Punjab Research Group

Of Babas and Deras by Surinder S. Jodhka

Posted in Articles by Pippa on August 11, 2009

India Seminar, January 2008

IN the second week of December 2007 three Sikh organizations met in Chandigarh to deliberate on the challenges confronting the Sikh community and the state of Punjab. They identified three social problems needing immediate attention of the community: drug addiction among youth, degradation of the environment, and discrimination against Dalits in rural areas.

Citing the findings of an NGO, it was reported that between 40 to 60 per cent of all youth in the state were addicted to one or the other drugs. Suicides by farmers and crisis of agriculture were a direct outcome of the rapid degradation of environment due to indiscriminate use of modern technology and chemical fertilizers. Similarly it was acknowledged that in some villages Dalits were being denied entry into gurdwaras and access to the Guru Granth Sahib for religious ceremonies such as anand karaj (marriage rituals) and antim ardas (prayer service for the departed). Given its potential to create a rift among the rural Sikh masses this needed to be stopped. It was underlined that ‘the Sikh Gurus were for a casteless and classless society.’

Read full article: http://www.india-seminar.com/2008/581/581_surinder_jodhka.htm

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