January 7, 2001,
SGPC stops sale of book edited by Vedanti
AMRITSAR, Jan 6 — The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has stopped the sale of controversial book “Gur Bilas Patshahi 6”, edited by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht, and an eminent Sikh scholar, Dr Amarjit Singh.
The book was published in June, 1988, to mark the 400th birth anniversary of sixth Sikh Guru Hargobind Sahib. Jathedar Vedanti was Senior Granthi of the Golden Temple when the book was published by the Dharam Parchar Committee of the SGPC. The book carries information on the life of the sixth Guru. However, many Sikh scholars raised eyebrows over certain ‘distorted’ facts regarding the life of Guru Hargobind.
Interestingly, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the then President of the SGPC, Bhai Ranjit Singh, the then Jathedar, Akal Takht. Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar, Damdama Sahib, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, the then acting president of the SGPC, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, the then Minister for Higher Education, Giani Sant Singh Maskin and Giani Joginder Singh Talwara appreciated the efforts of Giani Vedanti and his co-editor Amarjit Singh for their invaluable efforts for editing this “great historical book”. The book was described as a ‘great gift’ to mark the 400th birth anniversary of Guru Hargobind Sahib.
It is for the first time that the SGPC has stopped the sale of a book edited by any Jathedar. Earlier, the SGPC had withdrawn the famous book, “Sachi Sakhi”, authored a Professor of Sikhism, and former ICS officer the late Kapur Singh, in the wake of various objections raised by Bibi Kiranjot Kaur (now General Secretary, SGPC). She had alleged that some editions of “Sachi Sakhi” carried objectional reference about her grandfather, Master Tata Singh. Though the book was published by the SGPC, it had to be withdrawn from the stalls and the new edition which was in the binding process could not be released.
Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, SGPC Secretary, admitted that verbal orders had been issued to withdraw Gur Bilas Patshahi 6 in the wake of some controversy. The owner of Singh Brothers also admitted that they got verbal instructions of the SGPC for stopping its sale.
Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti has also confirmed that the sale of the book had been stopped for the time being after it was discussed by other Sikh high priests. He, however, said that the objections raised by some Sikh intellectuals were unsavoury as he himself had pointed out that there were certain distorted historical facts which needed to be researched as per the Sikh maryada.
The Jathedar said Gur Bilas Patshahi 6 was a significant historical book. The then SGPC management had assigned him (Jathedar Vedanti) work for making corrections in various available texts. The editors of this book brought many historical aspects to light. Many manuscripts were studied before the publication.
However, Jathedar Vedanti said that he had already pointed out that many contents of the book were not as per the Sikh maryada”. He said this was explicitly mentioned in the foreword of the book that there were some “historical distortions” in the texts of Gur Bilas Patshahi 6”. The foreword out that the “distortions” in the texts should be studied by the Sikh scholars as per the Sikh maryada. It admitted that some contents were dominated by Brahmanical approach. “The original text contains distorted facts about the birth, marriage rituals etc which are not as per Sikhism”, it says Jathedar Vedanti said that the text of the book was also published by the earlier Punjab Language Department twice.
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