Gurdwara Guru Har Rai Sahib ji in West Bromwich was less than a third full (perhaps 50-60 people present) on 21 December 2019, when Dr Gurdeep Singh and S Gurmel Singh Kandola, claiming to speak on behalf of all UK Sikhs, began an extraordinary attack on S Ranjit Singh Dhadrian Wale, Harinder Singh and the Nirvair Khalsa Jatha, demanding they be banned from preaching in all gurdwaras in the UK.
The Sikh religion is a strong faith rooted in compassion and commonsense and has nothing to fear from discussion and questioning. Our Gurus were far-sighted human beings who far from claiming special powers, warned us against superstitious beliefs and idle speculation about peripherals of belief. Our responsibility as Sikhs is to live true to the teachings and make them known to the wider world. We should never follow the practice of other faiths in trying to deify our Gurus. Christians talk of an empty tomb following Christ’s crucifixion, Muslims that Mohammed ascended to heaven on a horse. Such superstition and conjecture are contrary to Sikh teachings.
S Harinder was shown in a video played at the gurdwara trying to make this very point. Unfortunately, he got carried away by his own rhetoric with unnecessary speculation over the circumstances surrounding Guru Nanak’s death rather than keeping to the topic of what happened to Guru Nanak’s body after his death. The correct response would have been to support S Ranjit Singh’s suggestion to ask S Harpreet Singh, Jathedar Akal Takht for his guidance.
Both S Harinder Singh and S Ranjit Singh Dhadrian Wale have done much to emphasise the importance of Sikh teachings and it is wrong for a few self-proclaimed guardians of the Sikh faith to issue un-Sikh like ‘resolutions’ against those that do not conform to their view.
The NSO requests all Sikhs to look to the real issues facing the Khalsa Panth in this 550th year of Guru Nanak’s birth, such as the overt attempt by the RSS/BJP to absorb the Sikh faith into Hinduism, the alarming mushrooming of sants, babas, deras and others to dilute and distort Guru Nanak’s teachings beyond recognition.