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Gur Panth Parkash

Gur Panth Parkash
by Rattan Singh Bhangoo
Translated by
Prof Kulwant Singh

 

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Akali's Then and Now - What a Fall, My Fellow Sikhs

Col Avtar Singh

My father was an Akali. He was part of the Second Jatha which went to Jaito. The first Jatha had been fired upon and the second was brutally beaten. Those days, mini Jathas used to go to Sri Amritsar Sahib from all districts of Punjab. There, at the Akal Takhat Sahib, every member was administered "Khande the Pahul", took a solemn oath to remain peaceful and non violent under all circumstances. Then they were bundled into Jathas of 500 each.

My father led one of the Jathas from District Sheikhupura (now Pakistan) along with his close friend S. Dharam Singh of Churkana Mandi. He was in jail for over two years his Jatha and was amongst the last batch to come out. The Akalis had got divided into two factions, one which was prepared to accept Govt's verbal assurances and the other which wanted to see the draft of the final resolution before leaving the jail.

An incident is worth sharing with the modern Sikh community. This is how it was told to us by our grandmother. Our parents had adopted a daughter. She fell seriously ill. My grandmother went to inform her son, in the jail about the situation and the seriously ill daughter yearning to meet her father. It was most probably at Nabha Jail. There she met a distance cousin of her who happened to be a jail official. He asked her the purpose of her visit. She told him Kartar (my father) was there in Jail and this was the situation. The jail official , Mukand Lal, (if I remember correctly), told her," He is an Akali and is not going to apply for leave. This is the plan I have. I will have "Dhatoora" a potion given to him. As a result he will have severe bouts of diaorhe. I will have him removed to the jail hospital. The doctor is a friend of mine. When he recovers, I will have the doctor grant him some leave."

My grandmother informed her son about the extremely serious illness of his daughter and her plan to make her see and meet her father. My father got so angry with her that he forbade her from coming to see him any more. The girl died a month later. My grandmother went to give her son the news. He took it calmly and, just said a prayer.
Both I and my elder brother S. Kuljit Singh were born after his release from Jail. I have no memory of him, because we lost him when I was one and an half year old and my brother eight years old.

I have narrated the above incident to provide a glimpse into the noble character, and firm determination of the Akalis of the day towards their ideology. Campared to their self sacrificing spirit, one feels ashamed at seeing the behaviour of the then then (Taksati) Akali leaders of today, who are steeped in greed, corruption and optimistic and unscrupulous hunger for power.

When an ad-hoc SGPC was first formed in 1920, it was to function under the patronage and guidance of Shri Akal Takhat Sahib, the Central Sikh Authority created by Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji. Akal Takhat was to be the anchor of Sikh Theology and Sikh Ethics and act as its guardian. The Shiromani Akali Dal was created as the Political Wing of SGPC. Its main aim was to safeguard and enhance Sikh interests. It remained so throughout the Akali Movements, and broadly so till 1947.

Let us restore the Akali Dal to its original role and spirit. It must function under ethical and moral control of SGPC and be committed to safeguarding and enhancing the interests of Sikh Panth.

The post-independence Akali Leasership, particularly the Badals have converted the Akali Dal into Punjab party some time ago, thus giving a goodby to its core principle of safeguarding Sikh interests. He have admitted Ghonas, monas into the party. Unfortunately they could not resist the temptation of continuing to use the nomenclature Akali Dal, to cash on the past glory of the Akalis. This enabled them to stay in power for a long period but in the process they have been able to completely destroy the spirit of the historically Sikh representative political part the Shromani Akali Dal.

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