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|Summary of Question:||Sikh Research Institute?|
|Date Posted:||Saturday, 3/28/2009 11:37 AM MDT|
Here is the article:
USA based Sikh Research Institute commits Blasphemy Changing Ardas and Dohre in Syllabus ‘Sojhi’
Students Question Harinder Singh of Sikhri About Modifications of Sikh Prayer in his Sojhi Syllabus. Concerned parents pull out children from Khalsa School Freemont
“I have decided to pull out my children from the Khalsa School at Freemont Gurdwara. The Sojhi syllabus should be recalled” said a parent, Rajendar Singh
Fremont, California, USA - University of California, Berkeley students, alumni and Sikh community members questioned Harinder Singh, executive director of the Texas-based Sikh Research Institute (SIKHRI), at a guest lecture by him on 21st February 2009, about the modifications he has made to a daily Sikh prayers –ardas & dohera, the use of disrespectful language and the changes to pronunciations and spellings of Sikh words in the SIKHRI syllabus, called Sojhi .
The students argued that these modifications were against current Sikh practices and it did not have the approval of the Sikh Panth. The Sojhi syllabus, which has been taught to Sikh children, has been sold for $5000 to an undisclosed number Gurudwaras' for Sunday School programs in North America . Parents who have discovered these modifications have decided to remove their children from the Sunday schools and blamed, firstly, Harinder Singh for not informing the Gurdwaras of the modifications; and secondly, the Gurdwaras for buying the syllabus without reviewing the content.
Harinder Singh refused to answer the students who queried him about his syllabus and the organizers of the talk affiliated at Berkeley, Hardeep Dhillon, Bhavreet Gill, Rattanamol Singh, and Amritpan Sandhu, called in the University of California Police Department, who forced these students to leave the premises. Jasjit Singh, a non-student was instrumental in organizing the event and instigating the students to call police.
Meanwhile, Harinder Singh or the SIKHRI board has not given any response to defend his position re the Sojhi syllabus. The Sohji syllabus is still available online at http://www.SIKHRI.org/program/solutions/sojhi.asp. The distorted modifications of Sikh prayers and traditions in the syllabus are still available for sale with no comments posted for any corrections or any distortions
The students noted that in the Sojhi syllabus the following modifications were made by Harinder Singh of SIKHRI: http://www.esnips.com/web/SikhriSyllabusSojhi/
1. The Dohera following the Ardaas has been changed from
gurU gRMQ jI mwnIE pRgt gurW kI dyh[
Guru Granth Ji Maneo Pragat Gura ki Deh
jo pRB ko imlbo cihh Koj sbd mih lyh[
Jo Prabh Ko Milbo Cheheh Khoj Shabad Mae Laeh
gurU ^wlsw mwnIAih prgt gurU kI dyh[
Guru Khlasa Maneeyeh Pargat Guru Ki Deh
jo isK mo imlby cihh Koj ienhu mih lyhu[oo
Jo Sikh Mo Milbae Cheheh Khoj Inho Maeh Lae
As on Page 7-B-07 and also see 7-B-06
2. the reference to Nankana Sahib has been removed from the Sikh Ardas
3. The Sojhi syllabus uses disrespectful language when referring to the Sikh Guru Sahiban.
4. The pronunciations and spellings of Sikh terms has been changed eg Waheguru and Fateh are pronounced as Wahguru and Phatah;
5. Certain Gurbani tukks (Sikh prayers) have been called the 'Khalsa Anthem” without any authority from the Khalsa Panth.
For detail analysis see the attachment “Some facts from Sojhi syllabus.doc” file (excerpts from reporter on: http://www.esnips.com/web/SikhriSyllabusSojhi/ )
Harliv Singh, a student of history at Berkeley, said, “Harinder Singh from Sikh Research Institute has no right or authority to alter, truncate, or expand the form of the Sikh Ardaas. Alteration of the Sikh prayer without involving the Sarbat Khalsa is not acceptable. Neither SIKHRI nor Harinder Singh has the authority to modify the Dohera or pronunciations and spellings of Sikh words. These modifications will sow seeds of confusion amongst innocent children and undermine the Sunday School's role in education at Gurdwaras,"
The protest ended when organizers of the talk associated with Jakara group at Berkeley, Hardeep Dhillon, Bhavreet Gill, Rattanamol Singh, and Amritpan Sandhu, summoned the University of California Police Department, which prompted the removal of the protesters who questioned Harinder Singh’s curriculum.
Simran Singh, a philosophy student at Berkeley said, “I, along with some concerned students and community members politely requested Harinder Singh to explain his changes to the Ardaas, but he didn’t answer us.. He avoided our questions. Event organizers eventually succeeded in silencing the questioners by calling the police.. At this point, those of us who had questioned Harinder Singh were escorted out and left the event. We had approached him to ask him, why he had made the above changes and under who’s authority did he make those changes?.” Simran further said, “We are shocked that the Gurudwaras in the USA and Canada have implemented the Sojhi syllabus, without realizing these modifications. All the Gurudwara managements should be alerted, especially where innocent children, the future of the Sikhs is involved. Khalsa Schools at the Gurudwaras are a place where the foundation of Sikhism for the children is introduced and not a place to seminate confusion”
Amrit Kaur, a parent, from Fremont , said, “I am worried about the next generation getting mixed signals. I am surprised, even the Punjabi language has been distorted in this syllabus.”
Rajendar Singh, a concerned parent from Fremont said, “I am very disappointed with the way the Sikh Research Institute, which purports to be non-profit to promote Sikh education, has changed the Sikh tradition based on their beliefs and have implemented this in the form of a curriculum. When my children made an attempt to correct him at his seminars, they were asked not to speak. I have decided to pull out my children from the Khalsa School at Fremont . The Sojhi syllabus should be recalled.” He also said, that , “the Gurudwara managements need to be alerted and made aware that such syllabus’s shouldn’t be implemented. The sangat’s money should be spent for educating the children for the Khalsa Sunday schools but not at the cost of traditions and certainly not at the level of school children. I feel people like Harinder Singh make their impact by influencing youths and children at seminars and now through Punjabi schools when they are not watched by others. Slowly and subtly they dilute the core message of Gurbani with their own.”
Rajendar Singh also narrated an incident in 2005 when Harinder Singh conducted a seminar on Asa-Ki-Vaar in Fremont . The response to the question as to who is the Guru of the Sikhs was met by Harinder as follows: "anyone who can read and understand the Guru Granth Saheb, and can recite gurbani verbatim is a Guru." He said, “Even, I can be a Guru, and so can you.” Rajendar Singh’s children walked out of the conference room. Rajendar Singh insisted that, “Anyone who believes, that on being able to read and recite Gurbani verbatim, can become the Guru of the Sikhs, is a fool! We will not allow our children to follow a curriculum for the Sunday Khalsa School at Fremont Gurdwara”.
An Amritdhari girl, who is studying political science before commencing a law degree, preferring to remain anonymous, gave the following account of a seminar conducted by Harinder Singh: “During one of his seminars that I attended, the gist of Harinder Singh's teaching was that the Guru Granth Saheb Ji can’t exist without the Guru Panth. He stated that without the Guru Panth there can be no Guru Granth. He got furious when I questioned him as to what was the source for his deduction and conclusion. For my understating, I asked Harinder Singh who is our Guru, He said anyone who recites gurbani verbatim is our Guru including 'me or you' if we can recite it verbatim. All the Amritdhari Sikhs, who were present, knew he was wrong and walked out with us but the non Amritdhari Sikhs kept on listening to him. I felt like that he wanted to create a divide. He wanted us to follow him blindly as in a cult. He could be another mushroomed sect soon.. Sikhs have never been scared to challenge the wrong and he should be corrected before the damage is done and before it becomes too late”
There are always religious nuts and challengers to the true path. Please do not let him disturb you so much that you cannot be cool and emppowered to be effective in making sure he does not enter the Gurdwara again with the ability to disturb people as he has disturbed you. SK