November 22, 2019
Punjab University has met with objections from Sikh bodies over invitation to a controversial Sikh scholar Pashaura Singh at three-day international history conference commemorating 550th Parkash Purb of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
The university’s department of History is organizing 7th South Asian History Conference (SAHC) on Trade, Trade routes and Travels in South Asia (commemorating 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev) from November 22 to 24 at university’s senate hall.
The Sikh bodies claimed that the US based Sikh scholar Pashaura Singh had landed into controversy after he questioned the authenticity of Shri Guru Granth Sahib and Travels of Guru Nanak and was also declared ‘Tankhaiya’ (punished) by the ‘Akal Takht’ Amritsar in 1994.
Pashaura Singh, then a professor of Sikh Studies at the University of Michigan in the US, landed in controversy over his doctoral thesis submitted to the University of Toronto in November 1991 in which he committed blasphemy by challenging the authenticity of Shri Guru Granth Sahib. Summoned, but he refused to honour the Akal Takht decree that he appears before it. However a few years later he completed his punishment given by Shri Akal Takht.
The Sikh scholars are now questioning the invitation to such a person on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
“We are surprised on the university authorities for calling a person who called ‘Travels of Guru Nanak’ as fake and even challenged Shri Guru Granth Sahib’s authenticity. Pashaura Singh follows the Maclodean School of thoughts that have been ridiculed by the Sikh community. We will protest against the authorities if Pashaura Singh is allowed to attend or speak at three days South Asian Conference at university’s senate hall”, said, Academic Forum of Sikh Students president Simarjit Singh.
Vice-Chancellor Punjabi University Prof. BS Ghuman said he is not aware of all the members and about the controversy of Pashaura Singh.
Mohammad Idris, HoD History department Punjabi University and Director SAHC said that Pashaura Singh had confirmed he is not attending the event for some personal reasons. Idris said he was unaware of Pashaura’s controversy. He said that Gopinath R. Vice-Chancellor Kerela University, Pal Singh Purewal of Canada, Punjab Cabinet Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, MLA Ghanaur Madan Lal Jalalpur, were some of the prominent personalities attending the SAHC.
Jaswinder Singh Rajpura, President United Sikh Party said, “We strongly condemn the university authorities for such scholars in name of the events being organized in commemoration to 550th Parkash Purb. We appeal all the Sikh and non-Sikh organisations or institutions to not to give space such controversial scholars.”