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One gurdwara in village blurs caste lines

May 08, 2018 06:13 AM

courstey  TOI MAY 8

One gurdwara in village blurs caste lines


Even as political parties complain about the growing caste divide in the country, a village in Punjab has found a unique way of blurring the lines between various groups. In a rare instance, residents of Sarfkot village in Gurdaspur have decided to shut down four different gurdwaras that catered to various castes and have just one place of worship all for all residents.

Sarfkot has a population of barely about 1,200 people. The villagers have decided to use the closed buildings for cultural and educational purposes like an anganwadi centre, teaching sewing and organising marriages.

“We had three gurdwaras dedicated to Jat Sikhs and one each for Mazhabi (dalit) and Ramgarhia (OBC) Sikhs,” said Amrik Singh Shahpur, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandak Committee (SGPC) member from Dera Baba Nanak. “However, after some convincing, managements of the gurdwaras decided to have just one place of worship in the village which is now being built. We have named it Gurdwara Sangat Sar.”

Shahpur played a key role in persuading managements of caste-based gurdwaras to come under one roof. “I just needed to sit with them and make everyone understand the significance of doing away the symbols of caste, and it worked,” he said.

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