Sangat Member Speaks Out on Yuba City Gurdwara Controversy, Hostile Take Over Main Cause

The in depth explanation and first hand account of the current situation of the Yuba City Gurdwara is broken down by Rupi Sandhu on her Facebook:

Regarding the situation happening with our Yuba City Gurdwara right now.

The Tierra Buena Gurdwara is a very close and personal subject for me. My family is among one of the original 26 founding families. It is the Gurdwara I first was taken to as a newborn. It is the Gurdwara I grew up in. It is the Gurdwara I was married in and years later it is the same Gurdwara I took my own newborn children to. These Gurdwara walls have seen my intense joy at times of success and gratefulness. These walls have also seen my sadness and despair at times of loss. I find immense peace and comfort in that prayer hall. It is hard to fully explain the connection I have to it.

Therefore, when I hear about blatant disregard for our Gurdwara, it pains me. While for most people, the issue occurring there is very cut and dry, it is not for me. For the longest time, there have always been opposing committee hopefuls vying for control. Sometimes a committee we agree with wins and sometimes it’s a committee we don’t agree with. This is normal in a democratic society. Just as when we vote a President into the White House, we don’t always get what we want.

The problem at the temple is with the actual election process. I am not in agreement at all with the way our committees are chosen and then decide to avoid democratic election and instead stay on indefinitely. This is not a new problem. This has been the process for as long as I can remember. I would hope that members intent on doing sewa for the right reasons, should be voted in by the sangat without influence of party lines. What a wonderful thing it would be if Democrats and Republicans could serve our country without regard of what side they represent. The same with the Gurdwara. If both sides could work as one, true Sikhi would prevail. Yes, I realize most of you are thinking…dream on Rupi…no such thing will happen. Sad really but I also agree that it is what perfect worlds are made of.

So what is the solution then? We just keep chugging along as we are. We pick our battle lines and we stick to them and when we want to change something, we go the legal route and sue each other and drag it all out in the courts. Then when the courts don’t move as fast as we like, we may decide we will take our own action…such as what is happening at our Gurdwara now.

It does not matter which committee you sympathize with. It does not matter if committees were reversed right now. It does not matter. We live in a country where laws must be followed. No person has the right to vote themselves into power one day and overtake a place. The right avenues must be pursued. The legal system must be abided by.

The past week has seen a group of individuals take a very extreme course of action. These people elected themselves into positions of leadership without due legal process and decided to take on the temple duties without proper authorization. Of course this did not go over well with the current sitting committee and a disagreement brewed. This manifested itself in the form of the unauthorized committee taking Gurdwara donations forcefully and improperly from Gurdwara grounds. This is shocking and most inappropriate no matter the circumstance. Following this unfortunate decision, the unauthorized committee then decided to change the locks of the Gurdwara with again no court order or legal implication to do so.

If you are having a hard time following my logic, I will explain it this way: Imagine that as the new Presidential election came near, Donald Trump got tired of waiting and decided at a private meeting that he was now the new President. He picks his executive committee and has a stamp from the Secretary of State’s office to seal the deal. He then goes to the White House and begins collecting federal funds and takes the cash home with him for the night. He returns the next morning with his locksmith and starts changing the locks of the Oval Office. The sitting President, Obama, opposes Trump’s actions and the disagreement becomes a legal matter. Due to the weekend, the courts are closed to resolve the matter of who is actually President and the issue has to wait until Monday to resolve. In the meantime, the White House must be closed down because nobody knows who is supposed to be in charge. This has the American people rightfully upset and they blame Obama for it because it’s the easiest thing to do. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Well it’s the same situation here.

We are lucky that we live in a country where laws prevent such scenarios from happening. Since when is it ok (it does not matter which committee you agree with) for people to do a hostile take over of an organization? I’m not a huge fan of the way some charities I donate to are run and often think I can do a better job getting the funds to where they need to go. But I know I cannot show up and just tell Salvation Army that their current committee is out because my friends and I decided we can take it from here. I would need to follow the correct avenues of election to serve.

I see many people on my timeline posting ignorant responses to this issue. If you don’t know what is going on there, educate yourself. If despite the obvious explanations you still decide to support hostile takeovers of organizations, then please re-evaluate your value system and general life goals.

As stated earlier, I have no personal stake in this other than I want what is best for our place of worship. As sad as it is that our Gurdwara has been closed for the time being, we must also realize that this is happening in accordance with the law of our country. It prevents further problems from occurring at the Gurdwara until a court can decide the proper course of action. In the meantime, the Gurdwara inside is fully staffed and all matters are being taken care of as usual.

Please note: I do not care which committee you sympathize with, wrong is wrong. If this was done by a committee I associate with, I would say they are wrong. If this was done in a different city, by a different organization…I would say it’s wrong. Please do not ever compromise your values and ideals for the sake of pleasing people. Call what is wrong as WRONG. Also, a word of advice. Do not make your position about this situation personal. Do not mix politics and friendship. I have many friends on both sides and at the end of the day, we agree to disagree and do not let a moment in time ruin our lifetime of friendship.

Please if you see people fanning the fire on your timeline, respond in a dignified manner and ask them to first learn the facts regarding the situation.

FACT: The Gurdwara grounds are closed only temporarily.
FACT: All duties related to the care of Guru Granth Sahib Ji are being taken care of by the full staff.
FACT: A hostile takeover was attempted and caused the Gurdwara closure.
FACT: Every dispute at temples is not about money. Sometimes it’s about power and position.
FACT: You should read the yearly reports to see where your donated money is going. You will be surprised to learn about monthly costs the Gurdwara incurs that you never thought of.
FACT: Our gurus would be so disappointed that their Sikhs are fighting each other over Gurdwara leadership.
FACT: Hostile takeovers of an organization are not okay.
FACT: Sikhs have bigger issues to address than this.

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