Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ragi Bhai Zorawar Singh & 2 others Missing in Boat Accident

After losing Baba Sadhu Singh ji from Nanaksar few days back,it was another sad day for Sikh community after the boat which was taking 13 people in Harike Pattan during ‘jal parvah’ of baba ji’s remains,sunk and all fell into the water body.

As per latest reports,out of 13 people, 10 were taken out and three are still missing. Among the missing one’s are famous ragi, bhai zorawar singh ji (ludhiana) and bhai gurcharan singh ji who is son of another renowed ragi bhai harbans singh ji jagadhari and one more baba ji’s sewak harjinder singh. Baba Mangal Singh who was taken out and sent to hospital treatment could not survive and passed away.

LATEST UPDATE:: As per the information we received from one of the readers of blog, that came in today, Bhai Zorawar Singhs body was found at Sigrur because of the being stuck with a large stone. He was cremated by the family. Bhai Gurcharan Singh’s body was not found till this post.

with thanks : source :

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Amritsar Sahib has the largest number of HIV positive drug users in India.

Amritsar Sahib has the largest number of HIV positive drug users in India. This message has been flashed by Sikhnetwork vide the SMS. You can join the sikhnetwork by sending a SMS in India to 567678 with words "Join Sikhnetwork"

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Family fights for right to cremate 'converted' Malaysian-Sikh

31 May 2009, 1810 hrs IST, PTI

KUALA LUMPUR: An ethnic Indian family is fighting with Islamic authorities in Malaysia for claiming the body of a Sikh art director who allegedly
converted to Islam 17 years ago.

The family of Mohan Singh, 41, who died last week, wants to cremate the body according to Sikh rites while the Islamic authorities want to bury him according to Muslim rituals.

Currently, Singh's body is in the hospital, family lawyer Rajesh Kumar said.

Islamic department officials claim that Singh had converted to Islam in 1992. The department has filed a case in the Shariah court while Singh's family members have filed a case at the high court.

The lawyer claimed that Mohan Singh was a practising Sikh and had gone to a Sikh temple with his sister recently.

The incident is the latest row over conversion in the Muslim-majority nation which had seen a number of recent legal disputes between converted Muslim husbands and Hindu wives over the faith of their children.

New Prime Minister Najib Razak had announced a landmark decision last month, declaring that minors could no longer be converted without both parents' consent.

Malaysia has also witnessed several cases when Islamic authorities have battled with relatives over the remains of people whose religion is disputed.

with thanks : source :

A sikh web portal

Sikhs to agitate if cases against protestors are withdrawn

Published by: Noor Khan
Sun, 31 May 2009

Jalandhar, May 31 : A day after Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's assurance to Dera Sachkhand to review cases against protesters who indulged in violence after the killing of a sect leader in Vienna, a group of social and religious leaders today threatened an agitation if the cases were withdrawn.

The group had a meeting at local Paragpur Gurudwara and constituted a 101-member committee to take up its issues with the State Government.

Addressing the meeting former president of All India Sikh Students Federation Harinder Singh Kahlon said that the compensation announced by the state government for the kin of deceased protestors means it is honouring those who ransacked public property.

Founder President of Punjab Youth Clubs Organisations and committee member Joginder Singh Jogi said that cancellation of cases against protestors, who burnt properties of innocent people, would encourage them for doing it again and convey a signal from the State Government that it was favouring the violence.

He said if the State Government does not pay heed to their demands they would be forced to launch an intense agitation.

Badal told a sect delegation yesterday that he had constituted a committee headed by Regional Commissioner S R Ladhar and Inspector General of Police (Zonal) Sanjeev Kalra to review the cases against the Dalit protrestors.

with thanks : source :

A sikh web portal

Girl who plucked eyebrow not true Sikh, says HC

31 May 2009, 0503 hrs IST, TNN

CHANDIGARH: Endorsing a hardline stand by high priests of Sikhism who barred a young girl admission in a minority institution on grounds that she violated a fundamental tenet of the religion by plucking her eyebrows, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Saturday ruled that the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee was fully justified in doing so.

Leaning on the side of a text-based, more conservative definition of who is a true Sikh and the importance of hair in Sikhism, the full bench of justices JS Khehar, Jasbir Singh and Ajay Kumar Mittal in a 152-page order said keeping unshorn hair was an essential and most fundamental component of the religion.

The order came on a plea by Gurleen Kaur and others who had challenged denial of admission into an MBBS course at the Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Amritsar, a Sikh minority institution, on grounds that they plucked their eyebrows and trimmed their hair.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandak Committee (SGPC) had also ruled that ''she was not a true Sikh as she was plucking her eyebrows.'' The court said the requisite of maintaining Sikh `swarup' (appearance) was a permissible precondition for admitting students under the Sikh minority community quota.

The SGPC runs two medical colleges, two engineering institutes, one polytechnic, 40 degree colleges and 150 schools, most of them in Punjab.

Saturday's order, replete with references to Sikh history and Sikh model code of conduct, also noted that the Guru Granth Sahib is for guidance of Sikhs in their pursuit towards spiritual salvation. It does not deal with the code of conduct prescribed for Sikhs. It was the Sikh rehat-maryada (code of conduct) that dealt with issues like importance of unshorn hair.

It added that the Guru Granth Sahib made no reference to the terms amritdhari (Sikhs who wear the five Ks - kesh, kacchha, kanga, kara, kirpan - and who have partaken amrit), sehajdhari (who are learning to be Amritdhari Sikhs) and patit (who were born Sikhs but violated one of the tenets).

Reflecting on contours of Sikh identity, the bench held the cardinal principle of retaining unshorn hair was not only for adults but also for minors, as it was the adults who were required to maintain the hair of their children.

Although the bench took the view that unshorn hair was an inalienable part of Sikh swarup, it observed that keeping the kirpan was not as important.

The SGPC burst out in celebration moments after the verdict and its chief Avtar Singh Makkar said, ``We are happy with the judgment. Our stand that unshorn hair is of paramount importance for Sikhs has been vindicated.''

with thanks : source :

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Unshorn hair is basic Sikh tenet: HC

Pawan Sharma, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, May 30, 2009

Retaining unshorn hair is one of the most important and fundamental tenets of Sikhism, Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled on Saturday.

A full bench upheld the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee precondition for maintaining ‘Sikh Swarup’ by students seeking admission under the Sikh minority community quota in institutions run by the religious body.

The bench dismissed the petition of Sikh students whom the Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Amritsar, had denied admission in MBBS, despite merit, on the grounds that they had violated the Sikh religion by trimming beard and plucking eyebrows.

“On the basis of the undisputed factual position, that all the petitioners indulge in trimming their hair or plucking hair of their eyebrows, they can legitimately be denied of a benefit otherwise available to Sikhs,” justice Khehar said.

“We have repeatedly concluded…that retaining bodily hair unshorn is one of the most essential tenets of the Sikh religion. And as such, if a Sikh organisation or body decides not to extend any benefit, which is otherwise available to a Sikh, to a person who does not maintain his hair unshorn, its determination would be perfectly legitimate.”

with thanks : source :

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Men found guilty of fire-bombing Temple

Three Wiltshire men have been convicted of fire-bombing a temple and a house after being angered by the marriage of a Sikh woman to her Hindu boyfriend.

Sandip Rooprai, 21, of Penhill Drive, Swindon, acted out of a "misguided sense of honour" following his sister's wedding, Winchester Crown Court heard.

He and brothers Mukham Dogra, 18, and Jasdev Dogra, 19, of Cowdrey Close, Toothill, decided to make petrol bombs.

They then attacked a Bristol temple and the Swindon home of a wedding witness.

The brothers, who were friends of Rooprai, had driven with him to Bristol to attack the Gilbert Road Hindu temple where the marriage had taken place.

'Very good relations'

The Swindon house of the wedding witness, Alpona Begum Rahim, was then attacked by the men on two occasions in February 2008.

All three men had already pleaded guilty to arson after setting fire to a car that was parked outside the Rahim family home.

The jury found the men guilty of two counts of arson with recklessness as to whether life is endangered. However they were cleared of more serious charges of arson with intent to endanger life.

Speaking outside court, Bartook Pandya, who campaigns against racial attacks in Bristol, said the events were not representative of relations between the Hindu and Sikh communities, which he described as "usually very good".

He said: "Those marriages take place [in] lots of places. In India they are quite common. They are quite common here.

"And if this brother decides to fire-bomb, it is his own personal thing, it is nothing cultural, nothing from the community. I do not think the Sikh community would endorse that sort of behaviour."

Sentencing is expected on 6 July 2009.

with thanks : source :

A Sikh Web Portal

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sikhs in US say Vienna violence setback to their image

27 May 2009, 1516 hrs IST, IANS

NEW YORK: The Sikh community in the US has condemned the violence in a Vienna gurdwara that led to the killing of a religious leader and triggered large-scale violence in Punjab, calling it a "major setback" to the community's image.

In a statement on Tuesday, prominent Sikh leaders said they were saddened by the tragedy and the subsequent violence.

Washington-based Rajwant Singh, chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE), said: "No issue requires taking law into your own hand, no matter what the provocation. This (tragedy) is undoubtedly a major setback to the Sikh interests on the international scene, especially in western Europe and the Americas."

He said Sikhs have been working hard to create a positive image for themselves to practice their religion without restrictions in the western world. "(But) this incident has brought a bad name to rest of the peaceful Sikh community worldwide."

Since the violence in which the Dera Sach Khand sect leader was killed was reportedly triggered over the Sikh maryada or code of conduct, he appealed to the Sikhs' highest spiritual authority of the Akal Takht to issue an edict against violence on the issue.

Gurpal Singh Bhuller of the Association of Sikh Professionals and Sikh Association of Central Virginia, said: "We need to completely reject the attack on other worshippers in Vienna. Differences in theology, belief and form must be settled with reason and respect for the laws of the host country, the rights of its citizens, as well as the acceptance of all fellow human beings."

"It is a tragedy that this crime was committed by individuals to protect the sanctity of the (holy) Guru Granth which preaches tolerance and forgiveness," he added. Prominent Sikh writer I.J. Singh of New York said Sunday's clash in the Vienna gurdwara was contrary to Sikh teachings.

"Everyone is entitled to practice their own faith as they see fit. No body has any right to stop others much as we do not allow anybody to interfere in practice of our own faith. "History is full of examples where Sikhs have defended the rights of others to exercise their religion freely and we are known for this," he said.

Jasbir Singh Kang, Sikh leader of Yuba City in northern California, said: "The founder of the Sikh religion Guru Nanak taught us to have discussions whenever there is disagreement. You can have difference of opinion but cannot go to the extent of taking someone's life."

with thanks : source :


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Recent violence has cost Punjab Rs7000cr

Recent violence has cost Punjab Rs7000cr
26 May 2009, 1938 hrs IST, IANS

NEW DELHI: Punjab has incurred property losses of up to Rs 7,000 crore on account of the violence by followers of the Dera Sachh Khand sect,according to conservative estimates arrived at by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).

"Social tension in Punjab has caused a loss of Rs.6,000-Rs.7,000 crore of public property and pushed behind its investment prospects to a significant extent," Assocham said in a statement Tuesday.

Punjab has been wracked by widespread violence by followers of the Dera Sachh Khand sect protesting against the attack on religious leaders in a gurudwara in Vienna Sunday.

Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur and Phagwara towns of Punjab continued to be under curfew for a second day Tuesday. But the curfew was being relaxed for two to four hours.

In this connection, Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat appealed to the state administration "to immediately restore proper law and order in the state, especially in Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Phagwara and Ambala".

"Any delay in curbing the social tension might cause a great harm to the economy of Punjab," Assocham said.

with thanks : source :


Most members of Dalit sect don't follow Sikh tenets

Most members of Dalit sect don't follow Sikh tenets
27 May 2009, 0130 hrs IST

Was the fight inside a Sikh gurdwara?
The fight was inside a Guru Ravidass temple in Vienna and not a Sikh gurdwara. Although Ravidass temples house Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, their identity lies in the Ravidassia ideology, and with followers of Guru Ravidass, a Dalit saint of the 14th century Bhakti movement of India.

How are Ravidassias and Sikhs different?
While Ravidassias bow before Guru Granth Sahib, they are not necessarily Sikhs. Most members of the community do not follow Sikh tenets. They are a separate entity and most of them are Hindu SCs and clean shaven. Sikhs and Ravidassias, however, share some part of their religious philosophy with Sikhs treating the ‘bani’ (words) of Guru Ravidass with the same reverence as the rest of Sikh gurus.

What’s Dera Sachkhand Ballan?
It’s nearly a century old dera founded by Baba Pippal Dass who was from Ravidassia community. The dera preached philosophy of Guru Ravidass and principles from Guru Granth Sahib. It’s the biggest dera of the community.

How are the main Ravidassia and Sikh rituals different?
The respect and rendition of Guru Granth Sahib is common to both and even a good part of the ‘Ardaas’. But some of the rituals differ. In kirtans at Ravidass temples, the emphasis is mainly on compositions by Ravidass.

Why are Dalit deras growing?
Sikh Gurus criticized the caste system. In the 18th century, caste reared its head again in Punjab, influencing Sikhs. The latest conflict is an indication of Dalit awakening, aided to a large extent by increasing money power.

with thanks : source :


Rise and rise of Dalit deras in Punjab

Rise and rise of Dalit deras in Punjab
27 May 2009, 0127 hrs IST, I P Singh, TNN

JALANDHAR: Along with their growing influence in the political arena, Dalits in Punjab are increasingly marking their presence in the state’s religio-cultural sphere.

This is manifest in the surfacing of exclusive Dalit deras or sects. Their rise, however, has been triggered largely by Ravidassias, who have taken a lead over other big ‘‘backward’’ groups like Valmikis and Mazhabis through sheer money power.

Although Dalits also visit deras frequented by others, there are at least 60 sects boasting of large following. More than half of these are located in the four districts of Doaba, considered the heartland of Adharmis — those Sikhs who joined Ravidassias. At least 40% of Doaba’s population comprises Adharmis.

Formed in the early 1970s as an umbrella body of different sects, the Sadhu Sampradai Society has religious heads of Ravidassia community officiating at the top echelons. The society organises various religious functions, whose frequency has increased in the recent past. Currently, the society is headed by Sant Nirmal Dass Jaure Wale. Dera Sachkhand Ballan has a major stake in the working of this society due to its sheer size and following.

"There are over 60 deras in Punjab that have exclusive Ravidassia identity," said S R Heer, the general secretary of Sant Sarwan Dass Charitable Trust run by the Ballan-based sect. Dalit activist and BSP leader Ramesh Kaul said if the small deras are included, the number could well touch 100. These sects preach the word and philosophy of Guru Ravidas, a prominent figure in the Bhakti movement that flourished in the 14 and 15th centuries.

"Although these deras preach sermons from Sikh holy book, equal emphasis is laid on extracts written by Guru Ravidas that are included in Guru Granth Sahib," adds Kaul. Apart from carrying out religious discourses, deras of Adharmi also follow a social agenda of emancipation of the downtrodden.

with thanks : source :


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sikhs make claim on Royal Collection

The Queen has found herself at the centre of a dispute over treasures allegedly in her possession that were taken from India in the days of the British Raj, Mandrake can disclose.

Tim Walker: Edited by Laura Roberts
Last Updated: 6:49PM BST 25 May 2009

A Sikh group from Slough has written to Her Majesty requesting the return of the property.

Jagdeesh Singh, from the Sikh Community Action Network, tells me: "We have written to the Queen asking for access rights and the eventual return of items such as historic copies of the Sikh national sacred writings, together with swords and weapons of the Sikh gurus."

According to Singh, letters, diaries and writings of Maharaja Duleep Singh, the Sikh ruler exiled to Britain in the 19th century, are also part of the collection, some of which is housed at Windsor Castle. He says: "These things were plundered by the British and are now hidden away in various Royal palaces. I am sure that the Queen does not really know what is there and we would like to do a proper inventory."

A spokesmen for the Royal Collection insisted that it did not own any swords or armour relating to Maharaja Duleep Singh, while a colleague at the Royal Archives claimed to have only a number of papers relating to Singh but not his actual writings.

with thanks : source :


Monday, May 25, 2009

Riots flare in India after Sikh sect leader killed in Austrian temple

• Mobs attacks police stations, buses and banks in Punjab region
• India's Sikh prime minister 'deeply distressed' by disturbances

Associated Press, Monday 25 May 2009 17.10 BST

India's prime minister, Manmohan Singh, appealed for calm , as riots prompted by the fatal shooting of a sect leader at a Sikh temple in Austria spread to several northern Indian cities.

Hundreds of people defied a curfew and army patrols, attacking police stations and torching the car of a senior officer and several trains. In two places, police opened fire on mobs, wounding at least four people, according to officials.

The violence centered on the city of Jalandhar, a stronghold of the Dera Sach Khand, a Sikh sect comprising mainly Dalits (formerly known as "Untouchables"). One person was killed when troops opened fire on a mob attacking a police station in Lambran village, according the state's top elected official, Parkash Singh Badal.

The violence followed the news that a leader of the Dera Sach Khand was killed, and another preacher wounded, in Vienna last night, when several Sikh men armed with knives and a handgun attacked the two during a visit to a temple. At least 15 other people were wounded, Austrian police confirmed.

Witnesses said the attackers were fundamentalist Sikhs from a higher caste, who accused one or both of the preachers of being disrespectful of the Sikh holy book – the Guru Grant Sahib.

While officially Sikhism does not recognise caste – the complex system prevalent among mainly Hindus in India, dividing people into hundreds of groups defined by livelihood, class and ethnicity – it remains deeply rooted.

Singh, India's first leader to belong to the Sikh faith, said he was "deeply distressed" by the attack and subsequent violence. "Whatever the provocation, it is important to maintain peace and harmony among different sections of the people," he said, adding: "Sikhism preaches tolerance and harmony."

The foreign minister, SM Krishna, said India was working with the Austrian authorities to "ensure that the perpetrators of this completely mindless and wanton attack are brought to justice".

lastnight, after news of the Vienna attack, hundreds of Dera Sach Khand followers, supported by other local Dalit organisations, took to the streets of Jalandhar, burning several vehicles and a bank, stoning buses and blocking railway lines and roads.

Sporadic violence was also reported from several nearby towns, said Sanjiv Kalra, a senior police official at Jalandhar, some 210 miles (337 km) north-west of New Delhi. Today morning, about 400 soldiers patrolled the area and police set up roadblocks across the city. Initially it appeared that the move had restored calm, but later protests spread to at least five nearby cities.

"Curfew in the entire district has been extended for an indefinite period and five columns of army have been deployed to control the violence," a local government official, A S Pannu told the Press Trust of India news agency.Sikhs make up less than 2% of India's nearly 1.2 billion people, the vast majority of whom are Hindus. Caste discrimination has been outlawed in India for more than a half century, and a quota system was established with the aim of giving Dalits a fair share of government jobs and places in schools. But their plight remains dire, living in poverty and kept down by ancient prejudice and caste-based politics.

with thanks : Source :


Pak Hindus, Sikhs rubbish jazia reports

Want to return to Swat after peace returns
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Members of the DSGMC at Attari-Wagah joint check post after their return from Pakistan on Sunday. Photo: Vishal Kumar

Amritsar, May 24
The 13-member Indian delegation, led by Paramjit Singh Sarna, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), which returned from Pakistan today after meeting Hindus and Sikhs displaced from the Swat valley, rubbished the media reports that Taliban had imposed jazia (protection tax) on the members of the minority communities there.

After meeting the displaced Hindus and Sikhs at Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Hassan Abdal, Sarna said most of the Sikhs did not want to migrate to India since they love Swat, considered paradise on earth. Swat is an administrative district of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan. In December, most of its area was captured by Taliban.

Sarna said more than 22 lakh Muslims had fled from Swat. Most of the 3,100 displaced persons, who had taken refuge at Gurdwara Panja Sahib, only 50 or 60 families were of Sikhs. The government of Pakistan has been taking extra care of the displaced persons belonging to the minority communities. “Each displaced family has got at least Rs 30,000 each relief from the government so far,” said Sarna. The Pakistan government and a number of non-government organisations have joined hands to collect donations in the name of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) by placing donation boxes at the reception of major hotels and other business establishments. Many relief camps for the Muslim IDPs have mushroomed in Pakistan to accommodate about 22 lakh Muslims.

Many displaced Hindus and Sikhs wanted to go back to Swat after normalcy since they consider the valley not only a land of attractive beauty but also historically significant.

The delegation also met senior officials of the Government Pakistan government to seek permission to send relief worth Rs 2 crore. Sarna has urged the government to allot land to the displaced Hindus and Sikhs at Nankana Sahib.

Sarna told mediapersons at Attari today that Pakistani Sikhs were happy over the election of Dr Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister for yet another term of five years. He said Pakistani Sikhs wanted that any of the family members of Dr Manmohan Singh should visit Pakistan to meet them who had prayed to Almighty for giving Dr Manmohan Singh to serve the country for another term.

To a question, Sarna said the DSGMC would definitely participate in the coming general elections of the Shiromani Committee. He alleged that the SGPC and the ruling SAD failed on all religious fronts as they did not bother to visit Pakistan to know the plight of the displaced Sikhs.

with thanks : source :


Punjab tense after night of violence, army called in

Punjab tense after night of violence, army called in

Towns in Punjab remained tense on Monday morning after a night of violence on Sunday by members of a Dalit Sikh sect protesting a clash in a gurudwara in Austria's capital Vienna.

District authorities in Jalandhar, which saw the maximum violence, requisitioned the army and the Border Security Force (BSF) late on Sunday night even as the Punjab Police was out on the streets in full force to control the rampaging mobs belonging to the Sachh Khand sect, followers of Guru Ravi Dass Sabha.

The entire Doaba belt (the area between rivers Sutlej and Beas) comprising Jalandhar, Phagwara, Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur towns were tense throughout the night. Jalandhar and Phagwara were the worst hit areas. Unrest was also reported from the industrial city of Ludhiana, 60 km from Jalandhar.

Although no one was injured in the clashes, scores of public and private vehicles were set ablaze by the protestors in Jalandhar and Phagwara. A State Bank of India ATM was also set ablaze in Jalandhar.

Many people were stranded on the roads after the violence broke out.

On Sunday, several people were injured in a fight between two rival factions of the Sikh community at a Gurudwara in the Austrian capital. Some of the injured were in a critical condition, the Austrian police said.

The incident took place during a sermon by two guest priests from India.

According to reports, several bearded and turbaned men equipped with at least one firearm stormed the shrine during sermon. In the melee, members of the congregation pounced upon the attackers and overpowered them, beating some severely.

Meanwhile, the security has been beefed up in several parts of Punjab after the protestors went on a rampage.

Curfew has been imposed in Jalandhar, which continued on Monday morning, even though the police claimed the situation was brought under control.

"The situation turned bad and we have requisitioned the army, BSF and the Punjab Armed Police units to control the situation," said Sanjiv Kalra, inspector general of police (IG), Jalandhar range.

The protestors also clashed with the police at some places in Jalandhar. The protestors blocked roads and highways around Jalandhar and in the nearby industrial town of Phagwara.

"It is a very serious situation. Curfew has been imposed in Jalandhar City following the violence. Road and rail traffic has been affected," Kalra told IANS.

Railway traffic through Jalandhar, including the New Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi train, was affected as protestors blocked rail tracks.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal condemned the Vienna incident and urged people in Punjab to remain peaceful. He urged the central government to take up the matter with the Austrian government so that the guilty were punished.

The government blacked out the television news channels in the state to ensure that the violence did not spread to other parts after seeing the images on TV.

Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar also condemned the Vienna attack and urged people to maintain peace in Punjab.

with thanks : source :§ionid=4&secid=0&Itemid=1&issueid=107


30 injured in Vienna gurudwara shootout: Officials

Press Trust Of India
Vienna, May 24, 2009

At least 30 people were injured, nine of them seriously, when rival Sikh groups clashed with each other using knives and a handgun during a sermon in a gurudwara in Vienna.

Police said nine people were severely wounded when members of two families started shooting at each other. Five people suffered head shots and stab wounds, Austrian Press Association said in a report on its website.

Police spokesman Michael Takacs said five men entered the Gurdwara early this afternoon and started firing at those present. Five suspects have been arrested, he said.

Austria Press Agency quoted a witness Jasuf Kalden as saying that the fight erupted after a dispute over the sermon, given by Guru Ravidas Sabha.

Police said at least six men, one wielding a gun and the others knives, attacked the preacher. Others rushed to his aid, resulting in the melee.

The Gurdwara is situated in Vienna-Rudolfsheim, the capital's 15th district.

The wounded were evacuated in three helicopters to several hospitals, rescuers said.

"All the people implicated in the incident have been arrested," Takacs said.

with thanks : source :


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Twist in Tytler case, wife of victim wants to be heard

24 May 2009, 0410 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: A woman, claiming to be the wife of one of the deceased in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, surfaced on Saturday in court pleading that she
should be heard while deciding on the CBI's closure report giving a clean chit to former union minister Jagdish Tytler.

Lakhwinder Kaur, widow of deceased Badal Singh who was killed during the carnage, moved an application through her counsel Rebecca M John before the court demanding a right to be heard before the court. "The injured or aggrieved parties do have a right to be heard. The investigating agency is bound to give notice to such parties and if they fail to do so, the court is bound to hear us as settled by the Supreme Court,'' John added. The counsel also claimed CBI never approached the widow during its investigation into the case.

The CBI, on the other hand, opposed their plea saying they had no locus standi in the matter. Further, the CBI said that the case was filed against unknown persons. "We have recommended prosecution of one accused Suresh Kumar Paniwala. Nobody was named in the FIR. It is only on the recommendation of Justice Nanavati Commission that we investigated role of Tytler and filed closure report finding no evidence against him,'' CBI counsel A K Srivastava submitted. CBI also argued on jurisdiction of the court.

CBI counsel Srivastava, who tried to attribute motives to petitioners by saying why they did not approach them before as it was a 25-year-old case, was strongly opposed by the petitioner's counsel alleging that he wanted to score brownie points. A protest petition was also filed by Kaur challenging CBI's closure report. Kaur also sought a copy of CBI report.

While reserving the order on Kaur's plea for June 3, additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM) Rakesh Pandit, "Let me think. This is a very tricky thing. Its an academic issue for me and my five years of experience is at stake. I need some time to consider it.

Meanwhile, counsel H S Phoolka who has filed a defamation case against former union minister Jagdish Tytler, opposed the Tytler's plea seeking permanent exemption from personal appearance in the case before ACMM Ajay Pandey, saying "nobody is above law.''

Tytler is accused of making defamatory remarks against the lawyer in programmes telecast by news channels in 2004. He was granted bail by the ACMM on April 18 after the case was transferred from Ludhiana by the apex court at his request.

Taking the reply of Phoolka, who is fighting court cases for victims and family members of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the court fixed July 18 for hearing arguments on the plea. The Congress leader had sought permanent exemption from personal appearance during the court proceedings on the ground that being a public figure, he has to perform manifold duties on a regular basis.

with thanks : source :


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Guru Nanak Daata Baksh Lai Mission:

Guru Nanak Daata Baksh Lai Mission, founded in 1999 by Brig. Partap Singh Ji Jaspal (Retd.), is at the forefront of promoting universality of Sikhism and its Divine Content, embracing the whole mankind as one global family of the sole beloved God. It reaches out to the world through the mediums of internet, TV channels, audio and video productions, and book publications. The mission seeks no publicity and serves the whole global community in the firm belief of oneness of godhood and oneness of the mankind. This mission is purely a labor of love of a family group and is based at 203, Sector 33-A, Chandigarh.


1984 anti-Sikh riots: Court reserves order on plea of victims

1984 anti-Sikh riots: Court reserves order on plea of victims
23 May 2009, 1658 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: A Delhi Court on Saturday reserved its order on the petitions of victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, pleading they should be heard while deciding the alleged involvement of former union minister Jagdish Tytler in it.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Rakesh Pandit fixed June 3 for pronouncement of the order on the application filed by riot victims as well as Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee that the court should decide their right to be heard in the matter.

Senior Counsel H S Phoolka, appearing for the victims, said the victims had a right to be heard in the matter.

During the argument, CBI counsel A K Srivastava questioned the jurisdiction of the ACMM Court and said the matter be referred to the Sessions court.

CBI had on April 2 sought to close the case against Tytler, claiming there was no sufficient evidence against him.

Tytler (65) was also given a clean chit by CBI on September 28, 2007, after the agency failed to trace Jasbir Singh, a key witness in the case.

However, the court had refused to accept CBI's closure report and directed the agency to further investigate the case in December 2007, compelling the agency to send its officials to the United States to record the Singh's statement.

Tytler resigned as union minister of the UPA government in 2005 in the wake of the Justice G T Nanavati Commission report indicting him for his alleged role in the riots.

The case relates to an incident on November 1, 1984, when a mob set afire Gurdwara Pulbangash in Delhi killing three persons.

Singh, the witness, had told the Commission on August 31, 2000 that "he had overheard Tytler rebuking his men on the night of November 3, 1984...for nominal killing of Sikhs in his constituency."

with thanks : source :


Friday, May 22, 2009

Manmohan Singh takes oath as PM

with thanks : source :


Manmohan Singh takes oath as PM for 2nd term

22 May 2009, 1838 hrs IST, AGENCIES

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday took oath along with 19 Cabinet colleagues to begin his second five-year term at the head of a multi-party government in which his Congress party is the overwhelmingly dominant partner after a sweeping win in general elections.

There were four new faces in the first edition of the Union Cabinet that is expected to be followed up by another expansion of the Council of Ministers in the next few days. All the others were in the outgoing Cabinet. All but two were from the Congress party.

Overseen by President Pratibha Patil, Manmohan Singh, 76, was the first to take oath at a simple and brief function at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. This is the first time she has administered the oath of office.

Among the new entrants in the Cabinet were Mamata Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress leader who trounced the Communists in West Bengal, Rajasthan Congress unit president CP Joshi, Congress general secretary M Veerappa Moily, and former Karnataka chief minister S M Krishna.

The portfolios were not announced but speculation centred around two names as the next foreign minister -- Kamal Nath, who has been a successful commerce and industry minister and who led the developing nations' charge in the WTO negotiations; and Krishna, who was in many ways responsible for making Bangalore the country's IT capital.

Pranab Mukherjee, who was external affairs minister in the last Cabinet, is widely tipped to become finance minister, a portfolio he held 25 years ago, while Chidambaram and Antony are likely to retain their respective portfolios of home and defence.

The prime minister's A-team comprises Pranab Mukherjee, Chidambaram, Antony, Krishna, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Veerappa Moily, S. Jaipal Reddy, Kamal Nath, Vayalar Ravi, Meira Kumar, Murli Deora, Kapil Sibal, Ambika Soni, B.K. Handique, Anand Sharma and Joshi.

Besides Mamata Banerjee, the other non-Congress leader who found Cabinet berth was Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar.

The oath taking ceremony in the Rashtrapati Bhavan was attended among others by Vice President Hamid Ansari, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and BJP leader L K Advani. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, former Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Lalu Prasad, Ram Vilas Paswan and service chiefs were also present.

Performance, experience and continuity have been the important criteria that have gone into the making of Manmohan Singh's new Cabinet, say party insiders. The Prime Minister has already chalked out a 100-day action plan for his government.

"In the case of Moily and Ghulam Nabi Azad, they served the party well and were also instrumental in notching up impressive victories in key states," said a senior Congress functionary.

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said the second round of oath taking will cover include Cabinet ministers, ministers of state with independent charge and ministers of state with representation given to allies.

Anand Sharma, who earlier was a minister of state for external affairs and also held independent charge of the information and broadcasting ministry after Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi was hospitalised with a stroke, was promoted to Cabinet rank.

So was Bijoy Krishna Handique, who is from Assam and was the minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers and parliamentary affairs.

Heavyweight Arjun Singh has been dropped from the Cabinet, and not just because of his poor health. Some of his decisions as human resource development minister have been questioned and he has been accused of sitting over important decisions in the field of higher education, a subject close to the Prime Minister's heart. Arjun Singh is likely to be made a state governor.

Mamata Banerjee is likely to get railways, a portfolio she has held earlier in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, while Pawar is set to retain his food and agriculture portfolio.

"I am happy that both the Prime Minister and the Congress president have recognised my work and that I discharged my work creditably," said Vayalar Ravi, who held both parliamentary affairs and the overseas Indian affairs ministries.

Joshi, who turned the fortunes around for the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections in Rajasthan by leading the praty to victory in 19 of its 25 seats, admitted he was surprised to get a cabinet berth. "I am humbled and thank the party leadership for reposing faith in me."

After the failure of talks with the DMK on the distribution of ministerial portfolios, crisis managers in the Congress thought it would be best to go ahead with the first round of oath taking where sure-shot Cabinet ministers would be included.

With the DMK insisting on seven ministerial berths - three Cabinet, two ministers of state (MoS) with independent charge and two other MoS - Congress managers decided they would engage in another round of discussions to arrive at a compromise formula.

The DMK is making a bid for key ministries including surface transport, railways, IT and communications and tourism.

"By this weekend we will sort out matters on berth allocation with DMK. And in the next round we also have to include the youth brigade," said a senior official in the Prime Minister's Office.

Those expected to be inducted in the second round include Salman Khurshid, Jairam Ramesh, Girija Vyas, Vilas Muttemwar and National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah.

Manmohan Singh will retain the portfolios he was planning to allocate to DMK nominees till differences with the key ally are sorted out.

with thanks : source :


Sikh delegation led by Sarna crosses over to Pakistan to meet PM and President

Thursday, 21 May 2009
AMRITSAR: Thirteen members delegation led by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Parmajit Singh Sarna Thursday went to Pakistan to take up the matter of Hindu and Sikh families who were rendered homeless by the Taliban in Pakistan’s in the North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) in Swat valley.

Sarna before crossing over to Pakistan said that he along with his delegation of senior executive of DSGMC were going to Pakistan to meet Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari to take up the matter of Hindu and Sikh families who were still turning pillar to post for two square meals after being rendered by Talibans.

Sarna said, “We have plan to meet Pakistan’s prime minister and President with regard to the adequate arrangement of Homeless Sikh and Hindu families for their rehabilitation besides economic help. Presently most of the uprooted families were taking shelter at various
Sikh shrines in Pakistan including Nankana Sahib, Panja Sahib and Gurdwdara Dera Sahib”.

Sarna said that DSGMC has passed resolution to contribute help of Rs. 2 crore and would seek permission from Pakistan authorities to disburse amount among the affected families. Sarna said that they were on fifteen days visa to Pakistan.

Earlier on May 1, SGPC (Shriomani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee) President Avtar Singh Makkar in letter to Prime Minister Dr. Mamnmohan Singh has urged him to force Pakistan Government to protect Sikh minority against fiendishness of Talibans.

Makkar in his letter said that the barbarous activities of Talibans have committed another outrage of pulling downs houses of innocent Sikh families in Pakistan in retaliation to the refusal of Sikhs to pay jazia.

It may be mentioned here that last month on April 30 Taliban outfit had demolished 11 homes of members of the minority Sikh community in Pakistan's troubled Aurakzai tribal region after they failed to pay jiziya or a tax levied on non-Muslims.

Sikhs were rendered homeless on the orders of Taliban commander Hakeemullah Mehsud, the head of the militants in Aurakzai Agency and a deputy of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud. The militants acted after a deadline set by them for payment of jiziya by the Sikhs expired on April 30. Sikhs were living in Aurakzai Agency for centuries; the Taliban asked them earlier this month to pay Rs 50 million a year as jiziya. The militants claimed this was being done as Shariah or Islamic law had been enforced in the area and all non-Muslims had to pay "protection money".

There are about 35 Sikh families living in Ferozkhel near Merozai in Aurakzai Agency.

with thanks : source :


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Twenty five years of hatred & Dr. Manmohan Singh.

After twenty five years of hatred, Sikhs are looking ahead, towards Congress just because of the Charishma of Dr. Manmohan Singh. After 1984 riots the Sikh Bastians were converted into BJP strongholds. The traditional vote bank of congress was turned into strongholds of BJP.

But the elevation of Dr. Manmohan singh not only healed the sentiments of Sikhs in India, it also gave the nation a most learned prime minister under whose leadership India got the successive growth of 9% for four consecutive years and even in times of the worst recession, it attained a growth of 6%. Today, Congress has won, because every one is looking towards Dr. Manmohan singh as the best reformist. Indeed, it was the fruitful decision taken by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi.

Dr. Manmohan singh must, now, cultivate a feeling amongst the masses that India is a most secular country where riots of any kind are totally BARRED. Hope the two national partys, will realise that Indian’s are now educated & mature enough to cast the vote only for the PROGRESSIVE GOVERNMENT and not for 1984 or Godhra. JAI HO.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sikh Art: mool mantar through oil paintings

Posted by Reema

Thematically Sikh paintings are rare. Thus, when I came across the paintings below, I thought I should share. The oil paintings below are the work of Jaswant Singh Zafar. He’s a poet, photographer, and painter in his free time and an engineer in Ludhiana by day. This year, he’s spending his free time creating a series of paintings under the theme of ‘Gurbani.’ The paintings completed thus far weave the mool mantar through various aspects of nature, shapes, and other backgrounds.

At the end of the year, the series will be in an exhibition at the Artmosphere Gallery in Ludhiana. Artmosphere was created to provide a platform for budding artists in Ludhiana and Punjab such as Jaswant Singh Zafar. Such an endeavor cheers me and gives hope that the visual arts scene there is growing.

with thanks : source :


Minar-e-Khalsa by Sd. Gulab Singh ji

Gulab Singh learned to engrave from his father Sardar Santokh Singh and began an independent studio where he would do engraving on industrial moulds. During these years, as the family was religiously inclined, he got involved in local Gurudwara activities and developed his faith in Sikh religion and learned about the history of Sikh gurus and the entire Sikh and Punjabi movement after the 10th guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

He started to dedicate more of his time to religious activities and while working he created few bass-reliefs of Sikh Gurus. Later this religious passion gave him a vision to create his first work Minar-e-Khalsa, which took four years of research, hard work and economic investment to materialize. The project was self financed with little help from the local Sikh community. The bass-relief was inaugurated on Baisakhi of the 300th year celebration of Birth of Khalsa at Hazoor Sahib, Nanded.

with thanks : source :


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pak vows to protect Sikhs from Taliban; Canada announces aid

Toronto (IANS): A visiting Pakistan minister vowed to protect Sikhs from the Taliban even as Canada announced $5 million for Pakistan's Sikh families who have fled the Swat Valley after the imposition of 'jaziya' (tax on non-Muslims) by the Taliban.

Announcing the $5-million package at a round-table here, Canada's newest Sikh MP Tim Uppal said: "I am pleased to announce on behalf of the prime minister that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has committed 5 million dollars to the humanitarian effort to help those people displaced by the conflict."

Mr. Uppal, who is the ruling party MP from Edmonton, said: "We call upon the government of Pakistan to ensure the security and safety of all its citizens, including religious minorities."

Pakistan's Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, who was a special invitee to the round-table, said: "I want the minorities to know that they have a brother and a friend in the government of Pakistan who will do all in his power to stop atrocities on Sikhs in Pakistan."

When asked whether the Pakistan government will compensate the Sikhs for the money taken away by the Taliban, the minister only said: "I strongly condemn the jaziya collected from Sikhs by the Taliban."

The Pakistani government has announced a token compensation of $120 each to the displaced Sikh families, many of whom have sought refuge in the historic Sikh shrine at Hasan Abdal.

Asked by round-table convener and filmmaker Roger Nair how Pakistan could justify such a small amount, the minister said Sikh refugees are "still in a better shape than many of over a million or so refugees since they have a better organised structure in the form of gurdwaras".

The Toronto-based South Asians for Human Rights Association (SAHRA), which organised the round-table discussion with the visiting Pakistani minister, offered to sponsor 50 displaced Sikh and Hindu families as refugees to Canada.

"We have written to the Canadian government to sponsor these families from Pakistan. We will work with both the governments and local bodies to identify displaced families due to the Jaziya tax and sponsor them," said SAHRA chairman Nair.

He also demanded the abolition of the blasphemy law in Pakistan under which the murderers of a 27-year-old Hindu worker Jagdish Kumar last year went unpunished.

with thanks : source :


Monday, May 18, 2009

First Sikh mayor sworn in

Newbury's first ethnic minority mayor swears oath of office during civic cermony at The Corn Exchange

NEWBURY’S first ethnic minority mayor addressed the public during his official mayor-making ceremony on Sunday (17).
In a speech delivered to more than 100 local residents at The Corn Exchange, Kuldip Singh Kang said he was pleased to have the honour and privilege of being appointed his post.
After leading the procession of councillors through heavy rain from the town hall, outgoing mayor Phil Barnett recounted some of the 294 events he had attended over the past year.
These included the recent 1940s fundraising concert at Newbury Racecourse, visiting five of Newbury’s twin towns, meeting the Queen at Vodafone, attending 300 birthday parties and travelling in a horse drawn carriage through Northbrook Street on National Bereavement Day.
He said that he had given up 1450 hours of his time and travelled over 4,400 miles as mayor.
Nominating the new mayor, town councillor Adrian Edwards said that he had known Mr Singh Kang for 20 years, since he bought the Fifth Road store and post office after moving to the town from Slough.
Mr Edwards had then helped Mr Singh Kang to stand for election to the town council two years ago, as a Conservative candidate for Falkland ward.
Mr Singh Kang said that during his year as mayor, he would support local charities and help St George’s Church at Wash Common explore the possibility of becoming carbon neutral.
He thanked his wife of 29 years, his parents, two brothers, his sister, and his three grandchildren for supporting him at the ceremony. While he will practice his Sikh faith, he will continue the mayoral tradition of having a church chaplain, and the ceremony was followed by a civic service in St Nicolas’ Church.
“I am very pleased to be standing here today supported by four generations of my family,” he said.
Former town council leader Ian Grose was appointed deputy mayor.
During the ceremony, town marshal Dave Stubbs and town crier Brian Sylvester were awarded medals for 10 years of service to Newbury Town Council.

with thanks : source :


Slough crowns Sikh Mayor and Sikh Deputy Mayor

Cllr Joginder Bal has become the Mayor for Slough; he is joined by another Sikh Cllr Jagjit Singh as the Deputy Mayor

The announcement was made at annual general meeting of Slough Borough Council at Slough Town Hall.

Cllr Joginder Singh is a grandfather and a dad-of-four, he was the former deputy mayor, took over from Cllr Raja Zarait. He was elected as a councillor for the Farnham ward in 2001 and is now the fifth Sikh mayor for the town.

He managed to beat of stiff competition by Cllr Brian Hetwitt who was also nominated for the role by the BILLD and Tory councilors.

After being sworn into the role with the help of council chief executive Ruth Bagley, Cllr Bal said: “I got into politics to serve people and not for personal satisfaction. I will promote Slough wherever I go.”

Cllr Bal hit the headlines last year after he was attacked with a cross bow outside his home in Northampton Avenue.

He was hospitalised for a few days but recovered and returned to his job as a taxi driver.

with thanks : source :


Sikh wisdom

by Miroslav Volf

One of the most recognizable pieces of religious architecture in the world is the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, the most significant place of worship of the Sikhs. The upper part of this ornate rectangular marble structure is covered in gold. I saw the gleaming temple early in the morning, before sunrise, when it was bathed in soft artificial light. It stood immovable as a huge gilded rock, its reflected image dancing gently on the surface of the surrounding pool.

I was in Amritsar as a Christian consultant for a meeting of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders, organized by my friend Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein. I had written a position paper to serve as a basis for discussions that would include the Dalai Lama and the chief rabbi of Jerusalem. Six writers of position papers representing different world religions had discussed their drafts with one another and with a larger interfaith group of scholars. It was a fascinating exercise. As I was writing, I was aided by wisdom from other faith traditions. What I presented as genuinely my own was in part received from others.

I grew up solidly Protestant in an overwhelmingly Catholic and Orthodox environment controlled by aggressively secular communists. Unlike the communists, those in our Protestant tribe nurtured a sense of the holy. But we differed from the Catholics and the Orthodox in that for us holiness was not to be located in time and space. The eternal and omnipresent God was holy; people could be holy if they made themselves available for God; times and places were not holy. We did not follow a liturgical calendar closely, and we met for worship in remodeled rooms of an ordinary house on an ordinary street. As a child of a pastor, I lived in that house; the neighbor kids and I played soccer in its yard and marbles on the patch of dirt in front of it. As examples of sacred architecture, the places where I experienced God—in restless rebellion and not just in sweet surrender—were the polar opposites of the Golden Temple.

At the temple I walked barefoot and with covered head around the holy pool in which people took ritual baths. I observed the people quietly streaming to the temple and walking by the place where Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is kept, the holy book which ultimately makes the place holy. But I didn't feel spiritually pulled in. I was a sympathetic observer, learning, questioning, puzzling over things, appreciating. I remained an outsider, not a participant.

Yet I took with me something unforgettable, a nugget of enacted religious wisdom that I cherish more than I would a piece of that temple's gold.

The next day, as I walked one more time within the temple complex, I wanted to buy a souvenir for my two boys. Then it dawned on me: I hadn't seen a vendor or a shop anywhere on the temple premises. "Thousands of religious tourists mill around here every day," I thought. "There must be a place to buy souvenirs!" But there wasn't.

You had to leave the temple complex and step onto the profane ground of surrounding streets to satisfy your tourist appetite. There peddlers were as busy as anywhere else in the world, and I found what I was looking for—a small kirpan, a ritual sword that all baptized Sikh wear. But not on the holy site—there the only commercial transaction that took place was the purchase of a "ticket" to walk across the bridge to the temple in the middle of the lake. The ticket was a bowl of porridge, the size of which depended on how much you paid. You could eat some of it, but you were expected to put at least a portion of it into large bowls. When the bowls were filled, they were carried off to feed the poor.

The contrast between the Golden Temple and other religious sites I've seen could not be greater. Everywhere else, greedy people—often religious leaders with business managers—were trying to cash in on the devotion of visitors. Here that devotion was channeled into feeding the hungry. I was reminded of the story of Jesus' cleansing of the temple, recorded in all four Gospels. "And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple. . . . 'Is it not written,' he said, '"My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations"? But you have made it a den of robbers.'" The Gospels consistently tie Jesus' death to the cleansing of the temple. Mark's account continues, "And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him."

I came away from the Golden Temple with a nugget of wisdom—houses of worship should not be sites of commercial activity, but places of gift giving to the needy, just as faith itself is not to be bought and sold but freely given. That Sikh wisdom turned out to be buried treasure of my own faith.

with thanks : source :


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sidhu manages hat - trick in Amritsar.

After various ups & downs, after trailing for a long time, atlast Sidhu manages the hat trick in Amritsar. At one stage it was announced that position of Sidhu was very bad in the elections. But making a comeback, he won the prestigious Amritsar Lok Sabha seat. Our heartiest congratulations to Mr. Sidhu.


£50,000 reward offered to catch Sikh temple arsonists

By Gemma Collins

SHOCKED members of London’s Sikh community who watched their temple go up in flames in a suspected arson in March have pledged today fight for justice with a £50,000 reward to track the culprits.

The committee of East London’s Gudwara Sikh Sangat at Harley Grove in Bow are treating the attack as “murder” because their holy books were destroyed.

The community’s 14 Saroops, the Sikhs’ holy books, were lost as 40ft flames swept through the building and broke through the roof.

Committee members holding a news conference this-afternoon in a tent in the small park opposite claimed police could be doing more to catch those responsible.


Temple trustee Jagmohan Singh said: “This is more than just an arson attack on the building. It was an attack on the Sikh religion itself.

“Police could be doing more—so we have to assist them with the reward. The community won’t sleep until the intruder is caught and brought to justice.”

The community pledged to rebuild the temple which could cost an estimated £4 million.

They also plan a march on May 24 to show the attack “will not be tolerated.”

A police investigation began after eye-witnesses reported an intruder in the temple moments before the blaze on March 16, but no arrests have been made.

Detectives are appealing to anyone with information to contact Limehouse CID on 020-7275 4750, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555111.

with thanks : source :


Singh is king again

UPA has won the elections 2009 and obtained almost 250 plus seats i.e. just a few less than the magic number 272. Therefore, it's now sure that Dr. Manmohan Singh will be the Prime Minister again. We hereby congratulate Dr. Manmohan Singh on this great victory of UPA.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sikh Wins Hoboken Council Seat - North America

Ravinder Singh Bhalla was elected today to be a councilman-at-large for Hoboken, N.J., which gives him the national distinction of holding the highest elected office as a Sikh.

According to the Hudson County clerk's office, Ravinder Singh won nearly 14 percent of the 25,988 votes, statistically tying Carol Marsh for the most votes. He now holds one of three at-large seats, for a four-year term.

Ravinder Singh was part of the slate for mayoral candidate Dawn Zimmer, who won with 36 percent of the 9,986 votes. This election also made Zimmer the first woman and the first Jewish mayor of Hoboken.

Zimmer and her two biggest challengers, Peter Cammarano and Beth Mason, were all council members who oversaw a very unpopular property tax increase last year. She and Ravinder Singh were hoping that voters were not angry with all elected officials, just ones that contributed to the tax increase. Solving the tax and budget crisis became the top campaign issue for Zimmer and Ravinder Singh.

A win for the mayoral candidate usually means a win for the entire slate. But not only did Ravinder Singh win his first election, he won big.

with thanks : source :


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cancer treatment in Delhi

Just read the news item Leaving Punjab on the Cancer Train, on Mr Sikhnet Posted by Sundari in Health, which says about A recent story on NPR discussed the “cancer train” in Punjab. The train is so named as it routinely carries about 60 patients and their families from Bathinda to the town of Bikaner in order to get treatment at the government’s regional cancer center.

Please note that the cancer patients can get absolutely free treatment at the DELHI STATE CANCER INSTITUTE. Free Chemotherapy, Free Radiation, Free routine checkup everything on the first come first served basis. They had to open the in house Admission with all the rest of facilities alongwith the private wards. This hospital, fully airconditioned was started by Mrs. Shiela Dixit, Chief minister Delhi.The detailed address, Tel number can be checked from


Manmohan as mascot

Sarabjit Pandher

Congress plays the ‘Sikh card’

The Congress appears to have broken new ground in this election by using the “Sikh card” to woo the community, estranged since “Operation Bluestar” in 1984 and the anti-Sikh violence following the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

It is hard to imagine that Manmohan Singh is not surprised by the fact that he has become the poster boy of the Congress in its campaign to win over the Sikhs.

The Congress was put on the defensive, when its nomination of Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, who were alleged to have fanned violence against the Sikhs in November 1984, met with widespread protests — including a shoe thrown at Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram — from the Sikh community and the party was forced to withdraw their nominations. The party quickly went into damage control mode and reminded the Punjabis, especially the Sikhs, that it was the “first” party to have a “Sikh” as Prime Minister.

The tactic seemed to have worked, as it not only calmed the Sikhs but also put the combative Akalis on the back foot, with the party finding it hard to launch a full scale broadside against a Sikh.

The Akali leadership was almost knocked off its feet, when Sikhs reacted sharply to a Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee statement that Dr. Singh was not a Sikh. Put on the defensive, the Akali Dal failed to project Dr. Singh as “just another” Congress Prime Minister. Eventually, the Akali Dal had to resort to a no-holds-barred offensive against the former Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh.

Now, with Dr. Singh as the mascot, Capt. Amarinder, who has been getting a good response from the public, has emerged as the spearhead of the Congress campaign in Punjab.

For a change, the roles of the Congress and the Akali Dal appear to be swapped with the former using the “Sikh card” and the latter focusing on the development plank, say analysts.

However, this tactic is fraught with danger: it could conceivably lead to communal polarisation once again, say observers. They point out that the Congress used the “Sikh card” in the 1970s, which ultimately provided the fuel for the subsequent Sikh extremism.

with thanks : source :


Drug addiction spreads - in Punjab

Drug addiction spreads
by Gobind Thukral

Three decades ago we visited the inner Malwa area of Punjab to find out the level of drug addiction. We heard shocking tales of how youth were getting hooked to opium, bhuki and narcotics. Worse, pharmaceutical combinations meant to treat diseases were being consumed for a high.

At Bathinda’s Red Cross de-addiction centre, some well-built youth hailing from rich land-owning families looked pale and forlorn. Some were even married and had children. Doctors and relatives were working hard to wean them from the deadly habit but with limited success.

Parents cursed their fate as wives and sisters prayed to the Almighty to help their husbands and brothers recover. Farm labourers were more miserable as not many had relatives and friends to help them get out of the killer habit. In all, it was a miserable story of hopelessness.

Those were then the sad tales from the Malwa of Punjab. Now drug addiction has spread to all corners of Punjab and Chandigarh. In many villages, towns and cities, not a single family is spared. Haggard youth, locally called “smackia”, greet you at bus terminals, in street corners, close to chemist shops and liquor vends. At marriages and other social gatherings they form separate groups.

Elders advise you to steer clear of these louts. Many parents and elders wish them either dead or move to some foreign lands with the hope that work would reform them.

A senior doctor at Chandigarh’s PGI has estimated the number of drug addicts at several lakhs in Punjab. He also revealed shocking tales of ingenuity like roasting of lizards or even consuming pain killers and tranquillisers of various forms. Narcotic powder and heroin seized in Punjab in the last three years is sufficient as a single dose for over 50 lakh people.

Once hooked, young men soon graduate to cough syrups and then move on to a lethal diet of opium, charas, ganja, mandrax, smack and heroin. Those who cannot afford these take a deep breath of petrol or spread Iodex on bread to get a momentary thrill.

Studies by PGI doctors over the years have found peer pressure, thrill-seeking and even curiosity about drugs as the main factors that make youth take to drugs. Lack of any purpose in life was another key reason.

Myths related to sexual potency, thrill-seeking and punitive attitude of elders and lack of support during periods of stress were other reasons for drug addiction. This widespread consumption of intoxicants gives a false sense of coming-of-age status for youth.

The Punjab Department of Social Security Development of Women and Children conducted a survey in 2005 and found 67 per cent of the rural households in Punjab having one drug addict each. The report that covered Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur, Amritsar, Ferozepur, Ludhiana, Muktsar and Gurdaspur found narcotics were the most common form of addiction.

Dr Ravinder Singh Sandhu, Professor, Department of Sociology, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, found more than 73 per cent of drug addicts belong to the age group of 16-35 years. There are numerous studies to warn political and social leaders of the dangerous situation where Punjab has landed in. Intriguingly, the excise policy followed by the successive governments is liberal and aims at getting more and more taxes through more and more liquor vends.

Currently, the revenue is around Rs 1,728 crore as opposed to Rs 1,656 crore in 2007-08.

There were 6,902 liquor vends in Punjab. In Chandigarh there are more liquor vends than government primary schools. Now add to this illicit distillation, almost two times and the sixth river of Punjab is full of intoxicants.

There is a well-knit nexus that makes the supply and sale of drugs a smooth lucrative business and it puts to shame the government’s lethargic corrupt functioning. The smuggler-police-politician nexus, aided by a chain of retail outlets, works smoothly. Interestingly, politicians and law-enforcement agents blame each other for the mess. We all know how politicians use smugglers for money and musclemen.

Chemists along with quacks, drug peddlers and truck drivers have been identified as the main supply sources of drugs in Punjab. Chemists provide drugs to addicts without a prescription. Even many of the so-called de-addiction centres are actually proving to be addiction centres. These are, in fact, supplying drugs to the inmates. The number of chemist shops and de-addiction centres has increased at an unbelievable rate. Private de-addiction centres lack basic facilities but earn a quick buck.

Now during the election time, the supply is maintained by political leaders to please voters. Several thousand new drug addicts have been added during the present elections.

The problem has assumed epidemic proportions in the rural areas where the education level is low and unemployment rampant. Not a single village is without scores of drug addicts.

Is this not the time for leaders like Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Capt Amarinder Singh to at least instruct their candidates and cadres not to supply drugs to voters?

with thanks : source :


Monday, May 11, 2009

Sikh community seeks probe into Guru Granth Sahib ‘sacrilege’

Express News Service
Posted: May 11, 2009 at 0126 hrs IST

Mohali The Sikh community has sought a thorough probe into the alleged sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib, recently reported from Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib in Anandpur Sahib.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday, SGPC member Hardeep Singh said two distorted birs-Guru Granth Sahib and Dasam Granth-in one binding is being seen as a deep-rooted conspiracy.

“These birs contain 2830 and 2858 pages respectively, where as the authentic Guru Granth Sahib contains 1430 pages,” said Singh while adding that any addition or alteration in the holy book is considered as an act of sacrilege.

Terming it as “anti-Sikh” and intolerable, Singh has sent a representation to SGPC president, demanding a probe by Sikh scholars and SGPC members into the matter.

with thanks : source :


Sikh "snub" on BBC angers Sikh organisation

May 10, 2009

The Network of Sikh Organisations (NSO) is crying foul again at the BBC. It said that Sikhs were allegedly snubbed during a discussion on a BBC Radio 4 show.

In a press release, NSO said, "On Sunday 5th April, this year, BBC Radio 4's 'Sunday' religious programme carried a lengthy discussion on 'leadership in different religions. The producers invited representatives from different branches of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and the Hindu faith and even a 'secularist' to contribute to the debate, but deliberately avoided inviting a Sikh."

The release further claimed that "no attempt was made to contact the NSO the largest grouping of Sikhs in the UK, nor as far as we are aware, any other Sikh organisation. Why?"

The organisation further attacked the public service broadcaster for not carrying any mentions of the important Sikh festival of Vasaikhi being celebrated by Sikhs throughout the world. It said, "The BBC’s own section on religion on the Internet acknowledges Vasaikhi as being 'one of the most important dates in the Sikh calendar'."

Last year, the media monitoring group said it was unhappy with the lack of coverage to the Sikh and Hindu faiths on BBC TV and radio.

A breakdown of programming from the BBC's Religion and Ethics department, revealed that since 2001, the BBC made forty-one faith programmes on Islam, compared with just five on Hinduism and one on Sikhism. This research and subsequent concern within both the Sikh and Hindu communities caused some furore and was widely reported in the press.

Dr. Indarjit Singh, the Director of the Network of Sikh Organisations is extremely concerned by these recent developments.

Asked to comment, he said, "I’m not really sure to what extent this lack of sensitivity to Sikhs is deliberate or simply due to ignorance. In any event, it is extremely serious and the BBC should take urgent steps to ensure fairness to all communities in its religious coverage."

At the time of filing this article, was awaiting a response from the BBC.

with thanks : source :


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Why Punjab is Rahul's political lab

Punjab is Rahul Gandhi's political laboratory, where the Congress general secretary has chosen youthful candidates to take on the Akali Dal and BJP. Vicky Nanjappa reports from the state.

Rahul Gandhi's message to Congressmen and women across the country is clear: In future elections youth will get preference in the party. The Congress general secretary has chosen Punjab as the role model state to introduce youth into the fray.

Seeking to bring in a more democratic procedure, Rahul first ensured that elections were held in the Punjab Youth Congress party last year. This is the first time that the president of a Youth Congress unit was elected democratically.

After the PYC poll, Rahul personally monitored the selection of candidates for the Lok Sabha election from Punjab. He handpicked three candidates in their early 30s -- Ravneet Singh Bittu, the late chief minister Beant Singh's grandson and the first democratically-elected PYC president, from Anandpur Sahib; Sukhvinder Singh Danny, PYC vice-president, for Faridkot, and Vijay Inder Singla, former PYC president, for the Sangrur constituency.

Former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh's 41-year-old son Raninder Singh is also in the fray from Bhatinda. Although senior Congress leaders initially kicked up a fuss about the induction of the new candidates, they have now fallen in line.

The dissent from former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Battal's faction was perhaps the most vocal. Members of Bhattal's group say their only problem with the youth nominees is that the selection was made in consultation with Captain Singh, Bhattal's bitter adversary.

Vijay Inder Singla, the candidate from Sangrur, told that no political risk is involved in the selection and the nominees have been chosen with great care.

So why has Rahul chosen Punjab as his political lab and given youth preference over experienced leaders like Ashwani Kumar and Ambika Soni?

Party sources say two factors prompted Rahul to chose Punjab for his experiment. Youth comprise almost 50 per cent of the vote in Punjab and this generation, it is felt, prefers younger candidates who can address their issues better.

Moreover, Anandpur Sahib, Faridkot and Sangrur have been dominated by party old-timers who Rahul wanted to phase out. The Congress expects to do very well in Punjab where an anti-incumbency vote against Parkash Singh Badal's Akali Dal government is expected.

None of Rahul's candidates are contesting from their home constituencies. Despite this, Congress sources believe the party could have won with any candidate from Anandpur Sahib, Faridkot and Sangrur.

Singla says the moment for youth has never been better in Punjab and Rahul's experiment will boost the Congress's chances. The youth factor, he adds, will ensure a Congress victory in all 13 seats in the state.

with thanks : source :


Will Sidhu manage a hat-trick in Amritsar?

Vicky Nanjappa and photographer Satish Bodas travel to Amritsar and find the colourful Navjot Singh Sidhu in a tough battle to retain his Lok Sabha seat.

The electoral battle for Amritsar, which goes to the polls on May 13, promises to be an interesting one. Charismatic Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Parliament Navjot Singh Sidhu is pitted against Congress candidate Om Prakash Soni, who holds the impressive record of winning every election that he has ever contested.

After spending a day on Sidhu's campaign trail, it is evident that the cricketer-turned-politician has impressed middle and upper middle class voters in Amritsar, which has 1.248 million voters.

However, he seems to have made a dent among voters in rural parts of his constituency like Ajnala. The villagers are unhappy about him being absent for long stretches of time; they feel he is more visible on their television sets than he is in the constituency that twice elected him to the Lok Sabha.

with thanks : source :


Paramjit Singh Sarna elected SGPC president

Sarna elected SGPC president

New Delhi: Paramjit Singh Sarna was on Saturday unanimously re-elected president of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee for the sixth time. Mr. Sarna is presently chairman of Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi).

After his election, he named Bhajan Singh Walia as vice-president, Joginder Singh Guru Rakha as treasurer, Gurmeet Singh Shanti as general secretary and Kartar Singh Kochar as joint secretary.

with thanks : source :


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Why do you think there are 300 gurdwaras in the USA

These are the comments received by us from one of our visitor :

Why do you think there are 300 gurdwaras in the USA ... because there is so much politics and infighting for leadership and control ... so after a year or two ... the next Sikh tries starting his own gurdwara after being thrown out of the first gurdwara. It is such a terrible situation ... Sikhs themselves are burning down gurdwaras so that the insurance money will help in building a new gurdwara.

Really shocking.
Can you believe it ?

Where are we heading for - a wake up call for the sikh community

In Punjab the Turban is disappearing fast. Upto 90% of sikh families in Punjab have atleast a couple of members without a turban. Trimming of beards has become a fashion. In all the cities of India and in every part of Punjab, we can find the sikh youth with trimmed beards. Nearly 70% of youth in Punjab are in the grip of Drugs. This menace is blooming amongst the children and in a rapid manner, threatening the life of the youth of the State of Punjab. The sex ratio in Punjab is not improving inspite of best efforts of various organisations. Even the holy city Amritsar has 818 girls for 1000 boys, resulting into polygamy. Churches are being planted in punjab. Over 60 % localities of Ludhiana and over 50% villages in punjab have got a church.

Isn't it a wake up call for the sikh community. May i ask from the Sikh leaders, Sikh politicians, Sikh masses that where are we heading for. Please give it a serious thought.


Huge blaze destroys Sikh temple

More than 70 firefighters tackled a blaze that destroyed a Sikh temple in Greater Manchester.
Huge blaze destroys Sikh temple
Friday, 8 May 2009 09:08 UK

The blaze ripped through a multi-use building in the Strangeways area of Cheetham Hill at 2330 BST on Wednesday.

The ground floor offices and the first floor, which was home to the temple, were gutted in the fire.

Firefighters tackled the blaze throughout the night. An investigation is under way but the fire is not thought to be suspicious.

A fire service spokeswoman said: "There was a partial collapse in the first floor ceiling and firefighters had to enter the building wearing breathing apparatus to tackle the blaze."

Bury Road is closed while crews dampen the blaze down.

with thanks : source :


Friday, May 8, 2009

The Punjabi student, Narinder Singh Kapany, is known as the father of fiber optics.

With Heading :

David Perlman, Chronicle Science Editor

The vandals who slashed fiber-optic cables, leaving thousands of South Bay residents without phone and Internet service Thursday, struck at one of the most critical elements of America's vast communication network.

People who talk to each other across a city or a nation - or do business locally or around the world, or seek electronic home entertainment from anywhere - depend on slender bundles of glass fibers, thinner than a human hair, that carry signals or images at nearly the speed of light.

"It really is a miraculous technology, and the Internet couldn't exist in its present form without it," said Joseph Kahn, a Stanford professor of electrical engineering and one of the nation's leading specialists in optical fiber transmission.

The miracle began nearly 60 years ago when a Punjabi university student who now lives in Palo Alto challenged his Indian professor's dogma and set off on his own voyage of discovery that led him to pioneer the science and technology of fiber optics.

Today's fiber-optic cables are bundles of dozens of single hair-thin strands, each fiber made of highly purified glass - often pure silica - and coated in a cladding of impure glass that holds light beams inside. A single cable, about 4 inches thick, has the capability to hold dozens of fibers, which can carry pulses of light signals as far as 200 miles - either curving or in a straight line - at about two-thirds the speed of light. Inside each fiber, the light's "message" is reflected again and again at an angle against the fiber's wall as it travels along, Kahn said.

For long-distance communication, relay stations, known as optical amplifiers, are located every 50 to 60 miles to boost the light signals until they reach the end of their voyage - a phone company, a high-speed Internet connection, or a doctor's instrument probing a patient's throat.

The Punjabi student, Narinder Singh Kapany, is known as the father of fiber optics.

On Friday, Kapany, now 80, explained how it all began.

"I was just a precocious kid taking a college physics course when one day the professor told us that light 'always travels in a straight line,' " he recalled. "But that can't be true, I thought - it must be bent sometimes."

So he continued thinking about light as he went on with his physics studies, he said.

"And when I won a Royal Society fellowship for advanced study in optics at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London," Kapany said, "I really understood the principle we now call the total reflection of light - the principle of fiber optics that let me to experiment with light beams inside bent glass tubes."

Initially, he said, he thought only of medical applications, such as the kind of fiber-optic tubes that allow physicians peer into human organs.

"Only later did I realize that a fiber-optic cable could carry light for many miles - and so it can," he said.

Kapany founded a company called Optics Technology Inc. One of its directors was the late Luis Alvarez, the UC Berkeley Nobel Prize-winning physicist.

The company succeeded, as did others, and now he calls himself a "man of changed priorities." These include teaching at Stanford, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz.

At UC Santa Cruz, Kapany has endowed a chair in optical electronics, and at UC Santa Barbara, a chair in Sikh Studies. He has also financed the collection of Sikh art at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, and leads international activities on behalf of the Sikh community - his own tradition.

with thanks source :

pics with thanks from :


Forgotten legacy of the Sikhs

Sikh military police in Kota Baru. The photograph was
published in W. A. Graham’s Kelantan – a State of the
Malay Peninsular in 1908.

ABOUT three weeks ago, hundreds of Penangites and tourists attended a celebration within the historic premises of Fort Cornwallis, the oldest existing man-made site in Penang, to commemorate the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi.

Lost to most people, however, was one particular cultural significance of the site. It was here, soon after the British built the fort in 1786, that the country’s first gurdwara or Sikh temple was housed, for Sikh paramilitary personnel stationed in Penang.

Today, the fort still stands but the temple is no longer there. It made way when the government decided to give away a piece of veterinary land on Brick Kiln Road (now Jalan Gurdwara) for the construction of a bigger temple in 1899, which still stands. The new building was the largest Sikh temple in Southeast Asia at that time.

Like the little-known historic implication of Fort Cornwallis to the Sikhs and the heritage of Penang, there are many other rich facts of the community’s legacy that have become buried by the sands of time.

About two years ago, I chanced to meet historian Malkiat Singh Lopo, to review his novel The Enchanting Prison. Set in Malaya during the early part of the 1900s, Lopo’s work poignantly chronicles the early hardships, predicaments and successes of the Sikhs who, like other communities, helped propel the nation into the modern industrialised land it is today.

The early Sikh community had in fact produced a string of prolific writers. In one book, Maha Jang Europe (Great European War) 1914-1918AD, writer Havildar (Sgt) Nand Singh vividly described the daring exploits of the Malay States Guides (MSG) in Aden when they fought the Turkish forces.

The MSG, a body of local Indian troops which formed Malaya’s own regiment, was based in Taiping. In 1873, the Orang Kaya Mantri of Larut, Dato’ Ngah Ibrahim, was worried about rivalry between Ghee Hin and Hai San Chinese clans in the tin-mining region, and wanted fighting men from Punjab to maintain law and order. He consulted Capt T. Speedy who formed the 1st Battalion Perak Sikhs, which originally comprised 110 men of Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims. This battalion became the MSG in 1896.

When the MSG was disbanded, the Singh Sabha, a registered local Sikh society, convinced the British resident that the holy temple, the gurdwara, within the Taiping army compound belonged to the Sikhs and not the military.

Once the resident was agreeable, the sabha performed an incredible feat of dismantling the building and re-erecting it almost intact on the present site granted by the government near the railway station. The building is today called the Gurdwara Sahib Taiping.

Malaya was the first foreign country that people from Punjab in India, where the majority of Sikhs live, migrated to. Most of these early migrants were needed by the British colonial government.

While many belonged to the army and police, a steady stream of other occupations also grew – milkmen, cattle farmers, guards, craftsmen and tailors.

The community has left many anecdotes of its legacy. For example, as Sikh populations on the peninsula rose, a unique service established itself in railway towns like Taiping, Kuala Kangsar, and Tanjung Malim where trains would stop for a while. It became a common sight to see Sikh men with milk churns standing on the railway platforms, giving away free warm milk to travellers.

But perhaps the most quaint imprint of the Sikhs lies today in George Town’s magnificent Chinese clan temple of the Khoo Kongsi. As one ascends the steps of the temple, it is difficult not to notice a pair of statues carved out of granite as if welcoming visitors.

The two figures of Sikh guards stand imposingly on the ornate pavilion of the century-old complex. The sight of turbaned Indians being featured prominently at the entrance of a Chinese Fuchien temple may seem jarring.

But not so if one knew the legacy left by the great Sikhs of India in multicultural Penang.

“Sikhs were employed as reliable guards in the old days,” explains researcher Yong Check Yoon who has done a detailed study of the complex.

“And so to post them permanently ‘guarding’ the temple, the Khoo clansmen had two statues of the Sikh sentinels made to ‘guard’ the prayer pavilion.”

The two guards today form a small but fascinating cultural feature among the many communities that have come together to make the great kaleidoscope of our nation.

Himanshu is theSun’s Penang bureau chief.

with thanks : source :