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To Be A Granthi - A Calling Or A Curse?

Tejwant Singh

Jun 30, 2004
Henderson, NV.
Lets not blame the Granthis who most of the times become Granthis after starting as apprentices. They memorize the Paath by heart at early age, ala Muslim madrasas, where enunciation has the front seat and comprehension the back bench. They listen to the fairy tales carved by thier 'teachers' and add their own garam masala to embellish when it is their turn to retell the same, all under the umbrella of Gurmat.

If we see in the Semitic religions, we find schools and universities catering to those who are interested in taking theology courses. Some of the pastors –Kathavaachaks,Granthis and Kirtanis -have doctorate degrees and they never cease studying and researching whereas our Kirtanis love to do abhiaas after having a good Langar and Karah Prashad.We have very little of that in India, but under the same token some of us pay hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions to create chairs in the universities in the US and other countries for the non Sikhs to learn about Sikhi.
Isn't it ironic?

We want Bhais/Granthis to do ardaas for the good grades of our kids, for a good match for our children, for a nicer house for ourselves- all this in exchange for some dollars and yet we do not want any prosperity for them. We all leave ourselves with open mouths when we see the Granthi sahib driving a new car and wonder where he/she got the money from and play Sherlock Holmes in order to find out the sources of the funds.

During Guru Sahib’s times, being a Granthi or a Kirtani was a calling. Now it is a calling alright, but to a dead end. No Granthi would want his children to do the same as this job offers no tools for self-improvement albeit financially or spiritually.

When we are in the bottom of Maslow's Pyramid/ Triangle, it is impossible to seek self-actualization.
Maslow's Pyramid of Human Needs by Abraham Maslow

What’s the remedy?


1. We should make this a career profession with the real possibility of financial growth in which a Granthi,Kathavaachak,Kirtani would not dread his children to follow his/her footsteps rather encourage him/her to have the same calling like being a doctor, engineer, a call center executive etc..etc..

2. We should have good schools/universities that teach Gurmat like any other profession.

3. The minimum requirement for a Granthi,Kathavaachak,
Kirtani should be an undergraduate degree and fluency in English should be the prerequisite.

4. SSGS should be translated in such a form that it could be easily understood by the English speaking population rather than a very poor transliteration of the Gurbani which adds more cloudiness rather than clarity.

5. Exchange programs should be held all around the world Gurdwaras so that the Granthis can go to other cultures and learn how to put the Gurmat message across to the local people.

6. Each Gurdwara should have a wide screen display with meanings in English of what’s being said or sung.

7. There should be questions and answers after every katha and kirtan immediately after so that the Sangat can have something to think over when they leave the Gurdwara besides having the desire to eat churan or antiacid tablets because of the spices in Guru ka Langar.

And many more.

All above is only possible if we keep our eyes on EDUCATION and not in parrot reading.



Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Jul 4, 2004
absolutely Tejwant Ji. I agree 110%.
Granthism is so commercialised today..just like Raagiism, kirtaniyasm, kathawachakism...all are just earning "careers"...for those who cant fit in naywhere else. I have seen "illegal immigrants" from Punjab..that initially cut their hair and discarded the sikhi sroop under the delusion that to blend in and get ajob fast thets how they must look..and then finding out what a foolish thign that was..they resume growing hair and tie dastaars..and become part time ragis/pathis/granthis..and as the beard grows to full length and their paath gets better..become respected "Gyani ji"..when they absolutely no intention of this at all...and they wait for a chance to get to usa.europe as they originally intended..if a "visa agent" says cut your hair..they will do it in five seconds !!! BEHROOPIAHS in and out.( They can do this easily as they come from Punjab..where PUN JABI is taught and spoken..so compared tot he LOCALS..they know more PUNJABI ..so can pass by "doing Paath" even though to an experienced paathi they are just muttering gibberish called "doing paath fast..punjab style !!..the locals not even knowing an oorra from an eerree...this works).
2. its our fault..if we pay peanuts..we will get monkeys... we have had applications to be gurdwara sewadaars from Takhat Jathedars....just becasue foriegn currency is bigger...vicious circle..useless granthis..command low pay..low pay attracts uselss granthis..we will have to break this circle if we want to attract good people.
Gyani jarnail Singh

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