The Adi Bir (the First) Bir (hand scribed volume) of the (Guru) Granth Sahib scribed by Bhai Gurdas under the direct supervision of Sri Guru Arjan in 1604. On the completion of the Bir Bhai Banno was sent to Lahore to have the holy volume bound.
Guru Arjan installed the Adi Bir in the Harimandar Sahib, Amritsar, on Bhadon Sudhi Ist Samat 1661. This Bir has come to be known as the Kartarpuri Bir as it is now in the custody the Sodhi family of Kartarpur. The Bir was sanctified during the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
The Bir Leaves Amritsar
Both tradition and historical texts agree that the the Adi Granth was shifted from Amritsar to Kartarpur when the family of the Sixth Guru took up residence in that city. It is accepted that the original Adi Granth remained with the family of Dhir Mall, the great grandson of the Guru, and his descendants at Kartarpur, even after the Gurus had shifted from there. It has remained in the custody of the Sodhis of Kartarpur. After Maharaja Ranjit Singh came to power, he procured the Granth for himself and kept it with him as a national treasure of the Sikhs.
Seized Along With Other Treasures Maharaja Duleep Singh
After the British conquest of the Punjab, the Bir passed into the hands of the Indian Government. Thereafter, the Bir became the subject of a civil suit and it was restored to the descendants of Dhir Mall.
So after leaving Amritsar, its custody was first with the Sodhis of Kartarpur, then with Ranjit Singh, and again with the Kartarpur family, this is an important piece of evidence. Because, the presence and recovery of a manuscript, document, or book from its natural and proper custody and environment is a relevant and weighty factor in showing its originality.
Claim of Originality Undisputed
We are not aware of any other copy of Adi Granth on behalf of which any claim of originality has ever been made. In India where there is an unfortunate tendency to make false claims about the presence of sacred places, scriptures, documents, manuscripts, etc., the singular absence of any claim of originality for any other Bir, is a very remarkabale fact to show that the authenticity of the Kartarpuri Bir has never been in doubt.
The Sodhi family has refused to part with the Bir in spite of the persistent efforts of the SGPC: Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee. As recently as August 2004 Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia of the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation applauded the appeal of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to the Sodhi family of Kartarpur to restore to the Sikh community the original Bir (Sri Adi Granth) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the 400th anniversary of whose compilation and first installation in Sri Harmandar Sahib was about to be celebrated all over the world on September 1, 2004, at Amritsar.
A Jagir was assigned to the holy Bir by Maharaja Ranjit Singh which is still held by the Sodhi family' today. Access to the Bir is rarely granted.
Authenticity of Kartarpuri Bir, By Daljit Singh, www.sikhcoalition.org
Tribune News Service Friday, 27 August 2004