Sikh News Wish Of Mardana’s Descendent May Not Be Fulfilled

Jun 1, 2004
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Wish of Mardana’s descendent may not be fulfilled
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service


Amritsar, October 3
Ghulam Mohammad Chaand (70), a Muslim rababi, who is a descendent of Bhai Mardana, a life-time companion of Guru Nanak Dev, is unlikely to get permission from the SGPC to perform ‘kirtan’ in the Golden Temple.

He visited Amritsar — his birthplace — for the first time after Partition. Immediately after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple, he expressed desire to perform ‘kirtan’ there. However, he was told that this was not possible due to change of ‘maryada’.

As per the new ‘maryada’ rules, the SGPC has mentioned particular dress code for the ‘raagis’. His uncle, Bhai Gyan Chaand, was the last Muslim rababi who performed ‘kirtan’ at Darbar Sahib.

According to new norms, only baptised Sikhs can perform ‘kirtan’ in the Golden Temple. Before Partition of the country, Muslim rababis were given special permission to perform ‘kirtan’ there.

Talking to TNS here today, Ghulam Mohammad Chaand said it was his last wish to perform ‘kirtan’ in the Golden Temple like his uncle. He would be performing ‘kirtan’ at the gurdwara of Sector 34, Chandigarh, on October 8.

He said there should ne no such restriction on Muslim rababis who remained with Gurus (till Guru Teg Bahadur) and enthralled the Sikh Sangat with ‘kirtan’.

He said he had been performing ‘kirtan’ in Nankana Sahib and Dehra Sahib Gurdwara, Lahore, without any restriction.

He visited Gali Rababian where more than 200 families of Muslim rababis used to live before Partition. They migrated to Pakistan after Partition.

However, he felt sad to see that there was no trace of his ancestral house following expansion of Gurdwara Guru Ke Mahal.

He said the well of the house that could have been preserved was also filled with earth.

He is accompanied by his nephews, Amzad and Ryaz. They are visiting India on the invitation of Ms Shumita of United Colours of Punjab.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, has promised to arrange Ghulam Mohammad Chaand’s performances on the university campus and in affiliated colleges of the university.
 

drkhalsa

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Sep 16, 2004
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it is indeed very sad that he i s not been allowed to do so , as i think of the issue i think rules could be bent on occasion but what ever we say doesnot matter it all depends on SGPC
 

etinder

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Jul 26, 2004
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what i feel this is a very critical issue and the forum should discuss it further

a) should no one other than baptised sikhs be allowed to do keertan?
b) Is this rule or maryada never to be bent?
c) as raised above can bhai mardanaji descendents and baba sri chands chela's can be weighed under the same measure?
 

Amarpal

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Jun 11, 2004
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Dear Khalsa Jee,

You know that Siri Guru Nanak Dev Jee did not give Gurgadi to his son. This is to say that Gursikh should value what the individual is and not who she/he is. Each one of us has to be great on our own merit; we cannot justify ourselves to be great and seek a special place just because our ancestors were great. We Sikhs are not hero-worshippers; we do not worship our Gurus as personalities.

If the gentleman is real lover of God, then he can do Kirtan any where, God is present everywhere. The appeal of Kirtan does not change with place.

Yes, doing Kirtan in Harmander Sahib, brings the person under spotlight, and may give satisfaction to the ego - a sense of importance.

Harmandar Sahib is not an ordinary public place. Harmandar Sahib is the seat of spirituality; it is not a place to satisfy any long held desire of any individual. Spirituality demands doing things for higher cause and not for oneself.

Tansen's Guru never sang for any other consideration except for his love for God. For such singing he never selected any specific place of worship. He had no demands to sing for God, he expected nothing in return; his love was pure. He dedicated all his life's investment (efforts) in learning music to the God. He was spiritual. Where ever such evolved people sing that place will become divine and other people will come to bow there head there. No place by itself is divine; it becomes so because of the Karmas of the evolved individuals. We go to Harmander because divinity downed on that place for what our Gurus did there.

If the person under discussion is evolved then where ever he is the Hallow of divinity will be around that place. He does not have to go to any specific place.

The rules have to be the same for all; they cannot be bent for one specific person. We cannot create a privileged class based on the family to which the individual belongs. If it is done then we will be creating segregation in our Khalsa Panth. This is how castes were created in ancient India. Our Guru Sahibs had worked hard to abolish it. It has not yet been fully eliminated; we should do nothing to make it stronger. We should be careful in what we do.

I am not taking any sides on this issue. For me the request from the individual and the refusal by the authorities are both the products of their respective egos. Hence both are the same for me.

These are my views.

With love and respect for all.

Amarpal
 

drkhalsa

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Sep 16, 2004
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The rules have to be the same for all; they cannot be bent for one specific person. We cannot create a privileged class based on the family to which the individual belongs. If it is done then we will be creating segregation in our Khalsa Panth. This is how castes were created in ancient India. Our Guru Sahibs had worked hard to abolish it. It has not yet been fully eliminated; we should do nothing to make it stronger. We should be careful in what we do


dear amarpal ji ,

Thanks very much for correcting me and now i think i was wrong in saying all this .
 

Amarpal

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Jun 11, 2004
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Dear Khalsa Jee,

It is good that you have expressed your views. Experience tells me that knowledge grows through discussions and sharing. I to want to contribute to this build up of knowledge.

Guru Nanak did not see any individual, as Hindu or Musalman is true. That is Sikhi. We have to understand the difference and linkage between Sikhi and Khalsa. Sikhi is the teachings of our ten Gurus as enshrined in Siri Guru Granth Sahib. Khalsa is a structured Panth based on Sikhi. Sikhi is to Khalsa what software is to computer. Sikhi is universal, any one can read Siri Guru Granth Sahib and incorporated its teachings into her/his life. Khalsa is a grouping with structure, uniform (5Ks), norm and code of practices. Sikhi is Nirakaar; Khalsa has Akaar. This distinction was well conceived by all of our Gurus. This clearly reflected in the actions of our Gurus. Akaal Takhat, which is guides, the temporal aspect of Khalsa (Akaar) is a separate building from the Gurdwara Harmandar Sahib where Sikhi (Nirakaar) is. It is for the same reason our tenth Guru, who finally made Siri Guru Granth Sahib our Guru, did not include the directives regarding Khalsa uniform (5Ks) and code of practices etc in Siri Guru Granth Sahib as they were dealing with the temporal aspects of Khalsa and not with spirituality i.e. Sikhi, though he has all the authority to do so; what he did we right and good for Khalsa. We know in Khalsa way of living spirituality is given first place and temporal aspects come after it. It is for this reason that of the two Nishan Sahib in front of Akaal Takhat in Harmandar Sahib complex, the one closer to Gurdwara is taller; it reminds us that spirituality comes first.

Harmandar Sahib is a structure; it has Akaar. All entities with Akaar have a Marayada associated with them; Harmandar Sahib is no exception. We insist that any one entering Harmandar Sahib should remove her/his footwear, cover her/his head and should not carry tobacco inside in any form. None of these have any thing to do with spirituality; they are not universal also. Will it be prudent to wave them off for some one who is addicted to tobacco because the person is special? Answer is clear ‘NO’. Even Head of States Queen of England had removed her footwear and covered her head when she visited Harmandar Sahib. Even if I visits some ones residence, good manners demand that I follow the Marayada of that family; Harmandar Sahib is to big and entity for its norms to be waved off to satisfy the desire of one individual.

Harmandar Sahib is open to all who follow the Marayada of the shrine. It is certainly not open to those who do not follow it. Certainly no one will be allowed inside with shoes etc. Harmandar Sahib is a physical expression of the Panth i.e. Akaar of Sikhi and all Akaar have norms to uphold its Marayada. Even the book form of Siri Guru Granth Sahib is Akaar and there is Marayada associated with it. The knowledge that is contained in it is Nirakaar; what you have learnt from it is part of you, it is always with you even when you go to toilet.

All this is to say that Marayada is always associated with Akaar. With Nirakaar it is reverence, which does not necessarily demand any external physical expression; reverence too is Nirakaar.

We Khalsas have to become true Sikhs i.e. Sikhi should be our way of life.

I am not for bending the rules to satisfy the desire of one who claims to be descendent of Mardana. That too at the place, which is at the very heart of Khalsa Panth i.e. the seat of Sikhi. I have no objection to his doing Kirtan elsewhere.

Khalsa has to live in this world, it has to harmonise life with the needs of changing time; compromises will have to be made, but these will be on the details, at the periphery where the interface with the world is, never at the core, never with the basics.

Mardana’s descendent is not important for me. Today we Khalsa have to work for giving the rightful place to women within our Panth. I am waiting for the day when Khalsa women will do Kirtan in Harmandar Sahib. Gender equality is part of Sikhi, it has yet to be realised within Khalsa Panth; we have to work for it. This is important to me.

Khalsa is still in the process of evolution and not in the process of dissolution. Khalsa will remain in the state of blissful ascendancy – Chardi Kala.

With love and respect for all.

Amarpal
 
Jun 1, 2004
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Amarpal Ji,

Thanks a lot for an indepth analysis. I fully agree with your main point i.e. Sikhs have to strive for gender quality. That is really important.

I am not for bending the rules to satisfy the desire of one who claims to be descendent of Mardana. That too at the place, which is at the very heart of Khalsa Panth i.e. the seat of Sikhi. I have no objection to his doing Kirtan elsewhere.
Just curious, then how would you condone the marayada in mecca, the heart of Islam, where non-muslims are not even allowed to visit although nowhere in Quran it is written to follow such a thing (please correct me if i am wrong) but the muslims have made it a Marayada. Do you condone to this ?
 

Amarpal

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Jun 11, 2004
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Dear Khalsa Jee,

The visit to Mecca, is what we read from the literature written by Sikhs. If the event, as suggested by this Sakhi had taken place, since it is very significant, it would have been noted in the records of the Kings there. It is said that there no record of that event there.

What has evidence in India, conveys very clearly that Guru Nanak Dev Jee refused to perform any miracle even when asked.

To the extent I know, the happenings during the visit of Guru Sahib to Mecca, still need to be adequately substantiated from independent sources (other than Sikh source).

To the extent I have learnt about the personality of Siri Guru Nanak Dev Jee, I can say he would have never hurt the feelings of others.

With love and respect for all.

Amarpal
 
Jul 13, 2004
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This is such a wonderful reading. Thanks Amarpal ji.

Though I tried to understand this discussion, but I got stuck up at one point which I find conflicting:
At one place, it is said: Gurdwara Harmandar Sahib where Sikhi (Nirakaar) is.
Other place: Harmandar Sahib is a structure; it has Akaar

Did you mean, Harmandar Sahib, as a structure has Akaar, has got Guru Granth Sahib ji with the teachings as Nirakaar? I know, you have given so much detailed reply with analogies too (e.g. Sikhi is to Khalsa what software is to computer - makes so much sense), but my limited understanding fails to grasp this point.

Yea, Khalsa women performing Kirtan at Harmandar Sahib, and performing all kind of duties to eliminate any kind of gender inequality, hence propagating actual true principles of sikhism would be wonderful and pleasant reality.

Regards.
 

Amarpal

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Jun 11, 2004
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Dear Sevaadar Singh Jee,

All that is physical, has shape and weight is Akaar. This way Harmandar Sahib is Akaar, any book is Akaar. The Sikhi is the knowledge that is contained in Siri Guru Granth Sahib, which is installed in Harmandar Sahib; it is this Sikhi which is Nirakaar. That is why I had said 'Gurdwara Harmandar Sahib where Sikhi (Nirakaar) is. The attribute 'Nirakaar' is only for the word 'Sikhi'.

If any other point needs clarification please ask, I will be very happy to provide.

With love and respect for all.

Amarpal
 
Jun 1, 2004
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My apologies for again raising up the matter.

Sikhs claim that sikhism is a universal religion but then how are such instances going to prove this point to the non-sikhs. By not allowing people like decendents of Bhai Mardana, what kind of example we are setting. Are Sikhs not becoming rigid or fundamentalists. I am talking about moral or ethical values, I think the act of doing kirtan is neither morally or ethically wrong. Had he desired that he wanted to make prostitutes dance in Harmander Sahib or consume wine there then the issue was questionable... but here in this case the person has noble intentions.

How his desire to perform kirtan morally or ethically wrong ?
 

Tejwant Singh

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Jun 30, 2004
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Courtesy Tribune, Chandigarh

To see a picture click on

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2004/20041019/punjab1.htm#6

Bhai Mardana's descendants visit Golden Temple
Rashmi Talwar

Wagah (Amritsar), October 18
The 17th generation descendants of Bhai Mardana, a Muslim, who accompanied Guru Nanak Dev throughout his journeys arrived here from Pakistan via the Indo-Pak joint check post, here today.

Ashik Ali, Bhai Lal ji (76) and his elder brother Bhai Irshad Ahmed (85) the 17 th generation descendants of Bhai Mardana were accompanied by Bhai Lal Ji's sons , Bhai Mohammed Hussain and Bhai Nayim Tahir (18th generation ).

..more...
 
Jul 13, 2004
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((A resolution in 1945 banned all ‘rababis’ to perform kirtan at Darbar Sahib and imposed that only Amritdhari Sikhs could perform.))

IMHO, any knowledgeable keertaniya should be welcomed with open arms. Even if we forget he is 17th generation descendant of Bhai Mardana, still he has got all that tradition alive with him, by not allowing him to perform Kirtan, this appears fundamentalist to me.
 
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