AMRITSAR: Known for its controversial moves pertaining to the care of Sikh heritage buildings, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has now drawn criticism for tempering with the historic structure of Gurdwara Manji Sahib in Sri Darbar Sahib complex.
Manji sahib is situated in what was formerly known as Guru ka Bagh (the Guru’s garden). This\’was the place where Sri Guru Arjan Dev Jee used to hold the daily divan. A marbled platform marks the spot where the Guru used to sit on a manji (cot) with the Sikhs squatting on the ground in front. A vast divan hall was constructed, adjacent to Manji Sahib during recent decades.
The platform, which is covered with a marble canopy, was raised on directions of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Guru Arjan Dev also recited Barah Mah Maajh (a bani related to the description of 12 months according to the lunar system). This fact is written on the platform. It also carries bullet marks left during Operation Bluestar.
As per a report published in Hindustan Times, an English daily, the SGPC executive committee decided to build a concrete slab to cover this structure to raise a larger canopy, the walls of which will be made of glass. The “kar sewa” (voluntary service) has been assigned to a “kar sewa” organisation headquartered in Delhi. The “kar sewa” work is in progress and a site has been dug up around this structure.
Golden Temple manager Sulakhan Singh Bhangali is quoted as saying, “Four pillars are being erected around this asthan to cover it with a concrete slab. Glasses will be fitted around it. This is being done for the preservation of this place which also carries relics of Operation Bluestar besides being associated with Guru Sahib”.
The act has drawn negative remarks over social media. “Sad very sad and damaging like they are always doing. Irony is all Mughal era and British era monuments are safe and being preserved but Sikh monuments are being damaged by Sikh institutions itself. Jathedar Akal Takhat Sahib promised Sikh Heritage Commission which we all are still waiting to see in reality”, said Amandeep Singh Bains.
“What a dumb decision. Why do they want to cover a marble structure with concrete and glass!!! It is sheer money wastage and even bigger sin is …. Destroying Heritage by defacing the structures!”, said Satinder Singh.