Seek nod before disposing of holy texts says SGPC

A new section would also be created at Goindwal Sahib for preserving handwritten and old historic birs. These two decisions were taken by the Dharam Parchar Committee of the SGPC which met at Alamgir on Tuesday.

The decisions come in the wake of reports that some important handwritten birs had been immersed at Goindwal Sahib by owners who found the old holy books too difficult to handle.

Scholars have been complaining against the practice for some time now, pointing out that this was destroying heritage, an irreparable loss. It is also suspected that some historic birs which were actually sold were shown to have been disposed of by immersion to cover up the case.

Already, very few handwritten birs of Guru Granth Sahib are available, since many of them are either lost, or have been stolen or disposed of. The demand for such texts is high in Western countries, where chairs on Sikh studies have been started by some universities.

It is learnt that the case of a handwritten bir, which was taken from Amritsar to the US, was also discussed at the meeting of the committee. SGPC president Jagdev Singh Talwandi reportedly took keen interest in this incident. For implementing this proposal, the SGPC would appoint an official who would look at requests for disposal of old
texts by owners who are not able to care for their old texts and want to give them up.

In such cases, old birs would be housed in a new section specially created for preserving these holy texts. As a rule, no handwritten text is to be allowed to be disposed of. Printed texts which are readily available can be disposed of, but only with the permission of the SGPC official concerned.

While Goindwal Sahib is regarded as the traditional place for immersion of holy texts, attempts are also on to communicate the decision to other Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak bodies at Takht Patna Sahib and Takhat Hazur Sahib.

The practice of immersion of holy texts is reported to be prevalent also at Patna Sahib, and authorities there are being requested to take a similar decision.

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