PRESS RELEASE | January 14, 2019 | US |
Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Kala Afghana, an author who challenged many of the prevailing concepts underscoring the Sikh masses’ understanding of their faith, has passed away on January 10, 2019 at the ripe age of 96. He is survived by his wife Bibi Parkash Kaur and a large extended family across Canada.
Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh Kala Afghana retired in 1981 at the rank of a police inspector from Punjab. In 1984, while he was visiting Canada, the Indian government cancelled his passport and confiscated his property on some flimsy pretext, so he ended up staying in Canada.
Bhai Gurbaksh Singh was a lightning rod for many within the Sikh Faith community. He had a very inquisitive mind while challenging the status quo on multiple fronts. He had his pulse on the controversial issues on hand and an amazing clarity on rebutting them with the help of the Sri Guru Granth Sahibji (SGGS).
For every contentious issue currently being practiced by the Sikhs, Bhai Gurbaksh Singh responded to the contrary with strong supporting evidence by quoting a minimum five shabads from the SGGS. Anyone who challenged him was requested to respond in the same manner; i.e., evidence with the help of five shabads from the SGGS. To date no one did, except make a lot of noise, but nothing in writing was ever forthcoming.
Kirpal Singh a senior member of the American Sikh Council (ASC), had a chance to meet him in person, on multiple occasions over the two decades. During one meeting with Bhai Gurbaksh Singh he was personally told that even two shabads from the SGGS would be enough to prove him wrong, if anyone found his writings to inimical to the touchstone of the SGGS.
S. Kirpal Singh has even translated one of his books Maas Maas Kar Moorakh Jagaday, presently titled as, Sikh Dilemma: Is not eating meat a brahmanical command for Sikhs?, re-published in early 2018. See here.
Bhai Gurbaksh Singh challenged the notorious book ‘Gur Bilas Patshahi Chevi – 6’, compiled by Joginder Singh Vedanti (ex-Jathedar of Akal Takhat) and fully endorsed by over a dozen very important Sikhs including S. Amarjit Singh (Principal of Sikh Missionary College – SGPC), Prof Manjit Singh (ex-Jathedar of Akal Takhat), Bhai Ranjit Singh (ex-Jathedar Akal Takhat), Giani Sant Singh Maskeen, etc. He wrote two critical books as a rebuttal and no one was able to challenge to date, except to excommunicate him from the ‘panth’ in 2003.
A video conference call was planned when the entire Akal Takhat and SGPC because they wanted to confront Bhai Gurbaksh Singh, but on the day and time of the event, no one from the Akal Takhat and/or the SGPC came on the call, instead gave some lame excuse for not being able to join.
Dr Karminder Singh, a senior Malaysian government civil servant who plays an active role in Sikh parchaar (preaching) in Malaysia stated, “The Sikh world has lost one of its most illuminated minds. He contributed immensely to Tatt Gurmat while exposing the corruption of Sikhi by our corrupted clergy – deras, sants, babas and Taksalees. He influenced a great many minds – Sikh parcharaks, writers and thinkers. He wrote profusely and his revolutionary ideas will live on.”
Bhai Gurbaksh Singh wrote ten (10) books ‘Bipran Ki Reet Ton Sach Daa Maarag’ (From the Practice of Ritual to the Path of Truth).
ASC Vice President Bibi Jasbir Kaur remembered Bhai Gurbaksh Singh by saying, “We need more critical thinkers and revolutionaries like him to wake up Sikhs, many who are mired in the ritualistic morass and get on the radical path of our Gurus.”
Bhai Gurbaksh Singh has passed on but not before changing the minds of many and he will live on in the hearts of many more. Some in the community may take glee in the passing of this mountain of a man, but that will be only an echo of their pettiness.
Bhai Gurbaksh Singh’s loss will be deeply felt by all those followers of the Gurbani but his passion for truth which he kindled will burn bright for generations to come. May he rest in peace with Akal Purakh’s blessings and give his loved ones the strength to bear his loss.
The American Sikh Council is the umbrella organization representative of Sikhs in the United States. It is an elected body of Sikh Gurdwaras and institutions. Currently 74 Gurdwaras and other Sikh institutions across the nation are members of ASC. The major governing purpose of the organization is to represent the collective view of Sikhs in the United States. ASC works to promote Sikh interests at the national and international level focusing on issues of advocacy, education, and well-being of humankind.
Kala Afghana is no more (Asia Samachar, 12 Jan 2019)
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