Australian National University responds to Sikh request.

Guru Granth Sahib to be part of Closed-Access Rare Books collection.

CANBERRA: In this year of the Tercentenary of Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikhs of Australia have achieved a singular appreciation of Guru Granth Sahib Ji as living Guru of the Sikh people.    

Like all religious books, copies of Guru Granth Sahib Ji were available for any reader at the Menzies Library at the Australian National Library in Canberra.  

Sikh Council Of Australia Inc, the apex representative body of the Sikhs in Australia wrote to the University authorities spelling out the importance of Guru Granth Sahib Ji to the Sikh people. Baldev Singh Jagdev pointed out to the library authorities that, “Sikhism doesn't have or believe in a living human Guru, Prophet or Saint to guide them for spiritual harmony and salvation, rather they get their spiritual guidance from the writings contained in the Supreme Spiritual Authority of their Holy Book called "Sri Guru Granth" which is a collection of devotional hymns of their Gurus and saints.”

As such, the Sikhs consider the compilation to be their living Guru and hold it in great reverence and treat it with utmost respect. Baldev Singh further pointed out that, “being a living Guru, there are certain protocols which the Sikhs follow to preserve its sanctity while handling, opening and reading Sri Guru Granth and it must be kept in a separate private space specifically set aside for the purpose.”

In response to the request of the Sikhs for proper location and reference of three copies of Guru Granth Sahib in the library, the vice-chancellor of the University, Prof. Ian Chubb has agreed to “withdraw from our open collection the copies of Sri Guru Granth which you mentioned in your message.  These copies will now be held as special materials in our closed-access Rare Books Collection.  They will be made available to readers only on request and will be consulted under controlled conditions within a supervised reading room.They will not be available for loan or for use outside the Library.”

Sikh representatives in Australia feel that similar steps should be taken with other universities as well.

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