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Sikhs in Canada clash over Dasam Granth

Divisions among two groups of Sikhs in Canada over the authenticity of holy scripture ‘Dasam Granth’ have come out in the open with violence breaking out in a gurudwara in which three people were injured.

Written by Agencies | Toronto |
April 13, 2010 4:12:30 pm

Divisions among two groups of Sikhs in Canada over the authenticity of holy scripture ‘Dasam Granth’ have come out in the open with violence breaking out in a gurudwara in which three people were injured.

The scuffle broke out after Darshan Singh,a former Akal Takht head priest,now-excommunicated from the faith claimed that the writings are inconsistent with Guru Gobind Singh’s teachings.

Last week,three people were injured when a crowd of about 150 protesters gathered outside the Sikh Lehar Centre,Brampton,where Singh was invited to speak.

The management cancelled the talk,but a scuffle broke out and three people were injured,including the centre’s president,the Toronto Star reported.

“There is nothing to prove that Guru Gobind Singh wrote most of the verses,” Singh said.

Singh,who lives in Brampton,is one of the most vocal critics of the Dasam Granth. Singh,who has brought the controversy to the forefront,maintains the Dasam Granth is inconsistent with Gobind Singh’s other teachings and could not have been written by him.

“The debate was dormant ¿ people quietly believed one way or the other,” a newspaper said,quoting Harbans Lal,president of Academy of Guru Granth Studies at Arlington,Texas. “This open fighting is relatively recent … it started about 15 years ago. Now it’s blowing up in everyone’s face.” Dasam Granth ¿ 1,428 pages long and mostly in Braj Bhasha,a dialect of Hindi spoken widely in many parts of India. A part of the scripture talks about promiscuity and consuming intoxicants,Singh added.

“It says there shouldn’t be any boundaries. No guru would ever preach that,” he said.

Some verses in the Dasam Granth also freely talk about cutting hair,considered taboo for any practicing Sikh.

“Hair is one of the important tenets of Sikhism,as said by the gurus,” said Singh.

Since the scripture is mostly in Braj Bhasha,a language no longer spoken,only its translations have been widely read. Many verses are long and mystical,and there is room for misinterpretation,Lal,president of Academy of Guru Granth Studies said.

But Darshan Singh has no such qualms. “I challenge you to read it and decide on your own if this could have been written by the guru,” Singh said. “Read and decide. That’s all,” he added.

The scriptures were compiled after the guru’s death in 1708 by Mani Singh,one of his disciples. Singh took nine years to gather the guru’s writings from various followers.

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