Hi All, I want to start a series of threads about various Sikh sect/groups/cults and I wanted to gather information here from Intellectual sources (those with proper references). I also wanted people to analyse these groups critically. i.e. what is good and bad about them. I thought I would kick off with the Akhand Kirtani Jatha. 1) What are their origins? 2) Leaders? 3) Beliefs? 4) Positive and Negative impacts of Sikhism? 5) Numbers? Please reference your sources. As a note I read a lot of rubbish on websites so I do not want that regurgitated. I will just delete it. The following added by ---- Aman Singh Jun 3, 2009 --- They believe in the efficacy of kirtan (devotional singing) and regularly hold overnight sessions (rain sabai). This group also attaches particular importance to the meditation and repetition of the Sikh mantra 'Vahiguru' ('wonderful guru'). The group observes strict vegetarianism and will only cook with, and eat out of, iron utensils. All references to caste distinctions are strictly forbidden. They reject the list of musical modes at the end of the Adi Granth (rag-mala) and do not repeat it when there is a complete reading of the scripture. However, believing that the words of the Guru Granth are literally the words of the Guru, they can be called fundamentalists. Furthermore there is no interpretative explanation (katha) given of scriptural passages, since the meaning is assumed to be clear and transparent. The group replaces the original uncut hair (kesh) with a small under-turban (keshki), which both women and men wear. In such beliefs the group reject the general code of conduct known as the Sikh Rahit Marayada of the S.G.P.C., and produced their own called rahit-bibek (bibek means discrimination, discernment, insight). They also believe in a different Khalsa initiation ceremony, wherein the five beloved ones, or five Gursikhs place their right hand on the neophyte's head and meditatively repeat the mantra "Vahiguru", revolving around the initiate for five or so minutes. Bhai Randhir Singh (1878-1961), initiated the movement from his long periods in prison - since he vehemently opposed British rule. He caused considerable consternation with his vehement demands that he abide by his Khalsa's rahit (code of conduct) whilst in prison. His rigorous interpretation did not allow him to eat out of anything not made in an all-iron vessel (Sarob Loh, echoing Guru Gobind Singh's term for God). He was associated with Teja Singh of Bhasaur and his Panch Khalsa Divan. However, he cut all ties with him when Teja Singh was excommunicated. His followers are known as the Bhai Randhir Singh da Jatha, which is used interchangeably with the Akhand Kirtani Jatha. There was an extremist off-shoot of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha in the form of the Babbar Khalsa who claimed responsibility for killing many Sant Nirankaris in the 1980s. The women are expected to wear the turban (Keski) as well as the usual kesh (uncut hair). The importance of the keski is justified by the fact that all the other five K's are external and additional to the natural human form, except for the uncut hair (kesh). Therefore it requires special external treatment.