Punjab assembly recently passed a resolution to allow Sikh women to sing hymns in the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple. The resolution urges the Akal Takht to ensure that women ‘ragis’ can perform Kirtan, rejecting ‘rehat maryada’ (religious code of conduct) for not allowing women to sing at Darbar Sahib and cited Guru Nanak’s vision of gender equality.
Historically, women were not allowed to do kirtan and take part in religious services inside the temple. State minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa said,
“There was no mention in the Sikh history of any discrimination against women.”
The resolution states,
“Guru Nanak Dev had visualised a society in which there would be no place for discrimination or distinction on the basis of caste or creed, social status or gender, a society that is to be based upon the principle of egalitarianism and committed to welfare of all… It is, however, unfortunate that the Sikh women are not allowed to perform ‘kirtan’ in Darbar Sahib, Amritsar. This session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha appeals to the Jathedar of Akal Takht and the SGPC to end this discriminatory practice that violates the essence of Gurbani and allow Sikh women to perform kirtan.”
This comes after the Supreme Court in 2018 ruled that women of all ages be allowed to enter Sabarimala.