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SGPC Chief Drops Suffix ‘Makkar’ From Name


Sep 16, 2004
SGPC chief drops suffix ‘Makkar’ from name
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 27
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Avtar Singh has stopped caste ‘Makkar’ as suffix.
All advertisements, inserted in different newspapers by the SGPC thanking well-wishers for congratulating him on his appointment wrote his name ‘Avtar Singh’. The Tribune on the first day of his appointment wrote that the SGPC chief might be compelled to drop caste from his name.
Affixing of caste as suffix is considered a violation of ‘Rehat Maryda’ (Sikh code of conduct). Even edict pronounced from Akal Takht too banned suffixing of caste in Sikhism. Though Mr Sunder Singh Ramgarhia, who held the post of SGPC chief in 1922 affixed his caste with his name but it was before the enactment of the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925. By that time such edict was not issued. However, rest of the SGPC chiefs normally affixed names of their villages as suffix while many of them would not use any suffix at all. They included Sunder Singh Majithia, Baba Kharak Singh, Shree Bahadur Mehtab Singh, Master Tara Singh, Jathedar Mohan Singh Nagoke, Gopal Singh Qaumi, Jathedar Channan Singh Urara, Pritam Singh Khuranj, Isher Singh Majhail, Gyan Singh Rarewala, Bawa Harkrishan Singh, Prem Singh Lalpura, Kirpal Singh Chak Sherewala, Sant Channan Singh , Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Kabul Singh, Baldev Singh Sibia, Bibi Jagir Kaur Begowal, Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Kirpal Singh Badungar and Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke.
However, ‘Who’s Who’, biographical sketches published by the SGPC reveal that many Shiromani Committee members preferred to use their castes in violation of the Sikh code of conduct. As per ‘Rehat Maryada’ such persons were disqualified for even contesting the SGPC elections. However, a confidant of Mr Makkar said that senior Akali leaders, including Mr Zora Singh Mann, Mr Sukhev Singh Dhindsa, Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, have been affixing castes as suffix, why there was ‘hue and cry’ over the name of the new SGPC chief? However, talking to The Tribune, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann said that he had dropped caste from the names of his son, Iman Singh and both daughters. Interestingly, some SGPC employees too use caste as suffix with their names.

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