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Sikh Temples view on mixed marriages

Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:46 am
by Parm77
This is a new topic to share people’s views on the current situation with Sikh temples and their leader’s views and attitudes towards mixed marriages and inter-caste marriages.

I am a British born Sikh and always took pride in believing that my religion was a modern and more accepting religion. We have all types of people around the world from different nationalities who are Sikhs. So I was so shocked to discover the negative response that I had from a few Sikh Temples I visited to ask if I can have my wedding there.

My partner is Chinese with no faith at all and he wanted to become a Sikh and for us to get married in a Sikh Temple even though I didn't even ask him to. I have known him for four years and in that time he has also learnt flaunt Punjabi and he really does have a genuine interest to explore it further.

When this was brought up with the leaders at these temples they said this cannot take place because he is not 'Indian' Erm so does that mean the only Sikhs in the world are all Indian?

Basically, I was absolutely shocked at the attitude when I asked for an explanation their excuse was 'oh it’s because we get backlash from the community for why we let it happen’ surely as leaders shouldn’t they be promoting tolerance and that our faith is not a discriminating one? They then went on to ‘lecture’ my parents on not bringing up their kids in the 'right way' whatever way that is and what relevance that has I don't know.

If the temples are going to be like this then they will eventually shrink our faith and the Islamic faith will grow because it allows anyone to join regardless of their background, they will be the most dominating religion in the world soon if not already and faith play to them.

Our temples seem to be built on a caste and race system which is going against what our true faith believes in. It seems to me that it’s not the faith they are worried about shrinking if mixed marries happen but more the caste numbers which is all cultural. Should Sikh temples not allow members of the community and others who want to join have access to their services and course obstacles instead?

I have always attended and donated but will I be doing it again - no because I feel the leaders are not representing our faith that does welcome all so now they have lost two more people.

Soho Road Temple was invited to the Jubilee celebrations and to sit inside and participate. If the Queen said no you are not of my faith so you will not be invited how the Sikh temple and its community would feel - this is why she is the peoples Queen and she had to change with the times. I think the Sikh temples should take a very big lesson from that and not practise covert racism which is what it is.

I would like to gain others view on this for or against as mixed marriages are on the raise and this is a fact so what should the Sikh temples do and why should it have anything to do with the faith that doesn't state it’s not allowed.

Re: Sikh Temples view on mixed marriages

Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:04 am
by pavneet.singh
Gurfateh ji,

According to the Sikh Rehat Maryada, only a sikh can be wedded in a Gurdwara.. Indian or no Indian, doesn't matter.. A sikh is a sikh, irrespective of caste, color, race, etc. But unfortunately, some of our Gurdwaras have started discriminating.
If you want, take a copy of SIkh Rehat Maryada which is easily available online and show it in the Gurdwara. Or else, go to another one!

Re: Sikh Temples view on mixed marriages

Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:21 pm
by Punjabi G
This topic was recently discussed and you can read different views here. As far as I know, some Gurudwaras may be against such wedding but most have no problem conducting ceremony for mixed weddings. But I am in US and maybe things have changed in UK. Because I have few cousins in UK who got married with non-Sikhs, non-Indians in Gurudwaras in the past.


Check with other gurudwaras in the area!

Re: Sikh Temples view on mixed marriages

Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:29 pm
by Guest
Parm if you atre hell bent on marrying this chap then find a gurdwara that will allow him to convert, once he has converted wait a year and then start to think about marriage.
Once everyone sees that he is a full proper sikh the community or Gurdwara will change its attitude and will allow the marriage.
The reason behinf them refusing could be down to the honest fact that alot of sikh girls and sikh men who want to marry outside will say that oh my partner isa sikh... can we get married and then later on the sangat finds out that this is not true and this usually results in a backlash for breaking rehat.
There have been countless stories of caseses in the uk where couples will lie just so that they can have a marriage in a temple......i am not saying that this is the case with you but i am just letting you know why they might be refusing.
Get him to convert and then the communities attitude will change
best of luck
p.s. no Gurdwara can refuse to offer amrit to anybody regardless of caste or creed if this does happen then the gurdwara management are open to a back lash as well

Re: Sikh Temples view on mixed marriages

Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 5:27 pm
by Parm77
Hi Pavneet Singh,

Thank you for that valuable information and I will be sure to follow your advise and try that not sure where it will get me with these committee people at the Temples but its worth a shot.

Next time I'm taking my partner with me and the first thing he will say is that he wants to become Sikh even before anything about marriage is brought up it will be interesting to see if they turn him away.

If it wasn't for this forum I think I would be feeling very disconnected from the Sikh community right now having no platform to speak out against this and feeling oppressed by the Sikh Temple leaders. I know there must be others in the same boat and we need to speak up we are still part of this community and its just as much ours as anyone else's. Just because I choose to marry a non indian does not mean I am leaving my faith to join theirs in fact they want to join mine.

Thank you again for your supportive advise much appreciated.

Re: Sikh Temples view on mixed marriages

Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:52 pm
by Nihal Singh Kanakpuria
param77 ji,

Views on inter-caste marriage differs depending on who is from their side, boy or girl. This thought process is not only of some Sikhs but of some people all over the world of all faiths.

In recent times some ppl views (including mine) is becoming negative if the girl is from Sikh faith, before you jump on me, its not cause she is a girl but cause of the bend over backward attitude of some Sikh women when it comes to marrying into and accepting another faith, even if that faith denies any right to a women.

As far as your case goes, I don't understand why your partner wants to become a Sikh to marry, I see his becoming a Sikh pointless if its only for marriage, but then I don't understand find what the temple authorities told you pointless as well, just coz they wont allow doesn't mean ppl wont get married as a Sikh women marry out of faith is "generally" not that firm in her faith in the first place.

As far as you go, are you really that concerned about the Sikh faith ? or are you upset coz you were not permitted to marry in that Sikh Gurudwara ? , coz you seem to be more than happy to no longer go to the Gurudwara coz of what the management said where as I expect the response of someone who is genuinely concerned about Sikh faith to be different.

I suggest look for another Gurudwara, there are plenty in UK , you will find one that is ready to get you guys married.

Best of Luck.


Re: Sikh Temples view on mixed marriages

Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:49 pm
by deepharn
Param77 ,

Why do you want to get married in a Sikh temple. I am surprised that you are so keen to get married in a gurdwaras. Come let me share some thoughts with you -

A. You must be aware that Guru Gobind Singh bestowed gurugadhi to guru Granth Sahib ji. Now for a moment think that guru Gobind Singh ji is sitting in the Gurudwara as a guru, and you go and tell me that I want to get married to this Mr. China ji. According to you what do you think Guru Gobind Singh ji will tell you.

B. I had spoken to some members of the Gurudwara and they had many reasons, some cogent from their perspective, as to why they don't allow. Some of these reasons are - their rules don't allow, Sikh reheat marayada does not allow such marriages, it sets a bad example for other young kids in the community, in 100 percent of such cases, people only become sikhs for thirty minutes, until lavan ceremony is over and then revert back to their old religion, etc.

C. There is a young couple, a boy and a girl, sitting in a garden, laughing and mischievous looking. An elderly man passes by and the young boy tells him, Uncle I am teaching her English. The old man simply smiles and says, Son, same old story, about 75 years ago, even my generation boys used to teach English in this garden itself. So, the management committees of gurudwaras are very well aware of such tricky situations. You could be genuine, but the experience of many more only shows that this is a slippery evidence.

D. I was wondering, if you can kindly illuminate, if you are such a devout sikh, why did you not seek a marriage partner who also was a Sikh? I ask, because of some contradiction in your argument. Your boy friend does not belong to any religion, you say. Though i think, most of the Chinese follow confuscism. Are you seeking freedom?


Re: Sikh Temples view on mixed marriages

Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:17 am
by Parm77
Firstly thank you all for your responses to this topic and I would like to share my response to some of the questions.

Why do I want to get married in a Gurudwara? Am I a devout Sikh? I am not baptised yet but that’s not to say I never will be. How many people that go to the Gurudwara are baptised? If only those that are can go or get married there then there wouldn't be as much people going.

I want to get married in a Gurudwara so I to get married in the eyes of god and have his blessing just like any other girl and I choose Sikhism when I can quite easily choose another religion to get married in like a Church because Sikhism was what I was born into and its also a respect thing to my parents and relatives because Sikhism and my culture is still apart of me.

So my point is that the Gurudwara and some people here are saying your not a baptised Sikh and your not marrying a Sikh so why do I want to? Because does anyone stop those who are Indian marrying an Indian who is not baptised to get married in the Gurudwara? Do they even get questioned about how strong is their faith? know they don't it is assumed that just because they are Indian marrying an Indian they are both from Sikh families its never questioned how strong is your belief even if they don't use Singh and Kaur in their names. So my argument is why question me just because I choose to marry a non-Indian and still want to follow my faith. Majority of people who go to the Gurudwara and get married are not baptised and no one stops them.

Secondly, my partner has no faith at all but out of respect for me and my parents he is willing to do this off his own back on a personal level he is also interested in seeing if he develops a desire to believe in God and a faith of course he is not at any stage to get baptised yet but that’s not to say he wouldn't in the future but of his own choice no one can say that about any of us at what point we might decide to go on to that path. So am I a Sikh girl that’s going to join another faith no because he doesn't have one he is interested in coming into ours and we should welcome that.

I also believe that women have a strong influence on their children from the amount of close time women spend bring up their kids so if children are going to have a faith to follow a woman can introduce that to them and I know I will want that for my kids for them to know you have a faith if you choose to follow it in the future when you can make your own choices as it needs to come from them but I will want to teach the basics of our faith to them.

Maybe, the majority of people here are baptised Sikhs and practice the faith fully but I am just like the majority not at that level yet and not going to be for a while but if I don't have that link then the chances are I won't be at all.

As for my statement that I won't go to a temple if that’s the attitude so how strong is my faith? Well I didn't give up I went to another temple and spoke to one of the members there with my partner. They said we used to do mixed marriages but then we stopped because we did a Muslim with an Indian girl and people burnt our cars so now they are scared to do them. In this case the boy was originally born into a Muslim family but then was adopted by a Hindu family and brought up Indian. His birth certificate was still his Muslim name and that’s what people saw and so there was a backlash.

This was the reason they have decided not to do them so I have to find another one as we also do not want to put people in danger but at least this temple explained it to us where as some temples mainly Jatt run ones are too extreme in their views and personally attack your beliefs if you don't conform to theirs. All religions have their extremists but I just think all people want to do is follow a faith and we are getting caught up in a battle field of politics and people discriminating against each other I mean even we have divides within Sikhism and that’s not what our faith is about. Khalistan wants its own separate state well is that really going to be the best solution for Sikhs to be separated from the rest of the world? Or should we try to make it work with everyone around us but that’s another topic.

All I want is to still have my faith with me and get married in the eyes of god for me and my family (by the way, I was married once to an Indian Sikh who left me because he decided it wasn't worth putting the effort in anymore) Some of you will say well you only do the temple once not again but to me that was an arranged marriage and we didn't marry each other for love it was just arranged by families and the love didn't grow after. Now I am in love and this is my real partner and marriage.

Finally, if mixed marriages are a bad influence on kids then surely practicing hate and segregation is worse. Sikhism is not exclusive to only Indians its a multi race religion around the world and that’s what I will be teaching my children to learn tolerance and love not hate - but all I have come across so far is hate and politics created by people not the faith.

Re: Sikh Temples view on mixed marriages

Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:23 am
by swarn bains
rejecting the one who is trying to get married in skih gurdwara. what is wrong in that. how do u know if he has some feeling for sikhism. if he or she respect the sikh religion as much as u and others. he has all the right to get married in gurdwara.

Re: Sikh Temples view on mixed marriages

Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:10 pm
by Guest
Hello All,

I have been reading mos the post in this thread and they are all very interesting as it seems the rules vary from Gurdwara to Gurdwara.

I am a Ravidassi guy wanting to marry a Sikh (jatt) woman.

She would like to perform Anand Karaj at her Gurdwara, which is fine.

However, in order for me to get married in the temple I have to add "Singh" to my name.

The family says that it is a law in all Gurdwaras.

I am happy to do so but have the following arguments:

- Having Singh in my name is a great previledge, however i will not practice Sikhism
- It seems like I am being converted just to get married
- Her parents say i must have this in my name otherwise i cannot marry their daughter

Can anybody give me anymore advice on this matter? Is this a law? What if i changed my name back after?