From October 20 2008 (300 years of the Guru Granth as our eternal Guru) until October 20 2009 the Hounslow Singh Sabha Gurdwara is running a series of programmes for the young members of the sangat, which should lead to a better understanding of the Guru Granth.
The Prabandhak committee has asked a group of Sikhs to help organise some of the programmes directed at the youth, and the ‘man in blue’, young at heart but getting on in years, is part of this group. Since then we had a youth kirtan darbar with katha in English on Sunday afternoon 23 November.
Between now and the end of 2008 the following youth programmes are planned to take place :
14/12 14.00 – 16.00 Youth Kirtan Darbar
21/12 14.00 – 16.00 Youth Kirtan Darbar with katha in English
27/12 (time to be decided), Lecture followed by questions and answers : ‘Becoming a Sikh’, Gurpreet Singh & Harjinder Singh.
28/12 One Day Sikhí Camp, workshop for the young, lectures and interactive activities.
30/12 Seminar for the young, understanding Guru’s teachings.
More details on the December 27, 28 and 30 programmes will follow.
We are dealing with an audience that might be as young as 5 or 6 but also with attending parents, grandparents aunties and uncles.
Our main challenge is to go easy on storytelling, and concentrate instead on the teachings of the Guru Granth. Stories can be used to a limited extent to illustrate points made in Gurbaní, but we have to be aware of the fact that South Asia has a rich tradition of storytelling, and no tradition of history.
To give an example of what I mean take the story of Bhai Lalo and Malik Bhago. There might have been such persons and Guru Nanak might have visited them, but we do not know how ‘historical’ the story is. What we do know is that it is a ‘True Story’ in another, much more important sense : the teachings of the story are in line with Gurbaní.
Guru teaches us about One God, One Humanity, making an Honest Living, about not concentrating on Me, Me, Me but instead on seeing God’s presence in ‘All and Everything’. Can we make the youngsters aware of God’s Love for us ? Can we develop their love for God ?
Can we make our sangat understand that a shahíd, a martyr, is the opposite of a suicide bomber, that a shahíd is looking for justice, is defending the oppressed regardless of the consequences ? Can we educate young Sikhs to be Spiritual Heroes, sacrificing all in the quest for truth and welfare of all.