Sodhis refuse to oblige

Mr Badal had urged the family last week to hand over the original bir to the SGPC to enable the lakhs of Sikhs expected at the Golden Temple to pay obeisance during the forthcoming quadricentennial celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib. Similar efforts were earlier made by Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar and Bibi Jagir Kaur during their tenure as president of the SGPC. But the Sodhi family has refused to accept the request.

The Adi Granth was written by Guru Arjan Dev and is the original granth, also known as ‘Kartarpuri Bir,’ that was installed in the Golden Temple by Baba Budha on September 1, 1604. Later, this Adi Granth, according to the Sodhi family, was restored to the family of Dhirmal, a son of Guru Arjun Dev, by ninth Guru Teg Bahadur. Ever since, it has been a ritual for descendants of Dhirmal (the Sodhi family) to display the Adi Granth for ‘darshan’ by common Sikhs once a year on Baisakhi.

After Mr Badal’s recent appeal, efforts were also made by certain Akali leaders to persuade the Sodhi family’s head, Mr Karamjit Singh Sodhi, to allow the display of the Adi Granth at the Golden Temple for ‘darshan’ by Sikhs for just one day on September 1. However, the appeals have not yielded any result so far.

In fact, after the appeal of Mr Badal, the granth has been shifted to a ‘safe’ place and the family is tightlipped about the location.

Mr Karamjit Singh Sodhi, who prefixes ‘guru’ to his name and is also addressed as such by alt all residents of Kartapur, was not available for comment. When contacted over the phone, his younger brother, Mr Charanjit Singh Sodhi, asserted that he could not reveal the location of the granth.

‘I don’t want to talk to the media as this can only be done by my elder brother, who is the head of the family and who handles all affairs. I don’t want to give any comment and you can write what you want. The granth is our heritage,’ he said.

On the controversy relating to the excommunication and readmission of ‘Dhirmalias’, Mr Karamjit Singh Sodhi had earlier stated that Dhirmalias had been forgiven by ninth Guru Teg Bahadur, who had restored various properties and the Adi Granth to their family. Hence, the chapter had been closed during the Guru’s lifetime, he added. The family was part of Guru Arjan Dev’s lineage and had been living as true Sikhs ever since, he said.

Bibi Jagir Kaur said she had also made a request to the family, but it failed to yield any result. ‘They had not even handed over the granth to Gurus,’ she said.

Mr Badungar also maintained that during his tenure as SGPC chief he had approached the family to hand over the granth to the SGPC. ‘We had also requested them to hand over part of the Kartarpur gurdwara that is under their possession. But the family refused to do so even though the SGPC was ready to pay for the cost of the land,’ he said.

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