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Posted at: Jun 11, 2019, 6:59 AM; last updated: Jun 11, 2019, 6:59 AM (IST)

Idols of Sikh Gurus being sold online, SGPC mum

Idols of Sikh Gurus being sold online, SGPC mum
An idol of Guru Nanak Dev being sold on the Internet.

GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 10

The Chinese intrusion into the Sikh religion had fumed Akal Takht and the SGPC, leading to a ‘blanket ban’ on the sale of idols of Sikh Gurus, generally used to be imported from China. But surprisingly, these idols are still available online.

The objection is that Sikhism prohibits any kind of idol worship. However, paintings of the 10 Sikh Gurus generally on calendars or small pictures studded in plastic sheet invite little objection, though Akal Takht never endorses this practice too.

A bust of Guru Nanak Dev was set up at an intersection in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, by the Sindhi community recently. As its picture and video went viral on social media, Akal Takht intervened and directed the SGPC to send a delegation to Gujarat to check.

Before any action was taken, the Sindhi sect approached the SGPC, submitted an apology and rectified their move by removing the bust. Instead, a ‘Khanda’ (religious symbol) was placed on the same location with the prior permission from the SGPC.

Following this episode, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh issued directions that idols of Gurus could not be made as it defied the Sikh principles.

Ironically, such directions were already there but were not being followed ‘religiously’, apparently due to laidback attitude of the SGPC.

Costing between Rs 50 and Rs 1,500, these idols, made of marble, metal or stone, were being sold in leading gift shops and also those located in the vicinity of the Golden Temple as well.

Majority of these Gurus’ idols made of marble were imported from China. Metal ones were generally brought from Muradabad and the stone-studded ones from Rajasthan, Agra and Mumbai.

Parminder Singh of Gift House here said, “We have stopped placing orders for Gurus’ idols after objections were raised by Akal Takht and the SGPC. It is now hard to find such idols, at least in the gift shops located around the Golden Temple,” he said.

A random check revealed that many websites like Amazon, Flipkart and Shopclues still sell resin statues of Sikh Gurus in ‘marble look’ ranging from Rs 349 to Rs 779 for car dashboards. Some offer idols, pictures and Sikh religious literature, too.

A shopkeeper said these idols were being sold for the past four years without any check. “We have stopped stocking these, but what about online sale?” he asked.

SGPC chief secretary Dr Roop Singh said, “It has been directed that no idol of Gurus can be sold as it is against the Sikh principles. But, it is equally true that in such times of commercialisation, this cannot be checked effectively. We do not criticise any other religion which does idol worshipping, yet I appeal to the masses to discourage the trade of Sikh Gurus’ idols for the sanctity of our religion,” he said.

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