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Social neglect leading to growing influence of sects: Experts

Discussion in 'Sikh Youth' started by prabhsmart, May 29, 2009.

  1. prabhsmart

    prabhsmart
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    Social neglect leading to growing influence of sects: Experts

    May 29th, 2009 - 1:33 pm ICT by IANS

    By Alkesh Sharma
    Chandigarh, May 29 (IANS) Punjab came to a grinding halt for nearly two days after followers of Dera Sachh Khand protested violently against the attack on their leaders in Vienna. Experts feel that the growing influence of such sects is owing to the social neglect of people from lower castes.
    Some of the sects like Dera Sachh Khand, Dera Sacha Sauda, Divya Jyoti Jagran Sansthan and the Bhaniarewala sect claim to have millions of followers and have been involved in one controversy or the other in the recent past.
    The biggest of the sects - and the only one not to court any controversy till now - the Radha Soami sect of Beas near Amritsar, claims to have more than 100 million followers.
    Experts and social researchers say that the spontaneous outbreak of violence after the
    attack on Dera Sachh Khand leaders in a gurdwara in Austrian capital Vienna could be linked to pent up feelings among the sect followers, much of it owing to subjugation of people from lower strata by the dominant Jat Sikh community in Punjab.
    “Followers of Dera Sachh Khand had perceived the attack on their sect leaders as an attack on their principles and identity that they have constituted after years of struggle,” said Ronki Ram, a Panjab University faculty member, who has done extensive research on Guru Ravidass Deras in Punjab and stayed in one of them to gain first-hand experience of their life.
    Dera Sachh Khand is called a Ravidassiya sect because it follows tenets laid down by 14th century social reformer and spiritual reformer Guru Ravi Dass. Many of his teachings were included in the Sikh holy book Guru Granth Sahib.
    “It was the anguish and resentment of the followers that came out in the form of extensive violence in Punjab. They wondered why anybody was harming their leaders or trying to intrude into their territory,” Ram told IANS.

    Three people were killed and dozens injured as the state witnessed widespread violence Sunday and Monday with followers of the Dera Sachh Khand sect damaging public and private property to protest the attack on their leaders in Vienna.
    While sect head Niranjan Dass is recovering from the attack, his second-in-command, Sant Rama Nand Dass, died of gunshot wounds.
    Ram, who is the head of political science department in the varsity, has also presented research papers on Ravidassiya Deras and social protests.
    “The number of deras in Punjab and other parts of the country is increasing. They are the group of those deprived people who had faced societal wrath at some time. Lack of freedom and opportunities largely led people to join these deras,” Ram said.
    S.R. Heer, general secretary of Dera Sachh Khand, told IANS: “It was natural and the unrest was an outburst of expression of our followers. But we ourselves went to the affected areas and appealed to them not to adopt any violent means of protest. The protests became subdued after Monday.
    “Now the situation has become normal. We have crores (tens of millions) of followers spread all across the world and certainly our whole community was hurt by the Vienna incident but still we condemned the use of any kind of violent means for protest.”
    The sect is headquartered at Ballan village near Jalandhar, 150 km from here.
    It is in the Doaba belt (the area between rivers Sutlej and Beas) where the sect has the maximum number of followers comprising Dalit Sikhs and people from other communities.
    “The recent mayhem in Punjab is testimony to the fact that the
    “The recent mayhem in Punjab is testimony to the fact that the increasing number of deras in Punjab have overshadowed the mainstream society,” said Satnam Singh Dhillon, a historian and a research scholar at Punjabi University, Patiala, around 60 km from here.
    “In Punjab, 40 percent of the population belong to the Dalit community or downtrodden sections and that is maximum in any state of the country. We are sitting on fire and a little provocation is enough to bring unrest in the whole state and these deras can easily hold the whole state on ransom anytime,” he said.
    Harmanjit Singh Deol, a student of Punjabi literature here, said: “Punjab is always divided between the dominant Jat Sikh community and other Dalit Sikhs, who are the followers of one sect or the other. Due to this disorder some self-styled godmen and spiritual leaders have taken undue advantage of the circumstances.”
    (Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at alkesh.s@ians.in)
     
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  3. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    The Press statement of the UK Sikh Federation tells an entirely different story...
    Most of the SHOTS were fired by the Armed Bodyguards of the "sant/guur" and provided by the Indian Govt. At least two of the Simghs wounded/killed were just wearing normal 6inch kirpans...and also there was a similar incident a week earlier when the Security Guards also fired at and killed a SINGH.

    Here is the Full Statement:
    SIKH FEDERATION (UK) STATEMENT ON THE VIENNA INCIDENT AND ATTACKS AGAINST SIKHS IN PUNJAB


    We are deeply saddened and shocked over the recent incident that took place in Vienna, Austria and the subsequent rioting in Punjab. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sikh families and friends of those affected by this incident. Any loss of life is regrettable whether in Vienna or Punjab.

    All concerned need to ensure that incidents, like the one in Vienna and the violent reaction against Sikhs in Punjab that followed are not allowed to occur again. This will only happen if we take a hard look at the facts that have still to emerge about why the situation arose in Vienna in the first place and what was done by the authorities in Punjab to maintain calm and prevent attacks against Sikhs.

    The incident in Vienna and reaction in Punjab have brought back many memories. Firstly the memory of 13 April 1978 when thirteen innocent Sikhs were killed for peacefully demonstrating against a fake Nirankari baba for showing disrespect towards the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Secondly, the memory of the events from 25 years ago; when innocent Sikhs were deliberately targeted and killed.

    Many hearing about the incident in Vienna or unsubstantiated rumours have immediately jumped on the popular bandwagon to condemn the attack that took place on Sunday without establishing the full facts. This includes the possibility that three local Amritdhari Sikhs, simply wearing their Kirpans, may have been shot dead by Indian security agents providing armed protection to the two so-called self-proclaimed gurus visiting Austria. A fourth local Sikh is believed to be in a serious condition in hospital with bullet wounds to the head.

    Rumours abound as to why the incident took place in Vienna, including local tensions that existed. For example, there is talk of an incident a week earlier when a local Sikh man was supposedly attacked by thugs at the same location in Vienna for peacefully complaining about disrespect towards the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The local Sikh man is believed to have been left with life threatening injuries and subsequently died in hospital of the wounds inflicted.

    The media has largely been silent on the killing of Sikhs in Vienna by Indian security agents with the use of illegal firearms. Ironically the only statement in the media on the killing of three Sikhs has come from the Indian police itself. The media has also failed to report on whether a serious incident took place a week earlier that may have relegated the incident in Vienna to a local dispute that got totally out of hand by the over reaction of Indian security agents.

    There are however a number of hard truths that many of those making statements to the media have avoided to mention. It is well-known that the two so-called self-proclaimed gurus visiting Austria described by one Austrian politician as `problem gurus' that should not have been allowed to enter the country to preach hate, were partaking in activities disrespectful of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. One possibility is these `problem gurus' sealed their own fate through their offensive actions and continued disrespect towards the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The likes of the SGPC and those that promote and protect these `problem gurus' must shoulder the blame for what has happen due to their inaction.

    There has been extensive misreporting about the Sikh faith by the media following the incident in Vienna. The repeated mistake made by the media is the failure to recognise Sikhs do not have a living human Guru. Instead the Sikhs eternal Guru is the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, which includes the teachings of Bhagat Ravi Dass and this has been the case for over 300 years.

    The tenth and last human Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji was unequivocal when he stated: "Sab Sikhan ko hokam hai Guru Manyo Granth" meaning "All Sikhs are commanded to take the Granth as Guru". Sikhs throughout the world last year celebrated the 300th anniversary of the ending of the concept of the human Guru and the gurudom passing to the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Nonetheless these `problem gurus' have been encouraged to continue to stir up matters and have been provided armed Indian government protection while in India and abroad.

    The media also continue to provoke the situation by portraying the Vienna incident as an issue linked to caste. However, by definition a Sikh is one who believes in one God, the teachings of the ten Sikh Gurus and their utterances contained in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji; and believes it is necessary to take Amrit by Khanda-ki-Pahul bequeathed by the tenth Guru. Those that understand the Sikh faith know those who take Amrit and become part of the Khalsa are deemed to be equal and the Sikh Gurus finished the caste system, which continues to be linked to the Hindu faith and way of life.

    Jaspal Singh
    National Press Secretary


    Here is a comment:

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

    The press report from Sikh Federation is well-written and sheds light on the source of the problem. The problem has been seething under the surface for a long time. What happened in Vienna and subsequently in Punjab proved to be a flashpoint.

    One can blame the Akalis, Jats or Brahmins, but the reality is that the so-called Dalits are not proud to be Sikhs even though the Sikh Gurus gave a very respectable place to Bhagat Ravidass Ji, a pious sould and revered Saint. He was born around 1376, slightly over a century before Guru Nanak Dev (the founder of Sikhism) was born. His bani was passed on the Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the fifth Sikh Guru and was included in the Sikh Holy book Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Since the Gurus did not believe in caste system and they wanted to uplift the down trodden community who were treated like slaves and lesser human beings, the inclusion of the Bani of Bhagat Ravidas was a clear message to the Brahmins that it is unjust and wrong to divide humankind into four classes and mistreated another human being.

    Since Sikhism is an egalitarian religion that treats all human beings equally, there is no high or low and everybody is welcome to the Sikh fold. Millions of so-called Dalits have taken Amrit and became Khalsa over three centuries. They reached spiritual heights and blessings of the Gurus like any other Sikh. Of course, due to class system that was created by Mannu and made rigid by the Brahmins, there have been some disparities and many so-called Dalits (formerly Shudra) did not get equal treatment.

    Word Dalit is a new name which means oppressed and it came into vogue only on the last couple of decades. In reality, most so-called Dalits are not oppressed at all. If you look at the situation on Jalandhar, Dalits (especially those who call themselves Ravidasis) are economically well-off. They own many businesses, hold top jobs in the government and live in much better homes than their counterpart Balmikis who are still economically depressed. Tens of thousands of Ravidasis live in England and Europe. They also live in many other countries and North America. Many of the so-called Dalits have reached very high positions in the India govt. Ch. Jagjiwan Ram former Defense Minister of India(and Mayawati (chief minister of UP, the most populous state in India) are good examples.

    Giani Zail Singh (a Dalit) was the President of India.
    Buta Singh, a Dalit, was the Home Minister of India
    Gurbanta Singh was a minister in the Punjab govt. and I think his son too was a minister.
    Mohinder Singh Kaypee (current big boss of Congress and MP from Punjab has been a minister in Punjab.

    My point is the Ravidasi brothers are NO LONGER Dalits and should be removed from the category. If they call themselves Dalits, they cannot be Sikhs because a Sikh of the Guru cannot be oppressed because he is always in Charhdi Kala even though he might by "economincally or politically" oppressed!

    Oppressed people do not go our on a rampage and destroy public and private property, disrupt traffic and kill people. They have behaved in a totally irresponsible manner. The people of Punjab or Jats have nothing to do with the incident in Vienna and they have condemned it. Still the Ravidasis, with the tacit support of government and their mentors in England, Europe and other parts of India created hell for several days in Punjab and other parts of India.

    Thank God! the Sikhs have showed utmost restraint so far. They have remained peaceful and have not responded in the same vein, but their silence should not be misunderstood.

    We welcome the Ravidasi brothers to formally come to the Sikh fold and urge them not to form a splinter group for getting govt. doles and benefits. They may get those doles, but no social or spiritual upliftment which Guru Nanak Dev wanted to bestow upon them. We urge them not to follow the fake Gurus who themselves are not Sikhs and their is no living Sikh Guru other than Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

    The Sikh Gurus and Sikh consider them equal and they need to reciprocate. If they call themselves Sikhs, they need to follow Sikhi and not just rely on few Shabads and compositions ob Bhagat Ravidas. By taking his Banis out of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Ravidasis have lowered the status of Bhagat Ravidas, because Guru Granth Sahib is Guru in its complete form and a Sikh is a Sikh only if he/she follows ALL Sikh tenets and Reht Maryada and meets all of the requirements for being a Sikh. Tarlochan Singh USA.

    Sikh Federation (UK) statement on the Vienna incident and attacks against the Sikhs in Punjab

    We are deeply saddened and shocked over the recent incident that took place in Vienna, Austria and the subsequent rioting in Punjab. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sikh families and friends of those affected by this incident. Any loss of life is regrettable whether in Vienna or Punjab.

    All concerned need to ensure that incidents, like the one in Vienna and the violent reaction against Sikhs in Punjab that followed are not allowed to occur again. This will only happen if we take a hard look at the facts that have still to emerge about why the situation arose in Vienna in the first place and what was done by the authorities in Punjab to maintain calm and prevent attacks against Sikhs.

    The incident in Vienna and reaction in Punjab have brought back many memories. Firstly the memory of 13 April 1978 when thirteen innocent Sikhs were killed for peacefully demonstrating against a fake Nirankari baba for showing disrespect towards the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Secondly, the memory of the events from 25 years ago; when innocent Sikhs were deliberately targeted and killed.

    Many hearing about the incident in Vienna or unsubstantiated rumours have immediately jumped on the popular bandwagon to condemn the attack that took place on Sunday without establishing the full facts. This includes the possibility that three local Amritdhari Sikhs, simply wearing their Kirpans, may have been shot dead by Indian security agents providing armed protection to the two so-called self-proclaimed gurus visiting Austria. A fourth local Sikh is believed to be in a serious condition in hospital with bullet wounds to the head.

    Rumours abound as to why the incident took place in Vienna, including local tensions that existed. For example, there is talk of an incident a week earlier when a local Sikh man was supposedly attacked by thugs at the same location in Vienna for peacefully complaining about disrespect towards the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The local Sikh man is believed to have been left with life threatening injuries and subsequently died in hospital of the wounds inflicted.

    The media has largely been silent on the killing of Sikhs in Vienna by Indian security agents with the use of illegal firearms. Ironically the only statement in the media on the killing of three Sikhs has come from the Indian police itself. The media has also failed to report on whether a serious incident took place a week earlier that may have relegated the incident in Vienna to a local dispute that got totally out of hand by the over reaction of Indian security agents.

    There are however a number of hard truths that many of those making statements to the media have avoided to mention. It is well-known that the two so-called self-proclaimed gurus visiting Austria described by one Austrian politician as ‘problem gurus’ that should not have been allowed to enter the country to preach hate, were partaking in activities disrespectful of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. One possibility is these ‘problem gurus’ sealed their own fate through their offensive actions and continued disrespect towards the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The likes of the SGPC and those that promote and protect these ‘problem gurus’ must shoulder the blame for what has happen due to their inaction.

    There has been extensive misreporting about the Sikh faith by the media following the incident in Vienna. The repeated mistake made by the media is the failure to recognise Sikhs do not have a living human Guru. Instead the Sikhs eternal Guru is the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, which includes the teachings of Bhagat Ravi Dass and this has been the case for over 300 years.

    The tenth and last human Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji was unequivocal when he stated: “Sab Sikhan ko hokam hai Guru Manyo Granth” meaning “All Sikhs are commanded to take the Granth as Guru”. Sikhs throughout the world last year celebrated the 300th anniversary of the ending of the concept of the human Guru and the gurudom passing to the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Nonetheless these ‘problem gurus’ have been encouraged to continue to stir up matters and have been provided armed Indian government protection while in India and abroad.

    The media also continue to provoke the situation by portraying the Vienna incident as an issue linked to caste. However, by definition a Sikh is one who believes in one God, the teachings of the ten Sikh Gurus and their utterances contained in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji; and believes it is necessary to take Amrit by Khanda-ki-Pahul bequeathed by the tenth Guru. Those that understand the Sikh faith know those who take Amrit and become part of the Khalsa are deemed to be equal and the Sikh Gurus finished the caste system, which continues to be linked to the Hindu faith and way of life.

    Jaspal Singh
    National Press Secretary




    Sikh Community & Youth Service appalled by riots in Punjab​
    http://{censored word, do not repeat.}/news/07imagenotavailable001.jpg​
    We are deeply saddened and shocked over the recent incident that took place in Vienna, Austria and subsequent rioting in Punjab, India and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends, of everyone who has been affected by this incident.

    We would appeal to communities around the world to work together, in harmony to resolve this matter peacefully and uphold the honor of the Guru Granth Sahib. The rioting that has been taking place across Punjab and surrounding areas is causing a detrimental effect to all the communities residing in Punjab.

    Tensions had been building up within the Ravidass community for a number of years, concerning the Sach Khand Dera (Monestary) and there anti Guru Granth Sahib practices. A few years ago, Sant Rama Nand, leader of the Sach Khand Monestary came to the Guru Ravidass Gurdwara on Union Road in Handsworth, Birmingham, UK. He was forced to leave by the majority of the congregation and management committee because the majority of the Ravidass community took objection to the presence of any Dera leader, sitting parallel to the Guru Granth Sahib, the present and perpetual Sikh Guru.

    After this incident the Guru Ravidass Gurdwara in Handsworth mounted a plaque within the Gurdwara, banning any cult leaders from undermining the Guru Granth Sahib, with there ritual worshipping practices.

    At this time Sant Rama Nand leader of the Sach Khand Monestary hired the hall at the Holyhead High School on Holyhead Road, Handsworth to hold a gathering for his followers because the Guru Ravidass Gurdwara congregation and management committee, would not allow the gathering to take place there.

    It would be difficult for any community to allow cult leaders into there places of worship and allow them to undermine there religious beliefs. Similarly as in the incident in the Vienna Gurdwara, some members of the congregation were offended by the anti Guru Granth Sahib practices of the Dera leaders and this has led to this terrible tragedy occurring.

    Some media reports have suggested that the incident at the Gurdwara in Austria were due to tensions between higher and lower castes. Within the Sikh community we do not have a caste system, however people from different ethnic backgrounds or regions are referred to as Bradrees. This is different from the Hindu community in which castes exist.

    Within the Sikh community the bradrees literally mean equality amongst all ethnic groups, therefore although people may be from different ethnic groupings, collectively they make up the Sikh nation and are considered equal, which is different from the Hindu caste system, where people consider different castes to be higher and lower castes.

     
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