@ Vikash Sharma | Sr Journalist
NEW DELHI – Dance, music and drumbeats at a Delhi stadium and cigarette butts, paan stains and pocket alcohol bottles strewn on the sacred compound of a historic gurdwara by visitors least sanitized about Sikhi, Sikh maryada and Sikh religious discipline.
“That’s how the religiously-illiterate controllers of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee recklessly organized the 444th birth anniversary celebrations of a Sikh icon, Bhai Lakhi Shah Vanjara, to satisfy their hunger for PR at the expense of the Sangat’s Dasvandh and Panthak maryada,” SADD chief Paramjit Singh Sarna told reporters.
His news conference came as disturbing videos of song and dance events at Delhi’s Talkatora stadium and of cigarette smoking workers and visitors at Sri Rakab Ganj Sahib went viral in Panthak circles during the celebrations hosted by DSGMC president Harmeet Singh Kalka and his de-facto boss MS Sirsa.
“Bhai Lakhi Shah Vanjara is addressed most respectfully as Bhai because his ancestors became devout Sikhs of Sri Guru Nanak Sahib. Bhai Lakhi Shah Vanjara set ablaze his own house at Raisina Hills to cremate the mortal remains of Guru Sahib. Many of Bhai Vanjara’s family and companions sacrificed their lives while fighting beside Sri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib. And that’s the golden legacy of Bhai Lakhi Shah Vanjara,” the Panthak leader explained.
But Kalka and Sirsa, he continued, reduced it to a pomp-and-show event for vested political interests.
“Not a single member of the Vanjara community they invited to attend the celebrations chose to take Khande ki Pahul. That’s because none of them had any briefing about Sikhi that Bhai Lakhi Shah Vanjara espoused,” Sarna said. “Instead, the guests, completely unaware about Panthak maryada, were found chewing paan, smoking cigarettes and taking shots of liquor on the compound of Sri Rakab Ganj Sahib.”
That, Sarna added, bore a testament to the agenda-driven 444th birth-anniversary celebrations of Bhai Lakhi Shah Vanjara.
“The entire programme was aimed not to inspire Sikhi among the larger Vanjara community but to push their own political agenda on the back of what otherwise was a solemn occasion. There’s absolutely no sense in beating drums and dancing to commemorate the life of a Sikh who set his own house on fire for the Guru. But Kalka and Sirsa just wanted to invite crowds in colourful dresses for cameras. Had they acquired even an iota of religious training, they would have organized Kirtan Darbars and distributed digitized literature and audio and video tracks to the visitors on the life of Bhai Lakhi Shah Vanjara to encourage them into the fold of Sikhi,” Sarna elaborated.
He held the DSGMC president and his predecessor squarely responsible for the desecration of the Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib compound by cigarettes-smoking visitors.
“Sirsa used to do the same. He heavily compromised the sanctity of the gurdwara estate during Covid. He presided over Karva Chauth celebrations at the Sarovar Parikarma of Sri Bangla Sahib and gave unrestricted access to TikTokkers and selfie-makers for their vulgar shoots on the sacred site. Kalka is no less. For a handful of eyeballs on Facebook, he lowered the legacy of Bhai Lakhi Shah Vanjara with his botched-up planning of the icon’s brith anniversary,” the Panthak leader noted.