In recent days, the issue of interfaith marriages at Gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship) has caused much debate within the British Sikh community. The debate has mainly concerned attitudes towards the ‘Anand Karaj’ or ‘Blissful Union’ ceremony and who should be eligible to participate within the ceremony.
Protestors have actively tried to prevent the Anand Karaj ceremony from taking place in various Gurdwaras throughout the country between couples of different backgrounds. All of the instances reported in social media to date have involved brides from Sikh backgrounds and grooms from a non-Asian ethnicity.
City Sikhs has conducted a survey of its membership to see what their opinions are in this debate. 372 people participated in this survey.
74% of our members said that Gurdwaras should allow the Anand Karaj for all couples where at least one of them is Sikh or born into a Sikh family.
73% of our members said that they would want a close family member (such as a brother/sister or son/daughter) in an inter-racial relationship to have the choice of an Anand Karaj, even if the other person is not Sikh.
A resounding 92% of our members think that the Anand Karaj should not be restricted to Amritdhari (or initiated) Sikhs only.
Given the views of our membership, City Sikhs takes the position that the Anand Karaj should be permitted for all who wish to participate in the ceremony where at least one of the couple is Sikh or born into a Sikh family.
We hope that the results of this survey will help with the debate on this topic and we look forward to being involved in future discussions.
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Survey took place from 20th – 22nd August 2015. The survey was sent out to our membership by way of our newsletter.
The full breakdown of results are given below.
“Should Gurdwaras allow Anand Karaj to take place for all couples where at least one of them is Sikh or born into a Sikh family?”
Don’t Know – 11 respondents – 3%
No – 84 respondents – 23%
Yes – 277 respondents – 74%
“Would you want a close family member (such as your brother/sister or son/daughter) in an inter-racial relationship to have the choice of an Anand Karaj, even if the other person is not Sikh?”
Don’t Know – 14 respondents – 4%
No – 88 respondents – 23%
Yes – 270 respondents – 73%
“Should the Anand Karaj be restricted to Amritdhari Sikhs only?”
Don’t Know – 15 respondents – 4%
No – 342 respondents 92%
Yes – 15 respondents – 4%
“Should Gurdwaras introduce blessings such as a reading of Sukhmani Sahib or Chaupai Sahib as an alternative to Anand Karaj for some couples?”
Don’t Know – 84 respondents – 23%
No – 145 respondents – 39%
Yes – 143 respondents – 38%
I am very pleased with the results of this survey. My faith is restored with the sense of the people who have participated. I am grateful to those who have the sensibility to be honest in the direction that they wish for the religion to be conducted in this country and society.
I fully endorse the outcome of the survey and am of the belief that as long as one of the couple is of Sikh origin, they should be given the priviledge of being blessed with Anand Karaj. It will only drive many young sikhs away from Gurdwaras if denied this opportunity.
Resounding result which I welcome. The way forward for the Sikh community.
During 1960s and 70s, I have seen Hindu couples getting married in Sikh Gurdawas. No one ever objected then why they are doing now? I have seen Dalit couples getting married in our Gurdara. please tell me where is written in our Granth Sahib that you must be Sikh.