May 14, 2010 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Fatehgarh Sahib (May 14, 2010): BJP chief Gadkari and his colleagues on Friday , 14 May, repeatedly referred to the Sikh general, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, as “Banda Veer Bairagi.” The reference is coined by RSS, BJP and Hindutva forces as a part of ‘deep seated conspiracy to discredit the Khalsa swaroop.’
On a state-level function organized by SGPC and Punjab Government the BJP leaders, including Balbir Punj and Punjab cabinet minister Manoranjan Kalia addressed a gathering during the tercentenary celebrations of the Sirhind Fateh Diwas at Fatehgarh Sahib.
The celebrated Sikh general and his men had defeated the province of Sirhind, in May 1710 in what is considered as a major blow to the Mughals and then went on to establish the first, though short-lived, Khalsa Raj in the area.
Interestingly, just before the BJP chief spoke, Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Gurbachan Singh, had warned the community against “distortions in the history” showing Banda Singh Bahadur in bad light and present him in the ‘bairagi (ascetic) ‘swaroop’ instead of the Amritdhari Sikh that he had become.
Gadkari also erroneously mentioned that Banda Bahadur was ‘brought up in Maharashtra and studied there’ while emphasizing that he himself came from the same state. However, according to Sikh history, Banda Bahadur spent his formative years in Kashmir.
It is notable that realizing that they are being cheated the Sikh Sangat protested against speech of Gadkari and raised slogans against BJP, RSS and hindutva forces.
As embarrassed Akali leaders — BJP’s alliance partners — avoided commenting on the issue, others minced no words in slamming the BJP leaders while condemning the Akalis’ silence over the remarks, says a TOI report.
It is notable that Punjab CM, PS Badal has attempted to defend Gadkari, though in an indirect way. As per another media report he has once again put forward his favorite allegation that all this ‘trouble’ is handiwork of Congress party and has warned the Congress against creating unrest in otherwise peaceful state of Punjab. Making an oblique reference to a Sikh Sangat who raised slogans, Badal categorically said; “Merely raising slogans would not serve any useful purpose rather it is far more important to do something constructive for the overall development and prosperity of the state and country”.
The Chief Minister said that these “anti social elements” should at least refrain themselves from using such religious platform to promote their political vested interests at the behest of Congress, says a PNL (PunjabNewsLine.Com) report. He said that such irresponsible persons have not only belittled the significance of the today’s auspicious occasion but had also shown disrespect to Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji by shouting slogans which was nothing short of a sin which amounted to an unpardonable act. He asked these persons to exercise self-restrain especially during such religious functions to uphold its sanctity (Maryada).
“It is difficult for Sikhs to understand that how the Sangat who protested against distortion of image of Sikh martyr and Sikh history could be said to have violated maryada and how Mr. Badal can justify Gadkari and others, while they openly attempted to pollute Sikh history.” asked SAD (Panch Pardhani) leader Harpal Singh Cheema.
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