10 Easy Ways to Spot a Fake Gurdwara

Based on a True Story

Please, please read this in the voice of Jeff Foxworthy.  Please?  Oh come on!  Just do it this one time!  🙂  For anyone who might take some offence at this post, please before you start ranting at me, read the whole thing carefully and read the part below the 10-list a second or third time before judging, okay?  Thanks!  Peace & love!
The list was inspired by a visit to a shrine to Baba Wadbagh Singh found in Kartarpur.  An accidental visit to the shrine no less.  My host unit had no idea that it was not a Sikh gurdwara.  The WDE (Worst Driver Ever) had no idea that it was not a Sikh gurdwara.  Well, actually he did… he also tried to convince us that the RSS is really just being honest about Sikhi.  So we know where that guy was coming from.

To read about the accidental visit, see Gangsar Sahib, False Gurdwaras, the RSS … on the Born a Sikh blog.  Hang out there and read more about Sikhi, Sikhi history, my personal experiences being Sikh if you want.  There’s lots of room and everyone is welcome there.  Except the haters, we don’t have time for the haters.

Nishan Sahib

10.  If there is anything but a Nishan Sahib on the flagpole, then you might not be in a gurdwara.  That’s right, reeking discarded clothing hanging all up in the flagpole is a good sign that you’re somewhere other than a gurdwara.

Dera Baba Vadbhag Singh
Not a gurdwara.  Note the peacock feathers
and clothes on the flagpole. 

9.  If there is anything at the top of that flagpole other than a khanda or spear tip, then you might not be in a gurdwara.  Peacock feathers?  Star of David?  Christmas angel topper?  Yeah… none of those will top the flagpole at a Sikh gurdwara.

8.  If there are banana peels and other bits of debris in the sarovar, then you might not be in a gurdwara.  Banana peels belong in the garbage, not the sarovar.  Big clue right there.  While we’re on the topic, if the place is filthy and filled with garbage generally?  NOT a gurdwara.  Repeat NOT a gurdwara.  
7.  If the sarovar has no water in it but the people in the complex tell you about another, ‘better’ sarovar not far away, then you might not be in a gurdwara.  In a true Sikh gurdwara, if the sarovar is empty we are fixing the filters or cleaning… it’s a temporary thing not a permanent thing.
6.  If the “other, better” sarovar is full of dirty, discarded clothes, smells of urine and has a cattle watering tub attached, you might not be in a gurdwara.  The smell of pee.  That should tell you right there that you need to just turn around and go in the other direction.  We have way more respect for our sarovars than to let them sit in this state AND tell people that they will be healed in that water.
5.  If there are pictures of Krishna, Vishnu, Shiva, Ram… or any other Hindu deity or Sri Chand or Prithi Mal, you  might not be in a gurdwara.  In fact, you definitely are not in a Sikh gurdwara.  Sikhs are not Hindus, not even close.  No dis to our Hindu brothers and sisters though.  Respect.
4.  If Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is nowhere to be found, you might not be in a gurdwara.  Yeah, that one is kind of straight forward too…
3.  If the initials R.S.S. appear anywhere in the name of the place, you might not be in a gurdwara.  In fact, you’re not in a gurdwara.  The R.S.S. is a Hindu nationalist (read hate group) group, not a Sikh group.
2.  If this picture is hanging in the building, you might not be in a gurdwara.  If you wanted to be in a gurdwara but you found this instead, take a walk outside.  The real gurdwara is probably very nearby.  They tend to build these … places … next to real Sikh gurdwaras.  Don’t worry, you’re close.  Just look at the top of the flagpoles and head straight for the nearest one with a Nishan Sahib at the top.  There you go.  Good job.  
1.  If some man has his head in the lap of another man whose head is not covered and the first man is worshipping the second one, you most definitely are not in a Sikh gurdwara.  Don’t come looking for a living being to pray to in our gurdwaras.  We pray only to the one.  We bow to no one.  So if you’re seeing this and you’re thinking you’re in a gurdwara – leave.  You’re not.

So that’s it then.  Next time I walk into a place, even with other Sikhs, that just seems … wrong … I’m headed out the nearest exit.

If you want to learn more about Sikh gurdwaras, the way that some nationalist groups are trying to destroy us, about Sikh history or just Sikhi in general, please feel free to contact us at the Born A Sikh blog or on the community page on Facebook.  Also, Basics of Sikhi on YouTube and Facebook is a great source of information.  Great parchar they are doing over there.  Or you know, approach one of us and talk to us.  We don’t bite.  Better yet, come out to your local gurdwara and enjoy some langar (a simple, free meal) with us.  You won’t regret it.

For the Offended:

Get over it.  I’m still respectful of other religions just not religions that pretend to be Sikhi but are actually against what we stand for.  Or groups that are hate groups in disguise, like the RSS.  Where did this whole “don’t say anything negative” come from anyway?  It’s B.S.  Don’t be a hater, yes.  Don’t slander, yes.  Cause no harm to others, sure.  But pointing out the truth is not slander or hateful.  If those misleading in our name, committing fraud in our name or attempting to commit fraud on or mislead us are harmed by my sense of humour or by pointing out the truth, so be it.  I have no sympathy.

Pointing out the truth in good humour?  All the better, I say.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji did it all the time – pointed out the truth of things, sometimes with humour or with an anecdote or sometimes as bluntly as a hammer.  Some people took offence to what he had to say, and what our other Gurus had to say.  That didn’t stop them.  They didn’t walk around on eggshells trying to avoid hurting anyone.  They defended the truth and they defended our faith, all while being respectful of other religions.

Still want to be offended and judge?  Please feel free to leave thoughtful arguments and comments below.

Peace and love all
– Preet

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