Bhai Pal Singh—the Sikh preacher and social reformer

Punjab MapLudhiana, Jan. 29 : Sikh preacher Bhai Pal Singh is today mentioned in social circles as the man who objected to the State ban on the wearing of turbans in schools of France terming it as an attack on the religious freedom of Sikhs.

Today, Bhai Pal Singh travels around the world propagating Sikh customs and beliefs. Recalling his initial days, Singh remembers how on February 24, 1978, he started his journey by road to reach Germany on May 21.

"As I am fond of writing, I wrote down my experiences in my diary. I studied in Germany and then reached France for further studies. If you are educated, getting a job is not a problem," said Bhai Pal Singh, the preacher.

"In 1985, Gurudwara Sahib was constructed there. In France, it's very difficult to purchase land in the name of any religious structure. As I was the President of the Gurudwara committee, I purchased land and then built the gurudwara," said Bhai Pal Singh.

"Regarding the turban issue we submitted a confidential letter to the government twice. I was the first one who faced a problem on July 7, 1984. I was the first man with turban, who got a French passport," Singh said.

"Later, I helped many Sikhs get their passports. It all happened after lot of struggle. In 1999, France put a ban on wearing a turban. We wrote a letter to government and the ban was removed. Today, whenever a new passport and new driving license is issued to a Sikh, it is issued with my reference. I still have old licenses and ID cards," said..

Bhai Pal Singh and his associates are also engaged in spreading awareness about Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs, which they believe has so many good things to be shared among the people.

"The book talks about ways to curb social injustice, which we spread in French Language through pamphlets, CDs and lectures. People wish to know many things and we willingly answer their queries. They ask about Guru Granth Sahib, gurbani and Sikhism and it's very important for us to satisfy them through answers," Singh says.

He tells there are people, who were addicted to drugs for over 20 years, and after listening Gurbani they experienced a change. They get peace, pleasure and happiness. When they become devotees, they get a sense of peace and relaxation.

"Today, they read gurbani, perform Kirtans and spend a relaxed life. We don''t force anyone to take `Amrit'' (the sacred water), we only tell him or her to live a good life. There is no need to convert anyone," Singh tells.

"Whichever religion you belong to, just remember your gods and thank them. Keep yourself away from drugs and your life will run smoothly. And, when a person starts following a good lifestyle, he starts feeling relaxed, says Singh. (ANI)