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The Sikh Global Village BoliviaDownload Synopsis
 

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It has not been easy. We have to maintain the energy. There has always got to be a leader. There are many other wonderful teachers but somehow I have taken the above responsibilities of the group in Bolivia. As an example, we recently had 11 women teachers and one young man for a course. Out of this group four or five are really committed. The movement is growing and it is necessary to grow. I was teaching at night as I have a job during the day time. Additionally I have to travel a lot for conferences etc. So now I teach only on Saturdays. Rest of the time I devote to organizational aspects and keep pushing on the momentum. It has not been easy. It is hard and tiring and at times I feel as if my energy is finished. On top of that I have become a role model whereby people start looking up to me and want to know what I am doing. It is fascinating to see people and teachers grow. The teachers are gradually inducted into wearing turbans although for me it was very easy. I do not wear turban during the day. I have asked for permission at work to wear the turban at least one day in a week but I do not think it will be given. In a Government job, it is difficult to allow that. That's understandable. I have to make a decision for the future that I propose to take the vows and “amrit”. And when that happens, I will have to have a different way of earning my living. It will not be easy in this country because there is nobody in this country who wears a turban, not one. It is a process. There is another teacher who wanted to become a Sikh, she is older and is a psychologist. She is free to wear whatever she wants to. There is a wonderful teacher who came recently from Ireland named Harnam Singh and his wife to give a lecture. He wanted to teach in S. America and visited 4 - 5 countries with wonderful course content. He was teaching a little about what it means to be a Sikh and the values related to Sikhism while covering more generally the path people are taking via Kundalini. Harnam Singh said that this path develops courage and shows you how to become a better human being. He was basically describing how it was for him to become a Sikh and to follow the code of Sikhs and in the process become a noble person. It was wonderful as no one teaches you this. With all this happening, I am looking forward to a satisfying future despite the challenges”.

Summing Up
It is sad that an enterprise by adventurous Sikhs failed causing misery to some well meaning Sikhs of Punjab because of lack of professionalism and some bad luck. But what is inexcusable is the in-fighting, back biting and downright meanness by many of them in times of adversity. While it was noble indeed to set up a Gurdwara on priority but the teachings and tenants of Sikhism were given a short shrift. South America though far away from Punjab continues to provides opportunities for settlements on farms but this has to be masterminded on a professional basis. There is a new hope emerging from Yogi Harbhajan’s followers who are setting up Yoga Centers followed by Gurdwaras in several of the South American countries. These Sikhs are following the Sikh dharma in an exemplary manner. They need to be supported.

Note: The above article appeared in The Sikh Review, Calcutta, 2006.

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Article Published in The Sikh Review - January 2005 - No. 625
 
 
 
 
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