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Infighting harming only Sikhs: Experts

Bajinder Pal Singh

CHANDIGARH, April 4: While the community celebrates its tercentenary, Sikh intellectuals today observed that it was internecine fighting which was causing a lot of harm.

Differences among the community members, particularly its leaders, came under attack from Justice Mota Singh, the first Asian to become a Judge in England, on the concluding day of the seminar on "Relevance of Khalsa Value System in the 21st Century", organised by the Anandpur Sahib Foundation to mark the tercentenary.

Chairing the session on "Sikh Diaspora: The Spirit of Enterprise", Justice Mota Singh observed that the reason the youth was straying away from the path of religion was that the community was ridden with differences. He wondered whether the community leaders were aware about the alienation being caused by their activities. "There is more to life than self-indulgence and personal power," he said. Children, especially in the West, were susceptible to all kinds of pressures and this could be tackled by inculcating a sense of pride in the ideals, history and culture, he observed. The talk of internecine rivalry acquired relevance as during the course of the seminar, an unsavory scene was created with some personal remarks being passed. This was later criticised by some members of the audience.

Harbhajan Singh Yogi, the famous preacher, said the West had no option but to embrace Sikhism. "The difficulty is that many people have no experience of Sikhism and we have no pride in Sikhism," he observed. Talking about the spate of constructions, Yogi made a snide remark that a contract seems to have been forged with marble. "Few original bricks remain and we find marble everywhere."

The identity crisis being faced by the community was referred to by Gen Himmat Singh Gill (retd) and another young participant. The morning session had three papers being presented on "Equality and Social Order". Dr J.S. Grewal, former Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, traced how Sikhism resulted in a social revolution. Prof Indu Banga of the Department of History and Dr Gurnam Kaur also made presentations on the question of equality as enunciated by the Khalsa social order. Inderjit Singh Sandhu of the Anandpur Sahib Foundation later thanked the participants.

The three-day seminar was marked by lack of participation by any foreign social science or theology experts. While the topic of the seminar referred to the 21st century, few participants belonging to the younger generation were present on the occasion.

Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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