Updated: November 18, 2018 4:47:26 pm
The Nirankaris are followers of Baba Buta Singh, who founded the Sant Nirankari mission as an independent spiritual movement in 1929. Baba Buta Singh was originally a member of the Nirankari movement (both are separate groups). The Nirankari Mission, which is looked upon by many mainstream Sikhs as a heretic cult, claims to be unaffiliated with any religion with an aim of uniting people with God.
The Nirankaris claim to be a secular, spiritual sect, unaffiliated with any religion, and deny that Sikhs have any authority over them. In support, they claim that only a small number of their followers were originally Sikh and that the remaining Nirankaris come from other religions.
The mission has its headquarters in Delhi and a large network of institutions in several states across the country. It also has centres abroad in countries like Australia, Canada, Germany, and others.
Today, it has nearly 2,000 centres and lakhs of followers across the world. In 1980, then sect chief Satguru Gurbachan Singh was assassinated by a Sikh extremist at the Foundation’s headquarters in Delhi. After his death, Singh’s son Hardev Singh was nominated as the fourth satguru. Most of the Nirankaris in Delhi belong to Sikh families displaced by Partition in 1947. Baba Hardev Singh died last year in a car accident in Toronto.
After the death of Baba Hardev Singh, his wife Savinder Kaur became the fifth sect head and the first woman to head the Nirankari mission.
The mission, in the past, had been involved in violent clashes with the radical Sikhs in the 1970’s. In 1978, the highest Sikh religious body ‘The Akal Takht’, released a decree directing the Khalsa Panth ( a fraternity of Sikhs) to cut off all worldly relations with those Sikhs who were part of the Nirankari organisation as they were considered to be an ‘enemy of Sikhism’. This excommunication created several complications for the governments in Punjab and Delhi around that sensitive time of insurgency.
The sect claims to run several community service programmes for the people.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.