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Divorce In The Presence Of Guru Granth Sahib

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Divorce In The Presence Of Guru Granth Sahib

kds1980

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Divorce in the Presence of Guru Granth Sahib
October 20th, 2009 by Kiranjot Kaur Source: news.ukpha.org

One of the major events in the life of a Sikh is Anand Sanskar according to Sikh Rehat Maryada. In the presence of Guru Granth Sahib the couple vow to love and respect each other and follow the spiritual path together so that they are like one soul in two bodies.

In today’s world what happens if the couple finds itself incompatible? Some believe divorce has no place in Sikh religion while others believe if a mistake has been made there is no harm in rectifying it and take recourse to civil law. However what takes the cake is divorce in presence of Guru Granth Sahib!

A young 24 year old Sikh girl, Simarjit Kaur, of Todarwaal village in district Kapurthala was bestowed a siropa by her father-in-law in the historical Gurdwara Hatt Sahib ( where Guru Nanak Dev ji had worked in modikhana and weighed “ tera, tera’ ) and divorced her from her husband. Interestingly this happened in the absence of her husband who is a jawan of Border Security Force ( BSF) and posted in Jammu and Kashmir. The girl lost her parents a couple of years ago and her Chacha had solemnized her Anand Kaaraj.

Her father-in-law is a granthi and another person supporting him is a kathavachak. Athough this incident has been condemned by Jathedar Akal Takht however no action has been taken against the erring Granthi and kathavachak both of whom are employees of SGPC. I met the Singh Sahiban at Akal Takht accompanied by the girl and her relatives with the basic question is divorce in presence of Guru Granth Sahib acceptable and if not what action has been taken to deter anyone from indulging in such practice in future? Understanding the gravity of the issue they have formed a committee to study the case in detail and report it’s findings for further action.

To build pressure on the girl a Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sultanpur Lodhi Gurmeet Singh is also said to be present in the Gurdwara . As member of Punjab State Women Commission I have asked for an explanation from the police officer……… why is police involved in distorting Sikh maryada?

If this issue is not taken to it’s logical end , it will open a new way for greedy, unscrupulous in-laws to send their daughter in law back to her parent’s home by just giving her a siropa in presence of Guru Granth Sahib. As easy as ‘ talak,talak,talak’ ! In this case too the factor precipitating divorce is a piece of land that Simarjit’s father left behind and eyed by her in laws.
 

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The above shall have far reaching implications if the practice is also recognised in Law.The marriages of sikhs are governed by Hindu Marriage Act,1956. One has to file the divorce petition under section 13 to the family courts. The family court, on being satisfied with the pleas of the concerned spouese, may grant such a decree of divorce against the erring spouse. It is a very time consuming affair and the average time of divorce has been estimated to be over seven years.

The method as explained in the above article shows that the same is not only illegal but totally void so far as the constitution is concerned. Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act,1956 is the only method of getting a valid decree of divorce. One is free to do the things in a democratic country but that may not have any seal of the constitution. It is irrelevant and immaterial if it is not as per the proviso of the law made for this purpose.
 
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spnadmin

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twinkle ji

One of the curious things about the story is the very thing that you have pointed out -- the article speaks as if a divorce is being granted in a gurdwara. That of course could not be the case.

In many countries, including India and the US, a divorce is executed in a court of law. (I am not clear on what happens in countries governed under Islamic law.) And why is a divorce granted by a court or judicial authority? Because the marriage license itself was granted as a legal decree with a marriage certificate by a court, or by a department of the judicial system. Which court depends on the particular location we are talking about.

A divorce decree is legal notice that a legally binding marriage contract has been nullified.

So now I come to what is perplexing about the story. What is really happening is that the divorce, or intent to divorce more like it, is being solemnized in a gurdwara. Much like a marriage in solemnized in a church, temple, synagogue, gurdwara, after a marriage license was granted.

Now I cannot figure out what is going on in the minds of people who are solemnizing divorces. But then I have never been a "with it" kind of person. And the article seems to imply that this is going to be a trend.

But here is the big rift, the cleavage in the surface of the earth, the large fissure left by some kind of cultural earthquake. The father-in-law, who is a granthi, is making it "official" by honoring the daughter-in-law-soon-to-be-divorced a siropa (this is reported in the original article at Sikhnet). Wow! a siropa used to be given to honor a person. He is honoring her for divorcing his son, and there is even mention of some land that she/her family owns, that the father-in-law would like to acquire.

Sounds like she needs to pay alimony to her father-in-law -- or some kind of pay-off. Not sure. :rolleyes:

"A young 24 year old Sikh girl, Simarjit Kaur, of Todarwaal village in district Kapurthala was bestowed a siropa by her father-in-law in the historical Gurdwara Hatt Sahib ( where Guru Nanak Dev ji had worked in modikhana and weighed “ tera, tera’ ) and divorced her from her husband. ....

If this issue is not taken to it’s logical end , it will open a new way for greedy, unscrupulous in-laws to send their daughter in law back to her parent’s home by just giving her a siropa in presence of Guru Granth Sahib. As easy as ‘ talak,talak,talak’ ! In this case too the factor precipitating divorce is a piece of land that Simarjit’s father left behind and eyed by her in laws.
" at Divorce in the Presence of Guru Granth Sahib | SikhNet

So there is more than one level to the story. No she is not getting a divorce in the gurdwara -- something else is going on in the gurdwara. Once again, Not sure.
 

spnadmin

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Another thing that is truly perplexing. The father-in-law is presenting the siropa in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib - as if he is divorcing her. Is he standing in for her husband who is on patrol? :eek: Or is she somehow married to her father-in-law? :eek: WoW again!
 
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The Property Laws are different from the Matrimonial Laws. The transfer of the property is not to be assumed to have taken place from the wife to the father in law unless it is properly registered by a conveyance deed that has to be properly stamped and executed. The fact ,that the lady who is divorced and owns some land, shall not make the land transferred in the name of the father in law. It was and shall always be with the lady concerned. The act of divorce have no bearing on the property in question.
 

spnadmin

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I think you are missing the point twinkle ji

You have knowledge of the law in hand. This is not about the "law." It is about something else entirely. If following the law were the top priority of the characters in the story, the story would not even have been reported. The actions of parties involved would not have even taken place. Everyone in this story knows that they are actors on a different stage.

What is the plot?
 
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The procedure followed is legally untenable. It was done only to put psychological pressure on the young girl and to make her believe that once pronounced in front of SGGS, it becomes irreversible and then make her sign on the dotted line in a divorce court. I think the father in law can be charged with criminal fraud.

Lavan Phere performed in a Gurudwara is considered legal, but there is no such provision for divorce.

Immediately after Lavan in a gurudwara, the couple have to sign in register kept in the gurudwara. It has also be signed by the parents/guardians and 2 witnesses. Based on this the concerned Gurudwara Management issues a marriage certificate which is legaklly acceptable in India. Based on this Gurudwara certificate, the Registrar of marriages can, on an application issue a certificate required by foreign countries for their adminstrative purposes. But for a divorce proper court procedure has to be followed under the Hindu law.

Now there is a demand by SGPC that Sikh personal law be implemented. One of the controversial provisions being heard are that a girl after marriage forfiets the right to ancestrial property of the parents! The ostensible reason being that Sikhs basically are an agarian people and giving equal property rights to girls would lead to fragmentation of agricultural land which will in turn lead to lower productivity.
But such a law will have to be passed in the Parliament which is unlikely,
 

Gyani Jarnail Singh

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This is BLACKMAIL by the SANT followers involved.
The GIRL is being emotionally blackmailed to prove to her that she is now divorced by being in a Gurdwara and offered a SIROPA. Here are two WRONGS..a "siropa" is not what its made to be...and certainly cannot be given to a person who si DISHONORING the Gurus commands !! The perpetrators either hope to get the girl to TRANSFER the Properties...OR..sign the divorce papers under this FEAR of the Gurus presence...

My dad once caught such a crime being committed in the dead of night in a local Gurdwara. The Boys family had kidnapped a Girl and was marrying her off to the boy in front of SGGS..at MIDNIGHT and in SECRET. The Girl was in fear of her life as she was under age and she didnt even like the husband to be..but the parents on both sides wnated the union !! The Plan was for this secret wedding..and when the Girl was emotionally blackmailed and scared..then a public wedding would take place !! SO YES there are crooks in every disguise...:D
 

Mai Harinder Kaur

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I know that both Islam and Judaism have religious divorce, both controlled by the men, of course.

I see the biggest problem with a religious Sikh divorce would be that if there has been a true marriage, then the two are "one light." How could that light possibly be separated?

I know it takes time and experience for that "one light" to develop, but what if, after passage of time, the two are still only sitting together?

Now, please don't jump too hard on me for this, but if the two are not "one soul in two bodies," then although there has been a ceremony, perhaps there is no marriage, in the Sikh meaning of marriage. What then? Or is this an ideal we aspire to , but don't really expect to reach?

Do we forget that what we do in the presence of SGGS ji is the same as if Guru Nanak Dev ji or Guru Gobind Singh ji were sitting there officiating? Was it just oversight on their parts that there is no Sikh divorce? Don't hit me, please! That is a rhetorical question. Our beloved Guru jis knew exactly what they were doing and did it in exactly the perfect way. The problem is in our understanding.

Please forgive me if I am out of line here. I really don't have any answers.

Questions. No answers. :happykaur:

:ice:
 

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Mai ji

You are raising some good and relevant questions. The legal facts are that a divorce is a legal event. What happens religiously depends on a the religion. Each handling it differently.

You have put your finger on the pulse of the problem in this story above -- the marriage/s are/were not marriages. They were economic arrangements.

In the US, Canada and India there is no requirement to be married in a church or gurdwara -- a civil ceremony is not only available but accepted.

Before we are too hard on the parties in this scenario -- look at your marriage license. A marriage is a legal contract. A divorce is a legal termination of that contract. These contracts have legally binding economic reaities attached to them. Gain and loss. That cannot be argued away.

What is a greater concern for me, only me, is that the presence of the Guru has been somehow woven into a play with a pure economic plot when it should not be.
 

kds1980

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The question here is not whether divorce is acceptable or not.The question is whether this type of divorce is acceptable? .Guru gobind singh ji gave Panth the authority to make timely decisions and with present circumstances and condition of women in sikhism I think this type of divorce will become a tool of oppression of women within sikh community.
 
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I am totally amazed by the lackasdical attitude of the Akal Takht Jathedar !
Considering the seriousness of this matter, he passes the buck to a committee !
As the Guardian of the Sikh Reht Maryada, his action speak of him being irreverent to the Sikhs at large !
OBSERVATION:The incidence took place at a SGPC controlled Gurudwara and it was overseen by the Granthi & his partner who are also employees of the SGPC !
 

Mai Harinder Kaur

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Although I realise that not all Sikhs accept the Sikh Rehat Maryada, I thought it might be useful to write what it says. On the page about marriage, it says (Chap. XI, Article XVIII. Statement l):

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif] l. No Sikh should accept a match for his/her son or daughter for monetary consideration.[/FONT]http://www.sgpc.net/rehat_maryada/section_four_chap_eleven.html

I believe it also says somewhere that marriage is not a business arrangement, but I'm not sure where and lack the time for looking for it right now. So much would be solved if we would follow the SRM.

(Although I believe the SRM needs revision - I see gender inequality in this page on marriage, for example - I feel, as a Sikh, I am obliged to follow it until such revision. But please, let us not be sidetracked into a discussion of SRM. This discussion on divorce is too important and SRM debate belongs in a different thread.)
 
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kds1980

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Although I realise that not all Sikhs accept the Sikh Rehat Maryada, I thought it might be useful to write what it says. On the page about marriage, it says (Chap. XI, Article XVIII. Statement l):

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif] l. No Sikh should accept a match for his/her son or daughter for monetary consideration.[/FONT]Sikh Reht Maryada, The Definition of Sikh, Sikh Conduct & Conventions, Sikh Religion Living, India
I believe it also says somewhere that marriage is not a business arrangement, but I'm not sure where and lack the time for looking for it right now. So much would be solved if we would follow the SRM.

(Although I believe the SRM needs revision - I see gender inequality in this page on marriage, for example - I feel, as a Sikh, I am obliged to follow it until such revision. But please, let us not be sidetracked into a discussion of SRM. This discussion on divorce is too important and SRM debate belongs in a different thread.)
Mai ji

what kind of gender inequality you see on that page?
 
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Right. I do not think that we have acquired the maturity to build in proper safe guards for a divorce procedure in SRM which can then be accepted by the law making authorities of the country concerned.

It was quite easy for the Indian Govt to accept marriage performed in a Gurudwara as legally tenable as no financial give or take is supposed to be involved.

But with the highly Patriarchal nature of Sikh Society, I would not trust the SGPC or the Jathedars of various Takhts to come out with a fair divorce procedure.
 

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Right. I do not think that we have acquired the maturity to build in proper safe guards for a divorce procedure in SRM which can then be accepted by the law making authorities of the country concerned.

It was quite easy for the Indian Govt to accept marriage performed in a Gurudwara as legally tenable as no financial give or take is supposed to be involved.

But with the highly Patriarchal nature of Sikh Society, I would not trust the SGPC or the Jathedars of various Takhts to come out with a fair divorce procedure.
Because of this thread harbansj24 ji, I am learning something new -- and it is something I really did not want to learn -- but learn nonetheless. And I agree with you. It is a worry. And there is a precedent for it in the local law courts that are used in Muslim communities in India to govern family law and civil disputes. Is this the way Sikhs want to go? Does it perpetuate oppression of women and children? Does it stress materialism and disadvantage religious belief. Is this what Guru Nanak had in mind?
 

spnadmin

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Mai ji

Discussion of the SRM is not irrelevant. As one more political ploy to get votes for the Badal family the SGPC can end up manipulating the SRM in order to throw its weight behind these trends.
 

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The question here is not whether divorce is acceptable or not.The question is whether this type of divorce is acceptable? .Guru gobind singh ji gave Panth the authority to make timely decisions and with present circumstances and condition of women in sikhism I think this type of divorce will become a tool of oppression of women within sikh community.
Kanwardeep ji

You have captured my concerns in one short paragraph. This is the central problem. :welcome:
 

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