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The Baba who met Agriculture Minister and the Nanaksar Tradition

Nanaksar, which literally means Guru Nanak’s pool and metaphorically refers to the pool of the Guru’s divine wisdom, took the headlines twice during the ongoing farm agitation.
Baba Ram Singh, who allegedly committed suicide at the Delhi border last month over contentious farm laws, belonged to the Nanaksar Movement, and so did Baba Lakha Singh, who met with agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday.
Originally from Jagraon, Punjab, Baba Ram Singh was based in Haryana’s Karnal. Baba Lakha Singh, aged 60 or so, comes from Jagraon, the headquarters of the Nanaksar Movement.
Nanaksar gurdwaras — called thaats — are spread across the country and overseas, but not all of them are necessarily controlled by the main Jagraon centre. Many operate in close cooperation though.
The guiding principles of Nanaksar shrines are traced to Baba Nand Singh (1870/72-1943), who founded the Movement in the early last century.
Baba Nand Singh believed in prolonged meditation on Guru Nanak’s name and in continuous recitations and hymn-singing from Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS).
He set up Gurdwara Nanaksar near village Kaleran in Punjab’s Jagraon sometime between 1918-1921. The spiritual sanctuary attracted a following from within the Sikh community.
Guru Hargobind (1595-1644), the sixth Guru, wore two swords depicting Miri and Piri and set up the Akal Takht, or the Throne of the Eternal, in Amritsar, in response to the Mughal throne that had turned hostile towards the Sikhs and the Hindus of the time.
Unlike other gurdwaras, langar or the community meals are not prepared on Nanaksar compounds. The faithful instead bring cooked langar to those shrines.
Leaders of Nanaksar gurdwaras are usually celibate.
In Panthak tradition, celibacy is never encouraged. Nine of the ten Gurus were married and had children. The only exception being Guru Har Krishan, who passed at the age of eight.
At the theological level, Baba Nand Singh regarded SGGS as “living divinity”. In Panthak tradition, the doctrine of Shabad Guru, the divine word as enshrined in SGGS, reigns.

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