Chandigarh, December 27: Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Sikander Singh Maluka switched off his phone in the evening as the video of a Hindu ardas (prayer) in Sikh phraseology performed at the opening of his office went viral. Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh in the evening took serious note of the Hindu ardas in Sikh phraseology performed at the function to inaugurate election office of Maluka at Rampura Phul and ordered probe. The video has gone viral on social media.
Maluka is also president of the Bathinda district unit of Akali Dal.
Here is how the Sikh Ardas begins:
Pritham Bhagauti Simar ke Guru Nanak Lai Dhiyae
Here is the beginning of Sri Ram Ardas:
Sahib Sri Durga Bhagwati simrie, ghar nau nidh ave Dhaye.
Instead of ‘Bolna Ji Sri Waheguru’, it is ‘Bolna ji Sri Ram, Sri Ram, Sri Ram’.
Yet there is another stanza that speaks for itself:
Jinnha Singhan Singhanian Ne Dharam Het Sis Ditte
Band Band Katae, Khoprian Luhaian, Charkharian te Charhe
Arian Naal Chirae Gaye’
Sri Ram Ardas:
Jina dharamviron ne Sanatan Dharam di rakhia lai sis katwae,
Tan arian naal chirae gaye, charkharian te chadae gaye..’
The phraseology has been lifted from the Sikh Ardas. The tributes paid to the martyrs while referring to the extreme torture are historical facts. However, there is no parallel example in the history of the Hindus where the members of the community were subjected to such extreme torture.
Jathedar Akal Takht warned in a press release that such distortion of Ardas and interference in Sikh religion would not be tolerated. He said this could result on tension between the two religions that might have serious repercussions. He slammed Maluka for hurting the Sikh sentiments.
Ordering probe, he has also directed the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to get entire video of the function and submit the report to him at the earliest.
Hardip Singh, resident of village Mehraj near Rampura Phul, has also filed a complaint against Maluka on this issue with Rampura police station for playing with the Sikh sentiments.
A printed copy of this Ardas ‘Sri Hare’ is also in circulation but with certain differences. There are several other similarities with the Sikh phraseology.
There are reasons to be concerned about this incident
It may be mentioned that Maluka had organised Ramayan Path at the inauguration of his election office that ended with this prayer, the way it is done in Sikhs religion.
There are reasons to be worried. One has to go back to 1978 when simmering tension between the Sikhs and the Nirankari sect resulted in clash on the Baisakhi of April 13, 1978 at Amritsar in which 18 persons, including 13 Sikh protesters, were killed. The genesis of Punjab militancy is traced to that incident. Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, till then a non-entity, was on the rise after that. Punjab was then ruled by the Akali Dal-Janata alliance with Parkash Singh Badal as the chief minister. Here is the parallel. For years, Punjab was not the same again.
It may be mentioned that it was after the clash that the Akal Takht issued directive to the Sikhs in June, 1978 for socio-economic boycott of the Akalis.
Punjab was on the boil again in 2008 when full page ad appeared in newspapers with picture of Dera Sacha Sauda chied Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh attired like the 10th Sikh Lord, Guru Gobind Singh. The chief minister again was Badal.
Those concerned over the incident maintain that Maluka should have walked out rather than becoming part of it. However, it was the inauguration of his election office and not any normal function. The Akali Dal was created not just as a normal political party but to protect the Sikh value system going by its constitution.
Sikh religion is espouses universal brotherhood and casteless and classless society. However, this is a different situation that calls for deeper probe. The issue at stake is Punjab’s peace and amity. Even the country suffered when militancy hit the state. It is for this reason that every agency has to be cautious. The major achievement of this government as claimed by Badal is maintaining peace and communal harmony. It is such incidents that pose threat to peace. The irony is that it is an Akali cabinet collgeague who tried to appease his Hindu constituency by opting for Ramayan Path that ended with this prayer.
The Sikhs had objected to certain references in the Nirankari book ‘Amrit Vani’.
After the 1978 clash, Badal had come under attack from SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Akali Dal chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi for being soft towards Nirankaris.