Patit Pavit Finds A Turban, SGPC Finds Saviour In Him Pavit Mattewal's role in Sikh hair case was under a dark cloud but SGPC holds function to honor the Mattewals, wants quom to be grateful to Mattewals WSN Bureau FATEHGARH SAHIB: In a shocking development, the SGPC led by Avtar Singh Makkar dropped all pretences and actually honored Pavit Mattewal, son of Punjab Advocate General H.S.Mattewal, for ostensibly "winning" the case in Punjab and Haryana High Court by "advocating" the Sikh interests forcefully even though the factual position was that neither Pavit was a counsel for the SGPC nor was his line of argumentation really in favour of the SGPC's stance. In fact, Pavit Mattewal got himself impleaded in the case through a private application and his role had come in for strong criticism. All through the hearing of the case, Pavit Mattewal was himself clean-shaven, he has himself never earlier sported long hair, did not wear a turban and never used 'Singh' in his name. Then, it is a wonder how he is being credited with winning the case for the SGPC! But in blatant remarks, Makkar said the entire Sikh Panth should be proud of Pavit Mattewal and "Jinna vee maan kariye, thorra hai." The SGPC specially convened a huge function to honour the Mattewals at the auditorium of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College in Fatehgarh Sahib where Makkar said Mattewal argued the case "with determination" and it was an example of the inner strength of a Sikh. He also praised AG Hardev Singh Mattewal saying it was due to his efforts that Sikhs have gotten the status of a minority community. Mattwals were also praised for guarding the interests of SGPC's properties. Former president of the SGPC, Kirpal Singh Badungar, said he hoped that Pavit Singh Mattewal will do sewa of the Panth just like his father Hardev Singh Mattewal. Among others who praised the Mattewals were Akali Dal general secretary Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Randhir Singh Cheema, Kuldip Singh Wadala, Didar Singh Bhatti and Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal. Many were surprised to see Pavit sporting a turban and a beard, since he has all these years been seen as a clean shaven patit Sikh. In fact, a recent cover of a sister publication of India Today magazine had featured him on the front page, a copy that Pavit proudly keeps on his table. Many were surprised to see Pavit sporting a turban and a beard, since he has all these years been seen as a clean shaven patit Sikh. In fact, a recent cover of a sister publication of India Today magazine had featured him on the front page, a copy that Pavit proudly keeps on his table. Experts said the SGPC's move to honour him was rather strange, given the fact that in the High Court, he had propounded an extremely dangerous argument claiming the first Sikh nine gurus did not believe in having unshorn hair and laid no such injunction and thus while keeping hair was a desirable thing, it was not essential for a Sikh. Even as the high court bench comprising two Sikh and one Hindu judge dealt with the quintessential query about relationship of unshorn hair to being a Sikh, Pavit was seen as part of the attempts to present a lot of liberal interpretation of the religion’s tenets. A bid by the SGPC to do so earlier was reversed after much protests by the Sikh intellectuals and the SGPC had to eat humble pie and withdraw a controversial affidavit in the high court. Pavit has presented a 32-page synopsis on "Significance of unshorn hair in Sikhism" which he had claimed was prepared according to instructions of Giani Harinder Pal Singh, a Sikh cleric, who had during previous hearings had touched an emotional chord by asserting that "those who don’t want to stay with Sikhism are free to leave, but once they leave, they shouldn’t claim to be a Sikh and crave for a place in the religion." Pavit Mattewal even tried to negate the concept of Patit and said the term implied fall from grace and was never used by Gurus, but by a scholar and that too in reference to some women. Pavit, by arguing that the Gurus never ostracized a disciple who was unable to learn or who was slow to learn, had tried to claim that if a Sikh did not keep unshorn hair, he does not stop being a Sikh. His claims that he had consulted a scholar were blasted by the same scholar. "Everybody is a Patit till he becomes Khalsa or pure. Perfect Sikh is Khalsa. Tenets cannot be confused with goal and the final goal is union with God, to become Khalsa, to become Guru’s image,’’ Pavit had claimed and wondered whether any reasonable differentiation could be drawn between a Sikh and a non-Sikh on the basis of keeping or non-keeping of unshorn hair. Mattewal submitted that as far as the issue of unshorn hair was concerned, “there is a degree of desirability, bordering on essentiality, to keep long hair and that there is no compulsion or express code of conduct for maintaining the same as far as the first nine Gurus are concerned”. Pavit, by arguing that the Gurus never ostracized a disciple who was unable to learn or who was slow to learn, tried to claim that if a Sikh did not keep unshorn hair, he does not stop being a Sikh. M S Rahi, now deceased, had termed assertions made by counsel Pavit Mattewal before the Bench on October 22, 2008, as fraught with danger for Sikhism in so far as its distinct identity was concerned, besides pushing its followers towards assimilation with other communities. Experts said the latest move was a clear attempt by the Mattewals to project Pavit for a larger role and to ensure that the legacy of the elder Mattewal passes on to the younger one. Mattewals’ affiliations with the Radha Soami cult are well known.