Even as the Archaeology Survey of India (ASI), after Punjab-based historians and heritage experts, has recognized old building structure found underneath at Sri Darbar Sahib as ‘historic’, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) is continuing to deny this historic importance.
In a fresh statement, the SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur said, “The services of historians of Guru Nanak Dev University are being sought for research on the building structures. Although the experts of the Archaeological Survey of India have mentioned that the building is not historic but heritage, the Tourism Department (Punjab) has been directed through Amritsar deputy commissioner to take proper steps for its preservation.”
However, the ASI experts have also termed it remains of ‘historic’ building that was constructed during the late medieval period, as per a story published in English Daily Hindustan Times.
The building structures found during excavation at the site for Jora Ghar and vehicle parking are being constructed outside Sri Harmandar Sahib.
The SGPC is ruling out this fact despite almost all the historians and heritage experts are of the view that the remains are of historic ‘Gianian Da Bunga’ that was constructed during Sikh Misal period. This Bunga has an important place in the Sikh history as the family of Gianian produced many legendary Sikh personalities including Giani Sant Singh, the head granthi of Sri Darbar Sahib during Maharaja Ranjit Singh period.
Descendants of Giani Sant Singh who lived in this Bunga till 1988 when it was razed by Indian government under Galliara scheme, have also maintained that the rooms found underneath are of ‘sarad khana’ situated in the basement of Bunga which was also popular as ‘Burj Gianian’ that has unique architecture. Ironically, the SGPC has not approached this family, which is based in the holy city, to gather information of their old house.
The SGPC through Kar Sewa organization would have buried this structure under its indifferent attitude towards the heritage buildings, had it not been opposed by the members of Sikh Sadbhawna Dal which is led by former Darbar Sahib Hazoori Ragi Bhai Baldev Singh Wadala.
The SGPC chief also reiterated that they would raze the oldest Darbar Sahib sarai Guru Ram Das Niwas. She did not entertain the demand of the Sikh bodies to preserve this building as well as evidence of the army attack on the holiest Sikh shrine.
“A plan has been prepared for the reconstruction of Sri Guru Ramdas Niwas as the Sangat was not ready to stay here despite having 232 rooms and 18 halls. At present, only 125 rooms and 3 halls of this sarai are in use and the rest are uninhabitable. The SGPC has planned to develop 800 rooms here while keeping the outer appearance intact as per the present structure. Some people are trying to stop the reconstruction by mentioning that it was related to 1984 but the 1984 holocaust has connection with entire surroundings of Sri Harmandar Sahib”, said Bibi Jagir Kaur.
Bibi Jagir Kaur said, “The Sewa would be done without destroying its originality and about the same, no one should create confusion among the Sangat. The SGPC is also planning to develop 4 towers for 1,000 rooms at the site of Akali Bagh so that the Sangat would not face any difficulty in getting accommodation when they come to pay obeisance at Sri Harmandar Sahib.”