| Opinion | Malaysia | 9 Aug 2016 | Asia Samachar |
By Jagdesh Singh
Come this Sunday, there will be a new Jathedar for the Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM), who will be tasked with the heavy responsibilities of steering the ship afloat very heavy currents.
Make no mistake, this new leader will definitely inherit the ongoing support it has garnered and enjoyed over the past five decades.
With its rich history comes heavy expectations from each generation of the community that it is responsible to serve for. Each of these generations will ask of the Sabha the very same every single year – to uplift the youth of Sikh families all over Malaysia and its neighbors and imbibe the teachings of our Gurus into their daily lives.
Our youth today face many different challenges, yet the salient teachings of our Gurus are no more relevant than the times of our generation and the generations before us. These teachings and practices have always been the panacea to these challenges, then and now.
SEE ALSO: Naujawan Sabha is broke
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In fact, many would argue, our youth probably need them now more than ever. But let’s be honest, that has always been the case for the generations before us.
For the Naujawan Sabha to maintain and sustain its mandate as set by our farsighted founders and pioneers, its outreach has to be appealing to the youth, attracting the youth is as vital as spreading the teachings of our Gurus to them.
To be appealing, the Sabha requires contemporary leaders who have their fingers on the pulse of the youth, leaders who are sensitive to the dynamics that attract and distract the youth, leaders who are sensitive to the fears and concerns of the youth, leaders who can speak the language of the youth. Without this, all the programs and all the infrastructure that we pour our energy, our heart and soul into, would be meaningless with a dwindling population of the Naujawan.
Although the teachings of our Gurus are as relevant as ever, the medium to spread these teachings, the approach that would appeal to the youth has to be in line with what the leaders are sensing from their sensitivities to the youth.
What worked even just as recently as five years back may seem out of fashion or backdated today, let alone what worked for the Sabha when it was formed in the 70s.
The trappings of peer pressure, alcohol and drug abuse, separated parents, abusive parents, sexual predators, addictions, getting lost in the virtual world and losing all sense of reality, and many more challenges faced by our youth are more acute today than ever before.
Sabha leaders will need to address these challenges to as many of our youth as possible, saving even a boy or a girl from any of them will already be any justification for Sabha’s existence. One of the proven ways to address these is education.
For our youth to navigate through their living nightmares and challenges, they need confidence that their decisions are the best ones by they make themselves. They need to learn about their surroundings and their environment, they need to know their own introspection, and they need to know about their own spirituality and what that means as they stand on both their feet. Education, be it from the formal systems in schools or from the informal communities surrounding them, is the key for them to attain the knowledge required for these challenges. Sabha needs to be at the forefront of providing platforms for our youth to access education, worldly and spiritually.
For Sabha to build and sustain these platforms of education, funds are needed. Money talks. Sabha has always been able to sustain its own income for it to run programs, providing education to the youth at many corners of the country. Their annual Samelans (Gurmat camps) are the only visible educational platforms that has grabbed attention over the years, but many other foundational programs and infrastructure has been laid over the past decades, each one requiring funds that Sabha could cough up whenever they needed to.
But the means to generate income as an NGO has always been a challenge for its leadership. Now, more than ever before, Sabha would need to make more money than before with the economic environment getting harsher by the day, and debts having doubled over the years. Perhaps extravagant programs over the years that didn’t really bear tangible results have finally caught up but it’s undeniable that funds need to be generated urgently.
Sabha would need to incorporate more strict and disciplined controls to ensure that the funds which have dried over the years be more prudently managed. Accountability and responsibility need to be clearly outlined with the new leadership team. Stewardship of funds must be second nature, reporting and documentation must happen in tandem. All ambitious projects that cost funds that do not exist or add on to the debts must be canceled or put on hold until the accounts are in the black.
Tis true that the new Jathedar and his leadership team will have inherited the support that will always be there, but they must always remember that the support is earned, just like respect. They must work hard to rebuilding the credibility of Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia.
This Sunday (14 Aug 2016), the Sanggat must be present and must ensure that their new Jathedar is ready to shoulder such huge expectations and responsibilities, the ultimate seva for our youth. The youth need to be represented.
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]
FROM THE SAME AUTHOR:
Dasam Granth Debate: The double edged sword (Asia Samachar, 4 Aug 2016)
Naujawan Sabha at a crossroads (Asia Samachar, 26 March 2016)
Too young to be an amritdhari? (Asia Samachar, 7 Jan 2016)
Samelan organising committee took a bold (Asia Samachar, 25 Dec 2015)
Looking for next Santokh for Malaysian football (Asia Samachar, 25 Oct 2015)
Granthis aren’t built like they used to anymore – JAGDESH (Asia Samachar, 6 April 2015)
Would it be so bad if I married a Muslim? – JAGDESH (Asia Samachar, 5 Mar 2015)
SNSM to elect new Jathedar at AGM on Sunday (Asia Samachar, 8 Aug 2016)
SNSM gets big waiver for Khalsa Land, 18 Selangor gurdwaras get funding (Asia Samachar, 16 July 2016)
Camp Report: Seremban Naujawans ‘awesome’ time at Khalsa Land (Asia Samachar, 12 July 2016)
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