Friday, May 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Jathedars ‘lose their cool’
Authority to issue ‘hukamnamas’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 22
Confrontation is brewing between Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, and Jathedar of Takht Patna Sahib, Giani Iqbal Singh, over issuance of ‘hukamnama’ (edict) declaring Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, president, Takht Patna Sahib Management Committee, “tankhaiya” by the latter.

Both jathedars reportedly had heated exchanges on the telephone today on the pronouncement of the edicts. While Jathedar Vedanti asked Jathedar Patna Sahib, that Akal Takht being the supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs had the sole right to issue ‘hukamnamas’, the latter claimed that edicts used to be issued from Takht Hazoor Sahib and Takht Patna Sahib from the time of Sikh Gurus.

Trouble is also brewing over the recitation of ‘Dasam Granth’ at Takht Hazoor Sahib and Takht Patna Sahib. While the SGPC and the Akal Takht failed to resolve the controversy over the authorship of the ‘granth’ Mr Romana had to face the wrath of Jathedar, Patna Sahib, for challenging the authenticity of Dasam Granth which is being recited at Hazoor Sahib and Patna Sahib every day. While addressing a congregation at Chicago on April 27 in presence of Jathedar Vedanti, Mr Romana had asked Jathedar Iqbal Singh to get the ‘Dasam Granth’ removed from the Takht as it could not be equated with the holy Guru Granth Sahib.

The Sikh clergy is likely to discuss the issue at a crucial meeting, scheduled to be held at Akal Takht secretariat on May 24.

Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, a former SGPC Secretary, said that ‘hukamnama’ could be issued from Akal Takht only. He said when Giani Puran Singh, in his capacity as Jathedar, Akal Takht, had excommunicated the then SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, through a ‘hukamnama’, issued from Guna (Maharashtra) it was later rescinded by his successor (Jathedar Vedanti) on the plea that edicts could be issued from Akal Takht only. However, some Sikh scholars said that the edicts were issued from time to time from Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib which have mention in Sikh History. Another point of confrontation is that Takht Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib have refused to accept the directive of Akal Takht on the implementation of ‘Nanakshahi calendar’, though the calendar had the approval of the Akal Takht, yet it was released from the political conference of Shiromani Akali Dal held at Takht Damdama Sahib on the occasion of Baisakhi. Both Takhts have been observing the historic days as per the ‘Bikrami calendar’ which stands rejected after implementation of the Nanakshahi calendar.

The jathedars of Takht Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib are not called to attend the meetings of Sikh clergy at Akal Takht for different reasons. The effort to ensure their participation in the meetings of Sikh clergy in the past did not bear fruit so far.

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