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Akal Takht Sahib: Timeless Sovereign Throne

State of the Panth – Report 4

Friday
,
1
March
2019

Akal Takht Sahib: Timeless Sovereign Throne

State of the Panth – Report 4

Friday
,
1
March
2019
State of the Panth
Sikhism
⟵ Back to articles

Akal Takht Sahib: Timeless Sovereign Throne

State of the Panth – Report 4

Friday
,
1
March
2019

Akal Takht Sahib (Timeless Throne Sovereign) commands the worldly moral authority of the Sikhs, functioning as the institutional manifestation of the Miri-Piri (Political-Spiritual) doctrine as envisioned by the Gurus. However, over time Akal Takht Sahib has become occupied by third-party influences, not just in its institutional manifestation but also in the psyche of the Sikhs. A lack of faith in the institution leads to a feeling of disconnect within the Panth (Sikh collective), where Akal Takht Sahib exists more as a symbolic structure instead of functioning as a governance one.

The focus of this report is to understand the role and function of Akal Takht Sahib from the Gurmat (Guru’s Way) perspective, as inferred from Bani (wisdom), Tavarikh (history), and Rahit (lifestyle). In understanding the Gurmat explanation of the function and role of Akal Takht Sahib, individuals and institutions can come together to push for a more transparent, independent, representative, and active institution.

A global survey, included in the report, presented 1,237 self- identified Sikhs with questions related to the role and function of  Akal Takht Sahib. The survey responses highlight clear ideals of what the role and function of Akal Takht Sahib needs to be, and explore the current disconnect and loss of faith in its governance.

This study presents recommendations based on the Gurmat components on both the individual and institutional levels as a way to better engage with the Akal Takht Sahib and move towards it remaining a central institution to the Panth. Individuals must work on shifting their mindsets towards a firm belief in the authority of Akal Takht Sahib while joining institutional movements to become more aware of the political circumstances surrounding Akal Takht Sahib in its current state. Institutions must become ready to be governed by Akal Takht Sahib, and actively pursue its independent governance, instead of giving up on the institution in the current political landscape as being past the point of no return.

Bani, Tavarikh, and Rahit specify the role and function of Akal Takht Sahib, and illustrate a rich tradition of sovereignty which must be internalized by each member of the Sikh Panth in order to create a flourishing Akal Takht Sahib.

Akal, coming from “A” (not) and “Kal” (dying, or ending), together becomes timeless, immortal, or non-temporal. Takht, coming from the Persian word for “the Imperial Throne,” focuses in on temporal power. Akal Takht Sahib (Timeless Throne Sovereign) situated in Amritsar, Panjab is the epitome of the Miri-Piri (Political-Spiritual) doctrine.

Sikh Research Institute has conducted a survey of 1,237 self-identified Sikhs from 27 different countries. The purpose of the survey was to gain insight into how Sikhs perceive the role of the Akal Takht Sahib in their own lives and in the lives of other Sikhs around the world. Responses outlined a clear engagement with the institution of Akal Takht Sahib, showing clear ideals of what the role and function of Akal Takht Sahib should be. The responses communicated a loss of faith in the governance of Akal Takht Sahib and a call for efforts towards a transparent, independent, representative, and active institution.

This report makes recommendations based on Gurmat (the Guru’s Way) as inferred from Bani (wisdom), Tavarikh (history), and Rahit (lifestyle) that can be used by individuals and institutions to move towards Akal Takht Sahib remaining a central institution to the Sikh Panth (Sikh collective).

Revised:

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Akal Takht Sahib: Timeless Sovereign Throne – Raw Data

Sikh Research Institute has conducted a survey of 1,237 self-identified Sikhs from 27 different countries. The purpose of the survey was to gain insight into how Sikhs perceive the role of the Akal Takht Sahib in their own lives and in the lives of other Sikhs around the world.

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Akal Takht Sahib: Timeless Sovereign Throne – Raw Data

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Akal Takht Sahib: Timeless Sovereign Throne – Report

The focus of this report is to understand the role and function of Akal Takht Sahib from the Gurmat (Guru’s Way) perspective, as inferred from Bani (wisdom), Tavarikh (history), and Rahit (lifestyle). In understanding the Gurmat explanation of the function and role of Akal Takht Sahib, individuals and institutions can come together to push for a more transparent, independent, representative, and active institution.

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Akal Takht Sahib: Timeless Sovereign Throne – Report

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Written By

Senior Fellow, Research & Policy

Harinder Singh is the Senior Fellow at the Sikh Research Institute. He holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering from Wichita State University, an MS in Engineering Management from the University of Kansas, and an MPhil from Punjab University in the linguistics of the Guru Granth Sahib. 

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Research Associate

Jasleen Kaur is a Research Associate at the Sikh Research Institute. She has received a Religious Studies B.A./M.A. from the University of Virginia, focusing on South Asian Religions through the lens of literature and poetry.

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Masters’ Student, The University of British Columbia

Parveen Kaur is currently a Masters’ Student at The University of British Columbia in the Master of Data Science Program.

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