What began as a dreary solemn morning turned into a bright electrifying day for the massive Sarbat Khalsa that overflowed the 12-acre field in Taran Taaran.
About half a million Sikhs gathered in Amritsar on Nov. 10 in an ultimate display of love and respect for the Guru. Most were from Punjab and India, but many came from around the world. Sikh Free Press caught the live broadcast from akaalchannel.tv. A great sea of Sikhs faded into the blue horizon as cameras panned across the grounds of Gurdwara Baba Naudh Singh.
The program began around 7:30 a.m. with Ardaas and Hukam. A TaaDi jatha sang about the mistreatment of Sikhs by their corrupt leaders. A stream of representatives of various Sikh groups and organizations spoke to the Panth for about a minute each, urging the Khalsa to take action for the multiple desecrations of the Guru Granth in Punjab. But not all of the more than 500 jathay-bandi could make it to the stage, the announcers said as they rattled off names of other prominent personalities in attendance and on signed letters of support. Within a few hours, truck and car drivers were asked to move their vehicles to make way for the waves of Sikhs coming in to the Guru to do mutha Taek.
One by one, Sikh representatives emotionally but decisively called out alleged corrupt Sikh and Punjab leaders – by name – and accused them of colluding with the Indian government to oppress and terrorize the people of Punjab. They condemned the Punjab Police for its barbaric and illegal tactics. And they blamed the Indian political parties for interfering in Sikh affairs, including the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress Party of Indira Gandhi.
“They need to be uprooted,” someone said from the stage. “We have not forgotten 1984.”
They accused them all of operating under the “nusha,” meaning intoxication, of political profit and labeled them modern-day “Mussa Rungurs,” the Moghul commander who occupied Darbar Sahib and carried out sacrilegious practices while leading a genocidal massacre of Sikhs, from 1710 to 1750.
“We are not afraid,” someone else said from the stage. “The Darbar Sahib and the Akaal Takhat belong to the Panth.”
After the Moghuls, oppression of Sikhs continued under the British Raj and then the Indian state.
“The Indian government couldn’t stop us, and neither can Badal.” Someone else said from the stage, referring to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Badal. “They don’t wants Sikhs to unite because they fear the world will become Sikh.”
They condemned the leadership for creating the corrupt atmosphere in Punjab that emboldened Sikh antagonists to desecrate the Guru Granth.
“This happened on their watch,” someone else said from the stage, specifically addressing Badal, Akal Takhat Jathedaar Gurbachan Singh, other takhat jathedaars and SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar.
“They are false Singh Sahibs,” someone also said from the stage.
They then called for new representatives in the highest seats of miri-piri power, new policies for their appointment and new methods to include the diaspora in all Panthic decisions.
The Sarbat Khalsa resolutions:
- The Panth condemns the “bayudhbi,” meaning desecration, of the Guru Granth and demands those responsible be brought to justice.
- All five takhat jathedaars have been expelled from their positions. Jagtar Singh Hawara is named interim jathedaar of the Akal Takhat. But because he is serving a life sentence at the Chandigarh jail for his involvement in the assassination of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh in 1995, Dhian Singh Mand will take his place. Amrik Singh Ajnala will serve as interim jathedaar of Takhat Kaesgarh Sahib. And Baljit Singh Daduwal will serve as interim jathedaars of Takhat Damdama Sahib. (SFP will announce the replacements for Takhat Patna Sahib and Takhat Hazoor Sahib as soon as they are available.)
- The Darbar Sahib and the Akaal Takhat will be fully independent by Nov. 30, and a new system to select jathedaars will be in place by 2016 to select new jathedaars at the next Sarbat Khalsa, on Vaisaakhi.
- Kanwar Pal Singh Gill, former director general of the Punjab Police responsible for the genocide of Sikhs after 1984 under the guise of counter-insurgency, has been excommunicated. Former Lt. General Kuldip Brar, the Indian army commander who led the 1984 Operation Bluestar, has also been excommunicated (although he is not a Sikh). Both have been directed to appear before the Akal Takhat by 2016.
- The Faqr-E-Qaum and Panth Ratan titles have been revoked from Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar for undermining the Panj Piaaray. They and their associates and supporters have been banned from addressing sangats from gurdwara stages.
- Plans for new organization called “World Sikh Parliament,” which also includes Sikhs living in the diaspora, will be drafted by Nov. 30 and adopted in 2016.
- The Panth demands the release of all political prisoners unlawfully held in Punjab and other states, such as Kashmir.
- End caste-ism.
- End environmental pollution.
- Establish a sovereign Sikh calendar (Nanakshai).
- Establish a Vatican-like status for Darbar Sahib.
- Reaffirm the resolutions of Sarbat Khalsa 1986.
Note: This is not a complete list.
“In the land of martyrs the Sarbat Khalsa met,” someone said from the stage. The program ended sometime before 5 p.m. Numerous jaikaara were shouted out all day.
“Panth ki jeet!”