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Sikhism refresher course for SGPC staff

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has decided to conduct a 15-day refresher course for its employees to ‘firm Gurmat (teachings of Sikh Gurus) among them and to ensure adherence to Sikh concerns during the management of gurdwaras.’
Under this, the head granthis and kathawachaks of each gurdwara shall provide the employees with information on the Rehat Maryada (Sikh code of conduct) as well as the Sikh principles. In addition, employees will be encouraged to ensure that their conduct with the sangat complies with the Gurmat guidelines. This initiative was taken by Bibi Jagir Kaur, who took over as president of the SGPC in November last year. Bibi Jagir Kaur is known as reformer and her fresh step is also in that direction.
During last two decades, Shiromani Akali Dal has faced criticism for alleged poor management of gurdwara by SGPC, which was found for the better management of gurdwaras exactly 100 years back.
“Often SGPC employees make silly mistakes and attract adverse headlines, which hurt image of SAD because we have political control of SGPC. This is unwanted criticism that party face,” said a Akali leader.
SGPC has more than 12,000 employees and major portion of its income is spent on the salaries of employees.
Last year, employees of SGPC caused embarrassment to the Sikh body due to alleged mismanagement in keeping records in the publication department such as Akal Takht. A probe found that 328 Birs of Guru Granth Sahib had been missing and SGPC had failed to track them down.
Apart from allegations of financial corruption, SGPC employees are often accused of mistreatment of pilgrims and tourists in gurdwaras.
The current SGPC House is in its fifth year and elections are due at any time. The new step is also seen as a move to improve the image of SGPC’s political leadership in the election year, although there are many factors that would decide whether and when the elections will be held.
Giving information about the fresh move on Saturday, Bibi Jagir Kaur said, “Complete knowledge of Sikhism in gurdwara management is an important part of the service of the employees, for which refresher courses will be conducted. These courses will be conducted at local-level for half an hour daily. Under this the importance of humility, respect, tolerance, restraint, and feeling of love during the service will be highlighted in the employees and at the same time basic knowledge about Gurmat will be made firm.”
The President of the SGPC also informed that, apart from the ongoing discussion in every gurdwara managed by the SGPC during the morning and evening, Katha (Religious Discourse), giving brief information to the sangat (congregation) on Gurbani Pyaar (Gurbani Love), the Sikh principles, the Sikh institutions, the greatness of Sri Akal Takht Sahib and the history of the local gurdwaras would be ensured. She added that there was a fixed time of about 10 minutes in this regard during the Katha daily.
Bibi Jagir Kaur also appealed to Sikh organisations, dignitaries, religious leaders, gurdwara committees and Singh Sabhas to provide basic information on Sikhism to the sangat during the daily Katha in every gurdwara.
She said that inculcating sharda (devotion) and satkar (respect) for Gurbani and Sikh history in the sangat is an important part of the service of the kathawachaks and granthis of gurdwaras, which should be done on priority basis.
“Connecting the sangat with basic information about Sikhism is a great need of the time. In this connection, this tendency has been made mandatory in every gurdwara managed by the SGPC during Katha,” said Bibi Jagir Kaur.
She appealed to the management of the local gurdwaras to make the sangat aware of Sikh principles, Gurmat Rehni (manner of living as per Gurmat) and the traditions and organisations of the Sikh community.
She said that pracharaks (preachers) of Dharam Prachar Committee, SGPC would also be sent to gurdwaras across the country for this purpose.

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