Leadership – Even salt can look like sugar!

A view on Sikh leadership from The Sikh Networks Mankamal Singh…..

I have to say that we owe gratitude to the KTV team for exposing to the Sangat the raw dynamics of government engagement, Sikh organisations and the Gurdwaras.

The last 3 nights have been interesting for many Sikhs who feel connected to Sikh matters in the UK as we sit on the edge of our seats listening to revelation after revelation from ill-informed Gurdwara committee members to the manipulation of Covid issues and the toxic legacy default standoffs of some of the appointed Sikh leaders.

To top it up we see how the ambitious and Machiavellian exploit these default relationships to try to wade their way into corridors of power. Not going to go into at as it’s way too much detail and those who don’t know need to catch up, you have a trilogy of 3 nights of live broadcasts from KTV and listening to the animated presenter Jeetha to bring you up to speed!

It has been valuable for the Sikh on the street to get a real insight into how these government “relationships” come about, there is a deep-rooted imperial history to all of this going back to the Gurdwara independence campaigns of the early 20th century.

I have been on and off the block for over a decade and moved through various circles in my journey. In all honesty, I think the last 63 days of lockdown have helped me discover many things sitting at home detached from much of this. I do feel I have had my fair share of good and bad personal experiences to share an opinion or two, may not carry weight but it will certainly ruffle some feathers and it is time to do that in the hope we bring the change required.

I found that in this world the ones who often keep shouting loudly about unity are the ones disguising the wedges they helped create in the first place. Diversions and cover-ups are synonymous in community politics, we like to refer to them as ass-covering. Anyway, things may be bad but never dire enough not to sort out.

I have seen more unity of Gurdwaras and established Sikh Organisations in the past 3 days than in a long time. I am beginning to admire this new generation of younger Gurmat-orientated, Gurbani fluent Sikhs rising the ranks of the Gurdwara administration and now leading a refreshed Sikh Council UK. And it is good for Sangat to start seeing a deep clean of Sikh organisation, isolating the blockers and actually finding out who they really are. We have been waiting for years for this transparency.

Democracy has always been in the hands of those who are “knowledgeable” or “interested” which is rooted in privilege. The cottage industrial approach creating the Sikh OBE/MBE class just reinstates that manufactured privilege heads the Government relationships… or puppets as we fondly call them!

Now we have the disappointment of the Sikh academic being plonked into roles of government consultation. That’s all good and well if the Sikh academics were not continually basking in the glory of their own self-worth, blindly endorsing government narratives or trying to impose their own personalised viewpoints upon the Sikh narrative, they do little to actually support the real Sikh issue on the street other than tweet and retweet. In fact, they all do nothing to take into account the real grass-root issues faced by the Sikhs. I look forward to a new generation of younger informed Sikh students moving into academia to displace the deadwood, but we are a decade away from that.

Unity aside, the newly conceived Sikh organisations simply need to realise they are are just disposable in this “democracy” drama where the government stooges will always land the lead role and they will have to make best being the insignificant sidekicks whose opinion no one really cares about.

The Guru’s Sangat controls the Sikh narrative, the Gurdwaras are run by the Guru’s Sangat and the outcomes will come from the Guru’s Sangat. That is our bigger picture and everything else is window dressing exercise.


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