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Bhindranwale home now a ‘gurdwara’

The gurdwara was opened to the public Friday with dhadi jathas (Sikh religious singers) and kavishri coir singing prayers Friday.

Bhindranwale home now a ‘gurdwara’ Prayer sessions were held at the ‘gurdwara’ in Rode village Rode in Moga Friday. (Express photo by Gurmeet Singh

A ‘GURDWARA’ dedicated to the “martyrdom” of slain Sikh militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was opened to the public Friday at his ancestral village Rode in Baghapurana sub-division, Moga. The structure has come up at Bhindranwale’s birthplace with his ancestral home converted into a Sikh temple.

While it has been more than three decades now since the Congress-led central government under the leadership of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi launched Operation Blue Star at the Golden Temple premises in Amritsar in June 1984, killing Bhindranwale and his associates, his ‘status’ continues to be controversial. The question remains: Was he a martyr or a militant?

For his critics, Bhindranwale was a pro-Khalistan (demand for a separate Sikh state) extremist who hid inside the Golden Temple with a cache of weapons and died during ‘clean-up’ operation. To his supporters, he is a ‘martyr’ who sacrificed his life for separate Sikh identity.

Harnam Singh Dhuma, chief of Damdami Taksal, a Sikh organisation once headed by Bhindranwale, said this is the first such ‘gurdwara’ solely dedicated to his “martyrdom”. “We have named it Gurdwara Sant Khalsa. The work started on September 17, 2007. Seeing his ancestral home lying in a shambles, it was decided to convert it into a gurdwara. It has been built by Damdami Taksal with no financial help from the previous SAD-BJP government.”

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The gurdwara was opened to the public Friday with dhadi jathas (Sikh religious singers) and kavishri coir singing prayers Friday. Sri Guru Granth Sahib will be installed Tuesday.

Interestingly, while the work on gurdwara started during the SAD-BJP in 2007, it will be inaugurated under Congress government. Jasvir Singh Rode, nephew of Bhindranwale, who with his family still lives in the village said, “We won’t be installing any of his pictures on the gurdwara premises as Sri Guru Granth Sahib will be installed there. However, his photos will be put up at langar hall, library and an education institute as gurdwara premises will be expanded soon. We are hoping that his followers from abroad, too, will visit village now. The plan is also to build a museum inside which will have photos of those martyred on June 6, 1984.”

Bhindranwale’s photos are also placed at Central Sikh Museum at the Golden Temple while a separate ‘Operation Blue star Memorial’ has also been established there.

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Baghapurana MLA Darshan Singh Brar refused to comment, saying. “It is their village’s internal matter.”

A gurdwara granthi (priest) who did not wish to be named said, “It is not a common practise to build a gurdwara at the birthplace of a common person other than Sikh gurus. There are different opinions and beliefs about Bhindranwale among Sikhs and otherwise.”

“No one in our village is opposed to this gurdwara. Even youths remember him fondly,” said Jaswinder Singh Brar, a resident.

First published on: 17-02-2018 at 08:14:24 am
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