The AKJ was started by the well-known Gursikh, Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Jee in Punjab in the early 1900s. Ever since then, Gursikhs have been meeting together to sing Gurbani. The main activity of the Jatha is to do Kirtan (i.e. the singing of Gurbani), and doing Akhand Paaths. The Kirtan is usually sung with basic musical tunes - the main emphasis of the Kirtans being on the Gurbani rather than the music.
July 7, 1878 - April 14, 1961
Keski as a Kakaar
The Jatha, believes Keski is Kakkaar, not Kesh. They base this on references in the historical text of "Guru Kian Sakhian" (also known as "Bhatt Vehee") and other Rehatnamas. Promoting the wearing of a Keski (turban) shows greater respect and reverence for the sacred hair. It also helps avoid the violation of damaging or dishonouring one's hair which is one of the 4 Bajjar Kurehits (cardinal sins), according to Sikh Rehit Maryada.
Gurmat Rehat Maryada
The Jatha is fully aligned with the Akal Takhat Sahib and the Khalsa Panth. We view the Jatha as being completely under the umbrella of the Akal Takhat Sahib and the Khalsa Panth. The Jatha follows a strict discipline in keeping the Rehat of Guru Gobind Singh. They also enjoy an active style of Keertan recited by Sikhs in a collective manner in front of Guru Granth Sahib Jee.
Thoughts about Raagmala
There are some innocent Sikhs that are misled by other Sikhs into thinking Bhai Randhir Singh did in fact believe Raagmala to be Bani of Guru Sahib. They make up stories on how Bhai Sahib really did believe in Raagmala but his followers after his death claimed he didn't believe in it. There are a lot of stories out there on how Bhai Sahib suffered on his death bed for not believing in Raagmala (reading this account on Bhai Sahib`s final moments clears any misconceptions about his death). There are some that say Bhai Sahib met with Sant Gurbachan Singh before his death and proclaimed he now believed in Raagmala, after a long discussion with Sant Jee, all these stories are false. Bhai Sahib his entire life never believed Raagmala to be Bani of Guru Sahib. Asking any of his companions or those that were present for Akhand Paat Sahibs conducted by the Jatha know that Raagmala was never read. In his book Gurbani Dee Lagamatran Dee Vilakhantaa Bhai Sahib writes: "All Bani from Ek Onkaar to Mundavni is Gurbani of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee" (Gurbani Dee Lagamatran Dee Vilakhantaa, page 316)
Above is the picture of a letter Bhai Randhir Singh sent to Giani Gurditt Singh on October 24 1945 in which he says Giani Jee's efforts on his Raagmala research (and other research related to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee) are very good.
The Akhand Kirtani Jatha (or AKJ) is a collective group (jatha) of Gursikhs dedicated to Tat Gurmat (pristine from Gurmat), Khalsa Rehit (code of conduct) and service of the Panth. The primary aim of the Jatha is to propagate the message of the Sikh Guru Sahibans through kirtan, Amrit Sanchaars, akhand paaths, sehaj paaths, literature, Gurmat camps, setting up colleges and sacrifices & martyrdoms for the Panth. The Jatha encourages the GurSikhi lifestyle through spiritual progression, rehat, bibek, and truthful living. AKJ kirtan programmes take the form of ‘Rainsbai Kirtans’ (Kirtan that goes on all night).
Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Jee
The AKJ was revived by the well-known Gursikh, Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh in Punjab in the early 1900s. Ever since then, Gursikhs have been meeting together to sing Gurbani. The AKJ has spread across many countries such as the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, India, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Singapore and other nations. In 1978, Bhai Fauja Singh led a procession to oppose the Indian government's attempts to destroy Sikhism and along with another 12 Gursikhs was brutally shot down. Ever since then, Gursikhs from the AKJ have been active in working against the Indian governments oppression of the Sikhs as well as further propagating the message of the Gurus amongst the Sikhs. Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh was one of the few shining lights of the twentieth century. He was born in 1878 to Sikh parents in Punjab. He was a true Saint-Soldier; not only did he spend every breath in the remembrance of God, but also bravely fought for righteousness and against tyranny. More can be read about Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh in his autobiography.
Current AKJ Leadership
Jathedar Bhai Bakhshish Singh Jee