Boston, MA, USA—Sikh community leaders are voicing objections to an upcoming seminar about their tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh, which is being organized by the Consulate General of India.
“The new strategy by the Hindutva-ruled Indian State is to systematically steal and twist the legacy of our Gurus, especially Guru Gobind Singh, to serve the purposes of a supremacist agenda,” states Balbir Singh Dhillon, President of West Sacramento Sikh Gurdwara. “Every Sikh who values his Sikhi and cares about stewarding the true message of the Guru Granth Sahib should boycott and protest such events.”
The January 28 event at the Boston Public Library is co-sponsored by the Milan Cultural Association and the Consulate General of India (New York). Titled, “Celebrations of 350th Anniversary of Shri Guru Gobind Singhji,” the seminar features Dr. Bal Ram Singh (University of Massachusetts), Professor Gary Goldstein (Tufts University), and Professor Alan Douglas (University of Maine). The Boston seminar is scheduled to occur just a little over two months after the Consulate General of India (San Francisco) sponsored a similar seminar at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles.
Bhajan Singh, a community activist, attended that seminar to protest. “These seminars are being organized by the Indian State in collaboration with the Uberoi Foundation, a Hindutva front that is trying to prostitute American academia for its own ends,” says Singh. “Bal Ram Singh, for instance, uses grant money from Uberoi to promote Vedanta, hobnob with scammers like Baba Ramdev, and organize ‘Teach India’ programs to indoctrinate American schoolteachers about how to talk about India. He led a letter of American academics inviting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Butcher of Gujarat, to attend a ‘Rock Star’ reception in San Jose. He’s a Hindutvastooge.”
At the Los Angeles seminar, when the organizers attempted to honor Indian Consul General Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok by crowning him with a turban, Singh stood up to object. “I protest this activity,” declared Singh. Speaking to Ashok, he continued, “Guru Gobind Singh is a warrior. You are a coward. You have killed so many people near New Delhi. We are suffering. You are coming here representing the government…. You are casteist. You belong to the Hindutvaforces.”
Avneet Kaur, an activist affiliated with several Sikh students associations, remarks, “Every Sikh who respects their Gurus should attend these seminars solely to protest. US Gurdwaras should follow the example set by those in Canada and boycott all Sikhi-related events sponsored by the Indian State. We should also do our part to stand up and deny the legitimacy of any Hindutvavadiwho tries to co-opt the precious legacy and teachings of our Gurus.
The event on January 28 begins at 1pm at 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.