With Guru Sahib Ji's blessings, from Thursday 25th to Sunday 28th February, a Sikh Family Camp was held at Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Den Haag, Holland. The camp was held at the newly built Gurdwara Sahib which just opened in January 2016. Although not complete, the Gurdwara is looking really nice. Over 80 people, young and old, attended the camp over the three days. Sangat attended the camp from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Belgium. The sevadaars included Bibi Baljinder Kaur Ji (UK) from Kaurs Corner and local Dutch Sikh sevadaars, including Theodoras Singh.
The theme of the camp was social issues and Gurmat. The camp covered topics like drugs and alcohol abuse, culture vs. religion, superstitions, grooming and social media, marriage rituals vs. anand karaj, female infanticide and abortion, and Sikh identity in a modern world. The workshops were really successful and with Guru Ji's kirpaa the Sangat got involved. The local Sangat of Den Haag showed great respect and pyaar.
In particular it worth mentioning about Bhai Theadoras Singh, whose Sikhi name is Teek-Gur Singh. Bhai Sahib is in 60s and is a semi-retired Nuclear Physicist researcher who embraced Sikhi. Originally he was born in a Dutch Catholic home. He became a non-practising Catholic. Once he was looking on YouTube came across a video of some White Sikhs raising money for something. He was intrigued at the look of the Sikhs. He at the time had long unshorn hair, with a pony tail and a beard. He began researching Sikhi and found that Sikhi fitted in with what he believed. He believed in a natural lifestyle and so did Sikhi. He wasn't interested in ritualism and the same for Sikhi. This way, he began researching more and more. He eventually took Amrit and became a Sikh. He now wears Bana (Khalsa attire) and wears his Kirpan over his chola (dress), despite the Dutch law not officially protecting the right of Sikhs to wear the Kirpan.
Bhai Sahib wears the Kirpan over his clothes as an opportunity for people to ask him questions so that he can tell them about Sikhi. He hopes that one day he stopped by the Police so that he can secure the right of the Kirpan in Dutch law. Bhai Sahib is dedicated to seva of spreading education and awareness of Sikhi in Holland Belgium. He is not linked or related to any Gurdwara, but contacts schools and colleges directly and asks if he can come and share his Sikh faith with them. He has helped many Sikh youngsters struggling with issues surrounding the right to wear the Dastaar and Kirpan in schools. Individual schools have agreed to accommodate individual Sikh students, however, he hopes one day a case goes to court so that he can secure the right of the Dastaar and Kirpaan for future generations to come. The determination and pyaar of Bhai Sahib to do prachaar was very humbling.
Bhai Sahib has so far translating the 7 Nitnem Banis (daily prayers) into Dutch and is hoping to translate Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji to Dutch. He has made a start but the process takes time. He said it takes him 1 week to translate 2 angs (respected word for pages), as he cross references the translations and ensures that he fully understands the concepts and meanings before translating. It was very inspiring to see his determination to understand Gurbani and puts Punjabis to shame who say they cannot understand or relate to the Guru. He shows that effort, love and determination pays off.
Bibi Inderjit Kaur leading Bani workshop on Japji Sahib
Bhai Rajpal Singh leading Bani workshop on Jaap Sahib
Bhai Theadoras Singh leading Bani workshop on Svaiyye
Bibi Baljinder Kaur leading Bani workshop on Chaupai Sahib
Bhai Ajinder Singh leading Anand Sahib Bani workshop
Langar in new langar hall of the Gurdwara Sahib
Class by Bhai Theadoras Singh on comparing Punjabi and Dutch cultures and seeing the relationship and challenges with Sikhi.
Bhai Ajinder Singh had the most difficult task of teaching the most youngest and most energetic class!
Parents workshop on drugs and alcohol and how its parents, children and society.
Bibi Baljinder Kaur's session on superstitions and culture.
Question and answer session with the elder teenagers. The teenagers had some very thoughtful and deep questions.
Evening Simran and Keertan. The child playing the Tabla is Simran Singh, aged 6 years. Very blessed.
Evening divaan - Keertan of Rehraas Sahib
Workshop on Punjabi wedding rituals and Gurmat
Children awaiting activity time.
Tug of war
Sunday divaan - Bhai Rajpal Singh doing Keertan
Sunday Divaan - 13 years old Bhenji Anmol Kaur (Belgium) doing Keertan
Sunday divaan - lecture on the pioneers of the Gurdwara Reform Movement.
Children awaiting being given certificates
Certificates being given