Sunday 12 July 2020

Sukhbir Badal opts for status quo in SGPC

- Posted on 13 November 2018

Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, November 13: Gobind Singh Lobngowal after getting re-elected president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee today in Amritsar for second term of one year rightly gave the  call to follow teachings of Guru Nanak. However, he has to make a beginning from the very body that he heads. This body now despises debate and discussion that was practiced by Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh Faith.

The dictatorial attitude was abundantly in evidence towards the close of the general house meeting that elected the office bearers when its former general secretary Kiranjot Kaur took the stage to raise an issue. The mike was snatched from here and the meeting abruptly closed.

She could be heard trying vainly to raise the issue of humiliation meted out by the SGPC to eminent historian Prof Kirpal Singh who had been working on the project under this body for the last  eighteen years. He has become a victim of the controversy on the issue of distortion in under preparation history book for Class XII of Punjab School Education Board. Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal has been trying to mobilise Sikhs on this issue against Capt Amarinder Singh government but in effect, it was a move to launch agitation parallel to the Bargari Insaaf Morcha. The Insaaf Morcha has been agitating since June 1 to demand action against culprits of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in 2015 during Parkash Singh Badal government. This issue has rocked the Akali Dal.

Kiranjot was surrounded by several members as she was raising the issue and one member Charanjit Singh from Akali Dal but associated with Damdami Taksal snatched the mike from her. She looked shocked.

“This is the way the general house meetings of the SGPC have been functioning over the years”, she later said. It is pertinent to mention that  all this took place in the very presence of Guru Granth Sahib that is always installed in the hall where the meeting is held. Installation of Granth Sahib too has become a ritual to which this progressive religion that lays emphasis on universal love and brotherhood and creation of ideal society is getting reduced to.

At the political level, Sukhbir decided not to disturb status quo  as the previous president, senior vice-president and the general secretary were allowed to continue. This was expected as the SGPC is supposed to serve the needs of the Akali Dal and the present set up is too accommodating. At the time when the seniors are revolting, he desperately needs loyalists.

The general house passed a number of resolutions but it appeared to be just routine exercise and none seemed to be involved in the content. However, at one level, the resolution on distortion in books of Sikh history was interesting. The focus was on attacking the Amarinder government on this issue but at the same time, the SGPC admitted discrepancies in its own books on Sikh history. It was decided to constitute a review committee for the purpose. That was all.

On the other hand, in case of the controversial Punjab school board history book, the resolution demanded sack of education minister O P Soni and registration of a case against him.

The resolution slammed the eminent historians who are members of the committee preparing the books for school board as “so-called historians”. At one level, the SGPC was only betraying its ignorance and respect for academics.

It is better that the SGPC begins with teaching thought and practice of Guru Nanak to its members as mark of celebrations of 550th birth anniversary of the founder of the Sikh Faith.

After all, this is known as the mini-Parliament of the Sikhs but then the elected representatives are known for such disgusting behaviour.

This body is supposed to preach the teachings of Guru Nanak about which its own members are ignorant. What a fall.

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