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UK Children In Charge Of Holland Park Sikh Temple

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
6 November 2011 Last updated at 05:19 ET

Children in charge of Holland Park Sikh temple
By Catrin Nye


Sikh temple in London is handing control over to children for one day a month. Catrin Nye reports.

A Sikh Gurdwara in west London has put children at the heart of its running for one day a month.

The idea came from parents who wanted their children to have a bigger role in their place of worship.

The Gurdwara Khalsa Jatha in Holland Park was established in 1908 making it the oldest Sikh place of worship in the UK.

Continue reading the main story “Start Quote We learn in a different way now and we don't sit down and do as we're told any more”
End Quote Navleen Kaur Event organiser
Organisers of the event told BBC Asian Network they wanted their children to sustain the temple that their elders had worked so hard to create.

Pasta and chips

Navleen Kaur, who organised the event and brought along her own children, said: "There was definitely a need to change the approach because everything was in Punjabi, it was very long.

"We changed it so we could come down to the level of the children, open the space for them and let the children tell us what to do.

"The older generation created the Gurdwaras. They've done great work by giving us the space, but we learn in a different way now and we don't sit down and do as we're told any more and not ask questions."

Many aspects of the day are adapted to be more child friendly than an ordinary day of worship.

The devotional songs or kirtan are shorter so that the children don't get bored.

The Punjabi language is also replaced with English, or at least translated so everyone can understand.

The Gurdwara food - the Lungar - which is always available at temple has been adapted. Pasta and chips are available alongside the usual Indian fare while dads have been brought in to cook.

Parents were encouraged to get involved as well, guiding the children in singing and painting faces.

'Sense of fun'

Sanjiv Mohan Singh Ahluwalia, who brought his four year old down, "Takeover of the children - I think it's lovely.

"It's easy for a formal religious venue of this nature to exude a formal feel about it and to see children coming to give it a sense of life and a sense of fun, I think it's wonderful."

One of the children given a more ceremonial role was 12 year old Anahat Kalra who led some devotional singing.

He said: "I did Gobinday Mukunday and I did the hand actions with it to get the younger children to join in as well.

"I think the arts and crafts help today as well - all children want their faces painted so it's fun for them."

source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-15595139


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Inderjeet Kaur

Oct 13, 2011
Seattle, Washington, USA
What a great idea!

Just last night I was listening to Cat Stevens' old song, Father and Son, which is a heart-wrenching conversation between a father and his son. As always the words:

From the moment I could talk,
I was ordered to listen,
Now there's a way
And I know
I have to go away.
I know I have to go

hit me in the pit of my stomach.

It seems to me that we often really do push our children away in this manner. It might have worked a century ago in Punjab, but it clearly isn't working now, both in Punjab and in the Diaspora. Whether we like it or not, the time has come when we older folks need to shut up and listen to the young ones now and then. My experience is that if we really listen, we will be amazed at what is going on inside them. As we have much to teach them, so they also have much to teach us.

Here's the song. Please listen. The lyrics are on screen.

Father and Son (lyrics) - Cat Stevens - YouTube



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