Its dictionary meaning is, a worshipper of Akal e.i. the Timeless God. Originally, the Akalis were the death-squads of the Sikhs, who spreaheaded the task of topping down the 'Mughals and Pathans' political hegemony in the North West of India, according to the programme given to Banda Singh Bahadur by Guru Gobind Singh in the year 1708 A.D. Ever since, these Akalis have been in the vanguard of the Sikh struggle against tyranny and foreign rule and during Sikh Raj in the Punjab, the Akalis were the custodians of the Seat of Spiritual Sikh Authority, the Akal Takht at Amritsar.

In the year 1922 and afterwards, those who came forward to recognize themselves into bands of volunteers to rescue the Sikhs' Holy shrines from the management of the hereditary priests, who were backed by the British Government, labeled themeselves as Akalis and when these well-endowed historical holy shrines passed under the statutory management of elected Sikh representatives, these Akalis captured the management bodies and eversince have maintained their position as the managers of the Sikh Gurudwaras as well as the true spokesmen of Sikh political ideas and aspirations. The Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee holds a way over the important Sikh Gurudwaras, while the Shiromani Akali Dal which is merely another side of the medal reigns supreme as political spokesman of the Sikhs.

In current political parlance of Akali is one who holds the view that the management of the Sikh religious institutions must remain outside the control and influence of the Government in power whether in Punjab or at Delhi and who demands that in the North of India there should be a region where the Sikh voice accorded a special political importance and who further acclaim that politics must not be wholly divorced from the postulates of religion.

Whatever the external dissensions and the fratricidal conflicts amongst these Akali organizations, these three aims and objectives remain as unchanging foundations of the Akalis politics and mode of thought.
Sirdar Kapur Singh

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