Saturday, January 20, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Right to define Sikh 

THERE is a lot of support to the views expressed by an eminent Sikh scholar, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, published in The Tribune (Jan 14).

Sikhism is the world’s fifth largest religion spread all over the globe. Therefore, the Sikhs would certainly not like any government to interfere in their religious matters and define them by governmental regulations in any one country. They have been struggling to eliminate any governmental control over their religious affairs in India for a century now.

Should a right of the Government of India be accepted to define Sikh, or that matter to define any of our religious practices, it will set a precedent such that other governments such as Governments of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Canada, East Africa, Great Britain and USA are given rights to define a Sikh in their respective countries. Right now we are struggling with the Government of Pakistan to give us back management of our own religious affairs in that country. Some misguided Sikh groups in North America have gone to courts to settle matters of their religious practices. However, the courts in the West always stayed away from passing any judgement on our practices; they sided with the guidelines established by the native communities themselves.


No one argues that any organisation can not set rules for its membership as was done by SGPC in the original 1925 Gurdwara Act. But never before any Sikh organisation asked any non-Sikh government to define its Rehat or any other religious practice.

The present move to seek a seal of approval from an overwhelmingly Hindu government to define a Sikh will be ill advised and the Sehajdhari Sikhs will be against it.

Sehajdhari Sikhs, since their inception on the day of the Vaisakhi of 1699, stayed with the Sikh panth in its all ups and downs in the history. Correspondingly, the panth also considered them as its part and parcel and gave them their high regard.

I just returned from a pilgrimage to the footprints of Guru Nanak in Pakistan including its northwestern areas and found that Sehajdhari Sikhs had been maintaining gurdwaras with full sanctity for the past half a century. They constitute 70% of the Sikh population of Pakistan today. There is no record of their mismanaging any Sikh institution in Pakistan, India, or in North America or harming the Sikhs in any way.

Dr Ahluwalia presents a simple and realistic solution to the ongoing controversy in India over the definition of the term “Sikh”. It is certainly not necessary to “knock out Sehajdharis from the Sikh community — the traditional Sehajdharis as well as those who, though born in Sikh families, but did not keep long hair. I agree that being an Amritdhari Sikh and maintaining uncut hair are certainly desirable practices in Sikh religion. SGPC will do well to limit the right of vote for its offices to the practicing Amritdhari Sikhs as defined by its Rehat Maryada, and leave the matter of other definitions to our scholars based on the injunctions from our eternal Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

President, Academy of Guru Granth Studies



Transfer policy

The Himachal Pradesh government’s reported decision to go in for decentralisation of transfer powers vis-a-vis its employees does not come a day too soon. In fact, the step was long overdue.

Hitherto, the transfer powers were virtually concentrated in the office of the Chief Minister, reducing the ministers, heads of departments and district-level officers to the position of just ornamental cogs in the state’s administrative machine. Sans the power to shift even an incorrigible/ defiant class IV employee working under them, they exercised little effective administrative control over their departments/offices. No wonder, the twin bane of indiscipline/ inefficiency increasingly plagued the government offices/agencies to the acute chagrin of the public at large.

The mindless policy not only had an exceedingly deleterious effect on the administration but also inflicted untold misery on the employees; for, the hapless victims of the policy had perforce to seek the “costly services” of some “go between” to get the needful done.

The accursed policy, of course, has its votaries — the unscrupulous “go-between”, for whom “transfer of government employees” virtually meant a whole-time flourishing business.

It would not, therefore, be surprising if the vested interests make a frantic bid to scuttle the proposed policy. Let the Chief Minister beware!

Ambota (Una)

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |