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S.G.P.C. Permits Women to Participate in Two Key Rituals


P.T.I., Chandigarh, Aug. 8, 2005

Photo: Mejindarpal Kaur and Lakhbir Kaur, prevented from performing sukhasan seva at Darbar Sahib, Feb. 15, 2003

In a path breaking move in the Sikh religion, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee [S.G.P.C.] today allowed women to perform religious service in the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple [Darbar Sahib] and threw open to them participation in another ritual hitherto reserved for men.

Dharam Salahkaar Board, at a meeting of the S.G.P.C. here presided by S.G.P.C. chief Bibi Jagir, decided that women can now sing kirtan (hymns) inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Harmandir Sahib and take part in sukhasan (carrying of Guru Granth sahib in the golden palanquin [to its daily resting place] in the evening hours in the Harmandir sahib).

The issue of women being not allowed to take part in sukhasan hit headlines over two years ago when two London-based women Manjinder Kaur and Lakhbir Kaur were allegedly roughed up by devotees on the premises of Harmandir Sahib when they tried to take part in the ceremony.

The S.G.P.C. chief reiterated that women were never stopped by the authorities in performing sewa [service] and from taking part in sukhasan.

While performing religious service, women would have to follow a dress code to be stipulated by the S.G.P.C. soon, Kaur said.

She said that instead of attempting to touch the golden palanquin during sukhasan people should bow before the palanquin with folded hands.