India has a nation has culture, family values, bonding and upholding the sanctity of relationships in its blood. A myriad of sects, groups, religions and other such social organisations of people live together in unity and harmony, maintaining peace and perpetuating the country’s further generations. Marriage has been given a position deemed as highly sacred, pure and central to an individual’s survival in the social hierarchy of inter-personal relationships. Customs and traditions, present in the many religions in our country, related to marriage, have been codified in the law of the land. One such religion in our country, which emerged out of the two religions with the maximum population in India, is Sikhism.
Marriage in Sikhism is considered a sacred duty, a very fundamental one to the religion’s principles, and has its own customs and rites to have a solemnised marriage. However, according to Indian law, Sikhism is not a distinct religion and its followers are considered part of the Hindu religion, which may lead to a variety of questions as to the validity of the customs related to Sikh marriage, clashes with Hindu rituals, marriage registration and other concerns which are now being steadily taken up to pursue varying pursuits, but the questions stands as follows- separation or reformation or inclusion. .
The very birth of Sikhism was at the helm of the pioneering and unorthodox acts of the 10 Gurus that were against the society’s norms at the time, establishing, with certainty, the newfound meanings of justice and equality as we see them today. This practice was initiated by the First Guru, Guru Nanak, by shirking the traditional marital practices and rites. It has been noted that according to the known, he, “… refused to marry by ancient Hindu ceremony of Vedi… [and it] caused a furore… [instead] he wrote ‘mool mantar’ on a paper, placed it on a low stool,” and performed the marriage by going around it four times with his bride.
Subsequently, the Third Guru, Guru Amar Das Sahib instituted the ‘Anand Karaj’ marriage. He had composed the Holy Hymn, Anand Sahib, and the marriages were solemnised by chanting the composition along with the prayer, the Ardas. Finally, the Fourth Guru, Guru Ram Das, composed the ‘The Laavan’ i.e. Bani on Ang 773-774 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj that is recited during the Anand Karaj.
There is no available record of the early Anand Karaj marriage rites and rituals, up until the Singh Sabha Movement of the early 19th century brought to light the Hindu and Brahmnical rituals that riddled the Sikh marriage ceremony during the 1800s. “In the past a Sikh marriage was celebrated according to the ordinary Hindu rite, performed by Brahmans, with the only difference being that hymns of the Fourth Guru were sung…in place of the Hindu songs.
Later, a dual ceremony was adopted whereby the Hindu rites were performed first, and then the wedded couple circumbulated the Guru Granth Sahib four times, while the Sikh priests reads lavan hymns,” (Dogra, R., & Dogra, U., 2000, pg. 117). Some Sikhs practiced alternate leading during the phere around a fire. In such cases, “…the bridegroom leads four times and the bride lead three more times,” (Chatterjee, 1978, pg 294-5).
The Singh Sabha Movement, made stronger by the allied and parallelly running Nirankari and Namdhari movements, were responsible for the reinstation and revamping of the Anand Karaj marriage ceremony to what it is known as today. The Singh Sabha Movement, coupled with the Nirankari and Namdhari movements, reconstructed the Anand Karaj ceremony to what it is today, (Singh, M., 2005.) Drawing on their understanding of the Guru’s marriage rites and modern-day practices,“… the Nirankaris and the Namdhari claimed credit for introducing novel forms of marriage practices and rituals which disposed of the services of Brahmins and rejected the customary practice of dowry among Sikhs in the mid-18th century. The marriage ceremony known as Anand was first initiated by the Nirankaris in 1855. They introduced the practice of going around Sikh scriptures as opposed to the sacred fire of both orthodox Sikhs and Hindu marriage customs. The Namdharis included the reading of Sikh scriptures but also incorporated the sacred fire into their marriage ceremony,” (Jakobsh, 2003, pg112). This contributed to the institutionalized of the Anand Karaj into the Sikh RehatMaryada in 1945.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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