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Southall Vaisakhi Nagar Bhangra & Kirtan ?

April 9, 2006
Source: Khalsa Press

London, UK (KP) - On Sunday, 9th April, 2006 took place the annual Southall Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan. The Nagar Kirtan began at Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Havelock Road. The route of the Nagar Kirtan was as follows: Havelock Road, King Street, The Green, South Road, High Street, Green Drive, and ending at Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Park Avenue.

In previous years, the Sangat had raised the issue of manmat [unacceptable conduct] being allowed in the Nagar Kirtan by sending letters to the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall Committee. In particular, Gursikhs were concerned with Bhangra dancers dancing in the Nagar Kirtan and singing Boliyan (song lyrics). Last year, Bhangra dancers and members from the Desi Radio station danced in the Nagar Kirtan to songs about the Shaheedi of the Sahibzaadey. It raised among many the questions, "Is Dharmik Geet to be listened and contemplated upon for its message, or to dance and jump and down to? How can this sacrilege by condoned by the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara Committee who organised the Nagar Kirtan?"


The Sangat's message to the Nagar Kirtan organisers admonishing their lack of responsibility of ensuring the Nagar Kirtan is done in accordance to Gurmat done last year fell on deaf ears. Little or nothing had changed this year.

View Video of Nagar Kirtan Sewadar participating in Bhangra

Bhangra dancers dressed in their costumes can be seen in the pictures dancing to the dhol (drum) and someone singing Boliyan. The boliyan were about caste, women and drunkeness, which nowadays comprise the themes of modern Punjabi song lyrics. The Bhangra dancers disrupted the the purpose of the Nagar Kirtan, and secondly they promoted Manmat at such a joyous occasion by singing lyrics about things which are condemned in Sikhi, and thirdly it gave encouragement and acceptance to the youth that it is okay to keep your head uncovered, dance to vile lyrics promoting alcohol and caste and show little or lack of respect to the singing of Shabads and Simran being done in the Nagar Kirtan.

When the Nagar Kirtan approached Green Drive going towards Park Avenue, Gursikhs noticed a group of clean-shaven men, some who didn't even have the courtesy of covering their heads, dancing and jumping up and down to the beat of the Dhol. In between jumping up and down and dancing, they were shouting slogans of 'Raj Karega Khalsa,' and 'Khalistan Zindabad.' Gursikhs noted that one need to 'become Khalsa' before shouting such slogans and that secondly, by dancing and jumping down and shouting Jaikaare at the same time, ridicules the seriousness of such Sikh slogans and violates the sanctity of the Nagar Kirtan and belitles the purpose and message behind such an event. Some wondered:" What does this demonstrate to the youth?"

More shameful was the behavior of a Nagar Kirtan sewadar from Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, wearing a Sewadar jacket, who was dancing with the group of men rather than asking them to stop this disrespectful dancing and instead encouraging them to sing along Gurbani or at least show respect and solemnity to the rest of the Sangat who are singing Shabad Gurbani.

Eventually the group of men stopped doing Bhangra after Gursikhs tried to explain to them that this was not the time nor place to do Bhangra. Furthermore, members of the Sangat who were standing right behind the men dancing were annoyed that there Shabad Kirtan was being drowned out by the shouting, dhol playing and dancing of these men. Members of the Sangat also approached the men to stop. It seemed the group of young dhol players was fuelling these men to dance. So Gursikhs asked the dhol players to not play for a while, let the atmosphere calm down and restore to the intended peaceful atmosphere of singing Gurbani and doing Simran in Sangat roop.


1 Comments

  1. Narinder Singh Southall April 12, 2006, 1:41 am

    Sardarnee/Sardar Ji

    As much as I agree with your comments about bhangra, dhol, foul lyrics , You also failed to mention hundreds of Sikhs standing on the footpaths glareing at the sangat going past as if they were on display during the nagar kirtan surely this is disrespect as well.

    Sadly you also fail to mention the good things that were happening, You did not care to print a single photo of these. some of these are highlighted below.

    1. The bonding of the sangat
    2. The love and devotion shown by everyone serving langar
    3. The continuous shabad recitation by young Khalsa Sikhs from the Afghan community.
    4. The messages of Sikh values displayed on banners carried by the Sikh Scout Group.
    5. Thousnads of Young Sikhs who walked all the way behind the Guru Granth Sahib, although the gap between them and the swaree was almost half a mile.

    It is not always good to bring up the lows, because rather then ignoring them you make them more popular. Whereas if you write about the good things, they will get more publicity and then the not so good things seem like a drop in the ocean. This is my opinion, no doubt others may have similar or different oppinions. God Bless

    Thank you for listening

    Reply to this comment
 

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