Joginder Singh Vedanti: When slaves ascend a godly throne

Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, who served as Akal Takht jathedar between 2000 to 2008, died of a heat attack in Amritsar on 15 May 2021. He was 80. He was said to be well-versed in Gurbani grammar.

Joginder Singh Vedanti – Photo: Asia Samachar (Background photo of Akal Takht by Somyajit Seth)
By The Sikh Bulletin | OPINION |

There perhaps is no throne of a higher stature that the religious world can think of. The Sikh world calls it the Akaal Takhat – literally the Throne of the Eternal One. There perhaps is no travesty of a higher order in that a treacherous slave of the corrupt and decrepit political system of the Badal led Akali state government occupied this position for seven years till his removal in 2008. These were seven years in which Joginder Singh Vedanti steadily and surely poured poison into the roots of the Sikhi tree.

His most scandalous contribution lay perhaps in his co‐authorship with one Dr Amarjit Singh of Shaheed Sikh Missionary College, Amritsar, of the blasphemous and twice banned Gurbilas Patshahi 6. The Gurbilas was, by all accounts, a filthy book about the “life” of Guru Hargobind Ji – so filthy that the author chose to remain anonymous – perhaps out of fear of reprisals by Sikhs. One example of the wide spread blasphemy that fills the pages of this obnoxious book is a story of Guru Hargobind “eloping with a married Muslim girl named Kaulan, giving her refuge from her abusive husband by marrying her. And then refusing to pay for horses that the Guru had purchased from Kaulan’s father on account that he was now the Maulvi’s son‐in‐law.”

Another fictitious story that blackened the pages of Gurbilas pertains to Vishnu and his consort coming disguised as lay Sikhs to help in the construction of Darbar Sahib. Upon completion, both had revealed their true identities to Guru Arjun, who in “recognition of their services agreed to rename the place Hari Mandar” meaning Vishnu’s Temple.

The Sikh panth, in 1920 decided that Gurbilas should not be preached in Sikh Gurdwaras. It remained banned for almost 8 decades. But in 1998, the occupant of the seat of the highest authority in Sikhism ‐ Vedanti – of all persons – decided to re‐publish the book under his name and his co‐author. He got 13 other sycophants in the likes of Sant Singh Maskeen, Darbar Sahib head granthi Jaswant Singh Parwana, and then SGPC chief Tohra to pen glowing tributes over his decision to re‐publish the Gurbilas. And he got the Dhram Parchar Committee of SGPC ‐of all institutions – to be its publisher and distributor.

The treachery of the political slave sanctioned with the power that comes with the throne he sat on would go on beyond just his legitimizing of blasphemy. He moved expeditiously to ex‐communicate Gyani Gurbaksh Singh Kala Afgana in 2003. Kala Afgana’s crime was that he diligently and systematically exposed the folly of Gurbilas Patshahi 6; managing to establish that virtually every narrative in the book was a fabrication. More importantly Kala Afgana exposed the agenda behind its republication. It did not matter to Vedanti that the SGPC banned Gurbilas a second time in 2000. Kala Afgana had to pay for having the temerity to expose the occupant of the highest throne.

Excommunicating Kala Afgana did not satisfy Vedanti’s ire for getting exposed. Those who questioned his excommunication of Kala Afgana – Joginder Singh Editor of The Spokesman and Prof Inder Singh Ghagga – suffered the same fate. The founder and editor in chief of The Sikh Bulletin came within the cross hairs of Vedanti for promoting the writings of Kala Afgana.

He did more than just excommunicate Sikh intellectuals. He came to the defence of criminals and crooks. In 2002 he declared that Sadh Dhanwant Singh – who pleaded guilty to rape charges and earned a sentence of 10 years in jail – was guilty of no crime. Dhanwant Singh admitted in court that he paid Rs 70,000 to Vedanti to absolve him of his rape charges. He came to the defence of another crook Atma Singh Lubanna who collected money in the name of supporting Sikh widows and absconded with huge amounts of it.

In 2006, Vedanti presided over the “akhand path” of the Bachittar Natak granth at Dyalpura Bhai Ka during the Parkash Purab celebrations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib – the mockery of which act was overtaken only by Vedanti’s call to “beat with wet shoes” all those who opposed such a move.

The Sikhs stand as the only community in the world where a scholar of the Vedas – Vedanti – manages to sit on the highest throne of Sikhism. Imagine the Pope being a scholar of the Dhampad, or the Mufti of the Muslim lands being a scholar of the Puranas and Simritis instead of Islamic theology.

The political slave was removed from his throne in 2008 by the same political forces that he served. On May 15 he died of a heart attack. It is no surprise that the most glowing of tributes came from those whose agendas he so diligently served.
The government of India mourned his loss. Indian Prime Minister Modi wrote: “Vedanti was scholarly and humble. His life was a manifestation of selfless human service. He worked to create a compassionate and harmonious society. Pained by his demise. The Badals mourned his loss as well. Sukhbir Singh Badal wrote: “Vedanti’s passing away is a great loss to the Sikh Panth.” SGPC chief Jagir Kaur called him a great leader of the Panth.

In death and in his 7 years as our Clergy‐in‐Chief, Vedanti has taught us a valuable lesson. When a political slave ascends a Godly throne, it is the throne that suffers a relegation. The Sikh Bulletin wishes his family and his loved ones strength and courage to bear with their loss.

The article, entitled ‘When Slaves Ascend a Godly Throne’, first appeared in The Sikh Bulletin in its April‐June 2021 issue. Click here for the full issue.



Akal Takht v Dhadrianwale: Who’s at fault? (Asia Samachar, 29 Aug 2020)


ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond. Facebook | WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 | Email: | Twitter | Instagram | Obituary announcements, click here |


  1. Right, what rubbish. The Jathedar of Akal Takhat writes a book (Gurbilas Patshahi 6) and the Sikh Panth puts a ban on it because it is blasphemous. Some great scholar he must be. Great leadership too. Instead of apologizing to Sikhs for his blasphemy, he goes around ex-communicating those who exposed the rubbish of his book.

  2. What rubbish is this .The writer of this article and his Sikh Bulletin gang has 0 knowledge of Gurbani Viakaran to know what a great scholar Giani Joginder Singh Ji was on this Subject.