Two months after the Supreme Court ruled that politics and religion should be separated, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Kirpal Singh Badungar said that religion and politics should go hand in hand. Badungar was at Budhlada’s Guru Nanak College on Friday to address a seminar on the life and teachings of 10th Sikh master Guru Gobind Singh.
On the perception that the SGPC takes orders from politicians, Badungar said “if politics and religion are kept apart then the nation will have to face slavery as it had happened in the past”.
"I think politics and religion should never be separated. When they are kept away from each other, we are bound to get enslaved as it happened in the past as the country was ruled by foreigners for 1,000 years. This is need of the times to let politics and religion work in tandem for peace and communal harmony in the state," he said.
Last year, SAD MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal had publicly criticised the SGPC for taking more interest in politics than its primary job of religious preaching.
Responding to a query on the SAD leaders’ seeking support from Dera Sacha Sauda, Badungar said the incident should not be linked to the entire community or Shiromani Akali Dal.
"The act of a few SAD leaders seeking support of dera will not belittle the importance of panth or Akali Dal. A committee is probing the issue and a report will be submitted to the Akal Takht on March 7."
Addressing students in the college, the SGPC chief stressed that ethos of the Sikhism are still alive and lakhs of people are embracing the religion across the world. "In the recently held Parkash Utsav programme in Bihar, I saw Sikhs from countries such as Russia and China."
He also announced cash rewards for students who participated in the cultural programme and hike in the salary for the teachers who trained them.
On freedom of speech vs nationalism
On the ongoing controversy over ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘nationalism’, he said such incidents will only disturb the peace and tranquillity in the state. “Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab will suffer the most if tension between India and Pakistan escalates,” he said.