As a private TV channel has claimed exclusive rights over the telecast of ‘Hukamnama’ and ‘Gurbani’ from the Golden Temple, the Congress and the Aam Admi Party (AAP) on Monday dubbed it as a sacrilegious act while seeking “action” against the Sikh code of conduct.
Punjab Panchayats and Rural Development Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa asserted that “claiming rights over Hukamnama and Sarb-Sanjhi Gurbani, telecasted live from the Golden Temple, amounted to sacrilege that called for action as per the Sikh code of conduct against the culprits”.
“Gurbani, as revealed through the Sikh Gurus, is universal and the Sikhs as a collective are its custodian, but not the owners and as such, none can claim ownership over the daily Hukamnama. The TV channel owned by Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal and his family has committed brazen sacrilege by claiming exclusive rights over Hukamnama that is telecasted live from the Golden Temple as the claim is a brazen violation of the very message that Gurbani emanates,” he argued.
He said that the Sikhs all over the world wait for hukamnama from Darbar Sahib every morning over which none had any exclusive rights.
Bajwa questioned the authority of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to hand over rights over the telecast of Gurbani from the Golden Temple as its duty is to carry it to every corner of the world and not authorize any other agency that would be interested only in profits.
He alleged that this amounted to the commercialization of both Gurbani and the Golden Temple from where it is being telecast. “The channel could at best be the facilitator for spreading the message of the Gurus through Gurbani and nothing more,” he said.
The Minister alleged that the Badal family had treated the live telecast of Gurbani as yet another business and pressurized the SGPC to give rights to the channel which had made payment to the SGPC like any other business under the head of the education fund.
He appealed to the Akal Takht acting Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh to go into the very basic issue of being facilitator in the transmission of Gurbani to spread the message across the globe on the one hand and claiming rights over it on the other.
Bajwa pointed out that the live telecast of Gurbani from the Golden Temple had been long-cherished dream of the Sikh community dating back to the seventies and its commercial exploitation is its anti-thesis.
“The SGPC was supposed to install its own equipment when the era of cable TV started and this is on record. It was the signal that was to be distributed to the channels that made the commitment to follow guidelines. However, this proposal was abandoned. The Akali Dal should go through its manifestos for election to the general house of the SGPC where such arrangement had been promised,” he said.
Bajwa also appealed to Akal Takht Jathedar to make public the deal between the SGPC and the Badal family-owned channel and make transparent arrangements for spreading the message of Gurbani with the channels acting as facilitator.
He pointed out that the Punjab Assembly had passed a resolution to this effect on November 6, 2019. He recalled his own letter appealing to Akal Takht Jathedar as follow up to take action as per the wish of Punjab reflected articulated through the Assembly resolution.
He said that his only purpose of taking up the issue was to put an end to commercial exploitation of Gurbani and the Golden Temple.
Meanwhile, AAP MLA from Kotkapura Kultar Singh Sandhwan described the claims of ownership on relay of the holy Sarb Sanjhi Gurbani from Sri Darbar Sahib by any company or an individual, as “an act tantamount to sacrilegious act”.
Sandhwan lamented that the Badal clan, which had ruled the State for longer spans of time, had virtually demolished the rich Sikh traditions, and had undermined the authorities of the iconic Sikh institutions, like Akal Takht Sahib and the SGPC.
He demanded that Akal Takht Jathedar should direct the SGPC to initiate action against the individual or company, which was trying to monopolize the broadcast of Sarb Sanjhi Gurbani as their personal property and let the mammoth ‘sangat’ enjoy the divine renderings of the Gurbani unhindered.
“The act not only amounted to disrespect to the scared Gurbani but has also deprived the common Sikh and other nanak naam leva sangat of listening to the divine hymns at their convenience,” he said adding that the apex body of the Sikh should initiate action against the political who’s who, committee honchos, office-bearers and the members involved in the sacrilegious act.
“The SGPC management should be freed from the Badal caucus and entrusted to those who could restore the apex body of the Sikh to its old glory,” he said.