Sikh-Diaspora Digest Number 5035 from J’S’Tiwana

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— On Tue, 9/20/11, Sikh-Diaspora@yahoogroups.com <Sikh-Diaspora@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

From: Sikh-Diaspora@yahoogroups.com <Sikh-Diaspora@yahoogroups.com>
Subject: [Sikh-Diaspora] Digest Number 5035
To: Sikh-Diaspora@yahoogroups.com
Date: Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 10:45 PM

Sikh-Diaspora

Messages In This Digest (9 Messages)

1. ‘Patit’, and indelibly inked From: J.S.Tiwana 2a. Re: looking back: SGPC has weathered many a political storm From: J.S.Tiwana 3. Sikh Identity: A Fading Image? From: J.S.Tiwana 4. Simranjit Singh Mann and son lost SGPC election From: J.S.Tiwana 5. The race for SGPC chief’s post hots up From: J.S.Tiwana 6. Brahmins following Sikh ‘maryada’ denied voting rights From: J.S.Tiwana 7a. Re: So-called Patits and Sikh Pantheon From: Tejinder Lamba 8. Motorcycle helmets an election issue for Sikhs From: J.S.Tiwana 9. Re So-called Patits and Sikh Pantheon From: Nirmal Singh
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1.

‘Patit’, and indelibly inked

Posted by: “J.S.Tiwana” tiwana@bellaliant.net

Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:43 pm (PDT)

‘Patit’, and indelibly inked

[]

Sikh men with trimmed beard & shorn hair find
name in electoral rolls, vote with élan,
Sehajdharis too exercise their franchise

Giving two hoots to a directive issued by the
Gurdwara Election Commission (GEC) that only
Keshdhari Sikhs (those with unshorn hair) can
vote in the SGPC elections, a large number of
`Patit Sikhs’ (those with trimmed beard and hair)
were seen exercising their franchise across
Punjab on Sunday. A number of women who have
their eyebrows plucked, and are thus ineligible
for voting, were seen casting votes.

It may be noted that the the GEC had warned that
if any non Keshdhari Sikh was found voting in the
elections, they would be arrested. The warning,
however, had little effect. A prominent person
with trimmed beard who voted in the SGPC polls
was Amarjit Amri, the brother of Shiromani Akali
Dal’s Jalandhar unit president Gurcharan Singh
Channi. Amri even showed the black indelible ink
mark on his finger for the benefit of the media
after casting his vote in a booth in Jalandhar city.

http://www.indianex press.com/ news/-Patit- –and-indelibly- inked/848404/

Jagpal S Tiwana
Dartmouth, Canada

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2a.

Re: looking back: SGPC has weathered many a political storm

Posted by: “J.S.Tiwana” tiwana@bellaliant.net

Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:44 pm (PDT)

>>>On behalf of the processionists, Professor Harkishen Singh Bajwa
requested the priests thrice to accept the “Prasad” but they refused.
When two other prominent leaders of that time, Kartar Singh Jhabbar
and Teja Singh Bhuchar, reached Sri Harmandar Sahib, it was decided
to take “hukamnama” from Sri Guru Granth Sahib…Priests were left
with no choice but to perform “ardas” and accept the “Prasad”. <<<

A slightly different version is given In “Akali Morche ate Jhabar” by
Narain Singh, published by SGPC

First of all it was Prof. Bawa Harkishan Singh, not Professor
Harkishen Singh Bajwa who was present there.

Before the arrival of Kartar Singh Jhabbar, the priests had refused
to accept Parsad of Ramdasia Sikhs and recite Ardas for them. On
their refusal Bawa Harkishan Singh asked a Sikh student to recite
Ardas. So when Karah Parsad was being distributed, Kartar Singh
Jhabbar and Teja Singh Bhuchar arrived there. Here Jhabbar took over
and dictated the terms.

He asked the student to stop distributing Ardas. He then told the
priests to behave and do their duty otherwise they would be
physically thrown out. ‘This holy place is not your
personal property. it belongs to the Sikh Panth’.
One of the priests got up in protest and said, ” Get up, let us go”.
Jhabbar ji further pressed.” That is fine, now get out”. Then two
priests persuaded other priests not to go and they all sat down.
Jhabbar ji again yelled at them, ” oie, you have sat down again !”
One of them replied ‘we want to think about it’. After a while. they
agreed to do Ardas and distribute karah parsad of Ramdasia Sikhs.
After the Ardas, one of the priests took the Vaak which was in favor
of the downtrodden people.

“God forgives even those who are without merit,
And assembles them all in his skirt,
And ferries them across through the Guru’s boat”
Sorath M 3

This settled the issue to all’s satisfaction.

Jagpal S Tiwana
Dartmouth, Canada

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3.

Sikh Identity: A Fading Image?

Posted by: “J.S.Tiwana” tiwana@bellaliant.net

Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:44 pm (PDT)

Sikh Identity: A Fading Image?

September 19, 2011 by abowen Source:
<http://blog. beliefnet. com/projectconve rsion/2011/ 09/sikh-identity -a-fading- image.html>blog.beliefnet. com

One of the most pervasive jokes about United
States Marines is how neat and particular they
are. Nowhere is this concept more pronounced than
Basic Training. Everything must be just so: Your
rack (bunk or bed) must be made to certain
dimensions, boots shined (when they used black
“jungle boots”) to a specific sheen, your face
shaved a specific way, every ribbon, medal,
chevron, lace, thread placed exactly so, every
rifle movement had to snap and pop in perfect unison.

We, the recruits, would lie in bed at night
groaning about how none of these anal rules made
any sense. “Why can’t I scratch an itch?” was a
common complaint. The worst thing was, the Drill
Instructors seldom gave us a reason…but we were
always told the reason would save our lives.
Ah (9K)

Ah…the memories. And their breath was always minty fresh.

In many ways, Sikhi culture–especially the
youth–face the same problem. An older generation
may tell them how important it is to wear the
Five K’s (comb, unshorn hair, the blade, special
shorts, and the steel bracelet), but the youth
are left wondering why. The problem is especially
profound here in America, where the younger
generation is raised as a cultural minority. They may ask themselves:

Why don’t other people observe these practices?
All my friends are talking about shaving now. Why can’t I?
Will everyone make fun of me because of my hair/turban?
I’m the only Sikh in my school. I just want to
fit in and stop being looked at differently…

Regardless of the importance in wearing the Five
K’s, I think these are worthy and legitimate
concerns that every Sikhi family should address
with their children. Growing up is about
discovering who you are in the world, what your
role is, and staking out that existence. If you
as a parent or influential adult simply say “We
wear the Five K’s because Guru Gobind Singh told
us to,” then you’ll lose your kids. No one likes
that answer. We didn’t like it in Boot Camp and
kids today certainly won’t either.

On the other hand, there are plenty of websites
and articles talking about the so-called mystic
and scientific reasons behind why growing out
your hair is important. Here’s one about how the
hair actually serves as a neuro antenna. I’ve
read several heart-felt letters from a man to his
son about why wearing the Kesh (unshorn hair) and
turban are so critical. Judging by the growing
number of campaigns fighting to keep this
tradition alive, the problem must be serious.

So my question for the Sikhi youth (and even
adults) is, why not? Why be ashamed of the Kesh
or the turban? If youthful vibrance is about
being bold, standing out, declaring your
identity, why not embrace an aspect of your
culture–your religion–that historically makes you
so? Guru Gobind Singh once said that he
established the uniform of the Khalsa that you
might “Stand out as one among millions.”

Sikh-Andrew (15K)
And why should you stand out? What’s the big deal
about being a Sikh? A Sikh stands up. Remember
how Guru Nanak spoke out boldly against the
religious persecution of the Mughal invaders and
demanded human equality? Or how about how Guru
Amar Das, in observing strict equality, said that
even the Emperor of India had to first sit among
and eat with the lowest of society before meeting
the Guru? Oh, and then there’s Guru Tegh Bahadur
who laid down his life in order to protect the
religious freedom of a religion other than his own?

And what about every Sikhi martyr–men and
women–who have fought (both in legal matters and
on the battlefield) for the identity you struggle with today?

When you take the Amrit baptism, you aren’t
simply initiated into a faith, it’s a pledge of
allegiance to an ideal and a culture. The Five K’s are your uniform.

Every one of the Five K’s has meaning, and I go
over those meanings in this post. I admit, when I
first starting wearing the Five K’s, when my
beard started growing out, when I grumbled in
frustration over tying the turban, I thought the
very same thing that these youth do. Must I really wear this to be a good Sikh?

Absolutely.

You can’t be a Marine without the uniform and
everything on that uniform has a purpose. Sikhs
say the following Chandi Charitra prayer as they take the Amrit baptism:

“Grant me this strength, O God:
That I may never deter from righteous deeds.
I may fear none, when I go fighting the evil,
And with confidence in You, come out victorious.
Your Glory may be ingrained in my mind,
And singing Your praises be my highest ambition.
When this mortal frame reaches its end,
I may die fighting with limitless courage,
For the establishment of righteousness.”
speaking-at- gurdwara1 (11K)

Me speaking at the Charlotte gurdwara about my
Sikhi experience and Sikhi identity.
Now, I understand why I wear these items. I
understand who I am as an honorary Sikh and
who/what I stand for. A Sikh defends the weak,
fights for the oppressed, and stands as a beacon
of stability, valor, and honor. When there’s a
Sikh wearing the Five K’s in the room, you know
he/she has you covered. By the same token, the
uniform of the Khalsa (a baptized Sikh) isn’t to
be worn lightly. This isn’t something do just
because your parents did. Each baptism is a
unique declaration of faith and fidelity to God
and mankind to uphold honorable values. You may
be a part of the Panth (world community of
Khalsa), but you are an individual sentry on the watch against tyranny.

If you are a Sikh youth and wavering on this
issue, I humbly suggest you really explore your
reasons for not wearing the Five K’s. Go to your
parents, find older Sikhs who’ve gone through the
same issue, read the example of other Sikhs, and
go to Waheguru–that wonderful light which dispels
all darkness–for guidance. You don’t have to wear
the Five K’s to be a good person, but if you want
to be part of the “Army of the Lord,” you have to wear the uniform.

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa! Waheguru ji ki Fateh !
(To God belongs the Khalsa, To God belongs the Victory!)

http://www.sikhnet. com/news/ sikh-identity- fading-image

Jagpal S Tiwana
Dartmouth, Canada

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4.

Simranjit Singh Mann and son lost SGPC election

Posted by: “J.S.Tiwana” tiwana@bellaliant.net

Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:45 pm (PDT)

Simranjit Singh Mann and son lost SGPC election

Punjab Newsline Network

Monday, 19 September 2011

By Gurpreet Singh Mehak
FATEHGARH SAHIB: SAD (Amritsar) president and former Member
Parliament Simranjit Singh Mann, who had contest SGPC election from
Bassi Pathana constituency has lost election. His son Imaan Singh
Mann has also lost his seat.

Though the result will be declared official on September 22 but
according to information received from counting centres of
the constituency, Mann had lost election from former Minister and
SAD candidate Randhir Singh Cheema.

Cheema defeated Khalistan ideologue Simranjit Singh Mann and another
Khalistan ideologue and SAD(Panch Pardhani) leader Harpal Singh
Cheema. On Bassi Pathana reserve seat SAD candidate Avtar
Singh Riya defeated SAD(Amritsar) candidate Dharam Singh Kalaur and
Panthic Morcha candidate Santokh Singh Salana.

It is recalled that Mann had decided not to make an alliance with
Panthic Morcha to indirectly benefit SAD(Badal). Had he opted to go
with Panthic Morcha he would have won his election and SAD(Badal)
would have lost many seats in Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala districts.

http://www.punjabne wsline.com/ content/simranji t-singh-mann- and-son-lost- sgpc-election/ 33287

Jagpal S Tiwana
Dartmouth, Canada

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5.

The race for SGPC chief’s post hots up

Posted by: “J.S.Tiwana” tiwana@bellaliant.net

Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:45 pm (PDT)

The race for SGPC chief’s post hots up
Sarbjit Dhaliwal & Perneet Singh/TNS

Chandigarh/Amritsar , Sept 19
With the Shiromani Akali Dal sweeping the SGPC elections, the race
for presidentship of the premier Sikh religious body is set to hot up
in the coming days. It will not be easy for SAD chief patron and
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to chose the next SGPC president
with several senior leaders in race for the post. Badal, who is
invariably authorised by party members to name the president, has
always sprung a surprise with his choice of president.

[]

In 1999, he named Bibi Jagir Kaur as SGPC president, the first woman
to head the religious body. Years later, he outwitted several senior
leaders, naming Kirpal Singh Badungar as SGPC chief. He was, perhaps,
the first leader from the Backward Classes to head the SGPC. In 2005,
Badal named Avtar Singh Makkar as president to counter the influence
of Delhi’s Paramjit Singh Sarna and his brother among the urban Sikh
electorate. None had expected the move. Badal may spring a surprise
this time too. Sources say he may name a Dalit as the next SGPC
president. “This would pay the SAD rich dividends in the ensuing
assembly elections. It could be a masterstroke to win over the
support of the Dalits,” said a senior leader. Those in the race for
the coveted post are incumbent Avtar Singh Makkar, who has led the
SGPC six times in a row, the second highest after SAD stalwart GS
Tohra. Makkar’s stint as SGPC chief has been largely
non-controversial and he has been loyal to the Badal family. Punjab
Education Minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan is also one of the contenders.
His appointment would help the party consolidate its votebank in the
Majha region. The possibility of Minister Sucha Singh Langah heading
the SGPC can’t be ruled out either for this reason.

The name of former Minister Tota Singh has been doing the rounds ever
since the SGPC poll process started. Among the women contenders,
former SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur’s name is at the top. However, the
criminal case against her may prove to be a stumbling block. Also in
the race is former SGPC general secretary Bibi Kiranjot Kaur.

http://www.tribunei ndia.com/ 2011/20110920/ main4.htm

Jagpal S Tiwana
Dartmouth, Canada

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6.

Brahmins following Sikh ‘maryada’ denied voting rights

Posted by: “J.S.Tiwana” tiwana@bellaliant.net

Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:45 pm (PDT)

Brahmins following Sikh ‘maryada’ denied voting rights
Balwant Garg /TNS

Muktsar, September 19
In Faridkot and Muktsar districts, hundreds of ‘patit’ and
‘Sehajdhari’ Sikhs with shorn hair across the state cast their vote
in gurdwara elections on Sunday. But over 1,000 Brahmins in two
villages of the area were debarred from exercising franchise despite
the fact that they sport long hair and beard, closely resemble the
Sikhs, are agrarians, attire like Sikhs and believe in the Sikh philosophy.

One of these villages is situated in Muktsar and the other is in
Faridkot. But the name of both the villages is same: Bahamanwala.
These villages derived their name long time back as majority of the
residents were Brahmins.

Though not born into Sikh families, for decades they have been
following the Sikh tenets. They go to the gurdwara and lead their
life as per the Sikh ‘maryada’.

“But as our names do not carry Singh or Kaur, we have been debarred
from exercising franchise during the SGPC polls,” said Ram Ji Dass, a
former sarpanch of Bahamanwala (Muktsar). The village has only five
Jat Sikh families. “The only reason we were not registered as voters
was because we are seen as pro-Congress, ” said Desh Raj, a resident.
Just 26 km from this Bahamanwala (Muktsar) village is another by the
same name in Faridkot. This village has 373 registered SGPC voters,
12 of them Brahmins. Only one was allowed to vote.

http://www.tribunei ndia.com/ 2011/20110920/ punjab.htm# 3

Jagpal S Tiwana
Dartmouth, Canada

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7a.

Re: So-called Patits and Sikh Pantheon

Posted by: “Tejinder Lamba” tejilamba@yahoo.com tejilamba

Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:45 pm (PDT)

“The term ‘patit’ is arrogant to begin with. There is no place in Sikh of the AGGS for such value judgements.” Sdn A Singh

I have a naive question.

In India & Pakistan, all those who do not pay taxes on their Income are called Tax-Chor. My information is that Mahan & Prasid Ragees, Kathwachaks, Granthis especially in Diaspora, who preach ‘Truth is high, but truthful living is higher’ (AGGS/ p 62), earning lot of money think it’s simply somebody else’s problem.

Will it be arrogant to call them ‘Chor’/’Haramkhor’ , since these words do occur in AGGS, or just name them ‘Patit’.

tejinder singh
Edmonton, Ca

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8.

Motorcycle helmets an election issue for Sikhs

Posted by: “J.S.Tiwana” tiwana@bellaliant.net

Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:45 pm (PDT)

* By Ashley Csanady, Record staff
* Mon Sep 19 2011

Motorcycle helmets an election issue for Sikhs

KITCHENER ­ Ajmer S. Mandur has had his
motorcycle licence for more than two decades, but
he hasn’t actually ridden a motorcycle in this province since the early 1990s.

He used to let his hair down ­ literally ­ and
hop on for a ride. But since getting married and
having kids, he doesn’t want to break with his faith.

Mandur is a Khalsa Sikh, which means he observes
a religious practice that forbids cutting,
trimming or otherwise removing any hair on his
body. He’s also required to wear a dastaar, or turban.

“I really don’t like to be in public with no
turban,” Mandur said. “It’s just the way I was raised.”

He’s just one of many Sikhs in Ontario calling
for an exemption to the province’s motorcycle
helmet law. They cite freedom of religion with an increasingly unified voice.

On Sept. 11, members of the regional Sikh
community met at a Kitchener gurdwara, or temple,
to lend their names and voices to a growing
petition that seeks an exemption to the helmet law for turban-wearing Sikhs.

Of the more than 30 men present, both young and
old said they would buy a motorcycle if the law was amended.

The Ontario Highway Traffic Act currently
requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. This
poses a problem for Sikhs, whose turbans don’t fit under most helmets.

The Highway Traffic Act also requires anyone
under the age of 18 to wear a helmet while
bicycling. While the Canadian Sikh Association
would like this amended as well, it’s focusing on motorcycles.

“Asking someone to take off their turban is
literally like asking them to take off their
clothes. That’s how it’s viewed,” said Baljit
Singh Ghuman, chair of the Canadian Sikh
Association. “It’s part of the religion. It’s part of the lifestyle.”

The Canadian Sikh Association organized the
meeting. It’s been holding similar public
meetings in Sikh communities throughout the
province in the run-up to the Oct. 6 provincial election.

“This is the one issue the whole community seems
to be united behind,” said Ghuman.

Both British Columbia and Manitoba have
exemptions in their helmet laws for
turban-wearing Sikhs, but an Ontario Superior
Court Justice dismissed a challenge to the law in 2008.

In 2008, the most recent data available, 53
people died in motorcycle accidents in Ontario
(three of them were passengers).

In an analysis of factors that contributed to
those fatalities, 9.8 per cent were found to be a
result of the rider not wearing a helmet.

But 51 per cent died as a result of speed and the driver losing control.

An analysis of the data dating back to 1993 shows
this ratio is relatively consistent: the
percentage of fatalities attributed to speed
ranges from 43 per cent to 60 per cent, while the
percentage of fatalities attributed to not
wearing a helmet ranges from five per cent to 18 per cent.

The Ministry of Transportation stated its
position in an email: “Research has shown that
motorcycle helmets are effective in reducing the
incidence of head injury … This focus (on safety)
is one of the reasons why Ontario has the safest roads in North America.”

It also pointed out that, “The Ontario Court of
Justice recently ruled that Ontario’s mandatory
helmet requirement does not infringe upon the
freedom of religion or equality rights of the
Charter, nor violates the Human Rights Code.”

The Ministry cites a 1996 study that found
motorcycle helmets were 67 per cent effective in
preventing serious brain injury, and a 2004 study
showed they were 37 per cent effective in preventing fatal injuries.

But some suggest that at over 50 kilometres an
hour, helmets do not affect an accident’s outcome.

The last time the helmet issue was brought to
Queen’s Park was in 1988, when a private member’s
bill that would have granted Sikhs such an exemption failed.

John Milloy, the Kitchener Centre MPP who’s
running for re-election for the Liberals, said
Premier Dalton McGuinty has announced his
intentions to “have a conversation” about the issue should he win re-election.

Milloy said it’s a very complicated issue that
melds public safety and freedom of religion. He
supports his party’s stance and would be open to
having that conversation when the election is over.

J.D. McGuire, who’s running for the Green party
in Kitchener-Waterloo, said in an email that he’s
very open to having a conversation with the Sikh
community about the issue, should he be elected.

“I personally wouldn’t support a law that
endangers any Ontarian,” said Mark Cairns, NDP
candidate for Kitchener-Conestoga , the riding
that contains the temple. “I don’t see how
someone could get away with not wearing their
seatbelt in a car based on some matter of religious freedom.”

Candidates for the Progressive Conservative party
declined to comment on the issue, but the
official party line is “public safety should be the top concern.”

Yet, the B.C. ruling stated the “marginal risk
and costs associated with unhelmeted motorcycle
riding does not constitute undue hardship” to the province.

The 1999 ruling “found that the unhelmeted rider
alone bears the risks associated with riding a motorcycle without a helmet.”

The tribunal’s findings highlighted the fact
that, since motorcyclists are more likely to die
or be seriously injured than automobile drivers,
there’s a certain level of societal risk that’s
accepted. And, as there was insufficient evidence
to prove that unhelmeted riding for as small a
population as the Sikh community posed a
statistically significant risk to public safety,
the tribunal ruled the helmet law was discriminatory.

The practice of not cutting one’s hair (referred
to as Kesh) is one of Sikhism five Ks, rules
every baptized member must follow. Despite the
fact that only Sikh men wear the turban, it is
not a gendered practice. Women are also forbidden
from cutting or otherwise altering any body hair
and are expected to wear the kirpan ­ a small
knife Sikhs carry that’s another of the five Ks.

The kirpan has been another source of controversy
for the faith, as Sikhs have had to fight for
their right to carry what’s perceived as a weapon
into stadiums, public buildings and public schools.

The 2001 census (the last year religious data was
collected until the 2011 numbers are released)
reported just over 77,000 Sikhs in Ontario.
Estimates place the current population at more than 100,000.

<mailto:acsanady@therecord. com>acsanady@therecord. com

http://www.therecor d.com/news/ local/article/ 596936–motorcyc le-helmets- an-election- issue-for- sikhs

Jagpal S Tiwana
Dartmouth, Canada

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9.

Re So-called Patits and Sikh Pantheon

Posted by: “Nirmal Singh” enveen@yahoo.com enveen

Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:45 pm (PDT)

Thank you Mrs A Singh for your comments. It is indeed a shame that we chose to use such demeaning judgemental term to designate a group that at the time was miniscule and could therefore be openly stigmstized and ridiculed. To day the numbers are staggering but we continue to use the term yet as is evident from a news item today, most of the voters would still be from this category or worse – even though they will be certified to be observant kesdharis. It just cannot be that there are 55 lakh fully observant kesdharis [no drinking, no shaping of eye brows etc] in those states who are also eager to register as voters for SGPC elections.

I am appending below the write up on Patit in Sikh Encyclopaedia. In spite of some factual errors regarding the SRM provisions, the write up clearly would hold the legal definition inaccurate.
Respectfully,
Nirmal Singh
Camp New Delhi

PATIT, an adjective formed from patan meaning fall, decline or degradation, with its roots in Sanskrit pat which means, variously, “to fall, sink, descend; to fall in the moral sense; to lose caste, rank or position,” usually denotes one who is morally fallen, wicked, degraded or out caste. It is slightly different from the English word `apostate`, which usually stands for one who abandons his religion for another voluntarily or under compulsion. A patit is one who commits a religious misdemeanour or transgression, yet does not forsake his professed faith. He may seek redemption and may be readmitted to the communion after due penitence.

In the sacred literature of the Sikhs as well as of the Hindus, the word is normally used in the general sense of fallen or sinner as opposed to pure or virtuous. It often appears in composite terms such as patitpavan and patitudharan (purifier or redeemer of the sinner) used as attributes of God and Guru. Its use as a technical term in Sikh theology appears to have come into vogue after the creation of the Khalsa and the appearance of various codes of conduct prescribed for the Sikhs in the form of rahitnamas during the eighteenth century. Even the rahitnamas describe transgressor of the code of conduct as tankhahia (one liable to penalty) and not patit.

Bhai Santokh Singh (1787-1843) the poet-historian, appears to be the first to use patit in the sense in which it is now understood among the Sikhs. In ritu 3, ansu 51 of his magnum opus, Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth, the poet relates a story, based on an anecdote from an earlier work, Gur Ratan Mal (Sou Sakhi), of a Sikh lady shaken in her faith under the influence of a Muslim woman, who is subsequently reclaimed. She is described as saying: Bakhsh lehu ham tuman sharani; patitin pavanaid bidhi barm (we seek refuge with you [0 Guru:], pardon us and tell us the way to purify patits). The Singh Sabha movement of the last quarter of the nineteenth century had reclamation of the patit Sikhs as one of its major objectives.
Shuddhi Sabha, an offshoot of the Singh Sabha, established in 1893, had as its sole purpose the reconversion of apostates, and reclamation of patits. By a patit was meant a Hindu or Sikh, man or woman, who had abandoned his/her traditional religious faith under Muslim or Christian influence. Also, an initiated Sikh who committed a major kurahit or breach of religious discipline, became a patit, while for minor breaches of the Sikh code, one only became a tankhahia or one liable to penalty or punishment whose misdemeanour could be condoned by sangat or holy fellowship after an apology, repentantly and humbly tendered, and/or a punishment, usually in the form of tankhah (fine) and/or seva (voluntary service) and extra recitation daily of one or more routine prayers.

Sikh Rahit Maryada approved by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee in 1954 after prolonged deliberations, retains the above rules without specifically defining the term patit. Its legal definition as inserted in the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, through the amending Act XI of 1944 runs as below: “Patit means a person who being a Kcshdhari Sikh trims or shaves his beard or keshas or who after taking amrit commits any one or more of the four kurahits.” Delhi Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1971, contains a similar definition except a reference to keshadhari because unlike Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, it defines only keshadharis, and not sahajdharis, as Sikhs. It states: “Patit” means a Sikh who trims or shaves his beard or hair (keshas) or who after taking amrit commits any one or more of the four kurahits.

According to old rahitnamas, as well as the Sikh Rahit Maryada, the four (major) kurahits are (a) trimming or shaving of hair, (2) eating kuttha or halal meat, i.e. flesh of bird or animal slaughtered in the Muslim`s way; (3) sexual contact with a woman or man other than one`s own wife or husband; and (4) the use of tobacco in any form. Being a patit entails several religious, social and even legal disabilities. For example, besides being a religious offence punishable by sangat, being a patit is a social stigma; a patit cannot have his ardas said at any of the five takhts; and a patit cannot be elected to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

The Sikh Rahit Maryada advises Sikhs not to associate generally with patits. Especially, codinig with a patit would make a Sikh tankhahia. A patit who fails to appear before the sangat when summoned, or who refuses to accept its verdict could invite punishment leading to his excommunication from Sikh society. The power of excommunication however vests only in the Akal Takht at Amritsar, the highest seat of religious authority, and is exercised in exceptional cases involving eminent persons and panthic honour. Of course, the sanction behind such punishments and disabilities is purely religious, moral and social pressure, except in cases falling under the Sikh Gurdwaras Act.

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About preetlari

"Preetlari", Punjab's magazine established in 1933 and published from Preetnagar, Dist. Amritsar. S. Gurbaksh Singh founded the magazine and also the model village, Preetnagar. The magazine is running in its 78th year and since last year is being taken by nearly 20000 primary and upper primary schools of Punjab ,too.

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