By Asia Samachar Team | UK, PUNJAB |
There is a group of Sikhs hell bent on imposing their version of Sikhi upon the masses, even to extent of denying Sikh preachers with different interpretations access to gurdwara platforms, says a popular Sikh preacher.
“Within us now is a group of Sikhs trying to impose their beliefs and understanding upon the masses,” said Punjab-based preacher Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale in an immediate response to the scuttling of a London gurdwara programme on Saturday (8 Dec 2018).
He said that the group insist that if Sikh parchaar (Sikh preaching) is to be done, it must be done according to their understanding of Gurmat.
“We have this group of people who think they are different and that they are an authority upon themselves. If any parchaar is to happen, it should be done as per their dictates. It should be done as to how they do it, and you need their permission to do so,” he said in a video comment.
He was commenting on the scheduled programme of Nirvair Khalsa Jatha UK (NKJ) at the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Hounslow which could not start after a group started making loud noises and began behaving aggressively in the darbar sahib. Not too long later, police made their way into the darbar sahib to maintain peace.
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Ranjit said the opposing group also believes that they have a right to deny speaking platforms to other groups which preach messages not seemingly aligned to their thinking.
“They seem hell bent on denying others the right to think and speak for themselves… In England you have the right to chose which pizza you want to eat. But this people do not want to give you the freedom to chose which preacher you want to listen to,” he said.
In the Hounslow incident, videos circulating via the social media show that a good number of the people present in the darbar sahib had responded positively when asked if they wanted to hear the NKJ group led by young Sikh preacher Harinder Singh.
However, the jostling that happened just as the NKJ members were about to take stage ensured that they were unable to proceed.
Ranjit, who’s group had also experienced rough treatment from people opposing his brand of parchaar, said all this while such groups have used force and gangster-like tactics to beat into submission gurdwara committees and Sikh parcharaks.
“That’s what they’ve been doing all along. They insist that parchaar be aligned to whatever their earlier leaders had preached. They want to drag our thinking back 50 years, 100 years,” he said. “They want to rob us our God-given right to think.”
He points out that parcharaks like him and Harinder Singh do not go out to disrupt programmes by other groups, regardless of their Sikhi views.
“To those who have been saying they want to remain neutral, that this is a so-called quarrel among parcharaks, they should ask themselves this question: Who is instigating all these incidences?
“This is not about two sides slugging it out. It’s about one side trying to put across their thoughts, while the other side hell bent on stopping them because they feel they have the authority to do so,” he said.
Ranjit points out that the Hounslow-type incident was no quarrel among parcharaks, but the work of a group of a ‘small band of brainwashed youth’.
He also urges Sikhs to stand up and be counted in efforts to allow parcharaks like him and Harinder to carry on their preaching.
By standing aside in the name of being neutral, he said they are only empowering the other side which he claims are already deploying underhanded tactics.
“They want to impose their (version of the) maryada on us,” he said.
Opposing group scuttles Nirvair Khalsa programme at London gurdwara (Asia Samachar, 9 Dec 2018)
Group disrupts Inder Singh Ghagaa programe in Ipoh (Asia Samachar, 1 March 2017)