Shiromani Akali Dal History
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), also popularly known as the Akali Dal, is a regional political party, as approved by the Election Commission of India.Its mass base is primarily in the state of Punjab.The Akali Dal operates on the political position of far-right, with a political ideology of Sikhism. In other words, the basic claim of existence of the Shiromani Akali Dal is in catering to the demands of the Sikhs across Punjab and all around the world. The SAD is far-right in position as it asserts that religion and politics are synonymous and one cannot operate without another.
There are many political parties with the name ‘Shiromani Akali Dal’. However, the oldest regional democratic party of the country is the one being referred to, and it is guided by the leadership of Sukhbir Singh Badal. Very often, the party is also called the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), to eliminate any confusion. Formed in December 1920 as a task force of the Sikh religious body, the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, this new political party claimed to be the major proponent of upholding the interests of Sikh people, who form the majority of the population in Punjab. With Sardar Sarmukh Singh Chubbal as the first President of the Akali Dal, the party participated in some of the most glorious sagas in the struggle for independence of India, including its active role during the Bardoli Satyagraha and massive protests against the Simon Commission in 1928. Further, under the leadership of Master Tara Singh, the Akalis were actively involved in the Civil Disobedience Movement and gravely protested against the Pakistan Resolution passed by the Muslim League in 1940, as the creation of a separate nation of Pakistan was seen as detrimental to the prospects and harmony among people in the erstwhile undivided Punjab.
The Akali Dal reached its zenith of success under Master Tara Singh. After India achieved its independence, the SAD participated in the Punjabi Suba Movement, which was headed by Sant Fateh Singh. The Akalis demanded carving out a state out of undivided East Punjab, comprising majority Punjabi-speaking people of the region. The protests were so intense that the Indian government agreed to the demand for the re-organization of the boundaries of the erstwhile East Punjab. In 1966, the present state of Punjab was formed, with the Akali Dal coming to power. But the government did not last long due to factionalism within the SAD.
Presently, the Akali Dal is in alliance with the BJP and forms a majority in the state, with 56 of its own members and 12 members of the BJP in the Punjab Legislative Assembly. The current Chief Minister of the state is Sukhbir Singh Badal’s father and party patron Parkash Singh Badal. It has 4 seats in the Lok Sabha and 3 seats in the Rajya Sabha, respectively. Its principal opposition in the state is the Indian National Congress. The Akali Dal controls the various Sikh religious bodies such as Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee and Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee. The party is highly revered among Sikhs in the country as well as across the world, for its efforts to safeguard religious, cultural and linguistic minorities.
Election Symbol of SAD
The Election Symbol of the Shiromani Akali Dal is the scales. The scales symbol is shown as being equal on both sides. This is usually drawn on a bluish-black rectangular flag of the party. This symbol is famously used in a court room scene, being carried by Lady Justice whose eyes remain bandaged with a black ribbon. The scales are seen perfectly balanced, to suggest that law is balanced, it is not partial and that everybody will be given justice in the eyes of law.
A similar representation is made by the SAD in its election symbol. A perfectly balanced scales symbol depicts that the party is not biased or partial when it comes to the democratic rights and interests of the Sikhs. In other words, the demands made by the SAD, over the economic and social upliftment of the national minorities in specific and the Sikhs in particular, their democratic traditions and cultural safeguards, are perfectly balanced and not exaggerated or unlawful. By strictly adhering to the principles of social justice, fraternity and secularism, as guided in the constitutional structure of the Indian Constitution, the Shiromani Akali Dal does all it takes to protect the Sikh community worldwide.