After a long silence, Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM) chief Jasbir Singh today (12 March 2019) released a two-page letter to address some of the criticisms levelled against him and his team.
In the recent weeks, the tempo of attacks on Jasbir and his band of volunteers had increased, culminating with a pointed open letter entitled ‘Taking Sabha Out of Troubled Waters’, bearing the names of 13 members.
Asia Samachar had shared the letter, and a response by a reader. See links at the end of this piece.
The SNSM leader, the only person elected at its general meeting, is known as the Jathedar.
LETTER FROM SNSM JATHEDAR JASBIR SINGH
12 Mac 2019
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh
There has been a lot of news in the social media on the call for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to remove the current Jathedar of Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM). The Jathedar would like to take this opportunity to share on what is happening and would like to clear the minds of our members. Although for the Jathedar the best platform would be the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to explain to members on the performance of SNSM but many want answers immediately.
Being appointed as the Jathedar means taking accountability and making sound judgement calls. Hasty decisions are to be avoided at any point of time as decisions taken will set precedence. Any decision taken has to abide to the Guru’s teachings and the Jathedar stand guided by the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Sikh Rehat Maryada and the tenets of the Akaal Takhat. Based on the constitution, the Jathedar shall have a casting vote for a second vote which is only exercised when there is a split in the voting process during a decision making process. The Jathedar is only human and can make mistakes.
SNSM was established for the sole purpose of parchar and mainly guiding our Naujawans towards becoming good Sikhs. From its existence SNSM stood by the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Sikh Rehat Maryada and the tenets of the Akaal Takhat. We are to work with all organisations, societies and gurdwaras, in short build bridges and not burn them.
The Jathedar is the only member elected at an AGM and he then appoints his Executive Committee (Exco). The Exco helps him to strategise and carry out activities related to parchar, sports, education, welfare and etc.
Before the Jathedar was re-elected in 2018, a group of seniors felt his leadership was weak. There was a compromise with the seniors and the Jathedar accepted some names which were recommended to him by the seniors as Exco members in the hope that they will devote their time and energy towards the advancement of SNSM’s objectives. However, things did not work out as desired.
For everybody’s information, SNSM was invited by Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) together with Khalsa Diwan Malaysia, Sant Sohan Singh Ji Melaka Memorial Society and Sikh Scholars to be part of a meeting to discuss the incident of a parkash of Dasam Granth done at Gurdwara Sahib Titiwangsa by SGGS Academy (Academy). The outcome of the meeting was that a letter was sent to all Gurdwaras to obtain Academy’s assurance that parkash of Dasam Granth will not be done again and only then Academy would be allowed to conduct parchar.
A member of the SNSM’s Exco relayed a message, during an Exco meeting, from Academy on why SNSM’s name is still in the letter that turned down Academy’s request to do Jap Ji Sahib Katha at Gurdwara Sahib Kajang (GS Kajang). GS Kajang had written to MGC to seek for their views and the latter made reference to the letter sent to all Gurdwaras, mentioned above related to the parkash of Dasam Granth. The conclusion of this Exco meeting was to write to all Gurdwaras and societies on seeking SNSM’s approval before using its name and logo.
However, the general letter was not accepted by some Exco members and changes were made to include their feedback. The Jathedar did not agree to this as it was not as discussed. Another meeting was then convened to discuss further but reached a stalemate and decision was left to the Jathedar, who decided that the letter will not be sent.
Due to the above, some of the members stayed away from the subsequent Exco meeting. Resulting from this, the Jathedar asked the Exco members to decide, that is, to stay on if their interest is sewa and if not, they may choose to leave. 2 members requested to leave due to work commitments, 7 resigned and one was requested by the Jathedar not to join as he was felt to be part of the group that was appointed arising from the compromise. This was to avoid disharmony among the remaining Exco members.
A majority may voice their preferences but this may not be the right decision, the Jathedar is duty-bound to ensure whatever decision is taken has to abide to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Sikh Rehat Maryada and tenets of Akaal Takhat. He has to be accountable to the decision taken and this can set precedence. The Exco members cannot walkout because the decision taken is not in their favour. This is one of the main reason why there is a call for an EGM. The Exco members that resigned were replaced and SNSM is continuing with its sewa.
SNSM has been there for more than 50 years, many Jathedars have come and gone. We cannot blame any of them for what SNSM is today. We have to look at the circumstances, the challenges and environment they were in when actions were taken. No Jathedar sat on his seat and just watched what was going on. They got up to address challenges and to plan and strategise activities for all.
The current Exco is not sitting and doing nothing. Many activities such as the Annual Samelan, Punjabi Bhasa Mela, Fellowship Camps, Holla Mahalla, Vesakhi Grand Event, Education Workshop, Bhai Mardana Sangeet Festival have been planned and carried out or are to be carried out before the end of June 2019:
- Fellowship Camp 2 – 5 February 2019
- enKaurage Hi-Tea 16 February 2019
- Education Camp 17 March 2019
- Vesakhi Grand Event 4 – 7 April 2019
- Holla Mahalla 20, 27 & 28 April 2019
- Punjabi Bhasa Mela 1 & 2 June 2019
Your presence and participation at the above programmes are appreciated.
Allegations that mentioned the Annual Samelan used to have 2,500 participants is not right. Annual Samelans are well planned and carried out to ensure children learn based on the set learning objectives. SNSM never had such a large audience before. Vans were sold off because maintaining them were high in cost and their use was limited. All the problems mentioned in messages against the Jathedar did not arise in the last one or two years but have been there for many years.
Lastly, if SNSM is not moving, let us ask ourselves what we have been doing to move it. Do we need to be in SNSM to do sewa or do we have to be invited to do sewa? If the Jathedar is weak, what have we done to help him? Is the Jathedar working alone, if he is weak what about the members who are with him in the Exco? Do you think a change will help to solve the challenges faced? We all have common goals and we all walk on the path laid by our Guru. Jathedars can come and go, the mission remains the same.
Trojan Horse in Sabha (Asia Samachar, 23 Feb 2019)
Disgruntled members threaten to oust SNSM jathedar (Asia Samachar, 22 Feb 2019)
Hawkish fatwa (Asia Samachar, 23 July 2018)
Newly appointed SNSM exco issues stand on Dasam Granth (Asia Samachar, 21 July 2018)
Dr Jasbir Singh elected unanimously as SNSM Jathedar (Asia Samachar, 14 Aug 2016)
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