Today is Vaisakhi and I feel lucky to have this day as a work holiday. We celebrated Vaisakhi on Sunday so it turns out that this day off from SikhNet work has ended up being a house/spring cleaning day (as you might have gathered from all my twiiter posts on the topic). It seems that I can’t stay off the computer because this is my third blog post of the day.
While I was cleaning the house and listening to banis I started thinking about one particular issue regarding new Sikh Television channels in England (The Sikh Channel). Starting late last year I had many conversations with Charanpreet Singh (UK) regarding the idea of making a dedicated commercial free Sikh channel. He shared his ideas and vision regarding having a very youth oriented channel that really serves the needs of the times. We talked about lots of ideas for programming and how SikhNet could help with this by being involved and providing video content (since we create lots of videos). I thought it was a great idea and we ended up helping them promote this idea on SikhNet through the news and sponsorship banners.
Over the past few months "The Sikh Channel" idea has gotten momentum and support by many people. Then about a month or so ago I heard that the people that run the Brit-Asia channel decided that they were going to start their own dedicated Sikh channel. Guess what name they chose?? The very same name, "The Sikh Channel". So, Charanpreet Singh who was organizing the original registered "Sikh Channel" tried to discuss this with them encourage them to use a different name so as to not confuse people, but apparently they ignored this request.
Now it seems that everyone that I talk to who mentions that they are doing seva for "The Sikh Channel" doesn’t have a clue that there are two efforts for "The Sikh Channel". I ask them is this the BritAsia Sikh Channel or the original one. Everyone that I ask this to didn’t even know that there were two different efforts for Sikh channels. <sigh>
While I think it is great to have lots of options for Sikh media, I don’t like how this was handled. Who knows what the real reasons were, but from my sideline perspective it appears that it is a case of taking advantage of the momentum/ideas created by others to push one’s own personal goals rather than working things out and trying to work together.
It’s the kind of situation where if someone doesn’t agree with someone else that they create their own Gurdwara, website, etc. Everyone likes to have control and do things their own way. I wish that all of us would take more time to WORK TOGETHER. As with any good marriage or relationship, it takes hard work, compromise and good communication. It may be easier to just do your own thing, but one can have much more impact with a unified effort.
The youth of today have to break the cycles that keep happening and find ways to unite. We have to put aside our differences and find the commonality that is in each of us. Why start a new something if someone else has already made a lot of efforts? Why not try to work together. Sure, there may be differences in the vision and objectives, but one should at least try to see if collaboration can work. If not, then good relations should be kept. As individuals we are by ourselves, but as unified sangat we can achieve amazing things!
So, I still support the original vision of The Sikh Channel even though others are doing what they are doing with a duplicate channel of the same name. It’s just sad to see these types of things happen again and again. We waste our time and energy arguing, fighting, boosting our egos, while the youth of today fall asleep and become more and more tired of being involved.
The OTHER sikh channel is now at: http://www.sikhchannel.tv (notice the flashing "It’s Seva" with a picture of me as a kid at Harimandir Sahib). I personally would want to hear an explanation from the organizers of this duplicate channel as to why they created this division which is wasting a lot of people’s time, and forcing people to spend time and energy in a wasteful way because of the confusion.
It’s easy to start something, but if the right group of people with the right motives are not behind an effort like this then it will fail. It has to be done for the right reasons. It costs over $30,000 per month just to have the channel air time on the satellite and then you have to create programming for 24 hours. If done hastily then it will just be a waste of money and will have little impact. Trying to launch this channel from start to finish in a month is pretty hasty, whereas I think the original Sikh Channel has a much more long term approach.
If I had a budget of $40,000 per month for SikhNet we could do so many more AMAZING things that would impact hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. So, if Sangat is going to support any of these efforts, I would make sure that it is clear what the outcome is going to be and who is behind the efforts. I don’t look lightly on efforts that cost this much money and have the potential to make little impact on the community if not done right.
So if you are in UK and get asked to help with "The Sikh Channel" ask them which one and at least ask some of these questions yourself and get informed.
May Guru ji give us the wisdom and courage to work through our differences and unite as Sikhs of the Guru.