Punjab Assembly Breaks Gender Stereotype! Allows Women To Perform Kirtan In Golden Temple
In a significant move, the Punjab assembly on Thursday, November 7 called for Sikh women to be allowed to perform kirtan (public prayer songs) at the holy Golden Temple in Amritsar, ensuring equality in the Sikh clergy.
The assembly passed a resolution requesting the Akal Takht, the temporal Sikh body, and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which governs all Sikh shrines, to allow women to perform the prayer.
Women kirtans and raagis who sing Sikh hymns (shabads) are permitted to perform kirtan in gurdwaras of Punjab, but not in the Golden Temple, which is considered to be the most significant shrine in Sikhism.
“There was no mention in the Sikh history of any discrimination against women,” State Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa said. He pointed out that even Akali leader Jagir Kaur had sought permission for Sikh women to perform Kirtan Sewa at the holy Sikh shrine.
Bajwa rejected the Akali leader’s claim that according to Sikh ‘Rehat Maryada’ (religious code of conduct), Sikh women are not allowed to perform ‘Kirtan’ at the ‘Darbar Sahib’.
The resolution was passed by a voice vote on the second and last day of the special assembly session held to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. The resolution will now be formally sent to the Akal Takht and the SGPC.
As per the resolution, “Guru Nanak Dev 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,” Bajwa said.
While the passing of the resolution is a progressive step, the final decision still lies with the Akal Takht and the SGPC.
Akali Dal MLA and leader of the party in the House Parminder Singh Dhindsa objected to the resolution calling it “Sarkari”. He said that the resolution depicted that the Akal Takht or the SGPC are deliberately refusing women to sing hymns at the Golden Temple.