Jalandhar,Punjab: Even as the new house of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) is yet to be constituted and new management is yet to take over, the SGPC and SAD have taken control of live telecast of daily discourses from Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. This way the second major live telecast (after one from Darbar Sahib Amritsar already in SGPC’s control) which was initially started as a “rival” programme to counter the religio-political decisions of SAD-SGPC has gone in latter’s kitty for free to becoming another “on air tool”.
Political propaganda, though sugar-coated with religious idiom, has remained part of these discourses and against this backdrop SAD’s control can prove crucial in the Delhi assembly election, also as it is not very unusual for delivering blending religious discourses with current political issues, said a senior functionary of SGPC.
“Reminding people of anti Sikh massacre of November 1984 or Operation Blue Star during religious discourses, which has political fallout, is not very uncommon during polls,” he added.
On Monday, senior granthis and preachers of the SGPC started delivering the discourses at Bangla Sahib gurdwara during the live telecast. Interestingly such was the apprehension about this live telecast from Paramjit Singh Sarna controlled DSGMC gurudwara that the channel “Chardikala Time TV’ which was telecasting these live discourses was blacked out from the cable network in 2010 during the run up for the SGPC election.
DSGMC and channel management had alleged at that time that as the cable network in Punjab was being controlled by SAD men the channel was blocked out for political reasons at the behest of the Punjab government. Channel management had also alleged pressure tactics at that time. However now the SGPC would also have access to the viewership of Delhi gurdwara programmes.
There have been several instances when Sarna and his associates used this live telecast for criticizing SAD (Badal) and SGPC. Even during the controversy on Nanakshahi calendar’s implementation after amendments in 2010, which DSGMC stuck to the original Nanakshahi calendar issued by Akal Takht in 2003, which also became a major issue in DSGMC polls Sarna led Committee fired several salvos on SAD and SGPC.
During the run-up for the DSGMC election also, the religious discourses during live telecast were used quite frequently and vociferously to articulate opposition to Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal led SAD and SGPC and their policies especially “taking decisions according to Sangh Parivar wishes,’ including the one of attending Kumbh Mela.
On Monday and Tuesday a senior Granthi of Darbar Sahib, Giani Mann Singh, delivered the sermons during the live telecast and according to sources in SGPC others have also been assigned for discourses at Delhi gurdwaras.
SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar, when contacted, said that changes had been affected and he personally assigned the senior preachers for Delhi. “The preachers who had been speaking against us from DSGMC stages would not be allowed to continue,”” he said. He revealed that former general secretary of DSGMC, Kulmohan Singh (who lost this election as SAD (Badal) candidate), is coordinating the new preachers.