Kids Corner


The Baton Passes To A New Generation Of Parcharaks





Having now moved (I hope gracefully) into the diaspora group of senior Sikh youth camp facilitators, I must comment on the fresh new crop of such parcharaks (exponents and exegists of gurbani) catering to the needs of the younger generations of today.

My scope is limited because I operate in what we Down-Under refer to the Australasian region which includes New Zealand.

My involvement goes back to over 50 years where in the first instance I was one of the earlier participants in Malaysia - back in the 1960's. In the early 2000's I did foray into such youth camps, gurmat camps and samelans in USA, Canada and UK, but now I get requested mainly to such camps in our region in and around Australia.

A few names come to mind from our region including the indefatigable Harinder Singh, formerly of the Sikh Research Institute (’SikhRI‘) headquartered in the US. He is being invited back for our camp in Melbourne at the end of January 2017.

Incidentally, Canadian political star Jagmeet Singh dazzled our youth through two talks at our camp in Sydney at the beginning of this year.

In Malaysia the ones I know in this category include:

Harcharanjit Singh 'Raja' who is a lawyer by profession.

Karamjit Singh 'Kamay', also a lawyer and his family - all are involved.

Gurmukh Singh - yes, again, also a lawyer. And his smart and beautiful wife also joins him. he is a classical kirtania too.

There is a Sarjit Singh, a Sanjay Singh, a number of Sukhdev Singhs with varying English spellings of their name.

These are just a few who come quickly to mind.

Bhai Manjeet Singh and also Dr. Karminder Singh hold numerous regular gurbani vichaar classes and talks on Sikh dharmic history throughout Malaysia. Manjeet is a lawyer. Both dazzle the sangat with their vast knowledge and keep learning more themselves as true Sikhs do.

Last week I met another one of these young and upcoming modern-day parcharaks. This one from Bangkok in Thailand. Davinder Singh 'Tony' is involved in finance in Thailand and amazed me with his knowledge of Sikhi. he conducts regular camps in Thailand and also facilitates in this region.

It is a breath of fresh air to listen to this new generation of parcharaks. No fairy tales, and with all information backed with facts. Most importantly they all portray Sikhi as a modern day tool for a better life, not as a religion to appease the gods or even to seek salvation. Our youth respond to them and it is refreshing to see Sikhi truly as the ideal way of life.

There are, of course, the detractors who put a more cultish or 'otherworldly' spin on Sikhi. Some try to draw the youth towards a particular sant or dera. Some pull them towards a cultish or medieval existence. But on the whole, especially with the hijacking of the Sikh institutions back in India by corrupt and Hindutva-influenced politicians,  it is refreshing to note that mainstream Sikhi parchar is still alive and well in my part of the world.

The four-day Sikh Youth New Zealand (SYNZ) Camp in the Papatoetoe district, Auckland from 3 October, 2016 drew over 100 participants with some marvellous seva by parents and sevadhars and a fun-filled curriculum handled by the likes of Davinder Singh from Bangkok, locals including simran advocate Dr. Kamaljit Singh and kirtania Yadhvinder Singh and his lovely daughter Amrita (who sings like a nightingale), and many other facilitators. A competition containing kirtan, affirmations and other dharmic renditions drew a sangat of well over 300 on the last day.     

November 28, 2016


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