The Akal Takht on Tuesday declared a US-based Sikh publisher, Thaminder Singh Anand, a “tankhaiya” (guilty of religious misconduct) for misrepresenting the Gurbani (hymns) and called on the community to boycott him until to appear before the Takht to apologize for his offence.
The distortion was exposed recently, which drew objections from Sikh bodies around the world. The Akal Takht, which is the highest temporal seat of Sikhism, listened to the various actors of the community on Tuesday before making its decision.
In delivering the decision, acting jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh said: “Thaminder Singh is found guilty of making changes to the Gurbani himself. Considering the sentiments of the Panth, Akal Takht Sahib prohibits both offline and online publication of Gurbani by him. He is ordered to appear before the Takht, give his explanation and reveal the people behind him within a month. He is also responsible for submitting related documents to Takht. Until he does, he will remain a ‘tankhaiya’. All Sikhs are required to avoid any kind of relationship or cooperation with him.
According to the SGPC, Anand is associated with the American organization Sikh Book Club which runs a website on Sikh literature. According to the allegation, he had added an additional “lagan-matravan” (suprasegmental symbols of Gurmukhi) by changing the original verses of Gurbani.
SGPC said to look into Gurbani apps
Another man, Onkar Singh, was also ordered to stop his activities of changing “lagan-matravan” in the original Gurbani verses in the name of amendments and to appear before the Takht with an explanation.
The Takht also made compulsory the permission of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) for common devotees to write the holy birs (copy) of Guru Granth Sahib. The SGPC is the supreme management body of the gurdwara.
In a separate ruling, Takht pointed out that it had gone through no less than 21 Gurbani mobile apps in which errors were found. “The SGPC is instructed to remove such errors within one month or ban such applications by legal action,” said Akal Takht acting jathedar who was accompanied by Takht Patna Sahib jathedar Giani Ranjit Singh and Takht Kesgarh Sahib jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh in the highest presidium of Sikhs.
“Let’s work together for the release of Sikh prisoners”
The Sikh clergy have called on the SGPC, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and other Sikh organizations to launch joint efforts in the fight for the release of Sikh prisoners who remain behind bars even after the end of their sentence from prison. They also called on a Sikh man who climbed to the top of a mobile tower in Moga district to demand the release of Sikh prisoners to end his protest, citing that ‘committing suicide’ is not part of religion .
Ardent critics of the Badal-led Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which controls the SGPC, also attended the meeting, including former Takht parallel jathedar Damdama Sahib and outgoing (ad hoc) committee chairman Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak, Baljit Singh Daduwal. Daduwal had previously refused to recognize SGPC-appointed Takht jathedars.
DSGMC Chairman Harmeet Singh Kalka, who along with other committee members recently split from the SAD, was also present. Both addressed the meeting. Besides them, SGPC leader Harjinder Singh Dhami and Damdami Taksal leader Harnam Singh Khalsa also expressed their views.