AMRITSAR SAHIB (KP)—The Harmandir Sahib look alike that has been under construction in the Malwa region has once again become the center of controversy. In the past, Sikhs had filed complaints against the project at Sri Akal Takht Sahib. Now as the building has almost finished construction work, the matter has been raised again and it has finally received the due attention of SGPC leadership, despite the fact that in 1996 a HukamNama from Sri Takht Sahib was issued in relation to this controversy.
This past week, a three member fact finding committee of the SGPC which included Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, Roop Singh and Rajinder Singh Mehta submitted that the newly erected building in Malwa was in fact designed as a replica of Sri Harmandir Sahib. They also alleged in their report that the kar seva work had been performed at this place against the wishes of the local Sikh sangat.
A meeting has been organized on June 20 by SGPC President Avtar Makkar to discuss the next course of action against the “Harmandir Sahib of Malwa.” While announcing that the SGPC will take strict action to stop any beadbi of Sri Harmandir Sahib, Makkar said that the construction should be stopped.
Singh Sahib Giani Gurbachan Singh, Jathedar Sri Akal Takht Sahib, warned that the committee behind the construction of this replica will be summoned if the construction is not halted. He also asked Government officials to provide assistance in getting the construction work to stop. According to the Jathedar, the construction of the Harmandir Sahib replica was against the mandates of Akal Takht Sahib.
According to Sikh history, this is not the first time efforts have been established to create a replica of Sri Harmandir Sahib. The first time in history, the blasphemous act was undertaken by Prithi Chand who out of jealously wanted to divert the Sikhs away from Sri Harmandir Sahib. The Durgiana Mandir, a Snatan temple located close to Sri Harmandir Sahib was a failed attempt by the Hindutva radicals. This is now the third attempt to create a replica.
Sikh leaders of various organizations have shared strong opinions about the Malwa replica. Giani Raam Singh, Jathedar Damdami Taksal, alleged that the structure had come into existence on behest of a deep rooted controversy. He alleged that Baba Attar Singh of Mastuana Sahib would have never dreamed about such sacrilege as he was a devout Sikh.
The management of the site, also known as 'Sachkhand Angeetha Sahib', is purported to be the 'samadh' of Baba Attar Singh of Mastuana. It needs to be noted that the Sikh Rahit Maryada strictly prohibits the worship of tombs, crypts, or graves, or erecting Gurdwaras in their place.
Nevertheless, Mastuana management with cooperation from Shiromani Akali Dal, oversaw the development and construction of the Angeetha into the current Gurdwara. In fact, Sant Harchand Longowal, then president of the Akali Dal, participated in the groundbreaking ceremony and laid the foundation stone of the complex. Local Member of Parliament, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who hails from the same Sangrur district is a member of the Sant Attar Singh Mastuana Trust. For various reason no alarms were raised about the construction until 1994 when Takht Damdama Sahib Jathedar Giani Kewal Singh questioned the similarity of the construction to the Sri Darbar Sahib complex. According to various accounts, in 1994 the management had agreed to modify the design to alleviate the concerns of the Takht.
Sadh Balwant Sehorra
The Harmandir Sahib replica is reported have been constructed under the leadership of various so-called god-men, including the involvement of Baba Balwant Sehora. This controvercial pseudo-sant who has a sizable following and built a personality cult around him has in the past been sat parallel to Guru Granth Sahib Ji and allowed the congregation to bow in front of him.
Sehora Saadh cleverly misuses the name of Sant Attar Singh Mastuane Wale to propagate his anti-Gurmat activities. At his dera, a picture of Baba Attar Singh is worshiped and given a high status. The saadh claims to be a true prophet of miri-piri and wears two Sri Sahibs mimicking Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, when he enters a diwan, his followers play a 'Narsingha' horn similar to the ones played when Guru Granth Sahib Ji's palki is taken from Sri Akal Takht Sahib to Sri Darbar Sahib.
1996 HukamNama from Sri Akal Takht Sahib
In 1996, a hukamnama was passed against the same pseudo-sant asking him to not indulge in such blasphemous acts. Although the construction was halted at that time, as the Panth dealt in other issues, the construction was started again and now it has almost finalized.
Thirteen years later, it is obvious that the design changes never occurred, and current site is now starting to resemble the famous Sri Darbar Sahib complex in many ways.
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