The Gyan Pragaas program which was to be held at Sg Petani on 17-Sep-2017 did not proceed as planned. In this article we outline the events leading to this cancellation and present the related documents and review a video recording done just before the program (Note that the video is separated into sections). The narration of the events in mostly black text.
The Sangat of Sg Petani politely rejected the Gyan Pargaas program by the missionary preachers which was supposed to have their preaching on 17-Sept-2017 (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Gyan Pargaas – North Zone
EVENTS LEADING TO THE PROGRAM CANCELLATION
In mid August, the Sangat came to be aware that a program in the Gurdwara was to be conducted by members of the missionary kathavachaks from the Gurmat Gian Missionary College, Ludhiana (GGMC).
The Sangat were aware of the background of the missionary kathavachaks which they had become aware from various sources. These kathavachak were known to be controversial and misleading in their preaching which could cause disunity in the Sangat. This concerned the Sangat.
The Sangat immediately started a dialog with the Gurdwara President and Management Committee outlining their concerns. No action was taken to alleviate the concerns of the Sangat.
Finally on 8-9-2017 the Sangat then delivered a letter dated 28-08-2017 (see Figure 2) addressed to the Gurdwara President and Management Committee highlighting as follows:
- Request that any kind of seminar, lecture or Q&A session by the kathavachak, Bhai Sukhwinder Singh of GGMC, not be held.
- The reason for the request was that these kathavachaks are known to be controversial and misleading in their preaching and that they did not want to have disunity in the Sangat.
- The Sangat sincerely hoped that the program be cancelled or change in venue (not in the Gurdwara premises) soonest, and to notify the Sangat accordingly.
Figure 2: Sangat’s letter of concern
At the same time the Sangat delivered a letter (see Figure 3) stating a vote of “no confidence against the President and the Management Committee”.
Figure 3: Sangat’s letter of “vote of no confidence”
No action was taken to alleviate the concerns of the Sangat.
On 10-9-2017 (Figure 4) a letter signed by the President addressed to the Sangat was noted. This letter acknowledged the Sangat’s letter (dated 28-08-2017 received on 8-9-2017). Further the letter outlined the forthcoming program as well as change in the kathavachaks. Further there was statement that the committee was acting according to the Constitution of the Gurdwara and the Sikh Rehat Maryada. It appears from the letter that the committee limits the parchar to only Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. In the letter there was also blame that there are some individuals, without mentioning any names, who are out to create disunity.
The Sangat were also not happy with the change in parcharaks who were of the same alignment as the previous one.
Figure 4: Letter from President
On 16-9-2017 the President of the Gurdwara lodged a Police report at the Sg Petani Police Station at 4:00 pm (This report is not included in this article).
The Sangat was, apparently not happy that this action was taken, because the Sangat expected a peaceful discussion instead of getting the police involved.
JUST BEFORE THE SCHEDULED PROGRAM
The video is presented in short sections that provide useful information of the events.
There were greetings of Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh and introductions and advise that Baljeet Delhi was replaced with Baljeet Rajpura. The Sangat of Sg. Petani representatives advised Autar Singh who was in charge of the Kathavachaks that the Sangat did not wish to have the program conducted in the Gurdwara and the reason for it. He also showed and outlined the documents related to this. He further indicated that they had no issues if the program was conducted outside the Gurdwara premises. Mutual respect was solicited and the visitors were welcomed for tea.
Autar asked the question “What are we to do since we are here. The Sangat’s representative stated that “He does not know”.
At this point the President came forward and said he has invited them and has lodged a Police report and has arranged to use a lecture room, not the Darbar Sahib, for this event. To this the Sangat’s representative indicated the room (lecture room) mentioned was actually a Chota (small) darbar. There was some heated discussion on this matter. Then Autar Singh interjected to cool matters. The Sangat’s representative then made a humble request (hath jord kay … ਹਥ ਜੋੜ ਕੇ …) to Autar not to proceed with the program.
Autar suggested that they be allowed to commence the parchar. The Sangat can raise an issue if there is anything controversial. The Sangat’s representative indicated that this was not acceptable and there was some heated discussion about this (this part is not included).
Then Autar requested to go for tea whence they proceeded to the langgar hall. There were some comment about using the Sangat’s funds for making the Chota Darbar not a lecture hall.
When all were going into the Sangat hall, someone form outside stated “Please behave yourself”. This led to discussions as to who is supreme. The Sangat’s representative stated that the SGGS Ji is first, the Panj Piary next followed by the Sangat. So in this case the Sangat is supreme. The President however disagreed and stated that the power rests in the committee and they (Sangat) have no power to make the decision. There were some discussion regarding the use of the Chota Darbar as lecture hall (the last part of this section is left out as too many people are involved in the discussion making it difficult to decipher what is going on).
Finally the parchar did not take place in the Gurdwara premises.