Sikh clergy sets the right example

sikh1.jpgThe Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandak Committee (SGPC) has come out with strict social norms. In a welcome decision, SGPC had announced that there is no non vegetarian food and alcoholic  drinks to be served in the Sikh community weddings. In case of violation of this rule, the highest religious body of the Sikhs has declared not to give marriage certificates. This internal law is expected to  bring down  the marriage expenses. With the increasing dowry deaths and females harassments this kind of religious rules are desperately required. Any number of laws made by the parliament is not able to arrest the social evils. Despite becoming one of the richest state in the country, Punjab is worst off in the social indicators. Especially in the gender development, the land of Sikhs is lagging behind.

It is not just the state of Punjab which is moving with the multiple social fractures like women harassments but also the predominantly Sikh migrants dominated countries like USA, UK and Canada. These nations are facing numerous social problems involving Sikh women. Dowry harassments and tortures are common among the Sikh community in these countries. Unable to deal with the new situation, the governments in these nations have sought the help of community leaders. At the right moment, the SGPC had grabbed the opportunity to reform the religious angle to women’s development. In the Grand Shaib there is no mention about the women’s inferior status and it strictly prohibits any form of torture to another living being. When the religious book of the Sikh community is reluctant to inflict damage to any other living being, it is obvious that the ill-treatment of women are not allowed by the community.

It is an irony that the state of Punjab which is in the forefront of the economic development is taking a different turn towards their women folk. Whether in the battle field or in the agricultural fields women were equal partners. In both these professions, the Sikhs have stamped their special seal both in India and abroad. When the women have contributed enormously for the upward mobility of the Sikh community it is strange that the new generation of men are indulging in anti-women activities.

The most compelling reason for the SGPC to announce new social regulations is that the threat posed by some cults to the popularity of the Sikh community. The Saucha Sauda Dera is spreading like a forest fire in the backward districts of Punjab. The cult is estimated to have a one tenth of the population as its followers in Bhatinda, Mansar, Sangrur and Muktsar. The recent controversy involving Saucha Sauda Dera chief Guru Ram Rahmeet Singh dressing like the Sikh Guru Gobind Singh has made the Sikh clergy to take a relook at their community attitudes. After knowing the reasons for the popularity of Saucha Sauda Dera sect the SGPC had come to a conclusion that the social evils like alcohol, dowry, drugs which are prevalent among the Sikhs is pushing many poor people in the community to join new sects. In this scenario the SGPC had cracked its whip on the erring community members to save its honour and future. A 47 point code of conduct of the Dera increases its fame. The rules include a strict no to intoxicants. Rule 21

The neighboring state of Haryana should also step in to implement social reforms. The majority Jat community needs to introspect the social structure prevalent in the state. Treating women inferior and denying them their due rights will suppress the upward mobility of the state. The Jats are spread widely in most parts of north India. Any positive reforms by the community leaders will have right impact in different segments of the society. In the age of globalization, even the high profile Jat women have to move with the heads covered. Although this is common when the women walk through the predominantly Jat community area, one can notice the sense of fear in them. La Malika Sherawat can sizzle the global audience with bikinis and low waist costumes. But when she is in the Jat land, her entire persona gets different appearance.

Both Punjab and Haryana are notorious for female infanticides and the lowest sex ratio in the country. Social Scientists are completely confused over the paradoxical situation of high economic growth and low social development. Naked display of wealth gotten from the green revolution and post liberal economy, these two states are in the cross roads of social growth. The governments which are run by the vote bank politics cannot engineer any community reforms. In the region where the diktats of community leaders get the final signal is better to accept the new age rules from the right quarters. 

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1 Comment

  1. Richard Taverner said,

    +00002011-07-25T17:32:39+00:00312011bUTCMon, 25 Jul 2011 17:32:39 +0000 2, 2008 at 7.27 p07

    thnkyou for such a great post. i loved it please also see to it that in the future too you are posting such great posts on this topic. i also bookmarked ur blog for future visits. Keep up the good work. Sant Singh Maskeen


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