Akhand Kirtani Jatha

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The Akhand Kirtani Jatha (or AKJ, also known as Bhai Randhir Singh da Jatha[1] or Waheguru Singhs) is a jatha (collective group) of Sikhs. The AKJ are a fundamentalist[1] group within Sikhism, holding an interpretation of the Sikh Rehat Maryada (Sikh Code of Conduct) different from that of the Sikh mainstream. It emerged around 1930, based on the movement initiated by Randhir Singh (d. 1961) in the context of the Indian independence movement in the first half of the 20th century.[1][2][3]

Akhand Kirtani Jatha believe that "'all praise must be to the Guru Granth Sahib and God and there is absolutely no need for any respect for a living sant' but are themselves criticised for paying glowing tributes to Bhai Randir Singh 'just like a Sant'".[4]

History[edit]

Randhir Singh

Randhir Singh (1878–1961) was a Jat from Ludhiana who was imprisoned by the British authorities. His followers were known as the Bhai Randhir Singh da Jatha. The Akhand Kirtani Jatha was a group within this movement in the 1970s, headed by Amarjit Kaur, whose husband was killed fighting the Nirankaris in Amritsar in 1978.[5]

No estimates on the number of adherents is known[citation needed]. Outside of Amritsar, Punjab, the AJK have a chapter in Coventry, UK.[1] The AJK participated in a convention in Slough, Berkshire in 1987.[6]

The AJK in turn gave rise to an extremist[citation needed] offshoot[citation needed] known as the Babbar Khalsa who were active in assassinations and religious violence against the Nirankaris during the 1980s[citation needed]. The AKJ appears as a group of the Sikh diaspora involved in the Khalistan movement in the 1980s.[citation needed]

Liturgy[edit]

AKJ differs from mainstream Sikhism in their interpretation of one of The Five Ks of Sikhism: instead of accepting the kes or "uncut hair", they interpret the command as referring to keski, a small turban, which they maintain must be worn by Sikhs of both sexes.[1]

In Bhogal's description of beliefs and practices of the AKJ, he noted some of the group's beliefs and said "In such beliefs the group reject the general code of conduct known as the Sikh Rahit Marayada of the S.G.P.C. [...], and produced their own called rahit-bibek (bibek means discrimination, discernment, insight)."[1][7]

Bhogal also noted that "They also believe in a different Khalsa initiation ceremony, wherein the five beloved ones, or five Gursikhs place their right hand on the neophyte's head and meditatively repeat the mantra 'Vahiguru', revolving around the innitiate for five or so minutes."[1]

The Jatha's devotional singing programmes include all-night Rain sabai and Kirtan Darbars which usually last around 6 hours. The kirtan is usually sung with basic musical tunes as the main emphasis of the kirtans is on the Guru's Word and repeating the Gurmantar (Guru's Mantra) of Waheguru with great fervour when prompted to repeat the Lord's Name in the sacred hymns being sung. Jatha members never eat meat or eggs, and the AKJ argues strongly that eating any form of flesh is forbidden in the AKJ rahit-bibek.[1][8][9]

Raagmala is a composition appended to Sri Guru Granth Sahib, appearing after the "Mundaavni" (epilogue or "closing seal"). The Jatha do not accept the Raagmala and do not read it when concluding a scripture-reading.[1]

Bhogal noted that this is one of the areas in which the AKJ rejects the "Sikh Rehat Maryada of the SGPC"[1][7][10][11] interpretation.[1]

Vegetarianism[edit]

Further information: Diet in Sikhism

The AKJ have their own interpretation of the Sikh prohibition against "Kutha meat". They hold that this term means "slaughtered animal" or "killed animal", and thus that eating any meat whatsoever is a transgression.[8][9] The Sikh Rehat Maryada[12][13] and Sikh scholars[14] define Kutthaa as meat "slaughtered in the Muslim way" (Halaal meat),[15][16][17] and as any "ritually slaughtered" meat (Halal, Kosher, Hindu Bali, others). The Sikh Rahit Maryada[1][12] doesn't accept the eating of ritually slaughtered meat, and the Akhand Kirtani Jatha rejects the eating of any meat.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Bhogal, Balbinder. "Akhand Kirtani Jatha". In E. Shaw. Overview of World Religions. Division of Religion and Philosophy University of Cumbria. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "The Multifarious Faces of Sihkism Throughout History". Sarbloh.info. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "Akhand Kirtani Jatha (Sikh religious group) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  4. ^ Nesbitt, Eleanor (25 Jul 2005). "Ten – Young British Sikhs and Religious Devotion". In Anna King (Editor), John Brockington (Editor). The Intimate Other: Love Divine in Indic Religious (Hardcover). Orient Longman. p. 328. ISBN 978-81-250-2801-7. 
  5. ^ J. S. Grewal, The Sikhs of the Punjab, Cambridge University Press, 1998, ISBN 978-0-521-63764-0 p. 216. Satyapal Dang, Ravi M. Bakaya, Terrorism in Punjab, 2000, ISBN 978-81-212-0659-4, p. 11.
  6. ^ Harry Goulbourne, Ethnicity and Nationalism in Post-Imperial Britain, Cambridge University Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-521-12435-5, p. 160
  7. ^ a b Haynes, Jeffrey (30 Jun 2008). "19". Routledge handbook of religion and politics (1st ed.). Routledge. p. 316. ISBN 0-415-41455-5. Retrieved 17 December 2009. 
  8. ^ a b "Tapoban.org". Tapoban.org. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  9. ^ a b "Kuthha and Sikhism". Fort:Panth Khalsa. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  10. ^ Singh, Nirmal (2008). "10". Searches In Sikhism: thought, understanding, observance. New Dehli: Hemkunt Publishers. pp. 184 onwards. ISBN 978-81-7010-367-7. OCLC 320246878. Retrieved 17 December 2009. 
  11. ^ Kapoor, Sukhbir Singh; Mohinder Kaur Kapoor (2008). "Introduction". The Making of the Sikh Rehatnamas. New Delhi, India: Hemkunt Publishers. p. 9. ISBN 978-81-7010-370-7. Retrieved 17 December 2009. 
  12. ^ a b "Sikh Reht Maryada, The Definition of Sikh, Sikh Conduct & Conventions, Sikh Religion Living, India". www.sgpc.net. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  13. ^ Singh, Randip; Aman Singh; Narayanjot Kaur (2006-05-24). "Fools Who Wrangle Over Flesh". India: www.sikhphilosophy.net. p. 1. Retrieved 16 December 2009. 
  14. ^ Dr. S.S. Kapoor; Mohinder Kaur Kapoor (2008). "4". The Making of the Sikh Rehatnamas. Hemkunt Publishers. p. 43. ISBN 978-81-7010-370-7. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 
  15. ^ Punjabi-English Dictionary, Punjabi University, Dept. of Punjabi Lexicography, Published Dec. 1994. Kuttha: meat of animal or fowl slaughtered slowly as prescribed by Islamic law.
  16. ^ Singha, Harbhajan; Kaur, Satwant (2005). Sikhism: A Complete Introduction. New Delhi: Hemkunt Press. p. 113. ISBN 81-7010-301-0. .
  17. ^ Singh, I.J. Sikhs and Sikhism: A View With A Bias. New Delhi: Manohar. p. 72. ISBN 9788173040580. 

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