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Aug 17, 2010
World citizen!
After several years away, I was recently a spectator at the local annual Vaisakhi nagar kirtan. I was the taxi service to the 1st stop so it was a great opportunity to stand outside and observe.

I used to think nagar kirtans were a waste and we should pursue other projects such as cleaning up the city or greater involvement in caring for the vulnerable. I thought money could be spent better. However, my observations have made me reconsider. The other things are worthy and should definitely be pursued but I think nagar kirtans can also have a vital role in our community.

* The nagar kirtan is a joint effort between all the Gurdwara's in the city and it is great to see the various committees working together rather than fighting. A sense of common purpose is important for peace.

* It was great to see so many Sikhs, especially youth getting excited about taking part and the atmosphere was great. This nagar kirtan has an emphasis on being a religious event so no bhangra etc. Even the presentation at the town hall for the mayor and other dignatories was based around faith rather than culture. What can we do to capitalise on this further to ensure those who are interested, stay interested?

* Lots of non-Sikh bystanders were very interested. Some asked questions, some watched, a very few joined in. It is a great way of raising awareness about who we are. Is just being there enough? What about distributing leaflets about Sikhism as we go along? How about talking about Sikhi in English in between the kirtan on the loud speaker so non-Sikhs can also understand and listen. What about advertising the event on local radio, local papers to invite everyone to join in giving details of where and when the stops are and all welcome to join in langar? School groups and local interfaith committees could also be involved.

^ One objection is the fact that it causes traffic problems and can cause resentment. Is the publicity the right kind of publicity? Can this be tackled? How about leaflets sent to all those in the neighbourhood where the procession will pass, information given to bus drivers on the route affected. Perhaps changing the route so less main roads are affected? Sensing in cleaning teams to the areas afterwards to ensure no mess is left behind. Making sure things run on time so it does not negatively impact on others and keeps the police on side as they spend a lot of time and effort organising the route and escort.

^ Another issue I had was with it being Vaisakhi, less kirtan from Sri Guru Granth Sahib JiJ was sung and more poetry or other texts thought to relate to Guru Gobind Singh Ji. For those in the sangat who do not know this from private study it is very misleading. Should this be allowed? When some pieces were translated in the town hall they pertain to war and fighting. Is this really the image we want to present about ourselves to outsiders?

Questions worth considering;
Is a nagar kirtan appropriate every year?
Should the events and kirtan included be controlled?
What can we do to improve the success of the event?
How can we capitalise on the benefits and reduce the negatives in the longterm?

:mundaviolin::tablakudi:japposatnamwaheguru: khandaaanimatedkhanda1


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