By Kaur Singh
Matters of grave concern to the Midwestern Sikh community have arisen, and the Sikh Sangat of Chicago has begun to assert power over their own affairs. Our focus is upon the Sikh Religious Society (SRS) of Chicago, located in Palatine, which is the largest gathering of Sikhs in the Midwest. According to recent reports from members the SRS Board has acted autocratically, failed to meet the spiritual & social needs of its Sangat, has marginalized the youth and seniors, has created controversy by installing 2 Head Granthis, and they have done so having alienated the Sangat and disallowing transparency in their decision-making process.
The irony is that the present Board of Trustees, which won the last elections in 2008, did so while (justifiably) accusing the previous board of lacking transparency, of not being in touch with the Sangat and for neglecting the youth. The new Board ran the elections as the self-styled “Panthic Slate”, yet their behavior and actions have been anything but Panthic. Looking at it dispassionately, one may even be forced to conclude that some policies and decisions made (and are in the process of being made) by the new SRS Board may be termed anti-Panthic.
No doubt that the label “anti-Panthic” is a very strong one. It inevitably leads to a rise in the blood pressure for many involved in contemporary Sikh politics. But read on to see if this deduction is baseless. Once confronted with the evidence, you too will conclude that calling the new SRS Board’s actions anti-Panthic is fair, and indeed, warranted.
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