Sikh Women Seva Issue Updates






Guru Nanak was a pioneer 500 years ago when he gave women equal status with men and inspired dignity towards women in his teachings. In February of 1996, a Hukamnama was issued from the Akal Takhat upholding this principle of equality and giving women equal access and rights in performing the morning ishnan seva at the Golden Temple. On August 8, 2005, the SGPC under President Bibi Jagir Kaur issued a statement saying they would allow Sikh women to perform kirtan at Darbar Sahib and take part in carrying the Palki Sahib during Sukhasan of Siri Guru Granth Sahib.

This is movement in a positive direction. Guru Nanak’s teachings were hundreds of years ahead of his time and Sikhs can be proud that they were the first group in the history of the world to institute the concept of equality between the genders. By upholding the 1996 Hukamnama, the Sikh Panth can see this concept of equality put into action.


ISSUE UPDATES

August 9, 2005 - The Bhai Sahiba of Sikh Dharma International, Bibiji Inderjit Kaur, issues a congratulations letter to the SGPC. Read the letter.

August 8, 2005 - The SGPC and its President Bibi Jagir Kaur said they would allow women to play kirtan in the Darbar Sahib and take part in carrying the Palki Sahib during Sukhasan of Siri Guru Granth Sahib. Read the story.

May 15, 2003 - The sub-committee on Women Kar Seva did not submit its report on May 15th, the deadline fixed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parabhandak Comiittee. Dr. Darshan Singh said that the committee would now meet on 18th May at Fatehgarh Sahib to prepare the final draft and it would be submitted to the SGPC within 15 days after the scheduled meeting. According to sources the committee is submitting its report in the favor of women. (Read the story).

May 3, 2003 - Voices for Freedom hosts a seminar on "Role and Advocacy of Women in Sikhi, Challenges Ahead and the Solutions to those challenges in the 21st century." Many of the Sikh organizations that attend the meeting support the idea of forming an International Sikh Women's Forum. (Read Voices for Freedom Story) (Read Sikh Sentinel Story).

April 25, 2003 - The Dharam Parchar sub-committee meets in Chandigarh and hears views from International Sikh organizations. (Read the story.)

April 24, 2003 - SikhNet announces it will present 8,000 signatures from the Kaur Seva and SikhNet on-line petition to theDharam Parchar committee on April 25th. (Read the story.)

April 10, 2003 - SikhNet announces electronic publishing project and requests Sikh organizations who are are creating presentations for the April 25th meeting in Chandigarh to forward copies to SikhNet for a historical electronic archive. (Read the story)

April 5, 2003 - The SGPC-appointed five person committee announces a meeting in Chandigarh, Punjab scheduled for Friday, April 25th to hear comments and proposals from Sikh organizations across the world. (Meeting Details) (Read the story)

March 28, 2003 - SikhNet publishes an open letter to the Sikh Panth on the issue of Sikh Women's seva, Sikh Women's rights and the formation of the SGPC committee. (Read SikhNet Open Letter)

March 26, 2003 - The SGPC selects a committe of five people to look into the implementation of Sikh women's rights in undertaking all forms of seva at Darbar Sahib. The committee members are: Singh Sahib Balwant Singh Ji (Jathedar Dam Dama Sahib Ji), Dr. Kharak Singh, Dr. Darshan Singh (Dharam Parchar Committee members), and two women members of the SCPG, Kartar Kaur and Amarjit Kaur.

The committee will give its report to the SGPC on May 15th, 2003.

SikhNet would like to invite all Sikh organizations to create their own position statements on the issue of women's seva at the Golden Temple so we can electronically publish them and distribute them to the world-wide Sikh community. If your Sikh organization would like to have your position statement published through SikhNet, please email your statement to: womenseva@sikhnet.com. SikhNet also encourages individuals to sign our petition and let your voice be heard.

March 12, 2003 - The Times of India reports that Sikh scholars saw the issue of women's seva in the Golden Temple as a "conspiracy" orchestrated for political reasons by non-Sikhs. (Read story)

February 22, 2003 - Voices for Freedom launches an on-line petition for Sikh and Human Rights Organizations for the equality of Sikh women and gathers the support of over 100 organizations. (Read VFF Petition)

February 16, 2003 - The SGPC denies the existence of the 1996 Hukamnama giving women equal status and equal rights in performing seva at the Golden Temple. (Read the story)

February 13, 2003 - Mejinderpal Kaur and Lakhbir Kaur from the UK were stopped from participating in the Sukhasan Sahib procession ceremony. Read the full story.

February 6, 2003 - SikhNet launches on-line petition drive for the enforcement of the 1996 Hukamnama giving women equal right to perform the morning floor-washing seva at the Golden Temple. (Sign the petition.)

October 22, 2003 - Kaur Women's Seva petition launches, asking for equal rights for Sikh women in the Panth. (Read the story.)

March 10, 1996 - A group of Sikh women from India and from the West, under the protection of acting-Jethadar Manjit Singh, take part in the morning seva at the Golden Temple. (See story below)

February 9, 1996 - The Akal Takhat issues a Hukamnama giving women access to performing the morning seva at the Golden Temple. (Read Hukamnama below)

Additional Stories and Links on the Issue of Women's Seva
Historical Documents
Original Copy of 1996 Hukamnama (Punjabi) / English Translation
First Hand Description of March 1996 Women's Seva - In March of 1996, for one blessed night, a group of American & Indian Amritdhari women were allowed to do the ishnaan seva at the Golden Temple under the protection and guidance of Singh Sahib Bhai Manjit Singh, the then acting-Jathedar of the Akal Takhat.
"PURE LONGING" by Guru Kirin Kaur

Timelines and Articles from other Sikh Organizations
The Sikh Sentinel
Voices for Freedom

Stories, Essays and Statements
The Power of the Khalsa Woman
Sisters and Marble
Loving Even the Dirt
Sikh Statements on Women's Seva

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