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Sikh Research Institute


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WJKK, WJKF:

I was curious if anyone here had any additional insights into San Antonio based Sikh Research Institute? In taking a look at their website, http://www.sikhri.com some of what they do is to be commended. For instance, they helped to put together the movie The Widow Colony about the Delhi Riots which won widespread critical acclaim in telling the stories of the victims and their search for justice.

But I'm also left scratching my head and wondering about what exactly they teach as part of their training seminars as it relates to Gurbani and moreover what it means to be a Sikh. Has anyone here participated in or have any direct knowledge of their work? Their executive director, Harinder Singh is a common speaker at various Sikh conferences throughout North America, particularly those aimed at the youth. Yet, little is known about who he is or where the institute gets its money. I have come across various bits and pieces on the internet suggesting that the Institute is nothing but a cult run by so called academics who have twisted Guru Sahib's teaching to fit their own individual tastes and desires. Unfortunately, I haven't seen alot of evidence to back up those claims...

So this begs the question, are they a legit group or a wolf in sheep's clothing? :gg:

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I met some of them couple of years ago and till this day my experience with them is negative. Not very long time ago, they used to come to california for kids' gurmat camp (FATEH CAMP). They were giving wrong advice to small kids (like eating meat is right not bad etc..). Later on it was decided by some of the local sangat that they are controversial and raised many questions about them (Harinder Singh and co from texas) and a decision was made that they won't be allowed to hold any camp in their city. They changed their name from FATEH to Sikhri few years ago and developed some type of teacher program and i yet have to see it. There are few members on this forum who attended some of their workshops and complained a lot about them (like main organizer speaking ill of Baba Deep Singh ji and labeled baba jees shaheedi as myth etc..) They are typical nastik people and i would suggest gurdwaras and sangat to stay away from them.

Main funding comes from rich company owners with likes of kala afghana etc.

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I met some of them couple of years ago and till this day my experience with them is negative. Not very long time ago, they used to come to california for kids' gurmat camp (FATEH CAMP). They were giving wrong advice to small kids (like eating meat is right not bad etc..). Later on it was decided by some of the local sangat that they are controversial and raised many questions about them (Harinder Singh and co from texas) and a decision was made that they won't be allowed to hold any camp in their city. They changed their name from FATEH to Sikhri few years ago and developed some type of teacher program and i yet have to see it. There are few members on this forum who attended some of their workshops and complained a lot about them (like main organizer speaking ill of Baba Deep Singh ji and labeled baba jees shaheedi as myth etc..) They are typical nastik people and i would suggest gurdwaras and sangat to stay away from them.

Main funding comes from rich company owners with likes of kala afghana etc.

I know they have developed a school curriculum for use in punjabi classes but I don't know what it consists of either....I believe it is called Sohji ( http://www.sikhri.org/program/solutions/sojhi.asp) Can anyone on this forum who has attended their workshops or listened to one of Harinder's lectures comment on them? Did you find the information he presented to be accurate? Was your experience more positive or negative? FYI, I noticed that they have a workshop scheduled in Toronto on August 9th entitled "Sevaadar"...perhaps some of the sangat from there who frequent this message board could attend and report back on their experience? There are links to some YouTube videos on their websites for other workshops/retreats they have conducted for those of you who are interested as well...

Siddhak Retreat Promo Video:

Grihast Retreat Promo Video:

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vahegurujikakhalsavahegurujikifateh

I attended one of Harinder Singh's sessions about a year ago. From what I remember, there were good bits and strange bits. He seemed very keen to talk to the kids as a group without any adults present (which involved preventing any adults from talking even when the adults were explaining things to him/the children with Gurbani). For the most part the session was reasonably educational and inspirational, interspersed with activities/teamworking tasks. But personally I am a little wary of the institute and its teachings. Gurbani hits everyone in different ways but it's important to let the youth experience Gurbani and Sikhi for themselves without brainwashing them into believing someone else's beliefs. Perhaps I'm too cautious or perhaps it's an uneasy feeling at the back of my mind, but personally I wouldn't be enthusiastic about attending another session with them.

vahegurujikakhalsavahegurujikifateh

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vahegurujikakhalsavahegurujikifateh

I attended one of Harinder Singh's sessio ns about a year ago. From what I remember, there were good bits and strange bits. He seemed very keen to talk to the kids as a group without any adults present (which involved preventing any adults from talking even when the adults were explaining things to him/the children with Gurbani). For the most part the session was reasonably educational and inspirational, interspersed with activities/teamworking tasks. But personally I am a little wary of the institute and its teachings. Gurbani hits everyone in different ways but it's important to let the youth experience Gurbani and Sikhi for themselves without brainwashing them into believing someone else's beliefs. Perhaps I'm too cautious or perhaps it's an uneasy feeling at the back of my mind, but personally I wouldn't be enthusiastic about attending another session with them.

vahegurujikakhalsavahegurujikifateh

If they are anti Dasam Granth and anti sikh history then they are anti sikhi also.They have changed their name.That shows they are a fraud.Sangat si requested to expose them.Do not let them go away with this.

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  • 8 months later...

Khalsa School Teachers Speak out with other concerned Sikhs against Sohji developed by SIKHRI.

The Sojhi syllabus has created two new controversies and raises several other issues that need to be addressed in order for the syllabus to be a reasonable syllabus to implement at Khalsa Schools across the country. These controversies are with respect to two unilateral changes, which were made without the Panth’s consultation. The Khalsa School Fremont teachers and other teachers have responded after seeing that the Sikh Research Institute hasn’t responded to the queries and neither wants to address them and also has failed to addess as to why they were put in. These issues are:

Using ਵਾਹਗੁਰੂ instead of ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ as Gurmantar of the Sikhs

1. It is important to remember that changing of “ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ” to “ਵਾਹਗੁਰੂ” is not just a spelling change; it is changing our “Gurmantar.”

2. In Gurbani the words “ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ” and “ਵਾਹਗੁਰੂ” both appear as nouns. Thus, the argument that “ਵਾਹਗੁਰੂ” should be used due to viakran is inaccurate.

3. Furthermore, changing of “ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ” to “ਵਾਹਗੁਰੂ” before Ardaas is a changing of Gurbani. It changes the manglacharan recited before Chandi Di Vaar. This is disrespectful towards Gurbani, as no Sikh has authority to alter even one letter of Gurbani as Sikh history shows through Ram Rai.

4. The Panthic consensus is to use the word ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ and to say ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕਾ ਖਾਲਸਾ, ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਫ਼ਤਹਿ not ਵਾਹਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕਾ ਖਾਲਸਾ, ਵਾਹਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਫ਼ਤਹਿ.

5. -The Sikh Rehat Maryada and various other Rehatnamey consistently use the word “ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ.”

Thus, in order to avoid unnecessary and unjustifiable dubidha (duality) in the Panth, Sojhi ought to be amended to use ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ as is the consensus in the Panth and as stated clearly by the ‘Sikh Rehat Maryada’. This a fundamental issue that changes the core values of Sikhism, changes Gurbani and is not in line with various historical sources. (Please see the attached file ‘Concerns with Sojhi’ PDF for details)

The change of the dohra recited at Sri Akal Takhat Sahib and other Gurdwaras -

All historical Gurdwaras and other Gurdwaras in India , and abroad, consistently use the same prevalent dohra. Some Gurdwaras like Sees Ganj Sahib, Delhi add a few couplets after the prevalent dohra, but none change the first three couplets. Sojhi curriculum suggests that the following second couplet of the current dohra is equivalent to idol worship through the use of the word “dyh” to refer to Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਜੀ ਮਾਨਿਓ, ਪ੍ਰਗਟ ਗੁਰਾਂ ਕੀ ਦੇਹ ॥ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੋ ਮਿਲਬੋ ਚਹੈ, ਖੋਜ ਸ਼ਬਦ ਮੈਂ ਲੇਹ॥

Rehatnamey and historical evidence shows that Sikhs respected Guru Granth Sahib Ji as ਸੱਚੀ ਦੇਹ. This proposed change can only create further dubidha, as the evidence for the change is tenuous as best – the historical evidence actually supports keeping the Dohra as it currently is. (Please see the attached file ‘Concerns with Sojhi’ PDF for details)

We have several other concerns with the current Sojhi syllabus which include but are not limited to the following:

1. Sakhi of Mai Bhago in Virsa, Grade 1, pg. 61 – the text mentions “then at the battle of the Camkaur (ਚਮਕੌਰ), the Guru’s elder sons attained martyrdom, and the Guru was saved by five Sikhs and he evacuated Camkaur.”This view is inaccurate – Although Guru Sahib did agree to the request of the five Sikhs, Guru Sahib left Chamkaur Sahib on his own terms and challenged the opposing army to capture him. We find in Gurbani and Sikh History that the Guru is perfect and needs no help from anyone to be saved. In fact, the Guru is the savior in our lives.

2. Poem about Guru Granth Sahib, Virsa, Grade 2, Pg. 47 – the poem (’Poem about Guru Granth Sahib’ PDF) continually attacks Sikh traditions by referring to Guru Sahib as “a book.” The poem fails to recognize the fact that the Granth contains the Guru’s jot and thus becomes holy and instead dismisses respecting the physical embodiment of Guru Granth Sahib by not advocating seva like doing chaur.

3. ‘Rahit Mariada,’ Virsa, Grade 4, pg. 4 – Sojhi mentions that only three changes have been made to the Rehat Maryada since it was passed in 1936 while ignoring other changes. On April 28th, 1985 a hukamnama (‘Hukamnama about Nitnem Banis’ PDF) issued by Akal Takhat Sahib (Signed by: Jathedar Akal Takhat Sahib, Jathedar Sri Damdama Sahib, Jathedar Sri Anandpur Sahib, Head Granthi Sri Darbar Sahib, Head Granthi Sri Akal Takhat Sahib) amended the Rehat Maryada on pages 9 and 26 to have morning Nitnem banis include, Jap, Jaap, 10 Svaiye (Sravag Sudh), Benti Chaupai, and Anand.Sojhi as a curriculum should strive to connect the Sikh Youth to Sikhism and the Guru. A curriculum shouldn’t advocate personal views on issues that the Panth doesn’t have a clear consensus on and should instead focus on bringing the community together.

4. There are countless spelling mistakes in the Boli part of Sojhi – Use of ‘ ੱ ,’ and ‘ ਿ’ is very inconsistent.

It is clear that we already have lot of controversies in our religion. We don’t need more controversies on Gurmantar, Ardaas and Dohra. As such we have attached our research to this news article (‘Concerns with Sojhi’ PDF) that outlines our research and viewpoint. In its current state, Sojhi has and can only create further controversies, confusion and dubidha. These are the few issues that have been brought to our attention, as a result we ask that Sojhi be available in its entirety to the Sangat, so it can be properly reviewed and overhauled to ensure that all other rehat and maryada inconsistencies in the syllabus can be addressed by the entire Sangat.

http://www.esnips.com/web/Harinder-SikhRISyllabusSojhi

News: http://sikhsangat.org/1469/2009/04/anti-pa...y-sikhri-fateh/

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Don’t know anything about the rep of people supporting this group and I am not affiliated with it. However, I do know the history of Harinder Singh to some extent. He is very sincere in seva and very intelligent. This is not to say that everything SikhRI does is intelligent or that they may not be wrong on certain things, but Harinder Singh is a rare gem for the Sikh community.

My impression from some of the ridiculous buzz online is that there are political foes who are trying to stir things up, combine that with the eagerness of the rest of us to battle upon headlines and rumour and we have instant capital C Controversy. If someone was to simply look at the SikhRI work product, it would put us to shame to suggest that this is some kind of anti-sikh force. It would also raise questions as to the purpose of the outrageous tone of some allegations on the net.

Again I am not saying that the SikhRI is right or wrong on certain points; I myself may disagree with them, and they are merely human. However, I am saying Harinder Singh’s seva, even if we assume some is misled, is a sincere labour of love. The work as a whole is not something that we get excited about, it is not something that involves petitions, slogans, or busload of sangat, but it is something future Sikhs will one day look back upon as the work of quiet humble warriors. They are a small group that is making a quiet consistent sacrifice without any recognition for years, and then suddenly they are embattled in unnecessary attacks. We need to give our heads a shake, anti-sikh forces want sikhs to be in rage on TV with a talwar in our hand. However, SikhRI is a logistical nightmare for the same anti-sikh forces.

SikhRI is in its infancy really and I would suspect that there would be future revisions and improvements of the curriculum in question. Perhaps there will even be copycats, edited to suit every varied belief amongst Sikhs. If you have opinions email SikhRI with logical feedback. In fact, provide them with further support and guidance so that WE own this project. My guess is Harinder Singh, at least, would not want it any differently.

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