image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

Sikh Politics, Leadership and Role of Sri Akal Takht Sahib - Need for a new global approach


     Guru Gobind Singh ji revealed the Khalsa in His own image and introduced the revolutionary concept of collective lead to progress of human organisation and achievement of societal objectives. This approach contrasts sharply with the cult of leadership worship of one person which derives from the ancient Indian tradition of guru and devoted chelas (disciples).


Sikhi is a learning tradition introduced by Guru Nanak Sahib. It is based on a questioning approach, albeit, in a learning mode in humility. A person who asks questions will seek the truth and follow the righteous path. Collective decisions are arrived at after due process of discussion guided by the teaching of the Guru. The success of the 18th century Khalsa was due to this process.


The need is for a paradigm shift away from personalities to issues and objectives through effective teamworking which brings diverse skills together. Today, Sikhs have high level professionals who have much to contribute given the right teamworking environment of equals.   In such a system the skills needed to achieve specific objectives would determine the rotating team lead. It is also a system which promotes skills and succession planning and produces good community team-workers &ndash not self-styled leaders.

The second part of the Sikh Reht Maryada gives the Sikhs their socio-political objectives. It is about Sikh Corporate Life or Panthic rehni. Every Sikh is enjoined to fulfil his or her Panthic obligation as a member of the Panth which is a theo-political organisation with social and political objectives centred around the sovereign Miri-Piri Institution of Sri Akal Takht Sahib.

Sikh political objectives derive from Sikh teachings, Gurbani, the Guru&rsquos Word enshrined in Sikh Scriptures, Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Regardless of where the Sikhs live, these are the collective and individual objectives for the advancement of the Sikhs as a community as well of all humanity in a spirit of Sarbat da bhalaa i.e for universal good.

In the UK, the Sikh political experiment of having a Sikh Manifesto which sets down British Sikh socio-political objectives has worked very well since the 2015 General Election. Thus, Sikh political objectives for the recognition and advancement of the Sikh community become a sub-set of the national objectives in the manifestos of the political parties seeking Sikh votes. These are just aspirations and a law abiding, hardworking and self-sufficient community, also keen to promote national and global aims to achieve a just human society.

Political support is sought for these Sikh aspirations as a progressive community while the Sikhs themselves are free to join any party. Politicians who support the Sikh Manifesto are then supported by Sikh voters on the basis of their own party manifestos and personal qualities. There should be no conflict between Sikh interests and national interests and priorities as resolved by the democratic process.

A Global Sikh Manifesto agreed under the auspicious of Sri Akal Takht Sahib by top GurSikh professional in different fields can guide the global Sikh socio-political direction


It is time that the hegemony of any one party claiming sole representation of Sikh interests is challenged not only in Panjab but also in the diaspora.


Gurmukh Singh OBE