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English Tests Threatens Worship


Sep 16, 2004
English tests 'threaten worship'
By Duncan Walker
BBC News
For the team behind what will be one of Europe's largest Hindu temples there is a new addition to the long list of daily tasks - fighting government immigration policy.
After eight years and getting on for £7.5m, the battle to transform a desolate West Midlands industrial site should soon be won.
The bulk of the looming Shri Venkateswara Balaji Temple in Tividale is already built. Its backers enthusiastically point out where a grand staircase and hand-carved statues will go.
But there is a problem - they cannot find enough traditionally trained Indian priests and, while the government says candidates must speak English, they do not believe they will be able to do so.
The lack of these scholarly pujaris has left many at the temple feeling "uncomfortable" and efforts to change ministers' minds are underway.
Former Home Secretary David Blunkett introduced the English language rules to ensure priests "can speak to and for their congregations", but the Hindu Council says the move has left many other temples facing similar problems.
'Essential acts'
Although the men in hard hats and the clink-clink of Indian stone masons hand-carving blocks of granite are a constant reminder of the work still to be done, the Balaji Temple is partly open.

Around the complex, the five pujaris at the temple - which says it needs eight - chant Sanskrit mantras as part of intricate and often lengthy rituals in honour of its deities.
Priests focus on "the essential acts of Deity worship, which involves offering pure foodstuffs to the Deity, bathing Him, clothing Him, and looking after Him in the most pure and spiritual way", the Hindu Council explains.
The Balaji Temple's rituals are the same as those that have been performed in India for thousands of years - which means that only traditionally trained pujaris can work there.

400,000 followers in UK
Hindus believe in a universal soul, or God, called Brahman
No founder, single teacher, or prophets
Not a single, unified religion
Existence a cycle of birth, death and rebirth
Hinduism more than 3,000 years old

Most started learning the mantras and rituals in India when they were about eight, continuing until they were 15. "Academic" subjects like English were not important.
"We are in trouble because finding a person properly trained in these traditions who can speak English is difficult, I don't think it's possible," says temple manager Dr Praveen Kumar.
The chances of finding a suitable priest raised in the UK are considered remote as a British education would not allow such dedication to one subject.
Nevertheless, it is English-speakers which the government says it must find.
Those travelling to the UK must have a basic grasp of English and, if they are to stay after two years, become a competent writer and speaker of English.

Hope is what makes you get on, so we hope the Home Office will see that this is the thing which keeps Hindus peace-loving and cool
Dr Praveen Kumar

"It is also important that once here, faith leaders play a full role in their communities and gain an understanding and appreciation of British civic life," Mr Blunkett said when introducing the rules.
Anil Bahnot, general secretary of the Hindu Council, says Hindus have been caught up in what he believes to be a policy aimed at tackling radical Muslim preachers.
As scholarly pujaris perform only rituals and do not preach, argues Mr Bahnot, they should be exempt from the tests unless they decide to take a more pastoral role, or stay on beyond two years.
Immigration Minister Tony McNulty has met Balaji Temple chairman Dr Narayan Rao to discuss the issue and the Home Office says it "takes seriously all the concerns of the faith community".
Among the Hindu community hope that it can force a government re-think remains.
"Hope is what makes you get on, so we hope the Home Office will see that this is the thing which keeps Hindus peace-loving and cool," said the Balaji Temple's Dr Kumar.
But even if the argument does go the temple's way, there is little chance that the months ahead will be quiet.
There are the small matters of keeping the builders on schedule, starting work on landscaping the grounds, organising a children's summer school and doing more fundraising.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/07/28 01:05:37 GMT


Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Jul 4, 2004
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji KI Fateh.

Not really. The English are trying to do what we should have done in the FIRST PLACE.

Here is a a post from another Forum which i wrote about our GRANTHIS.

"Author: Jarnail Singh Gyani "Arshi"
Date: 08-02-05 17:11

Waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji ki fateh.

Today on the net I came across a LIST of "FORMER GRANTHIS" in Australia who have "retired" from Granthi and gone into other businesses and outside work.

A Christian friend commented on this..This is UNIQUE.... Our Christian Priests go through a LONG PERIOD of Seminary studies etc and then become PRIESTS for LIFE....Same for the IMAMS, the Rabiis and the Monks of Buddhist temples and even the SWAMIS in the Hindu mandirs..

It is ONLY in the SIKH RELIGION that any "unemployed" or "unemployable" person can walk in to a Gurdwara and become a GRANTHI/GYANI overnight...and then when he gets the PR/GREEN CARD etc..he walks out to become..??? whatever he really wanted to in the First Place.

The Australian List has 15 names on it.... a WORLD RECORD... I dont think we can ever find such list of hindu priests, imamas, or Christian Priests.

It is proof that "GRANTHI" is just a stepping stone towards PR/Green card for those who cant get in any other way... Any wonder then that we DONT have MUCH Parchaar coming out of GURDWARAS.....the "caretakers" are just bidding their time !!!! We spend BILLIONS making magnifiecent Gurdwaras..BUT NOTHING on the GRANTHIS who will be dedicated to GRANTHI for LIFE.

IN MALAYSIA/SINGAPORE too the FIRST GENERATION of GRANTHIS were Granthis for LIFE...now the ones we "import" from punjab are just marking time until they get a chance to..fly away to Australia/canada...etc etc.. IF in the meantime they can do some HAVOC locally they grab the first chance..and then they have to be "chased away" to another gurdwara only too willing to give them a safe haven...for a while..until they fly away..

Jarnail Singh. END of message.

Here is what another reader has to say baout an ideal granthi:
Author: charanjeev singh
Date: 08-04-05 14:53

waheguruujikakhalsa waheguruujikifateh

In my humble opinion, this is whom i would consider the perfect Granthi, the perfect Raagis, and the Perfect Ardaasi.

The Granthi Sahib, Raagis, and Ardaasi, would all live in the country in where they also run the congregation.

The Granthi Sahib, Raagis, and Ardaasi, would be family men/women, whom would gather at the Gurdwara Sahib in the mornings. They would do seva of Guru Granth Sahib Jee in Laridhaar Sarroop, and do NitNem together. They would perform keertan in Raags prescribed in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, and conclude with the Ardaas. All seva performed will be Niskhaam.

During the days, they would do their Kirt Kamai at their respected places of employment, business, or elsewhere.

The evening samagam would include Rehraas sahib, Keertan in Raags with string instruments. Larivaar Katha of Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee, and Katha of Hukamnama Sahib would also be done everyday. All sewa done would be Nishkaam.

There should be at least two Granthi Sahibs, two raagi keertan jathas, and two ardaasis.

Samagams would be held everyday, morning and evening.

The sewadaars would also be the sewaks in Panj Pyareh Di Sewa.

The Langar would be made under the guidelines of Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib. The Degh would also be made under the guidelines of Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib.

bhul chuk mauf
waheguruujikakhalsa waheguruujikifateh...END OF MESSAGE.

It is a sad commentary on our Granthis...most of them are half baked unemployables who take this up as a last resort. It is commonly said that thsoe who cannot get married become SANTS/SAADHS and then open up deras. They are as uneducated as they come sicne education is not a requirement.

in the WEST, the Govts are pushing for reform..and our GRANTHIS better pull their SOCKS UP ( that is IF they wear socks !!) or thie days are numbered..at least in the WEST..lucarative posts ???

Jarnail Singh

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Jul 4, 2004
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji KI Fateh.

When a Christian Missionary first enters a Seminary for about 15 years of hard training, he decides whaich country he will serve in. Then he is taught all about that country..its LANGUAGE, customs, religions, beleifs, peoples and HOW to CONVERT them to Christianity.

A Typical GRANTHI/RAAGI/KATHAWACHAK/Parcharak...is a "last minute" choice for the job. He is just in it for the "PASS TIME UNTIL PR/GREEN CARD" is approved...and then off he goes.

Thus we have GRANTHIS etc coming to the WEST.....wehn they cnat even Write and Speak Proper PUNJABI..let alone even a single word of English/French/German/Dutch/Spanish/Italian/Malay...whatever. They "speak" in the Gurdwara in the Punjabi they know...take their money and go home....anybody learnt anything ?? who cares.

A Granthi who wants to come to the WEST for employment should at least be a BA Hons in ENGLISH...and also well educated in other religions for comparative studies, and able to talk on Economics, computers etc so as to relate GURBANI/GURMATT to Modern Youth and their demands and needs. A Granthi who only knows how to read the Guru garnth ji and a few bollywood tunes on the waja is of absolutley NO USE to anybody...least of all to the Wester educated Sikh youth.

SO these Govts are actually doing us a FAVOUR by insisting on EDUCATED Granthis..that will STOP the DERAWALLAHS "production line" of uneducated backward granthis who only know the vedas and SAKHIS about Devtas who lived for millions of years etc... these deras are the Madrassah equivalent.

Jarnail Singh

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