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Bibi's continuation as SGPC chief unlikely

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Bibi’s continuation as SGPC chief unlikely

K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, October 15

The next election of the president and other office-bearers of the SGPC falls due before November 30. Bibi Jagir Kaur has remained president for two terms. For the first time she became the president when Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra fell out. She could not consolidate her position and Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi was made the president of the SGPC.

The current term of Bibi Jagir Kaur has been plagued with controversies and Mr Badal had to face criticism from within the party. It was pointed out that Bibi Jagir Kaur was facing trial for the murder of her daughter. Secondly most of the traditional Akali leaders looked up to her as head of the dera. Incidentally the deras are against any modernisation or reforms in the gurdwara administration. It is worth noting that organisations of babas and sants have been vehemently opposing the introduction of Nanakshahi calendar which was launched by Mr Kirpal Singh Bandungar as president of the SGPC. The present tenure of Bibi Jagir Kaur has adversely affected the image of the SGPC because she initiated controversies herself. At the outset she took the initiative to withdraw the dossier which sought world heritage status for Harmander Sahib from UNESCO. The move was intended to malign Mr K.S. Badungar and Bibi Kiranjot Kaur because she thought both of them could be candidates for the post of president of the SGPC.

Bibi Kiranjot Kaur is an intelligent woman who commands respect among a sizeable section of the Sikhs for being the grand daughter of Master Tara Singh.

Mr K.S. Badungar claims the post for having served the Badals with loyalty. Further Bibi Jagir Kaur raised the issue of kirtan and sewa in Harmander Sahib by Sikh women. This was a clever move on the part of Bibi to become womenlib champion. The ramifications in both the cases were not imagined by her. In case of sewa and kirtan by Sikh women, she invited opposition from the Sant Samaj and the Sikh high priests. She is so bitter by the stand taken by the Sikh high priests that she even of easing out some of the jathedars. Apart from this she has also created difficulties for herself and position of the SGPC vis-a-vis the administration of the Sikh shrines in Pakistan. At no time she cared about the diplomatic intricacies to handle the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee or the Pakistan Government. It is well known that she never cared to seek the cooperation and help of the Government of India in this regard. Consequently the dynamic president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMG), Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, got cooperation from the Government of India and solicited its help for undertaking kar sewa of the gurdwaras in Pakistan. As a result he was able to get permission as president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Delhi, to undertake kar sewa of Janamashthan Patshahi Chauthi of Guru Ramdas at Lahore. He also got permission to construct an inn at Nankana Sahib. Now he is organising the march from Delhi to Nankana Sahib to offer a golden palki for Gurdwara Janamashthan at Nankana Sahib. The march was to start on October 23 which has been postponed due to the earthquake in Pakistan. Mr Sarna has got a special bus which will carry Guru Granth Sahib in the golden palki in a procession to Pakistan. The Pakistan Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parvez Elahi, has agreed to receive the procession. In a way Mr Sarna has given a big jolt to Bibi Jagir Kaur who claims to be the sole representative of the Sikhs in and outside India. The gurdwara committees and Sikh devotees in India and abroad are giving wholehearted support to Mr Sarna in this mission.

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