Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC)

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) is an organisation which manages historical Sikh shrines of Punjab and Haryana. Before 1947 it managed about 125 Gurdwaras left in Pakistan as well. SGPC is a statutory organisation established under Gurdwara Act of 1925. The first SGPC was formed on November 15, 1920. It was registered on April 30, 1921. On october 12, 1923 it was declared an unlawful organisation.

The SGPC launched several agitations to take control of Gurdwaras from corrupt hereditary mangers. The famous agitations were : Keys' Affair, Guru Ka Bagh, Jaito, Bhai Pheru, Daska etc. During these agitation two major holocausts took place on (Feburary 20, 1921 at Nankana Sahib and on Feburary 21,1924 at Jaito). During these two holocausts about 400 Sikhs were killed. During five years of Gurdwara reform movement about 500 Sikhs embraced martyrdom, 3000 Sikhs were seriously wounded, 5000 sikhs coutrted arrests and about a million Sikhs suffered in one or another manner. Finally, in 1925, Gurdwara Act was passed and the management of the shrines was entrusted to a "Central Board" which was renamed as Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

All the adult Sikh voters elect 140 (since 1996, 170) members of the SGPC. After 1947 the Indian regime, under a conspiracy to occupy the shrines, amended Gurdwara Act and enrolled thousands of Hindu as voters of the SGPC. The Sikhs have been struggling to bring an end to this injustice.

The SGPC does not manage Gurdwaras only. It manages more than 60 educational institutions, hospitals and other charitable and research centres. It also has a Dharm Parchar Committee (missionary cell) but its role is negligible.

The SGPC is a sort of Sikh Parliament. It is known as a "State within a State". Since its inception Shiromani Akali Dal has been controling the SGPC. Though the Indian regime and the Punjab government has tried to interfere its functions by installing puppet presidents but such actions have never lasted long. Baba Kharak Singh was the first president of the SGPC. He was succeeded by Master Tara Singh, Gopal Singh Qaumi, Partap Singh Shanker, Mohan Singh Nagoke, Udham Singh Nagoke, Channan Singh Urara, Nahar Singh, Pritam Singh Khuranj, Ishar Singh Majhail, Bawa Harkishan Singh, Prem Singh Lalpura, Ajit Singh Bala, Kirpal Singh Chakkshera, Channan Singh, Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Baldev Singh Sibia, Kabal Singh, Jagir Kaur, Jagdev Singh Talwandi and Kirpal Singh.

Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra ruled the SGPC for about 25 years and Master Tara Singh remained its president for about 13 years.

During the regime of Channan Singh, the SGPC became a centre of criminal staff but during Kirpal Singh's period it was a den of corrupt sinners and criminals.

Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer

For detailed study, read:

Shiromani Akali Dal (1920-2000)
Khalistan Di Twarikh
Akal Takht Sahib (Falsfa te Twarikh)
Shiromani Committee Kiven Bani

All four by the author and in Punjabi language.

© Copyright Dilgeer 2002 All Rights Reserved