Giani Harpreet Singh is the Akal Takht Jathedar (supreme spokesperson of the Sikh community).
Giani Harpreet Singh was born in Giddarbaha town of Muktsar district of Punjab. He studied in a government school till class 12. He has done Diploma from Guru Kashi Gurmat Sansthan, Damdama Sahib. Talking about his education, he said in an interview,
I have done all my higher education after becoming a granthi.”
He did a one year diploma course in divinity from Punjabi University, Patiala. Later, he earned a master’s degree in Comparative Religious Studies from Punjabi University. Later, he pursued a PhD in the comparative study of the teachings of the Quran, the holy scripture of Muslims, with the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of the Sikhs.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Hair Color: black
Eye Colour: black
parents and siblings
There is not much information available about his parents and siblings. His father was a granthi in a village gurudwara.
wife and children
He has two daughters.
At the age of 24, Harpreet Singh started working for Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) as Pracharak (Preacher) in 1997. He was appointed as Pramukh Granthi, a formal reciter of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib at Gurdwara Sri Tuti Gandhi. Sahib in Sri Muktsar Sahib, Punjab in 1999. In 2003, he became a granthi at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Muktsar. In 2015, Giani Harpreet Singh was appointed as the caretaker Jathedar of the Akal Takht, which is located at the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple), following the resignation of Giani Gurbachan Singh. In 2017, his appointment was regularised. Gurbachan Singh was slammed by the Sikh community in 2015 for pardoning Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a blasphemy case, after the latter appeared in the same attire as Guru Gobind Singh. A Jathedar is an ordained leader of the Sikh clergy who heads the Takht, a sacred and official seat. He was appointed as Jathedar of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib at Talwandi on 21 April 2017.
Reprimand for promoting arms among Sikhs (2022)
On 23 May 2022, Giani Harpreet Singh said that due to the prevailing circumstances, every Sikh should have a licensed modern weapon. In his video message, Giani said,
The teachings of Guru Hargobind Sahib ji are relevant even today. There is a requirement especially for Sikh boys and girls to follow the orders of Guru Hargobind Sahib. They should take training in ‘gatka’ (a traditional martial art), fencing and shooting. And every Sikh should also try to have a licensed modern weapon because there are times and such circumstances are evolving.”
The remarks drew sharp reactions from Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who said the temporary head of the Sikh community should instead spread the message of peace and brotherhood. Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring termed Harpreet’s remarks as mischievous and demanded his removal from the post of Jathedar. The remarks were made on the occasion of Guru Gaddi Diwas of the sixth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Hargobind Sahib, who brought about a conversion to Sikhism by arming and training the Sikhs to wage war against the barbaric Mughals.
Giani Harpreet Singh is inclined towards Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
Facts / Trivia
- Muhammad Habib, under whom Giani Harpreet Singh was doing his PhD research, said,
He [Giani] Very polite. Even after taking over as Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, he used to come to me like any other student. I think their understanding of other religions will help them function better.”
- Sikh Youth Federation Bhindranwala opposed the appointment of Giani Harpreet Singh as Akal Takht Jathedar and supported the appointment of Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara as Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht Sahib by “Sarbat Khalsa”. Jagtar Singh Hawara was convicted and lodged in Tihar Jail in the murder case of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh.
- On 28 September 2021, Giani Harpreet Singh met Dr. Amer Ahmed, Chairman, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) and appreciated the efforts of ETPB and PSGPC in ensuring the upkeep of Gurdwaras in Pakistan.
- In September 2020, Akal Takht’s executive jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh publicly punished SGPC chairman Gobind Singh Longowal and executive committee members for failing to investigate rigging in its publications department, which led to 328 Guru Granth Sahib Sarup went missing. Sarup is a physical copy of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, also known as Bir in Punjabi. Giani Harpreet Singh while pronouncing the sentence on the spot said,
Perform Darbar Sahib Sarovar (circumcision of the holy pool) now, chant Satnam-Waheguru and then be present here. Don’t talk to each other and fold your hands while doing so.”
On completion of the above sentence, he announced the remaining sentence and said,
You are instructed to conduct an Akhand Path (non-stop recitation of Guru Granth Sahib) at Gurdwara Ramsar Sahib for Pashtap (remorse and remorse) for the 2016 fire incident, due to which Sarup got burnt. Do one more Akhand recitation in Akal Takht. When that monolithic path is walking on the throne, the officers and executive members of SGPC will sweep the road leading from Saragarhi Sarai to Ghantaghar Chowk towards Darbar Sahib.