News & Views
Sikh Scholars demand better ties with west Punjab
A convention was organized by the Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh on “Culture Insights: Punjab: A Bridge to Peace between India and Pakistan” on 5th May 2012 at its headquarters at Gurudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Kanthala, Industrial Area, Phase 2, Chandigarh. Main speaker was S. Tridivesh Singh Maini, a Fellow with Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi, who spoke on the importance of better cultural ties. Other speakers who expressed their views were Dr. Sardara Singh Johl, Ex Vice Chancellor, and Dr. G.S. Kalkat, Chairman, Punjab State Farmers’ Commission who emphasized the role of economic ties through trade and agriculture. Dr. Kirpal Singh, an eminent historian revived the memories of common history and heritage of the countries on both side of the border. At the conclusion of the convention the following resolution was passed:
"Building up strong cultural and economic strength between India and Pakistan will be a positive exercise to maintain peace towards this the extent of contribution which that Punjab can make was the subject of a convention organized by the Institute of Sikh Studies. The august gathering recommends the Govt of India that:
1. A common Agriculture Research Center should be established by both the countries
2. Interaction between the students of India and Pakistan at different levels should be encouraged
3. A Corridor to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib be provided and
4. Visa centers at Lahore and Amritsar be established to facilitate Visas.
It is in the interest of prosperity and posterity of both India and Pakistan and also South-east Asia that these two countries develop a peaceful relationship.
Call for the Annual Seminar on “Educational Philosophy of Sikh Gurus”
The Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh proposes to hold a seminar on "Educational Philosophy of the Sikh Gurus" in November 2012. The sub-themes have been listed below and some guidelines have been given for the scholars to elaborate on. The scholars may write on some other relevant aspect.
1. Educational philosophy of the Sikh Gurus:
1.1 Concept of Guru in Sikhism
1.2 Discipline and and Disciple in Sikhism
1.3 Concept of Education in Sikhism (ਵਿਦਿਆ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ਤ ਪਰਉਪਕਾਰੀ) (ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਵਿਦਿਆ ਵੀਚਾਰੈ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਪਾਵੈ ਮਾਨੁ ॥) (ਪੋਥੀ ਪਰਮੇਸਰ ਕਾ ਥਾਨੁ ॥)
1.4 ਕਿਵ ਸਚਿਆਰਾ ਹੋਈਐ - A practical guide to the purpose of Education in Sikhism.
1.5 Learning by doing: Guru Nanak, John Dewey and John Locke etc.
1.6 Aims of Education (social, religious, moral and political etc)
1.7 Curriculum in Sikh Gurus' educational philosophy
2. Sikh Educational practices:
2.1 Literacy in Sikh Educational practices- (ਸਬਦ ਗੁਰ ਪੀਰਾ)
2.2 A cognitive (knowledge), connative (feeling), and affective(doing) domain amalgamation in Sikh education.
2.3 Teaching methodology of the Sikh Gurus.
2.4 ‘Guru Ki Kashi’ – A vision towards university education.
2.5 Dialogue method of teaching in Gurbani.
3. Education as an art in Sikhism:
3.1 Art of living life- an end product of education in the teachings of the Sikh Gurus.
3.2 Value Education: A living perspective in the educational scheme of the Sikh Gurus. (ਲਿਖਿ ਲਿਖਿ ਪੜਿਆ ॥)
3.3 Education for Aesthetics- An undercurrent pattern in Sikh philosophy of education. (Rhythm, harmony, and musicology.
3.4 Guru Angad Dev's idea of Integral Education as an art of living life. (ਮਲ ਅਖਾੜੇ, ਗੁਰਮੁਖੀ ਲਿਪੀ ਆਦਿ)
3.5 Guru Gobind Singh- A multi dimensional teacher -from Aesthetics to martial art.
4. Elements of Modernity and Eternity in Sikh scheme of education:
4.1 prw (other worldly) ividAw and Aprw( this worldly) ividAw in the teachings of the Sikh Gurus.
4.2 Information, knowledge and wisdom- the trinity in Sikh education. (ਅਕਲੀ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਸੇਵੀਐ ਅਕਲੀ ਪਾਈਐ ਮਾਨੁ ॥)
4.3 Spiritual Intelligence- A reflection in the teachings if the Sikh Gurus. (ਸਤੀ ਪਹਰੀ ਸਤੁ ਭਲਾ ਬਹੀਐ ਪੜਿਆ ਪਾਸਿ ॥ ਓਥੈ ਪਾਪੁ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੀਐ ਕੂੜੈ ਘਟੈ ਰਾਸਿ ॥)
4.4 ਹਸੰਦਿਆਂ ਖੇਡੰਦਿਆਂ ਪੈਨੰਦਿਆਂ ਖਾਵੰਦਿਆਂ ਵਿਚੇ ਹੋਵੇ ਮੁਕਤਿ A model of education to eliminate stress ( a modern age ailment) from life.
4.5 Education for All - ‘Right to Education’ in Sikhism.
4.6 Women Education in Sikhism.
4.7 Distance Education in Sikhism
A brief of the paper of one page should be sent by Sept 1. The full paper, about eight pages long, should be sent by the end of Sept 30, 2012. All historical facts may be referred to suitably and Gurbani verses may be quoted wherever they occur.
Sikhs Move a Step Closer to Separate Marriage Law
May 22. The Sikh dream of a separate register of marriages within the community is all set to be realised with Parliament today passing the long-pending amendment to the Anand Karaj Act 1909 that does not provide for such registrations. Once the President assents to the Bill, it will become a law, allowing the Centre to direct states to maintain separate registers of marriages for Sikhs and designate separate bodies to register such weddings.
A day after the Rajya Sabha unanimously passed the Anand Karaj Amendment Bill, 2012 (which inserts in the old Act a clause allowing registration of Sikh marriages solemnised under the ‘Anand Karaj’ ritual), the Lok Sabha also approved the draft legislation with a voice vote. The Cabinet had earlier cleared the legislation, which lacks a provision for divorce.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid described the passage of the Bill by the two Houses in a record time of two days as a significant step forward for the Sikhs. “This is a very significant step. I know we have delayed the Bill but I am happy we have passed it. The passage sends a symbolic message to all citizens of India that their aspirations would be regarded.”
Only last August, Khurshid had told Parliament that the Centre had decided to drop the proposal to allow a separate marriage registration law for Sikhs. He had justified the move saying it would trigger similar demands from other religions covered under the Hindu Marriage Act 1955. So far, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists are required to register marriages under the Hindu law.
For the Sikhs, today’s move is just the beginning of a long struggle for separate personal laws. The only Sikh MP who raised this matter today was Congress Gurdaspur MP Partap Singh Bajwa. He demanded separate personal laws for Sikhs and said the current amendment would only lead to further complications.
“This is a technical amendment and is confined to marriage registration. It simply validates the Sikh ritual of ‘Anand Karaj’ and doesn’t provide for divorces. It won’t help NRIs. It will complicate matters as foreigners won’t be able to understand the meaning of Anand Karaj.
If the Centre is serious about helping Sikhs, it must enact separate personal laws for them. Such laws should cover marriages, divorces, maintenance and succession, adoption and guardianship issues. That would result in real benefit to the community,” Bajwa said. Hindus, Christians, Parsis and Muslims have their own personal laws, he added. The Tribune has been stating how the Anand Karaj Amendment Act is incomplete without a provision for divorce.
Bajwa apart, other Sikh MPs - starting from Akali Dal’s Mrs Harsimrat Badal, Sher Singh Gubaya and Paramjit Gulshan to Congress’ Ravneet Bittu - supported the amendment, calling it historic and saying that it would fulfill a long standing demand of the community.
The Akali Dal reiterated its demand of amendment to Article 25 of the Constitution that defines Sikhs as Hindus for the purposes of opening up places of worship to people from all communities. The Constitution Review Commission set up during the NDA regime had recommended changes to the said Article that defines Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains as Hindus.
Bathinda Akali MP, Mrs Harsimrat Badal, while initiating the debate on the Bill today, said, “For the Sikhs, separate identity is an emotional and religious issue. It is not political. This amendment will help 3 million NRI women who routinely face problems on account of lack of a separate law to register Sikh marriages. It will secure the Sikh identity to an extent. But it will remain incomplete until Article 25 of the Constitution is amended and Sikhs granted identity as a separate religion that it is.”
Journey of the Bill
– The Bill was moved in the Rajya Sabha as a private member’s Bill by MP Tarlochan Singh in June 2007
– It aimed at amending the 1909 Act to provide for separate registration of Sikh marriages
– On August 29, 2011, the Centre decided to drop the proposal saying such a step will lead to similar demands from other communities
– On April 12, 2012, the Cabinet cleared the Bill to amend Anand Karaj Act 1909
– The Bill was introduced in the Parliament on May 7
– The Rajya Sabha passed it on Monday and the Lok Sabha passed it on Tuesday in record time. (Courtesy: The Tribune)
Demand Grows for more Amendments in Sikh Marriage Act
Amritsar, May 25: Buoyant over passage of Anand Marriage Amendment Bill, 2012, in both houses of Parliament, a section of the Sikh community is now rooting for further amendments in the Anand Marriage Act 1909, while others are advocating amendment in Article 25 of the constitution that clubs Sikhs with Hindus.
Noted lawyer HS Phoolka has urged Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh to form a committee, which should seek opinion from the entire Sikh community and decide what more amendments could be made in the Anand Marriage Act. In a letter written to the Jathedar, Phoolka said, “Now that the amendment, facilitating registration of Sikh marriages under the Anand Marriage Act, has been passed by Parliament, it is the right time to evolve a consensus in the community on future amendments.”
He said the Sikh clergy should form a committee, which should decide whether a provision for divorce should be included in the Act or the community should demand a new marriage Act. Former Rajya Sabha MP Tarlochan Singh has also written to the Akal Takht and the SGPC to jointly form a committee to thoroughly discuss further amendments in the Anand Marriage Act.
Responding to their plea, the Jathedar said they will soon form a committee of Sikh intellectuals, which will deliberate on the issue, besides seeking views from all sections of the community. “We will decide on the future course of action once the panel submits its report,” he said. Apart from further amendments in the marriage Act, the demand for amendment in Article 25 of the Constitution, which clubs Sikhs with Hindus, is also raising its head.
Former SGPC secretary Manjeet Singh Calcutta has shot off a missive to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in which he raised the issue of Article 25 while appreciating the passage of amendments in the Anand Marriage Act, 1909. In his letter, Calcutta said, “The misunderstanding of Sikh identity arises from Article 25 (b) of the Constitution, which clubs Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains under the term Hindu. The Venkatchaliya Commission constituted by the Centre for the revision of the Indian Constitution has also recommended exclusion of Sikhs from the term Hindu. The clubbing of the Sikhs with Hindus is extremely unjust, unethical and illogical since Sikh religion is an independent religion and not an offspring or branch of any other religion.” He urged the PM to rectify this wrong by passing a “simple amendment”.
All-India Sikh Students Federation chief Karnail Singh Peermohammed said that the amendment in Article 25 of the constitution is the only solution that will give Sikhs a separate identity. (Courtesy: The Tribune, May 26, 2012)
Letters to Editor
Sikh Stand on Funeral and Inheritance Rights
We have a question about funeral & inheritance rights we need resolution on please.
Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away recently, however, my father, his eldest son, also passed away before my grandfather. I’m the eldest son of the eldest son my father’s younger brother, my uncle, is now claiming under Sikh Culture that he has all the rights, including to his ashes and not me. We strongly believe it is the eldest son of the eldest son who takes on all responsibility and rights in Sikh culture including the last rites in respect of my grandfather. Is this correct?
We believe that there is nothing of the sort as expressed in the question itself. All sons have equal rights and equal duties. It is unfortunate that the nephew and uncle are fighting over the last rites of the grandfather. It only shows disrespect towards the deceased which should be avoided at any cost. Respect for the parents has a special place in Sikhism. Kahe Poot Jhagrat ho sang baap. Jin ke jane Badire tum hau tin sang jhagrat paap.
Donation for IOSS
A cheque for Rs 22,000/- (Rs twenty two thousand only) is enclosed as my donaton to the Institute of Sikh Studies, drawn on the State Bank of India, New Delhi. You are doing a wonderful job helping spread the Word of the Gurus. May you have a long, healthy and happy life to enable you serve the Panth for long time to come.
Thank you so much for sending me your book “Descent of Grace”. I am enjoying reading the book. You have been straight forward and to the point.
Col (retd) Avtar Singh, Canada
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