Chandigarh model practices for common community cremation grounds need to be replicated in villages.....by Nirmal Singh Keerka
Life as an individual or being a member of society gets encountered happy & unhappy situations and we all move around sharing it in our respective group circles. A few weeks ago, there was a cremation in sector 25, Chandigarh for the younger brother of a serving bureaucrat belonging to a respected Brahmin family in Punjab.
All those known to the family were there representing the mixed category of caste religion or being Hindu or Sikhs for sharing grief. Similarly, on 25th Oct 2022, cremation for the mother of a friend, who otherwise practices politics, was carried out in SAS Nagar. There were members of the society across the board Sikhs /Hindus & those belonging to other faiths for sharing condolences with the family.
Having recently discussed certain social fabrics of the society and in specific to the Sikh community, recalled the anguish & helplessness confided by Manohar Singh Gill, former bureaucrat & politician who confided his personal passion for developing his village Allidinpur in Tarn Taran as a model village.
He apart from sharing certain positive issues also shared negative cultural developments in Sikh civilization. He regretted the attitude for the co Jatt Sikhs of his home village who displayed reluctance on sharing the developed cremation ground of the village with the other specific caste –creed and he could not persuade them to be member model village accepting one cremation location for everyone in the final journey of life without reference to caste categories for the village he belongs.
He regretted the personal defeat on the non-application for the logical issue in line with the founder for the faith by Guru Nanak Sahib. Gill has taken up so many developmental growth-oriented projects for the state whenever deployed on key positions in the state or central jobs but could not succeed in convincing on simple Sikh ideologies to his co natives village brotherhood!
The writer has been associated with a few NGO's and one of that is titled," Jatt Sikh Welfare Association '' for a few years but the NGO could not register any exemplary welfare for the community for longer tenure. The ethical issue above for the maintenance of separate cremation grounds & Gurudwaras in villages of Punjab was deliberated with few friends on unnatural division in division being a blatant violation for the basic teachings of Baba Nanak.
Guru Nanak Sahib apart from so many revolutionary social changes called upon the faith followers to believe & practice "Manas ki Jaat sabhe eke pehchanbo" -recognise whole human race as of one caste." in all respects and never gave option for pick & choose practice for this or that. It appears that quite a large size of population in Punjab are ignorantly reverting back to the rejected old era by default & but neither with intent for a corrective gainful objective to the defamed caste divisions rituals traditions!
Punjab state is addressed to be Sikh dominated although with just marginal numerical numbers over collective number for non-Sikhs, although those on ground situation are not practicing Hindus but attached with different Deras/ sub sects or Saints in the state but the Jatt Sikhs further proudly claim to be in majority among the Sikh diasporas of the state.
When the Jatt Sikh are a larger number as a sub cultural group among Sikh community, the responsibility on them is higher to keep the co faith united for common equality welfare for larger interests of being natives of the common state.
The grandson of late Srd Teja Singh Samundri confided few incidences related to the reformist actions taken up by his grandfather apart from having served as one of the leaders in agitation protests anchored for welfare of Punjab. He further narrated a story for his village where those classified as SC or Majhbi Sikhs were being denied the normal privilege for drawing drinking water from common wells.
When this complaint reached the ears & knowledge of Sr T.S. Samundri, he found out a novel idea for the social response with practical model ground action. He asked the aggrieved complainant to come over to the village location where he was denied drinking water being member SC. The aggrieved arrived and Srd Samundri suggested the aggrieved to draw water from the well for his drinking needs.
A few others (none SC) sitting there offered their services for doing this task, but he told them to let it be done by the person on the job. The water drawn by the aggrieved was later drunk by all others. That was the way of a mature great leader who without complaining or challenge acted in an exemplary manner settling the issue on the lines for the teachings of Guru Nanak, the basic father of Sikh ways of life!
The dilution for the teachings if not stopped with logical conviction, may continue to take back the Sikh community to a variety of unethical ritualism rejected by Guru Nanak Sahib. The practice for taking LANGAR together with all races-communities without differentiating caste- creed or economic parities, may one day also could fall in trap for separate LANGAR laid out class category wise if the fake unmindful innocent or egoistic- wrong tradition for separate Gurudawara & separate cremation (Shamshan Ghat) are not brought under common utilization without superior inferior discriminations. Sri AKAL TAKHT JATHEADAR Sahib could spare more time for settling ethical cultural issues in principle than playing second third fiddle for X-Y-Z political platforms believed to be contributory damaging basic fundamentals of Sikh Life.
The final destiny location being cremation grounds for Tri city: Chandigarh, Mohali or Panchkula are genuinely utilized by all the members of the society as & when tragedy for near dears takes place. The Brahmins- Jatt –Rajput & all others do not get downgraded while sharing common ground in Tri city. The logic or reasons for co natives of about 13,000 villagers in Punjab are not understood as if they are facilitating the boarding of the last flight journey of their dear ones to be of a different or meant for superior destination despite believed Almighty to be only ONE!
Therefore separate Cremation grounds are not facilitator for flight to HEAVENS or HELL perceptions but are part of revisit to old mind sets unlocked earlier by Guru Nanak Sahib but getting blocked again. The referred final life journey organized in tri city can also be implemented in villages of Punjab but only when the politically divided leaders stop fearing the social cultural unity in the society. Punjab may wake up to the ignored simple cause on grounds referred in the episode and also reunite the Gurudaras. Just an initiative may be required & majority PANJAB may agree for correction.
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