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HARIMANDAR

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HARIMANDAR (lit. the House of God; hari = Visnu, or God; mandar = temple, house), Golden Temple to the English speaking world, is the Sikhs` most famous sacred shrine. Also called Sri Darbar Sahib (the Exalted Holy Court), it lies in the heart of the city of Amritsar in the Punjab. The city in fact grew around what initially stood as the temple portal. The present structure could well be described as a golden beauty amid a glittering pool of water.

It is a heaven of peace for the devotees as well as a rare attraction for the lay tourists. Its basic architectural design was conceived by the Fifth Nanak, Guru Arjan (1563-1606), setting the building with a door in each of the four directions signifying its accessibility to all irrespective of caste and creed.Ghulam Muhay ud Din, also known as Bute Shah, Twarikhi Panjab (MS.), in the Dr Ganda Singh Collection, Punjabi University, p. 139, states that Shah Mian Mir came to Amritsar at Guru Arjan`s request and "with his own blessed hand put four bricks, one on each side, and another one in the middle of the tank.

" Sohan Lal Sun in his `Umadtut Twarikh, Arya Press, Lahore, 1885, Book 1, pp. 2829, says that Guru Arjan went to Lahore to see Shah Mian Mir and sought his assistance in the construction of the tank and buildings at Amritsar.Giani Gian Singh, Twarikh Guru Khalsa (Urdu), Waxir Hind Press, Amritsar, 1896, part 1, p. 96, is more explicit and states that the foundation of the building of the Harimandar was laid by Mian Mir According to the current tradition, the Guru had the cornerstone laid by the Muslim saint Mir Muhammad (1550-1635), popularly known as Hazrat Mian Mir, of Lahore, on 1 Magh 1645 Bk/28 December 1588.

Work on the holy tank of Amritsar had been commenced in AD 1577 by Guru Arjan`s predecessor, Guru Ram Das (1534-81), on a site which, according to some sources, was purchased during the time of the Third Nanak, Guru Amar Das (1479-1574), from the inhabitants of the nearby village Turig, and which, according to other sources, was a gift from the Mughal emperor Akbar (1542-1605) to the latter Guru`s daughter, Bibi Bhani, married to Guru Ram Das. The habitation which developed around the tank first came to be known as Ramdaspur, after the name of Guru Ram Das, or simply as Chakk Guru (the Guru`s village).

The tank was completed and lined by his son and spiritual successor.Guru Arjan, who also raised the structure, Harimandar, in the middle of it, Sikhs, i.e. disciples, contributing with devotion tlie labour of their hands. Some of the leading contemporary Sikhs took a hand in excavating the lank and in raising the masonry in the middle of it. Counted among them arc Bhai Buddha, Bhai Gurdas, Bhai Sahio, Bhai Bahilo, Bhai Bhagatu, Bhai Paira and Bhai Kalyana.

The completion of the temple was consummated with the installation in it, on Bhadori sudi, 1661 Bk/ 16 August 1604, of the Holy Scripture, the Adi Granth, which Guru Arjan had himself compiled. Bhai Buddha, revered for his holiness since the days of Guru Nanak, was named the first granihi or officiant.According to Gurbilds Pdtshdhi Chhevm, Guru Arjan set the daily routine and liturgy, which are operative till today. Kirtan or singing of scriptural hymns goes on the whole day and through the best part of the night, starting between 2 and 3 in the morning, depending on the season, and continues till late in the evening.

The Holy Book is then reverently escorted from the premises amid the chanting of the holy hymns to Kotha Sahib at Guru ka Mahal, the Guru`s chamber. The custom continued until the Holy Book came to be installed at Akal Buriga, the edifice raised over the Akal Takht, the Throne of the Timeless, raised by Guru Hargobind in 1606.The Holy Book is ushered back into the sanctum sanctorum at the Harimandar between the hours of 4 and 5 the next morning. The interval between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. is utilized for cleaning the premises and washing and scrubbing the floor of the Harimandar.

The control of the Harimandar passed into the hands of the schismatic sect of the Minas after Guru Hargobind, who had succeeded Guru Arjan in the spiritual line, left Amritsar (Guru Chakk) in 1635 to settle at Kiratpur in the Sivalik hills. First Baba Miharban of the sect and then his son Hariji managed the shrine, the latter having had a long tenure of about 57 years from 18 January 1639 to 17 April 1696.It was during his stewardship that Guru Tcgh Bahadur, Nanak IX, was barred entry into the Harimandar at the time of hisvisitto Amritsarin 1664.

Soon after the inauguration of the Khalsa in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh, on a request from the Amritsar sangat, sent Bhai Mani Singh (d. 1737) accompanied by Bhupal Singh, Gulzar Singh, Koer Singh Chandra, Dan Singh and Kirat Singh to take charge of the Harimandar and the Akal Takht on behalf of the Khalsa. Bhai Mani Singh remained the custodian throughout the rest of his life except for a brief interval spent in Delhi in the service of Mata Sundari, widow of Guru Gobind Singh. Harimandar being the source of Sikh life and faith, remained the main target during the period of persecution by the Mughal rulers and by Afghan invaders from across the northwest frontier during the eighteenth century.

In March April 1709, the governor of Lahore set up a police post at Amritsar and sent an army contingent to suppress the Sikhs.Yet they thronged the shrine, especially on festival occasions such as Baisakhi and Diwali. This continued even after the arrest and execution in 1716 of Banda Singh along with a large number of Sikhs. At the Diwali of 1723, the holy premises were the scene of a conflict between the factions of the Sikhs, Tatt Khalsa, the puritans, and Bandais, who claimed Banda Singh to be their mentor. An open clash was, however, averted at the intervention of Bhai Mani Singh who suggested seeking, in settling the dispute, the guidance of the Guru.

Two pieces of paper with the Khalsa salutation "VahiguruJi Ki Fateh" written on one and the Bandai salutation "Fateh Darshan," an innovation introduced by Banda Singh, on the other were set afloat in the holy tank from steps behind the Harimandar. The slip with "Vahiguru Ji Ki Fateh" inscribed on it kept floating while the other sank in water. This was interpreted to be a verdict in favour of the Tatt Khalsa which most of the Bandais then joined.

The Harimandar regained the bustle and glory of the days of Guru Hargobind as Zakariya Khan, the Mughal governor of Lahore, admitting how his unrelenting campaign against the Sikhs had failed to subdue them, made peace with them in 1733, offering them a large jdgir and conferring the title of Nawab upon their leader, Kapur Singh of Faizullapur, thus opening the way for them to come out of their hiding places and station themselves at Amritsar.With the abrogation of the accord in 1735, Sikhs were driven back into their former haunts. Bhai Mani Singh, custodian of the shrine, was captured and executed in 1737. Amritsar was occupied.

Masse Khan, a Rarighar Rajput landlord of Mandiala, who was appointed kotwal or police commissioner of the town, befouled the sarovarand converted the Harimandar into an asylum for his dancing girls. To avenge the sacrilege, two Sikhs, Bhai Matab Singh of Mirarikot and Bhai Sukkha Singh of Man Kambo, setting out from their desert resort in Rajasthan, came to Amritsar, entered the Harimandar in disguise, killed Masse Khan, and rode back to safety.This occurred on 11 August 1740. In 1746, Lakhpat Rai, a Lahore official, had the pool surrounding the Harimandar levelled up with sand.

The Sikhs got the chance of having it cleared up three years later when the governor of Lahore, Mu`in ulMulk, nicknamed Mir Mannu, slackened military operations against them to enlist their help in his expedition against Multan. After Mir Mannu`s death in November 1753, Sikhs had freer access to the Harimandar. Delhi government had lost control over the Punjab and Sikhs were establishing their sway through the rdkhi system introduced by different mists or commands of the Dal Khalsa, Amritsar falling within the area held by Sardar Hari Singh of the Bharigi misl.

In 1757, the Afghan invader Ahmad Shah Durrani, returning from Delhi with his spoils, attacked Amritsar, desecrated the Harimandar and defiled the tank casting into it the waste and entrails of slaughtered cows.Sikhs wrested control of the shrine as Baba Dip Singh of the Shahid misl led a band of warriors into Amritsar, himself falling fighting valiantly (11 November 1757), and had the holy tank cleaned by Afghan soldiers captured during their campaign undertaken jointly with Adina Beg, thefaujddr ofJalandhar Doab, and the Marathas against Ahmad Shah`s son. Prince Taimur, and his deputy Jahan Khan.

In 1762, during his sixth invasion of India, Ahmad Shah Durrani blew up the Harimandar with gunpowder.The Sikhs, however, rallied to return to Amritsar and celebrated there the festival of Diwali a few months later.After the conquest of Sirhind in January 1764, Jassa Singh Ahluvalia, commander of Dal Khalsa, federated army of the Sikh misis, gave a call for collecting funds for the reconstruction of the Harimandar. The misl Sardars set aside part of the booty for this purpose. Money so raised was deposited with the bankers of Amritsar, and Bhai Des Raj of the village ofSurSingh was entrusted with the supervision of the work and given a special seal, Guru di Mohar, to collect more funds.

Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh of the village ofLiI, stationed at Akal Buriga to look after the ruined Darbar Sahib (Harimandar), turned out with his small contingent of 30 Niharigs to challenge the Durrani who had reached Amritsar on 1 December 1764 marching down unchecked during his seventh invasion.Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh and his comradesinarms fought gallantly and fell to a man. With Ahmad Shah getting on in years and showing signs of exhaustion, Sikh misl leaders started occupying territory and ruling within their domains as autonomous chiefs, Amritsar and the holy Harimandar remaining their common rendezvous and cherished place of pilgrimage.

Several mislchiefs made endowments in land for the maintenance of the shrine and of the Guru ka Larigar attached to it. They also constructed around the tank their bungdsor rest houses to stay in during their visits to the Harimandar. Some of the bungds became in due course the centres of religious and secular instruction.The reconstruction of the Harimandar, the causeway and Darshani Deorhi, the main gateway, was completed by 1776 and the renovation of the terrace around the pool by 1784. The hanskor canal bringing water from the River Ravi to fill the Harimandar tank had been dug by 1781 under the supervision of two Udasi mahants, Pritam Das and Santokh Das.

The Harimandar assumed its present appearance during the reign of the Sikh sovereign Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839). While its basic design barring minor alterations and architectural embellishments remained the same as before, decorative art work on the walls and ceiling was carried out during this period.The source of its architecture cannot be related to any particular prototype, its elements lying in different contemporary or preceding architectural practices prevalent in the country.

Broadly speaking, it may be called a mixture of the Mughal and Rajput models. What is most striking to the eye of a casual visitor as well as that of a connoisseur is the beauty of the Harimandar`s superb setting and the richness of detail. The main building, a 12.25 metre square twostoreyed domed edifice, stands on a 19.7 metre s`quare platform in the middle of the almost square amritsaror amrifsarovar (the Pool of Nectar), 154.5 X 148.5 metre in expanse and 5.1 metre deep, and connected to northwestern bank, by a 60metre causeway bridge ending at a magnificent gateway called DarshanT DeorhT.

On the opposite side is added to the square sanctum sanctorum a halfhexagonal appendage sheltering Har ki Pauri, holy steps, a flight of steps leading to the waters of the tank.The total ground plan of the Harimandar is thus a hexasquarc. This leaves a 3.7 metre wide circumambulate ry passage, uncovered on three sides and running through the semihexagonal appendage on the fourth. The building is divided into two floors. The ground floor has a central square where the Guru Granth Sahib is seated.

The first floor is formed by an allround gallery spreading over the space between the inner square and the outer walls and approached by stairs built on either side of the back opening leading to Har ki Pauri.While the facade on the ground floor is lined with white marble worked with richly decorated panels and pilasters, the whole exterior above it is covered with gilded plates of copper conferring upon the edifice the popular name of Golden Temple. Tlic four dooropenings at the ground floor have multifoil arches, their shutters covered with goldleafed copper sheets bearing beautiful embossed designs of flowers and birds and scenic motifs.

The first floor facade is punctuated by numerous windows, some plain rectangles marked off by pilasters and top arches, others in the form of balconies thrownout on carved brackets. An allround wide awning at the roof level separates the decorated masonry on the top from the floors below.A low, fluted, scmispherical dome topped by a tall ornamental pinnacle and an umbrellashaped fmial covers the central square. Arched copings on the sides with small solid domes and corner cupolas adorn the central dome.There are domed kiosks at the corners and smaller cupolas on the parapet.

The beauty of the interior is still more bewitching. Its richly ornamented floral designs, cither painted in tempera, embossed in metal or inset in marble are a warm expression of the intense religious emotion of the Sikh faith captured in visual designs.Arabesques with floral designs in fine filigree and enamel work decorate the walls and the ceiling of the central hall. Its arches are ornamented with verses from the Guru Granth Sahib reproduced in letters of gold.There also are decorative inlaid figures and floral designs studded at places with semiprecious stones and pieces of reflecting glass in stucco.

Hundreds of frescoes depicting floral patterns interspersed with animal motifs also decorate the walls. Walls along the stairs abound in some rare murals, among them a portrait of Guru Gobind Singh on horseback out on a falconry excursion.The marbled causeway is a bridge 60 metre long and 6.36 metres wide having 52 large and small spans called svargdvdns (lit. doors of heaven) formed by trefoil arches and rectangular pillars including those underneath the Harimandar itself. A special feature of the bridge is the construction of the inner narrower aqueducts connecting the svargavans on both sides of the bridge

.Darshani Deorhi at the end of the bridge is built within the sarovar.It is a twostoreyed building divided by the pathway to the Harimandar into two wings, identical in architectural design though with slightly differing measurements. The ground floor houses some management offices and the first floor contains the toshdkhdnd, the temple treasury. The heavy portal, 3x2.4 metres, of 15 centimetres thick shisham {Dalbergia sissoo) wood is covered with silver sheets ornamented with panels inlaid with artistic ivory work.Above the gate on either facade is a projected balcony, and above it is a bukhdrchd (a rectangular kiosk with an elongated dome).

The composite management of the Darbar Sahib (the Harimandar and the related shrines) by the misi chiefs was taken over by Maharaja Ranjit Singh who claimed exclusive right to `serve` and manage it.He appointed Desa Singh Majithia and later his son, Lahina Singh MajilhTa, to manage the shrines. Bhai Surat Singh, of Chiniot, was appointed manager of the Darbar Sahib and of the jdgzrs or land grants endowed for its maintenance.Surat Singh`s son, Giani Sant Singh, who replaced his father as manager in 1806, was additionally charged with the ornamentation of the building with funds provided by the Maharaja and princes and chiefs.After Giani Sam Singh`s death in 1832, his son Bhai Gurmnkh Singh was appointed to this duty.

The position became hereditary in the family and it was Bhai Gurmukh Singh`s eldest son, Giani Parduman Singh who, after a brief period in exile following the arrest and assassination of his father in 1843, was appointed to it.The importance of the Harimandar in the religious and political life of the Punjab was not lost on the British, who upon their conquest of the Punjab in 1849 assumed the authority, like their predecessors, to the right the former rulers had exercised in con trolling the Darbar Sahib. At the suggestion of Lahina Singh Majithia, who had retired to Bcnaras in January 1848, Sardar Jodh Singh, an Extra Assistant Commissioner from the Punjab, was appointed to manage the Darbar Sahib.

The British authority had issued in 1847 public instructions mindful of religious scruples of the Sikhs. Also, a General Committee composed of some prominent Sikhs, with Raja Tcj Singh as president was appointed to oversee the affairs of the Temple.In one sense Jodh Singh was the executive officer of the Committee. He was the dominant power. For a decade following the annexation in 1849 the British government bore a direct hand in the management of the Darbar Sahib. After the incidents of 1857, the government appointed a committee of Sikh nobles (1859) to nominate a sarbardh (superintendent or manager) for the Golden Temple.

The appointment was subject to the approval of the deputy commissioner ofAmritsar. This arrangement continued till 1920 notwithstanding the fact that the Government of India had passed an Act in 1863: "An act to enable the Government to divest itself of the management of religious endowments."This Act required local governments to appoint trustees to whom powers and responsibilities for the management of religious institutions would be transferred and who would thereafter be autonomously selfperpetuating.In the case of Sikh shrines in Amritsar, collectively known as the Darbar Sahib, the Punjab Government, virtually ignored the Government of India legislation.

A meeting of the Sikh elite called by the deputy commissioner ofAmritsar was held at the koihi (bungalow) of Raja Tej Singh from 5 to 12 September 1859.Sardar Shamshcr Singh Sandharivalia, Bhal` Parduman Singh, Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, Sardar Mahtab Singh Majithia, Rai Mul Singh, Rai Sahib Bachittar Singh, Sardar Jaimal Singh Khandalvala, Sardar Mangal Singh Ramgarhia, Sardar Hardit Singh Bharana, Sardar Lal Singh Talvandivala, and Sardar Mihari Singh Bhagovalia drew up a manual called DasiiirulAmal (managerial procedure) "for settlement of disputes among pujdns (priests) and rabdbis (choristers), etc. and for the future management of Darbar Sahib at Sri AmritsarJi.

" It laid down shares of different categories of priests and choristers in the income from offerings subject to good conduct and behaviour of the officiants. From 1849 to 1859, the government had virtually maintained a direct management.The first officially nominated sarbardh was Jodh Singh who also as part of his duty handled all cases relating to the Temple and could fine pujdns for misconduct and exclude them from the Temple precincts for up to six months. His immediate successors in the line were Sardar Mangal Singh RamgarhTa, Honorary Magistrate, Amritsar, and Risaldar Major Man Singh.

Members of the first General Committee were Raja Tej Singh; Sardar Shamshcr Singh Sandharivalia; Raja Surat Singh MajithTa; Sardar Bhagvan Singh, son of Jamadar Khushal Singh; Bhai Parduman Singh GianT, Honorary Magistrate, Amritsar; General Gulab Singh Bhagovalia; Sardar Jaimal Singh Khundah; Sardar Sardul Singh Man; Rai Mul Singh, Honorary Magistrate, Lahore; and Sardar Raja Singh Man.In 1883, the Committe included Raja Harbaris Singh of Sheikh upura; Raja Sahib Dial Singh K.C.S.L, of Kishankot; Sardar Ajit Singh, Honorary Assistant Commissioner of Atari; Sardar Thakur Singh Sandharivalia, Extra Assistant Commissioner; Captain Gulab Singh Atari, Honorary Magistrate, Amritsar; Sardar Arjan Singh Chahalvala; Rai Kalyan Singh, Honorary Magistrate, Amritsar; Sardar Altar Singh ofBhadaur and Sardar Jagat Singh, representative of the Maharaja of IInd.

Translation of Administration Paper for the Golden Temple, dated 12 September 1859 Administration Paper for the settlement of dispute among priests, choristers, etc., and for the future management of the internal affairs of the Sikh Temple at Amritsar drawn up at the suggestion of and in consultation with Raja Tej Singh, Sardar Shamsher Singh Sandharivalia, Sardar Dyal Singh, Sardar Mahtab Singh Majilhia, SardarJaimal Singh, Bhai Parduman Singh, Sardar Lal Singh, Rai Mul Singh, Sardar Mangal Singh RamgarhTa, Sardar Hardit Singh Bharana, Bhai Lahina Singh, Jodh Singh, Bava Sundar Singh and signed in the presence of the entire gentry of Amritsar district together with pujdns of each shrine in the Darbar Sahib (complex) assembled in a general meeting by the permission of Mr Frederic Cooper, Deputy Commissioner, District Amritsar, with the approval of His Honour the LieutenantGovernor of the Punjab.

Preamble It is wellknown that a dispute has been going on for some years among the pujdns, rdgis and rabdbis of Darbar Sahib concerning the distribution of the votive offerings.The Deputy Commissioner in view of regard and respect for the holy shrine Sri Darbar Sahib, the Gurdwara of the Singhs of the entire Khalsa Jlo, and in order to settle the ongoing dispute as well as to make proper arrangements to avoid such disputes in future, had addressed letters to each of us on our suggestion and advice, and also forwarded judicial documents based on the enquiry and findings conducted in connection with the present case to the Raja Sahib and Sardar Shamsher Singh.

So in response thereto all of us, considering it our duty to serve for the management of the Gurdwara Sahib, assembled at the residence of Raja Tej Singh. We have perused all the court papers.We have also enquired orally from the parties concerned and consulted clerical record of Darbar Sahib. It is clear that the sole proprietor of this sacred institution for ever is Guru Ram Das: no other person has any title to proprietorship. The claim to the service of the said place or cheldship belongs equally to the entire Khalsa and the holy congregation.

The pujdns and others receive their wages from the offerings fixed according to their appointed dues for service performed. First Grade The granlhls of the Temple whose traditional duty is to attend upon Guru Granth Sahib. They are entitled to receive the proceeds of their respective ^a^mgranted by government. They may also keep any personal offerings which may be made to them, exclusive of their share in the general contributions on the floor of the shrine.It is arranged also that when one of the granthis who have only a lifegrant shall die, some provision out of the offerings and out of the perpetuity tenure of the original grantee shall be made; and it is considered that some assistance out of the lapsed tenure of the old jdgir, as is the old custom, would be appropriate.

Second Grade The pujdns of the temple, whose duties are to arrange for the security of the offerings, compilation of the account of receipts and expenditure and related matters concerning Darbar Sahib traditionally assigned to them by their superior officer.Their rank is above that of the rabdbis and rdgis for the reason that the latter have no concern with the above important offices.The pujdns receive a certain fixed allowance out of the aggregate collections credited to the treasury of Darbar Sahib in perpetuity from generation to generation.

There are six shares in the name of the following six persons and devolving upon their descendants: 1. Man Singh, whose son isJodh Singh, etc. one share. 2. Nihal Singh, whose sons are Ram Singh, etc. and Kirpa Singhone share. 3. Khushal Singh, whose sons are Gulab Singh, and Kahn Singh, etc. one share. 4. Sahaj Singh, whose sons are JIt Singh, Bhag Singh, Shcr Singh and Chet Singh one share. 5. Hari Singh (arddsia), whose sons are Dcva Singh, Shcr Singh, Ganga Singh and Ratan Singh one share. 6.

Dyal Singh Dhupia, whose son is Jai Singh, etc. one share. An allowance of Rs 27/ at Rs 4.5 for each share is fixed for these six shareholders. Third Grade The ragis and rabdbis or choristers serve as hymn singers in the Darbar Sahib.They are divided into 15 chaunkisor choral groups as per the following detail. The Ragis 1. Bhai Man Singh, Dcva Singh 2. Misra Singh 3. Bhai Lahina Singh 4. Ratan Singh, Sur Das 5. Ganda Singh, etc. 6. Agya Singh 7. Bhai Bishan Singh (at night) 8. Bhai Budh Singh, etc. (at night) The RababTs 1. Bhai Bosna, etc. 2. Bhai Kahna, etc. 3. Bhai Lala, Sardari 4. Bhai Atara, etc. 5. Bhai Dittu 6. Bhai Amira,etc. 7. Hira Shikarpuria The chaunkis perform kirtan in Darbar Sahib daily during their respective fixed hours, and are paid out of cash offerings of Darbar Sahib (collectively) Rs 282 per month in perpetuity.

Fourth Grade The gongringer, the treasurer, the keykeeper, clerk and other miscellaneous officials all receive certain salaries from the temple collections in perpetuity for their subsistence. In addition are gardeners, pdlkibcarcrs and floorers, etc., who receive monthly pay from the collections. Their appointment and dismissal are controlled by the Sarbarah on report from the pujdns. Interlocutory Memo The following are the replies of the convocation to four queries propounded by the Deputy Commissioner:

1st What are the customary rights of the pujdns? Can they sell or mortgage their shares? Shall their next of kin automatically inherit them? or how shall it be disposed of? Reply Having carefully consulted the records of past years, and being well acquainted with traditional usage, it is clear that since sammat 1872, in the reign of the late Maharaja Ranjit Sihgh, up to sammat 1908, during 36 years, they received Rs 5463 as pay only during 14 years, sometime for two. three, four, eight or twelve months in a year; while during the other 24 years they got nothing at all. Therefore the Extra Assistant Commissioner, SardarJodh Sihgh, cast the average of the rate of payment they would be entitled to.

A result was attained, on 6 August 1852, that they were entitled to an equivalent of two months on the whole proceeds of the year`s offerings. It was confirmed on 31 August 1852 by Messrs Saunders and Deputy Commissioner, Denison, former presidents, that in future they should get at the rate of two months per year.Although they have been paid accordingly, they have always been displeased. In our opinion, the decision of the Deputy Commissioner, on the representation of SardarJodh Singh on 17 April 1857 that three months should be allowed and which was also acted upon accordingly, for the year sammat 1913, was highly equitable.

If that arrangement had been allowed to continue, there might have been no dispute. Because, if the collection of the jdgir amounting to Rs 304 allowed to the pujdns which formerly were cast into the treasury, be taken into consideration and divided among the six pujan shares, the value will be equivalent to five months` assets.The pujaris now desire and pray that they may receive exactly in accordance with the rules in force during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Sihgh. In our opinion too their petition for the future is justified.

The rules of Maharaja Ranjit Sihgh were, that after paying ten months` wages to the rabdbis and rdgis and other personnel and defraying the miscellaneous expenses of the Darbar Sahib, sometimes two months, sometimes four months, sometimes eight months, sometimes twelve months, according to the balance in hand, be paid to the pujdns: sometimes in case of deficit nothing at all (it has been shown that out of the 36 years, in 24 years they received nothing).In future therefore it is proper in accordance with the above that after payment to the rabdbis, rdgis and mendicants, and defrayment of three per cent towards miscellaneous expenses, the balance, whether more or less, be distributed among the six pujdn shareholders, as decided by the sarbardh according to their several shares, on condition of good behaviour.

Should ever possibly there remain in a whole year a balance after disbursement, it will be credited to the treasury of Guru Ram Das. On the question of right of sale or mortgage, no pujdn has a right or title to sell or mortgage his property in tlic six patfis. The rights would devolve on successive heirs on condition of good behaviour. In the case of death without a male heir, transfer may take place by gift, in the presence of the shareholders of the palfi, to a grandson on the female side, or to a chela on condition of his being a Hindu Sikh.

But should there be a flaw or imperfection in the deed of conveyance, the right shall be reserved to other shareholders.2nd Question What should be the sharewise rate of payment to rdgis and rabdbis out of the income of the Darbar Sahib consistent with ancient customary practice? Answer It is clear from official records of the Darbar Sahib and the schedule prepared by the court in respect of the previous years that these men have been receiving payment for ten months in a year. In our opinion too it is equitable that they be paid accordingly in perpetuity, after deduction of certain trifles according to traditional usage. They are to perform their functions of hymnsinging in Darbar Sahib daily at their appointed hours.

Fifteen days of absence only can be allowed, on report to the sarbardh, for special circumstances. But in case a rdgi or rabdbi goes to a rdjd or sarddrfor a period up to three months, he shall find his own substitutes, who shall remain until the return of the incumbent.3rd Question To whom should tlic account of the works and buildings of Sri Darbar Sahib be presented in future? Answer These duties had in the Maharaja Ranjit Singh`s reign been performed by Bhai Sant Singh and his descendants, and Bhai Parduman Singh, Ins grandson, now performs the duties honestly and faithfully. It is believed that lie will continue to be busy with the construction work with still greater zeal in future.

4th Question Can the temple affairs be peaceably conducted without the support of government or not? If they can be, how? If not, what are the causes? Answer In our opinion this is not possible without the officially appointed sarbarah, because without the sarbardh disputes will supervene among the pujans and rababis, etc.In the first place, in llic absence of the present supervisor there may be irregularities in the offerings. At the time of disbursement in the absence of a chief manager, distribution of dues will be impossible. In addition to this, the peaceful management of the temple and good repute of the government are closely allied.The sarbardh does not and will not in future have the slightest connection either now or hereafter with any religious question raised.

It seems proper that there should be some responsible authority to supervise certain works to keep an eye on bad characters, to keep the general peace and avoid disputes or wrangles and to ensure disbursement of dues in his own presence.It will however be requisite that an upright honourable and unprejudiced Sikh or Hindu should perform this duty. At present Sardar Jodh Singh, Extra Assistant Commissioner, possesses these qualities and runs the affairs very efficiently. After him the government may appoint a similarly qualified person.

In addition to the above decision, a general warning (in the spirit of Circular No.42, dated 8 April 1859, from Judicial Commissioner) is held out to all the pujdns, rdgis, rabdbis, etc., connected witli the Darbar Sahib, that persons connected with it should maintain the decorum enjoined by tradition, that none of them should enter the Darbar Sahib drunk and that they should refrain from tampering with the offerings on which condition alone will they be entitled to their payments.

In case of proved profligate conduct according to the terms of the circular quoted, the offender will not be entitled to his share. A Darogah on a salary of Rs 6 a month shall continue to be appointed as of old to guard the offerings at the shrine; he shall be changed every six months. Signed Frederic Cooper Deputy Commissioner, 12 September 1859, and other chiefs., citizens and priests of Akal Bunga, Shahid Bunga and Jhandd Bunga. After the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee assumed control in 1920 of the holy shrines at Amritsar, including the Harimandar, the Ak

References:

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2. Thakar Singh, Sri Gurdudre Darshan. Amritsar, 1923
3. Tara Singh, Sri Gur Tirath Sangrahi. Amritsar, n.d.
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5. Datta, V.N., Amritsar Past and Present. Amritsar, 1967
6. Madanjit Kaur, The Golden Temple : Past and Present. Amritsar, 1983
7. Palwant Singh, The Golden Temple. Delhi, 1988
8. Archer, W.G., Paintings of the Sikhs. London, 1966
9. Arshi, P.S., The Sikh Architecture. Delhi, 1986

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