The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has decided to conduct a 15-day refresher course for its employees to “firm Gurmat (teachings of Sikh Gurus) among them and to ensure adherence to Sikh concerns during the management of gurdwaras”.
Under this, the head granthis and kathawachaks of each gurdwara will provide information to the employees about the Rehat Maryada (Sikh code of conduct) as well as Sikh principles. Apart from this, the employees will be encouraged to ensure that their conduct with the sangat is in accordance with the Gurmat guidelines. This initiative has been taken by Bibi Jagir Kaur, who took charge as SGPC president in last week of November last year.
Bibi Jagir Kaur is known as reformer and her fresh step is also in that direction.
During last two decades, Shiromani Akali Dal has faced criticism for alleged poor management of gurdwara by SGPC, which was found for the better management of gurdwaras exactly 100 years back.
“Often SGPC employees make silly mistakes and attract adverse headlines, which hurt image of SAD because we have political control of SGPC. This is unwanted criticism that party face,” said a Akali leader.
SGPC has more than 12,000 employees and major portion of its income is spent on the salaries of employees.
Last year, SGPC employees caused embarrassment to the Sikh body by alleged mismanagement in keeping of records in publication department as the Akal Takht. A probe found that 328 Birs of Guru Granth Sahib were missing and SGPC had failed in tracing them.
Apart from allegations of financial corruption, SGPC employees are often accused of mistreatment with the pilgrims and tourists in gurdwaras.
SGPC current House is in its fifth year and elections are due any time. The fresh step is also seen as a move to improve the image of SGPC political leadership in election year though there are many factors which would decide if and when elections will be held.
Giving information about the fresh move on Saturday, Bibi Jagir Kaur said, “Complete knowledge of Sikhism in gurdwara management is an important part of the service of the employees, for which refresher courses will be conducted. These courses will be conducted at local-level for half an hour daily. Under this the importance of humility, respect, tolerance, restraint, and feeling of love during the service will be highlighted in the employees and at the same time basic knowledge about Gurmat will be made firm.”
The SGPC president also informed that apart from the ongoing discussion in every gurdwara managed by SGPC during the morning and evening Katha (religious discourse), giving brief information to sangat (congregation) about Gurbani Pyaar (Gurbani Love), Sikh principles, Sikh institutions, greatness of Sri Akal Takht Sahib and history of local gurdwaras will be ensured. She added that about 10 minutes time has been fixed in this regard during the daily Katha.
Bibi Jagir Kaur also appealed to Sikh organisations, dignitaries, managers of the religious places, committees of gurdwaras and Singh Sabhas to provide basic information about Sikhism to the sangat during daily Katha at every gurdwara.
She said that inculcating sharda (devotion) and satkar (respect) for Gurbani and Sikh history in the sangat is an important part of the service of the kathawachaks and granthis of gurdwaras, which should be done on priority basis.
“Connecting the sangat with basic information about Sikhism is a great need of the time. In this connection, this tendency has been made mandatory in every gurdwara managed by the SGPC during Katha,” said Bibi Jagir Kaur.
She appealed to the management of the local gurdwaras to make the sangat aware of Sikh principles, Gurmat Rehni (manner of living as per Gurmat) and the traditions and organisations of the Sikh community.
She said that pracharaks (preachers) of Dharam Prachar Committee, SGPC would also be sent to gurdwaras across the country for this purpose.
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