Golden Temple: Philosophy being diluted, building being damaged

Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, September 12: Both the philosophy and building of the  marvel that is Golden Temple are under threat.

Not from outside but from within the community.

The design to convert this centre of Sikhism into the most visited tourist centre in the world seems to be consciously or consciously part of that design.

The executing agency is the otherwise statutory Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee but that is not under the control of its president.

The ostentatious decoration of the shrine on the occasion of Parkash Utsav of Guru Granth Sahib, perhaps for the first time, has triggered a welcome debate within the community.

The thrust on philosophical content of Golden Temple is getting dilute in the process of converting it into tourism centre.

Golden Temple is not just a marvellous building but name of the philosophy. Golden Temple is for spiritual solace.

The decorations have to be in sync with the philosophy. The understanding of the philosophy is missing and hence total thrust on exhibitionism.

‘Rahao’ –the word that repeatedly appears in Guru Granth Sahib-has very deep meaning. It is pause and think.

It is time for the Sikh community to pause and think on this threat from within.

The  mahants too had decorated this complex in their own way. Murals of Hindu gods and goddesses appeared on the walls of Akal Takht during that period. The idols of Hindu gods and goddesses were installed in the Parkarma.

Guru Nanak rejected all ritualism, in every form. He created a philosophy  whose focus is the creation of ideal man and ideal society.

Sikhs has landed deep in ritualism.

In the pictures that went viral on social media, the focus was on decorations all around and what was missing was the Golden Temple.

Guru Arjan designed this building to reflect a philosophy. The pathway from Darshani Deodi to the shrine has a meaning. The Golden Temple from  has been defaced by covering this pathway till the end. The experts and conservationists who protested were ignored.

The sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple has been converted into TV studio to facilitate live telecast of Gurbani.

The latest is a switch board that has been hung on one side, just above the point where two new bright lights have been installed that are switched on during recitation of Guru Granth Sahib. Loose electric wires add to the ugliness.

Forget for a moment that the Golden Temple is a philosophy.

Nowhere in the world perhaps has any such precious work of art has been  disfigured and damaged by installing such studio lights. Cooling towers of air conditioners that cover this priceless art would damage it in the long run.

Sikhs have to pause and think of this commercial exploitation of Golden Temple. This is not just telecast of Gurbani but something more. The SGPC should have its own set up to distribute signal to all the interests channels subject to conditions. That was the original proposal that has been shelved.

The ‘marvel’ plaza that has been constructed in front of the Golden Temple complex is an un-aesthetic marble monster.

The so called heritage street from Town Hall to the Golden Temple is Rajasthani architecture, not  Sikh architecture.

The damage that is being caused is too deep.

It is welcome sign that debate finally has been triggered, even though it is mainly in social media. This debate should be taken in the right direction.

The damage to philosophy and building of Golden Temple must be stopped without any delay.

Jagtar Singh


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