Punjab Parties Pass Resolution to Allow Sikh Women to Perform Kirtan Seva

In a highly reformist move, the Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government on Thursday moved a resolution requesting Sri Akal Takht Sahib and SGPC to allow Sikh women to perform Kirtan Sewa (chant/prayer service) at Sachkhand Sri Darbar Sahib in Amritsar.

The resolution will be sent formally to the Akal Takht (the highest temporal seat of Sikhs) and the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC), according to an official spokesperson.

The resolution was passed unanimously by all parties, cutting across political lines during the special commemorative session of the Punjab Assembly to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

Aimed at eradicating the ‘baani siddhant virodh’ that led to gender discrimination in this religious matter, it was moved by panchayats and rural development minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, and then put to vote by the Speaker.

While moving the resolution, Bajwa said Guru Nanak Dev had, throughout his life, fought against caste and gender inequality and preached the promotion of an egalitarian society based on democratization 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.”

“This session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha appeals to the Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to end this discriminatory practice that violates the essence of Gurbani and allow Sikh women to perform Kirtan in the Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar,” said the resolution.

Earlier, intervening in the discussion, AAP MLA Kultar Singh Sandhwan criticized Akali leaders for raising questions over the resolution brought by the government initially. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had earlier objected to the wording of the resolution but later came out in support of the Government resolution in the House.

This article originally appeared in “The Statesman”.

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