Booklets objecting to women wearing jeans and skirts, and others against same-sex marriages are being distributed as free literature by the SGPC at its stall outside the Golden Temple. Booth booklets carry the name of former SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar as their author. The SGPC had published 50,000 copies since July 2016 of an eight-page booklet ‘Gurmat Atte Istari Libas’, which deals with the subject of the kind of clothes women should wear while participating in sangat (religious gathering).
It reads,”Punjabi suit salwar-kameez is accepted attire for the women in our society, culture and Sikh circles. It is perfect as far as women’s body, social recognition and religious and moral conducts are concerned. We shouldn’t follow Western culture by allowing women to wear jeans and skirts. Unwanted fashion trends are equally social evils like drug addiction and female foeticide.”
It adds, “There is a natural attraction between man and woman. It would be exceptional if someone has controlled all five evils (lust is one of five evils according to Sikhism). One should concentrate on God while doing sangat. A woman’s clothes should be very simple and covering her body at such an occasion. What you wear is not only limited to you and it also affects others. Attractive attire can have bad impact on others’ mind. It is big crime to see a woman with bad intention while sitting in sangat. Community cannot tolerate any attire which hurts the motive of sangat.”
There’s another booklet by Badungar on the subject of same-sex marriages, which is also available at the SGPC stall outside the Golden Temple. Some 50,000 copies of even this booklet have been published since March 2017. Titled ‘Same-sex marriage: Destructive trend’, it reads, “….decision to give legal acceptance to same sex marriages is against the culture, history, religion and social norms of the country. This decision should be reconsidered.”
It further reads, “Same-sex marriage is a Western idea. There was no such ideology in Indian society. Many steps have been taken for the globalisation of Indian market, but at the same time some destructive trends have been taking place. Same sex marriages should be taken as a direct attack on Indian culture. It is a conspiracy by USA to make people morally corrupt. Two women under same-sex marriage will indirectly make way for prostitution. Such women will never get satisfaction without a man in their life. At the same time, they will become centre of attraction for the lust-obsessed men.”
Talking to The Indian Express on his booklet about women’s attire, Badungar said, “Gurbani gives equal right to men and women and both should follow the norms while coming to sangat. I had written the article on the women’s attire responding to a debate in a newspaper on what women should wear in gurdwaras. Same article has been republished by the SGPC.” He, however, claimed, “In my original article, I have not specifically asked women not to wear jeans and skirts. I had only asked for simple clothes that should be worn during sangat.”
On same-sex marriages, he said: “Same-sex marriages are not Indian culture and these should not be promoted.” Badungar was a two-term SGPC president from 2001-2003 and 2016-2017.