Perak Sikhs discuss Christian encroachment

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Ipoh, Malaysia  | Asia Samachar | 26 May 2015
The Perak meeting on May 25 to discuss encroachment onto Sikhs by Christian evangelist groups
The Perak meeting on May 25 to discuss encroachment onto Sikhs by Christian evangelist groups

Sikh organisations and gurdwaras from Perak had an initial meeting yesterday to discuss the threat posed by the Christian evangelists who are targetting Sikhs in the state.

Among others, representatives who attended the meeting in Ipoh, Perak, had aired their concerns on the matter and put forward some suggestions on overcoming the matter.

However, the meeting, anchored by SNSM Perak, the state branch of Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM), did not pass any resolution.

“It’s still premature for that. We wanted to hear the views of the larger segment of the Sikh sanggat,” meeting coordinator Daaljit Singh tells Asia Samachar.

Daaljit, a former president of SNSM Perak, is now Gurdwara Sabib Greentown committee secretary and also an active Sikh activist in the state.

The meeting is in response to a Punjabi Fellowship Ipoh (PFI) programme on May 9 called ‘Khusian Da Mela’. The Punjabi Christians who organised the programme had sent out widespread invites to Sikh families — through printed cards, WhatsApp messages and by word of mouth — inviting them to the church-based programme.

On May 13, Asia Samachar reported that Sikhs in Ipoh, the state capital of Perak, had raised an alarm on alleged intensified moves by Punjabi Christians in luring Sikhs, especially from poorer neighbourhoods, in response to the programme.

In response, SNSM Perak jathedar Jaswant Singh had led a group of observers to the programme held at the Church of Praise at Perindustrian Ringan Sri Rapat, Ipoh, on 9 May.

Commenting on yesterday’s meeting, Gurdwara Sahib Greentown former committee president Jit Singh said the Christian proselytising which has been going on for many years in the state is ‘an issue’.

“If we don’t check, it will spread further,” he tells Asia Samachar in a phone conversation.

Khalsa Diwan Malaysia deputy president Santokh Singh, who was also present, said it was a good start.

“The meeting has the makings of a major Sikh conference to look into the matter,” he said.

SNSM Perak’s Jaswant chaired the meeting which was also attended by Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) president Jagir Singh.

 

RELATED STORIES:

Conversion: Sikh Settlement strikes back (Asia Samachar, 19 May 2015)

Old boys club control gurdwaras – KIRAN KAUR GILL (Asia Samachar, 15 May 2015)

Ipoh Sikhs raise alarm on Punjabi Christian event (Asia Samachar, 13 May 2015)

 

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8 COMMENTS

  1. There is hope in humans, society, systems, organized religious systems, but there is only hope in yourself. Organized religions, have nothing to offer, but only false solutions to the basic problem. When you quote their holy books you repeat from the text and it is not your truth or your experience. A lie can be extended, promoted and repeated, but not truth and when you repeat truth, it ceases to be the truth, and therefore sacred books are not important. Let them convert to Christianity or Islam with their lies, superstitions and priest craft. One claim to have the last prophet who spoke to some God and the other claim to have the son of God with them. One was married thirteen women the last being 6 years old and was poisoned by a Jewish women. The other was placed on the cross and put to death not for humanity but because he was a rebel who claimed to be the son of God. Nailed onto the cross, he cried to a God asking why have you forsaken me but this God was absent for the son. History has no evidence if either of these prophets existed and if they did they were not mentioned as claimed but generally. These are silly insults, making a mockery and a joke out of the source of all creation which is beyond the human mind that is only capable to thing with memory. It will stop thinking when memory is lost. A limited and a petty mind will only find limited and petty God. If these stupidity make sense to these converts they are just a bunch of fools being misled and divided. They will forever be lost jumping from one conditioning to another with false hopes of saving their soul. Who have ever seen a soul or has anybody come back to tell us if they were saved, why not? Only thing that matters is the truth, not whether you are rich or poor, not whether you are happily married and have children, because they all come to an end, there is always death. So, ignore any form of belief, in order to build self-reliance, with initiative. With this strength and freedom from these cults you may know what truth is, or God is. Belief will not give you anything; belief only corrupts, binds, and darkens the mind. A free mind is one that is free from all these influences.

  2. Dear Hari Singh,

    Thank you for the encouraging words. The time has come for the Sikh Intelligentsia to tackle such issues head on. We must focus on rebutting any negative opinion about our faith raised by these Evangelists, while respecting their faith and viewpoint.

    Dear Gurcharan Singh,

    You have brought forth many ideas and pertinent concerns. I have read Sadhu Sunder Singh’s book, which i bought at an airport in Mangalore simply because I could not bear looking at the title on the bookshelf.

    There are those who are still shackled with caste, and can’t seem to get over their inferiority. We must guide them. I feel that using caste as an excuse to convert is an extremely weak argument, especially in our country where all are welcome into the Gurdwara for worship and religious obligations.

    Regarding proselytism, we must respect the right of other faith groups to preach to any person. We must not get riled up and annoyed at them. Instead, we need to focus on why some Sikhs are easily led on and converted. That is a major concern.

    Lets put our thinking turbans on, let Waheguru guide us, the time is now. May God bless all.

  3. Stand out as a SIKH, why feel need to blend in?

    Today much more is known about the SIKHS and SIKHISM, worldwide, than ever before in the short but highly eventful history of the Sikh nation.

    Indeed as a complete theo political philosophy which anticipates the “confluence of the worlkd cultures into auniversal culture of mankind,Sikhism unshackled from the strong and deeply rooted Vedantic influences in India, has emerged in its true form as the way of life which embraces plurality of religions and social systems.

    Sikhism, is therefore one of the most powerful forces in the face of otehr religions “good” and what “evil” in relation to the God, and his society, and the brotherhood of mankind.

    However, there are always differencs between world religions due the manner they have come abaout and flourished.THIS can be a difficult and highly sensitive area, which can be tackled, in this aspect by the Sikhs with great dedication.

    While, it can never satisfy all criticism and comments,as a Sikh , I beleive we have developed very sound research to stand paralell with any another religion, but not having to sell god from door to with bribery and promises of washing the sins away with the death of one.If this washing away sins was so easy as claimed, then there would be no need ofr individual salvataion as also high lighted by the cultist door to door salesmen.

    IN some of the failing within the community, not the religion itself, we must level some strong criticism at the semi-literate Sikh preachers and the self declared sadhs and sants, that mushroom as preachers within Sikh religion.I feel, without such criticism, we will never understand the problems.

    The problems also lie with followers of the Sikh religion.Sikhs have always been a strong visible minority community in almost every country abroad.This leads to some weak Sikhs to ape the majority trend for material gain, acceptance or for the “love of their life”regardless of the impact on their sense of orientation in a plural society, are heading towards the open seas without a sail.

    Many than discover through the hard road,why identification with some established Sikh values is a basic need of any civilsed and forward looking society like Sikhs.Cultural pluralism should be understood and enjoyed in all its variety, but abandonning Sikh Ethos, and adopting another is a personal defeat in life for anyone, doing such.The underlying theme of Sikhi is to do service with humility to humanity, a theme not universally adopted by any other, apart from Sikhs.

    Young Sikhs owe it THEMSELVES to know more about THEIR own religion, before being “masters” in the knowledge of another religion.These youth often have only hazy knowledge of the proper Sikh faith, and frequently find themselves the targets of the nefarious cultist missionary activity of dubious churches, who see their way as the only way-selling god as door to door salesmen , using deceit, short promises, and bribery to fetch the victims out personal financial difficulties.

    Although, we Sikhs must be sensitive to other faiths, we cannot sat ourselves as the ignorant victims to these door to door god selling pedlars.YOU are responsbile for YOUR actions,no one else can die for you, nor can you expect anyone else to die, for your actions.

    Rememener Guru Arjan was martyred for the goodwill of the HUMANITY, Guru Tegh Bahadur was martyred for protection, defence and FREEDOM of another faith and HUMANITY.

    Guru Gobind Singh martyred his FOUR sons and thousands of his SIKhs,and liberated Humanity, that was supressed in the name of religion and casteism for generations to come.He changed the entire course of Indian history.

    Every Sikh that was martyred , was martyred for the sake of freedom, justice and dignity of every humaan, thus, it is nothing to be proud, if another religion claims one died for them!WE have such martyrs in every thousands that were martyred from among us.
    Be Sikh, be proud, stand out, why feel the inferiority complex to blend in?

  4. Something from history, that most Sikhs are probably not even aware…..In 1875, 5 Sikh students of a Dyal Singh college in Amrit​sar declared their intention to convert to Christianity.The Sikh groups responded, with alarm, but some wise heads put a plan into place.The 5 abanddoned the idea and remained Sikhs.The following year the Singh Sabha Lehar was born.

    In 1898 thereabout, a half nirmala hindu sadh became a christian, by name of sadhu Sundar Singh.He tried to convert Sikhs, but was a terribly lost cause in the Punjab among the Sikhs.In fact the Sikh population increased highest in that period, with hundereds of whole muslim families converting to Sikh religion.

    In 1963, 16 Sikh officers of the Kharakvasla Defence College, declared to embrace the christian faith.Sikhs, alarmed , responded with parchar.15 readopted the the Sikh faith and took amriit.One did not take amrit, but remained a Sikh.Funnily 4 extra non Sikh officers took amrit and became Sikhs.

    Sikhi is a grand religion, when explained, can stand its own ground..Never, say die, never give up.Sikhsim can stand it’s own ground….if armed and thought well.

  5. This was written before the SIKH meeting took place, or any intentions of a pending meeting were known.

    It is interesting that many have commented on this issue of conversions, but few are prepared to work against it.Instead of a ready and willing response, instead of a positive, and constructive, or a merely negative criticism, there seems to be a large void from and by SIKHS about the metaphysics of the situation presenting us, as a challenge.

    Traditional community organisations are pre- occupied with their traditional activities of seeking fame, publicity, and in due course backing for themselves; which then leads to future vote bank , financial security and self popularity.

    It shows up a number of factors.Those responsible and declared leaders of the community do not have any numbers , of Sikhs that may have fallen , the numbers that are ready to go, or those being trapped!

    No study has been done to understand why and how this spreading, who are those spreading and how it spreads?

    They have no clue of the key people at work in this conversion game, disguised as friends, photographers, or simply an aquaintance!They do NOTeven know those who they think do kirtan amidst them are giving “good charaters” references to those who use opportunities to convert the young.They do not have knowledge, who is behind this and why and since when this has started.Forget any solutions, or possible solutions or actions to counter this menace, misleading the youth and poor families.

    It appears Sikhs are not prepared nor do not understand how to respond to this challenge.They are hoping it will go away.

    They have been sitting on the problems for too long time,and now find it too complicated to understand.
    They have no statistics to work from, or a strategy in place, to understand the severity of this problem.
    There is severe IGNORANANCE of the challenging issues, and thus further ignorant what it is and how to respond.

    There is no knowledge among the existing population that can suffiently guide and prepare them the strategy to cope with this menace.

    The thought that parcharaks from abraod will some how cure their sorrowful state in the spirituality and identity of the Community.

    Many are too busy with photo opportunities and traditional tasks that give the comfortable zone to work within for them.

    There is a total lack of ownership of this problem and subsequent skills to address or communicate.

    Gurduaras feel or blame,state level organisations, who feel/ blame national organistions!Many may believe, others will deal with it, when no body is dealing, but perceives someone will, and thus no one is prepared to stick the neck out.”Let it be others”.There is an old saying, when they came for you, I kept quiet, when they came for me there was no one left to speak for me.

    With unity, understanding, and a resourceful mind able to move with times, this is a problem, Sikh communities have faced in the past with successful results.But at the moment it appears there is simply no will in the first place.

    There is no dearth of knowledge within Sikhism that can challenge the superficial views presented by these door to door god selling self declared pastors; but the key is how we use these strengths to beat them.

    The challenge facing us Sikhs appears larger than it really is,if key steps are taken as soon as possible, it will go down as one of the most easiest task to over come.

    In search for solutions that will come from Gurbani,we must begin with our present experiences on this issues.This will be a certain start, to check the same from happening again.That will be the first step.
    But sadly, with no interest to address the issues, Sikhs are setting themselves as pathetic merciful victims at mercy of a door to door god selling crooks, who in the name of god, are simply recruiting future cash banks for their cultist god, with lure of sins being done away by another, magical cures, and cash help!
    They are using broadly three simple strategies, sadly SIKHS cannot even understand any to respond.

    I concur with the more finer details expressed by Anildev Singh ji.

  6. Anildev Singh Malhi

    You said it so well. I wish I knew you and could speak to you. I would like to shake your hands and thank you for speaking it loud and clear. I am fed up of the ways this is being addressed esp at the meetings. Thank you Sir. Will the people please listen.

  7. Am a sikh and have no interest in converting to other religion. However i would like to emphasis that all gurdwara do a thorough check on their presidents and committee members to see how these people treating the sikhism followers. I have personally notice that those with wealth are treated better and with respect compare to those who are poor.

  8. This is an excellent and promising beginning to address the decline of Sikhism among the socially disadvantaged. There are a few important issues to address regarding such efforts by the Christians and the apparently gullible segment of the local Sikh Community; such as:

    1. Lack of support from Sikh Institutions – Many socially disadvantaged Sikhs do not receive any financial support from Gurdwaras/Associations. These Christian groups give the necessary aid, be it financial, family support in the event of a tragedy (such as death, etc) or simply joint prayer sessions.

    2. Fellowship and Fun – Christian Evangelists are in tune with the times and are perceived as ‘cool’ among the younger generation. The hymns that they sing can be mistaken for the latest pop/rock number. In Gurdwaras, it is not as entertaining. Although the purpose of attending the Guru’s Darbar is not for entertainment, perhaps certain changes need to be made to help attract youth.

    3. Activities – Most Christian groups have regular outings such as picnics, etc. They even organize prayer sessions is homes (called cell groups). This helps to forge a strong bond between the members, giving them a sense of belonging and purpose. All we have in Gurdwaras are Granthis who talk about HAIR, TURBAN, etc. This must change. We must not be judgmental, and instead be welcoming to everybody.

    4. Language – While Punjabi is important, what is most important is the Guru’s message which can be disseminated in any language. There are some Gurdwaras that discourage preaching in English. This is a disappointingly regressive move for a progressive faith.

    5. Daswandh – All Christians bank in 10% of their income to their respective Church. The accounts are impeccable and the money is put to good use. Sikhs have a preoccupation with fixed deposits and watching the money ‘grow’ at the risk of having Sikhism dwindle and decline. We need a professional, centralized body in the country to collect Daswandh and have a distribution system that is supported by the Panth.

    Lets not be petty and blame the Evangelists for proselytizing as it is a cornerstone of their faith. The more people the bring into their fold, the higher the chance of redemption. Instead, lets study them and what makes them so desirable, and change the way we do things.

    We need a Sikh Renaissance in Malaysia. Judging from the amount of talent and professionals in our community, we can definitely succeed, if we put our collective minds and effort into it.

    May Waheguru guide us, and bless all, especially the Punjabi Christian Evangelists!

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