Damdami Taksal
(Jatha Bhindran-Mehta)
ਦਮਦਮੀ ਟਕਸਾਲ
FounderGuru Gobind Singh Ji
PurposeSikh seminary
HeadquartersGurdwara Gurdarshan Parkash
Harnam Singh Khalsa

The Damdamī Ṭaksāl is an orthodox Sikh cultural and educational organization, based in India.[1] Its headquarters are located in the town of Mehta Chowk, approximately 40 km north of the city of Amritsar.[2] It has been described as a seminary or “moving university” of the Sikh countryside.[3]


In 1706, after the Battle of Muktsar, the army of Guru Gobind Singh camped at Sabo Ki Talwandi. This acted as a damdamā, or halting place (lit. "breathing place"), and is now the site of Takht Sri Damdamā Sahib.[4] That year, Guru Gobind Singh is said to have founded a distinguished school of exegesis,[5] later headed up by Baba Deep Singh.[6] Damdamā Sahib was considered to be the highest seat of learning for the Sikhs during the 18th century,[7] and Damdami Taksal claims direct historical ties to Guru Gobind Singh,[3] who entrusted it with the responsibility of teaching the reading (santhyā), analysis (vichār) and recitation of the Sikh scriptures, and Baba Deep Singh.[8] The word ṭaksāl (lit. 'mint') refers to an education institute; which is a community of students who associate themselves with a particular sant (lit. spiritual leader or saint).[9]

The main center of the present-day Damdami Taksal (Jatha Bhindran-Mehta) is located at Gurdwārā Gurdarshan Parkāsh in Mehta, Amritsar.[10] It is actually a branch of a major school of traditional Sikh learning known as the Bhindrāṅ Ṭaksāl which is based Mehta. Although, this Taksal was established in 1906 by Sundar Singh (1883-1930) of Boparai Kalan in Ludhiana. It achieved prominence through its second incumbent, Gurbachan Singh Khalsa (1902-1969) of Bhindran Kalan, hence its name.[10] He devoted his entire life to teaching the enunciation and intonation in reciting the Sikh scriptures. He trained a large number of gianīs, traditional Sikh scholars, through his mobile seminary. When he died in 1969 he was succeeded by two contenders, Giani Mohan Singh (1919-2020), leading the original Bhindrāṅ Kalāṅ branch in Ludhiana and Kartar Singh Khalsa (1932-1977), leading the Mehtā branch in Amritsar district.[10]

During much of the mid-1900s, Gurbachan Singh Khalsa was a prominent sant teaching a large number of students[11] and remains an influential figure. The influence of Bhindran Taksal is attested by the fact that its alumni include the mukkh granthī (chief reader of Sikh scriptures) at the Golden Temple, jathedārs of various Sikh takhts, and granthīs of major gurdwaras.[10]

The Damdami Taksal also had a history of dispute with the Indian government, as a previous leader, Kartar Singh Khalsa, had been a severe critic of the excesses of Indira Gandhi’s Emergency rule.[3][2] In 1975, a large event to commemorate the 300th anniversary martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur was attended by Indira Gandhi and Kartar Singh Khalsa. This was the starting point of tensions between Damdami Taksal and the Central Government under Congress.[12] The dispute[note 1] was about who was the leader and who had the greater authority over the Sikh people, the Guru Granth Sahib or Indira Gandhi.[13]

The Damdami Taksal was first brought to wider national attention by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale during the 1978 Sikh–Nirankari clashes,[14] the Anandpur Resolution, the Dharam Yudh Morcha of 1982,[15] and later the Khalistan movement and insurgency.[16]


During British Colonial rule, Sunder Singh Bhindranwale[note 2] set about purging diversity in Sikh doctrine, ritual and practice, hoping to have a uniform Sikh community. Part of this strategy was to have a Rehat Maryada i.e. standardised code of conduct .[17]

Sunder Singh was succeeded by Gurbachan Singh Khalsa in 1930, after whom Kartar Singh Bhindranwale continued his work in 1961. Kartar Singh established Gurdwara Gurdarshan Parkash at Mehta, Amritsar.[10] In 1977, after the death of Kartar Singh, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale became the head of Damdami Taksal.[10][18]

Thakur Singh Bhindranwale[19] took over his Taksal when Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was killed in 1984 by the military assault on Harmander Sahib, referred to as Operation Bluestar.[20] After the death of Thakur Singh, the leadership of Taksal was handed over to Ram Singh Khalsa by SGPC in January 2005.[21][22] though the senior leadership and members of Taksal accepted Harnam Singh Khalsa as the successor.[21] In July 2017, Taksal chief Harnam Singh Khalsa was hailed as the successor to Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale by the SPGC.[23]


The Damdami Taksal have their own Sikh Code of Conduct, the Gurmat Rehat Maryada, which differs from the Rehat Maryada published by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.[24] Some differences include the reading of Ragmala after Akhand Path[25] and not eating meat, fish, and eggs.[26] Damdami Taksal is somewhat influenced by the Nirmala school of thought as the eleventh leader of Damdami Taksal, Bishan Singh Muralewale, studied under Nirmala Sants such as Pundit Tara Singh and Pundit Sadhu Singh during the late 19th century.[27][28]

See also


  1. ^ When Indira Gandhi came onto the stage in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib, while all those on the stage arose to welcome and respect her, but it was only Kartar Singh Bhindranwale remained seated.[13] On the stage Kartar Singh spoke saying no one is more powerful than our Guru and we are not required to get up and pay respect to her, he was applauded by the people.[12]
  2. ^ Sunder Singh was from the Bhindran village[9] and thus was referred to as Bhindranwale, "the one from Bhindran"


  1. ^ "Baba Thakur Singh of Damdami Taksal dead". Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  2. ^ a b Mahmood 1997, p. Page 75
  3. ^ a b c C. K. Mahmood (1996). Why Sikhs Fight (Anthropological Contributions to Conflict Resolution). The University of Georgia Press. p. 17. ISBN 9780820317656.
  4. ^ Dhillon, Dalbir (1988). Sikhism Origin and Development. Atlantic Publishers & Distri. p. 152.
  5. ^ Harjot Oberoi (1996). "Sikh Fundamentalism: Translating History into Theory". In Martin E. Marty; R. Scott Appleby (eds.). Fundamentalisms and the state: remaking polities, economies, and militance. The Fundamentalism Project. Vol. 3. University of Chicago Press. pp. 266. ISBN 978-0-226-50884-9. In 1706, when Gobind Singh...he is said to have founded a distinguished school of exegesis.
  6. ^ H. S. Singha (2000). The Encyclopedia of Sikhism. Hemkunt Press. p. 57. ISBN 9788170103011.
  7. ^ Kapoor, Sukhbir (2003). Dasam Granth An Introductory Study. Hemkunt Press. p. 12. ISBN 81-7010-325-8.
  8. ^ "Damdami Taksaal - The official website of the Damdami Taksaal". Damdami Taksaal. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  9. ^ a b Schomer, Karine (1987). The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 262. ISBN 9788120802773.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Singh, Pashaura, Michael Hawley (2012). Re-imagining South Asian Religions: Essays in Honour of Professors Harold G. Coward and Ronald W. Neufeldt. BRILL. p. 38. ISBN 9789004242371.
  11. ^ Singh, Pashaura (2003). The Guru Granth Sahib: Canon, Meaning and Authority. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199087730.
  12. ^ a b Pande, B. N. (1989). Indira Gandhi: Builders of modern India. Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India.
  13. ^ a b Judge, Paramjit (2005). Religion, Identity, and Nationhood: The Sikh Militant Movement. Rawat Publications. ISBN 9788170339496.
  14. ^ Tambiah, Stanley (1997). Leveling Crowds: Ethnonationalist Conflicts and Collective Violence in South Asia. California: University of California Press. p. 106. ISBN 0520200020.
  15. ^ Singh, Harjinder (2008). Game of Love (Second ed.). Walsall: Akaal Publishers. p. 61.
  16. ^ Singh Tatla, Darshan (1999). "6 Demand for Homeland - Sikhs in Britain" (PDF). The Sikh Diaspora: The Search For Statehood. England: UCL Press. pp. 116 onwards. ISBN 1-85728-301-5.
  17. ^ Marty, Martin (1996). Fundamentalisms and the State: Remaking Polities, Economies, and Militance, Volume 3. University of Chicago Press. p. 267. ISBN 9780226508849.
  18. ^ Low intensity conflicts in India By Vivek Chadha, United Service Institution of India page 196.
  19. ^ Singh, Gurharpal (2006). Sikhs in Britain: The Making of a Community. Zed Books. p. 92. ISBN 9781842777176.
  20. ^ Tully, Mark (1991). The defeat of a congressman: and other parables of modern India. Knopf. p. 154. ISBN 9780394573991.
  21. ^ a b Walia, Varinder (3 January 2005). "Baba Harnam Singh acting chief of Taksal Ram Singh heads breakaway faction". Tribune. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  22. ^ "Damdami Taksal". Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  23. ^ "Taksal chief Dhumma hailed as heir to 'warrior' Bhindranwale at SGPC function; Badals mark presence". Hindustan Times. 1 July 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  24. ^ "Gurmat Rehat Maryada". Damdamitaksaal.org. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  25. ^ Singh, Harjinder; Singh, Sukha; Singh, Jaskeerth (2015). Sikh Code of Conduct (4th ed.). Akaal Publishers. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-9554587-4-3.
  26. ^ Poy, Buddy (2011). Vegetarianism Unmasked. AuthorHouse. p. 83. ISBN 9781463408756.
  27. ^ Damdami Taksal De Mahapurkh. Amritsar: Damdami Taksal (Jatha Bhindran). p. 22.
  28. ^ Dilgira, Harjindar (1997). The Sikh Reference Book. Sikh Educational Trust for Sikh University Centre. p. 318. ISBN 9780969596424.

Further reading

Damdami Taksal – Official Website