SGPC Asked To Phase Out Harmonium From Golden Temple, Know The Significance Of The Instrument


New Delhi: Water pond, people with covered heads, and a shiny golden structure in between is what most people will think of when they hear about the Golden Temple or the Sri Harmandir Sahib. Apart from this, ample footage, videologues, and other TV shows have also associated the picture of black-turbaned sikh men — called ragi jathas — singing devotional songs accompanied by harmonium with the Golden Temple. But is it the time that harmoniums will go on mute at this holy place?

The Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh has asked the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) to phase out the house of harmonium within three years and replace it with more traditional string instruments, as per a report by the Print. 

The reason given by the Takht is that harmonium is an instrument with colonial roots therefore not an appropriate instrument for Gurbani. 

The harmonium in its current form may give out a hint that it originated in India, but the fact is that it was developed and patented in France by Alexandre Debain in 1840 and was used to play in church.

This wind instrument travelled to India with Britishers which was given a new life by an Indian musician, Dwarkanath Ghosh, who owned a manufacturing unit for musical instruments. 

“The foot-operated bellows beneath the keyboard in the European harmonium were replaced by the hand-operated bellows at the rear. Drone knobs were added to the instrument to produce harmonies in Indian classical music. A scale-changing technique was also added to the Indian version of the instrument,” states the above mentioned report. 

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