Sikhism is one religion where you can’t have both culture and religion; to maintain either you have to take one out of the equation. Punjabi culture is all about drinking, dancing, and sex discrimination. Sikhi is abstaining from all negative stuff that harms our body (like drinking); exercising instead of dancing and against all forms of discrimination. That is why Gurudwara Sahibs most refrain from promoting Punjabi Culture events, encouraging the caste system and allowing discrimination.
Majority of Sikhs are Punjabis but majority of Punjabis are not Sikhs, yet Gurudwara Sahibs still promote Punjabi culture events aimed at non-Sikhs. Sikh is one that follows the teachings of Sikh Gurus and is amritdhari or working towards taking amrit. A Sikh does not drink alcohol, wear flashy clothes, eat meat or partake in non-gurmat events. Majority of culture events that take place and are promoted by Gurudwara Sahibs allow drinking, encourage flashy clothes, eating meat and forgetting Waheguru. Events are typically held outside of the Gurudwara Premises or without the presence of Guru Granth Sahib Ji because these events are anti-gurmat and not related to Sikhi. We forget that removing Guru JI from the room or going to separate venue does not hide our deeds from Guru Ji. Waheguru Ji is present everywhere and watching over us at all times. So next time we use the Gurudwara banner to promote Teeyan, Rakhsa Bandan, Karva Chutha, Diwali and etc. for political and financial reasons or even to get more people to enter the Gurudwara Sahib, let’s take a moment to think if the event can be held in Guru Ji’s presence. Respect all religions and cultures but not at the price of Sikhi.
Sikhi promotes respecting all regardless of caste, yet we announce castes as if they are badge of honor. Many members of the Sikh community still use the caste system when picking life partners and judging others but Gurudwara Sahibs should not encourage it. Gurudwara Sahibs must keep caste out of any matrimonial services offered and refuse to acknowledge or announce any last names other than Singh, Kaur or Khalsa (with expectation of other religion visitors). Every time during ardass or announcements we mention last names, the elder members of the community immediately figure out the person’s caste. There might be an excuse to using different last name outside of the Gurudwara Sahib but under no circumstances should it be allowed inside. Please ask everyone to check there are caste/last names at the door, when enter the Gurudwara Sahib. We are all equal in the eyes of Waheguru Ji and that is what the Gurudwara Sahib should promote.
For true equality we must not only get rid of the caste system but also get rid of gender discrimination. Punjabis and Indian in general are well-known for their preference of males over females. There is a high rate of Female abortion in Punjab and we should work in keeping that problem out of our communities in the west. The west has always set an example for doing bad stuff for the people back home, let us set a better example for them this time. Gurudwara Sahibs must encourage more women to learn kirtan do it for sangat to inspire more. We must not hire Granthies whose wives/daughters do not live a Gursikh life style. The people that couldn’t teach their own families, what will they teach our children? Being a Granthi is not a job but a tool to inspire more Gursikhs (men and women). We have to encourage more females to get involved in Seva in all of the Gurudwara Sahib, not just the langar hall. They should be encouraged to seva where other females can see them and get inspired. Gurudwara Sahib must promote equality of the genders and help preserve Sikhi for the next generation.
Gurudwara Sahibs are the keepers of Sikhi, the home of Guru Ji, and they must not sell out and become the keepers of Punjabi culture. Sikhs must protect Sikhi and keep Punjabi culture out of Gurudwara Sahibs. And Punjabis must respect Sikhi and check Punjabi culture at the door. Gurudwara Sahib have to pick Sikhi today or tomorrow there won’t be a Sikhi left to pick in most Gurudwara Sahibs.
Authors Note: The intention was not to hurt feelings, just telling the truth as I see it. Any questions or comments or advice please email at firstname.lastname@example.org