We are paying the price of our own degradation of our own Rehat Marayada.

We focused the last 50 years on differences in the Rehat Marayada and ironically neglected to focus on what the Panth all agreed on, which were the building blocks of our future in the form of the Anand Karaj Ceremony.

We took our eye off the real modern issues in our community and failed to connect it to the fact that we had lost sanctity for the Anand Karaj. Had we understood that earlier, then perhaps our collective values, morals and ethics would still be aligned to Gurmat.

The emotions and confusion now need to be channeled into a fix so that we restore the sanctity of the Anand Karaj back.

Committees, sangat, families etc need to comprehend the symbolic and spiritual nature of the Anand Karaj so that it is understood that our society building blocks start from the family unit.

If the couple have an appreciation that their 4 Lavan around Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji represents their symbolic connection to the morals and ethics of our Guru’s teachings then the foundations of the family unit remain firm. Firm family units mean a stronger society

Modernisation is not something Sikhs avoid, but that does not mean we accept the comprise that effects the safeguard of our Maryada.

Without the Rehat Marayada framework, we have no tangible or intangible identity. Sandeshes, Aadeshes and clarity from Sri Akal Takht Sahib help us safeguard Rehat Marayada. There is nothing sinister or corrupt about that.

The Sikh Council UK mixed marriage guidelines just tackles one of those aspects. The guidelines offer a process in which the couple can gain a real understanding of the profile of the Anand Karaj. It’s prescriptive and informative. No where is it saying someone from a non Sikh origin family cannot participate in an Anand Karaj so long as they now understand and map their future as a Sikh family unit.

What now needs to happen is that all Sikh couples who are planning an Anand Karaj should also be part of a similar process, whereby they they accept in advance why they are having the Anand Karaj Ceremony. This involves Gurdwara committee members and respected community leaders taking ownership and coming out of their comfort zones to train and mentor couples. Other faith groups already carry this out.

Once the Sikh community regain that sanctity of the Anand Karaj back then many of the modern social challenges can disappear.

By Mankamal Singh

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