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Jathedar Iqbal Singh: Polygamy Acceptable

What, one might rightly wonder, is the purpose of a 'gynaecology wing' in an 'Eye Hospital' (see photo)?

The Tribune, Amritsar, Mar. 3, 2005

Photo: Iqbal Singh, jathedar of Takht Patna Sahib, third from right, surveying the operating theatre after the inauguration of the gynaecology wing of Sri Harkrishan Sahib Eye Hospital, Sohana, May 5, 2002

The charges of polygamy put Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar [head-priest], Patna Sahib, in a fix yesterday when the Jathedar, Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, announced that without divorce, second marriage by a Sikh is violation of the 'Sikh rehat maryada,' approved by the S.G.P.C. and [the] Akal Takht.

Jathedar Vedanti refused to accept the plea of the Jathedar, Patna Sahib, that polygamy was prevalent in the past and acceptable in Sikhism. Giani Iqbal Singh had pleaded that Maharaja Ranjit Singh who is called 'Singh Sahib' had more than one wife. He also quoted revered Sikh religious personalities having more than one wife to justify his second marriage.

Jathedar Vedanti said the matter of polygamy, in general, and [the] case of the Jathedar, Patna Sahib, in particular, would be taken up in the next meeting of the Sikh clergy. He, however, clarified that Jathedar Iqbal Singh won't be invited in this meeting.

Giani Iqbal Singh, however, claimed that he had married a Jammu resident with the consent of his first wife and in-laws, which was endorsed by the sangat [Sikh community] from Patna Sahib. He claimed that his first wife had left the house without telling the family. Now she was living with her parents at Ganganagar (Rajasthan). 'Had they (first wife and in-laws) any objection, they would have moved the court.'