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Kiranjot Pushing for Kirtan by Ladies
By VARINDER WALIA
The Tribune, Amritsar, Feb. 3, 2003
"For the first time [since] the formation of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee [S.G.P.C.] in 1925, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, a former General Secretary of the S.G.P.C., will arrange kirtan [singing of hymns] by baptised Sikh women inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple next month, despite opposition from orthodox Sikhs. Talking to The Tribune here today, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur said stopping women from performing seva [service] and kirtan in the sanctum sanctorum was against the tenets of Sikhism, which did not allow gender discrimination. She claimed that jathas [groups] of baptised women kirtanias [hymn singers], well versed in gurmat raagas [kirtan tradition], were available and hence they should be allowed to perform kirtan inside the sanctum sanctorum. She claimed that a large number of Sikh women had asked her to take an initiative in this regard."
"The jathedar [high priest], Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, had stated that women were disallowed to perform seva and kirtan when the Golden Temple was under the control of mahants [Hindu caretakers] before the formation of the S.G.P.C. in 1925. He, however, had agreed in principle to persuade orthodox Sikhs not to raise any objection to seva and kirtan by baptised women as per gurmaryada [Sikh code of conduct]. Earlier, Bibi Jagir Kaur had announced that she would get baptised Sikh women to perform seva and kirtan in the sanctum sanctorum during her tenure as the S.G.P.C. chief. However, this commitment could not be fulfilled as she was unceremoniously removed as S.G.P.C. chief."
"Bibi Kiranjot Kaur said she would write to the manager, Darbar Sahib, jathedar, Akal Takht, and the S.G.P.C. chief to [obtain] permission for arranging kirtan by baptised women inside the sanctum sanctorum shortly. She claimed that she had already mobilised public opinion in this regard."