Finding New SGPC Chief Tough For Badal

Finding new SGPC chief tough task for Badal

K.S.Chawla -
Saturday, 07 October 2006

LUDHIANA: The SGPC has been in the focus since Gurcharan Singh Tohra passed into history. Each Akali leader picked by Parkash Singh Badal to slip into the shoes of Tohra proved unequal to the task as a result of which the SGPC has suffered a setback.

Interestingly not only the presidents, but also the secretaries were handpicked people. Now the SGPC has four secretaries instead of one and quite a number of additional secretaries. It is not known whether all these high posts justify the workload that the institution has to bear. K.S. Badungar did work hard to understand the Sikh traditions and the SGPC administrative set-up. But before he could prove equal to his task, he was replaced. Bibi Jagir Kaur had the acumen and dynamism. But she was not attuned to work in a system being head of a dera. Moreover, she landed herself in a controversy following the death of her daughter.

Temperamentally she responded to every situation only politically. It was under these circumstances that Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his cohorts in the Akali Dal were compelled to look around for another person with a clean image. It was in this situation that the name of Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, a first-time member of the SGPC, came to the fore. Mr Makkar was supported by Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal and Ludhiana MP Sharanjit Singh Dhillon. There is no doubt that people had high hopes when Mr Makkar was installed as SGPC chief. But it did not take long when his inexperience and pliability began to hit the administrative set-up of the SGPC. The hasty suspensions and transfers shook the administration and Mr Makkar came to have a team of officials who became inconvenient for him.

The organisation of shatabdis function became a huge task. Mr Parkash Singh Badal getting conscious of the situation began to take interest himself. This created dyarchy in the SGPC administration and the official hierarchy began to look into him (Badal). Moreover, shatabdi functions got totally politicised and the gathering at Tarn Taran neither remained a gathering of devotees nor a religious congregation. It got converted into a political rally.

The developments in the Delhi Sikh politics and victory of the Sarna group in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) created more difficulties for Mr Badal and at times it looked as if the Delhi Akali Dal was stealing the show in so far a religious functions were concerned. The DSGMC organised a two-day international seminar in Delhi in connection with the martyrdom centenary of Guru Arjan Dev and scholars from overseas also participated. The DSGMC published a beautiful souvenir on this occasion which is much superior to the souvenirs published by the SGPC. These developments affected the image of Mr Avtar Singh Makkar adversely. The man behind the seminar was Prof Prithipal Singh Kapur, former Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University and a renowned Sikh scholar. Mr Avtar Singh Makkar’s brief visit to UK and USA created a new area of influence for him but the diasporic leanings towards various groups did not go well to enhance his image.