Defining Sehajdhari

Now Kolkata Sikhs revolt against SGPC

Chandigarh, December 14 - After Haryana, now it is turn of Kolkata Sikhs to express their differences with the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

While the Haryana Sikhs are demanding independent body to manage affairs of historic gurdwaras of their State, Kolkata Sikhs have taken objection to the new definition of “sehajdhari” Sikh the SGPC has given to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

An emergency meeting of various Sikh organisations, gurdwaras and Singh Sabhas of Bengal was held at gurdwara Sant Kutiya in Kolkata on December 12 to discus the contents of the affidavit submitted by SGPC secretary Harbeant Singh in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

A resolution passed at the meeting took strong objection to change in definition of “sehajdhari Sikh from the one adopted in a resolution by the SGPC itself on May 12, 1938.

“Sikhs of West Bengal are perturbed to note the contents of the affidavit filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court declaring ‘ sehajdhari Sikh is a novice who has entered the path of Sikhism and will continue to be so till he fully accepts the morals and spiritual vows of Sikhism.’ This is dishonest reversal of the long-standing panthic stance on the most vital issue on which the SGPC had passed its own resolution on May 12, 1938.

“Further, it is no more relevant in Sikh Panth after the 1973 general house meeting of the SGPC demanding so- called Sehajdhari be disfranchised from the Sikh Gurdwaras Act of 1925 and which was subsequently accepted by the Government of India vide its notification (SO1190E) ceasing right of vote of sehajdharis in gurdwara elections.

The West Bengal Sikhs maintain that under the new definition any non-Sikh would pretend to be a sehajdhari to reap the benefit, if any, under the plea that he or she is on the way to adopting Sikhism.

They also contest the SGPC version the new definition was based on an expert committee report constituted by the SGPC executive committee. They said the report did not mention a word about the meeting held on February 4, 2008 in Amritsar where seven-member committee drafted the definition. The report was signed by at least six of seven members, hold the Bengal Sikhs.

- By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

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