PUNJAB Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Thursday called on the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to allow the AAP government to install “advanced broadcast technology” at the Golden Temple in Amritsar to broadcast the Gurbani live on various digital platforms in the world. The call, however, drew a frosty response from the Akali-dominated SGPC, who asked him to “focus on running the government” and “not to meddle in religious matters”.
In a video message, Mann said: “This venture would go a long way in providing devotees with the opportunity to listen to the Gurbani in addition to getting a glimpse of the Golden Temple… We are ready to take on any task. assigned by the SGPC.”
The AAP leader said “it is the need of the hour to spread the message of the gurus across the world”. He called on the SGPC to relay the Gurbani of the Golden Temple on various media including satellite TV, radio, social media and mobile apps instead of limiting its reach to a single medium.
“We will provide the latest infrastructure/technology in this regard to Darbar Sahib, including the latest cameras and broadcast equipment, to relay the Gurbani Kirtan through other digital platforms such as YouTube, mobile apps, religious channels or any other channel, who intend to broadcast the same instead of relaying it from a single medium in order to increase its reach across the globe,” he said.
Mann’s call is seen as an indirect attack on the Badal-linked PTC channel’s monopoly on Gurbani broadcasting.
Incidentally, Rabinder Narayan, Chairman and CEO of PTC, was arrested at his Gurgaon residence on Wednesday following a sexual harassment complaint filed by a PTC Miss Punjaban beauty pageant contestant.
Responding to the Chief Minister’s appeal, SGPC Chairman Harjinder Singh Dhami said in a statement that the committee is an elected representative body of the Sikh Panth and that the state government “should not interfere in the affairs of the guru’s house”. He said that “the realms of government and religion are different.”
Dhami said the chief minister should ‘not engage in politics’, and instead pay heed to the SGPC’s longstanding demands, such as beautifying the roads leading to the Golden Temple and releasing payments waiting for SC scholarships and assisted personnel in educational institutions. by the committee.
“The government has not acted on these issues,” Dhami said.
The SGPC chief said a seven-member panel has already been set up on Gurbani’s TV show and “further action will be taken as per his report”. “The CM of Punjab should focus on the work to be done by the government instead of misleading the Sangat (pilgrims and community) by playing politics in the name of religion,” he said.
Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, spokesperson for the Badals-led Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), said: “It was like previous CM announcements, made without proper homework.” He said the CM should note that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is the domain of the Centre, and that “the Sangat has been requesting the airing of Gurbani” by national broadcasters for years but the request “has not never been satisfied.
Initiatives were also taken earlier by political parties and sections of the Sikh community to weaken the grip of the Akali Dal and the Badal family on the SGPC.
In the years following the Anandpur Sahib resolution of 1973, which declared that the message of the Gurus and Gurbanis should be broadcast, there were requests for television and broadcast on Doordarshan and All India Radio.
The Shiromani Akali Dal, led by Badals, in its manifesto for the SGPC election in 2011 promised that it would create the committee’s own channel and that the signal would be shared with all the channels.
In 2019, under the Congress government under Amarinder Singh, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha passed a resolution that Gurbani broadcasting should be open to all media with no monopoly.
But none of these moves led to a result.
On July 21, 2012, the SGPC granted “single, exclusive, absolute and complete worldwide broadcast rights” to Gurbani of the Darbar Sahib to G Next Media Pvt Ltd, the company that owns the PTC Channels, for an annual payment of Rs 1 crore with a 10 percent increase each year for an 11-year period.
Details of the deal were obtained from the SGPC in 2015 by Sikh activist Baldev Singh Sirsa via an RTI app.