New Delhi:Though it may not be a barometer to test the popularity of any candidate for the forthcoming elections to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) on January 27, visitors at various gurdwaras in the Capital want more facilities for pilgrims, better education and health facilities for the community.
The devout among the Sikhs are generous. They collectively offer crores of rupees and demand that the money be used to educate the children and keep the historic shrines in top shape.
The Tribune talked to a cross-section of people. Some are unhappy with the ruling Sarna brothers – Paramjit Singh and Harvinder Singh – others seem to opt for status quo and want Paramjit Singh Sarna to continue. The three historic gurdwaras – Rakab Ganj, Bangla Sahib and Sheesh Ganj – have the highest footfall of the devout from across the globe.
Prabhjit Singh, a resident of Kilokari village near Hari Nagar Ashram, said that the community offers money to gurdwara for its maintenance and welfare of the community. “This welfare is not being done correctly,” he said.
The educational standard of Guru Harikishan Public Schools being managed by the DSGMC has dropped. There was a time when these schools were considered as one of the best schools in the city, but now people, even Sikhs, prefer other schools for their children.
“At Bangla Sahib Gurdwara where the money used to make gold-plated walls could have been used on education and the dispensaries,” Prabhjit Singh added.
Mahinder Singh, a senior citizen, who resides at Patel Nagar, said tenure of a committee is just two years. But the Delhi government intervened to get Paramjit Singh Sarna an extension”.
But views can differ. At Rakab Ganj, where the DSGMC has its office, opinions vary and favour Sarna. Mandeep Singh, from Toronto, Canada, says “My interest is only that our shrines should be in top shape, the facilities should be upgraded periodically and that is happening.” He suggested total de-linking of Punjab-based political parties from Sikh affairs in Delhi. “Most of the Sikhs in the national Capital are traders and are descendants of refugees from West Pakistan while that is not the case in Punjab where most are farming landlords. There is no common thought”.
Jasvinder Singh, a resident of Khayala village who often visits Bangla Sahib, says there should be no political interference. “The DSGMC president perates undemocratically” sarai – living place for out-station devotees – should be free of cost but at Bala Sahib there is a charge levied which is beyond the pocket of the common man.