International Seminar on Sri Dasam Granth Sahib
PRESS STATEMENT For immediate release Contact: Jaspal Singh Aujla, Secretary, Sacramento Sikh Society, 7676 Bradshaw Road Sacramento CA 95829; Telephone (916)826-7004 SACRAMENTO (Feb 24, 2008) The first in the series of International Seminars on the banees of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji compiled in Sri Dasam Granth was held in USA on a grand scale at Gurdwara Sahib Bradshaw Road, Sacramento, California. The Seminar was held under the joint aegis of the Sacramento Sikh Society, Damdami Taksal and Khalsa Alliance. Various intellectuals from USA and abroad participated in the proceedings of the seminar. Those who participated included Jathedar Sawinder Singh, former Jathedar Takhat Sri Keshgarh Sahib, Dr. Harpal Singh Pannu, Head of Religious Studies, Punjabi University, Patiala, S. Gurinder Singh Mann, a Sikh scholar from the UK, S. Gurcharanjit Singh Lamba, Editor of panthik journal Sant Sipahi and co-ordinator Sikh Affairs of International Human Rights Organisation. This was first-ever serious effort in the USA to propagate and educate the masses about the Dasam Banee, the writings from the pen of Guru Gobind Singh ji. The Seminar was divided into two sessions. The first session started with kirtan from Dasam Banee by Bhai Manjeet Singh followed by katha on the significance and purpose of the Banee by Bhai Baljeet Singh, Head Granthi of the Gurdwara Sahib. Thereafter Singh Sahib Bhai Sawinder Singh, former Jathedar of Takhat Sri Keshgarh Sahib in his talk highlighted the complementary nature of the banees of Guru Granth Sahib and Dasam Granth Sahib.
This was followed by a real inspiring experience of slide show on the 300 hundred year history of Sri Dasam Granth Sahib by Gurinder Singh Mann, a renowned Sikh scholar from the UK. Gurinder S. Mann has done a great deal of research on old manuscripts, gutkas, and pothis containing the banees of both the Guru Granth Sahib and of Sri Dasam Granth Sahib. His narration supplemented with slides depicting photographs of old manuscripts and recensions clinched the issue finally that those who are trying to denigrate Dasam Granth as an innovative introduction of the British are in fact spreading canard and mischief. After the presentation by S. Mann the sangat was shown an audio-video presentation of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale doing the katha of Jaap Sahib, Bachittar Natak and Ram Avtaar from Sri Dasam Granth Sahib. The different segments of the katha were separated with the beat of nagara. Langar was served after the first session and during the langar there was a spectacular performance of gatka by young and old. The second session of the Seminar started with a video lecture of Giani Sher Singh Nihang of Ambala. This was followed by an inspiring and scholarly lecture on the authorship and history of Sri Dasam Granth by Dr. Harpal Singh Pannu, Professor in Punjabi University and an authority on the banees of Sri Dasam Granth. Dr. Pannu has supervised four PhD projects on Sri Dasam Granth. Uniqueness of the talk of Dr. Pannu was that though the contents and material of his speech were very serious and highly intellectual still he could present it in very simple language, which everyone in the sangat could understand without any difficulty. Dr. Pannu narrated from different scriptures of Hindus and Buddhists and proved that the way Buddhist scriptures changed the characters of the Hindu gods like Indra etc, to convey their message, Guru Gobind Singh ji also, reformatted and re-narrated the stories of Hindu gods and goddesses with the clear agenda of Khalsa in mind. He revealed that in the narration of battle in Krishnavtar of Sri Dasam Granth appearance of characters with Muslim names on the side of Krishna and the characters with Sikh names on the other side was in fact an indication that time will come when the Hindu Hill Rajas will collaborate with the Mughal forces and fight against the Sikhs. This was the live political projection which the Guru Sahib gave in his banee and which ultimately proved to be true. Dr. Pannu then narrated names of the Sikh warriors that appeared in the Krishnavtar who were fighting against Krishna and Mughal forces. Dr. Pannu's scholarly lecture was full of meaningful anecdotes. Dr. Pannu then hammered the point that there are segments in the panth who totally discard Sri Dasam Granth saying none of its portion is written by Guru Gobind Singh ji. But then there are certain people who say some of the banees of Sri Dasam Granth e.g. Jaap Sahib, Benti Chaupai, Swaiyye are from the pen of Guru Gobind Singh but
the rest is interpolation. He said this second category is really mischievous and dishonest. The fact of the matter is that they have no faith in these banees but know very well that speaking against these will attract wrath of he panth. Dr. Pannu however cautioned that whosoever started with denigration of Dasam Banee ultimately targeted Guru Granth Sahib. The last to speak in the seminar was S. Gurcharanjit Singh Lamba, Editor of panthik journal Sant Sipahi and Coordinator of IHRO. He quoted extensively from the different compositions of Sri Dasam Granth. The message came out absolutely clear that the entire Sri Dasam Granth could only be from the pen of Guru Gobind Singh ji and none else. He further stressed that in the entire Sri Dasam Granth there is not even a single word eulogizing Guru Gobind Singh, whereas the writings of the darbari poets of Guru Sahib start with invocation of the blessings of Guru Gobind Singh ji. He pointed out that in beginning of all the compositions the invocation is to 'Ik Onkar Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh'. Also Vaar Sri Bhagauti ji ki invokes blessings from Guru Nanak Dev ji to Guru Tegh Bahadur ji only. Obviously Guru Gobind Singh ji would not enter his name in it. S. Lamba also dealt in details with Chaubees Avtar, Bachittar Natak and Chritropakhyan stressing the intent and purpose of these sacred writings. In his lecture he further stressed that those speaking against Sri Dasam Granth were in fact the pal bearers of Arya Samajist philosophy of Daya Nand. They are carrying forward the same logics and arguments which Daya Nand gave more than a century ago. These are just the pawns in the game against the Panth. S. Lamba also stressed on the positive understanding of the Dasam Banee. In the resolutions passed unanimously at the end of the session, it was reiterated that this seminar is in conformity with the Akal Takhat Hukamnama giving a call to Panthik scholars to give befitting reply to the mischievous elements (shararati ansar) who are speaking against Sri Dasam Granth Sahib. It said that this is the beginning of the future seminars on the subject. In another resolution passed on the occasion, Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh was reminded that their website and books contain anti-Sri Dasam Granth writings from Principal Harbhjan Singh, S. Daljeet Singh, Dr. Jasbir Singh Mann etc. In view of the Akal Takhat's diktat these writings should be removed and withdrawn immediately. Seminar also called upon Sri Akal Takhat Sahib to review the petition of Sardar Simranjit Singh Mann against the blasphemous book on Sri Dasam Granth by Principal Harbhajan Singh. This complaint is pending with the Akal Takhat and hence it is requested that an early decision should be done on that book. It was also demanded that until Akal Takhat makes any decision on the complaint, the portrait of
Principal Harbhajan Singh displayed in the Sikh Museum at Sri Darbar Sahib be removed. Earlier on 14 May, 2000 Akal Takhat had imposed a ban on debating the issue of Sri Dasam Granth in public. However Akal Takhat amended its earlier order on 27th November, 2006 and noted that anti-Sikh elements continued with their tirade against Dasam Banee. Hence in its latest Matta, Akal Takhat declared those speaking and writing against Sri Dasam Granth as "mischief mongers" and ordered the Sikh intelligentsia to come forward and give befitting reply to the trouble makers. This seminar was thus implementing the diktats of Akal Takhat Sahib. Before conclusion of the Deewan the eminent speakers were honored with siropas by Bhai Baljeet Singh, Head Granthi of Gurdwara Sahib. The stage was conducted very efficiently by Dr. Gurtej Singh Cheema. By all parameters the seminar can be called a grand success which left a permanent imprint on the minds of the participants, viewers and listeners since the proceedings of this seminar were broadcast live over the internet in both, audio as well as video format.