Change in Maryada draws criticism
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, March 5
The amendment in the Sikh 60-year-old Rehat Maryada by the SGPC has evoked a strong reaction from Sikh intellectuals.
Mr Gurcharnjit Singh Lamba, a Sikh intellectual and Editor of monthly ‘Sant Sipahi’, has said the Sikh Maryada was formulated after marathon discussions and hence any amendment without taking the Sikh Panth into confidence was unacceptable to the sangat. He was here today to pay his obeisance at Harmandar Sahib.
A comparative study of two versions of the ‘Sikh Rehat Maryada’ - one of 1945 and the recent one published by the SGPC - shows glaring discrepancies.
Questioning the wisdom of changing the Article on re-marriage, Mr Lamba alleged the amendment was aimed to benefit certain influential persons who had indulged in bigamy. The original Rehat Maryada clearly mentions that no Sikh could remarry when his wife was alive. However, the amended Maryada has added the word ‘generally’ that reads, “Generally, no Sikh should marry a second wife if the first wife is alive.”
Another glaring amendment in the new version is on the definition of a Sikh. The Punjabi version of the original Maryada gives the definition of a Sikh as “Any human being who believes in all Sikh Gurus in One Immortal Being, (ii.) Ten Gurus, from Guru Nanak Sahib to Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, (iii.) Guru Granth Sahib, and the utterances and teachings of the 10 Gurus and baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru, and who does not owe allegiance to any other religion, is a Sikh.
However, the amended Punjabi version has deleted ‘Dassan’ (meaning all 10 from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh).
Mr Lamba further alleges that the deletion of ‘plucking of gray hair’ from the new version of Maryada was a blunder on the part of the SGPC.
He also criticised a section of the Sant Samaj for pursuing its own Maryada which was in sharp contrast to the original version, passed with the consent of the Sikh sangat.