In my first article I tried to describe and analyse the problems around the Gurdwara elections in Southall. Some outsiders are suggesting that there is a struggle between ‘radical Sikhs’ and ‘the peaceful establishment’.
There is an establishment, but I am not impressed by the ‘peacefulness’ of either party and/or their followers. An important part of the motivation of the followers of both the Baaz & the Sher party seems to be power and money. The Sher party is definitely not made up of dangerous Sikh radicals.
There are many stories doing the round on how friends and relatives of the present Gurdwara management profit from money spent or visas sponsored by the Gurdwara. I am not interested in these stories, but it is undeniable that being a member of the Prabandhak Committee is a prestigious position, which will impress friends and relatives in the UK and abroad.
I appeal to both ‘Baaz’ and ‘Sher’ to fight a clean election, to undertake in public that a maximum of openness and fairness will be exercised before and during the election and that both parties will not resort to either shouting and screaming or violence at any stage.
Both the ‘Baaz’ and the ‘Sher’ group should address the following issues :
- Who qualifies for Gurdwara membership ? The first time I became a member the person in charge was hesitant to enrol me because of my Dutch last name, although I am a visible Sikh. People with ‘Hindu’ last names who did not even wear a kara were accepted without questions.
- I analysed the last set of accounts of the Singh Sabha Ltd and could not find any fault with them. The accounts were presented in a professional manner, but the Gurdwara should also produce a simple profit & loss account and a balance sheet for the benefit of ordinary members.
- It is not acceptable in a democratic organisation that the same persons can be officers of the executive like Chair, Secretary and Treasurer without any time limit. Maximum period in office should be three years followed by a period of three years in which such persons could be committee members but not officers.
- It should be clear that the authority within the organisation is with the members and that the officers and committee members execute the decisions of the AGM and other general meetings and run ‘current affairs’ but do not have the authority to make policy decisions.
- It is a great shame that sangat’s money is spent on hiring a security firm during the elections. Both parties are at fault.
- Baaz & Sher should come together and agree Panj Piaré who will act as mediators between the two groups, as was done during the Misl period.
I will make sure that both Dr Parvinder Singh (gen secretary), and Gurmail Singh (Sher group) will receive a copy of Gurdwara Election I and II.