Wednesday, July 12, 2006
France Gurmat Camp 2006
The past week has been very busy. Daas was in Paris doing seva at the annual Gurmat Camp in Paris, organised by the DASHMESH SIKH ACADEMY and Paris Sikh Sangat, at Gurdwara Singh Sabha. The camp started on Wednesday 6th July and ends on Sunday 16th July. Unfortunately I was unable to stay till the end of the camp due to another camp taking place in Norway.
The ten day camp educates children and youngsters on GURMAT WAY OF LIFE. The theme of this year’s camp was Satguru Sri Guru Arjan Dev jee's 400 YEARS SHAHEEDI DIWAS (martyrdom anniversary). Over the week over 150 young Sikhs from young as three years old to over 19 years old participated in this year’s camp. The camp involved a series of workshops and classes on Gurbaani Santhiyaa, Sikh Rehat Maryada, Vichaar (discussion) on Gurmat, Sikh History, Panjabi, Keertan, and Saakhiyaa (stories). Various sevadaars from the local Sangat, from Germany and UK taught classes, including Bhaji Kulwant Singh jee from Dudley with the Chalda-Vaheer Jatha.
The Paris Gurmat Camp is a UNIQUE CAMP. The kids were so chardikala! They had so much pyaar and enthusiasm, and it was great to see all the sangat and parents come together and help with the camp. My voice has nearly gone after talking continously for a whole week from morning to evening, however the atmosphere of the camp was brilliant and the best part was to see the children smile and enjoy themselves. Yesterday the new animation film called 'RISE OF THE KHALSA' about Baba Banda Singh jee Bahadar was shown to the children. I was moved when afterwards three children aged about six and seven years old came up to me yesterday and all three said "Bhaji, Bhaji, I am now going STOP CUTTING MY HAIR and KEEP KESH, and not eat MEAT OR EGGS anymore." Seeing them say this with pyaar and with smiles on their faces I felt so happy. I asked them "Have you asked your parents - make sure you tell them as well." The next day they came back and said they told their parents and they said its okay for them to become vegetarian and keep Kesh. Today one of them brought some material and asked me to tie a Dastaar on them. May Guru Sahib bless these children and keep them in Chardi Kalaa.
Here are some photos:
Very young children getting ready to read Nitnem Banian (daily prayers).
This is age 9-11 years old class. This was my last class I taught today before coming back to England. We shared Saakhis (stories) about Guru Sahibs and children shared their thoughts and experiences of how non-Sikh children treat them at school and what they learn from Guru jee's stories.
This is a photo of Bhaji Ranjeet Singh jee from Germany who teaches children Keertan in the camp and is a great person! He makes everyone laugh, has a great sense of humour and is a very wise GurSikh. Standing on the right-hand side of Daas is Giani Preetam Singh jee from Southall. For the week I stayed in Paris, I stayed with Giani Jee and did Sangat with them. They have a lot of Giaan and experiences and have a good sense of humour. Standing right at the end is Veer Jasveer Singh jee. He is a Chardi Kala youngster! He does great keertan, and today he read the Hukamnama in this morning's Diwaan. Sadly he was refused entry into school because he wears a Dastaar (turban).
In the evening Diwaan Gurdial Singh Uncle jee would lead Simran and then the children collectively read Rehraas Sahib da Paath. After doing Simran, Uncle jee would ask the children "WHY DO WE DO SIMRAN" and whether doing Simran is good a thing. The kids were AMAZING! All the children sitting there would collectively say "SIMRAN KARNAA BAHUT JAROOREE HAI" (doing simran is very important). Uncle jee would ask "If you don't do Simran then what do you become?" The children would shout in Panjabi "AKRIT-GHAN" (ungrateful). Uncle jee would ask, "What doe 'akrit-ghaN' mean?" And the children would shout "SABH TO GANDHAA BACHAA" (the most dirtiest child). The children's hearts are in the right place and they are so intuned when Simran starts. (I will try to upload a recording of the Simran in next week or so).
Uncle jee would ask the kids whether their parents did Simran. Some mums felt bit embarassed, when their kid put their hand up saying that they didn't do Simran. By the end of the week, the majority of the mums in the sangat had their hand up when Uncle jee asked, "Which mothers do simran". It was really INSPIRING.
Also I had an opportunity to see the building which the Paris Sangat are considering to buy and make a Khalsa School. The building is VERY BIG and VERY NICE. Please do Ardaas that Paris Sangat can raise the needed funds with Waheguru's Kirpaa and support of the Panth to buy the building so that the future of the Sikh children of France and Europe can be secured and their Sikh appearance, identity and way of life can be preserved.