In 2004, a substantial Palki and two Holy Scriptures - a Guru Granth Sahib Ji and a 18th century hand written bible – went missing during the official administration of a Sikh company belonging to the well-known Bhabra family of broadcasters and engineers.
In 2004, a substantial Palki and two Holy Scriptures - a Guru Granth Sahib Ji and a 18th century hand written bible – went missing during the official administration of a Sikh company belonging to the well-known Bhabra family of broadcasters and engineers. After the family’s film and television studios in London were put into administration and the Palki and holy books disposed of indiscriminately or stolen, the Bhabras made strenuous efforts to retrieve the religious artefacts, repeatedly pointing out to the administrators - the international accountancy firm KPMG - that they were not the property of the company
KPMG did not respond to these entreaties but in September 2005 the Bhabras discovered that the Palki and Holy Scriptures had disappeared. No one can say if they were stolen or just discarded through ignorance and sacrilegious contempt. As Hardial Bhabra has told Simon Collins, the UK chairman of KPMG, in a variety of letters over many years, the Holy Scriptures have an overwhelming and overarching religious significance; their desecration is in itself a sin to the Sikh faith.
It should be a source of deep shame to KPMG that, ten years later, the artefacts have still not been found. Far from being ashamed, the accountants describe the loss as merely “unfortunate” but add: “Any suggestion that we have been disrespectful towards the Sikh community is rejected”. To the Bhabras, the disrespect of Sikhs appears breath-taking, not only from KPMG but also from the Prime Minister of Great Britain, David Cameron, who has failed properly to acknowledge and investigate the Bhabras’ plea for help in their quest. The Bhabras cannot help but feel that there is a conflict of interest here: KPMG has donated more than £400,000 to Cameron’s Conservative Party in recent years.
One particularly galling side issue associated with this case is that KPMG has been hired to carry out a lucrative and prestigious audit within the Punjab Revenue department. The thought that this giant company should with one hand be benefitting from the Sikh homeland whilst with the other it is attempting to get away with a grave offence against the Sikh religion, is intolerable.
The Bhabras have not given up their fight and intend to organise a mass demonstration outside KPMG headquarters in London. Many Sikh Temples and organisations in the UK have pledged their support for the Bhabras’ fight and committed their worshippers to join the demonstration.
As Mohan Singh Manku of Ramgarhia Sabha Derby says...
“Losing these sacred religious artefacts is an insult and dishonour to the Sikh community.”
Illustrations kindly provided by Amandeep Singh at Inkquisitive.com