RSS wing questions Akali’s stance on Sikh identity
The RSS reiterated that it did not seek to merge Sikhism with Hinduism and recognised the former as a separate religion.Updated: Jan 04, 2018 22:51 IST
Former deputy chief minister of Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal’s push for amending Article 25 of the Constitution to identify Sikhism as a separate religion is an expedient tool for political gains, the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), said.
“Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has no ideology, it follows the policy of duplicity. When in power it says one thing and when out of power, it makes statements that are sensational,” GS Gill, national president of the Sangat, said on Thursday. The BJP is an ally of the SAD and the RSS is the ideological mentor of the BJP.
In an interview to HT, Badal had underlined his party’s position to press for an amendment to the Constitution, but Gill questioned the stance.
According to the 2011 census, nearly 30% of Punjab’s population comprises Scheduled Castes (SC), and if Sikhism is not clubbed with Hinduism, these people will lose the benefits of reservation. “SCs in Punjab will not be able to enjoy the quota benefits. Why should they suffer?” Gill said.
Reacting to Badal’s statement, the RSS reiterated that it did not seek to merge Sikhism with Hinduism. “RSS recognises Sikhism as a separate religion. And in spite of all the diversities, we are one people, one nation,” Manmohan Vaidya, the all India spokesperson of the RSS told HT.
Sikh groups have accused the RSS and the Sangat of trying to subsume the Sikh identity within the Hindu fold. “The Sangat and the RSS have always respected our gurus and our faith as a separate religion, there is no scope for confusion over this issue,” Gill said. RSS ideologue Rakesh Sinha, too, dubbed Badal’s statement as political posturing.
“Such demands are intended to fulfil the appetite of a political constituency. The unity is derived not from constitutional definition but social, cultural and historical oneness. Ram appeared more than 9,000 times in the sacred text Gurugranth Sahib, so did Krishna and Bhagwati. What else do we need for more commonality?” he said.
He went on to add: “Had there been no Sikh gurus such as Teg Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh, Hinduism would have been in more miserable position, the Sikh Gurus were saviours from brutal Mughal regime.”
“While the social bond is strong, identity of Sikhism is undiluted and uncontested. Hindu way of life is based on existence and furtherance of plurality and assimilation, however, political binary is effecting social fabric of the Punjab which requires greater respect for Sikh identity and it was exhibited during the Prakash Parva, the conclusion of the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh,” Sinha added.