SNSM AGM: Win back trust, scrutinise Khalsa Land samelan plan

2
2333
| Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  | 18 Oct 2015 Asia Samachar |
SNSM AGM in progress at Sabha House in Kuala Lumpur - ASIA SAMACHAR PHOTO
SNSM AGM in progress at Sabha House in Kuala Lumpur – ASIA SAMACHAR PHOTO

The perceived lost of trust from the wider Sikh sanggat and the location of its next signature annual camp dominated the annual meeting of Sikhs Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM) yesterday.

The 49th annual general meeting of SNSM, one of the more active Sikh organisations in the country, saw its members raising the alarm of what they perceived to be the eroding trust of members in the organisation over the years.

“When people talk about the Sabha now, two things come to mind – Sabha is rich, it is spendthrift,” said Gurmel Singh, a lawyer and a former executive committee (exco) member of the organisation.

“Look at the Cheras programme where we bring so many raagis. People I know are cautious of donating towards the Sabha because of such perceptions. The second point [to me] is more alarming,” he told the general house that met at the organisation’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur where the AGM was held on 17 Oct 2015.

The Cheras programme, as it is commonly called, refers to the annual  kick-off for the Vaisakhi celebration. It was initially mooted as a one-off programme to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Khalsa in 1999, but has since become an annual feature in the SNSM calendar.

The four-day programme, held at an international centre in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, attracts a huge sanggat. SNSM sponsors, directly or indirectly, popular raagi’s like Sarabjit Singh Ranggila Durg Wale, Gurpreet Singh Shimla Wale and Chardi Kala Jatha.

Among the Sikh parcharaks who have been invited to the programme were the late Sant Singh Maskeen, Gagandeep Singh (Sri GangaNagar Wale) and Giani Jaswant Singh Parwana.

Popular raagis and parcharaks usually demand a high fee, which has been a bone of contention among many members of the Sikh sanggat over the years.

Former SNSM jathedar Pritam Singh said the Sabha had been ‘spending wildly’, especially after they had started receiving Government funding.

“The fundings were ‘one-off’, not annual. We seem to have forgotten that,” he said.

In the procees, he said the SNSM had ‘ignored the Sanggat’ and had become ‘Klang Valley focussed’.

The SNSM and a number of other Sikh organisations had received  Federal Government funding for a number of years, with RM800,000 in 2014 being the most recent.

Boghar Singh, another former SNSM senior executive member, said that the organisation had not been getting donations like before ‘due to back bitting’.

CAMP AT KHALSA LAND

The other major issue that dominated the meeting was the proposal to organise the next Annual Gurmat Parchaar Samelan at the organisation’s camp site in Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB), Selangor.

The main concerns expressed by members were the potential of cost-overrun and safety of the participants in the proposed make-shift camps.

The annual camp, first held in Port Dickson in 1963, is the organisation’s longest-running event. The one-week camps usually attracts some  1,000 participants and 200 stay-in volunteers (sevadars), and a big number of visitors. It is usually held in Government schools, usually those with boarding facilities.

“I’m concerned with the huge number of temporary structures to be put up,” said Gian Singh, a senior member of the SNSM, who also sits on the SNSM sub-committee to develop the KKB land popularly known as the Khalsa Land.

Manjeet Singh, a lawyer who leads a number of Gurmat discussion groups, also raised concerns with the plans to hold the camp at Khalsa Land.

“The samelans are not meant to be endurance camps for children,” he had written in a personal message to the SNSM jathedar Pavandeep Singh which had been widely circulated on a number of Whatsapp groups.

In his briefing to the house, Pavandeep elaborated on the plans for the camp at KKB.

“It seems they have covered quite a bit of ground. I’m impressed with what I saw,” one member told Asia Samachar.

In the end, the meeting gave the SNSM executive committee the final say to decide if the camp will be held at Khalsa Land or revert to another location.

Lawyer Manjeet Singh addressing the AGM. Seated at the main table were (L-R) SNSM meet jathedar Amarjit Singh, SNSM jathedar Pavandeep Singh and secretary Jasbir Singh. - ASIA SAMACHAR PHOTO
Lawyer Manjeet Singh addressing the AGM. Seated at the main table were (L-R) SNSM meet jathedar Amarjit Singh, SNSM jathedar Pavandeep Singh and secretary Jasbir Singh. – ASIA SAMACHAR PHOTO

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]

RELATED STORIES:

800 converge at SNSM’s annual Sikh youth camp (Asia Samachar, 15 Dec 2014)

Malaysian Sikhs crank up Sikhi spirit at Thai camp (Asia Samachar, 27 Aug 2015)

SGGS Academy maiden camp in Scotland (Asia Samachar, 29 June 2015)

Malaysian Sikhs power Gurmat camps abroad (Asia Samachar, 28 June 2015)

Sikh NGOs to attend Putrajaya funding briefing (Asia Samachar, 9 June 2015)

Special funding out soon for Indian NGOs (Asia Samachar, 2 June 2015)

Singapore Sikh camp with foreign talent (Asia Samachar, 1 June 2015)

What we picked up at Melbourne’s Sikh Family Camp (Asia Samachar, 15 Apr 2015)

4 Sikh camps during CNY holidays (Asia Samachar, 3 Feb 2015)

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. “The main concerns expressed by members were the potential of cost-overrun and safety of the participants in the proposed make-shift camps.” It would appear that this concern was more than justified and the cost overrun has bled Sabha. Who is going to take the responsibility?

    I noted that 7 Ragi jathas have been invited for this year’s Vesakhi program at Klang. Nothing seems to have changed. We keep doing the same things expecting different results.

  2. A Parveen Sidhu says, instead of spending so much money bringing the jetthas why can’t we educate the sikh children who really need the help. Provide scholarships.
    I could not agree better.Without sounding obnoxious-it appears the SNSM has run out of original ideas in line with current needs of the community and youth.It still clings to the traditional role-Sikhsim is NOT all about kirtan smagams held aimlesly, and with a purpose to raise monies.It has turned into a busniess-which had led to manipulations, abuse,misuse, mis -governed just like the state of affairs in the country- for which BERSIH became necessary.

    Over the years, no numbers have been kept how many took amrit, how many went on the path of Sikhi with identity, and if there were those who failed, why, how and what could be done to minimise the failed.No central Sikh support helpline has ever been sst up; given the amount of donations.For the number of smagams held, a central sikh school in the north and one in the south could have been sat up with excellent boarding facilities-thus a Sikh ethos based education could have styrengthen the whoil ecommunity for generations to come.The trouble in Malaysia is the community is not large enough to carry the baggage of the amount of organisations that exists.Back biting is an iignorantly ingrained issue-totally separate-as a lot of self egod ‘hankaar’ is involved among the the little chappies trying to run these organisations.There are not enough indians but just too many chiefs-running from warming the chair of one organisation to another, chair-which was warmed by another person who was the president, or secreatry of another organisation.

    All these organisations are over lapping one another-No wonder even PM Najib had to say once- “we just do not know who are the real representaive of the Sikhs” .I am sure if a study is done , it will emerge some are presidents here, secretaries there, treasurer of another- going around with dead brains and no fresh ideas in circles…the most they appear to successfully achieve is some cup here some sport tehr, or even bhangra cup, or the latest Miss Malaysia kaur!In such climate one cannot have loyalty, commitment nor time to make success of any organisation.Some think, being the president here there, or nay, will somehow get them a datukship-when that happens their steam runs out, for the sikh cause.It becomes then a routine with little interest for the kaum or people, and no time to address the needs of the community, as dances and drinks party become galore-and busy schedule.Many of these do not even know what sikhsim is , yet they profess to speak for the Sikh Gurus and Sikhs!!amazing or simply comical circus players…?More circus players by the looks.

    The world has changed, Sikhsim cannot be presented in the traditional manner -it has to be practised and shared with people.Guru Granth sahib cannot be hidden in the rumallas,and tied down with hundereds of wastful rituals with no meaning or Guru led purpose.It has to be deseminated line by line in practice for peop-le to understand and practise and be attracted to.There is a lot of love in it, which our ego’d behaviours throw out of the window as many so called leaders practise personal feuds….Guru Amardas ji says …sarir bhalan ko bahar jaye//naam n lahe bahot vegaar dukh paye//[Majh m 3], look into our selves..how honest are we about the identity of the community, as laid down by the Guru?how committed are we to work to that in our life?We are not all perfect, but most of these do NOT even try…until them the community will remains in the doldrums…beating about with push of the wave ..aimlessly….

    Sometime ago, I saw a book in Punjabi, Gursikh te Rajniti[Gursikhs and politics], which relied heavily on qoutations from Guru Granth sahib, which pointed out that Politics is forbidden for a Gursikh!The sole aim and duty of any Gursikh is religious and social-repeat the naam of God . to jopin hands in supplication and submission before his neighbours and adversaries and to honestly earn his livelihood as best as he can within these limitations.But this not realistic either!

    Without going further it would be interesting if some competent psychoanalyists understakes to cross examine a cross section of the current Sikh leadership/aspirants, among the large number of Sikh organisations, relaxing them on a clinical couch and find out what precise complexes are the root cause of such flood of people trying to be presidents, secretaries of multiple organisations, with little to offer personally.Why are they always desiring to be such position holders with little to offer, and why instead of as per Gurbani teachings they all want to be masters but not the workers linked with grass roots.

    I shall end ..asking ..what frenzy of late has posssed the Sikh brains

    though few can write still fewer can retain, the responsibility of that seat.

    Parveen Sidhu

LEAVE A REPLY