The search for Amritpal Singh has been one of the top news stories of the past week. The Punjab police have been desperately trying to nab the leader of the organisation Waris Punjab De, who is also positioning himself as a religious reformer of the Sikhs. The National Security Act has been invoked against him, and a massive manhunt is currently on.
Why did Amritpal Singh become so famous? And what can we learn from this incident?
He preached a return to a pure form of religion
While listening to a news report on the story, I came across an interesting bit of information. I did not know that Sikhs got baptised as well. Amritpal preached a return to a pure form of Sikhism. He called his followers to get baptised, shun drugs and fight for a separate state for the Sikhs. This was attractive to youngsters who longed for a true religion… Who longed to fill the God-shaped hole in their hearts.
He promised deliverance from addiction to drugs
Drug addiction is a very real and pressing issue in the state of Punjab. One of the reasons many young people joined Amritpal Singh and his organisation Waris Punjab De was because he promised them deliverance from addiction to drugs. He promised to help them and rehabilitate them.
Many of the youth who became his followers were not signing up for the separatist agenda that Amritpal was working towards. They joined because they wanted freedom from drugs.
He gave the youth a grand purpose to live for
One of the reasons for drug addiction in Punjab is a combination of high aspirations (due to high wealth and high education) and low employment opportunities. In other words, one could say that the youth of Punjab felt they did not have much to live for.
Amritpal understood that people cannot be saved from drugs if they are not saved towards a grand purpose to live for. A separate state for Punjab is the grand purpose he provided his followers. He invited them to fight for the rights of their people. This was a grand fight. And one that eventually led to the dangerous ideas of separatism.
The diagnosis was right; the prognosis was wrong
Amritpal Singh identified the right problems. As humans, we need true religion. We were made to worship a God and only He can satisfy us. As humans, we need deliverance from false gods such as drugs or money or food. As humans, we need to live for a higher purpose.
Amritpal Singh is just one of the countless false prophets who have risen among humanity. They have a glimmer of truth but lack the whole truth. The whole truth can only be found in Jesus.
The youth of Punjab need true religion. They need to know Jesus, who shows the way to the Father. They need to become true worshippers who will worship God in spirit and in truth.
The youth of Punjab need deliverance from drugs. And they crave deliverance as well. Only Jesus can provide true and lasting deliverance.
One of the things Amritpal got right was that people cannot be saved from drugs if they are not saved towards a grand purpose to live for. A separate state for Punjab is the grand purpose he provided his followers.
But the truly grand purpose that not just the youth of Punjab, but all of us need to live for, is the glory of the Creator God who rules the universe by the Word of His power! As the catechisers of old said, “The Chief End of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”
In the final analysis, Amritpal will not save Punjab. In fact, he cannot save himself. Only Jesus can save Punjab.
Being Indian and Christian
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