| Statement | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 20 Sept 2017 | Asia Samachar |
Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) letter dated 18 September 2017 to all gurdwaras in Malaysia signed by its president Jagir Singh. MGC has confirmed the letter.
Subject: Shameful Episode at Gurdwara Sahib Sungai Petani on 17-09-2017
The Malaysian Gurdwaras Council deeply regrets the shameful Episode at Gurdwara Sahib Sungai Petani on 17-09-2017 whereby a Parcharak who was scheduled to do katha on Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji was confronted at the entrance of the Gurdwara Sahib. The two or three youths blocking the way were very confrontational as the video recordings show. They claim they were the Sanggat and did not want the Katha to go on.
The group who had blocked the Gurdwara Sahib entrance earlier, then had contacted the Immigration Department officers of Sungai Petani and lodged complaint against the Parcharak from India who was on a social visit visa and was to do Katha. Their objection was that while on social visit visa, the Kathavachak cannot do Katha.
The Immigration Department stand was that since the Parcharak had a valid social visit visa, the Katha could go on provided no one objected. As the said youths were objecting to the Katha being done, the Immigration officers advised that the Katha should not proceed to which the Gurdwara Committee then agreed.
The youths should understand that in reporting matter to Immigration Department against Katha of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (SGGS Ji), it sets the precedent for others in the future to lodge similar reports to Immigration Department against other Parcharaks coming and then where will it lead to. Gurdwara issues should not be reported to authorities but amicably settled. If Parcharaks from India are stopped from coming, then the Sikh community in Malaysia is the loser.
The protesting youths had claimed that they and other Sanggat were opposing.
Their understanding of “Sanggat” is misplaced.
ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਕੈਸੀ ਜਾਣੀਐ ॥
ਜਿਥੈ ਏਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਖਾਣੀਐ ॥
[Ang 72, SGGS Ji]
(Meaning: Satsangat is identified as where only one Naam is being chanted.”
By standing outside the Darbar Sahib door and engaging in confrontation with Parcharak and Gurdwara Committee, one cannot be said to be part of Sanggat. The person has to sit with proper decorum in the Darbar Sahib and to Chant the “Naam”, to qualify as Sanggat. Thus, to qualify for “Sanggat”, the intention and actions of a person are relevant.
The Gurdwara Sahib Sungai Petani has a Committee elected by the members of the Gurdwara. They then represent the Sanggat of the Gurdwara and are empowered to run the Gurdwara including inviting Parcharak’s for Katha. Individuals by calling themselves Sanggat cannot usurp the power of the elected committee. They must wait for the AGM if they want any committee changes.
The report to the Immigration Department to disallow Parcharak from doing Katha in the Gurdwara is against Sikh ethics. It is akin to trying to stop Katha and Parchar of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (SGGS Ji).
“Katha” of SGGS Ji is the highest form. The kirtan and chanting of Naam is important but the Katha is placed at a higher pedestal still.
ਸਭ ਤੇ ਊਤਮ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਕਥਾ ॥
ਨਾਮੁ ਸੁਨਤ ਦਰਦ ਦੁਖ ਲਥਾ ॥
[Ang 265, SGGS Ji]
Individuals cannot take law into their own hands. The elected Committee is in charge of running the Gurdwara and represents the Sanggat of the area. Individuals cannot claim to represent the Sanggat. If such was the case, then other groups could also stand-up to say, they too represent the Sanggat.
The Gurdwara Sahib Sungai Petani Committee is to be commended for acting professionally in dealing with the issue and acting with great restraint.
The Malaysian Gurdwaras Council has received very favourable comments from people who have attended the numerous programmes carried out so far. Many of those attending have also put up their comments through video clips expressing their appreciation of these Katha programmes.
The Episode at Gurdwara Sahib Sungai Petani on the 17-09-2017 is a blemish against Sikhism and Sanctity of Gurdwaras. The report to the Immigration Department to get them to intervene in religious affairs is actually akin to undermining fellow Sikhs. If the Authorities were to enter the Darbar Sahib with their shoes on, then who would be responsible for ensuing Beadbi.
The MGC calls on all the Gurdwara Committees and Sanggat to remain united. These silly actions by some youths as mentioned above should be rejected by all right thinking Sikhs.
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