DELHI SIKH GURDWĀRĀS MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE was a by-product of the Akālī campaign for the reformation of the management of gurdwārās in the Punjab. To wrest control of the holy shrines from the hands of a corrupt and effete priestly order, the Sikhs had set up on 15 November 1920 a body called the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Amritsar. In 1923, the SGPC took charge of all the historical gurdwārās in Delhi as well, and formed a committee of 11 members known as the Delhi Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee (DGPC) to manage them. The SGPC, however, continued to exercise powers of control and supervision over the affairs of DGPC. With the influx into Delhi after the partition of India in 1947 of a large number of Sikh immigrants from West Punjab, the situation changed and the authority of DGPC began to be challenged. Attempts were made to dispossess the committee functioning under the auspices of the SGPC. Litigation and use of physical force from both sides were tried. In 1971, the Government of India entrusted the management, through an ordinance, to a five-member Gurdwārā Board. The ordinance was replaced by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwārās Act, 1971, passed by Parliament, providing for a committee to be elected by Sikh vote. Elections took place under the supervision of government authority and the new body called Delhi Sikh Gurdwāra Management Committee (DSGMC) came into existence in 1974. Under the provisions of the Act, the elections must take place every four years. The DSGMC controls nine historic and five other gurdwārās in Delhi. The historic shrines are Gurdwārā Sīs Gañj, Gurdwārā Rikābgañj, Gurdwārā Baṅglā Sāhib, Gurdwārā Mātā Sundarī, Gurdwārā Damdamā Sāhib, Gurdwārā Bālā Sāhib, Gurdwārā Motī Bāgh, Gurdwārā Majnū Ṭillā and Gurdwārā Nānak Piāo, and the others are Gurdwārā Karol Bāgh, Gurdwārā Daryā Gañj, Gurdwārā Pahāṛī Dhīraj, Gurdwārā Pīpal Mahādev, and Gurdwārā Dhakkā Dhīrpur. It also runs four degree colleges, eleven schools, a technical training institute (electronics) and a hospital.

         The purpose of the 1971 Act, according to its preamble, is to provide for the proper management of the Sikh Gurdwārās and Gurdwārā property in Delhi and for matters connected therewith. The main aims and objects of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwārās Management Committee established under the Act are:

        (a) To manage the historic and other gurdwārās of Delhi in such a way as to make them inspiring centres of the Sikh tradition, Sikh culture and Sikh religion;

        (b) To spread education, especially the knowledge of Punjabi language in Gurmukhī script; to maintain free kitchen (laṅgar); to open free dispensaries and to perform other religious and charitable work;

        (c) To render all help in the cause of the uplift and welfare of the Sikh community.

         The Committee consists of 55 members, 46 of whom are elected by the Sikhs of Delhi and 9 are co-opted. Out of the nine co-opted members, two represent the Siṅgh Sabhās of Delhi, one the SGPC (Amritsar), four the Takhts at Amritsar, Anandpur, Paṭnā and Nāndeḍ, and two those Sikhs of Delhi who do not want to or cannot contest elections but whose services can be of value to the Committee. The term of the office of a member of the Committee is four years from the date on which the first meeting of the Committee is held. The Executive Board, which is elected by the Committee, consists of five office-bearers -president, senior vice-president, junior vice-president, general secretary and joint secretary - and ten members. To be elected a member of the Committee, one should have attained the age of twenty-five years, should be an amritdhārī or baptized Sikh, should not trim his beard or shave his kes (hair), should not take alcoholic drinks, and should be able to read and write Gurmukhī.

         The sources of income of the DSGMC are chaṛhat (offerings to the Gurū Granth Sāhib), kaṛāhprasād (sacramental offering), donations for laṅgar (free kītchen), pāṭhs (readings of Gurū Granth Sāhib), rent from property, and occasional individual donations. The principal sources of course are chaṛhat and prasād which constitute nearly 80 per cent of the total income. Between 1956 and 1986, the income of the DSGMC increased from Rs 13 lakhs to about Rs 3. 5 crores an year.


  1. Jitinder Kaur, The Politics of Sikhs. Delhi, 1986
  2. Bye-laws and Rules of the Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Delhi Province. Delhi, 1942

Jitinder Kaur