Akal Takht, Caste Gurdwaras, and Pledging Begampura

My last post on the issue of Building Begampura: Confronting Caste raised much concerns and a host of opinions. I am personally committed to raise the voice against apartheid, discrimination, and humiliation that continues to occur in our community due to caste.

Since my last post, jathedar Gurbachan Singh and others have spoken out against the issue of caste-based Gurdwaras. While naming of the Gurdwaras is problematic and may be an important move, much more important is to criticize and shake-up the casteism that led many of these “historically-discriminated” groups to move in this direction after facing abuse at the hands of the “privileged” groups. To deny the context and believe that the root is merely ‘naming’ is on one level merely ‘lip-service’ and on other hand is to take a position against the already-victimized groups. It is not ‘naming’ that is the problem – it’s the casteism, stupid.

Again, while the voice of jathedar Gurbachan Singh and others may be notable, as we have seen with hukamnamas against sex-selective abortion, in and of themselves they will not stop the deeper issues. What is needed are social movements by civic groups. One such initiative is the Pledge Begampura initiative by the Jakara Movement. Read the shabad; learn about the issue; and take the pledge!

Also critical is the growing discussion around the subject in Punjab. Day and Night Television had a recent forum on the subject of caste-based Gurdwaras (pagh salute Pukhraj Singh!). Denial of casteism is not the solution. As the recent issue of the inhumane abuses and attempt to create wage slaves by the landlords of village Mahan Singh Wala, the issue of caste is pertinent and tears at the social fabric of Punjab. Change will come; I hope Sikhs reading this will embrace that change and challenge the inhumanity of casteism.

Aamir Khan’s social sensation “Satyamev Jayate” has highlighted the issue of casteism on a national level. See the episode here.

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Below the fold, I have linked a few more recent media discussions on the topic.

On the Day and Night Television program hosted by Panjab Digital Library’s Daljit Ami – see the two parts below.

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11 Responses to “Akal Takht, Caste Gurdwaras, and Pledging Begampura”

  1. Harinder Singh says:

    We have two major enemies: racism (caste-ism / tribalism) and sexism. Sikh doctrine has zero tolerance on the aforesaid; you and I must make it visible social reality. Satigur Rakha!

  2. jodha says:

    Classism, elitism, apathy, lethargy….

    The list is long.

    If we turn to the Guru Granth Sahib for our inspiration and towards one another as the Sangat for our strength – Begampura is possible.

  3. Jodha — I'm proud of you. May the moderating voice of yours never fade away in the midst of the rhetoric and catcalls that so very often cloud the public opinion.


  4. Sher says:

    Would this mean SGPC asking for de-registration of some Sikh groups as Scheduled Castes?

    If the premier Sikh organisations decides to ask for this de-registration, there would be exodus of the so called Dalits from Sikhi.

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