Sahajdhari and Amritdhari

In May 2016, the Parliament had passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to remove rights given to Sahajdharis to vote in the elections to Sikh religious bodies. UPSC may ask you to differentiate between a Sikh and Sahajdhari, so here are important notes:

Sahajdharis, literally slow adapting, are those who have chosen the path of Sikhism but have still not have become full Sikhs {called Amritdhari}. They believe in all tenets of Sikhism and teachings of Sikh Gurus, but don’t adorn all the five symbols of Sikh Faith. This incomplete adaptation to path of Sikhism manifests in various ways such as – using a turban but shaving / trimming beard or using one or two of the 5 Ks {Kesh, Kanga, Kachha, Kara, Kirpan} but not all of them.

A Sahajdhari is essentially born into a non-Sikh family. This implies that Sahajdharis are NOT Sikhs by birth. However, if a person is Sikh by birth and chooses to give up Sikh Tenets { for example, trims his hair or shave his beard}, he would be called Mona Sardar or Mona Sikh. Thus, don’t get confused between a Mona Sikh and Sahajdhari.

Since 1949, Sahajdharis are continuously exercising their voting rights in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections. The religious body had a long pending demand to remove such rights and this demand has been now fulfilled via this act.