http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-1338883,curpg-1.cms Religious head should be selected: Sikh scholors Tuesday, December 20, 2005 NEW DELHI: A parliament-style election system for Sikh administrations has undermined religion, some scholars say and favour separating religion from party politics. A day after a major political conflict unfolded at the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), with its leaders Harvinder Singh Sarna and Paramjit Singh Sarna apparently heading on a collision course with Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, some of the community's top scholars said such a separation has become necessary. They say parliament-style election tends to impede development of more attractive interpretations of 'Miri' and 'Piri', the principles that stress upon the dual importance of spiritual and social responsibilities in life. 'The British at the time hailed the SGPC Act of 1925 as their victory, saying it would keep Sikh leaders in eternal conflict with each other. The Delhi Gurdwara Act of 1971 is no different,' said renowned scholar Jaswant Singh Neki. ...Religious elections fought on party lines and in a parliamentary-style vote are bound to 'degrade' religion, he said. 'Religious administrations and institutions controlled by politicians cannot be what such bodies ought to be,' Neki remarked. On Monday, two-thirds of Delhi's elected Sikh religious leaders chose Harvinder Singh Sarna as successor to anti-Badal DSGMC president Paramjit Singh Sarna despite a no-poll order by Akal Takht Jathedar Vedanti, the highest decision-maker at the seat of Sikh temporal authority. Vedanti, an appointee of the Badal-controlled SGPC, has indicated the Sarna brothers could be summoned at the Takht for disobeying its order. ...'This election system, originally designed by the British, is failure in religious sphere as it does not protect, but restrict, religious responsibilities,' said columnist Maheep Singh. Parties that participate in Sikh religious elections mostly carry the 'Akali' component in their names, but allegations of tacit Congress or BJP involvement are common in both SGPC and DSGMC elections. 'Sikhs are the only community in the world which elects its religious leaders. The election system is often projected as a reflection of the concept of Miri and Piri. But Miri and Piri, in fact, draw a line between religion and politics or worldly affairs,' Maheep Singh said. He cited the creation of a separate Akal Takht by Guru Hargobind opposite the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) as an example of "such a demarcation". ...National Commission for Minorities (NCM) chief Tarlochan Singh, an expert on Sikh philosophy and history, also echoed the same views. 'This very election system is so designed that it subordinates religious welfare to politics. The million-dollar question at the moment is how to undo this political entanglement with religion,' Singh said. Newspapers in the past have carried pictures of violent clashes between Akali activists during SGPC and DSGMC polls that have become symbolic of religious power struggle. 'The sooner it (the election system in the SGPC and the DSGMC) is dumped the better it will be,' Singh said.