After a gap of 12 years, Sikh intellectuals today decided to take up at the international platform ticklish problems being faced by the community world over.
A decision to this effect was taken at a seminar organised by the International Sikh Confederation (ISC) on the premises of the Chief Khalsa Diwan here. This was the first such attempt after the Vishav Sikh Sammelan (World Sikh Conference) organised by the then acting Jathedar of Akal Takht Manjit Singh from September in 1995. Though the body is headed by the Jathedar of Akal Takht, it has been embroiled in controversies.However, yet another attempt has been made to bring the representatives of various Sikh organisations of the world on a single platform. Though, the SGPC, called, “mini parliament of the Sikhs” has already made a request to the centre to allow co-option of 15 Sikh members from various countries in the SGPC, it has failed to solicit any reply from the government so far. The Sikh Gurdwara Act was passed in 1925 by Indian Parliament and hence no change could be made without the nod of the centre.
On the other hand, the attempt of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to coopt representation from various countries to make it an international Sikh gurdwara body has also failed to yield any results so far.
Even as the Sikh intellectuals felt that the ISC would help in taking up the problems of the community at an international level, the organisers clarified that it was not an attempt to float a parallel SGPC. They said efforts would be made to strengthen the already existing Sikh organisations for making collective attempts to resolve the problems of the community at every level.
However, some speakers criticised the SGPC and Akal Takht for having failed to resolve the problems of the Sikhs. So much so, senior SGPC member Kiranjot Kaur said it was a matter of surprise that the district magistrate had to impose a ban to debar private publishers from printing and sale of birs of Guru Granth Sahib though the edict in this regard was already pronounced from Akal Takht in 1998. She asked that it had sent a message across the community that the district magistrate was “superior” to the “Jathedar “who could not get the edict implemented in the past nine years.
Akhand Kirtani Jatha chief Bhai Baldev Singh said the Sikh religious leaders, who projected themselves as “Jathedars”, had failed to come up to the expectations of the Sikh masses.
Principal of the Khalsa College for Women Sukhbir Kaur Mahal, Chief Khalsa Diwan and other Sikh organisations assured the ISC of all cooperation. Chief of Damdami Taksal Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa expressed concern over poor shape of Sikh institutions. Principal of Sikh Missionary College Suba Singh urged the council to work out a separate Sikh Marriage Act. Head of the department of Punjabi at Khalsa College Udham Singh Shahi rued that the SGPC or other established Sikh organisations had failed to utilise the services of the Sikh intellectuals in a proper manner.
Dr Khark Singh announced the establishment of the Amritsar chapter of the council, headed by Inderjit Singh Gogi.