17 July 2010


Imagine that you have no gurudwara in your area to worship in and the sangat uses a makeshift manufactured house as an impromptu gurudwara.  The nearest gurudwara is more than 100 miles (120 km) away.  Then you all get together, raise money and after many difficulties actually get your new gurudwara built.  At last, you have a real, permanent home for Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj Then someone in your town manages to get the government to issue an order to demolish the gurudwara you love and have worked so long and hard to build.  How would you feel?  What would you do?  An small congregation in Austin, Texas, is facing this bleak situation.

Today, I am both sad and angry.  Who would want to tear down the only gurudwara within 100 miles, legally built, unobtrusive?  Evidently some of the good citizens of Austin, Texas, USA.  Jasleen Kaur who was instrumental in getting this gurudwara built sent me an e-mail which says, in part,

We're currently raising money to take this to the state supreme court, but it will be an expensive battle.
it is heart breaking, literally.  all i can do is encourage the sangat to keep us in their ardaas and do as many chaupai sahib paath as they can for our victory.
 Our sisters and brothers in Austin, Texas, USA need our help.  Will we stand with them and help them to overcome this obstacle?  They need our prayers and our donations to fight the legal battle in the Texas Supreme Court.  With the help of the worldwide Saadh Sangat and the kirpaa of Vaheguru, this is a battle that will be won!

Please go to their website  Save The Austin Gurudwara and donate whatever you can.  Please be generous.  

Here is the Austin Gurudwara Sahib as it stands today...

 None of us wants to see this:

The article says:  "Sikhs around the world and shocked, saddened, and flabbergasted by such an unjust ruling."  I would like to amend that to "people of goodwill of any faith - or no faith - around the world..."  I have said that this blog has a world-wide readership.  This would be a good time to speak up.  Even if you cannot send a donation, please send a word of encouragement to AustinGurdwara@gmail.com. 

Here is the article about this from the Free Press:


Austin. July 16, 2010
Sikhs are shocked and outraged at a ruling by a Texas Court of Appeals ordering that the only Sikh Temple (Gurudwara) in Austin, Texas be torn down.

Austin Gurdwara Sahib (AGS), a non-profit, Sikh organization purchased land in West side of the Greater Austin area in 2003 to start the first permanent Gurudwara in the Capital City. For years, religious services were hosted weekly in a manufactured home located on the property. In 2005, to improve the facilities, AGS, with the congregation’s support, decided to build a more contemporary building. In this regard, AGS applied for, and was granted, all the necessary permits from the city. The approval process from the city included meetings with Planning & Zoning committees as well as the City Council at large. AGS also met with and provided full disclosure to the neighborhood association.

The construction commenced in late 2007, and the members of the Austin Sikh community celebrated laying the initial foundation stone of the first Sikh temple of its kind in Austin. However, the festive mood came to an abrupt stop immediately after the foundation had finished in Feb 2008, when the Bolliers filed for an injunction against the construction. John and wife Leslie, who is an attorney, were relative newcomers to the neighborhood arriving about 3 years after AGS had been using its property for religious services. Citing to the deed restrictions, the Bolliers argued vehemently against the construction of the Sikh Temple on the grounds that it would be an eye-sore and a traffic magnate, and would lower their property’s value.
 By agreement, AGS and the Bolliers agreed to cease construction until the issue was resolved by the trial court. In March 2009, the case was heard by Honorable Judge Susan Covington in the 353rd Judicial District in Travis County Texas. Over the course of several days, the court heard evidence presented by both sides, and rendered an informed decision denying Bollier’s request for an injunction and further ordered them to pay 80% of the associated court costs. In fact, the plantiff, Leslie Bollier, was cited for inequitable conduct in connection with the AGS use of the property.

After the trial court’s favorable ruling, AGS proceded to complete the Temple construction over the next few months. Meanwhile, not satisfied with the trial court’s decision, Bolliers filed an appeal. In July 2010, months after the construction of the Temple was complete, the Appellate Court reversed the lower court’s ruling. In fact, it went so far as to order the completed structure to be torn down! Sikhs around the world and shocked, saddened, and flabbergasted by such an unjust ruling.
 The AGS intends to vigorously appeal and ask the court to reconsider its decision. A website www.SaveGurudwara.com is being set up to provide updates on the matter as well as to collect donations for the legal fight.

Press Release issued by: Austin Gurdwara Sahib, 5104 Avispa Way, Austin TX 78738 Email: AustinGurdwara@Gmail.com.


  1. This is so outrageous! And for completely silly reasons too. Why, we won't have a single public building left in any city if this kind of reasoning is allowed to go on.

    I will write to those folks over there and express my support. It is so courageous of them to struggle for their right.

  2. Hi, H. Maryam ji!

    I totally agree! (Of course)

    On behalf of the good people of the Austin Gurudwara, I say thank you. I am also sure that you will receive a nice thank you directly from them.

    Let me know if I can ever return the favour. I know mosques are even more unpopular the gurudwaras these days; I am sure such discrimination is not uncommon, although ordering one torn down after being built is extremely extreme.

  3. No one is saying they cannot have their Gurwara in this city just not in this neighborhood. They made a mistake and built this Gurwara knowing they were in violation of the deed restrictions. Yes, it is extreme to make them tear it down but what is to keep the next lot owner from building a Wal-mart or a bar. This is not about a Temple it is about preserving the neighborhood as single family residential. You cannot do anything you want and then later cry but we already built it. We won't do it again and nobody else will follow suit. I repeat, this is not about a Temple or thier religion. I could care less what they are using the building for, it is not a house!

  4. Dear Anonymous ji,

    From your tone, I think you must be from this neighbourhood. May I then ask a question? Are there no others houses of worship in this area? No businesses? I believe there are. I have read and been told that all the proper permits and variances were obtained before the actually building of the gurudwara.

    In any case, variances are often given in such areas. Such exceptions are not unusual. I live in one such single family zoned area myself, yet just two blocks from me are three churches, each of which is an asset to us all. There is such a thing as compassion, even in the law. This small gurudwara will not destroy anything in your neighbourhood, yet it will bring joy to some people who can really use some joy.

    You are an intelligent person and are well aware that your WalMart comment is a gross exaggeration. You are most certainly entitled to your opinion, as I am entitled to mine. I will continue to oppose the destruction of this house of God, as I would the razing of any other small, unobtrusive house of worship.

  5. The "owners" that built this gurudwara, yes owners, have enough money to fight this battle. Their family is full of doctors, they need to stop asking the sangat and do something. They are liars and ought to be ashamed of themselves to have used the sangat for their own personal advances. And ofcourse, the gurudwara will not be torn town. Thankfully

  6. I fully agree with the above remarks about the "owners". They have the ability to fight this without the sangat's help but they want to keep this drama about the sangat's involvement. May Waheguru pardon them for committing this sin and using the Gurudwara Sahib for trying to be philanthropists. AND THE GURUDWARA BUILDING WILL NOT BE TORN DOWN. We are sure of that.
    Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh.

  7. Anonymous 1 and Anonymous 2,

    I really don't put a lot of faith in disparaging anonymous comments. Anyone can say anything and on the Net, anybody often does. If you want me to take you seriously, please step out from behind your veil of anonymity and identify yourself. Then we can talk.

  8. i'm guessing the first anon comment is from leslie herself, as it's her same old argument. comparing a gurdwara to a bar, please!

    there's a furniture factory in the neighborhood already. noisy, messy, and ugly. and no one cares. the gurdwara sangat has been meeting in a mobile home there for years, and no 0ne cared. it's just this crazy lawyer lady who thought building an $800,000 house in a trailer park was a good idea, who needed someone to b lame when she couldn't sell her house. in a recession. somehow, the furniture factory doesn't bug her though. maybe because the owners are white christians?

  9. Bhenji, I have a strong feeling that these two are not Sikhs. You will notice I did not respond to the Fateh of the second writer. (Normally I would respond to a fateh from just about anyone, but there are a few...)

    At least they assure us the Gurudwara Sahib will not be torn down, lol!

  10. to the second and third anons... let's try to keep politics and personal animosity out of it.
    the concern is for the gurdwara, for the sangat. how can you be certain the court won't enforce its ruling? should we just sit back and watch and see what happens?

    mai, as a bit of background... as in many towns there is a split in the austin sangat. unfortunate, but all too common.

    seems to me we should use the blessing of a proper gurdwara as an excuse to heal old divisions. this crisis, and it is a crisis, should bring sangat together, not serve as yet another opportunity to slander the "other side"

    i hate politics.

  11. I hate politics, as well.

    One of my biggest reasons for being online is to do whatever I can to heal the divisions in the Panth. I try to stay out of politics as much as possible. A few have condemned me for not taking sides in the current divisions. My reasons are neither cowardice nor lack of conviction; they are for the purpose of remembering who we are, daughters and sons of Guru Gobind Singh ji of the House of Nanak.

    I remember what an elderly Japanese American gentleman answered when, during World War 2 he was asked, "Do you support America or Japan?"

    His simple yet eloquent answer speaks volumes. "When your parents are fighting, do you want one to kill the other? Or do you just want them to stop?" My parents are not fighting, but my sisters and brothers seem to be fighting to the death. I pray it is not the death of the Panth.

    In any case, I hate politics, too!

  12. WaheGuru Ji Ka Khalsa, WaheGuru Ji Ki Fateh,

    Normally, anonymous posters, should generally be ignored given that they have already demonstrated their amount of creditibility (zero) by posting in such a manner....Having said that....

    If you are so sure that the Gurudwara will not be torn down, then we don't need to be wasting money on specialist attorneys...why don't you take up the cause? .....Forget representating the Khalsa Panth / Sikh Gurudwara, you can't even represent yourself based on your anonymous status. Dashmesh Pita gave us a Khalsa Roop so that we would stand out....a far cry from your anonymous hiding under a rock and slinging BS.

    The Gurudwara is owned by a NonProfit entity. There are no individual "owners" you speak of. But based on the two anonymous posts, either you are non-sikhs who don't understand the concept of Sangat, or Sikhs in name only. Or worse yet, enemies of the panth intent only on creating politics/dissent/complacency to further your own egos agenda.

    While the Lions Share of the money spent on a Gurudwara built in a community with a small sangat usually does come from a small set of members who feel that this is a worthwhile asset to the community, it is unfair for us to expect them to shoulder all responsibility all the time.

    Based on the tone and IQ of the comments, Its obvious that you have decided to venting your petty jealousy and probably have not contributed towards the Gurudwara in the first place and do NOT share the same attachment as the Khalsa Singhs/Kaurs who did. (or for that matter the same attachment that a Sikh would have for ANY GuruGhar anywhere)

    Gur Fateh,
    Bobby B

  13. Leslie & John,

    Just because your trailer trash house is worth nothing, doesn't mean that you condemn the neighbourhood for it. rather..SUCK IT UP! Just live and let live.

    The GURDWARA is here to stay whether you like it or not!!!!!!!!!!! so stop your whinning and save your legal fees and do something worthwhile.

    Sterling Heights, MI

  14. Raj ji,

    I have a certain reputation to maintain and try to be polite. I'll let others express my feelings with a little less civility.





Please feel free to speak your mind. Dissension is allowed and welcomed. I only delete illegal comments and spam. OK, maybe obscene, but not usually.

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