. Those who think of themselves as higher that Sri Guru Granth Sahib and cannot even pick up and read the file left in front of the Guru Sahib - how can they render such judgment against me?
People need to wake up, recognize and challenge this new danger - and ensure that these Jathedars, at the behest of their masters, do not set up a competing Akal Takht in a closed room, to compete with the one that was bestowed by Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib.
[A rough translation of the original in Punjabi, to English, by Dr. I.J. Singh]
December 6, 2009
Conversation about this article
1: Raj (Canada), December 06, 2009, 5:50 PM.
I know what they will do to Prof. Darshan Singh. Can anyone explain to me who started this act of the excommunication of those who don't agree with them? I don't remember the Gurus ever kicking a Sikh out of Sikhi. Are they more powerful than the Gurus?
2: Gurinder Singh (California, U.S.A.), December 06, 2009, 7:39 PM.
The process was started by our Gurus. Those who acted against the Panth were excommunicated. So, the process is not new. Let us accept the Hukam of The Akal Takht sahib.
3: Baljinder Singh (Amritsar, Punjab), December 06, 2009, 7:47 PM.
There is a marked difference between the description of what happened by Prof. Darshan Singh and as described by the Jathedars. Well, I trust Prof. Sahib completely ... he is a spiritual man and a pooran GurSikh. And the Jathedars? What can I say that all of you don't already know?
4: Gurjender Singh (Maryland, U.S.A.), December 06, 2009, 8:52 PM.
I submit that the Guru Sahib had established the one and only Akal Takht. If the S.G.P.C. has set up another office elsewhere to function as The Akal Takht, the practice must be stopped in its tracks. Sikhs may recall the very reason why Prof. Darshan Singh ji resigned in the first place as Jathedar of The Akal Takht - because he would not accept anti-Sikh actions of the SGPC management!
5: Arvinder Singh Kang (Oxford, MS, U.S.A.), December 06, 2009, 11:03 PM.
I knew this was coming. They did this earlier to Prof. Darshan Singh, banning him from kirtan at Harmandar Sahib. They have now done it again. Gurinder Veer, let us not follow the buildings but the spirit. Masands at the Harmandar had closed doors of the Harmandr to Guru Teg Bahadar, and had refused Him entry! I wonder if Guru Gobind Singh ever considered that act one directed by The Akal Takht? Guru Teg Bahadar even referred to the miscreants as "Amritsariye andar sarriye" (rotten from within are these people of Amritsar -[Suraj Prakash by Bhai Santokh Singh]. It wasn't until later when the women of the city led the Sikhs of the city to beg forgiveness from the Guru, when he declared: "Maaian Rab rajaaian!"
6: Bakhsish Singh (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), December 07, 2009, 12:21 AM.
Full marks to Singh Sahib Prof. Darshan Singh ji who very courageously went to The Akal Takht to clarify his case. Even after being advised to not to appear at Akal Takht, getting repeated threats, he went there and waited for the Jathedars who didn't have the courage to come out and face the truth in front of the sangat and press. These jathedars have made a mockery of Sikhism and its beliefs. It's time to wake up and think about ensuring that we have a method whereby jathedars arer chosen for their wisdom and spirituality, and not their polotical connections or their willingness to take orders. We should all stand up and support Prof. Darshan Singh in these very difficult times. Not just lip service, we should arrange kirtan samagams inviting him, so that we are seen as not cowering to the mischief unleashed against Sikhs.
7: Navtej Kaur (Canada), December 07, 2009, 2:08 AM.
Prof. Darshan Singh is a great man. Why don't we start a peaceful movement to remove these corrupt jathedars from their positions. We need to reclaim our gurdwaras - similar to the reclaiming of the gurdwaras from the mahants. This is the same situation repeating itself! These people have failed the Sikhs not only in the Punjab but worldwide.
8: Inderjeet Singh (Pune, India), December 07, 2009, 6:29 AM.
Sach layee kurbaani di lod hundi hai ... and Prof. Darshan Singh is one of the Marjeevdaa. The masands sitting at The Akal Takht won't survive for long now. Satguru te satguru di sangat sachai, atey Professor Sahib de naal han.
9: Gurjender Singh (Maryland, U.S.A.), December 07, 2009, 7:51 AM.
I will request sikhchic.com and its readers to please write in the reasons given and the background for the summons from The Akal Takht to Prof. Darshan Singh ji. So that we can clearly understand the subject of the controversy.
10: Narayanjot Kaur (Chester, PA, U.S.A.), December 07, 2009, 8:20 AM.
Prof. Darshan Singh is saying something very potent and in more than one way, it is throughout this statement. In my opinion, Prof. Darshan Singh is sounding an alert: The goal of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Takhts, it apeears, is to change the Sikh Rehat Maryada in such a way that Sikhs anywhere - in Punjab, India or the diaspora -can do nothing about it. The jathedars have become reduced to nothing more than civil servants. The S.G.P.C. leadership serves at the pleasure of the Badal government in Punjab: to change the Sikh Rehat Maryada to something that is a mixture of various dera communities as well as compatriots of Badal, Iqbal Singh, and Tarlochan Singh will agree upon! That is the master strategy. Prof. Darshan Singh is only one movable piece in a chess-game. He is not the game.
11: Tejwant Singh (Nevada, U.S.A.), December 07, 2009, 10:17 AM.
1) What does ex-communication mean, according to Sikh values? 2) Can someone explain what kind of Gurmat values it is based on which are prescribed by our Gurus in The Guru Granth, our only Guru? 3) How can one stop someone from being a learner - a Sikh - a seeker? Ex-communication also defies and shows its disregard for gurbani, which says: "Sabh Gobind hein,Gobind bin nahin koi". 4) How and who can ex-communicate "Gobind"? Perhaps only those who are drenched in the pool of me-ism rather than the amrit pool of One-ism. Something to ponder about! Last but not least, ex-communication - whatever it means in the mind of those who exert their own power unto others in the name of Sikhi - contradicts the concept of the four doors of Harmandar Sahib. As they say, when people turn Sikhi into a blind faith, they themselves become blind to the gurmat ideals of The Guru Granth. Let us never forget that The Guru Granth is our only and ultimate Guru and all decisions should be based on Guru's teachings.
12: Deepinder (Bangalore, India), December 07, 2009, 8:25 PM.
This is in response to Tejwant Singh's post: Why can't excommunication as a concept be seen as similar to not keeping bad company. The Guru Granth regularly reminds us not to keep company of people who will lead us away from God in any way. We all understand that no one is bad permanently or no one is evil intrinsically and that every one has the light of God, but for our good we do daily make some practical decisions on who we socialize with, etc. Just like we try to regulate our environment by keeping good company, sangat, etc., excommunicaton could be a practical way for the community at large. Of course, this could be misused by people, but the concept itself is probably not against Sikh values. Or we should at least not jump to conclusions about it.
13: GRN (U.S.A.), December 07, 2009, 9:14 PM.
Through such shenanigans, The Akal Takht is in dire risk of losing its importance and relevance amongst the Sikhs of the diaspora. Its role is supposed to be to safeguard and promote Sikh values in a progressive manner. This role needs to be restored immediately.
14: Jaswinder Singh Sidhu (Melbourne, Australia), December 07, 2009, 9:24 PM.
Singh Sahib Prof. Darshan Singh ji: I truly appreciate you for following the path of truth. In this difficult time, we all are with you.
15: G.C. Singh (U.S.A.), December 07, 2009, 10:44 PM.
Akal Takht, the Throne of the Timeless is the highest seat of Miri and Piri. However the "appointed" Jathedar of the Takht is not a dictator but a sevadar and a saint-Slodier who is supposed to guard the great traditions and principles of Sikhism. Unfortunately, since the time of the British rule, its sovereign authority has been compromised and is now once again being manipulated by politicians and Indian Government agencies to prevent the Sikhs from asserting their freedom from Hindutava domination. The present crop of jathedars are subservient to their political masters and have reduced themselves to mere "masands" and "pujaris". The Sikh Sangat should force these corrupt and cowardly bunch to resign. Highly qualified persons of integrity and character - including women and intellectuals - should be selected with the consent of major Sikh organizations from India and abroad to serve in these important positions.
16: Tejwant Singh (Nevada, U.S.A.), December 08, 2009, 2:35 PM.
Deepinder Singh ji: I am a bit puzzled by your justification of ex-communication of someone as being like getting rid of bad company. So, please tell me what kind of bad person is or has been Prof. Sahib that you are willing to take this aparthiedic approach? Who was Sajjan the Thug before meeting our Guru Sahib? Did our Guru avoid him? Sikh History is full of examples like this. Sidh Gosht by Guru Nanak explains how these so called learned people ran away from their duties and called themselves sages. Were they good people who did not perform their duties as householders, brothers, husbands or fathers? I have no problem going to a bar with a group of friends of mine and order my Perrier and let them have whatever they want and interact about life. Sikhi is not about being insecure, which breeds parochial mindedness. Sikhi is all about breeding goodness within, no matter how, what or who the next person you come across is like. Only security in the self as a Sikh can help us cultivate open-mindedness which is one of the cornerstone of Sikhi, not by making someone an outcast, which breeds disdain and hatred rather than acceptance.
17: J.S.M. (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), December 08, 2009, 7:31 PM.
Are there not more, larger challenges than this internal bickering within our religion? No wonder my generation (and younger generations) are so lost.
18: Gurjender Singh (Maryland, U.S.A.), December 08, 2009, 10:06 PM.
This is a bit of a surprise that after making a request for the real reason for the controversy over Prof. Darshan Singh, every one writes too much detailed information without mentioning the real subject. I will appreciate it if someone will explain in clear terms what is the real issue. [Editor: Maybe this question should be posed directly to the Jathedars.]
19: Manpreet Singh (San Francisco, California, U.S.A.), December 09, 2009, 5:08 PM.
I personally think Prof. Darshan Singh ji should have gone to where the Jathedars had gathered and insisted that they conduct the hearing in public, instead of leaving in an hour or so after they had failed to appear at The Akal Takht.
20: Panjab Singh (Yuba/ Sutter, California, U.S.A.), December 09, 2009, 6:25 PM.
1) I didn't quite understand the "State of Denmark" in the title. 2) This is a healthy appraisal of where we are heading as true "Sikhs". 3) Have we entered into a retrogressive Sikhi evolution cycle? 4) Give me a couple of examples of Sikhs who exemplify our great tradition anywhere in the world. 5) Are we fighting a losing battle of Sikh traditions in Punjab? 6) Sikhi has become a politico-religious career for some with egoistic ethics and for-profit attitude. 7) Overall, I am cynical about how the great tradition of Sikhi is being dissipated so quickly and selfishly. Look at our young Sikhs in Punjab and how everyone is encouraging and working hard to promote Sikhi. [EDITOR: In answer to your point #4 - Here are a few: S. Saran Singh of The Sikh Review, Prof. Darshan Singh ji, Dr. I.J. Singh, Sardar Fauja Singh (marathoner) .... and my mother! ... just to prove that there is no dearth of Sikhs living exemplary lives. Each one knows or should know a large number of them. They are not perfect - no human being is - but they are great role models.]
21: Panjab Singh (Yuba/ Sutter, California, U.S.A.), December 10, 2009, 6:08 PM.
Further to my earlier note, I would name Dr. Khem Singh and Baba Iqbal Singh of Baru Sahib. They have established the first private Sikh University, lived an exemplary life, plus their contributions to the educational upliftment of rural children and de-addiction centers in Punjab is monumental!
22: Gurinder Singh Johal (Amritsar, Punjab), December 11, 2009, 8:50 AM.
I think that the action of Bhai Drshan Singh ji was a diplomatic one. He is a very learned man, compared to the current Jathedar, or those from the other Takhts. There is no doudt that the S.G.P.C. has been under the control of SAD. I think at this moment the situation in Punjab is very serious. There is 'Sant Samaj' which has developed a large following. The S.G.P.C., under the control of SAD, seems to be trying to keep a balance between different interests. Looks like Bhai Darshan Singh was right ... but the Jathedar was also not wrong. Hovo ikkattar milho merey bhai/ Dubidhaa duur karo liv laa-i.
23: Dilpreet Singh (United States), December 13, 2009, 10:44 AM.
Prof. Darshan Singh's actions and his attention to such matters is extremely commendable. We have increasingly become a religion of convenience and money worshippers and we need some champion to challenge the forces which would sell their religion for personal benefit. I am actually shocked that we as a panth have become so blind to what has transpired. We have another set of masands who have taken control of our Sikh institutions which we need to kick out! These brahmans have installed another idol as was done more blatantly in the past and need to be dealt with in the most effective, definitive and efficient way we can imagine. This is treason to and betrayal of the Sikh Panth.
24: R. K. Singh (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), December 14, 2009, 8:44 PM.
At last someone has stood up against the promoters of spurious granths who are forcing stuff down our throats, by trying to muzzle us. Thank You, Prof. Darshan Singh ji, our future generations will remember you with gratitude. We need to get back to our Guru, The Guru Granth; then nothing can mislead us.
25: Jagwinder Singh (United States), December 18, 2009, 7:23 PM.
Prof Darshan Singh has taken the bull by horn for the second time in his life. The first was when he challenged the all powerful Indian state after 1984. We Sikhs need to fully support him by organizing his kirtan programs so that a befitting reply be given to those who want to shut his voice.
26: Hardev Singh Kohli (Canada), February 15, 2010, 10:54 PM.
I believe the war within is between two personality traits: One who are guided by emotions and believe that the teachings attributed to The Tenth Master cannot be questioned or doubted; and the research-oriented who dare to question and conclude otherwise. Both are acting in love for Guru. When people lose sense and start attacking someone who has a different opinion and call him/ her names, then they are certainly showing disrespect to the Sikh way as taught by the beloved Ten. We have to learn to respect others, even when there are differences. There is no solid proof on either side. Technology has advanced a lot since when some decisions were made the last time. A new exploration using present-day resources is certainly called for to settle this dispute which can tear us apart. We do not need the RSS, the Indian Government or the Akalis to do it for us. Please think harder about all of this.