Chinese rub Sikhs the wrong way

By Jaideep Sarin, IANS

Amritsar : The Chinese have now rubbed the Sikhs the wrong way. The emergence of Chinese idols of Sikh gurus has left Sikh religious leaders angry.

Support TwoCircles

Idols of Sikh gurus, especially Guru Nanak Dev, have emerged in Punjab’s markets in recent days much to the annoyance of the Sikh clergy.

All these idols are Chinese-made and are being sold in leading gift shops as well as in the vicinity of the holiest of Sikh shrines, Harmandar Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple.

The problem with all this is that the Sikh religion prohibits idol worship. Only paintings of the 10 Sikh gurus are used for display.

The 10th guru of the religion, Gobind Singh, had declared in early 18th century that after him there would be no more human gurus of the religion and the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, will be the eternal guru. Ever since, only the Guru Granth Sahib is worshipped at gurudwaras and all devout bow before it.

Joginder Singh Vedanti, the chief of the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikh religion, is upset with the Chinese-made idols. He has said that he would soon call a meeting of Sikh high priests to discuss the matter and ensure corrective action.

“Our religion does not permit idol worship. This is a serious issue. This will set a wrong precedent if not stopped immediately. If required, a hukumnama (religious edict) will be issued to stop the sale of these idols,” Vedanti said in a statement.

But he added that no complaint in this regard was made to him so far.

The Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), the mini-parliament of Sikhs and groups that manages gurudwara affairs, is also keeping an eye on the sale of the idols.

Former SGPC secretary Manjit Singh Calcutta has criticized the SGPC and Akal Takht for not taking corrective action initially.

“This is shameful. The idols are being sold in this Sikh holy city where the SGPC and Akal Takht are located,” Calcutta pointed out.

At many of the shops near Golden Temple, the idols were being sold by Sikh shop-owners themselves despite knowing that idol worship is banned in their religion.

“People are curious about the idols. The miniature ones are sold now. We sell up to 10 idols of Guru Nanak Dev every day,” said shop salesman Rajpal Singh.

“Idols of even Baba Deep Singh (a revered figure in Sikh religious history) are being sold. I wonder how the Chinese got so much in-depth knowledge of our religion,” asked Jasbir Singh, a local businessman.

The idols are available in varying sizes and are priced between Rs.40 to 300.

Chinese-made idols of Hindu gods had flooded Indian markets over five years ago.

Sikhs are already against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh for portraying himself like 10th Sikh guru Gobind Singh.