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Vancouver Sikh Youth Aiming For Real Change!


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
The Sikh youth propose to get rid of the $25 membership fee and make the membership available online. This will help increase the number of members and give our community a bigger political role.

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Sikh Youth are fighting on issues for real change, which include making Sikh religion, philosophy and culture the forefront instead of old issues regarding tables and chairs.

“There is no debate about where to sit anymore. Everyone will be accommodated. There are far bigger issues to tackle,” said a press release from the Sikh Youth Vancouver group

The Sikh youth also propose to get rid of the $25 membership fee and make the membership available online. This will help increase the number of members and give our community a bigger political role.

The Ross St. Gurdwara’s membership has dropped from nearly 60, 000 to a mere 4,000 members. Instead of engaging in the blame game the Sikh Youth Vancouver has a program that will restore the society to its once respectable status.

It’s hard to believe that the issue of tables and chairs, born some 14 years ago, had such a disastrous effect on our community. Such a long time ago yet still fresh, as the issue, has lingered on in many minds. Not necessarily a religious but more of a political free ride used to cash in on the vote bank by our “religious” leaders.

Fortunately, this year the issue will not be table or chairs. The Ross st. Gurdwara has an amendment in the constitution that the tables and chairs cannot be removed. The only way to change this by-law is if there is a vote on the issue and 75% of the sangat votes in favor of it. No committee or individual can remove the tables and chairs otherwise. For that reason this election will be interesting. Finally we can deal with the “real issues”.

Unfortunately, a whole generation lost out because of these mindless issues. This divided community started going to Gurdwaras based not on the message but rather how and where they were going to sit for food consumption. Over the years things have slowly changed partly due to the efforts of the Sikh youth. They successfully ran for and with many hurdles in their way were able to form the executives of two major Gurdwaras.

Now a separate youth group out of Vancouver is attempting a change at the Ross St. Gurdwara. They have been working for nearly a year on their campaign by bringing awareness to the Vancouver area and also proceeding legally. They are facing many hurdles which are expected. No temple showdown can be a clean one. No temple solution can be without the courts or lawyers. Its time to stop wasting the sangat’s money. Why cant there be simple solutions??? Why do people cling onto power? Why can’t things be done fairly? Solutions are easy if all parties work for the common good. However, if one group does not wish to recede power then they will do everything in their means to keep their control and make it as difficult as possible for those making a challenge. Then there are the opportunity seekers that wish to ride the wave and cash in on the popular support.

The Ross St. Gurdwara will face the ultimate challenge of change this November. Change is nothing new here. There have been changes with many issues over the years. In the seventies the plaguing issue was whether or not to enter the prayer room with or without head coverings. It’s very hard to believe now that people back then would actually enter the prayer room with their bare heads. There were many altercations over the years because of this issue. Seems mindless now doesn’t it? Why couldn’t they just have respect for the house of the Lord and cover their head? Unfortunately, something called ego came in the way. Even God had to be told that we would come to his house on our own terms. If that meant disrespecting him in his own house so be it. I m sure when our kids grow up and look back at the issues of the past 15 years they will say something similar. Will we look like a bunch of uneducated fools? After all if we disagree with the rules we can make up our own rules and build a new Gurudwara. That’s what happened when one group decided that they would just build their own and be free to do as they willed. They didn’t have to cover their heads if they didn’t want to. Ironically, twenty-five or so years later everyone in that Gurdwara now covers their head. Sadly though, their event set up a very dangerous trend. In the Vancouver area others have followed suit for their own “religious” reasons and now there are more private Gurdwaras than public.

Time heals, people are educated, become wiser, and make the right decisions. They realize what is right and wrong. Our, so called, leaders should stop playing politics and practice the religion that they preach to others. Why is it that a president of a Gurdwara was charged with drunk driving and our community was not too concerned. This story was flashed all across the mainstream media. We are more guilty of putting people like that in a position of power than they are. That was not him being charged with drunk driving; that was our whole community. Bill Cosby once said that “when a white man falls off the stool on television, it’s a white man falling off the stool” but “when a black man falls off the stool on television, it’s the whole black race”.

We need to elect people that will work for the community and be a guiding force for our youth. That is why this election is important. It will affect us for the next three years. The deadline for membership is September 5, 2010. The limited time for form pick up and submission is Tuesday and Thursdays from 11 -1 and on Saturdays from 2 – 4 pm. On the last week August 30 to September 5 the time is 2 to 6 pm daily.