To Exclude Harmandar Sahib (India) from Tentative World Heritage Site List ( Reference No-1858 , Date-05.01.2004 )
Commitee for World Heritage List of UNESCO has to decide in Istanbul between 10TH to 20th July 2016.
The “Harmandar Sahib” or “Harimandir” or “Darbar Sahib” is Sikh Gurdwara (main religious place of worship) at Amritsar, India. At Present the body of Sikhs that is responsible for upkeeping and management of Harmandar Sahib is SGPC ( Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Commitee), In the present dossier, there is already a provision for a body consisting of two representatives of Central government, two from State (Punjab) government and four experts chosen by the government and only ONE SGPC members, to supervise management and protection of the site for heritage purpose.
The representatives from central and state government do not have to be Sikhs, they can even be anyone the government nominates.
Any future development in the complex will need the permission of this body.
Any decisions taken by SGPC or Sikhs that could reflect on the heritage status or have direct or indirect effect on the buildings, can be vetoed by this body. For instance if the Sikhs decide to hold a month long event to celebrate the anniversary of Sri Akal Takht Sahib (Religious Seat), the body can over-rule this.
The above shows the extent of interference of the Indian government in the religious affair of Sikhs.
To understand the present day situation it is important to understand the alliances of Political parties in Punjab State, in Punjab state at present Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) and Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) have a coalition government. SGPC member selection is done under the influence of SAD and BJP in the background. BJP is pure Hindu party (Non-Sikh) with a backing of Hindu radical groups RSS, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena etc. At the Central Government level BJP is already in absolute majority, BJP has a necessarily a Hinduist agenda which is reflected by resending the proposal of Harmandar Sahib to UNESCO in 2014 with total Media black out, the news did not appear in any News Paper or TV channel, thats the reason it reflects that government wants to proceed secretly about this issue, the issue is burning issue, may be not even 1% Sikhs are aware of this, that shows the bad intentions of the BJP ruled Central government. It is to remind that burning of five churches in Delhi and two in Jabalpur in 2015 were not reported on TV at all. The sensorship is to that extent (e.g).
The tragic series of events culminating in 1984 in Operation Bluestar by Indian Army on Harmandar Sahib killing about 3000 Sikhs – which caused serious damage to the complex and to the Akal Takht Sahib in particular – illustrate the state’s lack of respect for the complex’s sanctity. The Sikh Reference Library was purposely set on fire, the library contained rare books and manuscripts on Sikh religion, history, and culture. It also contained handwritten manuscripts of the Guru Granth Sahib (Holy Book of Sikhs) and Hukmnamas (orders of Guru) containing signatures of Sikh Gurus The library also held documents related to the Indian Independence Movement. . About fate of Sikh Reference Library, A former inspector for the Central Bureau of Investigation, (CBI) turned whistleblower in 2003, revealed he was part of a five member team CBI packed the documents into 165 numbered gunny sacks and bundled the material into waiting army vehicles and taken to known location, the case is with Jury. Toshakhana (Store for valueables) was partially destroyed and rest confiscated by Indian Government. Today in schools history books contain wrong history of Sikhs. No representations are looked into. Destroying the history means Government is trying to do ethnic cleansing.
Sikhs are already not given separate Identity in the Indian Constitution nor we have Sikh Personal Law in the Indian Constitution. Article 25 considers Sikhs as Hindus which is not less than an abuse for Sikhs.
SGPC is a single body of Sikhs out of hundred others and does not represent all Sikhs of the world and not even Sikhs in India. It appears it had moved this proposal (Harmandar Sahib’s nomination for WHS) to the Central Government under influence of SAD and BJP.
For any such move to get Harmandar Sahib nominated for WHS, the UNESCO should get referendum done by the Sikh community world-wide and Indian Government should not interfere at all.
The building of Harmandar Sahib was demolished 3 times in 18th Century by Mughal Rulers, The building was reconstructed FULLY, how such a building can be considered for WHS by UNESCO, it is a big question?
The entire periphery of Harmandar Sahib is property of Sikhs and not of Indian Government. Majority of land on which it is constructed was bought by Sikh Gurus before 1574 and committee for WHS must ask this to Indian Government.
Therefore considering the grievances of the Sikh community, The name of “Harmandar Sahib” please be termed as “Not appropriate to be considered for WHS” and may therefore be permanently excluded from the Tentative List.
Photo of Harmandar Sahib 1860
Proposal for "World Heritage Status for Harmandar Sahib" was sent by Ministry of Environment of Forests, Government of India on 05.01.2004. Reference No. - 1858.
The criteria for consideration are III, IV, VI of UNESCO criteria list.
The Criteria for Selection (From UNESCO site )
To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria.
These criteria are explained in the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention which, besides the text of the Convention, is the main working tool on World Heritage. The criteria are regularly revised by the Committee to reflect the evolution of the World Heritage concept itself.
Until the end of 2004, World Heritage sites were selected on the basis of six cultural and four natural criteria. With the adoption of the revised Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, only one set of ten criteria exists.
(i) To represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
(ii) To exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
(iii) To bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
(iv) To be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
(v) To be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;
(vi) To be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);
(vii) To contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
(viii)to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
(ix) To be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
(x) To contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.
Current Status 2016-05-30 :
The 21 States Parties of the current World Heritage Committee are the following:
Angola, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Croatia, Cuba, Finland, Indonesia, Jamaica,
Kazakhstan,Kuwait, Lebanon, Peru, Philippines,Poland,Portugal, Republic of Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe
Chairperson: Ms Lale Ülker (Turkey)
Rapporteur: Mrs Eugene Jo (Republic of Korea)
Vice-Chairpersons: Lebanon, Peru, Philippines, Poland, United Republic of Tanzania
original decision document 8th July 2015:
Context of Decision :
( Harmandar Sahib still in tentative list )