By The Editors | EDITORIAL |
The call to resolve this issue through dialogue is the correct approach.
Let the questions be posed openly and answers given accordingly.
We’re talking about the on-going spat between Sikh preacher Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwala and groups opposed to his interpretation of the Gurbani as well as his strong views on what he considers to be anti-Gurbani, cult-like practices of certain Sikh religious groups.
In recent weeks, the intensity of their verbosity has reached a feverish pitch with physical threats issued by groups opposed to Ranjit Singh.
Chief among his harsh critics are leaders of sectarian groups like Harnam Singh Dhumma and Amrik Singh Ajnala, and other conservative preachers.
Ranjit Singh, the once Baba-style preacher who has now taken on a more rationale-based presentation of Sikhi, has been summoned by the Akal Takht to appear before a five-men committee to answer charges against his purported derogation of certain traditional practices.
But he has refused to meet the committee until and unless the Akal Takht first investigates travesties and wrongdoings committed by others before him which, he claimed, had irrevocably damaged the image, sanctity, honour and status of Guru Granth Sahib and Akal Takht.
With the tempo rising, a group of Sikh intellectuals came forward last week to express their views on the issue.
Led by retired IAS officer Gurtej Singh and Sikh thinker Gurdsrshan Singh Dhillon, they spoke about the current impasse. The other members were Sikh author Jaspal Singh Sidhu, Punjab University retired professor Manjit Singh and a local Singh Sabha leader Khushal Singh. SEE VIDEO ABOVE.
They tried to identify the way forward in resolving the worsening verbal tiff between Ranjit Singh and his accusers and detractors.
Their consensus is that Gurbani guides Sikhs to remain steadfast in their love for Gurbani and the path of the Guru.
And, even if differences remain, and they probably would, the aim, these intellectuals opine, is for the opposing sides to use dialogue to present their views instead of using their individual stages to issue verbal attacks at each other.
To them, the way forward is to invite the two sides to speak up on their concerns through a public forum.
The Sikh intellectuals said the premise for the dialogue should be based on respect even if the two sides practised certain aspects of the Sikh faith differently.
The Guru has guided Sikhs by telling them to sit as brothers and discuss their differences.
Is there hope that this verbal sparring can be stopped? Will cool heads prevail? Will the two sides drop all pretences of self-righteousness and sit down for discussions?
As the days pass, the intensity of the spat does not seem to abate.
We at Asia Samachar hope that the spirit of the Sikh brotherhood will prevail and cool down the heat before it creates more division in the Sikh community.
It’s my way or the highway (Asia Samachar, 10 Dec 2018)