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Opinion Move By US Gurdwara To Ban 'kirpan' Upsets Clergy

Jan 7, 2005
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Move by US gurdwara to ban 'kirpan' upsets clergy

Issue to be discussed by heads of all five Takhts

Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 1


Akal Takht has taken serious note of the move by the Gurdwara of Rochester in the US to ban ‘kirpan’ in the gurdwara premises.

The Akal Takht chief, Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, said it was a serious matter that would be deliberated upon at the next meeting of the Jathedars of all five Takhts.

He said a panel formed to investigate the matter had recently submitted its preliminary report to him. (The Tribune has a copy of the report sent by Bhai Sahib Satpal Singh Khalsa, committee coordinator).

The report says the gurdwara trustees had submitted affidavits supporting an application for preliminary injunction for “barring all persons entering the gurdwara premises from bringing in sheathed swords larger than 4-6 inches or other weapons that could cause injury or threat to persons within the premises”.

It says the trustees had said in their affidavits that "the families may wish to worship at home at their worship rooms and such families do not have to come to the gurdwara.” It also says that the judge had approved the ‘kirpan’ ban after the gurdwara showed it as a “dangerous weapon”. The report says that the ban will have a serious impact on the Sikh way of life as well as gurdwaras worldwide. It apprehends that other courts in the US may use this injunction to ban the ‘kirpan’ all over the US and Canada.

“This is a matter of grave concern for the Sikh Sangat all over the world, particularly in the US,” the report reads. Probe committee coordinator Khlasa said he had tried to contact the trustees of the Gurdwara of Rochester and had even written to them, but “they refused to meet me or any of our panel members. They refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the committee appointed by Akal Takht.”

Sikhs abroad fear that the move may weaken the community's fight for permission to Sikh children to wear the ‘kirpan' to schools and colleges.

Possible Implications

•The ban will have a serious impact on the Sikh way of life as well as gurdwaras worldwide
•Other courts in the US may use this injunction to ban the “kirpan” in gurdwaras in US, Canada
•Sikhs abroad fear the move may weaken community's fight for permission to wear the 'kirpan' to schools, colleges and workplaces

source: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130302/punjab.htm#2
 

spnadmin

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This controversy, and in Yiddish referred to as a "mishigas," began almost 2-years ago. It even led to demonstrations by sangats up and down the US east coast on the sidewalks across the street from the gurdwara. We have several threads on the unfolding events here at SPN. Then the matter came to the attention of AT last year. I don't see why it is suddenly on their radar screen..... again? Slow reaction time?
 

Mai Harinder Kaur

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This controversy, and in Yiddish referred to as a "mishigas," began almost 2-years ago. It even led to demonstrations by sangats up and down the US east coast on the sidewalks across the street from the gurdwara. We have several threads on the unfolding events here at SPN. Then the matter came to the attention of AT last year. I don't see why it is suddenly on their radar screen..... again? Slow reaction time?
To begin, there is no Sikh clergy.

AT has more important things on its agenda, like arguing about the calendar, to optimtise profits/donations at Darbar Sahib (Amritsar).

Anyway, banning the kirpan is to ban the Khalsa, which would make that "gurudwara" not a Sikh house of worship, but just a building flying a nishan sahib, serving langar and playing games.

In all fairness, it seems they would allow small kirpans; the one I carry these days would be allowed. But who could imagine the Panj Piyare without sword-length kirpans or an anand karaj without that majestic kirpan borne by the groom (and maybe the bride? :winkingkudi: )?
 

spnadmin

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I gave up a few years ago trying to break the press of the bad habit of using words like "clergy" "high priest" "priest" "temple" and the one that takes the cake and the icing "apex throne." It is from Sikhs they get these ideas. How else would they?

Now to be balanced in coverage, there are many gurdwara management committees who use these terms (out of ignorance?) and there are many Sikh web sites that engage in the same hyperbole. Let me add another one. If a critical mass of members take out an add against anyone or any practice they disapprove, or organize a disruptive rally via facebook, they use phrases like, the doer of the beadbi "met the wrath of the panth." Collective egotism?

So good you speak out.
 
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Mai Harinder Kaur

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As my health continues to deteriorate and my energy decreases, I find myself choosing my battles very carefully. As for Sikh clergy, Sikh priest, Sikh high priest (fer Gawd's sake), I deem this a battle worth fighting. The idea of a priesthood flies in the face of what Gurus Sahiban have taught us. Granthi, the person charged with caring for Siri Guru Grath Sahib ji is a good and honourable title. What need to call him/her a priest? Apex throne? lol

As for the jathedars, let us insist that they be called "Jathedars." I know that the word has 3 syllables, but most humans can handle that with a bit of effort.

Another is referring to Amrit Sanchar as baptism. This may be a losing battle since "baptism" is used in the SRM, but I don't like it. I prefer "initiation" and would settle for "ceremony," but baptism is a distinct term from another religion.

As for beadbi, it seems to me that calling the Granthi who cares for our Eternal Guru Sahib a "priest" actually borders on beadbi, if not actually crossing the line. Let the Panth rise up against this one, eh? :winkingkaur:
 
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Tejwant Singh

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The Jathedars of the Takhats think they are the popes of Sikhi. Pardon the pun.

I am just curious about the board members of this Rochester Gurdwara. How many of them are Amritdhari/Keshadhari?

What is the true reason to this prohibition?

Why do they feel threatened?

Will the committee install metal detectors at the entrance?

Normally, every Darbar Sahib is decorated with two 3 foot Kirpans in the front of Palki where the SGGS is kept.

Are there any Kirpans decorating the palki?

Is this a tug of war between the board members of different parties?

Any one who lives in Rochester and visits SPN will be of great help to clarify this.

My Kirpan is about 6" and it is very sharp. It is made by the Swiss Military Knife Company, the only one to venture in the Kirpan business outside India.

I am a bit confused by their actions about getting approval from the court. It shows sheer power move and sets a wrong precedent for Sikhi in the US court system, which is not a good thing.

How about the 8" sharp knives in the kitchen for langar? Are they OK?

This is all muddled up, to put it politely.

Tejwant Singh
 

spnadmin

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The Jathedars of the Takhats think they are the popes of Sikhi. Pardon the pun.

I am just curious about the board members of this Rochester Gurdwara. How many of them are Amritdhari/Keshadhari? No board members were amritchari. This gurdwara started out as privately owned and begun by a group of families whose members constituted board leadership for years. They are not fighting amongst themselves... or at least were not when this story broke.

What is the true reason to this prohibition? It started out with a petition for a change of leadership by election. The board tells one story. The amritdhari and friends tell a different story.

Why do they feel threatened?

Will the committee install metal detectors at the entrance?

Normally, every Darbar Sahib is decorated with two 3 foot Kirpans in the front of Palki where the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is kept.

Are there any Kirpans decorating the palki? Yes. these were part of the middle chapters of the story. They were at some point used during a shastar demonstration for the children of the sangat... an educational program.

Is this a tug of war between the board members of different parties? No nothing to do with that.

Any one who lives in Rochester and visits SPN will be of great help to clarify this.

My Kirpan is about 6" and it is very sharp. It is made by the Swiss Military Knife Company, the only one to venture in the Kirpan business outside India.

I am a bit confused by their actions about getting approval from the court. It shows sheer power move and sets a wrong precedent for Sikhi in the US court system, which is not a good thing. The court proceedings were in civil court and the judge was given information that led him to exclude 2 keshdhari Sikhs and their families. The others joined arms in solidarity. Things escalated. I don't remember, however, I do not think the judge banned kirpams per se.

How about the 8" sharp knives in the kitchen for langar? Are they OK? The knives in the langar kitchen are doing better than I am.

This is all muddled up, to put it politely.

Tejwant Singh
This is all muddled up because it is a shaggy dog story, you cannot see the head or the tail, no beginning nor end can be clearly unearthed 'mongst all the shaggy fur. To my knowledge no one pulled a knife, sword or kripan on anyone and there was no hand to turban combat. The board cited its fears as one of the reasons for seeking the intervention of the court. All this was included in the ruling of the judge, and that ruling is uploaded as an attachment in one of the threads (see above).
 
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spnadmin

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I am posting some of the threads. There is even a facebok page about it. The nephews of a family friend and business partner of my husband, and Hindu, even went to be part of the protests.

I think these threads are the most informative. However, reading more information won't necessarily clear anything up.

http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/united-states/35093-implications-kirpan-ban-rochester-gurdwara-s.html


Notice the date on the next thread. May 2011 when AT was first notified.

http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/controversies/34984-akal-takht-seeks-clarification-gurdwara-rochester-2.html

This thread tells the management side of the story by a "friend" who says he is writing from Detroit.

http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/united-states/34200-court-lifts-ban-carrying-kirpan-rochester.html

This is the first thread of the lot I believe.

http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/united-states/31104-all-amritdharis-banned-rochester-ny-gurdwara.html

The WSC-AR summary at the beginning of this thread is a credible summary. The thread is long and contentious

http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/united-states/31230-wsc-ar-condemns-board-trustees-gurdwara.html

I apologize that I posted these threads from most recent posts to the earliest posts coming in last. You will have to reverse the threads.

admin note: One final and very important point. The case is often mistakenly linked to the Rochester Sikh Gurdwara in New York City. Unfortunate. The gurdwara in question is in Rochester in New York State, many miles away from New York City. I feel the need to mention this because the Rochester NYC sangat was very upset when confusion occurred.
 

Gyani Jarnail Singh

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Anyone can clarify which Rochestor Gurdwara did the infamous Tampered CD of Prof Darshan Singh Case occur ?? I Know its one of those two mentioned by Spnadmin.....but which one...

Mai ji..as to your query about the Pope resigning...well as far as I know the Pope is an honourable man..and he left when he coudlnt stand the heat....but our jathedars are not !!..( I mean NOT..honourable.. and certainly not ones to ever leave voluntarily - The ONE and ONLY who RESIGNED was Prof darshan Singh and he left in the similar circumstances as the Pope did -all others who "left" were SACKED.
 

spnadmin

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Gyani ji... Your are correct. And last night I could not remember what the incident was regarding Professor Darshan Singh but it was the CD. The infamous CD was produced by a member of the Rochester gurdwara in New York City. Sangat torn apart.

Two different places, and two different instances. That was another sangat torn apart by the actions of driven individuals.

In the Rochester city case, it is notable that sehajdhari, amritdhari, and even non-Sikhs were part of civil demonstrations against the management committee/board.

Now you have me wondering how things in Richmond, NYC have turned out. p/s we also have extensive thread discussion on the CD incident also.

Rpchester NYC incident of tampered CD http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/hard-talk/27322-professor-darshan-singh-case-missing-video.html
 
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