Sikhs Forgo Celebrations And Observe ‘Black’ Diwali


No Celebrations This Time: The Golden Temple without illumination in Amritsar on Tuesday.

CHANDIGARH – The call given by various Panthic organisations, including the Sant Samaj, to observe black Diwali this year in protest against the incidents of Guru Granth Sahib’s sacrilege at various places has its effect in all parts of the region. The call was given after incidents of sacrilege and police firing at Bagrari, near Kotkapura.

Management committees of various gurdwaras have not illuminated Sikh shrines in urban and rural areas this year. Some of them have also put up boards in front of gurdwaras urging people to observe black Diwali strictly. A board put up at Gidderbaha, the area that the Badals dominated for decades, urges people to shun illumination of their houses and bursting of crackers. People have been asked to put up black flags at the rooftops of their houses instead of lighting lamps. They have also been urged not to distribute sweets. Even the Golden Temple this year does not have the grand illumination that is usually seen on Diwali every year. The SGPC has reportedly not made any special arrangements for its illumination this year so far. The complex is tastefully decorated on Diwali every year, thereby attracting a large number of people from far-away places to be a witness to the grand celebrations.

Reports coming from various places indicate that the announcement to observe black Diwali has also been made from gurdwaras located in rural and urban areas. At some places, black flags have been put up to protest incidents of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib.

Late this evening, at a roundabout near Singh Sabha Gurdwara and Baba Deep Singh Gurdwara in Ludhiana, a group of Sikhs held placards appealing people to observe black Diwali. In local parlance, it has been named “Ros Divas”. The developments have affected the usual trade and business activity, including sale of sweets, crackers and other stuff. “The sale is down and business is not even 40 per cent of what it was last year,” said Roshan Malhotra, an Ahmedgarh-based wholesale dealer of crackers. Small shopkeepers, who had taken crackers on loan to sell these at their shops in various villages, have returned most of the stock in the absence of sales, he said.