Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Reg. : 20% relaxation in cut off to sikh students

Dr. Ravindar Singh Bajaj
Consultant Paediatrician
Delhi.

SS Akal,

I have gone through the blog of Cambride scholarship ,a good thing for the community by the leaders. But I wish to highlight an other dilemma by sikh children which need urgent attention.

Admission in Delhi Univesity.

Perosnnaly I am against any kind of reservation and in favour of giveing moneatry and other support for underpriliged.But the recent policy of St Stephen and Jeus and Mary college to give upto 40% reservation to christian students irrespective of score.

This led to demand by sikh students also and SGGSCC and SGTB colleges gave 3% relaxation in cut off to sikh studnets in admission . But today,s newpaper Hindustan times carried a news regarding the recent resolution of SGTB gioverning body to give 20% relaxation in cut off to sikh students. Delhi University has refused to accept the resolution. Now the sikh students are confused . Is Delhi University Ok with 3 % relaxation and has problem with 20% relaxation? Or it is completely against any relaxation?? even3%,

I request you to get this clarification from all concerned this point immediately as 2nd cut off list is sheduled for tomrorrow. the future of Sikh students is at stake. I request to publish it on your website whatever the reply is

Sincerely

Dr Bajaj

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hem Kunt Sahib Yatra - Photo Gallery


View pics of Hem Kunt sahib yatra on the Sikh web portal www.sohnijodi.com
It contains pics of beautiful way as well sarovar & Gurdwara sahib. A pic of Guru ji da Baaj is also there.

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A sikh web portal

SGPC teams up with UK varsity for scholarships to Sikh students

Express News Service
Posted: Saturday , Jun 27, 2009 at 0301 hrs IST

Ludhiana:
Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) has decided to institute scholarships in collaboration with University of Cambridge (UK) for needy and meritorious Sikh students for research studies leading to M.Phil or Ph.D degrees.

Addressing the press conference, Avtar Singh Makkar, president of SGPC, informed that the SGPC had received a proposal from Department of Human Resources, University of Cambridge (UK) in the month of February, 2009, regarding providing opportunities to students of Indian nationality from the Sikh community, who are of outstanding academic ability, to study at the Cambridge for programmes regarding M.Phil and Ph.d degrees.

For this purpose, Michel O’Sullivan Joseph, Director of Cambridge Commonwealth Trust, arrived yesterday to discuss modalities for creation of scholarships. Cambridge Commonwealth Trust grants about 860 scholarships to commonwealth students, who are meritorious and fullfil the eligibility for admission to Cambridge University, UK.

Makkar said Michel O’Sullivan Joseph visited important institutions of higher education of SGPC yesterday accompanied by Director Education SGPC. Michel O’Sullivan Joseph held a meeting with Makker in which the Director, Education, and principals of the colleges of SGPC and Agya Paul Singh from Ludhiana participated. It was decided in principal to institute scholarships for needy and meritorious Sikh students to study at Cambridge (UK) for their M-Phill and Ph.D degrees.

Makkar said the amount of scholarships will be shared as 50% each between the SGPC and Cambridge Commonwealth Trust. Scholarships will be granted through SGPC-Cambridge University Education Foundation, which will have members from India and abroad.

with thanks : source : http://www.indianexpress.com/news/SGPC-teams-up-with-UK-varsity-for-scholarships-to-Sikh-students/481960

SikhsIndia
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A sikh web portal

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sikh personalities : Sd. Jatinder singh Shunty


SikhsIndia
26th June, 2009

Shaheed Bhagat Singh Seva Dal is a Government Registered social and national voluntary organization founded with the view to serve mankind. Free Cremation to helpless and unclaimed bodies along with Immersion of ashes, Blood donation, Free Ambulance, Free Hearse, Free medicine for T.B. patients, Free Artificial Limbs and Rickshaws for Handicapped ,and a lot more, is being done by this organization.

Jatinder Singh 'Shunty’ is the man behind East Delhi’s biggest social service organization. He say’s, “I request all the men and women, young and old to come forward to implement various programs of the organization vigorously. New suggestions and ideas are welcome. Those who are interested to see the organization working more efficiently can enlighten us with their thoughts, intentions and schemes.” He adds, “We welcome public participation in the country's unity and integrity, to become active member of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Seva Dal and thereby, volunteer in the human service of our great mother india.”

The achievements of this institution are being uploaded with the appeal to cooperate in this noble and national cause and for further progress of this institution having the aim of services to the mankind following the foot prints of mother Teressa and Bhagat Pooram Singh Ji.

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A sikh web portal
www.sikhsindia.blogspot.com
A sikh blog

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Delegation from the Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Religion & Worldview, K.U.Leuven, Belgium


SikhsIndia
25th June, 2009

A delegation from the Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Religion & Worldview, K.U.Leuven, Belgium is to visit India in the month of August, 2009 to Study the Indian Religions. Prof. Bert Broeckert, from the Department of Theology from Katholieke University, Leuven, Belgium is coming to India as a part of their University's Summer Course Programme on Indian Religion.( along with a group of 34 European students who are 20+21 years of age & two other senior Ph.D Students: Miss Goedele Baeke & Mr.Joris Gielen).

Dr. Gurdeep Kaur, a reader in the University of Delhi ( PH.D with title of Thesis , The Concept of State in Sikhism with Special Reference to Guru Granth Sahib) has arranged the visit to Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib. DSGMC President Sd. Param jit singh Sarna as well Sd. Tarjeet singh Nagi, Member DSGMC have arranged the stay at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib for three days as asked.

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A Sikh web portal

Frequent strikes force Sikhs to leave Nepal


Kathmandu, June 24: The frequent strikes across Nepal have not only crippled daily life, but have badly hit the business of Sikh community forcing majority of its members to emigrate to India.

For the Sikh community living in Birgunj, a southern Nepalese town bordering India, the frequent strike and shut down have even crippled their livelihood.

The Sikhs, who came from India decades back and now engaged in transport business, are suffering the most and many have already left the country, The Kathmandu Post reported.

Gurudwara Guru Nanak Satsang, a religious organisation of the Sikh community in Birgunj revealed that more than 90 per cent of the Sikh families in the city have already left for India to find safe place to continue their business.

"There were 452 Sikh families in Birgunj until six years back. Now only 29 families remain," Nanak Singh, chief of the organisation, was quoted as saying by the paper.

There are almost 200 days shut downs and strikes, local and national ones, either in hill areas, Terai or Kathmandu in a year these days, forcing many people to quit their business.

Nanak Singh said Sikhs from other parts of the country are folding up their businesses as well.

Bureau Report
with thanks : source : http://www.zeenews.com/news541828.html
with thanks Map from : http://geography.about.com/library/cia/blcnepal.htm


SikhsIndia
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A Sikh web portal

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sikhs are hardcore poor, too

Sikhs are hardcore poor, too
By : Jaspal Singh


IPOH: One in every 20 Sikhs living in Perak is a hardcore poor, according to Sikh community leaders.

This information so astounded Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir that he has decided to include the eradication of hardcore poverty among Sikhs in his administration's action plan.

Speaking to the New Straits Times here yesterday after meeting the Union of Perak Sikh Organisations (Upso) at his office, he said the data on hardcore poor within the community took him by surprise.

"Like many others, my worldview of the Sikhs has been that they don't have severe socio-economic problems like other communities.

"But, after listening to Sikh leaders talking about the level of hardcore poverty in the community, I must say that it did shock me."

He said the state government viewed the issue of hardcore poverty seriously.

The community's hardcore poor numbers around 1,500, constituting about 400 families or 5 per cent of the total 28,000 Sikhs in the state.

Leaders of Upso, an umbrella body representing seven Sikh non-governmental organisations, met Zambry to highlight various problems faced by the state's Sikh community.

The group also highlighted the need for state government intervention to help with issues involving single mothers, language and education.

Zambry also pledged to look into land problems faced by several gurdwara sahib.

The dialogue with Zambry yesterday was arranged by his Chinese affairs adviser Datuk Chang Ko Youn, who is also Gerakan deputy president.

Zambry, who spent almost two hours listening to Sikh leaders, also agreed to the setting up of a Sikh advisory body so that it would be easier for the community to bring up its problems directly with the state government.

"I encourage the Sikhs in the state to unite behind one organisation or body so that it will be easy to deal with the state government and vice-versa. I think the board proposal is good one and ought to be studied and implemented."

In the meantime, he said Upso could act as an intermediary between the community and the state government.

with thanks : source : http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Tuesday/National/2589596/Article/index_html

SikhsIndia
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A sikh web portal

Sikh matrimonial - free service to the community

www.sohnijodi.com has started its "Sikh Matrimonial - free service to the community" , for the benefit of Sikh community all over the world.You have to send a mail to SOHNIJODI with your profile with or without a pic, and it will be uploaded free of cost on the Sikh web portal www.sohnijodi.com. The portal which covers Sikh news, views, pics, vids, and a lot more about sikhism, received 8,641 visitors with 83,574 hits in the month of June, 2009. Sohnijodi is not a match maker. It's just giving a wide coverage of your profile to the visitors of its portal.You can chat at Yahoo ID sohnijodi in this regard.

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A sikh web portal

Invitation to American Sikhs to join the police force


The Yuba City Police Department has given a confirmation to the SALDEF (Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund) to join the police forces.

They have issued the confirmation saying they have always respected the Sikh identity and would continue to do so in the future. According to current Yuba City Police Chief Robert D. Landon, "Our policy has not changed and we continue to respect the customs of the Sikh faith"

Earlier on January 23, 2007, Richard Doscher, former Yuba City Police Chief had written to SALDEF, ”We have no policy which precludes an employee of the Sikh faith from wearing a turban or beard (or possession of a kirpan) during their employment with us.”

SALDEF has expressed its gratefulness to the Yuba City Police Department and Chief Landon for providing equal job opportunities for Sikh Americans willing to join as law enforcement officers. It also hopes other Police departments will also adopt a similar policy.

Meanwhile, Richmond, CA Police Department has also welcomed Sikh Americans to join the police forces.

Richmond Police Department’s Chief Chris Magnus confirmed that, “The Richmond Police Department welcomes applications from members of the Sikh community for the position of police officer as well as other jobs within the Police Department. We recognize and take pride in serving a diverse community which we are aware includes a significant number of Sikhs.

“Our department continually looks for applicants who represent the diversity of the community and we appreciate the value they bring to our agency. Any employee who is of the Sikh faith would not be prohibited from wearing a turban or having a beard. We encourage anyone who would like information about employment opportunities with the Richmond Police Department to contact us."

with thanks : source : http://www.emgonline.co.uk/news.php?news=5845

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A sikh web portal

Akal Academy Baru Sahib student dies in Himachal


Parents of Himachal student cry foul over his suicide
June 23rd, 2009 - 10:57 pm ICT by IANS

Shimla, June 23 (IANS) Parents of a Class 10 student of a prestigious residential school in Himachal Pradesh, who allegedly committed suicide Sunday, are suspecting a foul play behind their son’s death, police said Tuesday.
Karam Singh, 16, of Akal Academy at Baru Sahib in Sirmaur district, died after he was found hanging in the school toilet. He belonged to Kharar town in Punjab.

“The parents of the victim are suspecting foul play into the death of their child. They are demanding a probe into the incident,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Vinod Dhiman told IANS.

“We have received a complaint lodged by the child’s father, Mehar Singh. We are awaiting the autopsy report, which was conducted in Kharar Tuesday,” he said.

However, Kaka Bir Singh, a trustee of the academy, ruled out any foul play in the death of the student.

“The school staff noticed the body of Karam Singh hanging in the school hostel toilet around 2 p.m. Sunday. They took the boy to a nearby hospital, from where he was referred to the Chandigarh’s PGI hospital. The boy died on the way to hospital,” said the trustee.

The boy had joined the school in Class 2.

More than 1,000 students, mostly children of Sikhs settled in foreign countries, are studying in the Himachal Pradesh school, which is up to Class 12. It was established in 1987.

with thanks : source : IANS & thaindian.com

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A Sikh web portal

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Add Sikh personalities from your area


Sat sri Akal,

Do you know about any Sikh personality from your area. A sikh personality with some achievements in any field. Please mail us alongwith pics for uploading on our Sikh blog / sikh web portal.

Best Regards

SikhsIndia
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www.sikhsindia.blogspot.com

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MasterCard appoints Citi's Ajay Banga as president and COO


MasterCard appoints Citi's Ajay Banga as president and COO
21 Jun 2009, 0418 hrs IST, PTI

NEW YORK: Global payment firm MasterCard has roped in Citigroup's Ajay Banga as its new president and chief operating officer (COO), while
indicating that the Indian banker could be its next CEO in about a year.

Banga, currently Citi's Asia-Pacific CEO, will get an annual salary of $800,000 besides other benefits at MasterCard, while he has also been given a sign-in bonus of $4.2 million. As per his contract, Banga's upfront payments would remain intact even if he leaves the company after not being offered the position of CEO at MasterCard by June 30, 2010.

However, he would have to forefeit part of his package if he resigns under different circumstances, or cases like termination of his employment by the company. Banga would join MasterCard on August 31 and would report to Robert W Selander, CEO, MasterCard said in a statement.

with thanks : source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Business/International-Business/MasterCard-appoints-Citis-Ajay-Banga-as-president-and-COO-/articleshow/4682348.cms

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A Sikh web portal

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sikh Personalities : Dr.Gurdeep Kaur - Academic Profile


SikhsIndia
21st June, 2009

Dr. (Mrs.) Gurdeep Kaur is an Associate Professor,(reader), in the Department of Political Science, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Khalsa College,University of Delhi, Dev Nagar,Delhi. She has done her PH.D from Dept. of Political Science, Univ. of Delhi, with title of Thesis , The Concept of State in Sikhism with Special Reference to Guru Granth Sahib. Currently She is Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Theology, Katholieke University,Leuven, Belgium.

She already has three popular books to her credit. Out of which two books on Sikhism are Political Ideas of the Sikh Gurus and Political Ethics of Guru Granth Sahib.

Her Recent Publications/Papers/Conferences include : 'State in Sikhism’; 'Khalsa, political Implications', with Sunita Puri in Encyclopedia of Hinduism 1999, Univ. of South Carolin;, 'Contribution of Sanskrit to Sikh Scripture; The Nature of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Kingdom; Relevance of Sikh Scriptures in the present context', presented at World Punjabi Conference,United Kingdom, London, 'Environment and Sikhism' , ‘Welfare State Perspective in Sikhism’ In XIXth IPSA ,World Congress, Durban, South Africa, 'Women in Sikhism’, ; Ethics in Religious Scriptures & its Contemporary Relevance 'presented at International Conf. 'Parliament of the World Religions', Barcelona, Spain.

She also Participated as Delegate in the ‘9th World Punjabi Conference’ at Lahore Pakistan, January30-February 1,2004. In August 09,she is going to Limerick, Ireland to present a paper on Sikhism & Ecological Balance in the International Conf. on Interdisciplinary Theological Perspective on Ecology & Economy.

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A sikh web portal

Mastuana temple to effect structural changes: Akal Takht


Mastuana temple to effect structural changes: Akal Takht
21 Jun 2009, 0511 hrs IST, Yudhvir Rana, TNN

AMRITSAR: Coming down heavily on the management of Mastuana gurdwara for reportedly planning a replica of the venerated Golden Temple, Sikh religious bodies and intellectuals who gathered under the aegis of Akal Takht on Saturday called for demolition of domes, doing away with a pond and changing the structure's name of Sri Guru Singh Sabha.

Unleashing the broadside at a meeting convened by him at Teja Singh Samundari Hall, Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, while talking to the media later, said, "My statement is to be treated as hukamnama. The congregation of Sikh religious bodies has decided that the gurdwara'a sarovar be filled with earth, Har Ki Pauri and four domes be demolished and its name changed."

Appearing unforgiving towards Baba Baldev Singh Suharaewala for hurting religious sentiments of Sikhs with a Golden Temple look-alike, formerly known as Gurdwara Sach Khand, Angitha Sahib, the jathedar added, "He will be summoned to Akal Takht for submitting a clarification."

The changes will reportedly be effected under the supervision of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee engineers to rule out any likening whatsoever to Harmandar Sahib.

The meeting which lasted for nearly two-and-a-half hours was attended by representatives of 55 different Sikh religious bodies, including Nighang organizations, SGPC president and office bearers and former central minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa. In fact, some radical Sikh groups like Dal Khalsa even demanded the pulling down of the complete gurdwara.

Incidentally, jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh left the meeting in between, expressing his resentment over the presence of jathedar of Takht Patna Sahib Giani Iqbal Singh.

with thanks : source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chandigarh/Mastuana-temple-to-effect-structural-changes-Akal-Takht/articleshow/4682432.cms

SikhsIndia
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Protesters rush B.C. Sikh temple

Hundreds of people crowded at Abbotsford, B.C., temple Thursday evening to protest a performance by a controversial high priest.

Baba Mann Singh Pehowa, a priest who has faced allegations of rape in India, was supposed to sing at the Kalghidar Sikh temple, but he never made it to the microphone.Hundreds of protesters rushed the temple.

Police officers were on scene working to control the crowd.Pehowa waited inside the temple, and was eventually given a police escort out of Abbotsford.

In addition to being accused of rape in India, it is also alleged he has committed blasphemous acts in the Sikh religion, such as having people bow down to him.

Pehowa has faced similar protests during visits to Australia and the United States.

with thanks : source : http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/06/18/bc-abbotsford-temple-protest.html

SikhsIndia
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A Sikh web portal

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shastar Vidya camp finished at Delhi


SikhsIndia
18th June, 2009

Jathedar Gurcharan Singh ji, popularly known as Gatka Master or Ustad ji, organised a Gatka camp of 30 days, at Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Krishna Nagar, Delhi. A good number of boys & girls including small kids of 3 years participated in the camp. On the last day of the camp i.e. today, all the participants played gatka in front of a massive gathering. Viewing small kids playing Gatka was a pleasent surprise for one & all. Jathedar Gurcharan Singh ji is a Member of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee as well Chairman of Guru Harkrishan Public school, Hargobind enclave, Delhi.

SikhsIndia
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A sikh web portal

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sikh Jatha returns from Pakistan after observing 403rd Martyrs Day


By Ravinder Singh Robin

Attari (Punjab), June 17 - ANI: After observing 403rd Martyrs Day of Guru Arjan Dev, the 5th master of the Sikhs, the Sikh Jatha (group) of nearly 200 devotees returned at Attari railway station from Pakistan on Wednesday through a special train.

The group, during its 10 days stay in Pakistan, visited Nankana sahib, Sacha Sauda, Rohri sahib, Punja Sahib and Gurdara Dera sahib in Lahore.

A few members of the group had an opportunity to visit Gurdara Kartarpur sahib situated in Narowal district of Pakistan Punjab.

The main function was held at Gurdwara Dera Sahib where nearly 5000 devotees from all over the world assembled to observe the Martyrdom Day of their 5th master.

Devotees returning from Pakistan opined that the Government of Pakistan should give country-wide visa so that they could have visited other Gurdwaras in Pakistan.

There are more nearly 172 historical Sikh shrines in Pakistan but Pakistan grants specific visa to visit only 5 of them.

The devotees demanded that the Heads of the Governments of India and Pakistan should take these issues on their top agendas and facilitate the pilgrimages.

Every year thousands of devotees from India visit Pakistan to pay obeisance to their holy shrines.

Sikhs considered Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev the first Sikh master, as their Mecca.

The devotees have been demanding a corridor to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, which is situate in Pakistan nearly 2.5 kilometres from Dera Baba Nanak, which is on the Indian side. - ANI

with thanks : source : http://www.littleabout.com/news/18814,sikh-jatha-returns-pakistan-observing-403rd-martyrs-day.html

SikhsIndia
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Legendry Sikh artist Dya Singh is an icon of the Australian music scene


Dya Singh is an icon of the Australian music scene and has quietly gained a phenomenal 'standing' worldwide as a 'world music' artist in the last 15 or so years. Dya Singh is one of the many Indian artists that MAV supports and promotes through our mission to foster cultural diversity and respect through the promotion, enhancement and celebration of multicultural arts in Australia. His 'world music' and 'Sikh spiritual' music group has travelled to USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Kenya, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand and throughout Australia since its formation in 1994. He is now based in Melbourne

Dya Singh has extraordinary musical talent and knowledge and he has enormous skills that he has contributed to the musical sector in Australia both musically and culturally. He is a highly valued artistic individual benefiting not only the Sikh community, but the wider Australian community with his knowledge and capabilities in music. He believes music is a way to bring communities together and create understanding.

These are the excerpts from Article " Legendry Sikh artist Dya Singh is an icon of the Australian music scene".

You can read the complete News / Article at : http://www.emgonline.co.uk/news.php?news=5709

With thanks : Source : As above

SikhsIndia
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Subscribe Sikhs India by E Mail


SIKHSINDIA
16th June, 2009
If you wish to get the Sikhs India feeds in your mail box, please click the link below to subscribe it. It's a wake up call for the sikh community.



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Jewish community honours Sikh philanthropist


Jewish community honours Sikh philanthropist
By ANDY LEVY-AJZENKOPF, Staff Reporter
Thursday, 18 June 2009

TORONTO — The Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA) and UJA Federation of Greater Toronto last week honoured Sarabjit S. “Sabi” Marwah with the 2009 Words & Deeds Leadership Award.

The award is presented to community “leaders whose contribution to humanitarian causes, tolerance and inclusion in Canadian society has been outstanding,” according to CIJA and UJA Federation.

Marwah – vice-chair and chief operating officer of Scotiabank – was fĂȘted at a gala dinner at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto by more than 700 guests, including numerous dignitaries, politicians and Jewish and Sikh community leaders. He was recognized for his ongoing philanthropic efforts with United Way Toronto, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and his previous service on the Board of Canadian Council of Christians and Jews.

In his acceptance speech, Marwah thanked the Jewish community for the award and said Jews and Sikhs share many commonalities.

“The fact that I, a Sikh, am being honoured tonight by the Jewish community is a striking illustration of our common humanity,” he said.

“I recently learned of a Jewish proverb that says ‘do not be wise in words, be wise in deeds,’ which is what this award is all about,” he added. “It is also reminiscent of a Sikh tenet which [states], ‘Being good is a virtue; but doing good is a greater virtue.’”

with thanks : source : http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=17119&Itemid=86

SikhsIndia
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Monday, June 15, 2009

Outrage over Golden Temple replica in Punjab

Outrage over Golden Temple replica in Punjab
15 Jun 2009, 1126 hrs IST, IANS

SANGRUR, PUNJAB: The Sikh leadership in Punjab is furious over attempts by a sect to replicate the design and structure of their holiest shrine -
the Golden Temple or Harmandar Sahib at Amritsar.

Reminiscent of the huge row after the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had sought to imitate the tenth Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh, by wearing look-alike robes in April 2007, the private shrine in Punjab's Sangrur district, 170 km from Chandigarh, seems to have upset everyone -- from common devotees to the apex Sikh clergy and the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC).

While an indignant SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar has ordered the management of the Gurudwara Sachkhand Angeetha Sahib at Mastuana to halt further construction on the structure, the head priest of the Akal Takht (the highest temporal seat of Sikhism), Giani Gurbachan Singh has declared it "sacrilegious".

"No one will be allowed to make a replica of Sri Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple)," the Akal Takht head said.

A probe panel sent by the SGPC to Sangrur recorded video evidence and said in its report that the sect was trying to replicate Sikhism's holiest shrine. The panel reported "a blatant attempt to copy the design of Harmandar Sahib".

The roots of the controversy go back 40 years ago.

The shrine, owned by the cash-rich Mastuana Dera headed by Sant Sadhu Singh, has been under construction since 1967. It had provoked similar controversy when its outer shape became apparent in the early 1990s and the then Akal Takht Jathedar had issued a Hukumnama (religious edict) barring its completion till key structural changes were made.

The Mastuana sect comprises of Sikh followers, mostly from the lower-strata of society. Its main influence is limited to a part of south-west Punjab's agricultural belt of Malwa.

Recent attempts to restart work on the incomplete shrine have provoked angry objections.

SGPC chief Makkar has summoned a meeting (Sarbat Khalsa) of important Sikh leaders and religious organisations at Amritsar on June 20 to decide on the fate of the Mastuana Gurudwara. He said any attempt to replicate the sacred Harmandar Sahib built by the fifth Guru, Guru Arjan dev himself, "would not be tolerated".

The Mastuana shrine management has submitted a written apology to the Akal Takht but its fate will be known Saturday.

"The issue, including specific directions on necessary structural alterations will only be issued after the June 20 meeting," a SGPC spokesman said.

The issue is expected to raise further acrimony amidst demands that the controversial Golden Temple replica be pulled down completely. SGPC chief Makkar has said he wants to "settle the matter once and for all".

With thanks : source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Outrage-over-Golden-Temple-replica/articleshow/4657572.cms

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.comA Sikh web portal

Friday, June 12, 2009

Controversial ‘Deras’ Add Fuel to Punjab Fire

CHANDIGARH - Punjab’s social and religious fabric is undergoing a gradual change, and divisions too, with the increasing influence of controversial deras or sects headed by ‘godmen’ who have capitalized on the tensions between orthodox Sikhs and others.

The spotlight has swivelled to the deras once again with large parts of Punjab being held to ransom by followers of the Dera Sachkhand protesting the attack on two of their leaders in Vienna recently.

The attack itself was the result of a simmering tension between the dominant Jat Sikh community of Punjab and the largely Dalit Sikh followers of the sect.

Much of the following that the sects are attracting is because people from lower casts and lower stratas of Punjab society are trying to seek a distinct identity for themselves.

There are other sects as well like the Nirankaris, whose ideological differences with the Sikhs led to 13 people being killed in a clash in Amritsar in April 1978.

Dera Sachkhand, set up over 70 years ago in Ballan village near Jalandhar by Sant Pipal Singh, follows the ideals of 14th century preacher Bhagat Ravidass.

The sect leaders have been placing the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, in their Gurdwaras and religious ceremonies, much to the annoyance of the Sikh clergy and community. The Sikhs object to their holy book being placed equally with leaders of this sect.

Dera Sacha Sauda, headquartered in a sprawling campus on the outskirts of Sirsa town in adjoining Haryana, 200 miles from Chandigarh, has been the most controversial among all the sects in recent years. It has a following of 20 million people in various states and over three million in Punjab.

Most of the followers are people from lower castes.

Its head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh faces cases of murder and the rape of a ‘sadhvi’ (female disciple) and has been involved in a major controversy with the Sikh community for attiring himself on the lines of 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh.

His action led to large-scale violence in Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and other places.

The Divya Jyoti Jagran Sansthan led by Ashutosh Maharaj, has also been involved in several controversies, especially with the Sikh community, on matters of ideology.

Baba Bhaniarewala sect is headed by a self-proclaimed ‘baba’, Piara Singh Bhaniarewala, and based in Ropar district.

His followers are also mostly from Dalit Sikh community. He has also been involved in various controversies with the Sikh community as he compares himself to the Sikh Gurus.

He and his followers have been accused of burning the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, in recent years. (PTI)

with thanks : source : http://www.indiajournal.com/pages/event.php?id=7249

SikhsIndia
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A sikh web portal

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Guru Harkrishan Public School, India Gate


Guru Harkrishan Public School, India Gate is a progressive English medium co-educational senior secondary school affiliated to Central Board of Secondary Education, imparting value based education by drawing inspiration from the life and teachings of the Sikh Gurus. The school has provision for all academic streams – Science, Computer Science, Commerce And Humanities.

The school was established by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee in 1965 as first in the chain of Guru Harkrishan Public Schools which were subsequently set up in different parts of the metropolis. The GHPS chain today has 12 branches in different parts of Delhi providing quality education on public school lines to more than 20,000 students.

Guru Harkrishan Public School is a school with a difference. It has an exalted aim and a profound message-the one given by our beloved Gurus which has been engraved in the school motto: “Vidya Vichari Tan Parupkari.” Rendered into English, it means that he is learned indeed, who does good to others. The exalted aim is to produce ideal members of society, ideal students with competent and balanced personalities.

Sd. Tarjeet Singh Nagi, Chairman says It has been my proud privilege to be associated with Guru Harkrishan Public School, India Gate as the Chairman of the school for the past few years. It is very satisfying to observe that the school has grown tremendously in all spheres. The school boasts of excellent academic results in C.B.S.E. Class X and XII examination. I take pride in the fact that this year too, two of our students were awarded the C.B.S.E. Merit Certificates for outstanding academic result and were placed among the top 0.1 percent of successful candidates. The school strives to blend traditional values with modern education through diverse activitites. The ideals of our Patron Saint, Guru Harkrishan Sahib ji, are instilled in the students, thereby, fostering spiritual awareness. This enables them to follow the tenets of Sikhism and pursue the path of righteousness. The rigorous sports programme has enabled the students to win laurels at the State and National levels.

SikhsIndia
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another Golden Temple in Punjab



New Delhi, June 6: Want to visit Golden Temple? No, Amritsar is not the only destination if the designs of Baba Balwant Singh Sirhore gets successful.

It's indeed surprising that at Mast Vane in Punjab's Malwa district, construction of an exact replica of Golden Temple is going on in full swing and almost 80 pc of the work is done.

In a clear cut agenda of igniting passion and hurting religious sentiments, the construction has been going on for the last two years. Six months earlier, Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) has ordered to stop the construction.

In order to cash in on Golden Temple fame, SGPC's orders were ignored and the construction is very much on.

Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) Chief Avtar Singh Makkar was obviously upset with the proposed plan of constructing a replica of the Golden Temple.

Talking exclusively to zopag.com, Avtar Singh Makkar said, Copying is bad. It should not be done. Constructing anything equivalent to Darbar Saheb is nothing but bad?.

We oppose the plan of Golden Temple replica. We will investigate the matter, he added.

Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), Delhi unit chief Manjit Singh totally disapproved of the construction.

Manjit Singh said, "Religious sentiments are associated with it. It should not be done. And by the way, if you are investing so much money, then why go for a replica. Construct something original."

Manji Singh expressed fears that the construction of a replica of Golden Temple will only start an agitation in Punjab. He cited the controversy created by Ram-Rahim sometime back when they dressed up like Guru Govind Singh Ji.

The construction will pose a serious threat to Punjab's law and order and peace and prosperity. Some unwanted elements are always up to such plans to ignite passions and to gain cheap popularity. If things like these go unchecked, then we will have many Patna Sahebs and Huzoor Sahebs. The Golden Temple is culturally the most significant place of worship of the Sikhs and one of the oldest Sikh gurdwaras. It was established by Guru Ram Das Ji, the fourth guru of the Sikhs, and is, also due to the shrine, known as Guru Di Nagri meaning city of the Guru.

The Darbar Sahib is considered holy and beautiful by Sikhs because the eternal Guru of Sikhism, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is present inside in it. The temple is surrounded by a large Sarovar (manmade lake), known as the AmritSar (Lake of Holy Water or Immortal Nectar).

with thanks : source : http://www.zopag.com/news/another-golden-temple-in-punjab-pics/3156/0

SikhsIndia
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Christians condemn attack on Sikhs in Kashmir

June 09 2009

JAMMU, Jammu & Kashmir : The attack on minority Sikhs in Rangret of Budgam district June 4 by the members of the majority community was strongly condemned by the Displaced Catholic Christian Forum, the All Jammu and Kashmir Catholic Sabha, the leaders of political parties and social organisations.

Reports reaching Jammu said a group of majority community members attacked the Sikh Guruduwaras and the houses of the Sikh community at Rangret in the Budgam, 8 kilometres from the summer capital of the State, Srinagar.

The report said the trouble erupted over a cricket match.

In a statement, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) condemned the attack and said such shameful acts have hurt the religious sentiments of the entire Sikh community across the world.

It further urged the government to take effective measures and protect the minorities of the Kashmir Valley. The statement also warned of possible reaction from other parts of the country if such attacks in Kashmir on the minority Sikh community continue.

Meanwhile, National Sikh Front district president Udhampur, S. Kulwant Singh, has also condemned the attack on Sikh religious places. He has also taken strong exception to the action of the miscreants wherein it is reported that the miscreants disrupted the cremation of an elderly Sikh woman at Didar Pura village.

It is reported that the miscreants had forced the Sikhs to bury the body of the woman instead of cremating it.

The Displaced Catholic Christian Forum condemned the murderous attack on the members of the Sikh community and asked the government not to play mute spectator as it had when the entire Kashmiri-speaking Catholic community had to abandon Kashmir under similar circumstances in 1990.

Those who also condemned the attacks include All Jammu and Kashmir Catholic Sabha, Mr. Raman Bhalla, MLA, All State Kashmir Pandit Conference, Punun Kashmir.

The Kashmiri Pandits Organisations have called it a conspiracy aimed at terrorising the remaining minority groups so that they also migrate like 400,000 Kashmiri Pandits and some families of Kashmiri Pandit Catholic Christians.

Courtesy : Sarnews; http://www.indiancatholic.in/news/storydetails.php/12322-1-1-Christians-condemn-attack-on-Sikhs-in-Kashmir

SikhsIndia
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Smethwick Sikh leaders grateful to police

Jun 9 2009 by Chris Henwood, Birmingham Mail

POLICE officers have won praise from Sikh leaders for rebuilding community links in the aftermath of violence at Vaisakhi celebrations in April, 2007.

Committee members from the Guru Nanak Gurdwara, in Smethwick High Street, surprised Insp Jamie Pearson and Sgt Simon Hensley with commemorative plates to thank them for their support over the years and wish them well as they prepare to move on to new roles.

The officers have been working closely with the temple committee following a violent disorder at the Vaisakhi celebrations in.

Following the 2007 incident, that resulted in a man being seriously injured, the Sikh community came under severe scrutiny by the media, and relationships among the local community became strained.

Committee president ­Tarsem Singh Shoker said: “We are very grateful for the work the officers have carried out for our community and we look forward to working with their successors and West Midlands Police. We wanted to formally recognise the hard work Insp Pearson and Sgt Hensley have put in over the years to show our appreciation.”

Insp Pearson said: “The Gurdwara and committee have worked hard to rebuild the reputation of its community and embraced our support and assistance, making our job a lot easier.”

with thanks : source : http://www.birminghammail.net/news/top-stories/2009/06/09/smethwick-sikh-leaders-grateful-to-police-97319-23822274/

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200 Sikhs leave for Pakistan for Guru Arjun Dev martyrdom anniversary

2009-06-09 14:20:00

Amritsar, June 9 (ANI): Nearly 200 Sikh pilgrims left for Pakistan on Tuesday from the Golden Temple in Amritsar to mark the 403rd martyrdom anniversary of fifth guru of Sikhs, Guru Arjun Dev.

The group led by Baldev Singh, a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), will also visit various holy Sikh shrines situated in Pakistan, including Nankana Sahib, birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hassan Abdal and Gurdwara Sacha Sauda in Farooqabad.

"We are going to observe the martyrdom day of Guru Arjun Dev," said Baldev Singh.

This year the number of devotees who applied for visa to Pakistan for the pilgrimage was 240, much lower compared to previous years.

Trip organisers blamed the ongoing turmoil in Pakistan for the fall in numbers. However, even the ongoing strife in Pakistan has failed to dent the spirits of those on the trip to Lahore.

"I'm not afraid of going to Pakistan. Death will come only when and where it is meant to be. My god is with me and I have nothing to fear," said Manmohan Singh, a devotee.

The youngest son of, Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjun Dev was born in 1563 A.D. He was the founder-builder of the Golden Temple.

Guru Arjun Dev expanded the city of Amritsar and Kartarpur and founded the city of Tarn Taran.

Guru Arjun Dev was arrested and brought to Delhi where he was tortured for five days prior to his execution on the orders of Mughal Emperor Jehangir, who believed the Guru had conspired against him.

Guru Arjun Dev was barely 43 years old at the time of his martyrdom. (ANI)

With thanks : source : http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?a=jgjoujggcga&title=200_Sikhs_leave_for_Pakistan_for_Guru_Arjun_Dev_martyrdom_anniversary

SikhsIndia
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Monday, June 8, 2009

Sikh religious festival starts tomorrow

Sikh religious festival starts tomorrow
Monday, 08 Jun, 2009 | 10:28 AM PST |


TAXILA: A three-day Sikh religious festival Joti jot will start at Gurdwara Punja Sahib Hassanabdal from Tuesday.

Around 500 Sikh pilgrims from India are likely to participate in the festival, besides from different parts of the country. Joti which literally means the ‘light joining another light’ is also used for ‘joining of the light of the human person (soul) to the Supreme Light (God)’.

According to the Sikh religion, Gurus and Sikh scriptures teach that if someone is immortal (or attained immortality during the course of their life), he does not die even after he leaves this world as he rejoins God.

During the festival, the pilgrims will offer their religious rituals, including yatra of the Punja on a stone from where fresh water flows, Ashnan (bath in the holy water of the Gurdwara). They will also visit symbolic shrine of Baba Wali Qandhari at the hill top.

Evacuee Trust Property Board Deputy Administrator (Shrines) Syed Faraz Abbas told mediapersons that all necessary arrangements for the boarding and lodging of the pilgrims had been made. He said due to prevailing security situation in the country, enhanced security measures would be adopted for the safety of Indian Sikh yatrees.

Mr Abbas said district police with the assistance of other law-enforcement agencies had already made elaborate and foolproof security arrangements for the pilgrims during their stay at Hassanabdal.

He said strict security measures would be adopted in and around the Gurdwara with the help of close circuit cameras. He said all religious places and main routes in the city were under the vigilance of police and other law-enforcing agencies.

with thanks : source : http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/entertainment/16-sikh-festival-starts-tomorrow-hs-09

SikhsIndia
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Exhibition of rare Guru Granth Sahib Birs

Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 6, 2009
The newly set up Guru Granth Sahib Resource Centre in Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan in the Capital is holding a unique exhibition of some rare Guru Granth Sahib Birs in the world. On display will be the world’s smallest printed Guru Granth Sahib Bir as also the world’s largest handwritten holy book of the Sikhs.

Director of the Guru Granth Sahib Resource Centre Mohinder Singh says the smallest printed Bir is 2.5 cm in length, 2 cm in breadth and 3 cm in height and the biggest Bir, popularly known as Chandani Bir, has been brought from Afghanistan by Sikh refugees.

“The Sadan has set up world’s first digital library on Sikh religion and will now make available online more than 200 digitised rare Guru Granth Sahib Birs, including some rare Birs with Nishans of the Gurus. Also on display will be reproductions of folios from the Kartarpuri Bir, which was compiled by Guru Arjan Dev and installed in the Golden Temple in 1604. This Bir is preserved in original with the Sodhi family of Kartarpur near Jalandhar and has Nishans of Guru Arjan Dev as mark of authentication. Among other rare objects will be the copy of first camera photo of the Golden Temple by William Baker, taken around 1864-66,” says Singh.

The exhibition is the result of a collective initiative taken by the National Institute of Panjab Studies, a sister institution of the Sadan, which took up the Herculean task of locating, cataloguing and digitising the Birs in connection with the quadri-centenary of installation of Guru Granth Sahib in 2004.

During the fieldwork, a team from the institute was able to digitise rare Birs with different Takhts in India, universities in Punjab and private collectors. Images of Birs from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the UK and the US were taken by the team.

People can view these rare Birs at the Sadan from June 10 onwards. The exhibition, the first of its kind, will be inaugurated by Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s wife Gursharan Kaur and other dignitaries, says Singh.

With thanks : source : http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090607/main6.htm

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sikh-Muslim conflict in J&K misunderstanding: Shahi Imam

6 Jun 2009, 2206 hrs IST, TNN

LUDHIANA: Terming the conflict between Sikh and Muslim community in Srinagar as misunderstanding, Shahi Imam, Jama Masjid Habibur Rehman Sani who is
also president of Majlis Ahrar, said all misunderstandings had been sorted out, following the intervention of religious heads of both the communities.

In a press conference held in Jama Masjid on Saturday, the Imam said that it was true that some children of Sikh and Muslim community clashed with each other while playing cricket on Wednesday. “But, some miscreants misreported the matter in a nearby village saying that Sikh boys had attacked Muslim kids. However, things got settled as soon as religious leaders of both the communities intervened and cleared the misunderstanding,” said Imam.

He said Kamal Nain Singh, president, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Srinagar, and Maualana Shaukat, president, Ulema Council, J&K, had held a meeting with the community members to address the issue and clear the misconceptions.

Imam also claimed that he had a phone conversation with chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Umar Abdullah, who ascertained that the situation was under control. “We, however, condemn whatever has happened in Srinagar. Both the communities have been very close to each other in the past and such incidents only spoil the atmosphere. We all pray that the situation comes under control and people maintain an atmosphere of peace and brotherhood in not only the state, but also across India,” added Imam.

with thanks : source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ludhiana/Sikh-Muslim-conflict-in-JK-misunderstanding-Shahi-Imam/articleshow/4625568.cms

SikhsIndia
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US reviews policy to allow Sikhs to join army

6 Jun 2009, 0905 hrs IST, PTI

WASHINGTON: Following an outcry from the Sikh community, the US defence department has decided to review its policy which prevents Sikhs from joining the country's armed forces.

On behalf of defence secretary Robert Gates, the Pentagon has informed an advocacy group Sikh coalition that it was reviewing current regulations preventing a US Sikh national from serving the army on the ground that they wear turban.

"Although our current regulation establishes the standards of wear and appearance of the uniform, we understand the importance of reviewing the rationale behind our current policies when circumstances warrant," wrote Major General John R Hawkins, director, Human Resources, Policy Directorate, Pentagon.

The senior leadership is aware of the concerns of the Sikh community, said the letter dated April 29, which was released to the media yesterday.

The coalition, which had taken up the issue after two Sikh Americans challenged the regulation, has welcomed the army's step.

"We believe that once the army fully reviews the policy, it will agree that Sikh practices have in no way acted as an impediment to successful service in any military in the world," Amardeep Singh, executive director of Sikh coalition, said in a statement.

On January 26 this year, the coalition wrote to Gates regarding two Sikhs who were told to give up their religious practices in order to continue their services in the army.

Captain Kamaljit Singh Kalsi and Captain Tejdeep Singh Rattan were recruited as part of an army program that pays for medical education in return for military service. At the time of their enrolment, military recruiters assured both of them that their turbans and unshorn hair "would not be a problem."

Four years later, the army is now telling the two Sikhs that the recruiters' assurances were false and that they will have to forsake their religious practices.

with thanks : source :
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/US-reviews-policy-to-allow-Sikhs-to-join-army/articleshow/4624046.cms

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Fund the Fourth Annual SikhNet Youth Film Festival

Once again this year SikhNet is holding its Annual Sikh Youth Film Festival. This is a unique opportunity for Sikh Youth to express their creativity and originality, win valuable prizes and have their original films seen by thousands of people around the world.But even if you are an adult, it's a great opportunity for you as well!

You can show your support for our Sikh Youth, encourage them, honor their creativity and help the budding filmmakers and video pioneers of tomorrow fulfil their destiny.
SikhNet needs sponsors for the Film Festival

When you become a Film Festival Sponsor your company or organization will be recognized with your sponsorship banners not only on SikhNet, but on our whole SikhNet family of websites including SikhNet.com, MrSikhnet.com, SikhiWiki.org and SikhMatrimonials.com. You can even have your company or organization's logo inserted at the beginning of EVERY video shown during this year's Film Festival. Your sponsorship recognition will remain on the videos through the years as people continue to watch them both online and on television as well! Some Film Festival videos have been seen tens of thousands of times!

SikhNet needs your help right now to fund the Fourth Annual SikhNet Youth Film Festival. Sponsorship offers you a unique opportunity to support SikhNet and all of the the Sikh youth who are entering the competition. In addition you or your company will be recognized with gratitude all over the world by tens of thousands of SikhNet visitors.

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Williams zoners say Sikhs can turn cheese factory into place of worship

By Christopher Baxter | OF THE MORNING CALL
June 4, 2009

A small group of practicing Sikhs, followers of the world's fifth largest religion, plan to bring the teachings of devotion, equality and social justice to Williams Township by converting a former cheese factory near Interstate 78 into a temple.

The local Zoning Hearing Board gave Sikh Sadh Sangat Inc. approval Wednesday to change the defunct Crivellaro Cheese & Bakery building at 45 Hilton St. into a Sikh place of worship known as a gurdwara.

''This institution will be a credit to the community and the diversity of the community,'' Daniel Cohen, lawyer for Sangat Inc., told the zoners. ''These are high-quality people who only want to be able to practice their faith in peace and harmony.''

Founded in the 15th century in Punjab, a region straddling present-day India and
Pakistan, Sikhism formed around the teachings of 10 gurus, or enlightened leaders, who preach tenets such as devotion to one God, truthfulness, equality and social justice. Sikhs, meaning disciples, also denounce superstitions or blind rituals such as fasting.

The majority of the world's 23 million Sikhs live in the founding region. In the United States, large followings exist in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City, said Devinder Chana, building manager for Sangat Inc.

The group of about 65 to 70 people currently worships in Tatamy's Olde Mill Yoga & Wellness Center, and had planned to build a gurdwara in Plainfield Township. But when the cheese factory became available after the owner died and the bank put the building up for auction, Sangat Inc. felt it was a more convenient location.

''There is good access to the highway for people traveling between the Lehigh Valley and New Jersey,'' said Chana, a 27-year resident of the region. ''It's very much the private and quiet location we're looking for.''

The Sikhs worship primarily on Sunday, and Sangat Inc. plans to build the required 34 parking spaces to accommodate any vehicles. Zoners barred the group from allowing anyone to park on Hilton Street because of heavy truck traffic.

Chana said the existing building will remain relatively unchanged other than some interior redecorating. He hopes worship, held in the native Punjabi language, can begin by the beginning of July, as long as problems with the sewer line connection at the site are resolved.

Another group of Sikhs in the Lehigh Valley, numbering more than 200 families, worshipped in the basement of an A to Z Auto Repair in Easton until the 2007 opening of a gurdwara in Lower Nazareth Township.

Preet Bajwa, a spokesman for that congregation, said at the time that more and more Sikhs have moved to the region from New York City since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, partly because their practice of wearing turbans made life in the city difficult.

with thanks : source : http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-a13_3zoning.6920012jun04,0,6269595.story

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Sikh temple to host interfaith march for world peace in Berkeley

By Tom Lochner
West County Times
Posted: 06/04/2009 11:39:48 AM PDT
Updated: 06/04/2009 11:39:49 AM PDT


The Sikh Center of San Francisco Bay Area, based in El Sobrante, invites people of any faith to join a spiritual march for world peace in Berkeley on Sunday.

The spiritual march, known as Nagar Kirtan or the singing of spiritual hymns, will commemorate the 403rd anniversary of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji.

Guru Arjan, who was tortured and who died in 1606, was the fifth among the 10 Gurus of Sikhism and is credited with compiling Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book. He wrote more than 2,000 hymns.

Sunday's event will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will start in Civic Center Park in downtown Berkeley. The march route will extend to University Avenue at California Street and back to Civic Center Park.

There will be free vegetarian food.

For more information, e-mail Ravinder S. Bath at ravbatth@comcast.net or call 925-323-8626, or call Surinderjeet S. Bajwa at 415-298-9719.Reach Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760 or tlochner@bayareanewsgroup.com.

SikhsIndia
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Fresh clashes rock Valley, mob targets Sikh locality

June 05, 2009
Srinagar:

A predominantly Sikh neighbourhood on the outskirts of the city was targeted by a mob as fresh protests and a strike triggered by the alleged rape and murder of two women in Shopian continued to cripple life in large parts of the Valley for the fourth consecutive day.

A group of people ransacked 20 houses at Rangreth, breaking window panes and damaging other property on Wednesday evening. Paramjit Kaur, whose house was among those targeted, said: “It happened around 7.45 pm on Wednesday when a group of people first started hurling stones. They broke our gate and destroyed everything that came their way. I along with my children hid in the attic to save ourselves from the frenzied mob.”

“This had never happened in the past 20 years,” said Jaspal Singh, an engineer whose house, too, was ransacked. A few cars were also damaged by the mob.

Locals said trouble began when a group of protesters enforcing the strike stopped a car being driven by a Sikh. They damaged the car following which there was a scuffle, in which one of the protesters was injured. This was followed by the violence at Rangreth.

with thanks : source : http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Fresh-clashes-rock-Valley--mob-targets-Sikh-locality/471524

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Sikh Web Portal with Photo gallery of gurdwaras ....

SikhsIndia
4th June, 2009

Please log on to the Sikh Portal www.sohnijodi.com and view the Photo gallery of :
Golden Temple - Amritsar Sahib; Gurdwara Data Bandi Chor Sahib - Gwalior;
Gurdwara Mandi Sahib - Himachal which contains pics of Guru Gobind Singh ji's Bed, Gun, Kuppi,Rabab sahib as well Signatures of Guru Gobind Singh ji; Gurdwara Manikaran Sahib - Himachal; Gurdwara Anandpur Sahib - Himachal.

You can also view the Photo Gallery of :
Sant Bhupinder Singh ji Rade wale - Jarag as well Sant Saroop Singh ji, Chandigarh with pics of 51 Akhand paths held first time in Delhi. You can also view many Videos and pics related to Sikhs & Sikhism in the Sikh web portal www.sohnijodi.com

The sikh web portal also contains a Sikh news Section, Sikh view section & a Matrimonial section where you can add the matrimonial profiles with or without pics absolutely free.

The portal www.sohnijodi.com has a World Gurdwara Section which contains contact details of Gurdwaras. You can add your Gurdwara in the Directory.The portal also has a Sikh Business Directory.

Please promote the Sikh web portal www.sohnijodi.com in your area by adding the links in your local & regional websites & sikh blogs.

SikhsIndia
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Thousands pour in for Dera leader's cremation in Punjab

Thousands pour in for Dera leader's cremation in Punjab
4 Jun 2009, 1455 hrs IST, IANS

JALANDHAR: Thousands of followers of slain Dera Sachh Khand sect leader, Sant Rama Nand Dass, trooped into Ballan village, 15 km from here, as his body was brought from Vienna amid extremely tight security.

The body was accompanied by the sect head, Sant Niranjan Dass, who was also injured in the attack on them in a gurdwara in Vienna May 24.

Thousands of Ravidassias, who are followers of 14th century preacher Sant Ravi Dass, started arriving at the sect headquarters at Ballan village since Wednesday, to pay their last respects to the sect leader.

Contingents of the paramilitary Border Security Force (BSF) and Punjab Police were stationed in large numbers in and around the sect headquarters. The sect had appealed to its followers to maintain peace.

Areas of central Punjab, especially Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Phagwara, Ludhiana and a few other places had witnessed large-scale violence last week following the Vienna attack on the sect leaders.

Three people died and dozens were injured in the violence that also saw coaches of three trains being set on fire and many cars, trucks and buses being burnt by the protesters.

Public and private property suffered extensive damage during the violence as the civil authorities called in the army and paramilitary forces to control the situation. Train and road traffic was severely affected as the protesters blocked highways, roads and rail tracks.

Draped in saffron, the body of Sant Rama Nand Dass, 57, was kept in a glass coffin in an open area of the sect campus for followers to pay their respects.

The Punjab government had sent a chartered aircraft to Vienna from New Delhi Tuesday to bring back the sect head Niranjan Dass and the body of Sant Rama Nand Dass. Punjab chief minister's principal secretary D.S. Guru went by the special flight to Vienna to bring them back.

The sect head and the body were flown by a special helicopter from New Delhi to the sect headquarters here Thursday morning.

The cremation is likely to be attended by leaders from all political parties. Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati and other central leaders are likely to attend the cremation later Thursday.

Most followers of the Dera Sachh Khand sect are Dalit Sikhs. There has been an undercurrent of resentment by the sect followers against the dominant Jat Sikh community in the past few decades, mainly owing to social disparity between the two.

with thanks : source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Dera-leaders-cremation-today/articleshow/4615567.cms

sikhsindia
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Tight security in India's Punjab for slain preacher's funeral

June 3, 2009 -- Updated 1424 GMT (2224 HKT)
By Harmeet Shah Singh
CNN

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Police tightened security Wednesday in India's Punjab for the funeral of a preacher whose killing in Vienna, Austria sparked violent protests in the Sikh majority state last week.The body of Rama Sand lies in state in Vienna before being transported to India. Top-ranking officers are camping in Jalandhar district, where Rama Nand will be cremated Thursday, said Parag Jain, Punjab's inspector-general of police."Security arrangements are elaborate," he told CNN.

Nand's body is due to arrive from Vienna early Thursday in Sachkhand Ballan, a monastery dedicated to Guru Ravidass, a 14th-century low-caste Hindu spiritual figure.

Guru Ravidass' writings are predominantly found in the primary Sikh scriptures called the Guru Granth Sahib, placed in the sect temples as in the Sikh houses of worship.

Sect head Niranjan Dass, who was injured in the Vienna assault, will also be arriving Thursday, Sachkhand Ballan secretary S.R. Heer said.

The sikh guru's death led to widespread violence across the Punjab region, which resulted in the army and federal security forces being called in to restore order.
Thousands took part in demonstrations across the Doaba region, where protesters attacked public transportation, knocking out train service in some areas. They also blocked a national highway to Jammu, CNN sister network CNN-IBN reported.

A number of businesses were ransacked as well. Police reported one death.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, himself a Sikh, appealed for calm, in a statement."There is no place for violence in a secular society like India's and certainly no excuse whatsoever for the violation of the sacred premises of a (Sikh temple) for narrow sectarian or other purposes," India's Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

with thanks : source : http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/06/03/india.punjab.funeral/

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Punjab's Gandhigiri to stem attacks

3 Jun 2009, 0543 hrs IST, Amit Sharma , TNN

CHANDIGARH: Frustrated and angry at their friends and kin facing “curry bashing” in Australia, a group of students from Panjab University decided to do something about it.

No, they didn't round up foreigners and subject them to reverse racism. Instead, they caught hold of 20-odd ‘firangs’ and gave them a lesson in, well, Indian hospitality and “universal brotherhood”.

The befuddled foreign students were garlanded with flowers and made to take part in a peace march through the campus. They were then lectured on ‘Gandhigiri’ before being treated to a sumptuous lunch. The university students even made their foreign counterparts hold placards that read ‘Treat Guest As God’ and ‘Stop Racism’.

Punjab, which reportedly sends 50,000 students abroad each year, a large number of them to Australia, is seething in rage at the turn of events Down Under. Thankfully, the university students chose a different way to vent their feelings, giving their foreign counterparts a liberal dose of Ghandigiri.

Visibly confused but enjoying all the attention, Simin, president of the foreign students association here, said, "It's really a heartwarming thing done by the Indian students. I really liked the garlands. After today’s function, we feel safer and more secure in this city. We just hope the same treatment is reserved for Indians abroad."

Scott, a student from Canada, here to learn Punjabi, was equally pleased. “I am really happy at what happened (in PU) today. These guys have certainly set an example for others to follow.’’ Arif, another foreign student, said he was so impressed he immediately called up his family in Yemen to narrate the day’s incident.

And although the Indian students did well to hide their pain and anger at the events in Australia, the emotions just spilled over. “Even after getting bashed up in Australia, we don’t want to retaliate. It’s all about sending a message to the Australians that, unlike them, we treat foreigners as our guests and guests are like gods,” said Rajwinder Singh Aulakh, a university student.

with thanks : source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Punjabs-Gandhigiri-to-stem-attacks/articleshow/4611130.cms

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Gurdwara vandalized, student stabbed in Oz

3 Jun 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TIMES NEWS NETWORK & AGENCIES

MELBOURNE: Racial assaults continue unchecked in Australia. On Monday, a Sikh gurdwara was vandalized in Shepparton, a small town 90km north of Melbourne.

Racist graffiti and swastikas were scribbled on its walls, eggs thrown at it and the fencing around the gurdwara smashed by a car. On Tuesday, another Indian student was stabbed in the chest by a box-cutter knife on his way to college in east Melbourne.

Meanwhile, Australia set up an inquiry committee to look into the attacks even as Union minister for overseas Indian affairs Vayalar Ravi said his ministry would prepare and maintain a register of all Indians studying abroad and streamline campus placements to foreign universities.

Nardeep Singh, a 20-year-old from Ludhiana, was assaulted in a car park. The five attackers initially asked for cigarettes. When the student replied he was a non-smoker, they asked for money. On refusal, one of them stabbed him in the chest. Nardeep is a student of nursing at the Chisholm Technical Institute.

Singh, who had arrived in Australia only a month ago, fled to the police station where his statement was recorded. He is under observation in a Melbourne hospital.

with thanks : source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Gurdwara-vandalized-student-stabbed-in-Oz/articleshow/4608367.cms

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Sikh Culture in Maryland School Curriculum

Sikh Culture in Maryland School Curriculum
North America
Posted Jun 01, 2009 - 11:34 PM

A teaching package on Sikh culture, which was part of the social studies curriculum this year in eight elementary schools in Howard County, Maryland, will be incorporated into all of the county’s approximately 39 elementary schools in the next school year, a county education-official said.

Kaur Foundation’s Cultural Safari video and resource package, which was released in June 2008, was incorporated into the social studies curriculum by fall and is being used in the county’s eight pilot-schools.

Teaching packages normally end up sitting on the shelf because teachers just don’t have time to squeeze in additional lessons. It is only when new material is approved and incorporated into the curriculum that students see it in the classroom.

“I’m very happy to (say) teachers are using this resource,” said Florence Hu, principle of Centennial Lane Elementary, one of the pilot schools where Cultural Safari is being tested. “It shows the importance of diversity and of being respectful of other cultures.”

Howard County has a large minority population. About 30 percent of its students come from Asian countries, Hu said. “I really think the success of making sure that our school is a safe place is to be proactive of different cultures and to learn (about them) before they come (here).”

Last year, when the county’s curriculum office was revising certain units in social studies, and was looking for resources on diversity, Cultural Safari was there to fill the need. But that was no coincidence, it was a well thought-out plan, said Mirin Kaur Phool, the foundation’s president.

Kaur Foundation spent 18 months doing research before developing the package. It involved surveys of teachers and faculty on what they would like to know, and of Sikh students on what they would be known about them.

“Every line was not random, it was carefully structured to answer these questions,” Mirin Kaur said. The target audience was the schools. Information on Sikhi was presented in a manner that said everything and answered all their questions. “It’s a very fine walk to show everything and not get thrown out.”

Foundation representative began talking to county and state administrators as the package was being developed. When it was released, several administrators got their first look at the video at the foundation’s gala in June, an annual event with Sikh glitterati such as Fauja Singh and the Kaur twins as special guests.

“(They saw) that this was a savvy community, doing nice things, incredible things, at a level they are used to,” Mirin Kaur said. But the video spoke for itself.

“It was apparent when I saw the video it was very applicable to curriculum development,” said John Krownapple, cultural proficiency coordinator for the county’s public schools. Having it in the curriculum “made it instantly credible.”

Krownapple was the first to introduce the package at a meeting of a variety of education officials. Mirin Kaur made the presentation, beginning with the death of Balbir Singh Sodhi, the first person killed in a 9/11-related hate crime, and ending with a discussion on the gap in cultural awareness. The curriculum coordinator, principals, and social studies superintendents were very interested, she said.

Foundation representatives for the county, Harsharan Kaur and Arvinder Kaur, are continuing the legwork with Mirin Kaur, going school to school to show the package to teachers, librarians and faculty.

The package will be incorporated into all of the county’s elementary schools in the fall, Krownapple said. But the county will also use it in other ways.

“The intended audience is students, but every adult I have shown it to has learned from it,” he added. The package will be used for professional development to help staff extend cultural awareness, included as a resource in school libraries and eventually included in a central cultural-databank.

Meanwhile, Kaur Foundation is looking beyond Howard County to the rest of the state. Foundation representatives presented Cultural Safari to the social studies coordinator at the Maryland Department of Education, Marcie Taylor-Thoma, last summer.

“It is a safe DVD for students to learn from,” Taylor-Thoma said. “The follow-up lessons use the DVD to talk about not only Sikhs, but also other cultures.“

She introduced the video at an education event in November with educators from many of the state’s 24 counties, and a social studies superintendants’ event in April. At least eight county education officials have asked Mirin Kaur to present it to their decision makers.

Outside Maryland, Sikh parents are showing the video at their kids’ schools, at multicultural cultural events and asking libraries to make it available to the public. From Rochester, N.Y., to Uba City, Calif., the foundation has sent out 2,000 videos at $15 each, with 1,000 more on the way, Mirin Kaur said.

Jatinder Singh Hundal of Roseville, Calif., used the video at his Khalsa school at the West Sacramento Gurdwara. All the parents wanted a copy, he said.

“I have three boys, 12 and 8-year-old twins,” he added. “They enjoy it and like mostly that there are no embarrassing moments when they see it with their friends.”

with thanks : source : http://www.sikhnn.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=675&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

California passes bill on Sikh symbol kirpan

California passes bill on Sikh symbol kirpan
3 Jun 2009, 1019 hrs IST, IANS

LOS ANGELES: The California assembly has passed a bill that makes it mandatory for the state to train law enforcement agencies about the Sikh symbol kirpan.

The bill AB-504, which was passed unanimously by the assembly Monday, will now go to the state senate for its nod before Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signs it to make it a law.

Enjoying bipartisan support, the bill was passed 59-0 by the assembly in the California capital of Sacramento.

When it finally becomes a law, it will be the first such legislation in any US state to train law officers about the Sikh religion and kirpan.

Apart from being victims of hate crimes after 9/11, many Sikhs have been stopped at airports and other places for wearing kirpan.

Many of them were also denied entry or arrested for carrying kirpan in public places in violation of concealed weapons laws.

Various Sikh organisations, led by the Sikh Coalition, lobbied with state legislature and senate members to pass the bill introduced by assembly man Warren Furutani of Long Beach.

Under the law, California would incorporate training about the kirpan in the curriculum for law enforcement officer training.

"It is the legislature's goal to promote education and awareness of the carrying of the kirpan by Sikhs in California," says the preamble of the bill.

Law enforcement officers will be trained "how to recognise and interact with persons carrying a kirpan", the preamble adds.

"Our hope is that being educated about the kirpan and its religious significance will decrease the number of wasteful arrests," the Sikh Coalition said.

The bill was introduced in the assembly in February.

with thanks : source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/California-passes-bill-on-Sikh-symbol-kirpan/articleshow/4611563.cms

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Is Sikhism succumbing to fundamentalism?

June 2, 2009

The fatal shooting at a Sikh temple in Austria shows up an ugly schism in a religion built on monotheism and equality Sathnam Sanghera

Sathnam Sanghera

There were riots across northern India last week after a shooting at a Sikh temple in Austria resulted in the death of a sect leader and, given that Punjabi culture is something I bang on about on occasion, it wasn’t surprising, I suppose, that a couple of news producers rang, asking me to put the disturbances into context.

I declined because: (a) as a community we are only just learning to talk about ourselves, and too often any kind of commentary is taken as criticism; (b) commenting about religion is a dangerous business when people are being killed and one has absolutely no theological authority; (c) I feel about broadcasting the way many feel about general anaesthetic (you should do it only when you absolutely need to); but mainly because (d) it’s quite hard to explain what Sikhism actually stands for.

You see, one of the founding principles of the monotheistic religion, established in the late 15th century by Guru Nanak, was opposition to Hinduism’s oppressive caste system. Yet the world’s fifth largest organised religion has a caste system of its own, with differences between Jat Sikhs (a group that I belong to and which makes up about two thirds of Sikh society) and non-Jat castes, such as the Ramgarhias, remaining a source of political, social and religious tension.

Even in Britain you’ll find different Sikh temples belonging to different groups on the same road, and — according to some media reports last week, many of them disputed by the groups involved — the violence in Austria was sparked after orthodox Sikhs from one caste objected to preachers from another caste being disrespectful towards the Sikh Holy Book.

Also, officially, Sikhs don’t worship human beings, since Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru, named Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Book, as his successor. But certain Sikh sects do believe in living human gurus, some mainstream Sikh families revere spiritual figures and ancestors, and — according to some media reports, again disputed by the groups involved — the violence in Austria was sparked when members of a certain sect gave the Guru Granth Sahib pride of place next to photographs and idols of their own human “gurus”.

Then there’s the issue of booze. Officially, Sikhs don’t drink, and some families don’t even allow alcohol to be kept in their houses.

But as the academics Gurharpal Singh and Darshan Singh Tatla point out in Sikhs in Britain: The Making of a Community: “Consumption of alcohol has always been high among Sikhs, with the per capita rate among Sikhs of Punjab among the highest in the world” and “a particularly distinctive feature of British Sikh society today” being “the high rate of alcoholism among males . . . Consumption rates are higher than in any other ethnic minority and in the white community.”

There are other contradictions. Sikhs are meant to adopt the name “Singh”, meaning “lion”, as a way of encouraging equality (one’s caste can often be identified by a surname), but many of us use it only as a middle name. The Gurus declared men and women to be equal, but Punjabi culture is highly patriarchal. Sikhism is the only major world religion that acknowledges that other religions are a valid way of reaching God, but some believers risk being disowned for marrying outside of their religion.

Also, Sikhs, partly as a result of having no clergy (the idea is that everyone can be directly in touch with God without priests) and partly as a result of factionalism, have never been very good at building institutions to represent them, and yet have had great success campaigning on issues such as the right to wear the turban, so much so that Sikhs can legally ride a motorbike with a turban instead of a helmet. When, the other week, the police announced that they were developing a bulletproof turban, apart from a few tiresome jokes about the “turbanator”, there were almost no objections from any quarters. Imagine the fuss there would have been if the religious headwear in question had been a burka.

And if there is anything that epitomises the fluidity of Sikhism, it is the turban. Long hair, beards and colourful headwear are synonymous with the religion — I kept my own hair unshorn until the age of 14 — but if you ask any Sikh why they keep their hair uncut, they will give you a different answer.

Some say that it’s a way of showing respect for the God-given form; some that it is a way of expressing love for God (like a married person would wear a wedding ring); some link it to intelligence, health and spirituality; some say that Guru Gobind Singh made the keeping of unshorn hair mandatory to give Sikhs a binding identity. There are others who will argue that long hair isn’t actually necessary to be a Sikh.

In fact, a great many Sikhs, if not the majority, don’t have long hair and don’t sport turbans. And those with turbans are not necessarily hugely religious: I know one turbaned man who runs that most un-Sikh of things, an English pub; another who started wearing a turban simply because he had developed a bald patch; another who is actually an atheist.

As it happens, I don’t think that these ambiguities are necessarily a problem. Such issues crop up with all organised religions, and for me, and I am a believer, the massive variation in observance is appealing, as you’re basically left to define your own religiosity. Not least, it’s an expression of another of Sikhism’s fundamental teachings, that empty ritual is meaningless, and it ensures that believers concentrate on the things that really matter, namely “Nam simran” (meditation on and awareness of God) and “Sewa” (community service).

But the concerning thing about last week’s events is that we seem to have another contradiction developing. This most modern and liberal of world religions, which allows its believers to develop their own relationship with God, is developing a fundamentalist streak, with certain people determined to tell others what to believe and how to believe it, under pain of death if necessary.

source : http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/sathnam_sanghera/article6407907.ece

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Choir led Sikh to Catholic Church; mission work cinched his vocation

Choir led Sikh to Catholic Church; mission work cinched his vocation

By Beth Griffin
Catholic News Service

MARYKNOLL, N.Y. (CNS) -- Imagine that the youngest child in a religiously observant family comes home from high school and announces to his prominent father that he is converting to a minority religion he heard about from his principal. Predictably, the reaction is shock, disbelief and resistance.

But Stephen Taluja, who was raised a Sikh in Punjab state, India, converted to Catholicism anyway. Now 27, he had his father's blessing when he was ordained as a Maryknoll priest May 30.

His ordination Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York at the Queen of Apostles Chapel at Maryknoll Mission Center.

Punjab, in northwest India, is overwhelmingly Sikh and Hindu. Seventy-five 75 percent of the world's 26 million Sikhs live there. Catholics make up less than 1 percent of the population.

Father Taluja was introduced to Catholicism at a private high school whose Anglo-Indian principal is Catholic.

"The place has a Catholic aura and the principal is a devout Catholic whose faith and practice are very connected," he said in an interview with Catholic News Service.

As a student, he volunteered with the school to work at a leprosarium run by the Missionaries of Charity. He called it "pretty significant" to confront societal taboos associated with people who have Hansen's disease.

Father Taluja credited music with being the specific doorway to his interest in Catholicism. As a member of the school choir, he was invited to sing at midnight Mass at a local church. He had never been into a Catholic church and it was unusual for him to be out at that hour of the night.

"When I first walked in, I vividly remember being struck by the crucifix on the wall. People were kneeling and praying to the crucifix. I couldn't understand why they were praying to a so-called God who was a frail and dying man," he said.

Father Taluja said he was curious, but had no intention of converting to Catholicism. He also was dealing with larger questions about the meaning of life after the untimely death of his mother when he was 15.

When he decided to convert, the news was not well-received by his father. He described "divisive opposition" in his family, contrasted with the support of people at the parish.

"I felt like Peter, denying Jesus three times. I come from an influential, rich family in a small town. Sometimes people would tell me they heard I was attending Catholic Mass and I would deny it," he said.

But he persisted, drawn by a desire to know God, and was received into the church while he was still in high school.

When he came to suburban New York to study computer science, Father Taluja worked the night shift at a gas station convenience store and attended the early morning Mass at St. Elizabeth Seton Church in Shrub Oak. He also sang in the choir.

Father Taluja felt called to the missionary priesthood and was introduced to Maryknoll by both his pastor and the Maryknoll music director whom he met at his second job.

Father Taluja, who is fluent in Hindi, English and Punjabi, learned Spanish during a five-month stint in Cochabamba, Bolivia and then spent two years in the Peruvian Andes, with Maryknoll's overseas training program. He served the indigenous Aymara people, ministering and working with youths and preparing parishioners for fiestas and eucharistic celebrations.

"My experience in Peru cinched things for me. I knew I was called to be a missionary and a priest and I want to do it for the rest of my life," he said.

Father Taluja described working in a parish of 90,000 people served by one priest and a group of Argentine Dominican sisters. "Every day is like a sacramental carnival," he said. "Somebody dies, people get married, there are baptisms."

He said preaching in Spanish was an "animating of my faith." Father Taluja honed his Spanish on the soccer field, where, he said, "formalities fade and you get to know people on a more personal level." It probably helped that his soccer skills were good enough to land him a spot on India's junior national team.

Father Taluja earned his bachelor's degree in religious studies from St. Xavier University in Chicago and a master's in divinity from Catholic Theological Union there. He will continue to pursue a master's in sacred Scripture at the union after his ordination.

His three older sisters came from New York, England and India to attend his ordination; and a niece and nephew were the gift bearers at the offertory. His father was expected to attend if his visa were granted, but in the end it was not.

"He's very proud. He has mixed feelings, but he wants to come and give me his blessing and support me," Father Taluja told CNS in an interview before his ordination.

Father Taluja said his Sikh background will serve his priesthood.

"My Catholic seeds were sown in a non-Catholic home. Sikhism has explicit respect for different paths to God, which I think I bring with me. Who knows how Christ might be working through people of other cultures and religions? We don't," he said.

source : http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0902500.htm