Friday October 30 was the first time that the YKD team was in charge of the early evening programme of Rahiras, Ardas, Kirtan & Katha. This will take place from 18.00 till 20.00 every last Friday of the month for the coming year. On every first Sunday of the month from 11.00 till 12.00 there is a further katha in English and kirtan programme.
This first time the Rahiras was read by Jaswinder Kaur and me, the ardás by me and the Vák by Jaswinder Kaur. This was followed by about 30 minutes of kirtan by the young kirtanis studying with Santokh Kaur Bhain-Ji and after that I did half an hour of simran and katha in English.
I did simran on Vahiguru, on the ‘Mul Mantr’ and on Gobinde, Mukande from Jáp Sahib. In my katha in English the main theme was the definition of a Sikh as found in the Rehat Maryada, followed by the leadership of the Sikhs by the Guru Granth Sahib.
Pritpal Singh looked after the projection of the shabads and Ardas on the screen, and Gurkamal Singh was in attendance of the Guru Granth Sahib.
We demonstrated that we are able to deliver the programme. Our challenge is to involve more and more young members of the sangat. We do have sufficient kirtan contacts, with the students of the kirtan class and older kirtanis who do kirtan in rág.
It should be easy to involve youngsters in the reciting of Rahiras, first sitting with us and later taking the lead. We are not worried about mistakes, but I do not want the sort of superfast recitation that you hear too often. Same goes for the ardás. There is no need to know the ardás by heart, we can read from my prepared sheets or from multi-lingual or Panjabi gutké.
For the vák we use the shabad that came up first thing in the morning, which makes it possible to become familiar with the text to be recited.
Finding people who are confident to do katha in English will be more difficult. I had a chance to ‘practice’ in the smaller Gurdwaré in Belgium and the Netherlands. I am gaining confidence in doing this, but it takes a lot of preparation to come to full understanding of any shabad.
In all this we try to stick to letter and spirit of the Rehat Maryada, which means that Rahiras starts with So Dar, as it does in the Guru Granth Sahib, and ends with Mundavani and the final slok.
This is a good chance for young Singhs and Kaurs to learn Sikh skills. We should be less dependent on granthis, ragis and kathakars, I think the Gurdwara should be run by the sangat under the guidance of the granthi.