SGPC sticks to old definition of Sehajdhari

The SGPC has stated that Sehajdhari Sikhs are those who are born in non-Sikh families, but follow the tenets of Sikhism.

Chandigarh, December 3 - Members of the SGPC executive, led by its president Avtar Singh, today laid down the definition of a Sehajdhari Sikh.

Sticking to the definition given in the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925, the committee members have stated that Sehajdhari Sikhs are those who are born in non-Sikh families, but follow the tenets of Sikhism. A Sehajdhari Sikh is thus a non-Sikh who performs ceremonies according to Sikh rites; who does not use tobacco, does not consume halal meat in any form; who is not a “patit” and who recites the mulmantra of Guru Granth Sahib.

In the resolution passed during a meeting held this evening, the SGPC pointed out that the definition of Sehajdhari given in the Section 2 (10-A) of the Gurdwara Act states that the word “sehajdhari” consists of two words “sehaj” (slowly) and “dhari” (adopt a religious path) and hence these are those novices who slowly move on the path of Sikhism to adopt its doctrine, ethics and tenets.

A Sehajdhari, therefore, is one who has entered the path of Sikhism and he will continue to be a Sehajdhari Sikh till he fully accepts the moral and spiritual vows of Sikhism, to be called a practicing Sikh. The SGPC resolution also made it clear that when a Sehajdhari Sikh becomes a keshdhari Sikh, but he chooses to trim his body hair, he will not be a Sehajdhari Sikh. Similarly, if a person born into a Sikh family (and is a Sikh), but chooses to disrespect his keshdhari roop he will not turn into a Sehajdhari Sikh but become a “patit”.

The SGPC would be filing an affidavit in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the basis of the resolution passed today.

Taking up a petition filed by five students who had been denied admissions to MBBS course in a SGPC-run medical college on the ground that they were either trimming their beards or plucking their eyebrows, the full bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had on September 29 directed the SGPC to define a Sikh. The next date of hearing of the case is December 8.

Pending in the court is a petition filed by the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation, challenging a notification issued by the Union of India, whereby the voting rights of the Sehajdhari Sikhs had been taken away.

The Sehajdhari Sikh Federation said  that the SGPC’s definition of Sehajdhari Sikhs was unconstitutional and against the teachings of Sikh religion.

Reacting to the decision taken by the SGPC to define Sehajdhari Sikhs, federation president Paramjeet Singh Ranu said 85 per cent of the total world Sikh population consisted of non-amritdhari Sikhs as of now. He condemned the action of SGPC for declaring non-baptised Sikhs with shorn hairs born in Sikh families as ‘patits’ and alleged the SGPC was playing in the hands of anti-Sikh forces.

Dr Ranu said the ‘Mahan Kosh’, the encyclopedia of Sikhism defined Sehajdharis at page no 137 as “A person who remains at ease with liberal thought who is an integral part of Sikhs but do not adhere to the amrit and kach-kirpan but believes in the 10 Gurus and Guru Granth Sahib and has no other religion”.

Dr Ranu said the confusion being created by the SGPC between the patits and Sehajdharis should be cleared, as the patit word was applicable only for the amritdharis. He said whenever an amritdhari violated the amrit code of conduct by any transgression he became patit and had to be rebaptised, but a person who had never been baptised in his life couldn’t be termed as patit as he was Sehajdhari.

Our mind should be crystal clear to accept the definition of Sikh that a person who believes in 10 Gurus and Guru Granth Sahib and has no other religion is a Sikh and the Sikh who adheres to the five Kakars and adopts initiation of baptism is an amritdhari Sikhs, he added.

Add a Comment