Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Roles, Responsibilities and Authority of a Sikh Jathedar!

Sitting on my desk, as I am reading the daily Tribune, the top two stories in the link below just makes me sad and wonder why Sikh leadership is so split and always at each other’s throat. Even though, democratically, it is a healthy thing to argue and disagree on issues, but sad thing is that issues that are being argued by various parties are just full of negative energies, hate and ignorance and are almost not worth arguing. Almost everyday there are news about Saropas being bestowed to wrong people, who is more politically important and powerful, who is more linked to corruption, who is making millions, who is a better and proper Sikh, who is joining or not joining a religious procession etc. These issues seem so trivial in the big picture of things, which are facing Sikhs such as how to help develop Sikh community better so that future generations can enjoy the benefits of Sikhi and live in peace. Where are the children’s books on Sikhi, where are Gurbani kirtan Schools, what scholarships are available for kids to learn Sikhi, science, medicine and environment, what funds are available for hospitals and shelters for elders, widows, orphans and the sick? Whose responsibilty is it for the welfare of Sikhs, the Government of country where Sikhs reside or the Sikhs themselves or both or none? Instead, all these important issues are being avoided and things like Saropas are discussed on everyday basis which don't seem to be helping no one. There are a lot of resources and money within the Sikh community but the organization within the community is not there to utilize these resources better. What is the use of having millions of dollars or rupees, if Sikhs don’t even have the knowledge as to how to use these moneys and resources for their benefits? It is kind of like having the best weapon in the world in your hands, but you have no clue how to efficiently plan, organize, fight and use the weapon to your own benefit and ultimately end up losing. There seems to be no vision within the leadership with a very few exceptions. Sikhs should be able to separate the Sikh religious roles of leadership such as Jathedars from the Sikh political organizations such as Akalis, SGPC, DSGPC etc. But I think the problems is leadership needs to learn and have the guts, strength and will to sit together and resolve issues peacefully and decide what issues are worth discussing and will benefit the whole community. I think people want to see positive energy coming out of the Sikh leaders and want to see humble role models with honesty, integrity, compassion, vision, and drive to be true gursikhs themselves and uplift the World Sikh community as well. Formal Education is very important but not at expense of above qualities.

This brings the question of what are the roles and responsibilities of a Sikh Jathedar within the framework of Indian and Punjab constitutions. Personally, I think it is not an easy job and may be even harder than the President of United States or Prime Minister of India. On one side, the Jathedars are expected to make decisions on issue concerning Sikhi such as spreading message of Sikh Gurus and look out for the peace, welfare and betterment of the whole Sikh community by tackling issues such as turban issue in France, wearing of Kirpan, women seva and ensuring Sikh edicts are followed. But at the same time, Jathedars are also expected to work within a variety of legal, constitutional and political framework ranging from democracies of India, U.S., Canada, Europe and other countries, to complete dictatorships in nature such as Middle East, Pakistan and communism in some other parts of the world. The task is not an easy one. Keeping all of this in mind, a line similar to famous line from John F. Kennedy come to mind:

“Ask not what your Jathedar can do for you, Ask what you can do for your Jathedars”


Blogger Sikhi Seeker said...

“Ask not what your Jathedar can do for you, Ask what you can do for your Jathedars”

Definitely a line that i didn't contemplate in reference to a But maybe you are right. I ponder on this issue of proper wealth and resources' utilization, but retrieve back to reality with a realization of being of no use. I truly wondes as to how I can contribute and even better contribute effectively. If you have ideas, share it with me. I'm sure many are daunted by this unfulfilled responsibility.
Waheguru ji ka Khalsa
Waheugru ji ki Fateh!!

4:22 PM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger SikhsRus said...

What I mean by the statement is that the whole responsibilty kind of falls on the panth. You, me and other Sikhs have to keep doing our part of effectively educating ourselves and others about Sikhi with whatever resources we have and strive to be better and better sikhs, even taking on the responsibilties of Jathedars at local level.

8:01 PM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Otpreka Singh said...

ive posted something relevant to this topic on my blog. waheguru. please do check it out

11:39 PM, February 17, 2006  

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