The World Sikh Organization (WSO) expresses shock and outrage at the caste-based discrimination disallowing cremation of Gurdial Kaur in the common cremation grounds in the village of Bholuwala, Punjab.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji strongly condemned the ugly caste system prevalent in India over 500 years ago. He advocated equality of all individuals. “Amongst Sikhs, there is no caste” said, Ram Raghbir Singh Chahal, International President of WSO. Guru instituted langar, a community kitchen where all people, regardless of caste, race, religion or gender, sit side by side to eat. Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the 10th Guru, put his final seal on the concept of equality at the first initiation ceremony of the Khalsa. He offered sacred Amrit, to all people, regardless of caste, creed or gender. It is relevant to note that he declined to admit so-called upper caste Rajputs to the new order of Khalsa, as they desired a special initiation ceremony, separate from those, they believed to be, of lower castes. The Panj Piarey (the five beloved ones) came from different caste backgrounds. “It’s shameful that hundreds of years later, we’re still arguing about cast based cremation grounds in Punjab” said, Gurpreet Singh Bal, WSO Canada President.
“Clinging on to the discriminatory divisions like Jat, Ramgharia, Khatri or Dalit Sikh is contrary to Guru’s teaching and reflects ignorance on part of some Sikhs. This incident highlights a pressing need for strong educational campaign among Sikhs to rid our society of the lingering effects of the caste system and other social evils like drugs, dowries and female infanticide”, said Gian Singh Sandhu, WSO Senior Policy Advisor.
The WSO urges the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) to launch a community wide educational endeavour to understand and practise Sikhism as it was intended to be. We also urge public media in Punjab to accept these and other societal challenges and become agents of desirable and necessary changes.
The World Sikh Organization (WSO) is a non-profit international organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of the Sikh Diaspora, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.
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Gian Singh Sandhu, Tel. 250-305-2440, Email: Gian@JackpineGroup.com