The membership registration drive is for Sikhs to register so they can take a greater role in determining future Sikh initiated projects. The Sikh Temple has been and will always be open to all regardless of their race, gender, or religion. There are also many Hindu brothers and sisters that attend the Gurdwara Sahib regularly, other than the ones that Balwant Gill is bringing. Why is it that they are not lining up to become registered members of the society? The reason is that, although they have respect for the Sikh faith and have faith in the universal teachings contained within the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, they do not self-identify as Sikhs and they are not yet ready to denounce aspects of the Hindu faith, which are contradictory to the Sikh faith. The time is now to realize that the future of the Sikh community lies within our youth: not current president Bikramjit Singh, not Balwant Gill, but our youth!
Surrey, BC, Canada—Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara’s membership is now open and in its final days of registration. Many say the election will be decided during this membership drive as the Sikh Youth who have operated the Gurdwara Sahib since January 2010 versus Balwant Gill who operated the Gurdwara Sahib for 12 years before that making a strong push to sign up thousands of new members.
As the membership drive heats up so does the issue of the registration of non-Sikh voters. Many media outlets have reported that by rejecting the registration of non-Sikh voters, specifically Hindus that the Sikh Youth are in violation of the Sikh philosophy of recognizing all human races as one.
What the media has failed to report on is the root cause of this issue and the Sikh Youth’s clear record on promoting the Sikh philosophy of equality and universal brotherhood. We must also understand that the distinct difference between “recognizing all of the human race as one”, which Sikhs do, versus “recognizing all the human race as Sikhs.”
The membership registration drive is for Sikhs to register so they can take a greater role in determining future Sikh initiated projects. The Sikh Temple has been and will always be open to all regardless of their race, gender, or religion.
This issue has only become controversial because Balwant Gill and his party are becoming desperate in the last few days of the membership drive and signing up Hindu families who have great respect for the Sikh faith but little or no connection to Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara and do not unconditionally believe or follow the Sikh way of life. There are hundreds of Caucasians that attend the Gurdwara Sahib each month. Why is it that none of them are lining up to register to vote in the next Gurdwara election?
There are also many more Hindu brothers and sisters that attend the Gurdwara Sahib regularly, other than the ones that Balwant Gill is bringing. Why is it that they are not lining up to become registered members of the society? The reason is that, although they have respect for the Sikh faith and have faith in the universal teachings contained within the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, they do not self-identify as Sikhs and they are not yet ready to denounce aspects of the Hindu faith, which are contradictory to the Sikh faith.
While every self-identifying Sikh does not follow every aspect of the Sikh way of life, they do commit themselves to embarking on a journey to achieve God through the path started for us by Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
It commences with denouncing the caste system, recognizing equality and respect for all people, and committing oneself to seva and simran. It must be understood by the community that Balwant Gill and his party have specifically recruited those Hindus that are trying to register for the upcoming election for the specific purpose of trying to defeat the Sikh Youth and regain power of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara. It is also no secret that Hindu leaders are known to do the exact same thing to win their own elections by registering Sikh voters at the Mandir.
The Sikh Youth has great respect for individuals of all faiths and all have been welcomed to seek the blessings of the Guru by visiting the Gurdwara Sahib. Evidence of this fact is in the actions taken by the Sikh Youth. Since taking over in January of 2010, Sikh Youth has been actively involved in organizing multi-faith events, which bring together members of all faiths and backgrounds in open dialogue and in greater friendship. The Sikh Youth have held countless open houses and hosted thousands of non-Sikhs at the Gurdwara Sahib, fostering a greater relationship of understanding about the Sikh way of life and opening it up to the broader community.
Bikramjit Singh, current President of the Gurdwara Sahib is regularly invited to inter-faith meetings and conferences to represent the Sikh faith, where he is always very well received by members of all faiths as someone who is committed to bringing people of all faiths together in greater friendship. Furthermore, Bikramjit Singh’s greatest quality, which appeals to today’s generation, is his open-minded and non-judgemental behaviour towards all youth.
The truth is in the facts. The projects that the Sikh Youth have done through the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara since January of 2010 and even before that through Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar in New Westminster have been revolutionary to Gurdwara management. Every Sunday evening, over 200 children eagerly await the weekly Family and Youth Darbar, which connect the next generation of Sikhs to various aspects of the Sikh way of life through fun activities.
Ik Onkar TV was launched in 2011, which is the only fully English based television across Canada dedicated solely to the Sikh way of life. These are just two examples of many projects and initiatives introduced by the Sikh Youth, a full list of which can be found at www.sikhyouthsurreydelta.com
The Sikh Youth are in no way perfect and mistakes are made along the way; but they have always been open to greater involvement from the sangat (congregation), constantly seeking input and advice from the sangat through monthly volunteer meetings. Balwant Gill and his party have never involved themselves in any of these initiatives nor have they provided any input or feedback. The time is now to realize that the future of our community lies within our youth: not Bikramjit Singh, not Balwant Gill but our youth. It’s up to the community to decide who has done more for the community, for the sangat, for the youth, for the greater good of humanity. Was it Balwant Gill for the 12 years he was in power or was it the Sikh Youth who have been doing seva for the past 2.5 years?
Educate yourself and don’t be fooled by misleading media reports or statements from individuals. Contact the Sikh Youth directly and learn the facts for yourself and also provide your feedback and input. The Sikh Youth have always committed themselves to respecting all individuals that attend the Gurdwara Sahib and it’s important to recognize that the non-Sikhs who have been rejected from registering recently are people brought in by Balwant Gill solely for his own political gain. Let’s hope this issue ends here and we are able to focus on forging a brighter future for the community through seva (selfless service) and simran (peaceful meditation).
Sukhpreet Singh is a community activist and host of Ik Onkar TV.