PANTHIC.ORG  | Published on October 3, 2008


PANTHIC.ORG  | Published on October 3, 2008

Sikhs protesting Pashaura Sinh’s appointment at UC Riverside

(View more photos of the protest rally)

Riverside, California (KP) — Last Friday, Sikhs throughout the United States who have been concerned about Pashaura Sinh’s appointment to the chair in Sikh Studies gathered at UC Riverside to protest. Approximately 500 people came to peacefully protest the erroneous appointment of the endowed chair of Dr.Jasbir Singh Saini which has been recently allocated to Pashaura Sinh.

Concerns over Pashaura by the Sikh Community were first expressed to UC Riverside in 2005. During this time, Ellen Wartella, the executive vice chancellor, assured the concerned Sikhs in a letter that while Pashaura would teach religious studies, he will not hold the endowed chair. She also wrote that the expedition for the chair will be postponed indefinitely until the UC Office of the President approves the chair. However, last week Wartella said that her previous statement in 2005 was intended to communicate to the concerned Sikhs that Pashaura would not be appointed to the chair at that particular time.

In 2007, when it became apparent that Pashaura Sinh became a candidate for the chair, Saranjit Kaur Saini (Dr. Saini’s widow) wrote a letter to former UCR Chancellor France Cordova urging her to choose another Sikh scholar. Mrs. Saini was opposed to Pashaura because his research on Sikhism was based on heretical and fraudulent information. However, Mrs. Saini’s recommendation was greatly neglected. This summer, Pashaura was offered the chair which has caused many concerned Sikhs to urge UC Riverside officials to offer the chair to a more suitable and competent candidate.

Sikhs of all ages attended the UC Riverside rally against Pashaura Sinh

Last Friday, a group of Sikhs met with Timothy White, UC Riverside’s Chancellor, and insisted that a full investigation take place into the hiring of Pashaura Sinh. The forty-five minute private meeting concluded with a public protest in which 500 concerned individuals protested the appointment of a pseudo Sikh-scholar. The group was led by Baljeet S. Sahi, a veterinarian and president of Sikhs for Preservation of Sikhism and Sikh Heritage. Sahi was also one of the key figures who expressed concern in the private meeting with the UC Riverside Chancellor.

In this private meeting Sahi conveyed to the Chancellor that Pashaura’s research is completely counterfeit. He mentioned Sikh History, in which Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji spoke the holy hymns of the Sikh Gurus and Saints and how Bhai Gurdas Ji performed the service of scribing the hymns. Sahi then went on to mention that the Adi Granth was given Gurguddi by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

Finally, he mentioned that Pashaura’s thesis and research are based on a forged manuscript that surfaced in 1987. Pashaura states that the document was compiled by Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji and proves that the original Adi Granth was edited. Sahi mentioned that such a statement is blasphemy according to the Akal Takhat, which functions as the political authority of the Sikhs. Sahi also mentioned that the manuscript could have been compiled by one of Guru Ji’s rivals, who became jealous and began to create diversions after being denied Guruship.

Chancellor White then advised Sahi and the group to write a lucid letter of their accusations. University spokesperson Marcia McQuern stated that if White determined that the concerns and accusations are legitimate, an independent review of Pashaura’s hiring will be conducted. After the advice of White, Sahi went with his group to join the protestors. At the protest, there were signs like “Turncoat Sikh Scholar,” “UCR Sikh Chair an Academic Scam,” “Sikh Chair is Serving Sikh Interests?,” “Sikhs for Scholars not for Blasphemers,” and “Academic Freedom does not mean Dishonesty.” Protestors also chanted slogans against Pashaura.

Related Links :

1994 HukamNama from Sri Akal Takht Sahib against Pashaura + Confessional

Controversial Pashaura and the UC Chair (Editorial)

L.A. Sikhs to protest Pashaura Singh’s appointment



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