Gent Gurdwara: Anand Karaj

Gent Gurdwara
Anand Karaj
05 August 2017

Tabla wala, Granthi Singh, groom

The bride arrives !
The groom arrives late, the bride later again !

Bride and Groom standing together in front of Guru Granth Sahib

Master Ranjit Singh recites one verse,
then granthi sings the same

and the couple walks around the Guru Granth Sahib
This is done four times

Guru Granth Sahib, Master Ranjit Singh
Bride & Groom
The theme of the verses is ever closer union between bride are groom

Walking around the Guru Granth Sahib

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
B-9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue


BBC News – How a divided India fuelled the rise of the gurus

Soutik Biswas India correspondent

New Delhi, 25 August 2017. The followers of a popular Indian guru* in northern India have rampaged through towns, vandalising property, setting railway stations on fire, smashing cars, setting media vans alight and clashing with security forces. Several lives have been lost in the violence.

They are angry because a court found Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh guilty of raping two women at the headquarters of his religious group, known as Dera Sacha Sauda, in 2002.

To his millions of supporters, mostly underprivileged, lower caste men and women, Singh is a protean leader of his flock. He mutates effortlessly from spiritual leader to flashy entertainer.

He talks about a life lived in “reasonable restraint”, but himself lives opulently. The guru of bling, as some call him, is the main actor in garish, self-produced films and the lead singer in noisy open air concerts packed to the gills by a captive audience of devoted follower-fans.

His first music album was curiously titled Highway Love Charger and apparently sold millions of copies.

The guru’s social outreach is equally intriguing. Singh runs charities, and so-called movements to promote blood, eye and cadaver donations.

He campaigns for vegetarianism. But he also makes gay men sign declarations vowing to “give up homosexual behaviour” under his “holy guidance”, and was once accused of forcing followers to undergo castration to “get closer to god”.

A journalist who visited the sprawling headquarters of Singh’s dera, a religious group, Punjab has more than 100 of them, told me she was struck by buildings with human ear-shaped windows and high turquoise walls topped with multi-coloured fruit-shaped water tanks.

“It seemed to me,” she told me, “that he’s a guru who lives out his dreams and fantasies, movie star, rock singer, do-gooder, political influencer, through his group and his devotees. In the process, he also helps his followers to dream big.”

India has always had gurus for as longer as one can remember. There are global gurus like the flamboyant Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to whom the Beatles turned to for spiritual salvation in the 1960s. And there are domestic gurus for rich and poor with huge followings.

The gurus count politicians, film and cricket stars, bureaucrats and ordinary people among their devotees. They run schools and hospitals. They peddle influence as superstitious politicians run to them for advice and votes of their devotees.

Proximity to a guru legitimises a politician and adds to his power. Gurus like Singh virtually run parallel states, providing services to followers.

The 50-year-old Singh, who will be sentenced on Monday, is one of the more controversial ones. In the past, gurus – or “godmen” as they are called in India, have been accused of murder, rape, trafficking, assault, sexual abuse and fraud.

Singh himself has been accused of mocking Sikh and Hindu figures, and investigated for murder and rape. Although the bulk of his devotees are lower caste, poor and underprivileged, his core group include highly-educated professional followers.

Many believe that millions of people flock to the dozens of religious groups like Singh’s because they feel that mainstream politics and religion have failed them. In what they feel is an increasingly inequitable world, they feel let down by their politicians and priests, and turn to gurus and shamans for succour.

“In many ways the rise of gurus like Singh tells us something about how conventional politics and religion have been failing a large number of people. So they turn to unconventional religion to seek some dignity and quality.

Such groups have arisen in many parts of the democratic, modern world. They find equality by sharing common spaces and ceremonies with millions of fellow followers,” sociologist Shiv Visvanathan told me.

Not without reason Singh’s followers share a common invented surname, Insan (Human), as opposed to an individual surname which reveals your caste and place in society.

Clearly, the rise of the gurus and religious groups tells us how deeply divided and hierarchical India remains. Friday’s violence once again showed how such gurus can end up running a parallel state, and the seeming powerlessness of the state itself.

  • Guru means bringer of light into darkness, the Bling Guru did the opposite !

The Tribune – Granthi booked for ‘cooking’ meat in shrine

Why is this the business of the police ?
Man in Blue

Faridkot, 29 August 2017. The police today booked the granthi of a gurdwara for hurting religious sentiments. He allegedly cooked meat in the kitchen of the gurdwara.

In a complaint to the police, Bhola Singh, president of the gurdwara in Romana Ajit Singh Wala village alleged that in view of the tense situation in the state, some youths were on night vigil around the gurdwara.

Around midnight, these youths entered the gurdwara to procure milk to make tea. When they opened the refrigerator, they found a bowl of cooked meat in it.

The youths told the gurdwara management about the meat. When questioned, granthi Bharpoor Singh admitted he had cooked the meat, said Bhola Singh.

The police have registered a case under Section 295A of the IPC against the granthi. He has not been arrested.

India Today – Mumbai rains: How Ganesh pandals and gurdwaras are extending help to locals

As heavy rains lash Mumbai, Ganesh pandals and langars have extended help to people in Maximum City

New Delhi, 29 August 2017. Heavy rains have lashed Mumbai once again after 12 years, flooding several parts of the city. On this occasion, the rains have come when the city is celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi. Ganesh pandals have come forward to help out people stranded in the rains. And so have langars run by Sikhs.

Social media is full of messages where people have offered help to the needy. The hashtag “rainhosts” was trending on Twitter. Mumbai residents were volunteering help in the form of shelter, food, tea and even beds for the needy.

Contributing to the help extended by locals are Ganesha pandals and the langars.

A resident Yogesh Pawar wrote on Facebook: “Dear All, those stranded near Dadar, Matunga, Sion and Parel can move towards G S B Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava Samiti Pandal at Ram Mandir Wadala. Food and water have been made available. 9821595432 // 8879114932”.

He was quoting Subhash Pai, convenor (PRO) of the GSB Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava Samiti, Ram Mandir Wadala.

“The gurdwaras in Sion are offering shelter too,” Seema Kamdar said.

Pawar went on to invite people to his house. “Anyone stuck on the highway between Andheri and Goregaon. Please come home. Piping hot sambar rice and pickle dinner and dry bed to rest… Call/text/WhatsApp.”

He also asked people who were stranded in SoBo to go to Sydenham College, Government Law College, Boys’ Hostel and Telang Girls’ Hostel.

‘Do not panic Mumbai, let us help each other’

One Surryakant Tyagi wrote: “All the gurudwaras in Mumbai are open for langar and shelter for everyone who is stuck in any part of the city… Please fwd to as many as u can… BMC alert…If the rain doesn’t stop or recede, the electricity will be cut off. Please charge up your cellphones and inform all.”

People on social media have learned lessons from the July 27, 2015 heavy rains in which several lives were lost. They have also been putting social media to maximum use.

For instance, Smita Deshmukh offered suggestions on Facebook: “Guys, keep your car windows open if you have the automatic system. Lessons from 26/7/2005 #MumbaiRains”

She further wrote: “If possible, avoid Ganesh visarjan today. Bappa will understand. Do not panic, Mumbai. Let us help each other #MumbaiRains.”

She also shared the emergency numbers such as 1916 helpline number as declared by BMC.

The Hindu – The man who exposed Dera chief paid with his life

Suvojit Bagchi

Kolkata, 28 August 2017. On Monday when the court decides the quantum of punishment to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the family of one man, killed long back, would be praying for “maximum punishment” to the guilty.

The man, Ramchandra Chhatrapati, a Hindi language journalist from Sirsa, on the western border of Haryana, was the first to publish the anonymous complaint of one of the female followers of Ram Rahim Singh.

The report was eventually sent to many papers, officials and politicians. The complaint-letter, now a public document and circulating on the social media, explained how the self-styled godman exploited women.

Basis for verdict

It was on the basis of this letter, that was subsequently published in newspapers, along with other evidence, that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) judge Jagdeep Singh finally held Ram Rahim Singh guilty on Friday.

“We hope that maximum punishment will be given to Ram Rahim Singh,” said Anshul Chhatrpati, the eldest son of Ramchandra Chhatrapati.

Fatally shot

Within months of publishing the anonymous letter of the female follower, known to Ramchandra, in 2002, he was fatally shot on October 24 of the same year. The letter was published in Mr Chhatrapati’s four-page Hindi eveninger, Poora Sach [Complete Truth]. Mr. Chhatrapati, who suffered five gunshot wounds, died on November 21 in hospital.