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Badungar: Udasi Community Part of Sikhism
P.T.I., Dec. 9, 2002
Photo: An Udasi contingent at the Kumbh Mela, 1998
The Udasi community is 'very much' part of Sikhism and all their gurdwaras come under the purview of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (S.G.P.C.), chief Kirpal Singh Badungar said today. The Udasis are considered descendents of Sri Chand and Laxmi Chand, sons of the first Sikh guru, Nanak Dev. The community in most of their gurdwaras do not place the Holy Bir (copy) of the Guru Granth Sahib, nor do they unfurl Nishan Sahib, a saffron flag. In the Sikh religion, non-installation of Guru Granth Sahib and the non-hoisting of Nishan Sahib is considered a violation of Sikh maryada (religious code of conduct). When reporters pointed this out to Badungar, he said despite non-professing of Sikh maryada by Udasis, they were an integral part of Sikhism. 'Our top priority is to take along all the Udasi community with us,' he added.
Settling a 25 year-old litigation between the S.G.P.C. and a mahant on declaring of an Udasi dera as a gurdwara, the Supreme Court recently ruled that mere worshipping of Guru Granth Sahib at a dera would not qualify it to be a Sikh gurdwara. Referring to the mushrooming of illegal gurdwaras in Punjab, Badungar said 'many unscrupulous elements with a view to take illegal possession over land undertake the construction of gurdwaras. This is really a matter of great concern.' The matter would soon be brought to the notice of the Akal Takht jathedar and construction of a gurdwara anywhere would require the prior sanction of the Akal Takht, he said.