Punjab govt bats for gender equality in Sikh shrines

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh (PTI Photo)

In a reformist move, Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in Punjab on Thursday passed a resolution urging the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhism, to allow Sikh women to perform Kirtan Sewa at the Golden Temple. A similar request was also made to the SGPC, the organisation managing the majority of prominent Sikh shrines in the country.

The resolution passed unanimously in the Punjab assembly today will be sent formally to the Akal Takht and the SGPC.

Aimed at ebbing gender discrimination in religious matters, the resolution was moved by cabinet minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and then put to vote by the Speaker. Bajwa said that Guru Nanak Dev had throughout his life fought against caste and gender inequality and preached the promotion of an egalitarian society based on democratisation of rights and entitlements.

There was no mention in the Sikh history of any discrimination against women, he said, lamenting that Sikh women were not allowed to perform Kirtan Sewa till now.

The resolution read: “Guru Nanak had visualised a society in which there would be no place for discrimination or distinction on the basis of caste or creed, social status or gender, a society that is to be based upon the principle of egalitarianism and committed to the welfare of all. It is for this reason that there is no instance of discrimination in Gurbani or Sikh Gurus history at any level between man and woman. It is, however, unfortunate that the Sikh women are not allowed to perform Kirtan in the sanctum sanctorum of the Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, the most venerated shrine of the Sikhs where there is no space for discrimination.”


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