A recent position statement on the Dasam Granth by the newly elected team at the Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM) ‘deviates greatly and materially’ from the stand held by the Akal Takht, according to a council of gurdwaras.
In a 10-page response to be sent out today (29 July 2018), Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) is calling on Malaysian gurdwaras and the Sanggat to reject the SNSM letter dated 18 July 2018.
The council is alleging that the SNSM letter contained ‘various errors of interpretations and misrepresentation of Gurmat’ and relied on ‘false translations of critical parts of SRM’ which had caused the Sikh youth-based organisation to deviate from its original historical stand.
“We are issuing this letter upon the requests of member gurdwaras,” MGC president Jagir Singh told Asia Samachar in a phone conversation.
SRM refers to the Sikh Reht Maryada or the Sikh code of conduct.
At its AGM on 8 July, Dr Jasbir Singh was reelected as the jathedar (akin to executive chairman) for another two-year term in what was seen as a compromise to allow the more pro-DG group to gain control of the organisation.
SEE ALSO: Hawkish fatwa
In their first executive committee (exco) meeting, the SNSM issued a four-page letter to articulate its position on DG, a granth originally known as Bachitar Natak which has been the centre of a raging debate within the community for years now.
The DG, an issue also discussed at the recent SNSM AGM and at past MGC meetings, has been a hot button on the social media for a segment of the Sikhs. The debate has broken up friendships and even severed family ties for some.
“The SNSM has made a stand on DG which is NOT SUPPORTED by SRM or GURMATTA-1. It was issued in haste that is just days after the Sabha AGM 2018 in July 2018, that it lends credence to fact that it was not well thought off. The PANTH until today has not been able to take a decision on it, showing the complexity of the issue. Thus, Sanggat must await decision of PANTH on it,” the MGC said in its statement dated 28 July 2018. A copy of the letter was emailed to Asia Samachar.
Excerpts from the MGC letter:
The Malaysian Gurdwaras Council is in agreement with SNSM heading which states “REAFFIRMS SRI AKAAL TAKHT’S STAND ON DASAM GRANTH” BUT NOT with the contents of the statement which contain various errors of interpretation of Sikh Reht Maryada (SRM) and misinterpretation of GURMAT. The statement further relies on gross misleading translations and arguments of very critical clauses of the SRM. Infact SNSM Statement does not “Reaffirms” but deviates greatly and materially from Akal Takht Stand on DG.
The DASAM GRANTH (Original name BACHITAR NATAK) issue whenever and wherever raised has brought about great division in the Sikh Community. Malaysian Gurdwaras from the very beginning have been following the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in the Darbar Sahib guided by the Sikh Reht Maryada (Akal Takht) and this had brought about great unity and togetherness in the Sanggat.
The Statement of SNSM dated 18th July 2018 has now planted the seeds of discontent, division and discord amongst the Sanggat of Malaysia. Until SNSM statement, no Sikh Organisation in Malaysia had taken such a divisive stand openly and possibly in the rest of the world. Hitherto it was left to Scholars to put forward their views until PANTH could take a decision on the matter. Before PANTH could do so, SNSM has made its decision which is not supported by SRM or by Akal Takht.
See full letter here.
Hawkish fatwa (Asia Samachar, 23 July 2018)
Newly appointed SNSM exco issues stand on Dasam Granth (Asia Samachar, 21 July 2018)
SNSM reelects Dr Jasbir as jathedar (Asia Samachar, 8 July 2018)
Naujawan Sabha stands by teachings of Shabad Guru, SGGS, guided by SRM, abiding Akaal Takht hukamnamas (Asia Samachar, 25 May 2017)
Sikh Rehat Maryada – English translation (Asia Samachar, 26 Feb 2017)