CHANDIGARH, Punjab—On the eve of the 100th foundation anniversary of the apex Sikh body Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, a seminar was organized in Jalandhar on November 16 to deliberate upon current position of SGPC and the possible ways to address its crisis. A committee of Sikh intellectuals organized this seminar under the leadership of SAD (Democratic) president Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.
In this seminar, the Sikh intellectuals opined that the vested political interests of Akali leaders have dominated over the SGPC and a trend of using sacred Sikh institutions for vested political interests is prevailing in the Panth these days.
The Sikh intellectuals appreciated the efforts being made under the leadership of Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa while saying that taking all the Sikhs into mainstream fold was the need of hour from the view of religion.
They also suggested that the current struggle should lay focus on management reforms rather than replacing the dominating political class.
Speaking on this occasion, renowned Sikh intellectual Prof. Prithipal Singh Kapur shed light on the history of Sikh Gurdwara Lehar. He said that the Sikhs had to liberate Gurdwaras from Mahants because they had started treating the historic Sikh shrines as their personal property.
He added that the sentiments of sacrifice and devotion have limited in our Gurdwara management system.
Citing several examples, Prof. Prithipal Singh Kapur said that there was a time when the great Sikh personalities made sacrifices of their posts to defend the Sikh interests but now bureaucracy has dominated the SGPC. “The traditional Sikh leaders used to maintain a distance between their political and religious activities but now the Sikh leaders gets ready to abase themselves to any extent just for the sake of power,” he said.
He suggested the Sikhs to erect a commission to trace out the weaknesses and flaws in the SGPC and then pave way for rectifying these flaws.
Dr. Balkar Singh, former head of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Department in Punjabi University, said that the rising influence of politics on the administration of SGPC has put an adverse effect on the morality of Gurdwara management system. He added that the SGPC and Akal Takht seems a tool to every Sikh leader to take his political career to a next level.
“Accusing a particular faction for the crisis in SGPC can’t be justified. Instead, we would have to make efforts for Panthak unity while trying to fill out the prevailing vacuum in the Sikh leadership,” he said while hailing Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s efforts to fill out this vacuum.
Former AISSF leader and Sikh historian Harwinder Singh Khalsa called for reforms in the SGPC while citing several historic references about the SGPC.
At the end of this seminar, SAD (Democratic) president Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa welcomed the Sikh intellectuals and activists who have come out to support his efforts. He said that he would continue his efforts to uphold democratic values within the party and its conformance with the Sikh ethos.
He reiterated that the SAD (Democratic) won’t grant any constitutional or political post to the candidates of SGPC elections.
Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa revealed that he is approaching the former Sikh activists and AISSF leaders who got sidelined during from Panthak canvas due to unfavorable circumstances.
In reply to the apprehensions about consequences faced by the Sikh leaders who opposed Badals in the past, Dhindsa said that there is no way left for Badals to dominate in Panthak politics as the sacrilege episode has exposed their reality.
A resolution stressing upon the need for pro-Panthak Sikhs to have debate over Sikh issues was presented by SAD (Democratic) senior leader Nidhark Singh Brar and got passed unanimously.
Gurcharan Singh Channi served the responsibility of stage secretary in this program.
Former MP Bibi Paramjit Kaur Gulshan, former MLA Justice Nirmal Singh, Des Raj Dhugga and Bhai Mohkam Singh were honored on this occasion.
Tejinderpal Singh Sandhu, Anupinder Kaur Sandhu, Bibi Harjit Kaur Talwandi, Simarjit Kaur Sidhu, Gursher Singh Shergill, Advocate Rajbir Singh, Principal Inderjit Singh, Prof. J.P Singh, Jasvir Singh Ghumman, Manjit Singh Bhoma, Master Johar Singh, Satnam Singh Manawa, Manjit Singh Manawa, Manjit Singh Manawa, Satwinder Singh Dhatt, Paramjit Singh Raipur, Amarjit Singh Amri, SGPC member Paramjit Singh Changaal, SGPC member Malkit Singh Changaal, TPS Sandhu, Satwinder Singh Dhatt, Bibi Inderjit Kaur, Rajinder Singh Kanjhla, Amarpal Singh Kehra, Saroop Singh Dhesi and Jagjit Singh Gaba etc. were prominent among the attendees of this seminar.