US Sikhs appeal for well-qualified Candidates for SGPC elections

August 9, 2011

WASHINGTON– : Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Washington based Sikh Council on Religion and Education appealed to all parties in Punjab to select well qualified and spiritually oriented candidates for the elections of Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). He said, "The candidates should see this as an opportunity to serve the Sikh community rather than using this as a stepping stone for political ambitions. Some percentage of candidates should come from various fields of education who can guide the community in the future and can contribute based on their experience."

Dr. Rajwant Singh added, "It is imperative that these candidates have broader vision and have an inspirational character. This kind of leadership is the need of the hour. Sikh Community is facing tremendous challenges in the field of education, environment, health, caste divisions and lack of religious connection among youth in Punjab. Next decades are being seen as the defining times for the global Sikh community. Elected members of SGPC must prepare the Sikh community in Punjab to face the future challenges and avail the opportunities in the next century. The steps for brighter future can only be taken if proper candidates run for elections for this august body and Sikh leaders in Punjab have the responsibility to select such candidates."

Sarabjit Singh Sidhu, Chairman of Guru Gobind Singh Foundation in Washington, said, "As a diaspora Gurdwara organization in the Washington DC area, GGSF considers SGPC as a important institution for Sikhs, one whose decisions have impact on Sikh diasphora far beyond Punjab and the Gurdwaras managed by the Committee. It is our belief that Sikhs must work in unison and with foresight to have any impact on other societies. It is from this angle that Sikhs living outside in general and GGSF in particular are very concerned about the election process, the candidates that get elected and the decisions made thereeafter. International Sikh community must not remain silent spectator towards this entire process but voice its opinion to influence the outcome of this election.

Mr. Sidhu added, “We fully support the statement from Jathedar, Akaal Takhat to prevent the use, distribution and consumption of liqour and other intoxicants to influence the voters. The candidates and the various groups participating in elections must ensure that Sikh values are kept above politics. There is a growing feeling among the Sikhs in Punjab and elsewhere that over the years SGPC has lost some of its reputation as being an independent religious body. The elected representatives therefore must work together to restore that confidence."

Rajwant Singh added, "Sikh community in the last two decades have gone fully global and have established Gurdwaras worldwide. SGPC's role has become pivotal in light of these changes. SGPC is a significant instrument for the betterment of the Sikhs in Punjab and abroad and its role should be understood by the candidates so they can make well thought decisions for the future of the Sikhs."

Dr. Singh further stated, "We hope that all parties taking part in the elections will choose candidates who will have the following minimum qualifications:

1)They should have religious bent of mind and they want to serve the community.

2) They should be well educated.

3) They should come from many different professional backgrounds if possible - Agriculture, Education, Medicine, Engineering, Environment, Finance, Information technology, Architecture, Real Estate Development, etc. so they are able to give their input on various project and programs run by SGPC.

5) They should have management training.

6) They should have some experience in community organizing and have contact with youth.

7) They should respect and be able to use diverging opinions to have the best outcome/decisions."

"Over the past few years, Sikhs have produced many scholars, scientists and highly educated professionals. This was probably due to concerted effort by many Sikh institutions as well as individuals who made education and hard work as their top priority. This has had an impact in making Sikhs a successful community worldwide. Sikh youth should continue to be the focus of all efforts because they are our future."


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