November 12, 2011 admin


Gurdev Singh Sangha
62 Summit Avenue, Kitchener.

, Canada, N2M 4W6

There is a general observation that the attendance of our youth in the Gurdwaras is very nominal. I have been

observing this for many years and have heard from almost every well- wisher of the Sikh community that the future of

the faith in the west is bleak. I went to India; the situation there is equally bad if not worse. We can blame the social

environment and peer pressure in the west which question the utility & need of the five K’s during the modern days.

Our youth are not conversant enough to answer these questions; hence they give up the wearing of the articles and

following other rituals of their faith. But to whom can we blame for the Punjabi youth not caring to respect the Sikh

way of life in their own homeland? The author, when he visited India, was surprised and felt hurt to find many Sikh youth without turbans in the villages, schools and colleges. To have a look at the turbaned youth he visited an old famous Khalsa School where all students tied turbans as a matter of routine. I got the shock of my life  to see the shaved students even there. The question that severely bothered me was, “How come a Sikh student in the Sikh-managed school dared to be there without a turban?”

Discussion with a local friend revealed that there was no dharmak teacher (Giani) who used to teach Gurbani and Sikh heritage of the Panth in our school. During our times, we listened to the Sikh history, the lives of the Gurus, and the valour of the Sikhs when they sacrificed their lives but not their faith. Listening to the Giani ji filled us with pride of being Sikh and we felt great to wearing turbans on our heads. In the morning assembly it was considered an honour to be one of the three students to lead the chorus by reciting some new Shabads. Many of us did feel, of course, some difficulty in saying Ardaas after the recitation of Shabad.

The student who said the prayer was described as a good boy both among the students and the teachers. We felt honoured to go to the gurdwara whenever there was a special gathering. We felt that we must have a qualified devoted Giani teacher in each school if we want to bring back the love of faith inculcated in the minds of the current student generation.

I wondered if it is financial poverty or the poverty for the love of the faith that there is rarely a fulltime Giani in the

Khalsa School to teach the glory of the heritage. The teaching of moral and social motivation to enjoy being a

Sikh is totally absent in our homes, even in the Sikh institutions, schools, colleges and Gurdwaras. I felt

disappointed by the failure of my generation to perform their duty towards youth.

Later, I met some well wishers of the Panth to discuss this

unfortunate situation with them. My informal exchange of views regarding this situation with them made me intensely

sad. I was told that our leaders and the Gurdwara managements are to be blamed for this. Many leaders of the

panth can be observed drinking publicly without any feeling of guilt. The leaders accused the voting system for electing

the Gurdwara management whether at the village level or at

the national level, S.G.P.C. Amritsar and Delhi Sikh

Gurdwara Committee. The situation in the gurdwaras in the

west has followed the same trend, where the Sikhs stand

divided because of many social, political , religious issues.

Followers of one sant maryada try to build their group to

defeat the followers of the Panthic maryada. Gurdwara

clashes and many election cases are always in the courts in

the west. They waste the Panthic resources and at the same

time disgust the youth making the Gurdwara system

repulsive to them.

When I questioned some Sikhs, who are actively associated

with Sikh affairs, over a cup of tea, they responded, “You

have come after a long time and we should tell you that the

Panth’s enemies have made drinking popular in villages.

Candidates for the assembly elections have to distribute

bottles and drugs during assembly elections, even elections in

our villages for Panches and Surpanches now need lots of

funds. Voters demand bags of bottles before they promise to

vote for you, earlier they only hoped to be entertained by

their candidate after the election. Thus, they too endorsed the

shift of the blame to the voters. My other friend, a former

member of the S.G.P.C. Amritsar, narrated an embarrassing

welcome to all the elected members by the Guru Gobind

Singh Study Circle Ludhiana. His statement briefly was:

“All the elected members of the committee were invited to

Ludhiana. They honored each member by presenting

him/her with a memento. We were congratulated by them for

being elected as the elite Sikhs of the faith.

“A former V.C. of the Punjab Agricultural University,

Ludhiana told us that he showed his inability to serve drinks

to the state guest, the President of Uganda, on his visit to the

University. He wrote to the Government that theirs is an

institution of learning where drinking is prohibited. Serving

drinks officially will set a bad example. Morally, they will

not be able to teach the students that drinking is a vice. The

visiting diginitary was pleased to have his lunch without

alcohol. The V.C. then narrated the conditions in Punjab. He

said that we Sikhs are blamed for distributing alcohol for

Gurdwara elections. This really is a shame for all of us. He

suggested, rather he desired, a promise from us that we as

members will not drink or serve alcohol to any person,

however, important he may be. Unless we members of the

committee shun alcohol, we cannot save the Punjabi youth

from addictions to drugs and alcohol. He used some chosen

words which pricked our conscious and we regretted having

committed the sinful act as members of the Sikh respectable

body. Some of the members did confess their guilt and

promised not to do it again.” I listened to my friend’s

touching statement and was thinking of my response to it,

the first one continued, “The Gianis and the Parcharaks

should educate the voters not to make such demands from

the candidates.” This was more than I could bear. I thanked

them for their visit to my home before they left.

Dear youth, I leave it to you to assign blame to any section

of the Panth for this unfortunate situation which has

developed in the Sikh community all over the world. Dear

students please listen! You have to live with the image of

the community that you build for yourselves. The members

of the faith, who wish you to enjoy the glory of the Panth,

appeal to you not to follow the bad example but learn good

lessons from your life as students. Those who do poorly in

their studies will beg for a job in the factories while those

who achieve academic honour will end up as professionals

in medicine, engineering, law, etc. Similarly, as a Sikh

youth if you live a disciplined life and love your faith, you

will enjoy peace and bring honor to your community. Dear

friends, the choice is yours.


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