Panch Khalsa Diwan

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Panch Khalsa Diwan (Bhasaurias, Babu Teja Singh Bhasauria Singh Sabha) was originated in 1893. This was the term given to the ‘Babu Teja Singh Bhasauria Singh Sabha’, founded at the village of Bhasaur by one Teja Singh in 1893. Teja Singh ‘Bhasauria’ was a retired government employee during the times of the British Raj. He can be considered as being an ultra - Tat Khalsa Singh Sabhia. Teja Singh Bhasauria felt that the Tat Khalsa Singh Sabhai movement was not radical enough in their reforms of Sikhism. Bhasurias are followers of Teja Singh bhasuria.

Doctrines/Principles

Some of his proposed changes however did appeal to the Tat Khalsa Singh Sabhias. For instance Teja Singh Bhasauria advocated:

1. Only Khalsa Sikhs should be considered Sikhs.
2. Non-Khalsa Sikhs were not Sikhs.
3. All Khalsa Sikhs should adopt cast designations of ‘Got’ (clan name) and adopt as surname ‘Singh’ for males and ‘Kaur’ for females.
4. Females should be equally initiated into the Khalsa - a belief contrary to ancient Sikh Rehitnamas such as of Chaupa Singh.
5. Khalsa women were ‘equal’ to male Khalsa and thus could participate as the Panj Piyareh (the 5 Beloved Ones who may initiate new Khalsa Sikhs)
6. 5k’s should be made compulsory for all Khalsa

However, Teja Singh Bhasauria also proposed more radical changes, which did not sit well with his counterparts of the Tat Khalsa Singh Sabhia such as:

1. All women should wear a ‘Keski’ (small turban)
2. In addition to the 4 major taboos of the Khalsa, Teja Singh advocated a fifth - non-Khalsa Sikhs may not eat alongside Khalsa Sikhs
3. Dasam Guru Durbar was not Sikh scripture
4. Teja Singh altered the Sikh ‘Ardas’ (formal invocation) and wished to replace the phrase ‘Prathm Bhagauti Simar Keh’ for he believed ‘Bhagauti’ referred to the Hindu Goddess of the same name, rather than the double-edged sword
5. All non-Sikh/Hindu festivals, such as ‘Lohri’, ‘Rakhsha Bandan’, ‘Dussera’, ‘Navratri’, etc., should be excluded from Sikh celebrations
6. The removal of the ‘Raagmala’ (last page of Adi Guru Durbar), non-Sikh Gurbani of Bhagats (saints) and ‘Bhatts’ (bards), from Adi Guru Durbar.

Criticise Namdev

In particular, Teja Singh Bhasauria targeted Bhagat Namdev’s work for according to his views this was not Sikh, but Hindu. One particular ‘Shabad’ (ballad) he hated occurs in 'Raag Bhairo'.

In this Shabad, Bhagat Namdev actually spoke of himself as ‘Hindu’ and spoke of how Vishnu mounted on the winged 'Grur' (also known as Garuda), and came to save him from a tyrannical Muslim king.

view Namdev and Tughlaq

Maha Parshad

Teja Singh Bhasauria also wished to substitute the term ‘Karah Parshad’ (term used to refer to the sanctified pudding made with flour, sugar and water), with that of ‘Maha Parshad’.

He felt that this change was justified and substantiated by works of Bhai Gurdas and claimed that ‘Maha Parshad’ was being incorrectly utilized to refer to ‘Chatka’ meat. Indeed, this belief has trickled down and some Sikhs today incorrectly believe that the term ‘Maha Parshad’ does indeed refer to ‘Karah Parshad’.

In 1911, Teja Singh Bhasauria produced a ‘Rehitnama’ (code of conduct) for his followers entitled ‘The Khalsa Rehit Parkash’. Baba Gurbachan Singh Khalsa ‘Bhindrawaley’ states that the British gave Teja Singh Bhasauria a printing press, which he utilized to produce copies of Adi Guru Durbar. However, these copies lacked the portions that Teja Singh objected to.

Criticism

This despicable act earned him the rancor of the Sanatan and Tat Khalsa Singh Sabhia Sikhs. In 1928, the SGPC themselves excommunicated Teja Singh Bhasauria from the Sikh faith. Baba Santa Singh, the present head of the Akali Nihangs made the following comment with regards to Teja Singh Bhasauria and the modern remnants of his legacy, the Akhand Kirtani Jatha

‘These ‘Bhasuria’ (followers of Teja Singh Bhasauria), who now are called ‘Akhand Kirtania’. There was a person called Teja Singh Bhasauria. Bhasaur village - if we come from Malerkotla to Ludihana is there on one side. There he built his Gurdwara. He adorned his turban like us (ie. like the Akali Nihangs). What is proper or improper conduct (meaning made his own rules) - he initiated people his own way. Boys or girls. He would have two Singhs put their lips to initiate’s ears another Singh to initiate’s lips and chant “Vah Guru Vah Guru”. What were they doing? They say, “We are putting in them, Vah Guru”. These are them --- He Teja Singh cut out ‘Raagmala’, excluded ‘Bhagta Bani’, instead of, ‘Pritham Bhagauti Simar Keh’, he began to use, ‘Pritham Satnam Simar Keh Guru Nanak Lee Dhiaeh’. All this he did, Teja Singh Bhasuria, now they call themselves ‘Akhand Kirtania’. That Randhir Singh was from Narangwal (a village near Ludhiana). I know all this. I lived near them in Ludhiana. Their traditions are some other (meaning they have no lineage). Their traditions are distinct from Sikh traditions.------ What deeds haven’t these traitors done this is the truth. They denied scripture, criticised scripture. Such are their evil deeds.’ Akali Nihang Baba Santa Singh, transcript of interview on 27-10-1999


The sentiments expressed above by Akali Nihang Baba Santa Singh are mild in comparison to what he may state on other occasions with regards to the Akhand Kirtani Jatha , or Teja Singh Bhasauria.

Indeed many Akali Nihangs and Nirmala Sikhs of the 'Samparda Bhindra' (popularly known as ‘Dam Dami Taksal’) also looked upon Teja Singh Bhasauria as an agent of the British Raj.

The elderly Samparda Bhindra preacher, Giani Gurdev Singh comments: ‘The English had very clever people. In their eyes, only the Sikhs could rise up [against the British authorities]. If anyone can cause trouble or rebel, [they thought], then the Sikhs can overthrow our Raj. Even though they had on all fronts, established their fierce authority, their laws were very harsh. Even then they tried to buy of some people from amongst the Sikhs - so as they could start off such a thing which would cause splits in the Sikh nation. They [British] first contacted Teja Singh Bhasauria. They gave him money to open, at that time a girl’s school, and then a printing press. At that time, no one possessed that much money but they had the backing of the government then ……. That is why he started this - that ‘Raagmala’ is not Sikh scripture.’ Giani Gurdev Singh, transcript of interview on October 2001

Death of Teja Singh

In his lifetime, the infamous Teja Singh Bhasauria never came before the Akal Takht, and died in ignominy. On May 3rd 2001, his grandson Manmohan Singh Sidhu and his wife Balwinder Kaur, appeared before the Akal Takht on behalf of ‘Babu’ Teja Singh and his wife Niranjan Kaur. They were then declared ‘Tankhias’ (apostates) and ordered to perform penance of one reading of Adi Guru Durbar, and offer ‘Karah Parshad’ to the value of 101 Rs. On completion of the penance, an ‘Ardas’ was done was done at Akal Takht, and the late Teja Singh Bhasauria and his wife were once more inducted into Sikhism by S.G.P.C.

Kala Afghana View

It has to be noted here that at present one Sikh scholar residing in the USA named Kala Afghana, though ardent detractor of Akhand Kirtani Jatha, on methodical analysis of Bhai Randhir Singh’s works has rightly concluded that Randhir Singh was full of irrational logic and superstition. In addition, Kala also suggests that in many ways Randhir Singh was heading down the same ultra anti-Hindu, idealistic Khalsa utopian road as Teja Singh Bhasauria. Kala Afghana’s super-radical ideas, revolving mainly around the modern S.G.P.C.-sanctioned version of Adi Guru Durbar can be considered even more radical than Teja Singh Bhasauria’s. Against all reason, logic and rationale, Kala wishes to dissociate anything with Hindu ‘taint’ from Sikhism. In advocating such a change, he desires for a complete overhaul of Sikhism and with the support of a good number of modern radical Sikh scholars has challenged the authority of the corrupt S.G.P.C. As a result of his actions, Kala was excommunicated from the Sikh faith by the S.G.P.C. in 2003. For attacking the authenticity of Dasam Guru Durbar and the Khalsa initiation rites, this modern day Teja Singh Bhasauria has also incurred the wrath of the Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa.


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