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Gur Panth Parkash

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

 

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Gurdwara Kosh

A Review by Jaswant Rai

Author: Dr. Jasbir Singh Sarna & Diljit Singh Bedi
Publisher: Dharam Parchar Committee, Amritsar
Pages : 400;  Price: Rs. 150/-

Religion and religious places play vital role in every aspect of our life. Religion remains the most important element in character building. Historians, philosophers or social scientists agree that places of worship, throughout the human history have been pre-dominant factor in determining the human behavior and have always shaped human life in many ways. Gurdwara is a Sikh place of worship, including recitation, singing of Gurbani, and explication of scripture, community kitchen and usually a school.  These Gurdwaras have also played a significant role in the progress of Sikh community. History is witness that all the movements whether social, political and religious started from the Gurdwaras thus becoming a unifying force for those movements.

Dr Jasbir Singh Sarna and Diljit Singh Bedi’s new book Gurdwara Kosh can be looked upon as an important work in linking the historical, religious and cultural references.  The authors have referred to almost all the historical Gurdwaras located in India, Pakistan and other countries. They have narrated the brief history of these Gurdwaras in a very compact way. The names of the Gurdwaras are arranged according to Punjabi alphabet and finding information regarding a particular Gurdwara has become very easy in the text.

The brief history of these Gurdwaras shows the hard work done by the authors in this project. It is not an easy task for someone to collect the vast information about the historical and non-historical Gurdwaras. The authors started this project in 1992 and took many years to complete this work.

The authors tried to provide maximum information possible that they could get by personally visiting these historical and non-historical places, earnestly a challenging crusade. History of some Gurdwaras given in details like that of Gurdwara Hasan Abdal, Kartarpur, Gurdwaras in Delhi etc is remarkable.

The authors have drawn from authorities like Bhai Kahn Singh’s Mahankosh, Iqbal Kausar’s Historical place of the Sikhs in Pakistan, and Encyclopeadia of Sikhism by Prof Harbans Singh also.

The portraits of Gurdwaras do not match the richness of the contents of the book. Presentable photographs could glorify the text. This may be taken up in the next edition of the book.

Dr Jasbir Singh Sarna is a renowned personality among the Sikh Diaspora. He has produced number of good books on Sikhism. In the book under review, Dr Sarna and his co-author Mr Bedi have contributed an important work to the Sikh literature. The background nomenclature given of Gurdwara Pakka Sahib situated in the District Moga,  for example, the authors inform that Guru Gobind Singh stayed at this place in 1705 when He was going to Bhadaur from Takhtupura. His right thumb and toe were ulcerated and Guru Sahib changing his dress at this place and people naming this place as 'Pakka Sahib' enhances its historical importance.

Yet there are some deficiencies in the book: a) lack of index is the major deficiency in the book. To find out information about a specific Gurdwara, reader have to go through many pages. b) There are some words which are beyond the knowledge of a lay man, like Akshansh (degree of latitude), Rekhant, Desant, it should be described so that the reader should easily understand its meaning.   Even in the absence of these minor lapses, the book is highly researched, informative and educative treatise about the Gurdwaras.

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