It is easier for parents to discipline many children than just one - is the justification of Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh for his appeal to Sikh families to have at least four kids.
At an informal meeting with the media on Friday here, he made the appeal again, saying no one should feel embarrassed about it. It had been pointed out to him that the idea had made Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar uncomfortable when put before him.
"Sikhs have followed the national family planning concept religiously and limited their numbers," said the jathedar, adding: "We adopted the two-child theory first and single-child idea now. It has done more harm than good to the community. Single children get an overdose of love and affection, which spoils them, eroding human values and family discipline," he explained.
He said he knew of many instances when a pampered single child had brought bad name to the family. "Parents never want to offend their only child, and this affection backfires. The parents who are not strict cannot bring the child back," the jathedar said, pointing to the drug menace among the young population of Punjab.
He claimed that in the "good old days", families had three, four, or even more children; with no favourites and everyone treated equally and kept in check. "If one of the four children turns out to be bad, there still are three good ones; but when a single child goes astray, it shatters the family," he contended.
Not bothered about the economic consequences of large families and its impact on society, he remained evasive when it was pointed out that it would aggravate unemployment and make agricultural land holdings smaller.
Accepts aid for quake-hit Nepal
Akal takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh on Friday appealed to Sikh community to help the earthquake-affected people of Nepal.
He accepted a cheque for 3,000 euros (`2.16 lakh) from Ranbir Singh, president of Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara at Bedford in the United Kingdom (UK), towards the Nepal relief fund instituted by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).
Uttarakhand Sikh Pratinid Board president Jaswant Singh Punia also gave him a cheque for `11,000 towards the relief fund. The jathedar thanked both donors.