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Sikh clergy ‘bans’ inter-faith marriages
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, May 15
Feeling helpless in stemming the growing trend among the Sikh youth to marry into non-Sikh families, the Sikh clergy and community leaders here have put a virtual ban on inter-faith marriages.

Deliberating on the issue in a meeting of representatives of around 35 local gurdwara committees and other Sikh organisations at Gurmat Kender, Race Course Road, yesterday, a resolution was passed banning such alliances being solemnised at local gurdwaras. “We took the decision as such marriages were taking place in violation of the Sikh maryada,” said Balwinder Singh, president, Gurmat Satsang Sabha.

To make the decision more deterrent, the Sikh families failing to pay heed to this collective concern of the community would be liable for social boycott. Balwinder Singh, however, maintained that the decision should not be misread as communal. The resolution also warned against observing Hindu marriage rite of “jaimala” before “anand karaj.”

What if any boy or girl gets married through court? “We are helpless in that situation. But we do not mind such marriages if the non-Sikh bridegroom or bride embraces Sikhism,” he added. When contacted for his comments, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar endorsed this view.

The step has not come without a note of dissension. “The idea is okay so far as its reformatory spirit, especially about checking other social religious ills, is concerned. But we strongly disapprove the social boycott of the family as it normally happens these days that parents have to relent due to insistence of the children,” observed Gurdip Singh Tony, president, Uttarakhand Sikh Federation.

Interestingly, his wife is a Hindu. The resolution also took strong exception to taking Guru Granth Sahib to marriage palaces or hotels for marriage ceremonies as well as use of liquor on these occasions.

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