Sikh, Hindu leaders give community lessons in prudence Mumbai: A Sikh gurudwara and a Hindu temple in Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar, Sion-Koliwada have joined hands with a local welfare group in an effort to root our social evils from their thickly populated locality. Sikh, Hindu leaders give community lessons in prudence - dnaindia.com Mumbai: A Sikh gurudwara and a Hindu temple in Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar, Sion-Koliwada have joined hands with a local welfare group in an effort to root our social evils from their thickly populated locality. To start with, the initiative, called Punjabi Colony Welfare Association, has banned lavish wedding ceremonies, putting a cap on the number of guests at weddings and cremations, banning distribution of sweets, and demand or offering of dowry in their community, comprising both Sikhs and Hindus. Mahendra Kumar Thapar, general secretary of the welfare association and a respected social reformer, said there was an urgent need to bring in reforms keeping in mind the social and economic situation of the community. “A majority of us arrived here after the country’s partition and were provided refugee accommodation in the camp, which later became known as Punjabi colony. The first generation of refugees struggled hard to make ends meet and never had the time or opportunity for reforms,” Thapar said. “The second generation consolidated their small business interests and due to their efforts the third generation got an opportunity to get quality education and much-needed social awareness. The present generation inspired us into getting rid of unnecessary rituals and rites, that had no relevance in the present day set-up,” he added. Thapar explained that despite the young generation getting educated, the social and economic status of the community had not improved much due to lack of savings and increase in ceremonial expenditure. “A lot of money, often borrowed from friends and relatives or taken on loan from banks, was being spent on rituals like feeding community members after cremation ceremonies. On the one hand, the family has lost a member and on the other, they had to feed the mourners. This is not done and we must put an end to it,” said Sunil Vijan, president of the Welfare Association. In a printed appeal circulated to locals, the reformists said all marriages should be one-day affairs and must be conducted during the day to avoid cocktail parties and dinners. “There is a tendency to offer sweets on all occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and festivals. Scores of costly sweet packets are dumped at people’s homes, which are then thrown away as no single family can possibly consume all of it. It is a sheer waste of money,” Vijan said. The girl’s parents should desist from offering dowry and the grooms parents must refuse it, if offered. The reformists will keep an eye on all such ceremonies and take action against those who flout the diktat. The new guidelines further stated that not more than 25 relatives from both sides should attend the engagement ceremonies to curtail expenditure. All ceremonies must be only vegetarian and no hard drinks should be served. In an effort to enforce the new code of conduct on community members, the welfare association workers successfully roped in the services of two leading religious entities, namely the Panchayati Gurudwara and the Hari Mandir. The Sikh and Hindu religious leaders propagate the reforms through their daily religious rituals and the efforts have been showing good results, reformists said.