Stop the SGPC from doing further damage to Golden Temple ambience

Chandigarh, July 7: The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee is on fast forward mode to damage the sanctity and serenity of the Golden Temple complex and  transform the shrine from spiritual centre of the Sikhs to the most visited tourist destination in India.

Here is the latest in this series.

The fan units of two split air conditioners have been hung on the railing of the sanctum sanctorum for the cooling of this shrine that is open from all sides. The design provides for natural air and light and that can’t be tinkered with. One cooling tower was placed inside the sanctum sanctorum some years back.

While fitting the two units on the railing, the persons who have implemented the decision taken by one does not know by whom has overlooked the very fact that this is not any ordinary building but the holiest of the holy shrine. This arrangement gives ugly look. Moreover, it is violation of the Golden Temple Maryada.

When asked about it, SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal denied knowledge of the same. He said he would find out. One of the secretaries present then said something in his ear. Longowal was in Chandigarh today.

Here is a president who does not know as to who is taking decisions that damage the very basics associated with the Golden Temple complex.

It is time the Sikhs take notice of the way the  ambience of the shrine is being damaged, either systematically or due to ignorance of the basics.

It is pertinent to mention that some three decades back, some such ‘wise’ person advised the SGPC to give vinyl coating to the roof of the SGPC. This is building in water that seeps through it. The design is such that this seepage evaporates through the roof. This evaporation stopped. This is how the original murals were damaged.

Now one can also see flood lights that have been installed on all the four walls and a side lamp for the priests to recite Gurbani from Guru Granth Sahib. One can’t say how much damage has been caused to the building while installing these lights and wiring. The ambience  earlier was solemn in consonance with Gurbani. Now it is brightness that pinches the eye. There was enough light earlier and it was good for the cameras of the PTC channel of Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal too that has the monopoly for the live transmission of Gurbani from the sanctum sanctorum. Perhaps some additional light was needed.

It is pertinent to recall that debate had also triggered when decision was to be taken about electrification of Golden Temple. However, that was a different issue.

Mention here need also be made of yet another similar move that was scuttled. That pertains to washing of the shine from outside to remove dirt. Sources in the SGPC said Sukhbir  Singh Badal directed the SGPC officials to initiate washing of the shrine as Gold layer appeared to be darkening and recommended  a company for that purpose. The company prepared a budget of Rs 32 crore.

He perhaps did not known that this responsibility is with London based Nishkam Jatha and is done through Kar Sewa. No such work in the Golden Temple is given to a company. This job was later carried out by this Jatha.

The general house of the SGPC should be convened to discuss such serious violations that have the potential to destroy the Golden Temple ambience. This should be given top priority before further damage is done.

The Sikhs should also be told as to who is ordering the SGPC to undertake such works as its president has denied any knowledge.


Jagtar Singh


[email protected]

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