AMRITSAR (TIP): Handing out tankhah (penance) to Punjab cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia for distorting the ‘shabad’ (hymn), “Deh Shiva Bar Mohe Eha”, written by the 10th master of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, while campaigning during Lok Sabha polls, the Akal Takht, on May 1, directed him to perform penance – physical and financial ‘sewa’ as atonement for his blasphemous act.
The five Sikh high priests held a meeting at the Akal Takht secretariat to discuss the issue where they had summoned Majithia. Later, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh pronounced atonement on Majithia from the rostrum. The Sikh clerics directed Majithia to perform physical and financial ‘sewa’ at Takht Patna Sahib, Takht Anandpur Sahib, Takht Hazur Sahib, Takht Damdama Sahib and then begin Akhand Path at Akal Takht, clean utensils for three days at ‘langar’, listen to ‘gurbani’ (hymns) and also make donation as per his capacity.
The Sikh high priests also directed Majithia to offer Rs 501 in the Guru’s ‘golak’ (coffer) and perform ‘ardas’ (prayer) seeking apology for his act and offer ‘karah parshad deg’ of Rs 101. Giani Gurbachan Singh said Sikh high priests had not made the atonement time-bound due to unforeseen reasons like delay or cancellation of flights due to which Majithia might not be able to visit the Takhts on a given day. Majithia, who had arrived at Akal Takht around 10am, performed ‘sewa’ at ‘langar’ and listened to ‘gurbani’.
After pronouncement of atonement, Majithia said he would go to all the Takhts in the near future. Accepting the religious punishment, he said, “It’s for my good and will make me a better human being.” On April 24, Majithia, during an election rally, had distorted a shabad by incorporating SAD-BJP nominee Arun Jaitley’s name in it. Instead of saying “Nischay karr apni jeet karu” at the end of the ‘shabad’, Bikram had said “Nischay kar Arun Jailtey ki jeet karu”.
A video clip of Majithia altering the ‘shabad’ was released on social media, which went viral within a few minutes and triggered outrage among Sikhs against him, besides giving his political opponents an issue. Majithia rushed to the Akal Takht on April 25 with a written apology. However, before that Takht Hazur Sahib at Nanded had taken note of Majithia distorting the Guru’s hymn for political gains and convened a meeting of five Sikh priests. During the meeting, under the aegis of Jathedar of Takht Hazur Sahib Giani Kulwant Singh, the Sikh priests issued an edict declaring Majithia as ‘tankhayia’ (guilty of religious misconduct) on April 27.
Following that the minister sent a letter to Takht Hazur Sahib stating that he would appear before them after the Lok Sabha elections in Punjab on April 30. On April 28, the Sikh high priests at Takht Hazur Sahib met once again and the Jathedar issued another edict to pardon Majithia if he carried out ‘sewa’, which would be pronounced on him when he personally appeared before them.
Giani Gurbachan Singh clarified that Majithia had been directed to perform ‘sewa’ at four Takhts for one hour for a day and at the Akal Takht for one hour a day for three days. He also informed that the Akal Takht secretariat had received numerous complaints against Majithia. He said Majithia had appeared before them with a written apology.