PART TWO: The Assessment.
Karminder Singh Dhillon, PhD (Boston).
To argue otherwise would amount to an exercise in deception.
By and large, our gold plated structures, sprawling marble-adorned complexes, modern architectural constructs and beautiful buildings (and even their humble variants) are just that – physical structures that are admirable; are able to attract occasional large passive crowds and chalk up substantial incomes in the form of donations.
A vast majority of our Gurdwaras do little more than organize weekly diwans that constitute kirtan by professional ragis, akhand path readings by professional pathis, the occasional katha or sermon also by a professional and conclude with the serving of langar.
With few exceptions, these “professionals” are largely disconnected from the sangats they serve and thus oblivious to the spiritual challenges facing their congregations. Their primary motive is to earn a living through their “professional” activities and so long as the sangat “enjoys” their “musical presentations” and gives them sufficient bheta, they are content.
A vast majority of our Gurdwaras have no primary function other than acting as a venue for the conduct of Anand Karajs, Antim Ardas and other functions where the sangat has no role other than passive and reciprocal attendance – we go because we fear that if we didn’t, then others will not come to our functions.
Yet the strongest evidence that our Gurdwaras are dysfunctional is that they are steadily emptying out of Generation Y and Z Sikhs; that our youth are become increasingly alienated from our Gurdwaras; and our children are beginning to disconnect from Sikhi by the hordes.
The root cause of such dysfunction lies in our wilful neglect of the original and rightful functions of Gurdwaras, as intended by our Gurus. An assessment of each of these seven functions may be worth conducting.