Tuesday, July 26

Decline of Panthic Institutions

by Jatinder Preet

The degeneration of Sikh institutions continues unabated. What's more unfortunate is Sikhs are more or less unconcerned. The shenanigans of politicians donning the garbs of religious leaders continue. It's no wonder that the opposition to their antics is also on political lines only.
Bibi Jagir Kaur, in her second term as president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), is an epitome of the kind of people who are leading the Panth. She was charged with murdering her own daughter, a cardinal sin according to Sikh tenets. While the case lingers on in courts, there is not much doubt in common man's mind about the stories that came out with what happened and Bibi's complicity in that. That, of course, did not stop her political aka Parkash Singh Badal from handpicking her for the top job in the SGPC.
The defense of the indefensible is politician's forte but the way these politicians have been defending themselves and their cohorts is breathtaking. It would be no wonder if leaders like Bibi Jagir Kaur get away with murder in such a scenario.
We have been witness to this political acrobatics in last few days ever since the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) sacked Bibi Jagir Kaur from presidentship of the SGPC. She is already involved in a writ again with the SGJC relating to embezzlement of funds to the tune of Rs 38 lakh rom the 'dharma parchar' funds.
Since the enactment of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, it was for the first time that the SGJC had sacked an SGPC president for five years.
Not only she continues to cling on to post she has gone on to take shield behind legalese. She has filed an appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court here challenging the order.
In her appeal, Bibi Jagir Kaur has contended that the SGJC had no jurisdiction to interfere in the working of colleges run by the independent trust.
This is nothing but a mere technicality. The fact that the fees of some of the wards of Akali leaders were arbitrarily waived off is there as it is.
It's amusing how Badal saw Amarinder's hand even in this judgement. He blamed the CM as usual for meddling in the SGPC affairs. He did not take into account his absolving of Bibi in the matter when he said he has asked the defaulters to deposit the fees.
Badal has admitted as much that Akali leaders defaulted in paying the fees of their children studying in SGPC run institution. It is also a fact that the SGPC did wave off their fees that made the institution suffer loss of revenue to the tune of crores. These students incidentally took admissions in NRI quotas, which provides for admission to NRI students for a larger amount of fees.
There is a clear cut case of favouritism here. It's a moot question does it any way brings in moral question at least when caught.
While nobody expects the kinds of Bibi to show some moral scruples, the public apathy is disturbing. Or is it the sign that community has acknowledged that religion has nothing to do with the running of religious institutions with politicians taking over them?
Now this would be even more disconcerting.

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