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