Amritsar: The capacity of SGPC’s Golden Printing Press at Gurdwara Ramsar here is likely to be doubled soon. It supplies Sikh devotees all over the world with holy birs of Guru Granth Sahib.
The press prints less than 40,000 birs in a year while the demand is much more. Chief of the SGPC Jathedar Avtar Singh, who took up the matter with the state and centre governments to impose a ban on the publication and sale of the Guru Granth Sahib by private publishers and booksellers, has said the capacity of the press would be doubled shortly.He said a new press would be established where holy birs would be published as per Sikh maryada. The process to publish the birs was lengthy since these were published keeping in view the Sikh traditions, he added.
True to the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib, which preaches universal brotherhood, the publication of the birs in the press is being looked after by the machine men and workers who are mostly non-Sikhs from Nepal, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar, UP, New Delhi and other states. They are well versed in the Sikh traditions and never found violating maryada.
With recitation of ‘satnam waheguru’, the workers publish the birs round the clock in shifts. The offset press was imported from Germany at a cost of Rs 75 lakh in 1991. It prints on an average 5,000 copies annually.
The spirit of worship is best reflected in the fact that loose paper sheets (after printing) are covered with ‘romalas’ (the holy cloth). Then the holy books are wrapped in beautiful ‘romalas’ after their printing. Entry to the press is restricted. In the five-storey gurdwara, the press has been set up in the basement. The gurdwara was raised by fifth Sikh Guru Guru Arjan Dev in 1604.
Since Guru Granth Sahib is a living guru, “waste paper” at the press is kept with great reverence and then “cremated” at Goindwal Sahib as per Sikh traditions. All Hindu employees, working in the press, are non-smokers and do not consume liquor. Senior SGPC officials said press workers, having good experience in the field, were engaged at higher pay scales so that quality printing could be done at the press. The workers pledge to maintain complete maryada before their appointment.
The SGPC has got modified special bedecked vans to carry 500 volumes of Guru Granth Sahib to gurdwaras in the country without charging cartage fee.