The Damdami Taksal (Punjabi: ਦਮਦਮੀ ਟਕਸਾਲ; [Damadamī ṭakasāl]) is a Sikh educational organization in India. Its headquarters are located in the town of Chowk Mehta, approximately 25 miles north of the city of Amritsar.
In 1706, after the Battle of Muktsar, Guru Gobind Singh camped at Sabo Ki Talwandi. The place became known as Damdama i.e. a halting place (or breathing place), this place is now referred to as Damdama Sahib (In 1737, Damdama Sahib was considered to be the highest seat of learning for the Sikhs). Damdami Taksal claims to be over 300 years old and names Guru Gobind Singh as its founder.
The word taksal (literally 'mint') refers to an education institute or community of students who associate themselves to a particular Sant or prominent spiritual leader. "In 1706...Tenth Master of Sikhs Guru Gobind Singh Ji...had founded a distinguished school of exegesis". It was later headed up by Baba Deep Singh According to the Damdami Taksal, it was entrusted with the responsibility of teaching the reading (santhyia), analysis (vichar) and recitation of the Sikh scriptures by Guru Gobind Singh.
In 1975, a large event to commemorate the 300th anniversary martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur was attended by Indira Gandhi and the then leader of the Damdami Taksal (Sant Kartar Singh Khalsa Bhindranwale). This was the starting point of tensions between Damdami Taksal and the Indian Congress Government. The dispute[note 1] was about who was the leader and who had the utmost authority over the Sikh people, the Guru Granth Sahib or Indira Gandhi.
During British Colonial rule, Sunder Singh Bhindranwale[note 2] set about purging diversity in Sikh doctrine, ritual and practice, hoping to have a uniform Sikh community. Part of this strategy was to have a standardized code of conduct (Rehat Maryada). Gurbachan Singh (successor of Sunder Singh) established Gurdwara Gurdarshan Parkash at Mehta, Amritsar district, which now is the headquarters of today's Damdami Taksal.
Sunder Singh was succeeded by Gurbachan Singh Bhindranwale in 1930, after whom Kartar Singh Bhindranwale continued his work in 1961. In 1977, after the death of Kartar Singh, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale became the head of Damdami Taksal. Baba Thakur Singh Bhinderwale took over Damdami Taksal in the absence of Sant Baba Jarnail Singh in 1984. Sant Baba Thakur Singh always used to say that he is not the head of Damdami Taksal but is acting as head and that Sant Baba Jarnail Singh is the head of Damdami Taksal. Baba Thakur Singh died in 2004. After the death of Sant Baba Thakur Singh, leadership was disputed between several people, mainly Bhai Raam Singh, Bhai Harnaam Singh "Dhumma", and Bhai Amrik Singh "Ajnala", each leading their own sect. The Damdami Taksal Headquarters is now under the control of Bhai Harnaam Singh , but many people still insist that he is not the rightful leader of Damdami Taksal.
The Damdami Taksal have their own version of the Sikh Code of Conduct, the Gurmat Rehat Maryada, which differs from the Rehat Maryada published by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee. Some differences include the reading of the full Anand Sahib in the morning Nitnem and not eating meat, fish, and eggs.
- When Indira Gandhi came onto the stage in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib, while everyone else on the stage arose to welcome and respect her, only Kartar Singh Bhindranwale remained seated. On the stage, Kartar Singh spoke, saying no one was more powerful than their Guru and they were not required to get up and pay respect to her; he was applauded by the people present.
- Sunder Singh was from the Bhindran village and thus was referred to as Bhindranwale, "the one from Bhindran"
1. Baba Ram Singh bhindranwale is the current head this organization but some people believe that their last master, baba Jarnail singh, is alive. Images of Baba Ram Singh
- Baba Thakur Singh of Damdami Taksal dead
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In 1706, when Gobind Singh...he is said to have founded a distinguished school of exegesis.
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1. Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer, Sikh History in 10 Volumes, The Sikh University Press, 2012.
2. Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer, Damdami Taksaal Te Hor Lekh, The Sikh University Press, December 2014.