THE SIKH INSTITUTIONS
Success or Failure -a Review
Principal Gurbakhsh Singh*
The success and strength of the fundamental institutes of our religion is a basic determinant of its progress and greatness. Our daily Sikh prayer includes a pronouncement reflecting our concern for the Sikh institutions i.e.
Sri Harimandir Sahib and Sri Akal Takhat founded by our Great Gurus are basic Sikh Institutions, to inspire and guide us for ever. Four open doors on all sides, Amrit Sarover, Guru Ka Langar with its Sangat-Pangat, Sri Guru Granth Sahib enshrined in the center of Sarover having only one approach facing Akal Takhat, the Abode of Miri-Piri, with fluttering flags are our perpetual source of ‘uVdh ebk’ for onward march with the slogan “ijK ijK ykb;k ih ;kfjp, sjK sjK, oZfSnk fonkfJs” Our strong determination to keep these flags aloft will provide us all the strength and spirit of d/r s/r csfj and work for ;opZs ek Gbk i.e. the welfare of the whole humanity.
All the other institutions will also function successfully if the Sikhs are able to manage and maintain this sacred heritage. Sharomani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee and Shromani Akali Dal are the two historical organizations of primary importance which have come up as care takers of our sacred places, after a long struggle and sacrifices by Singh Sabha and Akali Laher. These two organization have been looking after the Panthic affairs for the last seventy eight years and have long record of success and some failures. In recent times these organization have gone down in the esteem mainly because of petty selfish conflicts, their inability to respond to new challenges. Decline of moral values, corruption and absence of missionary spirit, a common phenomenon of this era, have further worsened the situation. As a religious community we are duty bound to ensure that our panthic organizations are led by the honest and committed persons with missionary zeal and strong will. This calls for the reorganization of the S.G.P.C. We will have to evolve a system of election free from party tickets based on primary constituency of Gurudwaras. S.G.P.C. must become a world organization which should encompass .all the Sikhs world over. Sri Akal Takhat being the Supreme and sacred meeting centre of Guru Panth, spokesman of the Khlalsa and sole interpreter of Gurbani & Sikh history must not any further be under any pressure from any type of politicians or vested interests. It should reflect the will of Guru Panth based on open panthic debate within Gurmaryada parameters. No pronouncement / hukamnamas issued arbitrarily and in hurry. The selection of Jathedars of all Takhats and head priests should be through consensus of Guru Panth as reflected in the choice to be made by the meeting of special representative of Guru Panth, keeping in view the basic guide lines of age, qualification and experience in the relevant field. No adhoc, whimsical or autocratic appointment be ever repeated any more. Institution of Sri Akal,Takhat is Supreme and not the Jathedar. He should be subject to the System evolved for the functioning of the Supreme seat. Sri Harimandir Sahib which enshrines Sri Guru Granth Sahib is always the sovereign. All representatives’ gatherings or Panj Piaras before meeting to pronounce a Hukam Nama must pay obeisance at the Har Mandir Sahib. Concept of Miri Piri should not be allowed to be exploited by any body, as the Miri is the function of Piri. S.G.P.C. should perform all the functions of managing cum missionary body and must not have any direct control over the Takhat. All the Takhats should function as the missionary centers for Gurmat Parchar in the respective areas and the field staff must be linked with them. All the functionaries of the S.G.P .C. must be part of the missionary system and not merely employees.
A question arises what should be the role of Shiromani Akali Dal. As already evident from the field reality, Shiromani Akali Dal is increasingly becoming a Punjabi Party to win the majority in the assembly and parliamentary seats. It has to cease functioning as an over lord of S.G.P.C. as there will be no sponsoring of party tickets.
There seems to be no need for reviewing the functioning of subsidiary Sikh Organizations, societies, Institutes, foundations and trusts as most of them are serving the individual group interests. Once we are able to manage our basic sacred institutions and historical organizations all other Gurudwaras and subsidiary organizations will start taking a desired shape.
It must be made clear that there is a wide spread net of secret agencies all-over India and the whole world. Every state is trying to influence, obstruct or control our institutes. This phenomenon is a common scene, all the world over. It can best the minimised by avoiding the unnecessary conflicts with the state and keeping an observant eye on all the elements, who try to exploit the emotional psyche of the Sikhs by slogan mongering to seek entry into the Sikh organizations. Once our Sikh institutions are properly managed with intelligent missionary spirit and democratic norms with Gur Sangat participation, the impact of these agencies will be minimised. We should no more be permissive or soft to intruders or betrayers and must have a killing instinct for such types.
Before concluding it is most necessary to mention that we, the Sikhs, have allowed to develop certain un-Sikh traits which are inimical to proper functioning of institutions. The feudalistic caste and autocratic attitudes are dominant in many of us. The individualistic instinct to dominate and autocratic functioning coupled with caste complex is still at large. Democratic participation of Sangat in decision making is avoided.
Our general psyche is to look for Sadh or Sant, if possible a Mahapursh to perform miracles. Any adverse opinion is not tolerated and even a genuine criticism is not allowed. We must adopt the Guru Nanak’s attitude as revealed from his saying in Sidhgost T[Aso dhi?, o'; B ehu? As a result the Sikh masses have started looking to Sant Babas in a big way from Kar Sewa to Spiritual Guidance.
The Sikhs being a minority always have some conflict with the established state authority. It provides an easy opportunity to cunning and ‘worldly wise’ people to have a personal bargaining through an act of betrayal, soon after such persons are able to get plum posts. Everybody starts accepting them as smart guys and look for favours through them. This trait has perpetuated the betrayal phenomenon and we have seen our strongest movements failing because of it. We must reject and punish all such persons through social boycott.
While reviewing the problem of Sikh institutions we have concentrated on the basic sacred and historical institutions only. We must evolve a system independent of Government control and learn to manage our affairs in a more democratic way within the parameters of Gurmat. We must initiate a popular movement for the same, failing which the Sikhs have to pass through many a historical convulsions again and again.