The following is an Op/Ed by Sarbloh Gym members on the incident which occurred at the Sedgley Street Gurdwara Sahib this past weekend.
Response from SFW is encouraged.
There is a lot of speculation and rumor surrounding Sarbloh Gym, Akaal Fightclub and Guru Nanak Sikh Temple, Sedgley Street. We have kept quiet, not because we are guilty but because we are deeply ashamed of recent events. Here are the facts; you can choose to believe them or believe the rumor mill. The choice is entirely yours.
What is it all about?
GNG Sedgley St, our beloved local Gurdwara Sahib, considered and respected as one of the most panthic stages and Sikh voices in Europe. This is not a 1-man show, Sedgley St is a Panthic establishment, in service of the local and wider Sikh community since the late 70’s.
Who are Sikh Forum Wolverhampton?
This so called ‘community’ group, is steered by a trustee of the Gurdwara Sahib and assisted by a few ex and current committee members. These individuals have played an instrumental and key role in the Gurdwara for decades, and are, as you can imagine well versed with Gurdwara policy, process and procedures – having helped create and shape said policy in the first place.
Ok, what do Sikh Forum want?
They claim they want to serve the community and help improve the management of the Gurdwara. Sounds great doesn’t it? Who would disagree with them? They claim they are looking at all Gurdwara’s in Wolverhampton. All in all it seems an excellent and worthy movement; except it is not.
These claims are bogus. Take one look at their website. They are on a personal vendetta against our beloved GNG Sedgley St; They claim the Gurdwara is mismanaged when many of them are involved in managing it RIGHT NOW in senior and notable positions and many have managed it in the past? How do these claims make sense to anyone? Their website is full of hatred, targeting just this Gurdwara alone and ignoring any and all Sikh issues which actually matter to the community.
What do they actually want?
Control of the Gurdwara Sahib is what it’s all about Sangat Ji. More specifically control of the upcoming building project – You’ve all heard of commission or a finder’s fee? Now do some maths, 20% commission on a £2 million building project – and that’s just phase 1!
Why don’t you talk to them?
Sangat ji, it’s impossible NOT to talk to them! Their members are involved in day-day running of the Gurdwara Sahib and oversee the trust. It is not as if GNG management is some rogue group whom do not engage in dialogue with Sikh Forum. The truth is they do not come to the table.
Aren’t their demands sensible?
GNG Sevadaars have bowed to ALL of the sangat’s demands; they wanted seats for the elderly in the Deewan Hall – seating was provided. They wanted to create an advisory building committee – this was allowed. They wanted to forcefully select their own builder… this is where GNG sevadaar’s put their foot down. SFW have no other agenda other than this and will seek to disrupt the Gurdwara Sahib to any degree to ensure that their greed is satisfied.
What happened last week?
Sikh Forum Wolverhampton turned up to the Gurdwara in numbers, with them they brought people we’ve never seen at the Gurdwara, ANYONE can confirm how packed the hall was, yet there was no special samaagam due to take place. They came with a plan to cause disruption (just like the week before, video evidence was posted) and disruption is what they caused, they were ready to fight their own Gursikh brothers and take off turbans right there in the Darbaar hall, forcing themselves onto the stage.
With no regard for Maharaaj, can you imagine if violence had been conducted in the Darbaar? Alas, their plan did not succeed, Kirtan started and the Sangat joined in with Simran. Within 5-10 minutes, their members walked out.
They took their positions, some in the Langar hall, some in the office, some wandering around… When a respected elder walked into the office, they immediately started arguing… moments later two disgruntled Sikh Forum reps, loosing all self-respect, attacked the elder.. at this point, youth who were outside, in the lobby, ran in and stopped the violence.
But I heard the Youth are extremist and violent?
Sarbloh Gym has been running for 4 years (going on 5).. how many violent incidents have we been involved in? We are mostly local youth, we love and respect our Gurughar, we do not go to the Gurdwara with the intention of supplementing our income or seeking power. We are educated and employed, we could do without the hassle in our lives, but we love our Guru! We were there to uphold the sanctity of the Darbaar sahib. Which we have managed to maintain despite SFW’s best intent for 2 weeks on the trot.
But I’ve seen video’s of the Youth breaking chairs?
The youth took out the seating from the Darbaar Hall, after Sikh Forum’s committee members overlooked youth requests to alter seating. SFW reported this incident to the police, youth were arrested, investigated and the case dropped. So why re-surface this same issue again? Did they tell you they youth spent their own money to CORRECT THE HEIGHT of the seats and replaced the unsafe material with fire-retardant material? The youth re-installed seating- without malicious intent.
Truth is, we can go on all day about what happened and why it happened, but we will stop here. We do have evidence to support our claims, SFW state that the committee has been wrongly selected and previous members have returned – we’d like to see proof and evidence of this. Wool is being pulled over your eyes. We do not have a fancy website nor an overactive Facebook page/social media profile where we can be in your face everyday. But what we do have is the truth. Maharaaj is with us, we believe in Maharaaj and will continue to stand up for what is right. Thank you for reading.