Monday, September 26, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee

Ever since Guru Nanak Dev established the Sikh religion, historic Gurdwaras and other places of worship that were attached to the places sacred to Sikhs were governed by hereditory Mahants or Priests till 1920's. In 1920's Sikh leaders lead campaigns to free these gurdwaras from the control of mahants and managed to free all the major Gurdwaras like Nankana Sahib,Panja Sahib, Golden Temple, etc.

Then British took over many important Gurdwaras as many of these Mahants pressed law suits against Sikhs of Singh Sabha claiming these historic Gurdwaras as their personal property. Singh Sabha aka Akali Party under Baba Kharak Singh, Kartar Singh Jhabbar and Teja Singh Buchchar started sending bands or Jathas of peaceful protest and arrests to many of these Gurdwaras. One such mission was sent to the Gurdwara at Jaito. After some time larger batches, each 500 strong, began to be sent from Amritsar. The first of these left the Takht Akal Bunga on February 9,1924, led by Jathedar Udnam Singh of Gohalwar-Varpal. The news of the jatha marching on foot from Amritsar to Jaitu caused much excitement in the countryside. Dr Saif-ud-Din Kitchlew, a Congress leader, and a foreign journalist, S. Zimand of the New York Times, accompanied it as observers. At Jaitu, the jatha was fired upon (February 21,1924), but the Sikhs marched on in face of the shower of bullets. Twenty-one of them tell under fire, besides many wounded. Yet the jatha moved on undeterred, and reached Gurdwara Tibbi Sahib. Here the jatha was beaten by police and taken into custody.

Fifteen more jathas went to Jaitu. The authorities finally gave in and the last jatha was allowed to reach its destination. The Punjab government had made up its mind to let the Sikhs take over management of their shrines. The Sikh Gurdwaras Act was placed on the Statute Book on July 25,1925. A central Gurdwara Board, elected by the Sikhs, was to be the custodian of all important Sikh places of worship. The first Gurdwara Board passed a resolution that its designation be changed to Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. This was accepted by the government. That day Mahatma Gandhi declared "First battle of India's independence has been won".

Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee currently takes care of all the historical Gurdwaras in Punjab as well as in adjoining states. Gurdwaras at Delhi are under Delhi Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee. These committees have officials picked through regular elections in which all Sikhs can participate (If you happen to be at Golden Temple at that time). SGPC has a chairman, treasurer and general secretary. Currently SGPCs chairman is Gurcharan Singh "Tohra". You can also visit Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committe's site at SGPC maintains all the Physical, Financial, religious aspects of Gurdwaras and keep archeologically precious and sacred things belonging to the Sikh Gurus, which include weapons, clothes, books, writings of Sikh Gurus.

Excerpts taken from these books.
The Heritage of Sikhs by Harbans Singh. will strive to be most comprehensive directory of Historical Gurudwaras and Non Historical Gurudwaras around the world.

The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras. brings to you a unique and comprehensive approach to explore and experience the word of God. It has the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Amrit Kirtan Gutka, Bhai Gurdaas Vaaran, Sri Dasam Granth Sahib and Kabit Bhai Gurdas . You can explore these scriptures page by page, by chapter index or search for a keyword. The Reference section includes Mahankosh, Guru Granth Kosh,and exegesis like Faridkot Teeka, Guru Granth Darpan and lot more.
Encyclopedias encapsulate accurate information in a given area of knowledge and have indispensable in an age which the volume and rapidity of social change are making inaccessible much that outside one's immediate domain of concentration.At the time when Sikhism is attracting world wide notice, an online reference work embracing all essential facets of this vibrant faithis a singular contribution to the world of knowledge.