CHANDIGARH: Not everything made in China can be sold in India or elsewhere, especially when the product is a Sikh holy book.
In another ‘sacrilege’, the holy book of the Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib, is now being published in China and made available online, prompting the Sikh clergy to issue a diktat to members of the community not to buy the books.
Not long ago, China-made kirpans (dagger) and Guru Nanak’s idols with ‘Chinese characteristics’ had flooded shops across Punjab, triggering a similar controversy.
Amritsar Police, on the complaint filed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) secretary Manjit Singh, has registered a case against US-based website sikhlink.com for hurting the religious sentiments of Sikhs by selling hard copies and online copies of holy books such as Guru Granth Sahib and Japji Sahib.
Only the SGPC is authorised to print and publish Guru Granth Sahib in Gurmukhi script.
While the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, Akal Takht has termed it an act of sacrilege and issued directions to the community not to purchase these copies in any form, the SGPC also plans to take up the matter with the Chinese envoy.
After receiving some e-mails in this regard from devotees based in the US and Canada, Akal Takht Jathedar issued the ban order, but admitted that he had not seen any China-made copy of the scripture.
On the homepage of sikhlink.com, there are two icons -- Japji Sahib (a sacred hymn) and Palki Sahib -- one can click on Japji Sahib and order the copy for free and on Palki Sahib to donate up to $220.
On top is a link, ‘free books’, that redirects the user to another website, sikhbookclub.com, where there are many religious books available in English, Hindi and Punjabi for downloading.
Besides Guru Granth Sahib, there are books on Guru Nanak, Guru Angad, Guru Ram Das, Guru Amar Das, Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Hargobind, Guru Harkrishan, Guru Tegh Bahadur, Guru Gobind Sahib and a dictionary about Guru Granth Sahib.
Sources in the SGPC claim that the e-mails received from the US and Canada state that a few persons, who contacted the website, were told that the Guru Granth Sahib would be delivered to them from China, as it was being published there.
They were given some web links of China.
SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said, “The case was registered, based on whatever information was provided to us by the Sikh devotees in the US and Canada. It needs to be investigated to get clarity on who is publishing and who is selling.”
Meanwhile, the SGPC is set to raise the matter at a diplomatic level.
“We will meet the Chinese Ambassador in Delhi and file a formal complaint, demanding a probe and details of the publisher,” Makkar said.
In the past, certain private publishing houses had been summoned to the Akal Takht for printing the scripture.
In 2007, rampant sale of Made-in-China Guru Nank idols at `100-`150 had prompted the Sikh clergy to issue directions to the community, to refrain from buying them.
Talking to Express, Prithpal Singh, co-ordinator of American Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee said, “We have heard about this publishing, but we do not know the exact details.
“This should not be done as The Guru Granth Sahib is a holy book which should be published under the control of the SGPC, as it has a set procedure and decorum.”
Akal Takht recently gave the go-ahead to publish the Guru Granth Sahib in the US and Canada.