Need to institutionalize scholarly efforts: Jathedar Akal Takht

Referring to understanding the institutional significance of Akal Takht, he said that theorization of the supreme instit...

Book Release: Essays on Akal Takht – Tradition, History, and Conceptual Appraisals

Plymouth, Michigan, Saturday, March 05, 2022 

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A dire need to foster scholarly effort among Sikhs was accentuated during the launch of new book Essays on Akal Takht – Tradition, History, and Conceptual Appraisals, edited by Amandeep Singh and published by Naad Pargaas USA. Attending the release ceremony of the book, Giani Harpreet Singh, Jathedar Akal Takht emphasized the importance of developing scholarship and the need to institutionalize efforts in research of Sikh studies. He mentioned that Sikhs have remained overwhelmingly involved in political debates and tensions, that has somewhere neglected the interests in scholarly domains among the members of the community.      

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The program was inaugurated by a welcome speech by Dilbag Singh, (President – Mata Tripta ji Gurdwara committee). He said that the Gurdwara committee has always been forthcoming in bolstering open academic discussions by conducting seminars and conferences that are pivotal for cultivating an intellectual environment among Sikhs. On behalf of the committee he expressed his gratitude to Giani Harpreet Singh for gracing the occasion with his presence.

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Discussing the contents of the book, Amandeep Singh said that the book is in continuation with his earlier work Akal Takht titled, Akal Takht: Revisiting Miri in Political Imagination, published in 2018. This book is a collection of most important essays that have been authored on Akal Takht, in the last century. These essays have been collected and compiled from diverse sources that are authored by Kapur Singh, Gurbhagat Singh, Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Bhupinder Singh and other renowned scholars in Sikh studies. Referring to understanding the institutional significance of Akal Takht, he said that theorization of the supreme institution of Sikhs is indispensable to interact in the modern world. It is the responsibility of Sikhs to initiate and foster an academic discourse on Akal Takht to overcome routine political behaviors that have overshadowed the spirit of the institution. He noted that it is perhaps time to look beyond the dualities of religion that many times is a source of political polarization. Comparing western modes of Secularism and Indian theory of Governance, he highlighted the concept of Dual Sovereignty, that renders a conceptual background to the idea of Akal Takht’s inauguration. He mentioned that both Miri (Temporality) and Piri (Spirituality) are independent domains that are neither divorced (as in Secular domain) nor married (as in Indian Theory of governance) in historical time. This relationship must be understood in meta-historical reference otherwise politics would continue to use religion for its own benefit or its vice versa, as was noticeable in Europe’s dark age and polarizing politics of concurrent times.

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Giving insights on the book, Prof Jagdish Singh, from Naad Pargaas Sri Amritsar, highlighted that the principle of divine pulsation is represented in the institution of Akal Takht. The Guru bestows history in the process of linear time with inter convertibility of Sabda Philosophy and Naam Rasa universality. He said that this interconvertibility cannot be achieved without realizing the paradoxical nature of experiencing reality and metaphysics that are represented in Miri and Piri and further institutionalized in Akal Takht and Harimandir Sahib.   He emphasized that it was imperative to approach Sikh philosophy in a serious academic environment while concentrating on understanding the convertibility of these domains. He gave specific examples of conceptual backgrounds and Sikh history to substantiate his claims.

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Harjot Kaur (Convener, Naad Pargaas USA), thanked Giani Harpreet Singh, for being part of the book release ceremony. She highlighted the pivotal role of specific domains of Sabda philosophy that Naad Pargaas has encouraged while cultivating literary interest among the members of the community. She also laid a theoretical map that helps to conceive the institutional structure to promote research based on Sabda Philosophy. She mentioned that if Naad Pargaas USA receives adequate support of the Sangat in terms of its funding, the organization envisions to develop a model research institute for future generations of Sikhs in the West and in Punjab.

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The program was concluded by the Word of Thanks from Raman Kaur (eminent member of the community), who appreciated the efforts of the Gurdwara Management committee and Naad Pargaas USA in organizing the seminar. Talking to the reports, she appealed  to the Sangat to donate if possible on a monthly basis through the website of Naad Pargaas USA, so that serious academic research can be funded adequately and consistently.  

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