Sarbat Khalsa

It is a picture perfect afternoon:

Sun is shining.

Water is glistening.

Zephyr is gentle.

 

I am walking with a friend and confidant.

A first for me.

For, I am solitude-seeker and I generally walk alone.

 

He and I barely speak.

Yet the silence is comfortable.

 

And then, softly he asks, “How did you feel about Sarbat Khalsa?”

 

I hesitate.

I vividly remember that night.

I was an emotional wreck.

I’m still struggling to process what transpired.

 

But he asks and so I share my thoughts with him.

 

“I had snuggled in my cozy bed and watched it live on my computer. The scale of humanity that was present overwhelmed me. I could not see myself in that crowd. I felt distant.

 

“However, all that changed when Pritam Kaur spoke. I felt her strength. I knew nothing about her. The next day, I searched for her on the internet and read everything I could find. She has become my role model. I long for her strength.

 

“But the shift in my consciousness came when the first Resolution was read. Witnessing the euphoria of the Panth on hearing the appointment of Jagtar Singh Hawara as Jathedar of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib was truly a moment of pause.

 

“The Panth has embraced its warrior.

The Panth has honored its warrior.

He is there’s and they are his.

No question about that.

 

“Doubts crept in, and I struggled with them. And then, how dare I pass judgement, a mere armchair witness, far from the goings-on in a tumultuous country?

 

“The ones who walked miles to get there. The ones who crossed the Satluj and Beas rivers to get there. The ones who defied the State to get there. They deserve the euphoria, while knowing full well that a price is going to be paid for this announcement. But they don’t seem to care. Their joy is contagious. I can feel it.

 

“I am cautious….It’s in my DNA. I know what the Indian State is capable of. I worry. How many of our men, women and children are we going to lose this time?

 

Shabd resound within:

‘If you want to play this game of Love,
Then step onto this path with your head

on the palm of your hand.
When you place your feet on this path,
give your head and pay no heed to others.’
Guru Nanak Sahib [GGS: 1412]

 

“My heart tightens. Guru’s Path is the ultimate Game of Love. If I say that I belong to Guru, then this is the Guru-Panth. And I am absent from there? Why can’t I see myself sitting on the hard cold ground with them? Is it because I am Ms. Prim-and-Proper? Or am I what they call an elitist?

 

“I watched the entire event with a heavy heart. I even saw the volunteers who cleaned the grounds after the sangat had dispersed. I felt like picking up a fistful of the sanctified soil and placing it on my head. I felt like kissing the ground where the Panth sat. These were new emotions for me.

 

“And suddenly, I am transported to Vaisakhi of 1699. I see the Tenth Master bringing out the Beloved Five from the tent. The jubilation of the sangat is contagious. I witness it. I am there. Tears roll. How blessed can I be? Guru is far too kind to this mere mortal. It was a strange night.

 

“I know, the Guru-Panth is alive and well. I felt it that night. The desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib may have been done to destabilize or destroy us but I feel it has become a unifying force.

 

“I feel we are all connected.

I feel we are all in pain.

Something will transpire.

Though, I know not what.”

 

Silence ensues.

 

“You must write this,” my friend says.

 

I cringe. I am lazy.

 

Yet I write because he has asked me to.

 

 

Inni Kaur is the author of ‘Journey with the Gurus’ series; ‘Sakhi-Time with Nani ji’; and ‘Thank You, Vahiguru.’ She serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of The Sikh Research Institute.

 

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