Historical Perspective

“Anand Marriage” was legalized in 1909 by passage of Sikh Marriage Act. Because of strong pressure of the majority community(Hindus) and active efforts of Brahmins, anand karaj was forgotten ceremony. Before the passage of Anand Marriage Act(1909), Sikh marriages were performed by Brahmins and were called “Sanatan Marriage”

It is not clear as to how Sikh Marriage were performed during period of Sikh Gurus, but it is said that Shri Guru Amar Das Ji(3rd Sikh Guru) started the ceremony by having the couple go around the pothi installed on a higher platform. (Book containing hymns of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji & Shri Guru Angad Dev Ji), but this practice was discontinued, During Mughal period, when government ordered the killing of the Sikhs and was giving reward to the killers, Sikhs left the villages and moved to jungles. People sympathetic to Sikhs but Hindu at heart, took over the management of Gurudwaras and properties attached to them. They introduced Hindus rituals all over which, over time became Sikh Practice. During British rule, those heiredatory custodians(called Mahants,) of the Gurudwaras, were made owners of Gurudwaras and property attached to them. Unlike their ancestors they were not devoted to the holy way of life. They adopted immoral life styles and providing religious services to the community was completely neglected.

This enraged the Sikh community and movement to get rid of Mahants as well as the Hindu rituals from Gurudwaras was started(Akali movement). However, the Hindu community considered the Sikhs to be a sect of Hindu Faith and did not want them to get out of their net. The Singh Sabha and Nirankari movements through its educational process and political strength convinced the British Government that Sikhs are a Sovereign National and are not Hindus. Maharaja Ripduman Singh of Nabah, Sir Sunder Singh Majithia, Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha(writer of Mahan Kosh) of Singh Sabha movement and Baba Dyal of Nirankari movement played key role in the struggle and got Anand Marriage act passed in 1909. This gave “Anand Karaj”, the Sikh marriage ceremony a legal status. It also legalized Anand Karaj ceremony of the Sikhs performed prior to 1909.

Share This: