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Laut Ke Budhdhu Ghar Ko Aaye


Do you think there is any need for more Gurmat Institutions?  

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‘Laut Ke Budhdhu Ghar Ko Aaye’

(Two days before, one of my old students in a Gurmat Vidyala, near Sri Anandpur Sahib came to see me. He told me that he would never become a ‘Granthi’ or ‘Ragi’ in a Gurdwara. When he went back to his home, I started to recall the days I spent in the Vidyala. Any one interested can share these of my memories. Names have been changed)

Mr. B Singh was the in-charge of a Gurmat Vidyala, near Sri Anandpur Sahib. Originally, he was from Bihar, now living in Mohali. He wanted me to work with him in the Gurmat Vidyala, near Sri Anandpur Sahib. I did not want to leave my city, so I followed the ‘Talamtol Neetee’ (evasion policy) :) .

After some days, he came again and asked me just to visit the Gurmat Vidyala. He said that if I liked the job and atmosphere, I could join the Gurmat Vidyala. I could not resist and after some days, I found myself teaching the students in that Gurmat Vidyala.

I liked my job. The students were nice. They showed respect for me, and it was enough for me. An industrialist, Mr. D Singh, a famous name in Industrial sector, was running the Gurmat Vidyala. He also owns a decent Academy, with three branches.

B Singh Ji was very kind to me. He provided every possible facility. From my first day in the Vidyala, I started to teach. I was appointed as a vice-principal.

There was another teacher, Mr. E Singh. He was actually a music teacher and would teach keertan only. He belongs to a village near Noorpur Bedi. There was also a student-cum-accountant, Mr. F Singh.

When I joined the Vidyala, there were only 5 students. In a few days, some other students got admission into the Vidyala. Now, there were 16 students, two teachers, one cook, one accountant and a principal, who used to remain absent from the Vidyala.

The music teacher was not a sincere man. Just ‘Rotian Kaaran Poorainh Taal’. He studied up to tenth class. He used to stray with a perfume in his hand. :) . Don’t you believe? But, he used to.

He opposed, when I was appointed the vice principal, because he thought that he was a SENIOR teacher than me. :? . I did not say anything, although before coming here, I was told to be appointed as a principal, but I was now appointed as a vice principal only. He was senior than me. It was true; I was older than him, though he studied up to tenth class and I am a postgraduate. The Sikh Organizations do not need educated people as the preachers. :( .

In a few days, I could understand the real object of the Vidyala. :idea: .Actually, D Singh, the chairman of the company, bought 150 acres disputed land there. He constructed the Gurmat Vidyala there to show that this is a religious place. People often construct a temple/Gurdwara etc. to occupy land in India. The Chairman constructed the Vidyala.

1984 was very profitable season for some people. :?: . There were riots in Delhi, Kanpur, Bokaro and many other places. There was a Vidyala in Delhi, which was looted. One of the organizers started his own Vidyala in Chandigarh. The Chairman Sahib started his Vidyala near Anandpur Sahib. Mr. G Singh was appointed the principal, actually all in all.

The strength of students reached up to 60 or more. They used to go to nearby villages for keertan and Akhand Pathh Sahib. It was, perhaps, necessary to run the Vidyala, though I think it was not any difficult job for the Chairman to provide 60 students with food etc. and give pays etc. to the teachers.

Mr. G Singh ran this Vidyala for about 8 years. Then B Singh was appointed the in-charge of the Vidyala. His son, C Singh, also started to work for the Vidyala. Mr. G Singh was still the principal.

As soon as B Singh Ji was appointed the in-charge, the dispute arose. I was told that the money was the root of dispute. B Singh wanted proper account of all the money of Keertan and Akhand Pathhs etc. Principal G Singh was not happy to have an in-charge in the Vidyala. Though, he was getting a handsome salary, he decided to leave the Vidyala. He started a new Gurmat Vidyala, just about two kilometers from this Vidyala.

Principal G Singh took many of students with them. He worked in the area for about eight years, so he was a respectable man, obviously. Saint H Singh Quila Anandgarh wale helped him a lot. Saint H Singh constructed the new building for Principal G Singh. Then, Principal G Singh went abroad to raise funds for his Vidyala. The Sikhs abroad are very kind. They give money to everyone, who calls himself the preacher of Sikhism. They do not even try to watch how their money is being used. They just donate. It does not matter whether their money is spent for goodwill of Sikhism or not. When any September 11 comes, they come to know that even their own neighbors do not know who they are, which is their religion. The men, who got the donations, disappear. :roll: . ‘Na Khuda Hee Mila, Na Viaal-e-Sanam; Na Idhar Ke Rahe, Na Udhar Ke Rahe’. It is, perhaps, good to be a ‘Bhola’, after all ‘Bhole Bhaaye Milai Raghurayeaa’. :P .

When Principal G Singh left the Vidyala, it became impossible for B Singh and C Singh to run the Vidyala. There were only 20 students. Others went with Principal G Singh. No Principal, no teacher, no study. Just cook ‘Guru Ka Langar’ and enjoy. The cook was still there.

In a few days, almost all the students went to their homes on a leave. When the Chairman, D Singh, visited the Vidyala, he was disappointed to see the Vidyala empty. He scolded B Singh, though B Singh was married to his real sister.

Anyhow, C Singh was sent to Ludhiana, where he was appointed the in-charge of …… Academy. The Academy is very famous. It has three braches. Many white American Sikhs were students there, in Dehradun Branch. C Singh could not manage a ‘Desi’ Vidyala, and now he was appointed to take care of a high level Academy. ‘Chalo Saanoo Kee!’

Now, B Singh was alone in the academy, with 4 students, one teacher (just music teacher), one accountant, one cook and 150 acres of land.

He found a helping hand. It was Principal A Singh, living in the city of S.A.S. Nagar (Mohali). He is very religious man. Always ready to serve the Sikhi. B Singh appointed him the honorable Principal of the Vidyala. A Singh could go to the Vidyala only for a few times, because of his busyness.

When A Singh realized that the Vidyala needed a regular principal/Gurmat teacher, he could find a ‘Bali Da Bakra’ (a goat that has been offered to a deity). :P . It was I. B Singh pressed upon me and I joined the Vidyala.

I worked for sometime and the number of students raised up to 16 in a month. When ex-teachers of the Vidyala (G Singh’s company) heard that I joined the Vidyala, they started to come me. They used to tell me why they left the Vidyala and started the new one. They would tell me how the Chairman, D Singh, deceived them.

What they wanted to tell me was absolutely different from what I could understand about them. They were the moneymakers in disguise of religious men, the perfect Sikh Preachers. They used to speak what they wanted and I would just obey the Gurbani ‘Milai Asant Masht Kar Raheeyai’.

I started to go to nearby villages for ‘Katha’ with my students. Many people invited me to their ceremonies, as birth of child, marriages, inauguration of new houses, deaths etc. My students would go there and do Akhand Pathh Sahib and Keertan. I would explain the Gurbani and history.

I never demanded money from the people. This made a good impression. The poor started to come to me for Akhand Pathhs, Keertan and Katha. For my surprise, even non-Sikhs started to request me for Akhand Pathhs. Reason was very simple. :roll: . I never demanded money for all the services.

There is dense population of ‘Gujars’ and ‘Ravidasis’ in nearby area of Anandpur Sahib. I went to attend their ceremonies. Akhand Pathhs were done in some of their houses. I did ‘Katha’ in some houses of these people.

One day, the Chairman, D Singh came and met me. We had long discussions. He told me that he wanted to establish a Sikh University on this land. He had already made announcements in this regard in a press conference and the news was published in many leading Indian Newspapers. I suggested establishing a big institution of Sikh Studies, instead of a University, because some other people already were planning for it. D Singh agreed to my suggestion. He also gave me the appointment letter as the Principal of the Vidyala.

He took me to Ludhiana to visit his Academy, so that I could get an idea of building to be constructed for the proposed Sikh Institute. I stayed in the Academy for a night. In night, I visited its hostels and talked to the students and wardens.

Then, he took me to Delhi to see another Vidyala run by him. There were more than 150 students. All were from U.P. and Bihar. I stayed there for a night. I talked to the Principal, teachers, manager, and students.

The Principal of Delhi Gurmat Vidyala told me that the manager and a teacher did not like him and he could lose his job. I asked him his qualification. He was a WELL LEARNED person. All the tenth classes passed. :) .

I found that many students were there for long years. Even a single student, I repeat, even a single student could not tell me the meanings of Jap Ji Sahib. Next morning, I met again the Chairman and told him that I could not stay any more. I returned back to my Vidyala.

Meanwhile I faced another problem. E Singh, the music teacher, left us and joined the new Vidyala run by Principal G Singh. Though, they did not need more teachers, even then E Singh got a job there. Now, I was the only person to teach the students. A Principal without any teacher under him.

When there was no money; there was no need of accountant, so F Singh lost his job in the Vidyala. Now, there were only three people in the staff, B Singh, the cook and myself. Though D Singh promised to give 10,000 rupees per month to run the Vidyala, he could not keep his word. Even he kicked B Singh out of the Vidyala, because B Singh could not run the Vidyala successfully.

Now, I was alone. No money. Even the cook ran away. We had only one facility, the building, which was constructed over a disputed land. My students collected some money doing Akhand Pathhs and Keertan, and gave it to me. I stored grains and spices etc with this money, enough for two months.

We used to wake up early in the morning, take bath, go to Gurdwara of the Vidyala, :pray: and do Nitnem and Keertan. Before having breakfast, I used to take Gurbani class to teach the meanings and explanation of Gurbani.

After having break fast, my students used to read religious books and then take some rest. Then I would take Keertan class, though I was not appointed for this job.

In the evening, I would take Guru-history class. Then the evening attendance in the Gurdwara.

The money earned by my students was a very small amount. It was not enough to fulfill the all requirements of the students. We needed musical instruments to be repaired to learn Keertan. One day, they got 500 rupees and I spent this money on repairing two Harmoniums. Next time, they earned 600 rupees; I spent this on repairing ‘Tablas’.

15 students, two harmoniums, one pair of ‘Tabla’. Enough.

As told earlier, the Vidyala was constructed on a disputed land. A Pachayat was convened to solve the problem; they could not reach on any compromise. The opposite party made a complaint in Police station. The Police raided the Vidyala. I told them that the Chairman would come in a few days.

The opposite party started to threaten my students, though they had nothing to do with the dispute. :? . One day, they threw stones on the Vidyala.

The Chairman did not come to the Vidyala. Police called me to the Police station. I did not take it seriously and went to the Police Station. It was a very hard day for me. :oops: . More than hundred of villagers, most of them Sikhs, were shouting at me. I entered into the Police station and met the Station Head Officer (SHO), a Hindu. He was a nice man. He offered me a chair. When I told him who I am, he felt sorry.

In this situation, the Chairman sent about 40 students to my Vidyala from Delhi Vidyala. I was having problem of money for the Vidyala. The students from Delhi were just a burden on the kitchen, because they were not sincere learners. They were brought here because of the dispute, so that the Chairman could use them if needed.

As if it was not enough, the Chairman called all of his drivers from Ludhiana Academy. The grains stored for two months were used in a week.

More than half of my students left the Vidyala because of the land dispute. Anyhow, in a week, both the parties reached on a compromise. Delhi Students and the drivers from Ludhiana went back. Only seven students left in my Vidyala.

Then came another problem. The electricity bill. :LOL: . I do not want to tell how I managed.

The kitchen store was empty. :( . First time in my life, I realized that even a single rupee has a great value.

I could not get any help from a very famous Sikh-saint (?) in the area. I could not get any help from a perfectly uneducated saint (?) owning a ‘Dera’ near Anandpur Sahib. I could not get any help from a ‘Dera’ in the area, whose lady-chief went abroad for many times.

Then, a Hindu Policeman came to me. His father died of old age. He wanted Akhand Pathh in his house. My students did Akhand Pathh and Keertan there. I did ‘Katha’. Believe me, it was the first time that the Sikh rituals were followed in that Hindu house.

He offered me a land for the construction of Vidyala. The offered land was on a small mountain near Noorpur Bedi. When I was having problem even to run kitchen, it was not possible for me to construct a building.

Well, we got money from that Hindu Policeman, enough to run our kitchen for SEVENTEEN days. There was no fuel for the kitchen. I took an axe, cut a fallen tree into many pieces and the fuel was available. I know that I made my Satguru very happy.

There was enough food for SEVENTEEN days. I sent my resignation to the Chairman. For next FIFTEEN days, I taught my students the Gurbani, Keertan and Guru History. On SIXTEENTH day, I left the Vidyala. As per my instructions, on SEVENTEENTH day, my last SEVEN students left the Vidyala.

-Amrit Pal Singh 'Amrit'


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