By J Singh - originally posted to Flickr as _DSC0172-01, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

By J Singh – originally posted to Flickr as _DSC0172-01, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Some Sikhs will observe a Black Diwali after desecration of Holy Book.

Visitors to any Sikh dominated area should not expect to see fireworks and lighting shows during the 2015 Diwali celebrations. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee or SGPC, as it is popularly known, at Golden Temple has taken the decision to not celebrate this important festival in the festive calendar. The decision was taken as a consequence of a number of incidents related to alleged desecration of Guru Granth Sahib.

Diwali for Sikhs is a five day long festival, scheduled to begin on November 11. It is also celebrated with equal fervor by Jains and Hindus. The occasion is marked by considerable displays of fireworks. Small lamps or divas are lighted during this occasion. In 2015, however, British Sikhs are expressing solidarity with the Sikhs injured and killed during protests in October.

Sikh temples across the United Kingdom, including those on Edinburgh and Glasgow, have made a request to people to not celebrate the Festival of Lights in the traditional manner after a copy of the Sikh Holy Book, Guru Granth Sahib, was found desecrated in the Indian state of Punjab. This alleged desecration led to heightened tensions and ultimately found traction in the form of a protest on October 14. The incident happened in a village and the police subsequently opened fire, killing two protesters and many other wounded.

The killings have made the Sikh community angry and calls were subsequently made for a Black Diwali after 23 years. According to the Sikh Press Association, those members who consented to take part in Black Diwali exhibits the amount of hurt Sikhs felt when they heard about the desecration of their holy book.

The reaction was summed up by Sarabpreet Bindra, a Sikh and an active member of the community. He said that Diwali will not be celebrated by any member of the community. The reason he gave was that disrespect was given to the Holy Book. Bindra added that, during normal Diwali times, the community members will do Aarti of Laxmi Puja and Granth Sahib. Sweets would be distributed after the event. Homemade sweets will be distributed in the Gurudwara.

In the U.K., Mankamal Singh, a Sikh temple trustee, said that Sikhism is a simple faith. There must be a spiritual connection.  The essence concerns inner faithfulness. Fireworks and candles have negligible relevance. 

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