Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Problems in the Panth: There is a Better Way

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh,

Before starting I would like to state, that I believe that parchaariks should spend years studying and practicing the Sikhi lifestyle before they go out and educate the masses. Becoming a ‘Sikh Leader’ or Parchaarik is a great responsibility and requires the person to live a GurSikhi Jeevan, until we solve the issue of people becoming parchaariks or leaders overnight and pretending they know all, the panth will continue to have reoccurring problems. We need to start from the roots and make our own Sikhi strong and live the life. Until we have a love for Sikhi and submit to Guru Ji, and see god in everyone, we will have problems. These are issues that need to be sorted out on a panthic level. This being said, the essay below does not attempt to address the above issues, but addresses instead issues on a smaller scale that are coming up in the panth today.

I believe the greatest weakness is our panth today is our lack of foresight into the future and our crabs in a barrel mentality. If someone is doing something wrong, there are proper ways to go about it, without sacrificing the sewa they have been doing for the panth, or making the panth as a whole look bad. My basic point is that when we make an accusation on someone in public, or try to bring someone down, we may think we are doing a great service to the panth, but this is really not the case. If someone is doing something wrong or has made a mistake, there are ways to deal with it. This will be discussed further below.

Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindrawale is the epitome of how a Gursikh should act when faced with an internal panthic problem. When Longowal would talk bad about Sant Ji or try to engage in politics with Sant Ji, Sant Ji would never say anything on stage against Longowal. Sant Ji realized that internal in-fighting would not advance the cause of the panth but would actually set the movement back. Even though Sant Ji came to know of the character of Longowal they dealt with it behind the scenes and would not try to turn people against Longowal. Another prevalent issue in the panth was the raag mala issue, which Sant Ji always preached to the Singh’s that this is not the time to deal with this issue, it will just divide us further and give an advantage to our enemies who can exploit our internal panthic differences. Sant Ji realized we have to put up a united front and work for the chardi kala of the panth, so that we can work together and face the external forces. If we busy ourselves with in-fighting and bringing each other down, or fighting over petty issues we will be so busy fighting each other, that the enemies of the panth will have a field day dividing us, and using us to their advantage. At the end of the day the biggest losers will be the Sikh Panth. Sant Jarnail Singh Ji realized that once we have Sikh Raj, or once we have rid ourselves of our enemies, than we can deal with our internal issues, by proceeding like this, the enemies of the panth would not be able to split and divide us, and use us to their advantage.

Nowadays when I look around I am immensely saddened by the mind set of some people and how we are so quick to try and destroy other Singh’s. Have we not learned anything from the past? We are making the same mistakes over and over, and it is not going to accomplish anything for the panth, all it is doing is causing petty in-fighting and needless power struggles. Can we not see the big picture and see how this is hurting us. When a Singh is publicly humiliated by his fellow Singh’s does this not make a mockery out of the panth in the eyes of outsiders looking in? When a mona sees Singh’s fighting with each other throwing around accusations of a Singh’s character will the mona see any value in taking amrit? When our enemies see us trying to destroy each other, will they infiltrate us and pit us against each other even more, will they fuel the fire? Why don’t we realize this?

A recent example that comes into my mind is the whole Sukhpreet Singh Udhoke situation. This Singh was basically the spokesperson for the organization GURSIKH. People may recognize him from the Tabhe Ros Jageo DVD where he talks about how RSS is infiltrating the Panth and making it look like we are Hindus. Sukhpreet Singh was also traveling to colleges across Punjab educating youth about the situation and refuting the claims of RSS. I was present in Mississauga when Sukhpreet Singh did the RSS presentation, and afterwards some Singh’s had asked him to stay in Canada because he may be in danger in India. He answered saying someone has to do this sewa and so he will return to Punjab. I think we can all agree that this sewa needs to be done.

Recently articles have been circulated on messages boards, and audio recording have also been released which show Sukhpreet Singh ‘flirting’ with another bibi who is not his wife. I do not dispute that this is wrong, but it seems to me that this is a huge setup. It seems to me that there was an internal fight somewhere along the line and basically someone wanted to destroy Sukhpreet Singh. From the tapes it seems that the bibi is leading Sukhpreet on, and from the quality of the recordings it is evident that the bibi’s phone was tapped. Now I am by no means saying it is ok that Sukhpreet Singh fell victim to kaam. What I am intending to show is, this situation was handled wrong and people are too quick to try and destroy someone. After everything that has now happened Sukhpreet Singh’s ability to combat the RSS has pretty much been destroyed, as well as his ability to do any sort of panthic sewa.

Wouldn’t it have been much better, to deal with the situation behind closed doors, and have Sukhpreet Singh appear before the panj pyarai and be peshed and punished accordingly. What was the use of taking this public and pretty much character assassinating him? Now not only does Sukhpreet Singh lose but more importantly so does the Panth. Now who will travel around educating people about RSS? You may say the GURSIKH organization will get someone else to continue this sewa, but let’s see if someone commits to doing this sewa, I personally have doubts. Did Sukhpreet Singh make a mistake? Of course he did. But could he have learned from this mistake and became a better person because of it, I believe so. Bhai Joga Singh committed himself to Guru Gobind Singh Ji, and even left his own wedding in the middle of the lavaan due to Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s hukam. On the way to meet Guru Ji, Bhai Joga Singh fell victim to his kaam and started having thoughts about going to a brothel. If a great Sikh like Bhai Joga Singh can slip that means anyone can. But Bhai Joga Singh recovered, and didn’t end up going in the brothel and fully repented afterwards. Who’s to say the same could not apply to Sukhpreet Singh. What was the need to fully character assassinate him, and destroy any ability he had to do panthic sewa. The way things are unfolding, ultimately the panth loses, and RSS (one of the panth’s enemies wins). Now RSS has one less person doing parchar against them, and the panth has one less person educating them. If things were handled with an eye on the big picture, the outcome could have been different, but the panth was once again dragged down by petty in-fighting, and a short minded view.

Another example that comes to mind is Baba Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale. Sure there was a video of people matha tekking to them which caused controversy. But this video was released 2 years after it was made, when Baba Ranjit Singh’s popularity was at an all time high. Why the 2 year delay, if people had honest intentions why the 2 year delay? Baba Ranjit Singh also came on the radio and publicly apologized and said that he doesn’t allow anyone to matha tek to him since that video and he has learned his lesson, and that he is still learning. Baba Ranjit Singh admitted his mistake and said he won’t repeat it, but people are still hounding him and attacking him and his character. If its not this issue, than people are saying he reads kutchee bani. For those people who don’t know Dharnai have been sung in Malwa region for the longest time, it’s a way of parchar, others including Sant Ishar Singh Ji sang dharna’s. If you go to the Malwa region dharnas are still being effectively used to do parchar. So why aren’t people letting loose on them? At the end when people are trying to destroy Baba Ranjit Singh, they are ignoring the big picture of the panth. Punjab is being over run by deydhari gurus and pakhandi sants who make people worship them. Baba Ranjit Singh makes it a point to base his parchar around Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and bringing people back to Guru Ji. Now if we undermine his ability to do this, whose going to continue this? He admitted his mistake and learned from it, now why are we bringing him down. Once again it’s a crab's in a barrel mentality, and is undermining the Sikh Panth.

Another example is when Baba Thakur Singh Ji passed. There was a conflict of who will be the next mukhi of Taksal. The Baba Ram Singh supporters were mud-slinging at Dhumma, and the Dhumma supporters were mud-slinging at Baba Ram Singh. Who loses in this situation, the Panth does. Enemies can easily align themselves with both sides and encourage them to further divide the panth and compromise the sewa that the jatha is doing. It also puts out a negative image to the world about the panth and the state its in. I remember when this whole controversy was going on some people were going on message boards and writing bad about Baba Ram Singh and supporting Dhumma, than they started disagreeing with Dhumma and started bad-mouthing him. What is the sense in this, did it accomplish anything? I’m not saying Dhumma or Ram Singh are perfect, but what was the point of this needless mud-slinging, at the end of the day it made Taksal look bad, which as a result made the panth look bad, which in turn made the panth more vulnerable to external forces.

I know I have rambled a lot. But I feel strongly about this issue. We have to stop stabbing each other in the back, and being so quick to destroy people. There are other ways to sort out problems, and if someone makes a mistake we should allow for them to correct this mistake before going public and as a result making the whole panth look bad. Sant Jarnail Singh Ji is a great example of how things should be done. If Sant Ji got side tracked from the main mission and allowed themselves to get involved in petty in-fighting what would have been the state of the panth during the movement? Lets learn from great gursikhs and work together for the Chardi Kala of the panth.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh