Saturday, February 18, 2006

Global Sewa

Some years ago when I heard about a Sikh aid organisation called Khalsa Aid being formed I was both hopeful and sceptical. Hopeful that I could channel my donations through an organisation I felt an affinity with, and sceptical because I wasn't sure if they would get enough support from the community.

Well, here's an excerpt from a recent article by Ravinder Singh:

"Since Khalsa Aid was launched in 1999 a lot of similar Sikh organisations have suddenly mushroomed overnight. Most of them, purely for individual or monetary gain. Humanitarian disasters have become a massive money-making and political business. I have been involved in many relief operations since 1999 and have also seen many groups who have state-of-the-art photographic equipment but do very little actual relief work. Their well-presented Web sites give a very different picture."

The full article is worth a read. I must admit I haven't done much to get involved or support Khalsa Aid, but I really feel that ideally there should be just one Sikh aid organisation in the UK through which we can channel our aid and be proud of.


Sikhi Seeker said...

We can only wish for such unity. I guess it is infact too hard for people to come together inspite of their personal and working style differences. I myslelf find working in groups tough. But I think that is one challenge we can overcome by lending a leading voice of a blessed influencer on all the people, someone who can motivate all to unite for the common cause. And when you describe the new organizations that have sprung up for personal fulfilments, I wonder sometimes that people cannot really be so ruthless. Probably they take their first step in hope, but wander adrift too soon. I guess it is the lack of the light and that constant push that comes when the goals are public and huge audiences to answer to. Sikhism has forever faced problems in uniting even over the most common causes. Hopefully some fine day, and sometime soon...
Satnam Waheguru!

Sikhi Seeker said...

Only when I was taking a second look at your post, did I realize how perfect is your choice to use Bhai Ghanaiya ji's picture for this post. :D:D

msingh said...

sikhi seeker I agree when you say "Sikhism has forever faced problems in uniting even over the most common causes". It would be interesting to know if anybody has done any research to causes of lack of unity. One obvious one is that of caste.

After the terrible events of 1984 I sometimes wonder what it's going to take to make us realise that we need to unite.

satvinder said...

As an aside, Bhai GhaNayaa Ji's story is one that has touched me since childhood. I think the warmth, the love, the huimilty just came through as such a powerful message. His selflessness, indifference and ability to see god in all earned him a hug from Guru Gobind Singh ji... Wow! Can you imagine!

If only we could take example and live our daily lives through this message.

Otpreka Singh said...

True Sewa is doing Sewa with Waheguru in your mind and heart.

ss said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ss said...

m-singh I know some members of Khalsa Aid, we mert often enough at conferences, events, campaigns etc. In fact I have in my possession 3 DVDs (given by them as a presentation) of their work,

"The Plight of Minorities in Afganistan" - May 2004,
"Tsunami Relief Aid in Andaman & Nicobar Islands" - 2005
"Gujarat earthquake disaster" - Jan 2001

All are very good overviews to get a feel for the kind of work they are doing.

I also know some of the people that their spat was with; which in this particular instance was with United Sikhs.

All I can say is that this rather public dispute was a most unedifying spectacle that did neither of them any justice and potentially harmed future support from people who got caught up in the various highly public arguments that went back and forth.

It was most unecessary and publicly at least seems to have quietened down now. But it was unnecessary and I wish it had had never happened.

I like to believe that we actually have more unity than is sometimes seen, but it can be hard to tell when such spats take place. I also think that every community suffers from similar problems but that we obviously focus on our own and don't realise that others also have internal disagreements.

But thats not to say that of course we should be aiming for a higher level, we do need to aim more and better unity.

However I would also say that as a community, some are only too ready, too often to wash our dirty linen in public before trying any other avenues to discuss the issue in hand.

Otpreka Singh as so often, hits the nail smack bang centre with his comment.

msingh said...

ss thanks for your illuminating comment, coming as does from first hand contact and experience. I have never met anybody from either organisation and wasn't aware that there had been such a public dispute between the two organisations.

I just hope that one or two very strong aid organisations emerge which are free from politics and focused on sewa, with whom the Sikhs can identify and channel their donations and sewa.

People are more likely to support Sikh aid organisations if they are transparant with how the donations are used, and are free from personality / political complications.