by Harnaak Singh
The Gyan Pragaas program which was to be held at Sungai Petani on 17-Sep-2017 did not proceed as planned.
There has been substantial discussion on this episode in the public domain. An analysis of these discussions is presented in this article.
The Sangat of Sungai Petani politely rejected the Gyan Pargaas program by the missionary preachers which was supposed to have their preaching on 17-Sept-2017.
The following is an analysis of the public domain material related to this episode
The discussions referred to are
- Article “Missionary parcharaks have been doing parchar in Malaysia since Sikhs arrived in this country” on 19-Sep-2017 by Autar Singh at Asia Samachar as well as the comments of this post at AS Facebook .
- Letter “Shameful Episode at Gurdwara Sahib Sungai Petani on 17-09-2017” dated 18-09-2017 by MGC at Asia Samachar
- Malaysian Sikh Sangat Facebook sharing Autar’s post dated 18-09-2017
- Article “Miscreant missionary preaching …Sungai Petani Sangat reject these misleading preachers” posted by Gurvichar on 18-09-2017.
The points of interest for this article are listed below
- Missionary parcharaks history
- Compliance with Sikh Rehat Maryada and question of supremacy of SGGS Ji
- The issue of immigration
Autar Singh stated that missionary parcharaks have been doing parchar in Malaysia since Sikhs arrived. A comment to article “reference 1” shed some light on this matter.
This comment essentially stated
- The “conventional” missionary parcharaks who were preaching for the early days of Sikh settlement were from Shaheed Sikh Missionary College run by SGPC and
- The “new age” missionary parcharaks are from missionary colleges of Ludhiana.
Note we have used the words “conventional” and “new age” in this article to distinguish between the two. We will look into each of these below.
Shaheed Sikh Missionary College
This college was set up in 1927. The information on this college from The Encyclopaedia of Sikhism (Ed: Harbans Singh Punjabi Uni Patiala) is reproduced below.
SHAHID SIKH MISSIONARY COLLEGE, at Amritsar, a college for training Sikh preachers, was opened in October 1927 in memory of the shahids, i.e. martyrs, who had on 20 February 1921 laid down their lives at Nankana Sahib, birthplace of Guru Nanak, during the campaign for the reform of the management of Sikh shrines.
The idea of starting such a college originated with the managing committee of the Gurdwara Sri Nankana Sahib formed in consequence of the passage of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act of 1925. A Shahidi Fund (martyrs fund) had in fact been opened and a Sikh Mission Society formed in 1921 at Nankana Sahib, the former to raise a memorial in honour of the martyrs and the latter to spread Sikh teaching.
Both objectives found fulfilment in the establishment in 1927 of the Shahid Sikh Missionary College at Amritsar, under the auspices of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.
Ganga Singh, well versed in the art of oratory and with perfect mastery of Persian, Urdu and Punjabi languages, became its first principal. With gaps from 1932 to 1935 and from 1938 to 1943 the College has continued to this day. In June 1936, it was revived under a new management, the Sarab Hind Sikh Mission, formed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, and Dharamanant Singh, learned in philosophy and theology, was named the principal.
Eminent theologians, Sahib Singh and Taran Singh, were also associated with the institution. The college is now run by the Daram Prachar Committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee which is also the examining authority.
The curriculum includes Sikh sacred texts, philosophy, history and music. Three diploma courses, each of two years duration, are offered with a view to training preachers, granthis, i.e. scripture readers and ragis, i.e. musicians.
Some of the College graduates have distinguished themselves in fields as far apart as theology and politics. Giani Zail Singh who was elected President of India in 1982 is an alumnus of this College.
It wold be useful to hear some thoughts from Dr Suba Singh, the Principal of the Sikh Missionary College in 2012 (unable to confirm if he still is presently). Video 1 presents this.
Video 1: Dr Suba Singh Principal Sikh Missionary College (video dated 2012)
Dr SubaSingh talks about the “rape” of SIKH TENETS by the Kala Afghana Brigade.
He mentions briefly the beginnings of Kala Afghana Brigade and also touches on present day “mortal” Gurus and their activities. He also touches on the denigration of Dasam Granth as well as the status of the Khalsa. He states that Sri Guru Granth Sahib gives us spiritual knowledge and Dasam Granth gives us martial and temporal social knowledge.
Finally Dr Suba Singh condemns those who use such illicit means to propagate such ideology to benefit the personal self interest. These people do not understand the teachings of Sikhi from credible sources. He recommends everybody to share the teachings of Dasam Granth to alleviate this problem created by these miscreants.
Dr Suba Singh indicates that these miscreants are against Sikhi Sidhant and Gurmat.
So we can essentially see that these thoughts are in line with the long standing practice of Sikhi and Gurmat tenets.
This is where the conventional parcharaks were and still are trained since 1927.
It is clear that this college does not denigrate the Dasam Granth.
“New age” missionary College like Gurmat Gian Missionary College Ludhiana
Continuing with the article “reference 1”, referred to above; the commentator also stated that these colleges’ preachers are in the fore front to challenge
- Amrit Sanchar Banees of Dasam Patshah,
- authenticity of SGGS (by rejecting mythological references and questions related to compilation)
- besides many other traditions without any base. (e.g. Akhand Path, Madh Ardas, Divali, Sikh history etc).
A brief outline about this college obtained from the GGMC website and translated into English is outlined below.
GURMAT GIAN MISSIONARY COLLEGE:
Grammat Gyan Missionary College, Ludhiana was started on December 8, 1996, through the initiative of Giani Jagjit Singh Siddki who was a parcharak and kirtania.
This was to cater for the need of educated and knowledgeable parcharaks of exemplary character for the community.
About 140 students are taking Gurmat training in a very beautiful five storey building in the college, about three and a half miles from the city bus station, Punjabi Bagh, Jawaddi Kalan, Ludhiana. In this group comprises about 35- 40 Sikligar children.
The students are taught Gurmat knowledge, in depth knowledge of SGGS Ji, Sikh history based on scientific technique (ਵਿਗਆਨਕ ਤਰੀਕੇ ਨਾਲ ਸਿਖ ਇਤਹਾਸ), Gurmat philosophy and Sikh way of life.
Up to now, about one thousand young men, having acquired knowledge here, are performing parchar of principles of Gurbani internationally.
The daily needs of the students is free and provided by the college with the support of the Panth. The hostel has full facilities and conveniences.
It is interesting to note the study of history based on scientific technique. This appears to be the reason for rejecting “inexplicable events” by their temporal materialistic reason/logic based critical thought process. On this matter is the rejection of such events in our history e.g Guru Nanak and the boulder (Panja Sahib), how can Guru Arjan sit on tattee tavee etc.
Let us hear what the Principal of GGMC Ludhiana has to say in Video 2 which is an extract from the GGMC Video at LINK A.
Video 2: Gurbachan Panwa Principal GGMC Ludhiana (video dated 2011)
The principal says that he has been associated with the college for a long time. It is his wish that many parcharaks graduate from this college for the community. This is so that the superstition/ misconception (pharam-pulakhay ਭਰਮ-ਭੁਲੇਖੇ), malpractices in society (ਸਮਾਜਕ ਕੁਰੀਤੀਆਂ) heartless killings (ਕਰੂਰ ਹਤਿਆ) will be eliminated. They will succeed if the Sangat supports the GGMC. He calls upon the international Sangat to support the college so that the college can produce more of the parcharaks for the GGMC.
- he attacks GURMAT openly
- does not believe in AMRIT (KHANDE BATE DI PAHUL)
- denounces AMRIT VELA and NAAM SIMRAN
- speaks openly against SIKH REHAT MARYADA
- distorts and misinterprets GURBANI.
Please refer to the links provided for more information.
So Sangat Ji you can clearly see the difference between the “conventional” and the “new age” parcharaks. Autar is aligned to the latter, the Kala Afghana Brigade parcharaks. So it is misleading for him to state that they are all the same.
COMPLIANCE WITH SIKH REHAT MARYADA AND QUESTION OF SUPREMACY OF SGGS JI
Autar implies that the “new age” parcharaks he brings comply with the Sikh Rehat Maryada (SRM)
How can these “new age” parcharaks
- who question Amrit ceremony (Chapter XIII Article XXIV)?
- question Vaheguru Simran (Chapter III Article IV)?
- reject Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s compositions (Chapter V Article VI)?
claim to follow the Sikh Rehat Marayada?
Another important question is how can they claim their belief of “the supremacy of SGGS Ji” when they are attacking Gurmat openly?
Further Autar, with his support for the miscreants, implies that he himself does not follow the Sikh Rehat Maryada. MGC also openly rejects Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s compositions.
Are Autar and MGC following the SRM?
To claim that they comply with the SRM they must be, just like distorting Gurbani, using a distorted version of the SRM.
Autar and MGC have been covertly, in the guise of SRM and SGGS Ji Supremacy, hoodwinking the Sangat with distortions of Gurbani and Anti-Gurmat preaching.
The Sangat is now progressively becoming more and more aware of these distortions and Anti-Gurmat preaching.
Sidetracking from the main issue, Jagir (MGC), you quoted a single verse “sab tay uttam prabhki katha …” in your letter (reference 2) meaning Katha is the highest form even higher than kirtan.
Jagir, it is advisable for you to go back to the drawing board and spend sometime studying the SGGS Ji, before you, like the “new age” parcharaks, go around quoting verse from Gurbani in your support.
What do you have to say about the verse “kaljug mahe kirtan pardhana …”?
For your knowledge, Jagir, “pardhana” means SUPREME and “uttam” means HIGHEST as you say.
What do you have to say about MGC banning the kirtan of Guru Gobind Singh Jis’s Banee (don’t forget Chapter V Article VI of SRM Figure 1 below) ?
Very clearly without doubt Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Banee is GURBANI.
Figure 1: SRM on Kirtan
THE ISSUE OF IMMIGRATION
Now to the issue of immigration.
First let us consider a simple example.
Consider that an untoward or distasteful event occurs in a family when the friends are visiting. The family and the friends will discuss, or even scream at each other, and then agree on the solution and put it to rest.
They will likely discuss their time together with other friends (the general public) but would not bring up the distasteful event. This is generally termed “sweep it under the carpet”.
Think about this simple scenario. How many times this has happened amongst us?
On the other hand, however, if one of the parties to the distasteful event has an evil mind, then there is a possibility of the event going into the public domain, in which case all will pay the price.
Now bearing in mind this scenario, let us look at the immigration issue.
The issue happened at Sungai Petani Gurdwara between
- Autar and his “new age” parcharaks
- the Gurdwara committee AND
- the Sangat
At the end of the episode they “buried the hatchet” and moved on.
At this point it was just a local issue (like within the family and friends).
Of course there is a need to share the episode with the Sangat at large.
The primary sources that highlighted the Sungai Petani issue to the public domain, the Sangat at large, were MGC, Autar and Gurvichar. Malalysian Sikh Sangat was the secondary source which shared Autars post, this post thus being attributed to Autar. Hence Autar had two primary posts, one at Asia Samachar and one that was shared by Malaysian Sikh Sangat.
Gurvichar did not mention the immigration event in its reporting of the episode. Had Autar and MGC not said anything about the immigration in their reporting of the event, the Sangat at large would not have been aware of this.
Unfortunately this was not the case. Both Autar and MGC brought the immigration issue into the PUBLIC DOMAIN. And what happens next, they blame the Sungei Petani Sangat representative (essentially the Sangat) for creating “a precedence” in their words for others to “lodge similar reports to Immigration”.
Who do you think is the EVIL one here? Autar, MGC or the Sangat of Sungai Petani.
The reader can easily decide who. Clearly the finger is pointing at Autar and MGC.
It is noted further that the “immigration issue” was not an issue because Autar and his “new age” parcharaks held their program at Kulim immediately and many other programs subsequently.
Why did Autar and MGC report and make public knowledge the immigration issue? Their reporting of the immigration issue could have been done in a “fit of anger” or for any other reason, but damaging all the same and now have “advertised” what they say is a methodology “for others to lodge similar reports”.
They may deny and make as many excuses as they want, which would not be a surprise, but they, Autar and MGC, are the ones who have broadcast this, and as “responsible leaders” should take ownership of this.
The distinction between the “conventional” and “new age” parcharaks has been shown. It is apparent that the Autar and “new age” parcharaks are aligned with the Kala Afghana Brigade and preach anti Sikh and anti Gurmat views.
It is questionable if the “new age” parcharaks, Autar and MGC follow the Sikh Rehat Maryada and accept the Supremacy of the SGGS Ji.
It is clear that Autar and MGC are solely responsible for broadcasting the “immigration issue”, which was really a “non-issue”. It is their action that has moved the immigration matter from “non-issue” to “an issue”.
Thank you. ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕਾ ਖਾਲਸਾ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਫਤਹਿ.