| Opinion | Ipoh, Malaysia | 23 May 2017 | Asia Samachar |
In light of the on-going controversy regarding Dasam Granth and increasing attack on the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC), a council member had given an interview which was widely shared the social media. The interviewer has offered Asia Samachar to share the thoughts of DARSHAN SINGH, a member of MGC’s elected executive committee.
Darshan is an avid writer on consumerism, whose views are regularly featured in media letters to editor section. He is one of the four MGC exco members from the state of Perak for the 2016/17 term.
When contacted, Darshan has confirmed the content of the interview.
Q: How are you involved in MGC?
A: I am among the four Exco members representing Perak for the 2016/17 term.
Q: What is the role of MGC?
A : Amongst others it is to co-ordinate and promote understanding, fellowship, mutual respect and co-operation among Sikh gurdwaras and other Sikh organisations and facilitate functional integration for service to the Panth as per the Skh Rehat Maryada (SRM) and to pass ‘matas‘ on important issues after due consideration and deliberation.
Q: What is Sikh Rehat Maryada (SRM)?
A: The SRM is an official Sikh Code of Conduct and Conventions. It was developed by the greatest Sikh scholars and theologians of the century. The present SRM is the only version authorised by the Akal Takht. Its implementation has successfully created uniformity in the religious and social practices of Sikhism. To me, it is an Operating Model and it is our responsibility to have a copy of it with us. Only the Akal Takht Sahib has the authority to command Sikhs, and no other.
Q: We have recently noticed much controversy on social media on issues relating to the Panth and MGC is attacked? What have you got to say about it?
A: (Smiles). We never had any controversy in Malaysia until recently when a group led by mischievous individuals wanted to destroy the SRM by installing the Dasam Granth in local gurdwaras, creating disunity amongst the local Sikh Sanggat. They cleverly started divans branded as “Darbar Patsahi 10” with an aim to emotionally charge the sanggat. Personally to me there can only be one Darbar, where only Parkash is of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj, our eternal Guru and no other. When MGC vigorously defended the SRM and stopped them from going ahead, this group became very unhappy and retaliated by taking their “battle” on to the social media, misleading and disuniting the Sanggat. We can see this happening almost daily. They have also created splinter groups employing guerrilla tactics. Interestingly majority of them operate in disguise under fake profiles.
Q: Is it true that the MGC has removed morning Nitnem Banis from 5 to 3?
A: This is a slanderous lie spread to mislead and provoke the Sanggat to act against the MGC. As I stated, the MGC is duty bound to protect the SRM and the SRM clearly lists morning Nitnem Bania as Japji Sahib Ji, Jaap Sahib Ji and Tav Parsad Sawiyeh and evening Banis as Rehraas Sahib and Kirtan Sohila, but this does not mean that we cannot recite any other Banis in addition to the ones listed by the SRM. The SRM lists minimum compulsory. The more Banis you recite, the better. It is mischievous to say that MGC is reducing the Bania. Who are we to impose such a mandate!
Q: There is also an allegation that MGC is against Dasam Granth and by doing this MGC would also question Amrit Sanchar?
A: Dasam Granth and Amrit Sanchar are two different issues. Amrit Sanchar [the Khalsa initiation ceremony of Khanda Da Pahul] is listed in SRM and the Bania to be recited are also specifically listed namely Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Tav Parsad Sawiyeh, Benti Chaupai and Anand Sahib. All these Bania are SRM Parvanik (approved) and MGC will always protect the SRM against any attempt to destroy it. No issue on Amrit Sanchar and malicious allegation are deliberately made to disunite Sanggat.
Q: What about the Deh Shiva shabad?
A: As we know Deh Shiva Shabad appears in DG and has been an issue of contention. To get proper direction its right that we seek guidance from Sri Akaal Takht Sahib.
Q: There were issues with regards to Prof Inder Singh Ghagga?
A: To be clear, MGC did not invite Prof Inder Ghagga but MGC will also not stop intellectual discourse as long as it is conducted within approved parameters.
Similarly I am told that this group has invited one Baba Banta Singh and as I know Baba Banta Singh’s objective is to preach DG, should MGC stop him too? They created a ruckus in Ashby Road [Gurdwara Sahib Greentown in Ipoh, Perak] by attacking an old man, should non supporters of DG do the same with Baba Banta Singh too? No, that’s not right! We have to act civiliased and remained united. As long as a person is not declared a Tankhaiya or Panth Dokhi by Akal Takth Sahib, I will not interfere.
Q: Did MGC advise member Gurdwaras to stop doing Ardaas?
A: (A big laughter) … Where did you hear this from? This is a desperate attempt to mislead … (continues laughing_. I repeat, MGC will rigorously defend SRM!
Q: What is your advice to Sikh Sanggat Malaysia?
A: Sanggat Ji, SRM is our “standard operating model”. Whichever Gurdwara we go to in this world, if it is SRM compliant, the processes will be similar and this has always kept us united. It is our responsibility to wholeheartedly defend the SRM against external influences who are attempting to destroy it. Without the SRM, every Gurdwara, like the Taksaal and Deras will have individual Maryada and this will destroy our Kaum. Guru Gobind Sing Maharaj Ji has decreed “Agia Phei Akaal Ki, Thebe Chelaiyo Panth, Sab Sikhan Ko Hukam Hai GURU Maniyo Granth”. Guru Granth is our eternal Guru. Installation of DG is an attempt to confuse the sanggat that there are more GURUs. Which will a person bow to? This will automatically disunite and destroy us. Not to forget that DG as opposed to Guru Granth Sahib Ji is a controversial compilation.
Very sad that concerted attempt to destroy the SRM are being made by irresponsible individuals and to this it is important that we defend the SRM. MGC has become the prime target and the reason for it to be attacked first. Thus you will notice malicious allegation being made on social media and meetings held to instigate the Sanggat against the MGC.
Therefore my humble request to everyone, please stand up, stand united against this group of individuals driven with personal interest and agenda.
* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
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