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A Constitutional Blunder

Santokh Singh

After attaining freedom, learned, patriotic and prudent personalities frame constitution for the nation. A Constitution illustrates the aspirations of the people and prescribes perimeters and guidance for law makers. Constitutions of secular democratic nations, safeguard the interests of minorities and assure opportunities to flourish and keep their culture and religious faiths intact. Constitutions are amended in the interest of the people and to redress legal errors.

Article 25 of Constitution of India is a nicely worded piece of legislation. Sikhs feel happy when they read that they can practise and propagate their religion. They are further pleased to know that they can wear and carry KIRPANS: This right is only on paper. Sikhs are often harassed at Airports and other places. Indian security agencies have scant respect for this part of Indian Constitution. S Simranjit Singh Mann was elected with unprecedented majority, but was not allowed to enter Parliament because he was carrying KIRPAN. This depicts how far the Indian ruling class respects Indian Constitution and Democracy. Executive Instructions can never override Constitution. Article 25 is like a plate of sweet dish with very pleasing smell, but it contains a minute capsule of poison, which is fatal for Sikhism. The word Sikh in explanation II, of sub-clause (b) of Clause 2 of Article 25 of Constitution of India. Legally assimilates Sikhism into Hinduism. On the basis of above mentioned explanation II, Supreme Court of India has given judgment that Sikhs are part of wider Hindu Community. Thus Indian Constitution treats Sikhism as a sect of Hinduism and not an independent religion. Article 25 nullifies the efforts of the great Sikh Gurus to establish an independent religion based on equality, truth, righteousness, justice and work culture. Sikh Gurus gave supreme sacrifices for this purpose.

Sikhs have already advanced volumes of arguments based on logic and reason that they are not Hindus. Sikhism fulfils all the norms internationally recognized for an independent religion. They have their own revealed scripture, independent theology, philosophy and culture. During the tercentenary celebrations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib's Gurta-Gaddi-Divas, the Guru came to the rescue of the Sikhs, when Sikh intellectuals made a thorough study of their scripture. Sikh Prophet has catagoriclly declared at page 1136 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib that Sikhs are neither Hindus nor Muslims,'Na hum hindu na musalman'. Prophet of a religion is the only authority to define a religion. Politicians and rulers have no jurisdiction to define a religion against the written ordain of the Prophet of a religion. Many other HYMNS of Sikh scriptur:e emphasise that Sikhs are neither Hindus nor Muslims. My view has been endorsed by Dr J.S. Grewal in his book 'A study of Guru Granthsahib' written in commemoration of the Tercentenary celebration of vesting of Guruship in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Dr Grewal writes that Guru Nanak is critical of the rulers and the ruling classes as well as the clergy which promotes the interests of ruling class. On page 67, the author emphatically states that Guru Nanak has no appreciation for any of the contemporary systems of religious beliefs and practices. He further clarifies that Guru Arjun does not identify himself with Hindus. Wrong classification of Sikhs as Hindus amounts to blasphemy of the Sjkh Prophet and the Sikh scripture. Since Sikh scripture is a revealed scripture, clubing of Sikhs with Hindus is against the WILL of God. Thus Article 25 defies the WILL of God.

The Sikh Prophet has ordained Sikhs to deal affectionately with Hindus and Muslims. Sikhism is socially nearer to Hinduism, but at the same time spiritually closer to Islam. Sikhs fought against the oppression of alien Mughal and Afghan rulers, but never fought against Islam. Maharaja Ranjit Singh awarded high positions to Muslims in his court and Muslims remained loyal to Lahore Darbar till the fall of Sikh Kingdom and never indulged in any treachery.

If honorable members of Constituent Assembly were not aware of the HYMNS of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the error of classification of Sikhs as Hindus may please be rectified by omitting word SIKH form explanation II of sub-clause (b) of clause 2 of Article 25 of the Constitution of India. Let secular and progressive section of Indian People come forward for this national cause. The amendment would strengthen Indian integrity and our tall claims of democracy and secularism. Indian legislatures are requested to understand the problem, and follow S Tarlochan Singh MP for amendment of Constitution. Let the world nave the impression that there is secular democratic setup in India.

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