Thursday June 22, 2017 08:53 AM EST

I. J. Singh | New York, NY
Posted: 10:53 PM | September 23, 2013

Hukamnaamaa Against Having Alcohol in Homes with GGS

The only reason to intrude into such private behavior seems to be the one that the Akal Takht provided – that it is an insult to the Guru. My take would be that the Guru is so much larger and beneficent and that it is neither insulted and diminished nor flattered or enhanced by our puny efforts. Perhaps like a wise parent, God and Guru overlook such behavior as childish.

Yes, discipline is necessary but not when it is harshly coercive and not necessarily corrective. Respect for Guru Granth comes as the engagement for the Word therein grows, and that will come from increasing access and not from banning access to it.

Keep in mind that such rash judgment is not the first that the Akal Takht has rendered. Not so long ago it banned all discussion on the so-called Dasam Granth. If people do not discuss how do they learn and progress? There have been other quick-fix decisions as well such as summary excommunication of some individuals; these only speak of a hair-trigger finger and not a mature process of conflict resolution in place.

This long period in the history of the Roman Catholic experiment with suppression of scriptural access to common Christians ended with the fresh air of the Reformation -- a movement that perhaps owes its beginning to John Wycliffe’s 1382 translation of the entire Bible from Latin into English.

I know I spent more space here on the early troubles of the Roman Catholics. The Church learned expensive and traumatic lessons and it took over two centuries to do so. We Sikhs don’t need to relive such history.

When such community issues surface the decision makers at the Akal Takht need to act not in a hurry and not in secrecy but after canvassing “we the people” at open hearings – and due deliberation in an atmosphere of transparency and thoughtfulness.

On rereading what I have written here tells me that it is not likely to win me friends but my goal is not that. It is to foster a conversation.

Some people just never learn from history, do they?


The author, Inder Jit Singh, is an anatomy professor at New York University. He is also on the editorial advisory board of the Calcutta-based periodical, The Sikh Review, and is the author of five books: Sikhs and Sikhism: A View With a Bias; The Sikh Way: A Pilgrim's Progress; Being and Becoming a Sikh; The World According to Sikhi; and, the latest, Sikhs Today: Ideas and Opinions. He can be reached at

Commentaries are the opinions of the authors, and not necessarily that of Sikh News Network.

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