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Sikhi Is At A Crossroads- Interesting Thought Provoking Article


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Kulwant Dhesi is correct to warn us that today Sikhi is at a crossroads
- Dr. Gurnam Singh, Sikh Channel Presenter

I would like to begin by saying how much I agree with Kulwant Dhesi's analysis of the threat being posed by the der
dars. I am no fan of any one parcharak, Sarabjit Singh Dhunda or anybody else, but I do reserve the right to question and challenge anybody's protestations on the teachings of our Guru's. And so if I claim that right, how can I justify not offering the same right to others. Sikhi is bult on the tenants of dialogue or 'vichar',
as Guru Ji states, Sikhi sikhia Gur vichar". If we close this of because a priori we have decided that we don't like the views of the other, then actually we are all losers and we are all responsible for destroying Sikhi.

Kulwant Dhesi is correct to warn us that today Sikhi is at a crossroads. Today, we are being manipulated by different forces, each with their own sepperate motives. The RSS simply wants to turn what is/was a historically determined revolutionary liberation movement began by Guru Nanak Sahib ji into a branch of Brahminical Mythology. That is why they are promoting the assertion of the 'Dasam Granth' as an equivalent to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. I have no doubt that the Sant Samaj has both passive and active support of the RSS.

As far as Badal and his cronies go, they have absolutely no interest in Sikhi, or any dharam for that matter; all that matters to them is money and grabbing land. They are the modern equivalent of the Maharaja's and 'Robber Barons'. They will swing in whatever way they like on order to secure their own interests. The SGPC are simply subverted to the interests of the likes of Badal and the Jathedars sadly are simply puppets. That said, I am unsure what other role they could play given that they are in effect appointed and employed by the SGPC or Badal. And this is also why we tend to get half educated Jathedar's for Badal is very aware that the ones with some intellectual integrity will, if nothing else, use the power of reason to confront and expose the unethical practices that are part and parcel of his rule.

This then brings me to the so-called 'Khalistani' inspired 'deradars', some of whom I believe were involved in the protests against Sarbjajit Singh Dh
da that Kulwant Singh refers to. They are a strange mix of older semi-literate supporters, 'pathis' and 'kathavaches' from India who impress by demonstrating their prowess in reciting bani and their absolute certainty about theological matters, all of which have been rote learned. Indeed, not only do they dress alike, but seem to walk and talk with the same precision and tone that has clearly been drilled into them at the Dera. What they do lack is any degree of reflexivity or emotional intelligence. They appear to be totally institutionalized, which is evident in the way they will move from a child like passivity to an aggressive parent posture. What they lack is the ability to behave as an adult, to dialogue without feeling threatened and to have the confidence to change and develop their ideas.

In this group there is now a third category, which is constituted of UK born and bread sikh youth.

These are often young people who have dropped out of university or never got there in the first place. This often leads to a lack of self esteem and anomie or confusion, which is actually a normal emotion at this age. However, they are extremely vulnerable and many turn to crime. Others, often through so-called Gurmat Camps will turn to religion. these very impressionable youths get attracted to charismatic zealous speakers who appear to push every button they think to be important. For a young 18- 20 year old for whom life is very confusing, having somebody providing them with all the answers can be very appealing. What follows is a total lifestyle change and abandonment of their previous social networks,
including in some instances siblings and parents. They are then put through a rapid accelerated 'learning' route, which invariably involves going to the 'home dear' in India for 'Santhia' or gurbani recitation training.

No doubt they learn to read 'shudh' bani, but it is the broader socialization into what is in effect a cult that can be extremely damaging. These youths will, to confirm their commitment to the cult, retrench further into a distorted view of reality, of the whole and inevitably of Sikhi. Growing isolation from the rest of humanity will make them intolerant and fearful of difference. At this point they are very vulnerable in that their equipoise or sense of balance and fairness will leave them in a state of ego, which is so intensive that all their reading of bani and simian, rather than destroying ego, becomes instrumental in inflating it further. It is the absence of love in the hearts for all of Wahegurus creation – which lies at the root of the concept of "sarbat da bhalla" or "na ko beree na hey begana" or "there is no enemy or stranger" - that renders their religious practices to have the opposite effect. Its like dressing up in baba; you can do it to gain a deeper love and appreciation of what Guru Gobind Singh ji stood for in his quest to fight tyranny and oppression, in his concept of "regonise the human race as one" or you can use it to boost ones ego to convince oneself of how much superior one is to the others. Its as simple as that!

So, how do we move forwards? Well, the first thing to recognise is that, like other communities, Sikhs too are riddled with cult's and cult like activities. Second, we must try to bring forward educated Gursikh's (by which I mean anybody that has a love for Sikhi - of all ages, but certainly professionals into our institutions. Third, we must see the obsession that all that matters is taking amrit or judging people interns of 'amridhari' and 'non-amritdhari as being not helpful at all. Amrit is a wonderful thing, but one should not forget that it was given in exchange for an absolute devotion to the social, spiritual and political ideals of Guru Gobind Singh ji. That's why he created the Khalsa, a force for liberation, not oppression! One takes amrit for oneself, to enter a stage in ones life where one feels able to to totally commit to the Sikh rehit in its entirety, which is in essence a commitment to high morals and to act in the world, not simply to separate oneself from the world. An amritdhari should be seen as a blessing for the rest of the community, not somebody to be feared, which is what appears to be happening, and I speak as an amridhari! And last, we, the silent majority of reasonable balanced ordinary Sikhs who love their Guru should come forward and assert ourselves in whatever way we can. This does not mean physically taking on the cultish gangsters, but it does mean that we do not turn a blind eye. As responsible citizens we should report any illegal activity. But it also means we should help those many youngsters who become trapped and who would like to escape the grip of these cults. I know of many former members who are now busily engaged in all the vices that they themselves were condemning not so long ago.

As for parcharaks like Sarbji
Singh Dhund
, they would be well advised to avoid over emphasizing those very few issues that have and will divide Sikhs. This means, an absolute commitment to panth parvanak rehit maryada, focusing on the teachings of our Gurus enshrined within the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. I also think that parcharaks need to study the world and seek to make links between Gurbani and happenings in the contemporary world. Only focusing on the 'old panjab' shows a lack of imagination and scholarship. Our granthis and parcharaks should be role models not, as has become the case, figures of discontent. Last, I think that whoever somebody does katha, they should leave 25% of their time to respond to questions in a civil and scholarly fashion. This would also make them think twice before making claims that they know may be questioned.

Bhul chuck maaf ji

Wahe Guru Ka Khalsa Waheguru ji ki Fateh

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