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Kala Afghana's Detractors Are Either "Ignorant" or "Malevolent"
By GURTEJ SINGH
Gurtej Singh, designated 'Professor of Sikhism' by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (S.G.P.C.), is a former officer of the Indian Administrative Service (I.A.S.) and holds a graduate degree in history. He is the author of Tandav of the Centaur: Sikhs and Indian Secularism and Chakravyuh: Web of Indian Secularism. In addition, he has co-edited Shahid-Bilas Sant Jarnail Singh.
Press Release, Chandigarh, May 3, 2003
"I have been closely following the Kala Afghana controversy ever since its inception. I have carefully studied all the issues inherent in it, have meticulously analysed the relevant writings and have discussed these with numerous scholars, authors, informed laypersons and well-meaning people. On the strength of my exercise, I am convinced that the books authored by Gurbakhsh Singh Kala Afghana are well-researched, based on authentic information, are in conformity with the Sikh scripture and constitute an authentic interpretation of Sikh theology. These are, therefore, beneficial to the spiritual health of the Sikh people. All those who find fault with these works do so out of gross ignorance or with the deliberate malevolent intention of throwing Sikhism back into the lap of unwholesome ritualism and uninformed medieval morass. This amounts to undoing the work of the great Gurus and numerous martyrs."
"I have further noticed that those who assail Kala Afghana mostly base themselves on a chance mention of historical facts in his works. They fail to recognise that he is not a historian neither is his thesis historical in nature. He is a theologian and his propositions are theologically sound."
"In my humble opinion, the following render the works of Gurbakhsh Singh Kala Afghana totally innocent:"
"1. Kala Afghana takes care to present only those formulations, conclusions and suggestions which are supported by at least five verses of Guru Granth [the Sikh scripture]. He further adopts the meanings of gurbani [hymns from the Sikh scripture] as propounded by Dr. Sahib Singh and takes no liberty with the Guru's word."
"2. Before publishing his conclusions, Kala Afghana takes care to circulate his books among Sikh institutions (including the Akal Takhat and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee) and scholars making humble fervent appeals for guidance. All available evidence indicates that he takes genuine suggestions received in response seriously and accommodates justified objections."
"3. His and his supporters' repeated requests for openness, fairness and for recording of all proceedings and discussions for public information have elicited no response from those occupying the Akal Takhat. Similarly the pleas from prominent lawyers and eminent scholars for meticulously following the laws of natural justice have been turned down."
"The 'five Singhs' have rejected many requests even for supplying a copy of the original complaint. This clearly indicates that those who oppose Kala Afghana have no justification whatsoever for doing so. They are not prepared to submit their objections for public scrutiny because they are afraid that their unreasonableness would be exposed."
"From what has happened so far, it is possible to conclude that the 'five Singhs' or 'the high priests' as they call themselves, are determined to use the usurped powers of the Akal Takhat against Kala Afghana and to 'proscribe' his books. The callousness of the priestly class is known to all history."
"The Sarbat Khalsa [a reference to all Sikhs] must refuse to be let down and must warn the 'five Singhs' against highhandedness on its behalf. It must ensure that gurmat [Sikh teachings] is not harmed in any way. The fair name of Guru Hargobind, the prince of the just, must never be tarnished by the misguided zeal of the self-righteous, highly opinionated people unfortunately at the helm of Sikh affairs."
Kala Afghana's Books Burnt, By STAFF, The Tribune, May 15, 2003
Sikh Clergy Restates Ban on Kala Afghana, By VARINDER WALIA, The Tribune, Apr. 5, 2003
Kala Afghana's Right to Freedom of Expression, By PUNEET SINGH LAMBA, The Sikh Times, Feb. 1, 2003