Sikh Community in Pakistan Expresses Concerns Over Gurudwara Neglect

by Dr. Jasneet Bedi

The Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC), responsible for the management and upkeep of Gurudwaras in Pakistan, has been under scrutiny by the Sikh community for its apparent indifference to the deteriorating conditions of these sacred places. The concerns raised by the community are multifaceted and deeply rooted in their devotion and love for these holy sites.

One of the most pressing issues raised by Sikh devotees is the deteriorating structural condition of a Gurudwara associated with the first Sikh guru, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The Gurudwaras hold immense historical and religious significance for the community, and their neglect is a matter of grave concern. The sacredness of these places demands meticulous maintenance to preserve their historical and cultural value.

Another alarming issue is the quality of food being served to pilgrims in Langar, the community kitchen. Langar is an integral part of Sikhism, where all visitors, regardless of their background, are offered a free meal. It embodies the Sikh principles of equality, selfless service, and community. The reports of stale food being served raise questions about the PSGPC’s commitment to upholding these principles and catering to the spiritual and physical well-being of the pilgrims.

The most recent and perhaps the most symbolic concern is the removal of Shri Nishan Sahib from atop the Langar Hall. Shri Nishan Sahib is the Sikh religious flag and holds great significance for the community. Its presence atop the Gurudwara is not just a religious symbol but also a source of pride for the Sikh community. Its removal has left many questioning the PSGPC’s understanding of the cultural and religious importance attached to such symbols.

Before the Removal of Shri Nishan Sahib
After the Removal of Shri Nishan Sahib

What compounds the disappointment of the Sikh community is the PSGPC’s lack of responsiveness. Despite several attempts by community members to engage with the PSGPC president, Amir Singh, and other committee members through WhatsApp groups, their questions have gone unanswered. This lack of communication only adds to the growing frustration among devotees who seek answers and action.

The Sikh community in Pakistan has already gone down significantly due to repeated persecution, but it is important to remember Sikhs were an important building block of Pakistan’s cultural fabric. Their devotion to their faith and the preservation of their cultural heritage is commendable. It is imperative that their concerns are addressed with utmost sincerity and urgency by the PSGPC and relevant authorities.

The neglect of Gurudwaras, the quality of Langar, and the removal of religious symbols should not be taken lightly. These issues further highlight Pakistan’s neglect and abuse of minorities. It is imperative that Pakistan takes immediate and meaningful steps to address the concerns of its Sikh community. Upholding the sanctity of Gurudwaras and respecting the religious and cultural heritage of its minority communities is not just a matter of duty but a testament to a nation’s commitment to inclusivity and unity.

Dr. Jasneet Bedi

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