Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Times of India (and Indian media) should Butt Out of Sikh Affairs

I read an 'editorial' at the Times of India. Basically, the TOI is arguing that the DSGMC is wrong to tell Sikhs how to conduct themselves in relation to Sikh weddings.

Who exactly are the Times of India to be telling Sikhs anything, let alone criticize the DSGMC on an issue that has everything to do with the DSGMC's role as a leadership organization in the Sikh community?

The DSGMC wants to highlight that ostentatious weddings are a burden on ordinary, middle class Sikhs and that the Sikh community would do well to practice some discipline in conducting weddings. Not to mention the fact that the DSGMC wants to highlight that dowry giving and lavish weddings are, at the very least anecdotally, responsible for female infanticide and abortion.

You would think that a group taking the initiative in India to try and make a dent in this heinous practice, of murder essentially, would be praised for the effort, but I guess because it is a Sikh organization some people in India would rather criticize and inject themselves into what is an internal conversation. Neither the Indian media nor Indian government have any right to tell Sikhs how they should govern themselves, provided Sikhs stay within the laws of the country.

The person who wrote the editorial seems to think that the Indian government can usurp the private space for dialogue amongst and in relation to Sikhs.
The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee has set out an elaborate code defining how members of the community should conduct their weddings. Austerity is at the heart of the committee's widely reported prescriptions.

The argument that weddings should be solemnised in gurdwaras during the day accompanied by, at most, a later reception where alcohol, non-vegetarian food and a plenitude of delicacies should be strictly abjured is arbitrary, authoritarian and intrusive as far as individual rights go. On the other hand, the argument that this will help curb the menace of dowry and female foeticide by helping eliminate competitive conspicuous consumption, especially among the less affluent members of the community, is specious...

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1 comment:

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