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Sikh Giani Recruitment Model Vs Muslim Cleric Recruitment Model


Aman0001
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In my opinion the role/position of a Head Preacher/Giani is the most important position within any religious institution and one that the Sikh community have got so very badly wrong. I believe that getting this issue resolved will remove 90% of all the problems Sikhs face in our Gurdwaras.

Lets do a comparison of the Sikh Giani recruitment model with the Cleric model used by the Muslim faith:-

All Muslim Clerics/Giani’s have to obtain an Islamic Degree (takes a number of years) before they can even think about becoming a Cleric. IF, they pass all examinations and are deemed worthy by their peers, they get put on a cleric list. Any new mosques built can choose a worthy cleric from the cleric list. [in comparison, anybody can become a Granthi in a Gurdwara, the only requirement is that they are an Amritdhari Sikh (or in a lot of cases pretending to be due to other motives). This recruitment process is nothing short of a joke].

Benefits of the Muslim Model:-

1. It ensures that the Clerics are committed and dedicated to their faith and not doing it for a visa or any other negative reason. There are many Gianis who simply are not religious (they only want a visa). Therefore there are many instances where "so called" Giani’s are caught drinking, gambling or even looking at women in an inappropriate way. This is extremely damaging for our faith. I cant even begin to describe the damage this causes. The main pity is that these issues are being caused by people who do not even believe in Sikhi, they are simply pretending Granthis.

2. It ensures that they are very well educated within their faith and can debate with the best from other faiths. This maintains the credibility of the religion within the eyes of the wider non muslim community. They can also answer the questions posed by their congregation in an accurate and authoritative fashion.

3. It ensures they are highly respected by their own congregation. This therefore allows the cleric to resolve any issues within the community and mosque and their word is final. Mosques do have administrative staff (committees) but any religious disputes are resolved by the cleric who is the highest religious authority at the local level (unlike in Gurdwaras where any Tom, <banned word filter activated> or Harry can become a committee member and deem themselves a religious authority for the day). They therefore do not have the drama of committee disputes like we do and the pathetic process of voting for committees. Committees should be nothing more then Gurdwara administrators, there should be no Pardhan’s, the leader of the Gurdwara should be the head Granthi who would be the religious leader of his congregation and accountable directly to the Akal Takht. Because of the lack of education, Gianis are not educating their congregation only applying ritualistic principles of simply reading gurbani blindly, as opposed to the dharamsala process introduced by Guru Nanak, which incorporated reading, learning about and discussing Gurbani (As Sikh Gianis in most cases are not educated they can do nothing else but be ritualistic). This ensures that the Sikh congregation do not become knowledgeable themselves, therefore are in no position to educate their children or anybody else about the Sikh faith. We are simply applying a Bhramanistic approach.

4. Muslim clerics talk about local issues which the community are facing during their Friday prayers. This allows them to discuss and tackle their issues at a local level. It also bonds the community together, unites them and gives them strength. Giani are playing no social role within our communities.

Conclusion

In my opinion the process used for recruiting Giani’s is so wrong that its like a cancer within the Sikh community. Please lets stop using a model which does not work.

Blocker

We will not be able to tackle this issue unless we start creating Gianis from our local communities. We have so many youth today who are so well spoken and educated within Gurabani, but they will never even consider becoming a Granthi (or a more appropriate definition would be a localised religious leader who not only undertakes the Granthi duties but actively engages the local community with sermons etc). These youngsters would be awesome at spreading Sikhi to the congregations as well as effectively communicating to the youngsters within the local sangat and also implementing strategies within a Gurdwara to spread Sikhi. But no local Sikh Youth will take the job as a Granthi as the pay is terrible as the social status is so low. Its such a shame that probably the most important job within the Sikh faith is also the least well paid. And that is our blocker, until we start to pay our Granthis a proper salary and encourage local Granthis who have a real passion for Sikhi, the Sikh faith will not make any real progress.

The majority of Jewish, Christian and Muslim priests are born and bred UK citizens and that’s the sole reason why they are so far ahead of us. Every one of their priests is encouraged to become a local religious leader (a local mini Bhindranwala) where as most of our Granthi’s have become nothing more then the butt of jokes with little or no respect.

So unfortunately what does it boil down to? The first thing is our Granthi recruitment model is wrong. The second is, we youth are to blame. We are so good at criticizing, but no one is prepared to dedicate their life to the Guru by becoming a localized religious leader (Granthi).

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I think we as an educated young SIkh sangat need to tackle the major ills within our community as a priority, as opposed to focusing on issues which are a lower priority in comparison. In my personal opionion our Granthi recruitment model is one of the high priority cancers which has so many negative follow-on reactions.

APPROACH

This is quite a major reform and the only way to achieve it is by getting the Akal Takht and SGPC on board. However, before we can do that we will need the support of the UK sangat and the new Sikh Council UK. Once the SCUK are on board they can lobby the Akal Takht/SGPC on the behalf of the UK sangat.

Now you need to bear in mind that this reform is a fundamental one, therefore, introducing it will need to be done using a phased as opposed to a big bang approach. The basic recommendations are as follows:-

RECOMMENDATIONS

1. SGPC/Akal Takt create a Granthi Religious Education Institution within India.

2. All individuals who want to become Granthis (Indian nationals or overseas people) need to obtain a Granthi degree from this institution (anyone wanting to work overseas would also have to learn the language of the country they wish to go to).

3. Any individuals who pass the Granthi degree course will be put on a “Granthi list”.

4. Any overseas Gurdwaras wishing to recruit a new Granthi can choose an individual from the Granthi list.

5. Any Granthi who is caught undertaking Anti Gurmat activities will be removed from the Granthi list and be accountable to then Akal Takht.

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Guest SarabjeetSingh

Not a bad idea at all , but consider that Islam has become such a evil religion with a history of bloodbath just because the drivers of Islam - Imams and Qazis were given absolute power and thus went corrupt . Remember the Mahants just a hundred years back !

If we give absolute power to Gianis over the local communities , is there not a chance that they could go corrupt as well . Its human nature . "Absolute power corrupts absolutely . "

Yes , we do need proper gianis , not the ones who have pot bellies by eating from sangats money and roam all over world behind the so-called sikhi cause .

Recruitment model can only work if corruption does not seep in !

Yes , I do agree Gianis are poor at debating and discussing Sikhi . We need well learned people .

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Sikhism does not consider any middlemen to realize God. Guru sahibs teachings stress on personal efforts for

realization of God.

GRanthi sahibs are ministers in Guru's house who look after our Gurudwaras and maintain protocol in Guru ghars.

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there are many diverse schools of sikhee and the current system allows Gianis to gain experience and then apply to GuruGhars run with similair maryada. there are weaknesses which you've mentioned but copying islam for everything is not the answer. the muslim council of britain is rejected by a lot of practising muslims. clerics may have degrees but are far from practising. similarly in punjab people buy degrees all the time. people just ask badal for anything and he grants degrees and jobs. this would give him power to send people abroad too. also sgpc-run Giani degree course would more than likely be taught according to Missionary College thinking. we have too many of these know-it-all scholars in our panth without having one in every GuruGhar rejecting Baniaan, questioning history and all sorts of crap. punjab institutions are too messed up to rely on for sikhee education. better to keep existing system but adopt a domestic country (UK-based) Training Course and Test run by an independent body for all Gianis to prove they have the skills to conduct Gurmaryada, Akhand/Sehaj Paath, english-speaking skills to set minimum standards.

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Granthi singhs are there to read and interpret Gurbani. They are not there for conducting and participate in debates.

They need knowledge of Gurbani and do not need to have a Ph D or other academic qualifications for their job. Formal education

is desirable but not a must.

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There’s been some excellent responses, much appreciated. My 2 cents are as follows:-

SarabjeetSingh – Absolute Power will always be with Akal Takht as it is today. If the Sangat are not happy with the Granthi for whatever reason then he will be held accountable and a decision taken by the Akal takht.

Imams and Qazis caused a bloodbath not due to their absolute power (which I am not suggesting we give to Granthis) but due to their interpretation of the Koran. They interpreated that all non muslims devils should either convert to islam or die. They passed this message onto their followers. Now the Sikh religion has no such teachings, we do not have any concepts of Jihad or crusading, only the right to self defence.

GPS – Granthis who do not have a basic grasp or pyaar for Sikhi will never be able to minister a Gurdwara or maintain protocols effectively. Im not saying that we should create Ph D level Granthis and remove the one-to-one relationship that a Sikh should have with his Guru. The curriculum of the educational institution I am suggesting does not have to be a scholarly one, it could be a mix of all important Gurmat requirements. All im saying is unless you educate yourself on Sikhi and understand and discuss Gurbani you will never develop a love and affinity for it. If there is no pyaar for the faith from our Granthis then we are doomed.

Do me a favour, next time you go to your local Gurdwara ask the Granthi to name the 10 Gurus and 5 beloved ones of the top of his head, and then provide a two sentence summary of each of their achievements/roles/history anything. I think you’ll be shocked by his lack of responses. These are fundamentals basics, like a child learning abc at school.

Amritaa – I only did a comparison with Islam as a case study, it was just to make a few points. I agree with all you are saying. Only if we had Khalsaa raaj could we have a religious education institution for Granthis in Punjab without the Badal and Congress effect. So agreed, why not have UK based institutions.

Conclusion

The main point im trying to make is that we need Granthis who are drenched in love for Sikhi. We need a process to identify and recruit these types of Granthis. Now if a person is willing to go through a Sikhi education process and commit themselves to it, then you at least know they are commited, they are for real and that they have the knowledge of the fundamentals. At the moment the current process a lot of the time only recruits Granthis who are drenched in love for a passport Sikhi.

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Do me a favour, next time you go to your local Gurdwara ask the Granthi to name the 10 Gurus and 5 beloved ones of the top of his head, and then provide a two sentence summary of each of their achievements/roles/history anything. I think you’ll be shocked by his lack of responses. These are fundamentals basics, like a child learning abc at school.

I do not want to quiz Granthis on such basic things. But my experience says that Granthis of Gurdwara sahibs have a lot more knowledge about Guru sahibs and their mission

than us.

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GPS - Im not saying that all Granthis are bad, but its common knowledge that you get quite alot of Granthis who cause untold damage to the image of Sikhi by doing anti sikhi things (listed above). We need a process to ensure that non religious individuals who want to use the position of a Granthi for the sole purpose of a visa are never able to obtain the esteemed role of a Granthi within a Gurudwara.

In the wider sehjdhari and roda sikh community, due to the anti gurmat actions of a large number of Granthis over the years, these sections of the community do not have a huge amount of respect for Granthis (who can blame them) and the word Giani has actually become a derogatory term that people use when taking the mick.

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