Hindustan Times – COVID-19 outbreak: Golden Temple won’t be closed, devotees to be screened from today

Medical staff of SGPC-run Sri Guru Ram Das Charitable Hospital along with teams of the health department will carry out the screening at one of the most visited religions shrines in the world.

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 17 March 2020. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Tuesday said the Golden Temple (Harmandr Sahib) will not be closed for pilgrims in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and devotees will be screened from Wednesday at the entrances of the shrine with the help of the Punjab health department.

After a meeting with Amritsar deputy commissioner Shivdular Singh Dhillon, police commissioner Sukhchain Singh Gill and civil surgeon Dr Prabhdeep Kaur Johal, SGPC senior vice-president Rajinder Singh Mehta said special arrangements will be made at the main entrances of the shrine for proper checking of devotees.

Medical staff of SGPC-run Sri Guru Ram Das Charitable Hospital along with teams of the health department will carry out the screening at one of the most visited religions shrines in the world.

An SGPC office-bearer privy to the proceedings of the meeting said the devotees will be allowed to enter from two points, Ghanta Ghar (main entrance) and Manji Sahib Diwan Hall for smooth checking.

If the shrine would be closed for devotees like major worship places of other faiths, Mehta said, “Followers of all faiths offer prayers at the Golden Temple. It was not shut even during the worst times.

It remained open even when Afghan invader Ahmed Shah Abdali attacked it and during the Operation Bluestar. There is no such need because precaution is the best method to cotain the virus.”

SGPC staff to provide sanitiser to devotees

The SGPC has deployed its employees at the entrances to provide the devotees hand sanitisers. The staff will request the devotees to maintain certain distance from each others. Announcement for taking precautions will be made at the Parkarma.

Also, a dispensary will be set at the main entrance for on-the-spot medical check-up of ailing devotees. Two ambulances will being stationed for an emergency situation, an SGPC official said.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/covid-19-outbreak-golden-temple-won-t-be-closed-devotees-to-be-screened-from-today/story-4b1rmejIVS9qZ0q36tAvDM.html

Sikh24.com – SGPC releases amended Nanakshahi calendar for Samat 552

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 13 March 2020. On the eve of the beginning of a new lunar year, the apex Sikh body Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee today released the amended Nanakshahi calendar for Samat 552 (2020-21) at the Akal Takht Secretariat.

The SGPC has dedicated this year’s calendar to the 100th foundation anniversary of the Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

This calendar consists of six pages, on which photos of SGPC run Gurdwara Sahibans, Educational Institutions, Gurmat Vidyalyas, Missionary Colleges, Medical and Engineering colleges have been published. Every page contains details of two lunar months.

Interacting with media, SGPC appointed Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh appealed the Sikh community to mark historic Gurpurabs as per this amended Nanakshahi calendar. He added that the upcoming centenaries will be enthusiastically celebrated.

It is pertinent to note here that there has been a widespread controversy over the amendments made by SGPC in the basic Nanakshahi calendar. The antagonists of these amendments say that the SGPC has converted the basic Nanakshahi calendar into Vikrami calendar i.e. a Hindu calendar.

However, the SGPC says that the basic Nanakshahi calendar, which was designed by Canada based Sikh scholar Pal Singh Purewal and was implemented by SGPC in 2003, was deviating from the original Puranmasi (full moon night) and Massia (no moon night) due to which amendments were made.

A lunar year consists of 12 lunar months, which sums up into 354 days. This is in contrast to the solar year, in which there are 365.24 days. This is the reason why the dates of Gurpurabs get changed every year because the evidences about the dates of Gurpurabs are available in lunar format, not in solar one.

It’s impossible to fully map the traditional lunar calendar with the prevailing solar calendar.

1) Puranmasi (full moon night) and Massia (no moon night) are not Sikh festivals, the dates of these do not need to be on a Sikh calendar.
2) It is perfectly possible to calculate the solar date of for instance the birth or the death of our Gurus based on the lunar date and year.
3) No country with a substantial Sikh population lives by the Vikrami calendar or any other lunar calendar.

Man-in-Blue

SGPC releases amended Nanakshahi calendar for Samat 552

Sikh24.com – Promise of free bus from Amritsar to Dera Baba Nanak Terminal is still in papers

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 10 March 2020. On 19 December, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee had announced to start a free bus service from Amritsar to Dera Baba Nanak in the first meeting of the present Executive committee at Fatehgarh Sahib last year. This was announced to facilitate the pilgrims visiting Sri Kartarpur Sahib.

However, to date, this announcement remains on paper only and there is no sign of the SGPC implementing a bus service.

In December last year, the Shiromani Committee had announced that the free bus will depart from Gurdwara Sahib Saragari (Heritage route) at 8:00 am every day and it will arrive back in Amritsar from Dera Baba Terminal at 5:00 pm.

This announcement was made seeing a huge rush of pilgrims to Sri Kartarpur Sahib and the lack of public transportation available to facilitate their pilgrim.

After two and a half months, still, this announcement has been proved deceptive.

It is pertinent to note that the pilgrims who visit Kartarpur Sahib through Dera Baba Nanak corridor have to reach Dera Baba Nanak Terminal by 9:00 am and for this, pilgrims from various villages and cities of Punjab and from other states reach Sri Harmandr Sahib a day before and stay during night here and reach Dera Baba Nanak on next morning by taking expensive taxis.

At the time of the announcement, the Shiromani Committee officials had also said that unless a new bus was purchased for this purpose, another bus would be used. Speaking with Sikh24, an SGPC official who wished to remain anonymous said, “The bus service will be started surely as announced by the ‘Shiromani Committee’.

There has been a drop in sangat that visits Kartarpur Sahib due to issues with visa stamping so the priority has lowered.”

It is however not known if the visits to Sri Kartarpur Sahib have decreased due to lack of transportation or for other reasons.

Promise of free bus from Amritsar to Dera Baba Nanak Terminal is still in papers

Sikh24.com – PSGPC permits SGPC to send Raagis for reciting Gurbani Kirtan at Kartarpur

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 03 March 2020. Finally, the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhik Committee has given nod to SGPC affiliated Raagis to recite Gurbani Kirtan at Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib. Beside it, Raagi Singhs serving in other religious bodies will also be allowed to perform Gurbani Kirtan.

Sharing the development with media, PSGPC president Satwant Singh informed that the PSGPC has unanimously decided to allow Indian raagis and kirtan jathas to perform at the shrine.

“The Raagi Singhs from India can enter Pakistan without musical instruments and return back in the evening hours after performing Gurbani Kirtan,” he added.

However, the PSGPC has not accepted SGPC’s request to make arrangements for langar at Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib.

On being contacted by media, SGPC’s chief secretary Dr Roop Singh informed that they have not received any written communication from PSGPC in this regard.

PSGPC permits SGPC to send Raagis for reciting Gurbani Kirtan at Kartarpur

Hindustan Times – Centre has treated Sikhs badly since 1947: Akal Takht jathedar

Says a pardon should be granted to Rajoana and all Sikh prisoners should be released

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 05 December 2019. Acting jathedar of the highest temporal seat of Sikhs, Akal Takht, Giani Harpreet Singh on Thursday condemned the Centre after home minister Amit Shah stated in Parliament that no pardon had been given to Balwant Singh Rajoana, who was convicted for assassinating then Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in 1995.

Replying to a media query over Shah’s statement, the jathedar said, “The Centre has always treated Punjab and Sikhs badly since 1947. A pardon should be granted to Rajoana and all Sikh prisoners should be released. This is the demand of all Sikhs.”

The jathedar also appealed to Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders and other Sikh leaders to raise their voice for release of the Sikh prisoners. The jathedar’s comment comes two days after SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal termed the statement of Amit Shah as ‘very unfortunate’.

Replying to another query over former PM Manmohan Singh’s remark that “If Narsimha Rao had paid heed to IK Gujral’s advice, the 1984 anti–Sikh riots could have been avoided’, the jathedar said, “He has expressed his feelings. The government itself was committing genocide, who could stop it?”

Gurdwaras must help Panjabi students abroad

Meanwhile, several Sikh organisations from India and abroad also met the jathedar and informed him about several issues pertaining to Sikhs and Punjab. There, Khalsa Aid’s founder Ravi Singh urged the jathedar to appeal to the Sikhs living abroad to help Punjabi students in their difficult time.

The jathedar said, “We want to appeal to Punjabi students studying abroad to maintain Sikh tenants. They should also not involve themselves in any kind of hooliganism there, and should diligently follow the law of the country they live in. We want to direct Gurdwara committees abroad to help all Sikh students with food and accommodation.”

He also said some organisations visited him, expressing grave concern regarding the crushing of Punjabi language in Punjab. The government should work for implementation of programmes that promote Punjabi, he said.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/centre-has-treated-sikhs-badly-since-1947-akal-takht-jathedar/story-ws98I6lIq1XssIovnsqIQO.html

The Indian Express – No evidence that Guru Nanak visited Puri’s Mangu Math: SGPC

“We have been assured by Odisha government authorities that they are not going to demolish Mangu Math. They will only demolish the illegal constructions around Mangu Math,” said Harjap Singh who was part of the three-member delegation.

Kamaldeep Singh Brar

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 21 September 2019. There is no evidence that Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikh faith, ever visited ‘Mangu Math’ near Jagannath temple at Puri, a Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) delegation that visited Odisha has said.

The delegation had gone there after reports that Odisha government was going to demolish Mangu Math, which was claimed to be associated with Sikh history.

“We have been assured by the Odisha government authorities that they are not going to demolish Mangu Math. They will only demolish the illegal constructions around Mangu Math,” said Harjap Singh who was part of the three-member delegation.

He said, “They have assured us that Mangu Math won’t be demolished. But at the same time, we found no evidence that Guru Nanak Dev Ji ever visited Mangu Math. Yes, there has been an idol of Shri Chand, son of Guru Nanak, at Mangu Math.

Guru Nanak Dev had gone to Jagannath Puri. But it is not clear whether he stayed at Mangu Math or not. We don’t have evidence to say that.”

“Also there is a claim that Guru Granth Sahib was installed at Mangu Math in the past. But Mangu Math is very small and it is not possible that there could have been a Gurdwara there at any time in history,” said Harjap Singh.

However, there are multiple references in Sikh history books about the presence of a gurdwara at Mangu Math.

The mention is found in the ‘Mahan Kosh’ by Kahan Singh Nabha. Historians Ganda Singh and Giani Gian Singh have also mentioned the gurdwara in Mangu Math.

Odisha-based Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Religious and Charitable (SGNDRC) has condemned the statement made by SGPC members.

“How can they make such a statement. Sikhs always knew that Guru Nanak Dev Ji came to Jagannath Puri and Mangu Math. SGPC is hurting Sikhs’ claim over the Mangu Math.

SGPC should first read history books before making any statement,” a spokesperson of the Trust said. The Trust is making efforts to convince Odisha government about Mangu Math’s association with Sikh history.

“We have talked to locals and the priest at Mangu Math. There have been idols of Hindu Gods at Mangu Maths. The priests told us that there never was a gurdwara. This is how we come to know that there was no evidence of Guru Nanak’s visit to Mangu Math. I haven’t read any history book in this reference,” said Harjap Singh.

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/sgpc-says-no-evidence-that-guru-nanak-visited-puris-mangu-math-6015921/

Sikh24.com – SGPC condemns racial remark against the turban of Khalsa Aid’s founder Ravi Singh at Vienna International Airport

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 21 August 2019. The apex Sikh body Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhik Committee has strongly condemned the racial comment made on the turban of Khalsa Aid’s founder Ravi Singh by a security woman deployed at Vienna International Airport in Austria.

SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal has said that the Khalsa Aid has been serving the needy people all around the world without any partiality. “The volunteers of Khalsa Aid have been uplifting the name of Sikh religion by serving the people during natural and man-made disasters without any greed and partiality,” he added.

Longowal further said that racial remark against such a person, who always remain ready to help the humanity, is highly condemnable.

The SGPC has also asked the Indian government to rake up this issue with the government of Austria so that no one could make such a racial remark in the future.

SGPC condemns racial remark against the turban of Khalsa Aid’s founder Ravi Singh at Vienna International Airport

The Asian Age – Mystic Mantra: Nankana Sahib has a special place in Sikh history

Kulbir Kaur

New Delhi – India, 19 August 2019. Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith, was born in 1469 at Talwandi of Rai Bhoe, now known as Nankana Sahib, a town in Sheikhpura district of Pakistan. Guru Nanak had spent the first 15 years of his life at Talwandi Sahib.

Rai Buler, the chief of Talwandi, was a contemporary of Guru Nanak and in fact, one of the first people to recognise the light of the divine in Guru Nanak. Once while he was tending a herd of cattle, the Guru lay down to rest under a tree and fell asleep. Rai Buler was surprised to see that the shadows of other trees had moved with the movement of the sun but not of the tree under which Nanak slept.

Similarly, on another occasion, Rai Buler received a complaint that the cattle Guru Nanak was in charge of had entered and damaged the crop of a farmer. Guru Nanak’s father was asked to pay for the damage but when they went there to calculate the losses, they found everything intact and there was no damage.

Rai Buler became a devotee of Guru Nanak and declared that the Guru was a saint and the honour of the village. The village was renamed as Nankana Sahib and the gurdwara built at the site where Guru Nanak was born is known as Gurdwara Janam Asthan or Gurdwara Nankana Sahib.

The place is dotted with sacred shrines associated with Guru Nanak. In addition to the main shrine, Gurdwara Janam Asthan, there is Gurdwara Patti Sahib, marking the place of Guru Nanak’s school. Gurdwara Bal Lila is the place where the Guru as a child used to play. Gurdwara Kiara Sahib marks the field which was reported as damaged by a farmer and no damage was discovered.

The place where the tree with the shade was found by Rai Buler is called Gurdwara Mal Ji Sahib. There is another important site where Guru Nanak had spent all the money given by his father to feed hungry sadhus, terming it as a sachha sauda, and to escape his father’s wrath, he had hidden himself under the tent (tambu) like tree, hence the name of the site as Gurdwara Tambu Sahib.

Gurdwara Nankana Sahib has a special place in Sikh history and on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee has organised an international nagarkirtan called “Kaal Taran Guru Nanak Aiya”.

A jatha (group) of 550 sangats was especially sent to Pakistan for this purpose. The nagarkirtan started from Gurdwara Nankana Sahib on July 25 and not only Sikh and Hindu followers participated in the procession, but even Muslim devotees followed it till the Wagah border.

The flower-decked palanquin of the Guru Granth Sahib was led by panj-piarias and it passed through the areas used to be populated by the Sikhs in pre-Partition India. To mark this historic moment, the foundation stone of Baba Guru Nanak University (BGNU) at Nankana Sahib was laid by Sardar Usman Buzdar, Pakistani Punjab’s chief minister, who also planted saplings dedicated to Guru Nanak Dev.

The nagarkirtan, starting from Nankana Sahib, would pass through around 65 cities of India, covering almost 17 states and conclude after about 100 days at Gurdwara Ber Sahib, Sultanpur Lodhi. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee will also organise an international seminar at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

Kulbir Kaur teaches sociology at Shyama Prasad Mukherji College, Delhi University

https://asianage.com/opinion/oped/190819/mystic-mantra-nankana-sahib-has-a-special-place-in-sikh-history.html

The Tribune – Sikh jatha in Pakistan, Nagar Kirtan tomorrow

Procession to start from Nankana Sahib, enter India via Attari border same day

G S Paul, Tribune News Service

Nankana Sahib – Panjab – Pakistan, 30 July 2019. A jatha, comprising around 480 members, today crossed over to Pakistan from the Attari-Wagah border to be part of the “historic nagar kirtan” that will be taken out from Nankana Sahib, the birth place of Guru Nanak, on August 1.

It will be for the first time since Partition that such an event has been scheduled to take off from Pakistan.

The SGPC has initiated ‘akhand path’ at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib at 7.30 am today in the presence of SGPC chief secretary Dr Roop Singh, SGPC member Rajinder Singh Mehta and Golden Temple additional manager Ravinder Singh Rubi. The opening ardas was performed by Gurdwara Nankana Sahib granthi Bhai Daya Singh and the ‘hukumnama’ was delivered by head granthi Bhai Prem Singh.

Meanwhile, ‘Gurbani kirtan’ was performed by Sikh schoolgirls of Nankana Sahib. The ‘bhog’ of ‘akhand path’ will be performed two days later on Thursday upon which as the tradition goes, the Panj Pyaras would lead the nagar kirtan.

Indian jatha, led by SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal crossed over the border, newly appointed chief of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) Satwant Singh and general secretary Ameer Singh were there on the Wagah side to receive them. Later, they were escorted to Nankana Sahib under heavy security cover.

Prominent among those who accompanied Longowal included Akal Takht acting Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh, Golden Temple head priest Giani Jagtar Singh, Nihang organisation Budha Dal chief Baba Balbir Singh, DSGMC president Manjinder Singh Sirsa, Patna Sahib management committee chief Avtar Singh Hit, senior Akali leaders Darbara Singh Guru, Hira Singh Gabaria and Damdami Taksal chief Harnam Singh Khalsa.

Special buses were arranged to take the devotees from Wagah to Nankana Sahib. Amidst the recitation of “holy hymns of the Gurus and “Jo bole so nihal”, the devotees reached Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, after a two-hour drive escorted by police vehicles.

The DC of Nankana Sahib and local administration officials were there to receive the jatha. In view of security aspect, the shops were temporarily shut down.

Longowal said the ‘nagar kirtan’ would commence at around 9.30 am on August 1 from Nankana Sahib and enter the same day in India through the Attari-Wagah land route at 12 noon. It would further pass through 65 cities and 17 states before culminating at Gurdwara Ber Sahib in Sultanpur Lodhi in an approximate span of 100 days.

Longowal said it would be an occasion that would work as a conduit to help establish cordial ties between the two sides. “Looking at the enthusiasm of both the sides, I believe that this occasion will bring together the people of ‘Charhda Punjab’ and ‘Lehnda Punjab’. We were overwhelmed at the hospitality extended by the Pakistan SGPC and other supporting organisations,” he said.

Meanwhile, a devotee brought 10 saplings of chandan (sandalwood). He told that these would be planted on the pious land of Nankana Sahib. The SGPC also brought nagaras, Khalsa flags, religious literature and other instruments for the occasion.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/sikh-jatha-in-pak-nagar-kirtan-tomorrow/810384.html

Sikh24.com – 1984 Sikh genocide instigator Kamal Nath now mocks Gurbani

Sikh24 Editors

Hew Delhi – India, 28 July 2019. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has strongly condemned Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath distorting verses of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Kamal Nath rephrased Gurbani verses for personal glorification on his Facebook.

On a Facebook post, Kamal Nath’s official page posted a graphic that distorted the following verse by Guru Gobind Singh ji –

“Sava Lakh Se Ek Ladaun Tabhi Gobind Singh Naam Kahaun”.

SGPC President Bhai Gobind Singh Longowal condemned Kamal Nath. He told Sikh24 that Kamal Nath has been harming Sikh sentiments. “Kamal Nath used his name in place of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, in a post posted on his Facebook,” Bhai Longowal said.

Bhai Gobind Singh Longowal said that Kamal Nath had demonstrated his dislike of the Sikhs by doing so. “With this move he has the anger and resentment of the Sikh sangat,” he added.

When asked if the SGPC would take legal action, Bhai Longowal said the apex Sikh body was looking into it but so far they have not taken any legal action.

It is noteworthy that Kamal Nath has been accused of inciting a mob at Gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib on November 1, 1984, where two Sikhs were burnt alive. An FIR was registered against Kamal Nath but due to his political influence, he has so far evaded arrest.

1984 Sikh Genocide Instigator Kamal Nath Now Mocks Gurbani