Gurmat Maryada of Anand Karaj
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Sikh Rehat Mayrada (SRM), as sanctioned by the Akaal Takhat and approved by the Sikh Panth, lists out the following four Sanskars as being an integral part of the Sikh Way of Life:
(i) Janam & Nam Sanskar
(ii) Amrit Sanskar
(iii) Anand Karaj
(iv) Mirtak Sanskar.
This article deals with Anand Karaj. The following are the stipulations of the SRM with regards to Anand Karaj.
(i) Sikh marriage should be arranged without regard to Jaat Paat, Goatt etc.
(ii) There is to be no exchange of dowries etc.
(iii) Child marriages are prohibited in the Sikh way of life.
(iv) The daughter of a Sikh should marry only a Sikh.
(v) The marriage of a Sikh should be conducted in the Anand Reeti.
(vi) Prior to Anand Karaj, the Kurmaee is not necessary. If desired, however, the prospective brideâ€™s family can gather the sangat, conduct an ardas before the Guru Granth Sahib, and offer to the prospective groom a Kirpan, Kra and some sweets.
(vii) In setting the date of the Anand Karaj, paying attention to â€œopportuneâ€ times and days is Manmat(meaning against Gurmat). Mutual consent of both sides is all that is required.
(viii) The tying of the Sehra, Mukat, Ganna; praying to oneâ€™s pittars, dipping the feet in kachee lasee, the chopping of beri or jandee, the filling of Gharolee, leaving the home in despair (rus ke jana), reading of chands, performing of havans, vedi gadnee, vesva dance, and serving of liquor is manmat.
(ix) In the Baraat, the fewer the members, the better. Janjis should sing gurbanee shabads and recite the fateh upon arrival.
(x) During the Anand Karaj, a diwan should be conducted before the Guru Granth Sahib. Kirten should be done. Then the bride and groom should be asked to sit in the presence of the GGS. The bride should be seated on the left of the groom. The permission of the sangat should be obtained, and the bride, groom and parental representatives from both sides should stand with the ardasia to do an arambhak ardas.
[Point to note: The practice of singing the Shabad â€œHum Ghar Sajan Aiyeâ€ when the Janj arrives in the Darbar is against the teachings of Gurmat. Similarly the singing of the Shabad â€œKeeta Loreay Kum So Har Peh Aikheyâ€ specifically for the purpose of beginning of the ceremony is also against the philosophy of Gurmat. The SRM does not in any place mention that these shabads are to be sung as tied to the occasion. A detailed explanation is provided below.]
(xi) The bride and groom should then be advised on the issue of ghrisst in Sikh way of life. They should be given this common advice based on the four laavan. Then they should be given advice with regards to their respective roles within a ghristee jeewan.
[Point to note: The SRM provides the detailed wordings of the advice. Parbhandaks are advised to make the SRM available to their Granthis and Ragis.]
(xii) As a sign of acceptance of the advice, the bride and groom should bow in obeisance.
(xiii) Then the father of the bride (or any other head relative) should hand one end of the palla into the hands of the groom and the other to the bride.
[Point to Note: The singing of the Shabad â€œPalley Tendey Lageeâ€ during the palla handing ceremony is against the teachings of Gurmat. The SRM does not in any place mention that this shabad is to be sung as tied to the occasion. A detailed explanation is provided below.]
(xiv) The couple should then be asked to stand. The tabia gursikh should read out one laav at a time. The kirtenias should sing the laav, during which time the groom should lead the parkirma while holding on the palla followed by the bride, also holding on the palla.
(xv) After each parkirma, both bride and groom should matha thek, and stand up to listen to the next laav. After the fourth laav, the kirtenaias should sing the Anand Sahib. The husband and wife should proceed to sit within the sangat.
[Point to Note: The singing of the Shabad â€œViah Hoa Mere Babulaâ€ at this point of time is against the teachings of Gurmat. The SRM does not in any place mention that this Shabad is to be sung as tied to the occasion. A detailed explanation is provided below.]
(xvi) An anand karaj semaptee ardas should then be done and karah parashad served thereafter.
(xvii) If the husband should happen to die, and if she so desires, the wife may re-marry. Same provision applies to the husband if his wife were to pass on.
(xviii) The maryada for the second anand karaj is the same as the first.
(xix) In normal circumstances, a Sikh should not be polygamous.
(xx) An amritdhari Sikh should have his life partner partake the amrit as well.
(xxi) Persons professing faiths other than the Sikh faith cannot be joined in wedlock by the Anand Karaj ceremony
Within the context of conducting Anand Karajs, it is pertinent to discuss some issues, practices and manmat influences that have crept into this spiritual ceremony. The result is the serious downgrading or defiling of this pure and simple ceremony. The following are some of the more common deviationist practices.
(i) Jaat Paat. Virtually all local Sikh communities have their fair share of stories as to how considerations such as jaat paat etc have brought about untold miseries to Sikh families. This brahmanical principle has absolutely no place in Gurmat which recognizes the unity of God and mankind.
Gurbani says: Jano Jot, Na Pucho Jatatee. (recognise the soul (jot) within, and make no effort to know the caste (jatee).
(ii) Dropping of â€œSinghâ€ and â€œKaurâ€ on wedding cards. While such a practice may make fashion sense and turn spiritual names into filmi sounding ones, it is an act that suggests embarrassment with names given to the Sikh panth by Guru Gobind Singh.
(iii) Abuse of the Baraat concept. The excesses conducted by baratees (numbers, bad conduct, misbehavior, unreasonable demands etc) reflect poor upbringing, greed, male chauvinism, and an overall lack of a cultured sense towards life. To misbehave just because the brideâ€™s family is hosting and paying for the hospitality speaks volumes of the lack of self respect among baratees. To misbehave just because it is a joyous occasion speaks of a lack of decorum amongst some Sikhs.
(iv) Bhangra, excessive showmanship, hired entertainers etc are activities that undoubtedly change the solemn and pure character of this spiritual ceremony into one which is purely to entertain, make merry and an excuse to conduct excesses. Again, joyousness does not give a Sikh a license to misbehave. The principle of Gurmat is to consider joy and sorrow two sides of the same coin and not be overly affected by either. Moderation is the key.
(v) Un-necessary rituals. The list is long. Jai mala, shagun-apshagun, mehendi rasam, ghoree charna, sehre bann-ney, maiyan â€” are no more than bipran kee reet. They suggest a lack of appreciation and belief in the Anand Karaj as being the full, complete, final and only Guru-sanctioned â€œritualâ€ for a Sikh. These rituals take the mind away from the realm of the Guru and God and into the sphere of influence of the superstitious.
Gurbani says: Jalo Aisee Reet Jit Mei Pyara Veesrai. (I have discarded those rituals that separate me from my beloved God).
(vi) Brevity of the Anand Karaj. As described above, the Anand Karaj Ceremony is truly simple and short. Our Granthis, Ragis etc have made it long by inserting unnecessary items which need to be removed.
(vii) Showcasing Daaj-Varee etc. This is manmat and suggestive of â€œshow offâ€ behavior. Some Sikhs use this occasion to display ostentatious-ness, others to compete with their relatives as to who has more. One-upmanship becomes the rule and the root of unreasonable behavior.
Gurbani says: Hor Manmukh Daaj Je Rakh Dikhale, So Koor Ahangkar Kach Pajo.
They are manmukhs, false, egoistic, and half baked characters, those who partake and display Daaj materials.
(viii) Special Vishaees, Fhul Varkha, Garlands, Reading of Sehras, Sikhias, etc go against the grain of Gurmat. They are written to overly glorify ordinary mortals and such practice in the presence of the Guru is to be discouraged. The only reason the couple sit in front of the sangat is because they have to undertake the parkirma. There is no reason for them to be treated with special vishayees. We come before the Guru humbly, no matter what the occasion. No one goes before a King while self garlanded, and then demands a special seat. The GGS is the Sacha Patchah â€” True King of Kings !
(ix) Ostentatious receptions. Such display of wealth and grandeur does not jibe with any principle of Gurmat including those that relate to the Anand Karaj. The result is the cheapening of the Anand Karaj by very expensive means. Sikhs are known to go into heavy debt simply to live this pretense for a day or two. Others are known to complain afterwards of how costly the affair turned out to be.
Most of the above is the result of un-thinking copying of rituals in Indian films. These rituals are passed on as Indian culture. Yet the truth is that a great deal of these rituals has no basis even in Indian culture. They are simply what they are: filmi culture plain and simple entertainment.
(x) Abuse of Gurbani by singing specific Shabads. Three things need be noted. First, Gurbani is non-occasion specific. We sing the same Anand Sahib banee whether it is birth, death or other occasion. Second, the words within banee are meant for relationships with the Guru and God. Applying them for human references is therefore wrong. Third, banee is gender-netural. But when we start applying it to human relationships, we get a problem â€” as explained below.
The Shabad â€œHum Ghar Saajan Aiyeâ€ is a reflection of the welcome the human soul receives when it goes into the presence of the Guru and Waheguru. This shabad has nothing to do with an Anand Karaj. To translate â€œSaajanâ€ as â€œJanjisâ€ is not only wrong, but provides a gender related problem. Janjis are male, and there is no shabad to welcome the female party.
Similarly the tying of the shabads â€œPalley Tendey Lageeâ€ and â€œViah Hoa Mere Babulaâ€ specifically during Anand Karajs is reflective of our poor or totally absent understanding of these verses.
â€œPalley Tendey Lageeâ€ is indicative of the process (lagee) of the human soul coming within the protective sphere (palley) of God. Palley here refers to sharan. The verse â€œViah Hoa Mere Babulaâ€ is indicative of the highest realms of spirituality and union (viah) of the human soul with God (Babul refers to God).
To use the term Babul to refer to the brideâ€™s father and the term â€œpalley tendeyâ€ to the piece of cloth (palla) is to make a mockery of the shabad, at the very least. It is also gender biased: why is only the bride announcing â€œI am now married, dad my babul!â€ Or why is just the bride saying â€œI am now tied to you, my groom!â€ Is the groom exempted from saying or declaring his situation? To equate marriage to â€œbeing tied to someoneâ€ is to be totally off tangent as far as the Gurmat definition is concerned. One ties cows and goats so that they donâ€™t wander off where they like. If babul refers to the brideâ€™s father, then it should not be sung in instances where the bride does not have her father present. This would then mean the shabad was not meant for brides which, for some reason, did not have their fathers present at the ceremony!
(xi) Alteration of the Anand Karaj Ceremony. Some Gurdwaras have eliminated the Sikhia part of the ceremony with the intention of saving time. They say that that the ceremony is too long. In some cases, the couple is given the sikhia in private prior to the anand karaj. Both situations contravene the SRM. If done according to the dictates of the SRM, the anand karaj is a short and sweet ceremony. It appears ever shorter and sweeter if everybody â€” the bride, groom, their parties, the sangat and kirtenias are punctual. Hours are wasted on what goes on before and after the ceremony on unnecessary rituals and receptions; thus to complain about a 20 â€” 30 minute ceremony is not right. The SRM mandates giving the sikhia in the presence of the sangat. Having heard or even delivered the sikhia before is not a reason for its elimination during oneâ€™s anand karaj. The sikihia is not meant for the couple alone. It is meant to reinforce the beliefs of the rest of the sangat who are married, and to prepare those not married regarding the dictates of Gurmat. Even for the couple, sikhia given in the presence of the sangat and their public commitment to it helps enforce its validity much more than doing it in private.
(xii) Disturbances during the ceremony. Video recorders, lighting technicians, usherers, event managers, and other self proclaimed directors often turn a solemn, joyous and spiritual ceremony into a chaotic filming of a movie. These distracters are given priority over kirtanias, ardasias etc who have to make way for the distractions and their equipment. The result is confusion, non concentration on the Gurbanee messages, and tensions. It is a clear sign that we have got our priorities in reverse order. The most important aspect of the ceremony â€” the Guru and his Gurbanee are sacrificed wantonly at the altar of those whose only business is to distract, interrupt and make a mockery of the sanctity of the sangat.
(xiii) Disregard for Sanctity of the Guru. Brides and grooms that turn up late for the ceremony is becoming the norm. Ceremonies have been held up for hours at times. When the parties do turn up, they demand that the ceremony be run on fast forward mode. During Anand Karajs, the sangat has been known to be talkative, noisy, disrespectful and inattentive. It appears that this joyous occasion has been taken as a license by some Sikhs to disregard the sanctity of the kirten, diwan, and sangat.
Anand Karaj is the point of conception of Ghrist. Both translate, in combination, as perpetual bliss. The SRM principles are meant to ensure that the parties actually enjoy such bliss. But it is common practice that the Anand Karaj ceremony is anything but blissful. We have turned this wonderful ceremony into a chaotic, unruly, tension-filled, show off, and hence totally unsatisfying one. Instead of stopping it, we play the blame game and pass the buck. We blame our parents, friends, society etc and feel that the reform of the ceremony should take place only after we have had our individual turn.
The most pathetic excuse is that a marriage is a joyous and happy once- in a lifetime occasion. Therefore all inhibitions should be discarded â€” so that the event can be as memorable as ever. Yet the result is that for an ever increasing number of Sikhs, married life is no longer joyous, Ghristi jiwan is no more than a sham and marriage is becoming more than â€œonceâ€ in a life time affair.
Obviously, there are a myriad of reasons why the institution of marriage is crumbling. But from the spiritual point of view, the main reason may simply be that our marriage was never given the chance to obtain the blessings of the Guru. Our Anand Karajs were conducted so much against the guidelines set by the Guru that the ceremony amounted to the Guru being dismissed from it.
After all, the Sikh Anand Karaj is a union of three â€” A Gursikh couple and the Guru. That is precisely why the couple circumambulates the Guru. The laavan are a solemn undertaking between the couple and the Guru. Ghrisht jeewan means a life led with the Guru very much within the midst of our family life.
Ghrist is a critical and vital part of Sikhi. It is a progressive step for a soul that is traveling the journey of spirituality. The journey begins as a child, where the Sikh parents, as part of their own Ghrist Jeewan have the responsibility of inculcating Sikh values in their children. In youth, the young Sikh takes on personal responsibilities such as undertaking a study of gurbanee, learning the scripture, sewa, kirten, taking the khande da pahul etc. The practice of Sikhi is to be done within a marriage that comprises of two Sikhs, who, while traveling the journey of Sikh spirituality, are both desirous of moving on to the next station. This is where Ghrist comes in. A Sikh couple, deciding to set up home and family with the Guru integral in their lives, and then passing on the wonder of the Guru to their next generation. The practice of Sikhi from this point on is within the confines of Ghrist. In this sense, the Anad Karaj is critical and crucial to those who are walking the journey, and intend to get to the ultimate destination.
Without the Guru, our Anand Karaj is reduced to just another karaj (job), our Ghrist Jeewan to just another chapter of our life and Sikh philosophy to just a set of rules meant to be thrown out of the window.
Anand Karaj with a Non-Sikh party. Applying the logic of the journey of Sikh spirituality, the concept of Ghrist and Anand Karaj being a union of three, it makes absolutely no sense for a non Sikh to want to undertake an Anand Karaj. The non-Sikh has never started the journey of Sikhi and will (with few exceptions) probably not embark on it even after marriage. Even if this logic is put aside, the Rehat Maryada is absolutely clear on this â€” the Anand Karaj is meant for believing Sikhs. Finally, when taking the meanings of the four laavas, the commitment demanded therein, and the philosophical essence of the hukumnama that is taken after the ardas on the anand karaj day, it leaves no doubt whatsoever that the entire process is part and parcel of Sikhi, and meant for believing and practicing Sikhs.
But some Sikhs, Sikh institutions and Sikh religious leaders, being what they are â€” ignorant, self serving and pseudo â€” have attempted to twist the logic of Sikhi, cast aspirations on the Sikh Rehat Maryada, and paint Gurmat following and Gurbani abiding Sikhs as backward and not keeping with modern times. It is thus proper to examine some of the hollow arguments presented by these parties, and to put things within the correct perspective.
(i) Argument: Sikhs marrying non-Sikhs is part of the phenomenon of modernity and Sikhs who oppose this trend are straight jacketed. Whether such marriages are acts of modernity and their opponents narrow minded is subject to debate. But the fact remains that this phenomenon is real and part and parcel of the times we live in. No Sikh should judge other Sikhs, certainly not on the basis of who one chooses to marry. Even without applying any principle of Sikhi, basic humanity, family cohesion and societal obligations require a Sikh to open heartedly accept, support and unconditionally love members of our family or community who make the choice of their life partners that are different from our preferences.
It should be clear therefore that a Sikh has a right to marry a non-Sikh and that choice should be respected. Every modern society has secular/civil marriage ceremonies and institutions that perform them, Sikh families should share in the joy for the choices made by their loved ones and acceptance should be accorded.
But whether Sikhs who make such a choice and their families have a right to demand and Anand Karaj (with all its accompanying Gurmat practices â€” such as laavan, parkirma etc) to be done is the real issue of concern for Sikhs, its institutions and leaders. Every choice comes with consequences and the repercussions for a Sikh who chooses to step out of the sphere of Sikhi (and he/she does so in the choice of wanting to spend the rest of oneâ€™s life with a non-Sikh), is simply that the Anand Karaj becomes meaningless. This spiritual ceremony steeped in Gurmat is meaningless if one does not intend it to be part of the journey of Sikh spirituality. It is also meaningless if the preceding Ghrist way of life is not to be practiced. Short of making a mockery of the Anand Karaj in the selfish pursuit of oneâ€™s choice and desire, one finds it difficult to rationalize why an Anand Karaj is pursued under such meaningless circumstances.
A more pointed question is whether such Sikhs and their families have a right to make a mockery of the Anand Karaj , denigrate this spiritual ceremony to one that is purely social, cultural and entertainment based, and hurt the sentiments of Gurmat following and Gurbani abiding Sikhs. Does anybody have a right to make a mockery of a ceremony that is listed as one of the four most important ones in the Sikh Rehat Maryada ? This is the perspective within which this issue is to be discussed.
To overcome such criticisms, some Sikhs and institutions have resorted to twisting the Rehat Maryada and or designing ingenious methods of circumventing it and Gurmat all together.
(ii) Instant conversions of the non-Sikh partner. Some institutions arrange for panj pyaras to administer the khande da pahul to the non-Sikh party sometimes a day or two prior to the ceremony. There exist panj pyara managers who specialize in arranging for such ceremonies in short notice. In most cases, this non-Sikh individual has absolutely no idea of what the ceremony entails and the spiritual obligations that come along with it. In most cases too, this party has none of the 5 kakars, or adorns those can be adorned temporarily for the ceremony. Having no knowledge of Gurbani and Gurmukhi, expecting such individuals to perform their nitnem (as required by the pahul ceremony) would be akin to asking a cow to play the violin five times daily. All that matters is that he/she walks out of the ceremony with a Sikh sounding name (for temporary use during the Anand Karaj).
Some Sikh institutions simplify matters. The Khande da pahul is administered by just one pyara. And he/she only reads 5 paurees of the Japji to make this super instant pahul. Others have simplified them even further â€” just come with a sworn affidavit pledging that from now on you are a Sikh.
The only way to put these ingenious methods into perspective is to call them what they truly are â€” insulting, denigrating and mocking a crucially important ceremony in Sikhi, namely khande da pahul, – so that yet another critically important ceremony â€” the Anand Karaj may be mocked.
(iii) Argument: Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandaks, parcharaks, kirtenias, panj pyaras and leaders of Sikh institutions are subject to the demands of the sangat. Many a pardhan and jathedar will tell you that if he/she refused the ceremony that made a mockery of the Anand Karaj, the Guru and Gurmat, then the sangat will be split. What he/she truly means is that he/she may lose his pardhanship or jathedari. Some Sikhs have so fine tuned the art of being spineless to perfection that they care not for the responsibility that is entrusted upon their shoulders. Some Gurdwaras specialize in performing such marriages. Their yellow pages listing would read such. People come from the northern and southern borders to have their non-sikh Anand Karajâ€™s performed in such Gurdwaras. Money that is charged to the family is the only motivation here.
Most common Sikh institutions have no stand worth talking about. OR they have one which no one knows about. Others have their ingenious methods too. Instead of taking a clear and solid stand on the basis of Gurmat (which is what they were set up for in the first place), they hide behind elaborate and confusing positions that are based on inventive interpretations of the Rehat Maryada. In the simplest of terms what these institutions are doing are washing their hands off the issue.
(v) Argument: But even when both parties are Sikhs (born to Sikh families, carrying Sikh names), they are really not practicing Sikhs either. These Sikhs have also not traveled on the journey of Sikhi, will not be practicing Ghrist etc. So if we can do the Anand Karaj for such naam dhareek Sikhs (Sikhs by name only), what is wrong with performing the ceremony for non Sikhs. This argument is usually presented by our ragees, kirtenias and granthis. There is truth in their argument. The Anand Karaj is indeed meaningless for those who look like Sikhs, sound like Sikhs but are not Sikhs (Sikhs by name only). And it is indeed wrong to conduct this spiritual ceremony for such Sikhs, just as it is wrong to conduct the Khande da pahul to a Sikh who has no intention of practicing the Rehat, and just as it is wrong to conduct a Mirtak Sanskar for someone who never lived his life as a Sikh. Yet one wrong does not justify another wrong, even if one wrong is lesser than the other. The Sikh leaders, parbhandaks, ragees, granthis etc of today do not have the courage to say no to the bigger wrong (Anand Karaj for non-Sikhs). How are they expected to say no to the lesser wrong (Anand Karaj for Sikhs by name only)? Instead they sell their soul to the devil by using the first wrong to justify the second.
So what is the solution to this rather elaborate problem? It may be surprising to some, but it is absolutely simple. Gurmat, Gurbanee and the Sikh Rehat Maryada are absolutely clear on this issue. And the solution is to go back to the basics as prescribed therein. Individual Sikhs need to appreciate the meaning of the Anand Karaj ceremony, Sikh families need to respect the sanctity of the ceremony, our ragees and paracharaks need to educate themselves and their audiences, and our Institutions and Gurdwaras need to defend it. The issue becomes complicated only when we try to justify the unjustifiable.
The Anand Karaj is to be done when both parties are Sikhs and intend to live the Sikh way of Life. Any non-Sikh who genuinely desires to become a Sikh, does indeed becomes a Sikh and practices Sikhi â€” even if inspired only by a Sikh partner in marriage ought to be welcome to partake in an Anand Karaj. The onus of establishing this genuineness is upon the couple.
On the other hand, for those who have no intention of genuinely wanting to be Sikhs, and for those who know deep in their hearts that their non-Sikh partners have no desire to be genuine Sikhs, a civil marriage is an act of honesty. The civil marriage can be followed by a Jor Mela and kirten katha diwan (minus the laavan) in the local Gurdwara. End.
Note to Parbhandaks, Gurdwaras and Institutions
Please make copies and distribute to your Sangats. Education is the way to get back to the true path.
The author can be reached at dhillon99@…
Some question the SRM provisions under the following..
…This is one of the reasons why a review and change of the wordings in the maryada needs to be carried out.The language used is appallingly reflective of colonialism and derogatory English language.It also smells of male chauvinism.
if we say that females are equal, then our SRM needs to be seen fair and equal in language, application and practice….
2. also..It appears this provision is on the assumption that our unmarried women are our ijat.
we cannot let it go unruled that a sikh girl from sikh parentage should go marry out of the sikh botherhood.
that our women marrying out are a greater source of concern
a question of our pride
that our men marrying non sikh women dont seem to be such a big deal.
The rules in my opinion should reach out for what is permissible ‘after the
maariage’ eg regardless of the religeon of the other partner , if that other
partner is converted to the sikh religeon duly baptised in a public
ceremony, by Deed poll changes his/her name and faith, renounces his
previous faith (if that is allowed by law…note muslims in Malaysia cannot
do that and thefore marriage to a muslim would not be allowed) and affirms
to live by Sikh religeous rites and customs then the rules should address if
such unions can be sanctioned.
ANSWERS by the Author on the two observation raised:
My understanding of Article (iv) is attached.
(i) The meaning and language of Article (iv)
Actually the language of Article (iv) The daughter of a Sikh should only
marry a Sikh is simple and straightforward. The
observation that the language used is appallingly reflective of colonialism
and derogatory English language is unfounded. There is nothing colonialist or
derogatory about the language per se.
(ii) The issue of Gender.
the observation that It also smells of male chauvinism,â€ is
again misguided. In fact, it anything, this particular SRM article is an attempt
to stamp out gender bias.
(iii) The need to understand context.
There is perhaps no other area in which the human race has accepted gender bias
in favor of the male than in marriage. The situation which generally exists
today, existed absolutely when the SRM was constructed in the 1930s. Briefly,
this bias can be stated as follows: The female married into the male family and
took the male family name. More importantly, however, (in cases of mixed
marriages) the female always and automatically took the religion of the male.
The SRM article (iv) thus is a courageous attempt to correct this gender bias
and allow the female Sikh to maintain her Sikh belief in all circumstances â€”
particularly if she intends to marry a non-Sikh. The stipulation of article (iv)
it is her male partner who will have to take up the Sikh faith within the
marriage. The stipulation forces the male to convert, and not the other way
around. Put in other words, the Anand Karaj of his female Sikh partner cannot
take place unless he embraces the Sikh faith first.
(iv) The issue is Anand Karaj â€” not marriage.
Article (iv) of the SRM does not in any way stop a female Sikh from marrying a
non-Sikh. Even though the word used is â€œshould only marryâ€ this article must
be read together with Article (v) which defines the word â€œmarriageâ€ between
two Sikhs as â€œAnand Karaj.â€
Article (iv) therefore is visionary in that (i) it allows the female Sikh to
keep her Sikh faith in all circumstances (ii) allows for the non-Sikh male to be
brought into Sikh faith ” if he desires and (iii) allows the female Sikh and
her Sikh-adopting / converting partner to have an Anand Karaj.