EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Youth Activist Bhai Ranjit Singh (Damdami Taksal)

AMRITSAR SAHIB—The Sikh Youth Federation Bhindranwala (SYFB) has a stronghold over the Sikh youth of Punjab especially in Majha zone. SYFB has been active from more than a decade in encouraging youth towards Sikhi. Due to its efforts, the SYFB is continuously gaining a noticeable fame among the Sikh youth since appointment of Bhai Ranjit Singh Damdami Taksal as its Senior Vice President in May 2013.

In an attempt to know about the SYFB’s modus operandi of interacting with the current youth and hurdles being faced by this youth outfit, the SYFB’s Senior Vice President Bhai Ranjit Singh Damdami Taksal was interviewed by Sikh24.

File Photo: SYFB’s Senior Vice President Bhai Ranjit Singh Damdami Taksal

Question: Bhai Ranjit Singh Ji, you studied and practiced Sikhi in a highly reputed Sikh seminary Damdami Taksal. It is often observed that Damdami Taksal’s trainees use their study as token to move abroad. But why did you choose to serve a different cause instead of making your life luxurious?

Answer: I don’t see anything negative in Damdami Taksal students moving abroad after training as they are preaching Sikhi in foreign and are living their lives purely as per Sikh tenets. But if I talk of myself, then I would frankly say I didn’t join Damdami Taksal to make my carrier as a professional priest or preacher. When I had joined Damdami Taksal in 2009, the only source of inspiration was Guru Sahib’s affection as I hail from a totally simple family with no religious mandates.

After getting trained at the Damdami Taksal in 2012, I felt that the youths like me who are getting engulfed in apostasy need to be encouraged towards Sikhi. It was totally a coincidence that soon after completing my training in Damdami Taksal, I got in touch with activists of Sikh Youth Federation Bhindranwala and they involved me in various initiatives.

Question: At present, drug menace and apostasy have engulfed the youth of Punjab. In such a situation, how do you interact with the youths to bring them back to Sikhi?

Answer: Yes, drug menace and apostasy in Punjab are at its peak these days but my four years of experience in this field says that we are ourselves responsible for this condition of our youth. On one side the Indian agencies are injecting drugs in blood of our youth and on the other side the image of Sikh icons is being maligned to make the youth blind in finding its way of practicing Sikhi.

It is quite easy to bring back drug addicted and apostate youths back to Sikhi as they are always soft hearted & straight forward but it is really a tough task to bring back youths who got victim of the controversies on Sikh issues and lost respect for all Sikh personalities.

Question: What type of controversies are you talking about?

Answer: Controversy has been created by the government planted agencies on almost every topic including Sikh code of conduct, Dasam Granth, Nanakshahi calendar, divine powers of the great Sikh masters, etc. Further, the social media has acted as a carrier in spreading these controversies to everyone and these days every youth is busy in proving their beliefs true rather than practicing Sikhi.

For being a student of Damdami Taksal, common people have categorized me as a worshipper of Dasam Granth. Now, those who believe Dasam Granth as writing of Guru Sahib warmly welcome me while the opponents of Dasam Granth see me like their enemy. They forget that if they don’t believe Dasam Granth as Guru Sahib’s scripture then there is still a primary commonness in us that we pay obeisance before Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and follow its teachings.        

In such a way, the controversies have divided us so cruelly that we are ready to behead each other over a minute difference of opinion. A drug victim youth could be brought back to Sikhi but the one victimized of controversies has been brainwashed and he couldn’t ever return back to normal life.

Question: So, how would you tackle this extremely dangerous situation?

Answer: While interacting with youth, we always appeal them to develop tolerance in them to accept views of their antagonist and learn to sustain brotherhood sidelining the differences.

Question: What is your future plan to encourage youth towards Sikhi?    

Answer: Currently, we are continuously working to encourage Sikh youth towards developing intellectual capabilities in them by studying as much as they can and develop a respectable status for them in society. We are also making special efforts to encourage them to pay proper attention to maintain their physical fitness and live their lives as per Sikh tenets.

For future, we are chalking out a strategy to end apostasy & drug addiction among youth of Punjab for which we are working to arrange sources.

Sikh24 Editors can be reached at editors@sikh24.com