Sikhs For Change: Language - A Barrier For New Sikhs?

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
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Re: Language Barrier for new sikhs

Waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji ki fateh.


coming from an "oldie" ( just relative to you all...but deep inside i feel as young as anyone else out there...) of 56 years who is very very fluent in Both English and Punjabi, being a trained Misiionary Gyani from Punjab university and B.A Hons in English / Economics from Univesity of Malaya, I can see the need of the English speaking SIKHS whose first language is NOT Punjabi. My wholehearted support for this venture.

This is one "sacred cow" that we got to "slaughter" one of these days..the days of ONLY PUNJABI are going....over the horizon...Love of Punjabi/Gurmukhi will come sooner rather than later once a SIKH becomes Committed to GURU JI...insisting on Punjabi at the very beginning dulls the spirit and may drive people away.

jarnail Singh
 

drkhalsa

SPNer
Re: Youth and Language barrier?

Dear Nam Hari Kaur

Thanks for you r very interesting post and it seems that Akal Purakh has showered you with his grace and hope same for anybody looking for it

I have concerns myself about Sikhism or the lifestyle of some who are Sikhs - especially 3HO Sikhism here in America and have begun to watch for others to connect with to brainstorm with about our various issues. I do not want to be specific here in this post but perhaps in another one if there is interest.


you r are most welcome to disscuss the issues here on this forum


Jatinder Singh
 
Re: Youth and Language barrier?

Off-Topic:

Nam Hari Kaur ji,

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post and experiences detailed.

Waheguru.
 
Re: Youth and Language barrier?

Nam Hari Kaur ji...

I liked listening to kirtan and the granthi speaking in punjabi as well, however, i would get much more use out of it if i knew what they were talking about. Yes, i agree that the granthi should speak in both punjabi and english, and/or have a projection screen so people cans ee what is going on (another user suggested it). I agree that every sikh should try to learn gurmakhi, and it should be encouraged for new sikhs if they want to take the SGGS and kirtan to the next level. For beginners like me though, i want to learn the fundementals and teachings of sikhi, it should be available at a gurdwara - not just the interent. The internet is not always the safest and best place to learn.

The gurdwara should be a place of learning, not confusing. And it should eb the first place to look for info, not the interent.
 
Re: Youth and Language barrier?

Somewhere on forums, I had read that a few gurudwaras have these kind of equipments, which facilitate reading in English on screens, of what is being said by Granthi ji. Anyone who has seen that kind of gurudwara may shed more information abt this.
 
Re: Language - A barrier for New Sikhs

Dear Arvind Ji - We have a laptop and a projector at our local Gurudwara in Connecticut. We have downloaded a software called "Gurbani Researcher" from "SikhiToTheMax.com". It is a wonderful software which lets you search any shabad from SGGS and prepare a powerpoint presentation which can be navigated easily to display the line of shabad being sung by ragis. The shabads have a line by line english translation displayed which makes it very easy for everyone in the sangat to understyand the meaning of the shabad.

You can download that software and try it out yourself.

Regards,
 
Re: Language - A barrier for New Sikhs

Baljeet veer,

Thanks for the reply :)

Khalsa_Starr, how about looking into this in more detail, and then proposing this at the local Gurudwara. Here, I assume there is a requirement of dedicated resource, who is going to look into the shabad at the site/presentation, so tht it cud appear on the projector. And yes, sikhitothemax.com is a site, I always get onto to look for meaning of Guru Sahib.

Thanks again Baljeet ji.

Best Regards.
 
Re: Language - A barrier for New Sikhs

I have the software on a CD. I will see if I can locatethe CD and upload the software here.

Regards
 
Re: Language - A barrier for New Sikhs

CC, In between, the site goes down. Even today morning, it was reported down.

Aman Veer, may be you need to tell some location to Baljeet ji, where he could upload the software (or any file to be uploaded by anyone), if needed.

Regards.
 
Re: Language - A barrier for New Sikhs

Baljeet veer is going to upload after Aman veer gives directions to him. I assume, this software is available on sikhitothemax.com , which shud be freely downloadable.
 
Re: Language - A barrier for New Sikhs

Arvind said:
Baljeet veer is going to upload after Aman veer gives directions to him. I assume, this software is available on sikhitothemax.com , which shud be freely downloadable.

That will be the easy part, the hard part will be to get our "president" to agree to such a project. Our leader isnt exactly a model sikhor a good person to look up to. He eats meat, doesnt cover his hair in langer, and somtimes even the holy room! Also, he wears shoes in building and is alsways going to barbecues and grill, parties and so on.

I'll post on SPN about the progress i make here in vernon.
 
Re: Language - A barrier for New Sikhs

I guess, he is talking abt the president of local gurudwara there... reg it may be difficult to convince him of the changes which are needed to acquire projector etc. for display of Gurubani and meanings in English
 
Re: Language - A barrier for New Sikhs

Arvind said:
I guess, he is talking abt the president of local gurudwara there... reg it may be difficult to convince him of the changes which are needed to acquire projector etc. for display of Gurubani and meanings in English

Well, if there is a will, there is a away, a little quote that i think may be helpfull for some. Yes, the "President" is the leader of the gurdwara in vernon.
 

Rani

SPNer
Re: Language Barrier for new sikhs

Khalsa_starr said:
language barrier for new sikhs?
By Khalsa Starr

About half a year ago, i converted to sikhism. And even though i don't call myself a sikh yet (not amritdhari yet), i do try to follow as much of the sikh code of conduct to the best of my ability. (thanks to s1ngh!! again)


However, I have noticed something while going to the local Gurdwara - all of the talking in the temple was in Punjabi, especially in the main hall. The langar room was also a difficult place to navigate and talk with others since very few spoke fluent english. There were those who did speak both, but not very easily understood.

This made me ask a question: "is there a language barrier for new sikhs?" especially converts?. I asked this question because for new people, we want to learn new things and more about sikh teachings. Converts are usually very eager to learn more about sikhi (like myslef). However, it a little difficult to learn when you can't understand what is being said!

I'snt a gurdwara supposed to be a place for learning and enlightment? not a place of confusion and isolation?"


After asking these questions, i then realized that i am probably not the only one who has run into this wall. While i already know some sikh history and the code of conduct, what about those who are just curious? or want more information? So far the internet has been my greatest teacher, but just think about it - isnt the temple and granth sahib supposed to your teacher?

I asked someone about this, and they said that the granth sahib should only be read and spoken in the "language of the guru's" aka punjabi. Well that's great and all, but to me (and others newbies), the "language of the gurus" is useless and pointless if you dont understand it.

So to make things even more interesting, the gurudwara doesnt even have any english words on the building or nearby to suggest that this is a sikh place of worship. Where is a curious mind supposed to go? Or the new convert? The internet first? come on, if the sikhims was really meant to be learned on the net, wouldn't the guru's mention it? I think not.

I decided to pursue this problem and see what can be done about it. Until then i (and others) will continue to sit on the floor in the main hall and langar room and wonder what our "teachers" are saying...


-khalsa Starr


If any one is interestied in this issue, I'm currently looking for fellow sikhs who are new (converts, or reborn) and sikhs who are open minded and can think "outside the box". I am thinking about setting up a group for this.







_______________________________________________________


Hi,
firstly, I would like to know how you just converted to the Sikh religion, because I was always told for someone from outside a Sikh community, it takes 10 years. Secondly, the Guru Granth Sahib is in Gurumukhi, not Panjabi. 'Panjabi' ie, 'language of the five rivers' is spoken by most ethnic Sikhs today, or somewhat broken by those born and raised in Western countries, it is kind of like modern 'Gurumukhi' ie 'script of the Guru' but it is not the same as 'Gurumukhi'. If you are in a Western country, I'm sure people around you in the gurdwaras, especially the younger generations would speak English.
A lot of the time however the paigh do not. I had a similar problem about 10 years ago wen I was looking more into Sikhism, as have been raised quite secualr but always to believ in One God Created all: and all have the same God, I was not taken regularly to Sikh temples growing up, and mostly when I was it was for weddings and invites to peoples' akand paata. etc. which was more social obligation than anything else.
You can go out and find translated books, one paigh gave me a book called '3 prayers of the Sikh world' which prints what they call 'Roman Panjabi' in the book , ie, 'archaic' Panjabi which is Gurumukhi on the left page and on the facing both printed transliteration so you can attept to pronounce the Gurumukhi and the English translation underneath. The book contains and refers ofcourse to the 3 prayers Orthdox Sikhs would make/read every day. What I thought was particularly amzing was the fact that not only did the Gurumukhi lines all rhyme perfectly, they actually managed to make all of the English translation lines rhyme perfectly too.
I don't recall publishing press and translators names off hand, but I'm sure you could get something similar to this.

I personally have a problem fully prostrating to this book, [to bow your head in respect is one thing but ...]as if worshipping it, the way all Sikhs do when they enter the temple. I can only overlook this as an attempt to emulate the Indian Hindu custom of touching one's feet to show respect, as Sikhs do treat the book as if it is a living, breathing Guru.
If you are from a Christian influenced upbringing, or Roman Cathlolic, Eastern or Greek Orthadox, then idol worshipping would be something you would have been bought up with anyway, because of their abnormal obsession with 'the Christ' and/or Virgin Mary, respectively. Muslims may not use figurative reresentations of their role model Muhammad, the way other religions do of theirs, but having seen the way some of the most learned sheiks in Islam talk and behave, it is as if they worship him too.
 
Re: Language Barrier for new sikhs

Rani said:
Hi,
firstly, I would like to know how you just converted to the Sikh religion, because I was always told for someone from outside a Sikh community, it takes 10 years.
Superstition... although to be a true Sikh one must have taken amrit, which makes about 90% of self-confessed Sikhs today non-Sikh.

Rani said:
Secondly, the Guru Granth Sahib is in Gurumukhi, not Panjabi. 'Panjabi' ie, 'language of the five rivers' is spoken by most ethnic Sikhs today, or somewhat broken by those born and raised in Western countries, it is kind of like modern 'Gurumukhi' ie 'script of the Guru' but it is not the same as 'Gurumukhi'.
The Guru Granth Sahib is in Punjabi. The script of Punjabi is Gurumuki. Same thing.

Rani said:
I personally have a problem fully prostrating to this book, [to bow your head in respect is one thing but ...]as if worshipping it, the way all Sikhs do when they enter the temple. I can only overlook this as an attempt to emulate the Indian Hindu custom of touching one's feet to show respect, as Sikhs do treat the book as if it is a living, breathing Guru.
If you read Guru Granth Sahib it says you should worship your Guru but as a Guru, NOT as God and no Guru should ASK to be worshipped [of course that would be ego]. MATHA TEK is a Sikh thing. Muslims bow to Allah, Hindus bow to the MURTI of God... well infact, Hindu dandavat pranams are different for men and women are not simply bowing, the traditional way is to throw the body on the floor flat out and to touch the two temples [on the forehead] to the ground. This is done any odd number of times [1,3,5,7,9,11,13,15,17,19 etc.].
 
Re: Language Barrier for new sikhs

I again must stress the inportance of learning punjabi/gurmakhi, however, if you dont want to, then you dont. If you want to take the SGGS and prayers to the next level, it is recommended that you learn punjabi.
 
Re: Language - A barrier for New Sikhs

Thank you for the invitation to present my issues and concerns.

It appears that I did not reply to this- and I should have thanked you immediately for inviting me to discuss my concerns. As I become more comfortable here I will likely go into more detail about my concerns and questions.

Nam Hari Kaur, Eugene Oregon
 
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