THE Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), housed in the Golden Temple in Amritsar, is considered the Mini Parliament of the Sikhs. It holds sway over the affairs of this community with huge funds and vast powers at its disposal.
The Committee, which was set up under the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, is seen as a protector of Sikh maryada (traditions) and awards religious punishments, including excommunication from the community. It lays down strict guidelines on how respectfully the Guru Granth Sahib (holy book of the Sikhs) is to be carried. It gives permission to set up new gurdwaras and organise prayers in gurdwaras and homes.
Besides having a major say in Panthic affairs, the SGPC has an annual budget of Rs 1,064 crore and the collection from the golak (offering by devotees in gurdwaras) runs into crores of rupees.
Besides managing gurdwaras, the SGPC runs several welfare and educational institutions, including medical ...