Giani Iqbal Singh

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Jathedar Iqbal Singh

Giani Iqbal Singh is presently the acting Jathedar of Takhat Patna Sahib.

Charges of Polygamy

The charges of polygamy put Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar [head-priest], Patna Sahib, in a fix yesterday when the Jathedar, Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, announced that without gaining a divorce, a second marriage by a Sikh is a violation of the 'Sikh rehat maryada,' approved by the S.G.P.C. and [the] Akal Takht.

Jathedar Vedanti refused to accept the plea of the Jathedar, Patna Sahib, that polygamy was prevalent in the past and acceptable in Sikhism. Giani Iqbal Singh had pleaded that Maharaja Ranjit Singh who is called 'Singh Sahib' had more than one wife. He also quoted revered Sikh religious personalities having more than one wife to justify his second marriage.

Jathedar Vedanti said the matter of polygamy, in general, and in the case of the Jathedar, Patna Sahib, in particular, would be taken up in the next meeting of the Sikh clergy. He, however, clarified that Jathedar Iqbal Singh won't be invited in this meeting.

Giani Iqbal Singh, however, claimed that he had married a Jammu resident with the consent of his first wife and in-laws, which was endorsed by the sangat (Sikh community) from Patna Sahib. He claimed that his first wife had left the house without telling the family. Now she was living with her parents at Ganganagar (Rajasthan). 'Had they (first wife and in-laws) any objection, they would have moved the court.'


A piquant situation arose outside the Akal Takht secretariat here today when SGPC’s task force and some hardliners roughed up Jathedar of Takht Patna Sahib Giani Iqbal Singh and did not let him attend the meeting of the Sikh clergy.

After two hours of humiliation, the Jathedar of Patna Sahib left the Akal Takht complex in a huff. He announced that the task force and some supporters of Jathedar of Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti had not only insulted him but had denigrated the Takht Patna Sahib.

Some of the hardliners used extremely harsh language, speaking about the personal life of the Jathedar. One of the Sikh hardliner asked Giani Iqbal Singh to immediately step down as Jathedar because he failed to keep his own house in order. He also levelled serious charges of “moral turpitude” against him.

The Jathedar of Patna Sahib, who faces charges of bigamy, was not invited to the meeting. The meeting was held after a long time for Jathedar Vedanti had gone on a foreign trip. Jathedar Iqbal Singh has been in the web of controversies aimed at challenging the supremacy of Akal Takht.

Meanwhile, the meeting of the Sikh clergy accused Giani Iqbal Singh of misusing his authority as Jathedar. It said that the Akal Takht, being the temporal authority of the Sikhs, had the sole right to resolve the common Panthic matters. In a “Gurmatta”, the Sikh clergy said all other Takhts were also honourable and hence could take up the regional matters only.

In yet another setback to the Jathedar of Patna Sahib, the meeting described the controversy over Dasam Granth as unwarranted. The meeting, however, appealed to the the Sikh Sangat not to raise any controversy over the hymns of the Dasam Granth, being chanted at the time of “Amrit Sanchar”. They, however, warned Prof Darshan Singh, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht, not to raise any controversy against Dasam Granth, which is integral part of the Sikh history.

The Gurmatta also urged the Sikh Sangat to ignore the directives being issued by Giani Iqbal Singh as Jathedar Patna Sahib.

By passing this resolution, the Sikh clergy have imposed an undeclared ban on the entry of Giani Iqbal Singh in the meetings of Akal Takht.

President of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee Parmjit Singh Sarna has welcomed the decision of Akal Takht to ban the entry of Giani Iqbal Singh for creating division in Sikh Panth through his controversial directives. He said Giani Iqbal Singh should immediately resign as Jathedar on moral grounds because he was facing serious charges of bigamy.