SGPC wants Dewan Todar Mals haveli back

SethFour years after Dewan Todar Mal’s Jahaz haveli, considered a heritage building by Sikhs,was sold to a private trust, the SGPC has initiated efforts to get back the building.

SGPC chief Avtar Singh said here recently that the haveli was an important heritage building for the Sikhs and the SGPC planned to get it back from the trust which had bought it in September 2003.

The building was transferred in the name of the Punjab Charitable Trust, a Mohali-based registered body. However, the trust now refused to hand over the building to the SGPC.

In an appeal to the trust, Avtar Singh stated the Sikh body was ready to pay the trust the amount it had so far spent on the building. On the other hand, the trust members have been maintaining that Dewan Todar Mal was a member of their community and they had more right on the building.

The SGPC chief said sentiments of the Sikhs were attached with the haveli and the trust should give it back to the Sikhs, assuring them that the SGPC would revamp the building within six months and maintain it thereafter.

Dewan Todar Mal holds an important position in the Sikh history by virtue of his having performed the last rites of younger Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh, Baba Zorawar Singh (9) and Baba Fateh Singh (7), who were entombed alive by the Mughals for not embracing Islam and Mata Gujri who had died of shock.

The Dewan had bought the t expensive piece of land in the world history to cremate the Sikh martyrs as he was asked to vertically place gold coins on the land and only that much of land was given to him which he could cover with the gold coins. As per an estimate, he had paid more than 78,000 gold coins to buy a small piece of land where the three martyrs were cremated. Gurdwara Joytisaroop later was built on the land where the three had been cremated.

The Sikhs had constructed a spacious congregation hall at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib to commemorate his noble service, which is a symbol of great respect the Sikhs have for Dewan, and therefore the sale of his house had caused a flutter amongst religious circles.

Avtar Singh said the SGPC had already constituted a committee to look after the building. He said the SGPC was going to send a formal missive to the trust and would initiate a dialogue to resolve the matter, failing which other ways to find a solution would be thought over.

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