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India Challenging Path Ahead For Newly Formed SGPC House

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Challenging path ahead for newly formed SGPC House

Perneet Singh/TNS
Amritsar, October 4


Even as the new SGPC House is expected to formally begin its tenure this month, it faces the challenge of dealing with various Panthic issues that await to be resolved for years now.

Ashok Singh Bagaria of the Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, said the biggest challenge before the new SGPC House would be to bring in consistency in "maryada" (code of conduct).

"It has been an unholy election wherein the SAD forged an alliance with the Sant Samaj, which comprises of various deras that follow different 'maryadas'. Many constituents of the Sant Samaj don't follow the Sikh "maryada", but they contested the polls for the SGPC, which is the mini-parliament of Sikhs," he said while wondering that if somebody doesn't follow the norms of a religion how he could be a part of its premier body. He said sculpting idols of gurus for worship was another key issue.

"Earlier, there were photographs of Sikh Gurus, but now even their idols have hit the market, which is against Sikh tenets," he added. "Ensuring that the alliances in the state politics do not have any impact on the SGPC will also be a challenge," he opined.

Gursharanjeet Singh, Head, Department of Guru Nanak Studies, GNDU, felt that the SGPC has inducted those having political backdrop in its Dharam Parchar Committee, which has diluted the panel's role in evolving strategy on key religious issues. "Earlier, the committee had non-political people and Sikh intellectuals as its members," he said, adding that the panel should be given back its position of prominence. He also felt that "rehat maryada" is a key issue, stating that the SGPC must ensure that consistent "maryada" is implemented and there is no tinkering with it.

"Apostasy and mushrooming deras in the state are also huge challenges before the SGPC. The SGPC should come up with world-class educational institutions as it will not only help curb apostasy but will also check migration of Sikh youth to foreign shores for higher studies," he said.

Radical Sikh outfit Dal Khalsa leader Kanwar Pal Singh said the ruling SAD will prioritise the challenges before the SGPC keeping in view the forthcoming Assembly elections. "It will take up only those issues on priority over the next few months which will benefit the party in the polls," he added. Apart from these, there is the issue of Dasam Granth. The SGPC has failed to evolve a consensus regarding the authenticity of certain portions of the Dasam Granth, which was penned by the tenth Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

Also, the SGPC is yet to formulate rules and norms for the appointment, removal, tenure and working sphere of the Jathedars of all the Takhts, the directions regarding which were issued to it by the Takht during the tenure of ex-Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti.

source: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111005/punjab.htm#8



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