The pen is mightier than the sword; and the camera is mightier than the pen.
Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh ’Insaan’ was very unlucky. When he was engaging in Guru-ninda there were some cameras that caught his blasphemy. The pictures of Mr. Insaan imitating Guru Sahib, sitting in bir-asan and preparing his ‘eternal’ jaam were flashed across the world by the major newspapers. Result: a huge uproar and anger among Sikhs followed by clashes, injuries and deaths. This is one of the major disturbances Punjab has witnessed in recent years. But is Guru-ninda something unique to Sikhi? Guru-ninda takes place all the time, but unfortunately is not captured by the camera.
There have been more lucky blasphemers. They have not only imitated but desecrated Guru Sahibs in one way or the other. Some of them have refused to believe in the authority of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and have engaged in their own Gurudam in Punjab for many decades. They constitute a huge vote bank and hence have enjoyed the leniency from our Panthic leaders who have paid frequent visits to their deras seeking blessings from the ‘Satguru’.
Then there are those desecrators who, by using the Sikh terminologies of sangat, katha, kirtan, diwan, naam have tried to fill the spiritual vacuum among those Sikhs who feel neglected by the mainstream Sikhi. Their huge deras across Punjab with a huger membership reflect serious failures, in part of our organizations.
Punjab has been affected by dera endemic. It might be hard to acquire a college degree and secure a job to earn a living, but it is easier to start a dera and have a respectable number of followers who will ensure your decent living. And in most of the instances such an enterprise has proven to be successful. This is a business which will hardly fail, ensuring enormous profit.
Then there are subtle but dangerous desecrators. They look like us, talk of mainstream Sikhi, but don’t miss a chance to sting the Sikhs of their principles. With their anti-Sikh writings they instill confusion and distress in the panth. The first desecrator imitates Guru Gobind Singh ji and prepares his jaam using Rooh Afza. The second one ridicules the concept of amrit and claims that Guru Sahib could have put jaggery instead of pataase while preparing amrit. He refuses to believe in his Guru’s amrit. The first one declares that he is not a Sikh and writes his own maryada. The second one claims to be a Sikh but refuses to follow the Guru and ridicules the panthic maryada. He declares gurbani as ‘koor kabaar’ (trash) and denigrates the Ardas. But he is lucky. There is no camera to capture his blasphemy. And his pile of blasphemous writings becomes a subject of interpretation.
There is not much difference between the two. The second one is making space for the first one to flourish and strengthen his roots. Guru-ninda in any form should not be tolerated. If people want to establish their spiritual businesses, they are welcome to do so, but not in the expense of Sikh principles.
Sikhs have had enough. Enough of being on guard all the time. Enough of proving that we are not a part of another religion. Enough of being a target of mockery and cheap laughs. Sikhs are tired of this nagging. Every now and then Sikhs are faced with an awkward situation. On one side there is insensitive media that has little knowledge of the basic principles of Sikhism. The erroneous statements made about Sikhism by the media covering the latest controversy have proved this beyond any doubt. And on the other side we have Sikh leaders who are inarticulate and incapable of coping with any issue meticulously. It is distressing to see a dynamic and prosperous Quam that has contributed so much to the nation being put through these unpleasant situations.
Both the pen and the sword are now drawn. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but it’s the sword that has always defined the fate of the great civilizations.
Chuun kar az hama heelte dar guzasht
Halal ast burdan ba shamsheere dast!