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Orphan’s hand-written Bir to lead procession
Guru Granth Sahib installation celebrations
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 25
The hand-written Bir of Guru Granth Sahib by an orphan, Giani Avtar Singh (69) who took four-and-half years to complete the task, will lead the religious procession from Gurdwara Ramsar to the Golden Temple to mark the quadricentennial celebrations of the holy book here on September 1.

Giani Avtar Singh, who retired as Supervisor from Northern Railway, and his elder brother who were orphaned during childhood were brought up by Bhagat Puran Singh at Gurdwara Dera Sahib (Lahore). Talking to TNS, Giani Avtar Singh said he had never seen his father.

The Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, confirmed that the hand-written ‘Bir’ by Giani Avtar Singh would lead the procession from Gurdwara Ramsar where Guru Granth Sahib was installed in the year Continued from page 1 col 4

1604 by Guru Arjan Dev. It may be mentioned here that after compilation of Guru Granth Sahib on September 1, 1604, Baba Budha, the first Head Granthi of Golden Temple, had taken the Bir to Harmandar Sahib as per Sikh ‘maryada’.

Though the Sodhi family of Kartarpur has refused to accept the demand of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, Shiromani Akali Dal, to hand over the hand-written ‘Adi Granth’ to the Sikh Sangat, yet the new hand-written Bir would adorn the palanquin made of gold and silver on September 1.

The beautifully written Bir has been checked and re-checked by Jathedar Vedanti and other Sikh high priests. The total weight of the Bir is 28 kg while the average Bir is of 11 kg. He had started writing the Bir on February 1999, a few days before the tercentenary celebrations of the birth of the Khalsa Panth. Interestingly, Giani Avtar Singh did not use the scale for drawing lines. He has used simple sketch pen for completing his feat. Giani Avtar Singh said he had completed the project at Dera Sant Bhinderan at Chowk Baba Sahib here. However, the paper which costs about Rs 5,000 was donated by Master Ajit Singh Anand.

He said he would attempt to write another Bir of standard size shortly.
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