Punjab – Missionary Zeal & Extremism
Sunday 9th of October 2005
Gurmukh Singh – Panthic Weekly Columnist
The landscape of Punjab is rapidly changing. Besides the evergrowing Radha Soami Satsangs popping up everywhere in Punjab and Sants and so-called holy men opening Deras on every corner, Christian Missionaries have opened schools and colleges. Affluent Punjabi parents are sending their children to these Christian convent schools for a better education. However, hand in hand with better education is exposaure to the missionary zeal of the Christians preaching Christianity and attempting to convert Punjabis into Christians. The poorer or more illiterate Punjabis are lured to convert to Christianity through promises of the rewards of financial incentives, their children being offered education and hope of a better future by placing faith in Jesus.
A few years back I remember in Punjab that Christian missionaries were calling Jesus ‘Satguru’ and using Sikh boys to sing in choir music on television.They are using Sikh concepts and nouns to reinvent and represent Christian concepts and ideas in a new package and form to attract simple-minded people.
This week, criticising alleged conversion of Dalits into Christians, the RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan, blamed the Sikh leaders for the escalating situation. “They are all silent.” Speaking at a function held by the RSS in Panjab, K.S. Sudarshan said Christian bodies were doing conversions in areas of Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Amritsar , Jalandar, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana and Sangrur. The RSS leader even blamed the SGPC (Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee) for not doing anything to stop the trend. “We had asked the SGPC to pass a resolution asking Sikhs not to turn towards Christianity, but nothing happened.”
Sadly K.S. Sudarshan is right in saying that Sikh leaders are mute on the zeal of Christian missionaries and their efforts in swaying Sikhs from Sikhi to the fold of Christianity. It is puzzling as to why the RSS leader is so concerned and worried for the Sikhs. It is the same RSS which is funded by the government to distort the Sikh religion, people and nation. On one hand the RSS claims that Sikhs are Hindus, distorting Sikh history and producing anti-Gurmat propaganda and insulting the Sikh Guru Sahibans. On the other hand K.S. Sudarshan is concerned and asking the SGPC to do something about the Christian missionaries. The RSS seeks to distort and attack anyone who is not Hindu and resisting to be engulfed in their ideology that some, like Sikhi is “one of the branches of Hinduism”. This has led to the emergence of Hindu terrorism against Sikhs, Christians and Muslims.
On 26th September, Christian Student Organisations led a march to Punjab’s Deputy Commissionar’s Office in Court to hand over a memorandum voicing protest of the visit there of the RSS chief K.S.Sudarshan. However Hindu terrorist organisations confronted the Christians half way which led to violent clashes. So, on 27 th September showing solidarity with Christian organisations protesting against the RSS, Shahbaaz Khalsa, the public wing of GURSIKH, joined hands with Christian Organizations in Punjab to counter Hindu terrorism. On the 29th September, Sikh and Christians joined to protest against S.K Sudarshan and the RSS at an RSS conference in Amritsar . However, Sikhs and Christians were arrested by the Punjab Police.
It is fair and well that some Sikh organisations in Punjab joined hands with the Christian organisations against the RSS. However the blunt reality is that whether it is the RSS or Christian missionary organizations, both are adamant on changing the face of Punjab. The RSS wants Punjab to be Hindu and speaking Hindi, and the Christians want Punjab to be Christian and speaking English. However, one should evaluate who is more of a threat. Are the Christian missionaries more of a threat than the RSS to the Sikh Panth?
The Singh Sabha Movement came into being because, in the late 1800s, the Christians had declared that within couple of decades, they would setup a Church in Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar Sahib. This is what prompted Panthic Gursikhs to gewt together and unite forming the Singh Sabha Movement.
The Christians consider our Guru Sahibans to be of no importance. Sikhs are capable of fighting any force including the RSS on their own. Though some Sikh organisations in Punjab are supporting the Christian Organisations in the fight against RSS, however the question is, can the Christians fight along with us? Would the Christians financially support us in defending the Guru Panth against the RSS? We all know the answer.
The Christian missionaries preach there is no other way to salvation than through Christ. They quote Jesus saying in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
They claim that Jesus is the only way of salvation because “He is the only One who can redeem our sins,” (Romans 6:23) and that no other religion teaches the depth or seriousness of sin and its consequences. No other religion, according to them, offers the infinite redemption of sin that only Jesus Christ can provide. No other “religious founder” “was God become man” (John 1:1,14): this was the way the original sin of Adam & Eve could be forgiven.
Christians believe that Jesus had to be God so that he could redeem debt of man’s sin and that he had to be man so he could die. Salvation to them is available only through faith in Jesus Christ. “Salvation is found through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). This is what is being preached in Punjab.
Fundamentalist Christians in Punjab don’t care about Sikhs and will not rest till they embrace their religion, and extremist Hindus, with the help of the Government of India, will not stop attacking and distorting Sikhi until Sikhs claim to be Hindus and go back to being ideologically enslaved by the clutches of Brahmanism, which Guru Nanak Sahib Ji freed us from over 500 years ago.
This is the changing face of Punjab! Next time when you go to Punjab to visit the family or visit Gurdwara Sahibs then take time out to do Parchar. A Sikh is a parcharic. Don’t burden this heavy responsibility on to the SGPC, Gurdwaras or Granthi Singhs. Being the Khalsa, is in the image of Guru Gobind Singh. Within the Khalsa the light of Sikhi shines and through them the fragrance of Naam should spread. When in Punjab, inspire youngsters to read Gurbani and do Gurbani vichar. Sit with your relatives and do Rehraas Sahib in the evening and Nitnem in the morning. Encourage them to recognise who they are and to realise their great history, religion and legacy. Share Sakhis (stories) of the Guru Sahibs with children. Each and everyone of us can help highlight the issue and actively do something about it.
O Khalsa, wake up and recognise who you are. Don’t sell away your Sikhi cheaply to zealous missionaries, RSS, Radha Soamis, self-proclaimed Satgurus, or Sant Babé. Stand on guard with the sword of Naam and the shield of Gurbani. Educate yourself on your history and heritage and share the treasures with others you see. The biggest gift you can share with your family and relatives in Punjab are not suits, watches and electrical goods you have brought from abroad, but instead share the biggest gift of Gurmat and Naam with them.
Gurmukh Singh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org