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akal takht

. AKAL TAKHT SAHIB The Akal Takht Sahib (The Throne of the Almighty, The Immortal Throne) is the hub of the Sikh polity. The Akal Takht Sahib was revealed by .....


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Old 16-04-2010
Und3rgr0und J4tt1
 
akal takht

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AKAL TAKHT SAHIB

The Akal Takht Sahib (The Throne of the Almighty, The Immortal Throne) is the hub of the Sikh polity. The Akal Takht Sahib was revealed by Guru Hargobind Sahib on June 15, 1606. In 1606, the building of the Akal Takht Sahib was a one-storied structure. The foundation stone was laid down by Guru Hargobind Sahib himself and the whole of the structure was constructed by Baba Buddha and Bhai Gurdas. Ordinary personnel or the masons were not allowed to participate in the process of the building of the Takht Sahib. It is significant that the foundation stone of the Darbar Sahib was laid down by Guru Arjan Sahib (later the mischievous Muslim writer Bute Shah propagated that the foundation stone was laid by Sufi missionary Sain Mian Mir) and all the Sikhs participated in the construction activity; but in the case of the construction of the structure of the Akal Takht Sahib only the highest respectable and enlightened Sikhs were allowed. The Akal Takht Sahib was a royal seat. The envoys and the ambassadors of the royal states were received in the darbar here; it was a judicial court where the cases of the public were decided; it was the highest office deciding military stratagem; it was the supreme seat of Sikh polity; and it was the major centre of philosophical and educational activities etc. It was here that the Guru revealed the Sikh philosophy of Miri and Piri (the Oneness of Temporal and Transcendental). The two flags reprsenting temporal and transcedental were installed at the Akal Takht Sahib. The JATHEDAR of the Akal Takht Sahib was supervised by Baba Buddha and Bhai Gurdas. After 1708, for some period, it was supervised by Ajit Singh who represented the wife of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib. Later, she disowned him due to his un-Sikh like style of life. Bhai Mani Singh was the chief priest of the Darbar Sahib and the Akal Takht Sahib in early part of the eighteenth century. Bhai Rattan Singh Bhangoo (in his book Prachin Panth Parkash) calls him "pujaran sion vado pujari" (chief priest among the priests). Akali Phula Singh was the chief of the Sikh Misl Shaheedan. This Shaheedan Misl had the duty to look after the Sikh shrine including Darbar Sahib and the Akal Takht Sahib. Hence Akali Phula Singh was the Custodian of the Akal Takht Sahib. In the famous "story" of Akali Phula Singh punishing (Maharaja) Ranjit Singh for issuing a coin (according to some writers for having married Moran) in the name of Moran, a Muslim concubine, Akali Phula Singh had never been presented as a so-called Jathedar. He was the chief priest/Custodian of the Akal Takht Sahib. His name as Jathedar has been mentioned in the books written after 1920. The Origin of the term "Jathedar" On October 12, 1920, a group of so-called low-caste Sikhs, who had been initiated as Amritdhari Sikhs at the Jallianwala Bagh Amritsar, came in a procession to Darbar Sahib. Till then the entry of the so-called low-caste people was not allowed in the shrine before 11 A.M. and their offerings were not accepted by the staff appointed by the British authorities. When this group (after dramatic victory at the Darbar Sahib) reached the Akal Takht Sahib, the priests of the Takht abandoned the Takht and slipped away. Now, the Takht was unattended. The gathering, which included the dauntless leaders like Bhai Kartar Singh Jhabbar and Bhai Teja Singh Bhuchar, resolved that the Takht should not remain unattended. The gathering selected a committee of 25 Sikhs to perform the services at the Takht. Bhai Teja Singh Bhuchar was appointed the Jathedar of this Jatha of 25 Sikhs. Since then the term Jathedar had become associated with the Akal Takht Sahib. (Sikh politicians and writers began using this term without understanding its meaning and implications. This writer, too, accepted this term and used it in his book "The Akal Takht" published in 1980; but, rectified his mistake in the Punjabi edition, published from Oslo, Norway in 1986). Upto October 12, 1920, Arur Singh was the Sarbrah (Manager) of the Akal Takht Sahib. He had been appointed by the British authorities. There is no concept of the Jathedar of the Akal Takht Sahib. Etymologically speaking, Jathedar means "the chief of a Jatha (band)". The Akal Takht Sahib is not a Jatha (a band). Hence the term Jathedar has nothing to do with the Akal Takht Sahib. Is there any other Officer of the Akal Takht Sahib ? The Akal Takht Sahib is the supreme seat of the Sikhs. It is the hub of Sikh polity. It is the central seat of the "Sikh Commonwealth". The decisions with regard to the issues concerning the Sikh Panth as a whole have always been taken by the Sikhs at the Akal Takht Sahib. During the eighteenth century, all the decisions of the Sikh Panth were resolved by the Sarbat Khalsa at the Akal Takht Sahib. In 1805, (Maharaja) Ranjit Singh stopped the gatherings of the Sarbat Khalsa at the Akal Takht Sahib. (According to some writers Ranjit Singh did not want intereference of the Sikh Commonwealth in the "secular" afffairs of the state. This is wrong , as the decisions of the Akal Takht Sahib were applicable to the Sikhs only. Infact Ranjit Singh wanted to establish a personal empire; which he did.) The Akal Takht Sahib was again free on October 12, 1920. Still the term Jathedar was unknown to the Sikh history and Sikh philosophy. During the eighteenth century the meetings of the Sarbat Khalsa were called by the Custodian of the Akal Takht Sahib. At that time, the Buddha Dal (the elderly Sikh Misl groups) was the care-taker of all the Sikh shrines at Amritsar, including the Akal Takht Sahib. Being the Custodians they used to call the gatherings of the Sarbat Khalsa (the Sikh Commonwealth). It is interesting to note that the meeting of the Sarbat Khalsa gathering of November 15-16, 1920 which selected the first Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) was called by Dr. Gurbax Singh, the Secretary of the Akal Takht Sahib. Towards the end of September the Secretary was the spokesman of the Akal Takht Sahib. Bhai Teja Singh Bhuchar, the Jathedar of the care-taker band of 25 Sikhs, was not the one who had called the Sarbat Khalsa gathering of November 15-16, 1920. So, the new found term Jathedar is not older than 1920. There is no concept of the Jathedar-ship of the Akal Takht Sahib. However, there is the office of the Custodian of the Akal Takht Sahib. Sirdar Kapur Singh, National Professor of Sikhism, appointed by the Akal Takht Sahib, too told the same to the Sikh leaders but it fell flat on the simple minds. (The Indian Express, Chandigarh, January 13, 1980). He used the term Sarbrah (Manager). In my opinion, the term nigran Custodian is a proper locution. Other terms like Safir (ambassador), Bulara (spokesman), Sarbrah (manager), mukh sewadar (chief attendant) can also be some of the appropriate expressions; or else the Sikhs may appoint a Jathedar of the Sarbat Khalsa and not the Akal Takht Sahib. The Sikh Panth, nevertheless, must bring an end to this confusion. The Duties and the Rights of the Custodian The Custodian of the Akal Takht Sahib (or the Jathedar of the Sarbat Khalsa) is not a monarch, nor he/she is like the President of the United States, nor like Pontiff (the catholic Pope). He is just a speaker, a spokesman. He calls the gatherings of the Sikh Commonwealth; records the gurmatta (consensus) of the Sarbat Khalsa and releases it in the form of a Hukamnama (the Sikh Royal Order). In the case of Sikh national issues the Custodian can not issue Hukamnama of his own. But, in the cases of the individual Sikhs, the Custodian selects a Committee of the Sikh Holy men (Five Sikhs) to decide about the issues/petitions/punishments etc. (in the cases of "crimes against Sikh religion", to quote the recent cases of Dr. Piar Singh and Pashaura Sinh). In such cases the gathering of the Sarbat Khalsa is not needed. What is Sarbat Khalsa ? The term Sarbat Khalsa means the meeting of the representatives of the Sikh Panth. It is not a big congregation. Some Sikh organisations/groups held such gatherings between 1984 and 1987. These were mass rallies/congergations and not the Sarbat Khalsa meetings. Sarbat Khalsa means meeting of the representatives of all those organisations which owe their allegiance to, and accept, the supremacy of the Akal Takht Sahib. John Malcolm (The Sketch of the Sikhs, 1812) refers to such a gathering. He says it was the meeting of the chiefs/representatives of the Sikh Misls and the other groups. The Gurmattas (consensus) of such meetings were announced from the Akal Takht Sahib as Hukamnamas. This practice was revived in 1978, in the case of the issuance of a Hukamnama against the Nirankaris. This Hukamnama was, infact, the gurmata (consensus) reached at the meeting of the Sikh representatives from all shades. Who Can Appoint the Custodian of the Akal Takht Sahib ? The Custodian of the Akal Takht Sahib can be appointed by the Sarbat Khlasa (the representatives of all the Sikh organisations accepting the supremacy of the Akal Takht Sahib). In the present situation it is not feasible to hold such a gathering. In such a situation the SGPC has the authority to make this appointment. The elections to the SGPC were held in 1979 and since then the Sikh situation has undergone major changes, but, until arrangement for the elections to the SGPC are made or a Sarbat Khalsa gathering is possible, the authority of the SGPC shall have to be accepted. The "Rehatmaryada" (Code of Conduct) The Rehatmaryada (Code of Conduct) for the Sikh shrines was finalised by the representatives of all the Sikh organisations in 1934 and it was released from the Akal Takht Sahib. In 1986, it was arbitrarily changed, at some shrines, by one group of the Sikhs. The process for changes to the Rehatmaryada is the same, as it was adopted for its passing, in 1934. I myself feel that there should be some clarifications and corrections in the Rehatmaryada, but there is a process that has to be followed. This process is the convening of a Sarbat Khalsa. As mentioned above the Sarbat Khalsa is not a gathering of thousands or hundreds of thousands of the Sikhs (which is not even feasible). It is a gathering of the representatives of all the sections of the Sikh Commonwealth, preferably the experts of the Sikh philosophy appointed by the Sarbat Khalsa

 
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