Save old gurdwaras from demolition

The Deori and the Chaubaras are being removed to make space around the gurdwara constructed in 1986 after the old one which was much smaller, was demolished. While the work on the demolition of the Deori is already on, the Chaubaras is next. "Nothing can be done about the Deori which has been partially demolished by kar sewaks, but, an effort should be made to prevent the Chaubaras from meeting a similar fate," said Major Pardaman Singh Sidhu, a retired Army officer. He said injustice had been done to the Sikh religion by the kar sewaks who did not know what they were destroying in the name of religion.

He said it was unfortunate that old gurdwaras were being demolished in Punjab by self-styled sants in the name of beautification. He said Guru Tegh Bahadur had stayed in the Bahadurgarh gurdwara according to the Suraj Prakash written by Bhai Santokh Singh. ”The Deori and the Chaubaras with their painted murals are a testimony to this. What will we tell our future generations when they ask us aboutthe old building," he added.

Kar sewaks should be made to see sense, said a former college Librarian, Mr Gurchaman Singh Gill. He said it was necessary to maintain historical buildings rather than demolishing these. He said old structures if restored could even now outlast modern constructions. Mr Gill said by destroying old architecture and design, we were responsible for spoiling reflections of history. He said, ”We are custodians of historical and religious monuments. Coming generations will not forgive us for any act of destruction done without logic."{pagebreak}

Mr Sanjeev Garg, a businessman and political personality, said the administration, architects and conservation experts should be taken into confidence by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee before it allowed the demolition and reconstruction of any gurdwara in the state. He said gurdwaras represented the heritage of Punjabis and had a unique Sikh-style architecture. He said these architectures were also a blend of the trends in the past. He said the mass-scale destruction of old gurdwaras would mean the end of an architectural style. He said it was also surprising that the SGPC did not even know about the demolition allowed by it even ten to twelve days after the kar sewa had begun. Brig Sukhdev Singh, a Mahavir Chakra winner who is also known as the ‘Hero of Zoji La’, said there was a need to preserve the murals in the Chaubaras around the new gurdwara. He said modern conservation tools could be used to transplant the murals onto the walls of any modern building being constructed around the gurdwara if the SGPC felt that the old buildings had to go.

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