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The Multifarious Faces of Sikhism throughout Sikh History
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Panch Khalsa Diwan

Time of origin: 1893

This was the term given to the ‘Babu Teja Singh Bhasauria Singh Sabha’, founded at the village of Bhasaur by one Teja Singh in 1893. Teja Singh ‘Bhasauria’ was a retired government employee during the times of the British Raj. He can be considered as being an ultra-Tat Khalsa Singh Sabhia. Teja Singh Bhasauria felt that the Tat Khalsa Singh Sabhai movement was not radical enough in their reforms of Sikhism.

British Raj
Postcard from India depicting Government House, Darjeeling, circa mid 19th century

Some of his proposed changes however did appealed to the Tat Khalsa Singh Sabhias. For instance Teja Singh Bhasauria advocated:

1. Only Khalsa Sikhs should be considered Sikhs.
2. Non-Khalsa Sikhs were not Sikhs.
3. All Khalsa Sikhs should adopt cast designations of ‘Got’ (clan name) and adopt as surname ‘Singh’ for males and ‘Kaur’ for females.
4. Females should be equally initiated into the Khalsa - a belief contrary to ancient Sikh Rehitnamas such as of Chaupa Singh.
5. Khalsa women were ‘equal’ to male Khalsa and thus could participate as the Panj Piyareh (the 5 Beloved Ones who may initiate new Khalsa Sikhs)
6. 5k’s should be made compulsory for all Khalsa

Panj Piyarey
Painting depicting the tenth Sikh Warrior Guru initiating the 'Panj Piyarey' (5 Beloved Ones), Pahari, circa early 19th century

However, Teja Singh Bhasauria also proposed more radical changes, which did not sit well with his counterparts of the Tat Khalsa Singh Sabhia such as:

1. All women should wear a ‘Keski’ (small turban)
2. In addition to the 4 major taboos of the Khalsa, Teja Singh advocated a fifth - non-Khalsa Sikhs may not eat alongside Khalsa Sikhs
3. Dasam Guru Durbar was not Sikh scripture
4. Teja Singh altered the Sikh ‘Ardas’ (formal invocation) and wished to replace the phrase ‘Prathm Bhagauti Simar Keh’ for he believed ‘Bhagauti’ referred to the Hindu Goddess of the same name, rather than the double-edged sword
5. All non-Sikh/Hindu festivals, such as ‘Lohri’, ‘Rakhsha Bandan’, ‘Dussera’, ‘Navratri’, etc., should be excluded from Sikh celebrations
6. The removal of the ‘Raagmala’ (last page of Adi Guru Durbar), non-Sikh Gurbani of Bhagats (saints) and ‘Patts’ (bards), from Adi Guru Durbar.

The 9-nights festival that celebrates the conquests of Lakshmi,
Parvati and Durga (depicted above, Pahari, circa early 19th century)

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