Posts Tagged ‘SGPC’


Indian Express: Views on movie Nanak Shah Fakir

   Posted by: aman    in Punjab

Friends, rarely one finds that a student of history going through material which remains problematic with the community yet is the best illustration of a case. Journalist Adrija Roychowdhry explored the reasons behind the Sikh stance against the movie Nanak Shah Fakir. She also quoted me.

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Friends, a few weeks ago I had raised the question of Sikh identity in my article on the Gurdwara Amendment Law regarding Sehajdharis in The Caravan Magazine. That went viral. Here is another argument in the context of a slightly older but even more revealing court case.

However, you look at it the Sikh identity is now severely compromised. The only way ahead, and I dread it, are the calls for ‘ghar wapsi’ which the right-wing is raising and what would lead to a split in the community – the way other established monotheistic religions have gone: Islam and Christianity. Ask ourselves, did we ask for this? Look at the Sikh identity question through these two angles.

‘The irony of a Sikh community, known much beyond its numbers for its service and egalitarianism, is that it fights its identity battles in the courts of a secular country and ends up losing in the real sense when it thinks it is winning court battles.’

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Friends, who is a Sikh?

The recent move by the Rajya Sabha to forbid Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting in the SGPC elections tells us that around 70 lakh Sikhs in Punjab and around 1 crore Sikhs all over the world are now ‘patit’ – heretics, apostates, and hence no longer Sikhs.

I wonder how the Sikh community feels about it but one thing is clear: anyone who has ever touched a scissor to his/her body is no longer a Sikh. The SGPC has effectively removed one third of the community population making Sikhs a minority in Punjab, like elsewhere.

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Friends, while we feel concerned about Punjab – recent Pathankot, drugs, caste issues, agrarian and industrial crises – I feel we also need to understand the state as it warms up to elections next year.

For a while now the Sikhs have been calling for reform within their highest religious institution. They are being thwarted by those in power and control the institutions. Over last year the common people have showed their displeasure to the political leaders but at the recent Jor Mela they boycotted their religious leaders too. After that the SGPC demonstrated its betrayal of the Sikh community. This is unprecedented.

This genuine unrest of the common people in their political and religious representatives is in turn exploited by radical forces – Khalistan etc. A story on one of the grave fault lines of Punjab.

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Here is Daljit Ami’s recent column on the Sikh protest in Punjab and how it is shaped, where it is headed. Translated by me.

We need more and more voices to articulate the two independent protests in Punjab: farmer-worker Unions and the intra-community Sikh struggle against the hegemony of the SGPC.  Both are against the same Akali government.

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Comment on the Golden Temple skirmish in Tehelka

   Posted by: aman    in Punjab

On June 6, 2014, as the world watched the Sikh community mark the 30th anniversary of the Army attack on Golden Temple, Operation Blue Star, factions pulled out swords and there was a free for all  in the holy premises for one and a half hour. My piece in Tehelka on one of the deeper reasons behind this event.

‘Though Punjab has largely been peaceful after the violent 1980s, it remains a land with deep fissures. One of the reasons is that the Sikh community’s management body, the cash-rich SGPC, has over the past two decades been converted into an extension of the SAD (Badal). Instead of practising inclusive Sikhism, solving the community’s problems, furthering education and healthcare, and raising and solving the identity issues that had led to the separatist movement, the SGPC has become rife with nepotism and dynasty politics. It manipulates Sikh sentiments for political and commercial gains.’

Read more here

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