Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Khalsa Diwan Society, Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar, New Westminster - A report

By : Sukhninder Singh

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh

On Saturday July 25th, the youth and volunteers from Khalsa Diwan
Society New Westminster, took part in the 150th year celebrations of
the City of New Westminster. As the oldest city in Western Canada and
the first capital of British Columbia, New Westminster has a long and
rich history and the Khalsa Diwan Society New Westminster and the Sikh
community are proud to be part of that history.

This event took part on the front lawn of the New Westminster City
Hall and the Society and volunteers put on a display of historic
pictures named, "Past, Present and Future: A Historic Reflection of
the Sikh Community in New Westminster". These pictures, showed the
history of Sikhs in New Westminster and Canada and included early
pioneers, employment of early Sikhs, Sikh families and Sikh Temples
such as as the Khalsa Diwan Society, which was the first Gurdwara
Sahib, to be established outside of India in 1906.

One of the pictures on display was that of Shaheed Bhai Meva Singh,
from 1915, after he was hanged and this picture was even more relevant
to the event as he was hanged only a few kilometers away in the very
City of New Westminster. Along with his picture, the history and
information on the events that led up to that tragic event in 1915 was
on display.

In addition to past pictures, current events and activities such as
camps, parades, sports and educational programs were on display to
outline the many different programs and services that the Khalsa Diwan
Society New Westminster undertakes, many which are still unique to the
society and not found in other Lower Mainland Gurdwaras.
The last aspect of the display was the future of Sikhs in New
Westminster and future programs and services as well as the new
building extension at Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar in New Westminster and
how the renovation will take the Sikhs forward and help facilitate
even more programs and services.

Overall this display was visited by many at the 150yr celebrations and
due to the success and demand from the local BC Sikh Sangat, the
display is viewable at Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar from July 25th to
August 3rd at 7-9pm and Sundays 11-1pm.


In addition to the display, New Westminster Sikhs, put on a Turban
Tying and Gatka demonstration for the crowds. The Turban Tying was a
extremely successful program, as it always is and attendees such as
New Westminster Mayor Wayne Wright, and New Westminster Member of
Parliament Peter Julian had Turbans tied. Brochures and members of the
youth were also on scene to explain the Turban and what it means to
Sikhs and the importance of it.

To end this program, the youth Gatka team from Sukh Sagar and Guru
Nanak Academy, performed a Gatka demonstration, awing the crowds with
their understanding and skill, of this ancient martial art and their
expertise of the many different types of weapons used.

For more information please contact Rajwinder Singh Janda at 604-518-5286

KHALSA DIWAN SOCIETY
GURDWARA SAHIB SUKH SAGAR
347 Wood St., New Westminster, B.C. V3M 5K6
Ph. (604) 638-7380
Fax: (604) 521-4936

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A Sikh web portal





Khalsa Diwan Society, Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar, New Westminster - more pics





Khalsa Diwan Society, Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar, New Westminster - please view some more pics.

A Separate Justice for Sikhs?


Sikh victims of crime will now be given the option of requesting a Sikh police officer to work on their case. Well, in London at least. The goal of this new service, offered by the Metropolitan Police, is to make use of the “special” knowledge officers have in regards to Punjabi culture to help address issues such as forced marriage and honor crimes. Many police officers believe that crimes have gone unreported and unsolved within the Punjabi Sikh community due to a lack of cultural understanding by police officers from a “white” background.

Read complete news at : http://thelangarhall.com/archives/3951

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A Sikh web portal

Sikh recruit wins payout for humiliation by police trainer


Sikh recruit wins payout for humiliation by police trainer
Tim Stewart
27.07.09

A Sikh police officer is to receive a five-figure compensation payment after she suffered racist and religious humiliation while in training.

Amandeep Kaur Grewal, who is of Indian origin, was singled out for unfair criticism and treatment by trainer Pc Lucinda Rigby because of her race at the Metropolitan Police's training school in Hendon.

When Mrs Grewal complained, Pc Rigby told her other students were laughing at her behind her back.

Mrs Grewal, 38, told how some of her fellow recruits treated her in a "less than friendly fashion".

Reading employment tribunal heard how another trainer had to hold a diversity class to deal with animosity towards Mrs Grewal.

The panel rejected the Met's claim that trainers had considered her skills poor. It found she had been unfairly targeted and said Pc Rigby's remark about colleagues making fun of her "inappropriate" and "hurtful".

It found the Met guilty of race and religious discrimination. Mrs Grewal, of Teddington, now a serving Pc at Kingston police station, is set to be awarded a payout for hurt feelings.

She is married to a police officer and attended the Hendon training college in November 2007. She also told how Pc Rigby singled her out for "excessive supervision" during her officer safety training. She said her application of handcuffs was checked more often than for other students.

The Met claimed this was "mere chance" and that trainers did not think Mrs Grewal was up to scratch. But in its judgment, the tribunal ruled: "If this were truly the case, we would have expected to have seen particular remedial steps put in place. They were not." After Mrs Grewal complained to Met chiefs, she had a meeting with Pc Rigby in March last year. The panel ruled: "Pc Rigby told Mrs Grewal that other students had been laughing at her. This was an inappropriate and potentially undermining comment.

"Pc Rigby acted in this way because she felt defensive about allegations of race and religious discrimination."

Mrs Grewal failed in her claims of racial and religious harassment. Pc Rigby's mistreatment was distressing but not sufficiently serious to amount to harassment, the panel ruled.

Mrs Grewal's solicitor Jag Brar, of law firm Richmond and Barnes, said: "This case was particularly disturbing because it related to allegations of discrimination during police training. No recruit should have to go through the anguish Mrs Grewal suffered."

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The Metropolitan Police Service will give full and careful consideration to the decision. Pc Grewal remains a valued member of the force."

with thanks : source : http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23724286-details/Sikh+recruit+wins+payout+for+humiliation+by+police+trainer/article.do

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A Sikh web portal

Armed and ready to protect One: Meet the first Sikh soldiers to guard the Queen



Armed and ready to protect One: Meet the first Sikh soldiers to guard the Queen
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:02 AM on 28th July 2009


These are the first two Sikh soldiers to have the honour of guarding the Queen.

Signaler Simranjit Singh, 26, and Lance Corporal Sarvjit Singh, 28, proudly pose with their guns while on duty in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
Signaler Singh made history as the very first Sikh soldier to wear his turban on Public Duties guarding the monarch and protecting the Crown Jewels. He was soon joined by Lance Corporal Singh.

The proud soldier from Coventry enthusiastically took on the duty for the first time in May this year.
He serves with 21st Signal Regiment based in Chippenham, Wiltshire, while Lance Corporal serves with 3rd Regiment Army Air Corps based at Wattisham, Suffolk.

Turbans, long hair and beards are considered a mandatory religious uniform for all Sikhs.
Keeping uncut hair is required according to the Rehat Maryada, the Sikh instruction for living.

with thanks : Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1202639/Meet-Sikh-soldiers-guard-Queen.html

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A Sikh web portal

Enrol Now for UNITED SIKHS Miri Piri Camps in Michigan and London



Enrol Now for UNITED SIKHS Miri Piri Camps in Michigan and London

London, UK and Michigan USA – UNITED SIKHS Miri Piri camps in London and Michigan will be held this month and it is still not too late to enrol. The London camp, which is a day camp this weekend, will be held on 1st and 2nd Aug hosted by the Central London Gurdwara and the Michigan camp will be a week long camp from Aug 16th to 22nd.

Both camps are for the whole family, and are aimed at promoting Gatka (Sikh martial art) and Gurmat (Sikh principles).

“We aim to motivate people of all ages to take up Gatka and we will do follow up weekly training sessions at the Central London Gurdwara to ensure a Gatka akhara could be set up at the Gurdwara, “ said Lakhvinder Singh, one of the London Miri Piri camp organizers.

There is no strict age limit except that any child under seven will have to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. We encourage parents to attend the camp too where they could learn something within their own group in the camp, whilst their children attend separate sessions with their peers.

You may view a poster of both camps at and also fill the enrolment forms at unitedsikhs.org/camps and scan them to contact@unitedsikhs.org asap.

Jagpreet Singh, a recent graduate in Transportation Designing, from Italy, who will be attending the Michigan camp, said, “UNITED SIKHS is creating a class of the next generation, where people would help-respect-befriend every one they meet. At the camp, we will be brought out of our TV rooms and into the real world enjoying the company of our peers in the surrounds of a retreat.”

Issued by:
Gurjeet Singh
Director
Empowerment and Education
UNITED SIKHS
07709830442
camp@unitedsikhs.org

Monday, July 27, 2009

Har Prabh Ratay Loeina - Shabad keertan





Har Prabh Ratay Loeina - Please view video of Shabad keertan by Gurmat gian missionary college, Ludhiana.

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A Sikh web portal

Eternal University at Baru Sahib begins in Himachal


Jul 16th, 2009 | By Sanjeev Awasthi | Category: Himachal, News

Nahan: Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister Himachal today performed foundation stone ceremony of the Eternal University in private sector at Baru Saheb in Rajgarh Sub Division of district Sirmaur today.
Chief Minister said that H.P. was poised to emerge an ‘Education Hub’ with private participation and added that best use would be made of the congenial atmosphere available in the State. He said that renowned educational houses were coming forward to open their institutions of par-excellence in the State. He said that the State Government was extending best of the cooperation to make H.P. a centre of par-excellence learning.
Prof. Dhumal said that that road, education, health, self-employment, self-reliance and self-respect were the objectives with which State Government was functioning. He said that these were the basic essentials for meeting the requirements of the society. He said that State Government was pursuing the goals to achieve the targets in a time-bound manner. He said that 1st University in IT was also set up in private sector in district Solan at Waknaghat which had emerged an important milestone in education. He said that the State had the best educational infrastructure, which was being strengthened to deliver people best of the facilities at their door steps. He added that State was endeavouring to generate employment and self-employment avenues to the educated unemployed youth in the State.
Prof. Dhumal said that ‘No Profit, No Loss’ motive of the University deserves all appreciation and hoped that the upcoming university would be producing good and responsible citizens. He said that revival of the traditional art and culture of the country, especially of the State also deserves appreciation. He said that it may emerge an important milestone in revival of the old art and culture of the State. He hoped that the university would carry on with its value-based education.
Chief Minister lauded contributions of Kalgidhar Trust for development of an impressive educational campus in the interiors of Sirmaur district. He said that it was unique feature of the Trust that students were availing educational facilities from 1st standard to Ph.D level. He said that it would inspire students to work hard and attain greater heights in their career.
Prof. Dhumal said that Rs. 353 crore Pandit Deen Dayal Kisaan Baagwan Samridhi Yojna was aimed at making people self-reliant by helping them diversify their farming and generate income for themselves at their door-steps. He said that 80 percent subsidy was available to the beneficiaries under the scheme while they would be contributing only 20 per cent only. He said that people needed to be educated and made aware of the scheme so that more people were benefitted under the scheme.
Chief Minister said that State had been adjudged leader in implementation of 20-Point Programme in the country which was no less an achievement for the people of the State.
He announced for upgradation of Primary School Tikkari to Middle School, Middle School Bongali to High School respectively. He announced for lift irrigation supply scheme for Lana-Machher, Baru, Sharera and Khakhali. He said that Baru Saheb bypass road would be constructed on priority, besides Lana-Machher road and Rajgarh-Bagthan-Banethi road would also be metalled. He said that Bongali-Lana- Kue road would also be constructed soon. He said that detailed project report of Baru Saheb Mangarh road has been sent to Government of India for approval. He sanctioned one 33 KV Sub-Station at Baru Saheb, by-pass to be constructed to connect Baru Saheb and road metalled besides Rajgarh-Banethi road.
Dr. M.S. Atwal, Vice Chancellor, Eternal University read out the report of the Kalgidhar Trust with special reference to educational activities. He assured Chief Minister of world class educational facilities to the students in the campus.
Ravinder Pal Singh, Trustee of Kalgidhar Trust welcomed the Chief Minister and detailed various activities of the Trust.
Dr. Khem Singh Gill, Vice-President Kalgidhar Trust proposed vote of thanks.

with thanks : source : http://nvonews.com/2009/07/16/eternal-university-at-baru-sahib-begins-in-himachal/

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A sikh web portal

Baru Sahib Day boarding school building inaugurated



Jul 26th, 2009 | By Sanjeev Awasthi | Category: Himachal, News

Nahan: National chairman of minority commission and Member Rajya sabha Sardar Tarlohan Singh today inaugurated day boarding school building of Hindi medium at Baru sahib in Rajgarh sub division being constructed by the Kalgidhar trust. Chairman of minority commission also participated in the SAHAJ PAATH BHOG program at Darbar Sahib. Interacting with members of Kalgidhar trust and Akal academy he said that it was a very difficult task to arrange the international education standards at such place (Baru Sahib).As per as the information the GURUDWARA at baru sahib would have certain unique feature of world level as this would have the sitting capacity of ten thousand devotees. Chairman of the minority commission also met with Sant Baba Iqbal Singh. However Dr Devinder Singh and Khem Singh gill were also present in the inaugural function.

with thanks : source : http://nvonews.com/2009/07/26/baru-sahib-day-boarding-school-building-inaugurated/

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A Sikh web portal

Akal Takht tells Sikhs to go green

Akal Takht tells Sikhs to go green
I P Singh, TNN 27 July 2009, 03:34am IST

Akal Takht Jathedar Gurbachan Singh gave a religious call to the community on Sunday saying Sikhs should now focus on cleaning the natural water resources rather than spending more money on building up new gurdwaras.

SULTANPUR LODHI: Akal Takht, the highest Sikh temporal body, has embraced the save-the-environment mantra telling Sikhs across the world it was their ‘‘moral and religious duty’’ to care for the nature.

‘‘Whereever in the world you (Sikhs) may be, your focus should now be on cleaning up of natural water resources rather than building gurdwaras,’’ he said at a function here on the ninth anniversary of cleaning of Kali Bein, a river in Kapurthala district.

Environmentalists said the Jathedar has set a precedent with his call for saving the environment from depletion. Many said the call would prompt devotees to do their bit for the environment.

Some said the appeal from the Jathedar could make other religious leaders to think about contributing to the environment. It could even help save the most important river in the country, the Ganges river, they added.

The Kali Bein, a much polluted river flowing through Sultanpur Lodhi, was cleaned in an initiative by the Akhat Takht Jathedar through community participation.

with thanks : source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/Environment/The-Good-Earth/Akal-Takht-tells-Sikhs-to-go-green/articleshow/4823856.cms

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A sikh web portal

Saturday, July 25, 2009

It’s cool to be Sikh, but cooler if you wear a turban


July 24th, 2009

There maybe an answer to the continuing dilemma for the Sikh community – a lack of men wanting to wear a turban.

Well the answer is simple, make it cool to have a turban, create some positive vibes around this important issue of identity.

Recently we have seen an increase in the amount of Bollywood artists such as Akshay Kumar (right) that have embraced off screen dress in this breath-taking attire.

The turban definitely makes a man look handsome, shows someone you can trust and if I am perfectly honest dare I say it ‘sexy and drop dread gorgeous’ (– I am just hoping my editor does not edit this line!!!)

Recently in Leicester, a project lead by Trolochan Singh Virk there was a turban tying competition – how cool is that

The Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) of Amritsar and humanitarian organisation Akaal Purkh Ki Fauj also organised not only a turban tying initiative but they took it a step further, they held an amazing ‘pageant’ and called it Mr Singh International.

It was a low-key affair but later versions, but there are already plans to roll this our across Punjab and Delhi, with a expectation of participation of Bollywood stars.

The SGPC has declared April 14, the day of harvest festival Vaisakhi, as "International Sikh Turban Day."

“We are dismayed that more and more youths are refusing to grow their beard or wear the turban, which are sacred symbols of the Sikh religion,” said H.S. Hanspal, Sikh representative in the National Commission for Minorities.

According to Hanspal, many young Sikhs say that tying a turban every day, which may take up to 10 minutes, is too awkward for today’s world

Other boys apparently fear becoming the “odd man out’’ and getting taunted by their peers. Many Sikh parents say they have stopped insisting their sons wear the traditional headgear.

Various Gurdwara Prabandhak committees, therefore, are planning to send volunteers to schools to teach boys how to tie the turban and counsel them on the importance of wearing a turban the project be lead by The Miinority Commission

Whilst many would be deeply hurt that the Holy Turban should not be used in such a manner, I feel it is time for action to allow young Sikh men to be towed back to line – they will thank us in the long run.

Dalbeer Singh of the Delhi Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee has called for a new fashion magazine.

“We need a Sikh fashion magazine to promote uncut hair, the beard and the turban as cool and clean. We should use persons like Manmohan Singh as role models,’’ he told The Telegraph, this I totally agree with.

One of the first people such a magazine may think of featuring is Paramdeep Singh, 23, first runner-up at Mr Singh International 2009. “I want to send a message that a complete Sikh is more handsome than those who trim or cut their hair,” Paramdeep said.

For Sikhs, the turban became a “robe of honour” which was endorsed in 1699, during the time of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru, a scholar said.

Sikh turbans are different from other kinds but have their own variations. The commonest is the “peaked turban” Manmohan Singh wears. The length of the cloth varies from 6 to 8 metres, and the most popular colours are white, deep blue and saffron.

Sikh boys start wearing a keski (mini-turban) or patka at a very young age, often switching to the turban around the age of 12.

So remember boy and girls should you choose – its cool to be Sikh and even cooler if you remember Waheguru gave you long hair for a reason, so respect it.

And finally I cannot believe that every day some Sikh battle with nature as they shave their beards and everyday nature wins…………….is there not a lesson to be learned?

by Tinderjit Kaur Lallie,
with thanks : Source: www.emgonline.co.uk

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A Sikh web portal

British Sikhs revive deadly art banned by the Raj


British Sikhs on the mission
Thu, Jul 23 05:07 PM

A short drive away from Windsor Castle, a group of ferocious-looking, blue-turbanned men are trying to preserve a martial art that frightened the life out of the British when they ruled India.

Grunting at each other like wild boars, they brandish swords and sticks according to the dictates of the Sikh fighting discipline of Shastar Vidya.

Their teacher, Nidar Singh, believes he is the only "gurdev" or master of the art seriously practising today.

The 42-year old British-Indian barks out orders in a thick regional English accent to an attentive class of mainly Sikh pupils ranging in age from 5 to 45.

Singh is on a mission to keep the martial art alive and he spends all his time teaching in schools and community halls across the country.

Razor-sharp swords flash through the air, wooden batons are brandished and hands grab the heads of opponents in threatening moves designed to kill in an instant.

With a long, dark beard and huge dark eyes peering out from his dark blue turban, Singh implored his students to "Watch, watch" as he mock-felled one pupil after another in a dizzying display of ferocity.

"It's a battlefield art, so the idea is if you can defeat the enemy by sheer intimidation then all the better ... the art is very aggressive," he said. "The idea is to traumatise the people watching."

The warrior art of Shastar Vidya (weapon science) once practised by Sikhs in the Punjab, was banned by the ruling British, who were intimidated by the success, bravery and sheer aggression of the martial art. The blue turbans were forbidden and only a ceremonial form of the art was allowed in the Raj. The closely guarded secrets of the true form went underground.

Nidar Singh fears that unless he passes on his knowledge, learnt from a now-deceased previous master in India, the art form could be extinct in a few decades. He says Shastar Vidya also has practical uses in the modern world.

"On the one hand we are preserving heritage and traditions, on the other hand we are getting physically fit and mentally alert and learning self-defence as well," he said.

Younger students are not given the wooden sticks. They only learn defensive moves to help protect themselves rather than encouraging violence.

Nine-year-old Georgina Kelly said she's already used her new-found skills to fend off a bully at school.

"I used one of the moves on her, I didn't hurt her and it helped me, so she doesn't bully me any more. It's really fun and I learn a lot."

Harkaram Sroa, also 11, practises fancy footwork and how to form his fists so they are fight-ready. He said the classes have given him confidence.

"It helped me with my self defence and things like that and so I just started coming more and more and now I really enjoy it," Sroa said.

For the older pupils, learning India's lost art of war gives them a link to their cultural heritage.

"It's given me the link back to my traditions and the way my ancestors thought and how they fought, but beyond that it gives me a perspective into the deeper philosophy behind Sikhi," said Harninder Sanher using the Punjabi word for Sikh tradition.

He said the fighting aspect of the art form is only a small part of what appeals to him.

"A deeper aspect for me is all the philosophy behind it and that gives me that depth and that rich history that I can't seem to get from anywhere else."

Ironically Nidar Singh was only able to research the art banned by the British in Britain.

The former colonial rulers obsessively kept safe all the books and manuscripts, which are now held in the British Museum in London. That has enabled the more dedicated pupils to study the philosophy behind Shastar Vidya.

"It's all contextualised with ancient mythologies of India -- even as a British-born Asian I wasn't very familiar with those, so that's something I actually had to go away and do," said Gurpreet Dhillow.

Shastar Vidya has existed in the subcontinent for thousands of years, long before Sikhism emerged in the mid-16th century. Singh regards it as an art form that has been looked after by many different creeds and cultures. He sees the Sikhs as the latest custodians of the art.

He is passionate about preserving it for future generations.

"The last thing I want to do, under my watch now, is for it to go extinct. The grand master who taught me had the same desire. As an ancient art it enshrines a lot of wisdom and knowledge of the past masters, things which we will get nowhere else and it would be sad for us to now lose it all," he said.

Singh has recently established classes in Berlin and in America and plans to expand further around the world to ensure Shastar Vidya lives proud once again.

Georgina Cooper

with thanks : source :
http://in.news.yahoo.com/137/20090723/740/tnl-british-sikhs-revive-deadly-art-bann.html

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A Sikh web portal

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Happy Gurupurab - Lakh Lakh vadhaiyaan ji


Guru Har Krishan Sahib ji

Guru Harkrishan Sahib was born on Sawan Vadi 10, (8 Sawan), Bikrami Samvat 1713, (July 7, 1656) at Kiratpur Sahib. He was the second son of Guru Har Rai Sahib and Mata Krishan Kaur Ji (Sulakhni Ji). Ram Rai, the elder brother of Guru Harkrishan Sahib was ex-communicated and disinherited due to his anti-Guru Ghar activities, as stated earlier and Sri Harkrishan Sahib Ji at the age of about five years, was declared as Eighth Nanak Guru by his father Guru Har Rai Sahib before his death in 1661. This act inflamed Ram Rai Ji with jealousy and he complained to the emperor Aurangzeb against his father's decision. The emperor replied in flavor issuing orders through Raja Jai Singh to the young Guru to appear before him. Raja Jai Singh sent his emissary to Kiratpur Sahib to bring the Guru to Delhi. At first the Guru was not willing, but at the repeated requests of his followers and Raja Jai Singh, he agreed to go to Delhi.

At this occasion, a large number of devotees from every walk of life came to bid him farewell. They followed the Guru Sahib up to village Panjokhara near Ambala. From this place the Guru advised his followers to return to their respective homes. Then Guru Sahib, along with a few of his family members proceeded towards Delhi. But before leaving this place Guru Harkrishan Sahib showed the great powers which were bestowed upon him by the Almighty God. Pandit Lal Chand, a learned scholar of Hindu literature questioned Guru Sahib about the meanings of Gita. Then Guru Sahib called a water-carrier named Chhaju Ram, and with the Guru's grace, this unlettered man was able to expound the philosophy of the Gita. When Pandit Lal Chand listened the scholarly answer from Chhaju, he bent his head in shame and besought the forgiveness of Guru Sahib. Pandit Lal Chand became the Sikh and escorted the Guru Sahib up to Kurukashatra.

When Guru Sahib reached Delhi, he was greeted with great fervor and full honors by Raja Jai Singh and the Sikhs of Delhi. Guru Sahib was lodged in the palace of Raja Jai Singh. The people from all walks of life flocked the palace to have a glimpse (Darshan) of Guru Harkrishan Sahib. Some chronicles mention that prince Muzzam also paid a visit.

In order to test the Guru's intelligence, of which everyone spoke very highly, Raja Jai Singh requested the Guru Sahib to identify the real queen out of the equally and well dressed ladies surrounding Guru Sahib. The Guru at once went to a lady dressed as a maidservant and sat in her lap. This lady was the real queen. There are also many different stories we find in some other Sikh accounts relating to Guru Sahib's mental ability.

Within a short span of time Guru Harkrishan Sahib through his fraternization with the common masses gained more and more adherents in the capital. At the time, a swear epidemic of cholera and smallpox broke out in Delhi. The young Guru began to attend the sufferers irrespective of cast and creed. Particularly, the local Muslim population was much impressed with the purely humanitarian deeds of the Guru Sahib and nicknamed him Bala Pir (child prophet). Even Aurangzeb did not tried to disturb Guru Harkrishan Sahib sensing the tone of the situation but on the other hand never dismissed the claim of Ram Rai also.

While serving the suffering people from the epidemic day and night, Guru Sahib himself was seized with high fever. The swear attack of smallpox confined him to bed for several days. When his condition became serious, he called his mother and told her that his end was drawing near. When asked to name his successor, he merely exclaimed 'Baba Bakala'. These words were only meant for the future (Guru) Teg Bahadur Sahib, who was residing at village Bakala near river Beas in Punjab province.

In the last moment Guru Harkrishan Sahib wished that nobody should mourn him after his death and instructed to sing the hyms of Gurbani. Thus the 'Bala Pir' passed away on Chet Sudi 14,(3rd Vaisakh), Bikrami Samvat 1721, (30th March, 1664) slowly reciting the word "Waheguru" till the end. Tenth Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib paying tribute to Guru Harkrishan Sahib stated in "Var Sri Bhagoti Ji Ki"... "Let us think of the holy Harkrishan, Whose sight dispels all sorrows..."

with thanks : source : http://www.sgpc.net/gurus/guruharkrishan.asp

With best regards

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A sikh web portal

Sikh hip hop Queen approached by Pussycat dolls

Wed, Jul 22, 2009 8:23:15

The Sikh hip hop queen of India, Hard Kaur who is a pack of huge talent has proved it time and again!

The only female Sikh rapper has been approached by none other but the American pop girl group Pussycat Dolls to record a song with them.

The agent for Pussycat dolls wanted to get in touch with Hard Kaur as they liked her music and wanted to work with her.

Pussycat dolls wanted a break away in India and they wanted to do it through Hard Kaur as they felt she would do a great job and also she has huge fan following in the UK and India.

Says the talented hip hop queen “I have already sent Pussycat dolls the chorus I have written, which goes on like Move over, Hard Kaur is here”. She wants to add an Indian element in the song and hence intends to make them sing a line in Hindi. Because of Jhalak she could not shoot the video with them and regrets deeply for the delay.

Hard Kaur would go on a world tour starting from 23rd July and is planning to record the song at the same time in LA.Must say our Hip hop queen is in a lot of serious action and would make it really big in the industry.

with thanks : source : http://www.emgonline.co.uk/news.php?news=6483

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A Sikh web portal

Sikh woman handcuffed and humiliated by immigration officers

Wed, Jul 22, 2009 8:21:47

A Sikh couple has been traumatized by immigration officers during a raid on their business yesterday.

Harbans Kaur, 47 a cloth merchant claimed that she was humiliated by a group of Immigration officers who raided her shop at the Chowrasta Bazaar in Jalan Penang last week.

Harbans Kaur, said two officers handcuffed her in full view of the public after questioning her nationality during the 4.30pm raid on July 13.

"They asked where I was from and I told them that I am Malaysian, but they refused to believe me and asked for my identity card." Asia One has reported

Harbans obliged but was shocked when the two men proceeded to handcuff her.

"I protested and asked them to remove the handcuffs but they refused until my husband demanded they do so," she said when met at Datuk Keramat assemblyman Japdeep Singh's service centre.

Harbans' husband, Dalbeer Singh, said the officers did not produce their authority cards despite being asked.

"I am saddened by the incident as there was no reason why these officers should treat my wife that way when they were already told she is Malaysian," he said, adding that both her hands were swollen as a result of the officers' rough treatment., Asia One went on to report

Jagdeep said Harbans was now traumatised by the incident. He said police later sent a letter to her stating that her "case" was being referred to the magistrate's court.

"I will write to the state chief police officer for a review of the case as she clearly did not commit any crime."

An Immigration Department spokesman said the department would investigate the matter but refused to comment further.

with thanks : source : http://www.emgonline.co.uk/news.php?news=6481

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bollywood’s Kings & Singhs

Bollywood’s Kings & Singhs
JAYA DRONA , TNN 22 July 2009, 12:00am IST

What’s happened to Saif and his look isn’t a first. Akshay Kumar faced the ire of the Sikh community before Singh Is Kinng released, Saif Ali Khan More Pics
and so did Sunny Deol before Jo Bole So Nihaal.

After the Sikh community had demanded changes in the film Singh Is Kinng, Vipul Shah had reshot several scenes in Mumbai. He had said, “They wanted us to reshoot scenes where Akshay had a trimmed beard. We showed Akshay with a fully-grown beard, the sabot swarup at the end of the film.”

Gurbachan Singh Bachan, who was associated with the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) had said, “Vipul told us that it would be very difficult for him to reshoot the entire film. And we understood that it is a film meant to entertain the audience and not to hurt the sentiments of any religious community. So, we asked him to show Akshay going back to his roots at the end of the film wearing a proper beard and turban.”
And as if taking his cue from these controversies, producer and actor of the film Kisaan, Sohail Khan hired the services of Giani Singh, to help him portray the role of a sardar without making any room for controversies. He told us, “Giani Singh, who is aware of the dialect, gurbanis and the rules that the Sikh community was present with us on the sets all the time . We do not want to hurt the sentiments of a community.”

with thanks : source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4803279.cms

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Saif Ali Khan’s beard irks Sardar community


Saif Ali Khan potrays the role of Sardar in his upcoming flick Love Aaj Kal, however his trimmed beard has hurt the religious sentiments of Sardars.

Charan Singh, President of Punjabi Cultural and Heritage Board says, “We are objecting on the grounds that Saif is shown with a very trim beard. Sardars don’t wear this look. While Imtiaz represented the sardars in Jab We Met very well, why has he not done the same in Love Aaj Kal? We have sent a memorandum regarding this to Saif, Imtiaz Ali and Dinesh Vijan (co-producer of Love Aaj Kal).”

“We have also written to the Censor Board not to pass the film until the rectification has been made. Otherwise, the Censor Board will be responsible for the ire of the Sikh community.”
However Saif is confident that the issue will be sorted out, he says, To begin with, there is nothing to be offended about. In fact, when they see the film, they will be very proud of the way sardars have been depicted. This is the most authentic and romantic sardar ever.”

“No one has seen the film yet and so we have decided to show them the film in a couple of days. I am sure once that is done, there will be no problem at all. I understand that in our country we have to keep everyone’s cultural sensitivity in mind and not do anything to upset any community. They just want to be represented well and that is exactly what we have done. There will be no question of reshooting.”

Well, lets wait and watch then.

Source with thanks : http://www.bollynova.com/page/2

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sikh historian from New Zealand passes away

Tue, Jul 21 01:00 PM
Chandigarh, July 21 (IANS) The man from faraway New Zealand who came to Punjab in the 1950s as a Christian missionary but ended up being a globally-reputed historian on Sikhs has passed away. W.H. Mcleod, who dedicated over four decades of his life in researching Sikh history, died in Dunedin Monday night, his wife of 54 years, Margaret, informed friends here.

Mcleod, 77, the son of a sheep-farmer in New Zealand had come to Punjab, the north Indian border province that has a Sikh majority population, as a Christian missionary in 1958. Soon after settling down in Batala town, 40 km from Amritsar, Mcleod found his interest in Christianity waning and was drawn to Sikh history.

'Mcleod played a major role in establishing and popularising the academic study of Sikhism outside India. He leaves behind a body of work on Sikhism which will be a source of reference to the coming generations of Sikh scholars,' Roopinder Singh, author of 'Guru Nanak: his life and teachings' and a senior journalist, told IANS here.

Described by many as an 'unsung success story' who acquired 'global repute' with his work as a historian, Mcleod left New Zealand in 1958 to work as a missionary in northern Punjab. He taught Punjab history at Baring College in Batala town before his interest as a missionary started to fade.

Unimpressed with the existing studies at that time on the 10 Sikh Gurus, Mcleod got immersed in Sikh history and religion and even Punjabi, a language he learnt to speak with ease. He lost all interest and contact with the church as he pursued Sikh history.

'It (his death) is a huge loss to the Sikh community. He always added a fresh perspective to the development and history of the Sikhs as opposed to the traditional view of romanticising it overly,' said Punjab-based author of the book 'Sikhs Unlimited' Khushwant Singh.

Sikhism is one of the youngest religions in the world founded by Guru Nanak Dev (born 1469) in the 15th century. The religion had 10 gurus till the early 18th century. The 10th master, Guru Gobind Singh, ordained that after him the holy book of the Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib, would be the eternal guru.

Mcleod wrote several books, including 'Guru Nanak and Sikh Religion' (translated into Punjabi by Amritsar's Guru Nanak Dev University), 'The Evolution of Sikh Community', 'The Sikhs - History, Religion and Society', 'Sikhs of the Khalsa' and many others. He did his PhD on Sikh history from the University of London.

Some of his books and research came in for criticism from Sikh scholars but there were many who admired his tireless work on Sikhism.

'He became an international authority on the religion, perhaps the best known outside Punjab and India, and the man who has done more to introduce Sikhism to the world outside India than anyone else,' said I.J. Singh, an academic.

'It is because of a few writers, and Hew McLeod above all, that the world has any inkling of Sikhism as an independent religion, with a unique, universal and timeless world view. He brought Sikhism to Western academia,' Singh wrote Tuesday on an international website on Sikhs, www.sikhchic.com.

Jaideep Sarin

with thanks : source : http://in.news.yahoo.com/43/20090721/812/tnl-sikh-historian-from-new-zealand-pass.html

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Police appeal for Missing Sikh mom


The family of a missing Brampton woman is offering a reward for information leading to her whereabouts.

Poonam Litt was last seen Feb. 5, 2009 at 9 a.m. when she left her family home in the Bramalea road and Bovaird Drive area to go to work.

The 27-year-old, who is the mother of a young child, never arrived to work and hasn't been heard from since.

Litt's husband has helped raise $25,000 and Peel Regional police say it might help investigators generate new tips in the case.

Investigators say they are concerned about the woman's disappearance even though there are no signs of foul play. Poonam 5’4”, 130 lbs., with brown eyes and black, shoulder-length hair, Ms. Litt was last seen wearing a black coat and blue jeans.

"The circumstances surrounding Mrs. Litt's disappearance are disturbing," police said in a news release Wednesday.

"Investigators will not simply close this file," the release says. "Any and all investigative leads will be followed-up on."

A video of the woman has been posted on the file-sharing site You Tube in an English and Pujabi version.

Anyone with information is being asked to call detectives at (905) 453-2121 ext. 2133. Anonymous tips can be left with.

with thanks : http://www.emgonline.co.uk/news.php?news=6429

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SAD lodges protest over proposed turban ban in US schools

PTI
20.7.09

Chandigarh , July 20 The Shiromani Akali Dal today lodged a protest with the US against a bill prohibiting teachers from the Sikh community in Oregon State from wearing"religious dress"including turbans to public schools.

In a letter addressed to US Ambassador-designate Timothy Roemer, SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal said that he never expected such a move"from the oldest democracy of the world, that had heralded worldwide movement for personal and religious freedom".

Badal said that on a plea of broadening religious freedom, the bill passed by Oregon legislature and lying on the table of Oregon Governor for assent, would prohibit a teacher from wearing religious dress during performance of her duties.

The SAD President said that the Sikh community had always played a vital role in the progress of US in all fields including the education sector and the proposed law would lead to violation of human rights.

He warned that"singularly targeting Sikhs for this ban"would send a wrong message to the whole world.

Badal hoped that Roemer would apprise his government of the"hurt sentiments"of the Sikh community regarding the proposed ban and expected the federal government to take"necessary corrective measure to spare Sikhs from this blatant discrimination".

with thanks : http://www.indopia.in/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/628098/National/1/20/1

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Akal Takht asks Sikhs not to carry Guru Granth Sahib in hotels,restaurants

PTI 20.7.09

Amritsar: Jathedar Akal Takht (highest Sikh temporal seat) Gurbachan Singh in an edict issued from Akal Takht directed the Sikh community all over the world not to carry Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh religious and pious scripture) to hotels, restaurants and marriage palaces for any kind of function.

Singh said that most of the time, members of the Sikh community across the world take the copy of Guru Granth Sahib at marriage palaces to solemnized the marriage of Sikh couple as per the Sikh tenets but at the same time they remain failed to give due respect to Guru Granth Sahib, since Guru Granth Sahib was not mere the copy of religious scripture but also living Guru in Sikh community, even Supreme Court in a verdict issued had described Guru Granth Sahib as living Guru.

Singh said that whenever, Granth Saib is carried or shifted from one place to another place that required proper norms and presence of requisite baptized members of Sikh community and other customs.

Singh said that keeping in view the proper respect and care of living Guru (Guru Granth) all the Sikh community all over the world was directed to solemnized marriage functions in Sikh Gurdwaras (Sikh shrine) where Granth Sahib could be placed with due respect as per the Sikh rituals.

Singh said that in marriage palaces and restaurants, it was not possible to give proper respect and care to Guru Granth Sahib, since most of the time non vegan items were cooked which could never be done as per Sikh customs and people forget to remove their foot wears during the wedding occasion in the presence of Granth Sahib.

with thanks : http://www.mynews.in/fullstory.aspx?storyid=22147

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Business deal causes dispute between local Sikhs


By Sabrina Rodriguez, Eyewitness News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Emotions ran high outside the Guru Nanak Mission of Bakersfield Sunday morning. The Mission is one of four Sikh temples in Bakersfield.

"There's a lot of people over there that as soon as we get in (to the temple) there's going to be a melee and none of us want that," said Mission member Ajaib Gill.

On the "other-side" was Buck Dhesi, who explained why they were there. "We are here to pray at our temple. We've been praying here since 1992. They're trying to bar us," accused Dhesi.

Turns out, it's not a difference in religion or culture that's dividing these groups. "(We) are same the people," said Dhesi. "Punjabi, Sikhs, (we) belong to same religion."

The reason for the dispute appears to be political.

According to long time Bakersfield resident and Sikh Gurcharam Dhillon, two years ago, two of Bakersfield's Sikh temples, Guru Nanak Mission and Sikh Center on Planz Road, got the idea to combine their limited resources and merge into one group. "Thought was what (can we) do together for the benefit of this community. Maybe we can combine these two corporations, " explained Dhillon. "We know each other, we trust each other, we can pray together."

But Dhillon says some people didn't like the merger and that's why the disagreement began. He says a lawsuit has been filed to decide if the merger should stay.

For the most part, the disagreement has been peaceful; but that changed about a month ago when both sides started fighting with each other. According to Dhillon, the violence has been getting worse each week. It not known how bad the violence will get, but both sides agree it needs to stop.

"It hurts," Gill said about the growing conflict and how it's dividing their congregation. "If they want to come back and be a part of this temple I would love it," he said. "Come back and make things the way they were."

Dhillon adds that conflicts should not start at a temple, "That's a place people go to have peace of mind. That's where you go and pray. You don't go there with the intention to fight."

He also says there's another reason for the fighting to stop. "It's not a good image for Sikh community."

Both groups say they will let the court decide whether or not the merger stays in effect, but it's not known the lawsuit will be settled.

with thanks : source : http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/51207037.html

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

How to portray Sikhs : Open letter to SGPC & DSGMC


SikhsIndia
19th July, 2009

How to portray Sikhs : Open letter to SGPC & DSGMC
We are really pleased to find the Sikh characters entering into the main stream of Bollywood. It's definitely a positive sign for the community as more & more Bollywood stars are willingly playing the Sikh characters in Indian movies & TV serials.

Sikhism is a most modern, advanced and open minded religion, but with few complexities. Panj kakkars especially the Beards & Turban are the marks of identification of a Sikh. Though like any other religion, Sikhism also has black sheeps, but it does not make any significant effect on the term called Sikhism.

Therefore, if the Bollywood concentrates on those black sheeps & portrays the Sikhs as Trimmers, it’s definitely going to hurt the sentiments of the sikh masses. Bollywood must keep restrain from these trends as being emerged now a days and must portray Sikhs with Full beards, turban and so on in the best possible manner. Another trend being shown on TV channels is of showing the Father with full turban & beards but the son as cut sird with no turban, no beards.Even some Advertisements on TV show the same trends for example KHOTA HAI PAR POTA HAI. Even some of the prominent Punjabi singers who don’t have beard or Turban, use the Khanda just to portray themselves as a Sikh. Just can’t understand that if those singers could not maintain the Saroop given by Guru Gobind Singh ji, why they still show interest in depicting themselves as a sikh.

Therefore, with this open letter to the president Shiromani gurdwara parbandhak committee as well president Delhi sikh gurdwara management committee, we hereby request to make the norms & guidelines to be followed by all the production houses of Bollywood or elsewhere so that there is no controversy as was visible on the release of BOLE SO NIHAL, SINGH IS KING and many others.

with Best regards

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‘How to portray a Sikh? Ask us’

‘How to portray a Sikh? Ask us’
ROSHNI K OLIVERA , TNN 18 July 2009, 12:11am IST


There are a number of films in Bollywood these days where heroes are playing Sikhs. Saif Ali Khan will be seen playing a Sikh in his forthcoming movie, so will Ranbir Kapoor.

But, there’s resistance coming in from the Sikh community. The Punjabi Cultural and Heritage Board is upset with the “stereotyped offensive Sikh images in Bollywood movies” and they’ve approached the Censor Board.

Says president Charan Singh Sapra, “We are representing the views and opinions of all Sikh individuals and organisations that are upset over the continuing demeaning portrayal of the Sikh character in Hindi cinema. The role of Bollywood in stereotyping Sikhs invariably touches the wrong nerve. It has been seen in various movies like Raja Hindustani, Jo Bole So Nihaal, Singh Is Kinng, Paying Guest. We have submitted a memorandum to the censor board and asked them to ensure that Sikhs are not wrongly represented in films.”

If a script demands a character to be a Sikh, then the community is more than willing to help filmmakers, Sapra adds. “We will guide them exactly how to portray a Sikh. Thus, they won’t end up hurting sentiments. In fact, our religious body in Dadar, Guru Singh Sabha, has a couple of people who have been specially assigned the task of guiding other community people who would like to know more about the religion. Filmmakers can take guidelines from our organisation. It will be a voluntary service by us.”

with thanks : source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ENTERTAINMENT-Bollywood-News-Interviews-How-to-portray-a-Sikh-Ask-us/articleshow/4788959.cms

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Just view this & enjoy - 111



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Just view this & enjoy - 11



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Just view this & enjoy



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Blow to Sikhs: European court upholds French turban ban

Blow to Sikhs: European court upholds French turban ban
I P Singh, TNN 18 July 2009, 04:03am IST

JALANDHAR: In a major blow to Sikhs in Europe, European Court of Human Rights has upheld French ban on turban by dismissing the first petition filed against it. France had passed a law in 2004, prohibiting religious symbols in schools.

The judgment, which came close on the heels of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh raising the issue with French president Nicolas Sarkozy, was communicated to the lawyers of NGO United Sikhs, who had filed the petition on behalf of Jasvir Singh, on Thursday. It does not require France to respond to Jasvir's legal arguments.

Last December, the NGO had filed another petition before the United Nations Human Rights Committee on behalf of Bikramjit Singh, who was expelled from school along with Jasvir Singh when they refused to remove their turbans. France has filed a response to Bikramjit's claim.

with thanks : source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4791396.cms

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Sikh organisation unhappy with 'Adil Ray Show'


Sikh organisation unhappy with 'Adil Ray Show'
Jul 17, 2009 08:14 AM

The Network of Sikh Organisations (NSO) Media Monitoring Group has expressed concern about output on the 'Adil Ray Show' on the BBC Asian Network.

In the programme aired on Wednesday this week (15th July), the stand-in presenter, Tommy Sandhu (pictured) shared that he was growing a beard for his wedding.

The verbatim then led him to a 'Dhari room' (beard room) in the 'big baba house' (Big Brother house) to get advice on his itchy beard from 'big baba' (Big Brother). He was exhorted by 'big baba' to maintain his traditional Dhari with turban, even though he explained that it was uncomfortable, itchy and that he felt like he was 'in disguise' and not like 'the real me'.

The Secretary of the media monitoring group expressed concern over the content of the broadcast. "It is vital that BBC Asian Network maintain their sense of humour, however not at the expense of indirectly mocking traditions where turbans and beards are sacred, such as Sikhism."

He added, "We are disappointed with the utter disregard to sensitivities of the community and really hope BBC Asian Network refrain from such toilet humour in the future."

This affair represents an unfortunate example of media misrepresentation of people that adhere to the obvious symbols of the Sikh faith.

This follows on from recent concerns expressed by the media monitoring group on religious output by the BBC in both television programming and exclusion of Sikhs on the issue of faith leadership on a flagship Radio programme earlier this year. A number of MP's have also expressed their desire to rectify the imbalance in religious television programming to allow for proportionate coverage on Sikhism.

with thanks : source : http://media247.co.uk/bizasia/newsarchive/2009/07/sikh_organisati.php

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“White Sikhs” - foreigners who found faith in Sikhism

“White Sikhs” - foreigners who found faith in Sikhism
16 July, 2009, 22:29

Sword-carrying Sikhs roaming the Indian city of Amritsar are a normal sight; but white people wearing turbans definitely are not. The strangeness lies in the fact that they are non-Indians who converted to Sikhism.

Most of them attend the Miri Piri Academy (MPA), an International boarding school in Amritsar where foreigners who converted to Sikhism leave their children to immerse themselves in the religion. And don’t let the teacher’s name, Mahan Atma Kaur, mislead you. She is Svetlana, a Russian-American national who has been teaching there for two years.

Read more

The 34-year-old white Sikh converted in 2004 and changed her name to Mahan Atma, which means “greatest soul” in the Indian language.

Why? “It feels to me that I did not 'choose' to be a Sikh. We all are Sikhs, as 'seekers of the truth'. As soon as I felt my heart’s yearning for the guru’s word, I knew it was my path. It is my life,” Mahan told RTV during an interview.

The current student body represents 13 countries and 8 languages from various countries in Asia, Europe and America.

Although Sikhism does not have missionaries around the world, more white people are converting to Sikhism in the 21st century. Sikhism as a faith has never actively sought converts, thus the Sikhs have remained a relatively homogeneous racial group.

Why Sikhism?

After the September 11 attacks, some people associated Sikhs with terrorists or members of the Taliban. Research suggests there has been an increase in hate-crimes against Sikh men in America and England. Still, there has been an increase in the number of foreigners who convert to Sikhism. Why?
Gurusewak Singh Khalsa, who was born to parents of American/European descent, told RTV via email, “Some might say Sikhism is a strict religion. At first glance this makes sense – physically, men have beards, wear turbans and kirpans (knives), and women don't cut their hair.”

“But once one sees past the physical I have found that there is a lot more openness, freedom, and acceptance in the Sikh teachings compared to other religions,” he added.

Amrit Kaur does not look like a Punjabi in any way, but practices Sikhism. Born in Toronto, Canada, her mother was an atheist and her father was Catholic.

“I researched many religions and practiced different ones… but nothing 'belonged' to me. It wasn't until the summer of 2004, when I first met a Sikh, that I learned about the existence of Sikhism,” she writes in her blog ( amritkaur.blogspot.com).

We talked to Dana Singh, who calls herself "gora (white) Sikh" and is dedicated to the cause of Sikhism. Born in Latvia (former USSR), she met her Sikh husband in Ireland, and he introduced her to his culture and religion. Though she has not formally converted to Sikhism, she still considers herself a Sikh.

“Earlier I had never heard about Sikhism and wasn't aware that this is the fifth largest religion in the world. We married in Amritsar in a traditional ceremony. It was so different from European weddings – like a fairy tale,” she revealed in an interview.

Ask her why she chose to live her life as a Sikh and she replies, “I didn't convert formally but just live and learn everyday more and more about Sikhism.”

Conversion Through Kundalini Yoga

Due to the activities of Harbhajan Singh Yogi via his Kundalini Yoga, which focuses on 3HO (Happy, Healthy, Holy) Organization, Sikhism has witnessed a moderate growth in non-Indian adherents.

It was estimated that in 1998, these 3HO Sikhs, known colloquially as “gora” or “white” Sikhs, totalled 7,800 members, and were mainly centered around EspaƱola, New Mexico and Los Angeles, California.
Most foreigners turn to Sikhism through an indirect route of Kundalani Yoga from Harbhajan Singh Khalsa, better known as Yogi Bhajan, a renowned Sikh yoga teacher who came to America in the late 1960s, and died in 2004.

After the death of Yogi Bhajan, the U.S. Congress passed a bipartisan resolution honoring his life and work, thus equating his life with a select few – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa, and Pope John Paul II.

Like her teacher Yogi Bhajan, Mahan Atma Kaur, a psychology major from St.-Petersburg State University in Russia, also teaches Kundalini yoga. “I decided to move to the U.S. and came in contact with Yogi Bhajan. As I started my daily Kundalini Yoga practice, I found an experience of God within me; it has enriched my life and opened my heart.”

Ask Mahan how her family reacted to her “transition” and she says that her mother was “very supportive and said ‘I don't understand what it is, but whatever it is you do, it makes you great! You are as clear and pure as crystal!’"

The most obvious effect of Kundalani Yoga can be seen in Espanola, New Mexico, where Yogi Harbhajan Singh lived. There are about 50 yoga centres in the state of New Mexico, and a number of people have converted to Sikhism.

Conversion

The views on conversion from one religion to another are varied. Brij Bedi, a social activist from Amritsar and a descendant of Guru Nanak Dev (the Sikhs' first guru), said in a telephone interview, “Be it Islam, Christianity, Hinduism or Sikhism, all religions teach the same principles of equality, non-violence, faith, selflessness and love towards humanity.”
Ethelred, a member at a public forum (stormfront.org) writes, “Most people convert because they're told to be ashamed of their own culture and history. All I know is I'd die before converting to either.”

Matt Borghese, a content writer based in Florida, said in a telephone interview that the “third world religions are catching on in the first world. Who would have thought it? That is a growing trend in the U.S. I see white guys in Sikh turbans all the time.”

“One I saw over the weekend had a white turban and bright red beard. I don't see the appeal in those two religions myself,” he added.

Famous White Sikhs In History

Historically, the phenomenon of conversion of whites to Sikhism is centuries old. Max Arthur Macauliffe (1841-1913), a senior British administrator who was posted to India during the British rule of Punjab, converted to Sikhism in the 1860s. As a prolific scholar and author, Macauliffe is held in high esteem among the Sikh community, in particular the intelligentsia, for his monumental translation into English of the Sikh Scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib.

In more recent times, earlier examples of conversion includes Vic Briggs, a 64-year-old London resident and former blues musician (The Animals). He converted and took the name Vikram Singh Khalsa. Later, he became the first non-subcontinental to perform religious chants at the Golden Temple.

Dr. Lonnie Smith, a 67-year-old New York resident, is a jazz musician, recognized as an exceptional player of both the Hammond B3 organ and piano, also converted to Sikhism but did not change his name.

Nidhi Sharma for RT

with thanks : source : http://www.russiatoday.com/Top_News/2009-07-16/_White_Sikhs__-_foreigners_who_found_faith_in_Sikhism.html/print

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Sarkozy assures PM no ban on Sikh turbans

Sarkozy assures PM no ban on Sikh turbans
IANS 16 July 2009, 09:40pm IST

SHARM-EL-SHEIKH (Egypt): French President Nicolas Sarkozy has assured Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that there is no ban on Sikhs wearing

Sarkozy's assurance came after Manmohan Singh handed over to him a 'non-official' memo two days ago in Paris, official sources said here on Thursday.

France is considering a bill to ban wearing of any religious symbols in the state schools.

The country's 6,000-strong Sikh community in France has been up in arms against the proposed legislation, saying that turban is not a religious symbol but an integral part of their life.

with thanks : source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS-World-Indians-Abroad-Sarkozy-assures-PM-no-ban-on-Sikh-turbans/articleshow/4786457.cms

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sikh students : Last date for getting benefit from Delhi Govt is 26th July, 2009

Sikh students in Delhi can get the fees back from Delhi Govt., in case they meet certain conditions. Last date to avail this benefit is 26th July, 2009. If you know about this scheme, please hurry up. If you wanna get the complete brouchure, please mail us your valid E Mail ID immediately. You can mail us your E Mail Id by clicking on the link below to fill the FEED BACK FORM : http://www.sohnijodi.com/membership.htm

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Sikh Captain Court Marshaled for false allegations of sexual harassment

Wed, Jul 15, 2009 9:56:43
Sikh Captain Court Marshaled for false allegations of sexual harassment


Captain Poonam Kaur claimed she had been sexually harassed, her allegations have resulted in her dismissal form the Indian army

An Army General Court Martial (GCM) on Saturday dismissed of the Army Service Corps (ASC) of Captain Poonam Kaur

The GCM, conducted at 5-Armoured Regiment in Patiala, indicted Capt Kaur on several other counts as well, including disobeying the orders of her Commanding Officer (CO), for providing false information to get married accommodation in Kalka and for addressing the media to discuss her service matters in contravention of Army rules, Indian Express has reported

Kaur was, however, acquitted of the charge of “having an unbecoming conduct and character” and with regard to allegations of her having physical relations with her former driver Sepoy Sunil Kumar.

Capt Poonam Kaur of ASC had, during her Kalka posting (beginning in October 2007), charged her Commanding Officer Colonel R K Sharma, besides two other officers Lt Col Ajay Chawla and Major Suraj Bhan with physically and mentally harassing her after she turned down their physical advances. A Court of Inquiry subsequently set up by the Army had found Capt Kaur guilty on 20 counts last July. A General Court Martial was later held in Patiala, where Capt Kaur was attached with the 5 Armoured Regiment, Indian Express went on to report.

with thanks : source : http://www.emgonline.co.uk/news.php?news=6323

SikhsIndia
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Sikhs protest school exemption in Oregon religious freedom bill

by Harry Esteve, The Oregonian Wednesday July 15, 2009, 8:41 PM
A bill passed by the Oregon Legislature that broadens religious freedom in the workplace has prompted protests by some faith leaders because it exempts schools.

The bill requires employers to allow workers to wear certain clothing, grow beards and take certain days off to observe their religious practices. But it specifically carves out school districts in Oregon, one of two states that expressly forbid teachers from wearing religious clothing.

The exemption drew the ire of some groups, especially Sikhs, whose members wear turbans and other distinctive clothes -- and have been barred from teaching in Oregon as a result.

The new law "fails in its essence if it doesn't honestly and comprehensively provide religious freedom for all Oregonians," said Rajdeep Singh Jolly, law director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund in Washington, D.C.

"It smacks of irony," Jolly said of the bill, which was hailed by legislative leaders as improving the climate for diverse religions in Oregon. "It takes two steps forward and 10 steps back."

The bill, titled the Oregon Workplace Religious Freedom Act, grants workers wide religious leeway as long as the activity, clothing or other practices don't cause an undue hardship on the employer. Religious organizations typically applaud such measures.

But the school exemption has highlighted what some think is a glaring hole in Oregon's efforts to expand religious freedoms.

"It seems like it would apply to a Muslim woman wearing a hijab or a Jew wearing a yarmulke," said Richard Foltin, director of national and legislative affairs for the American Jewish Committee in Washington, D.C. "We're especially concerned about that."

Oregon has had a law on the books for decades that states, "No teacher in any public school shall wear any religious dress while engaged in the performance of duties as a teacher." Pennsylvania has a similar law.

Oregon's law was tested in the 1980s, when a Sikh teacher was suspended from her job as a Eugene special-education teacher for wearing a white turban and white clothes to class. The case went to the Oregon Supreme Court, which upheld the suspension. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

"The underlying policy reflects the unique position that teachers occupy," said Jake Weigler, spokesman for the state Department of Education. "In this case, the concern that a public school teacher would be imparting religious values to their students outweighs that teacher's right to free expression."

Sikhs tend to stand out in such cases because the religion requires members to wear turbans, said Hari Nam Singh Khalsa, a Portland attorney who said a judge once told him to remove his "hat" or leave the courtroom. After a discussion in the judge's chamber, the matter never came up again.

Khalsa said he understands that schools present a tricky problem because of the clash between freedom of expression and church-state separation.

But, he said, "It's hard for me to imagine that just because somebody is wearing something that is required by their religion that this is in any way suggestive to students of an endorsement of the religion."

Jolly, the Sikh legal fund representative, has written a letter to Gov. Ted Kulongoski urging a veto of the bill. A spokeswoman for Kulongoski said the governor expects to sign the bill because vetoing it would not change Oregon's law prohibiting teachers from wearing religious garb.

Yet even the bill's strongest champion, House Speaker Dave Hunt, D-Gladstone, admits it falls short. He said he offered a similar bill in 2007 that would have allowed teachers to wear religious clothing, but it didn't pass.

"I think all Oregon workers should have the right to freely exercise their religion and do their job," Hunt said. But the bill didn't have the votes to pass without the exclusion for teachers, he said.

"It was one of those legislative compromises you do."

with thanks : source : http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2009/07/school_exemption_in_religious.html

SikhsIndia
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sikh women celebrate Teeyan and Jago


Tue, Jul 14, 2009 11:00:33

Hundreds of excited clamorous women met to celebrate the age old culture of Teeyan at Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College in Chigwell Essex.

The event was organised by the Sikh Women's Alliance's successfully for the third year, aiming to promote traditional village singing and women getting together to celebrate and have a fun day.

Teeyan is a traditional panjabi event where women come together to celebrate the beginning of the monsoon season. Teeyan is about happiness, prosperity and well-being.

In today's 21st century, women still living in patriarchal society face many problems to do with alcohol abuse, mental illnesses, family breakdowns, depression, divorce, female foeticide, demand for expensive weddings and dowry and the list goes on.

One of the main aims of this event, organised by Sikh Women's Alliance and Ekta Project to empower and inspire women to see themselves as equal and important, and not be made into an inferior gender through age old cultural customs and superstitions.

Over 200 women attended with many stalls selling jewellery, clothes, shawls and food was plentiful for all, with demands for more such events in towns all over UK.

Women themselves spontaneously got up and sang old traditional poetry, passing on their skills to the younger generation.

Original rap music was started originally in the villages of Panjab, but with
the modern bhangra tunes, this tradition has been forgotten whereby you make your own music and poetry and banter with each another about issues and have a laugh.

By Councillor Balvinder Saund
Chairperson
Sikh Women's Alliance UK

with thanks : source : http://www.emgonline.co.uk/news.php?news=6280

SikhsIndia
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A Sikh web portal

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rs.200 mn-worth 'desi ghee' order to Milkfed for SGPC gurdwaras

2009-07-12 15:31:00

Punjab-based milk products supplier Milkfed will supply its Verka brand desi ghee (clarified butter) worth Rs.200 million (Rs.20 crore) to Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) run gurdwaras (Sikh temples). The ghee is used for preparing 'kada prasad' and 'langar' served in community kitchens.

The SGPC has signed an agreement in this regard with the semi-government Milkfed, officials said Sunday.

'Milkfed has been supplying ghee to SGPC gurdwaras for the last two decades. The order last year (2008-09) was for Rs.12 crore (Rs.120 mn). The enhanced order is acknowledgement of our consistent quality,' Milkfed managing director V.K. Singh said.

Singh said that Verka ghee was very popular in Punjab and neighbouring states like Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir.

He said that Milkfed products had captured substantial market share in countries like the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Oman, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea and Malaysia.

Singh said that export of desi ghee to these countries during the year 2008-09 was worth Rs.160 million (Rs.16 crore), an increase of 20 per cent compared to the previous year. He added that despite global recession, Milkfed was set to increase its ghee export to Rs.180 million (Rs.18 crore) this year.

with thanks : source : http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?a=jhmp54igabh&title=Rs_200_mn_worth_desi_ghee_order_to_Milkfed_for_SGPC_gurdwaras

BBC suspends Brit Sikh star over sex pest claims

July 12th, 2009

LONDON - The BBC has suspended Brit Sikh Hardeep Singh Kohli, the star of the One Show, after he was accused of sexually pestering a female researcher.

According to reports, furious Beeb bosses have axed the comedian from his roving reporter role on the show for six months.

The female researcher lodged her complaint about Harpreet’s behaviour two months ago.

Kohli, 39, who had been regarded as one of the BBC’s rising stars, was hauled in front of bosses who demanded that he apologise to the woman.

A spokeswoman confirmed his removal from the BBC1 show yesterday.

She said: “The producers of The One Show received a complaint regarding Hardeep’s behaviour towards a production colleague. Hardeep was reprimanded and immediately apologised.

“He agreed to take some time away from the show to reflect on his behaviour. This leave of absence has been agreed to be six months.”

The One Show, hosted by Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley, has become one of the BBC’s flagship magazine programs, regularly pulling in six million viewers a night.

Kohli - instantly recognisable by his brightly-coloured turbans - had become one of its main attractions.

The Glasgow-born star has appeared in a number of other high-profile shows, most recently a two-part special called Famous, Rich and Homeless, where he lived on the streets for three nights to experience the life of a down and out.

Kohli - who has a 16-year-old daughter and a son, 11 - had a messy split from wife Sharmila two years ago and moved out of the family home in North London into a trendy loft apartment in the centre of the city.

Kohli’s ban only applies to The One Show and not other BBC programs, the corporation said last night. (ANI)

with thanks : source : http://silverscorpio.com/bbc-suspends-brit-sikh-star-over-sex-pest-claims/

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A sikh web portal

Sunday, July 12, 2009

But why don't you wear a turban ?



Yes, I wear Turban.
Yes, i wear turban because I am a Sikh.
Yes, i wear turban because I am proud of being a Sikh.


But why don't you wear a TURBAN ?
Why you trim your beard ?
Why you wear a cap instead of Dastar ?
Just think again.


SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A Sikh web portal

Pay hike unjustified.Punjab MLAs need to practice austerity

Pay hike unjustified
Punjab MLAs need to practice austerity

AT a time when Punjab’s finances are in doldrums, the manner in which its legislators, cutting across party lines, have joined together to get their pay and perks enhanced is regrettable. Clearly, if the MLAs’ pay and perks are increased, it will be a drain on the state exchequer. Their argument that instead of reimbursement of their telephone bills, conveyance and other expenditure, they should be paid in cash as part of their salaries is also flawed and should not be entertained. Equally unsustainable is their demand for pay revision in the context of the state government’s decision to implement the Pay Commission’s recommendations for its employees.

Punjab’s legislators are a pampered lot in terms of the perks and allowances they enjoy. Yet, they are unhappy and ask for more. Shockingly, the government pays even their income-tax. This amounts to squandering tax-payers’ money. It is surprising that Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal stands isolated on the issue of revision of pay and his appeal for scrapping subsidies has fallen on deaf ears.

What makes matters worse is the role of the officials. It is common knowledge how Punjab boasts of a bloated bureaucracy and a top-heavy police force. It is as if the legislators and officials have ganged up at the exchequer’s cost. If the powers-that-be are interested to stem the rot, streamline governance and work for general well-being, they need to put service before themselves. The government spends heavily on salaries, pensions and loan repayments. Consequently, it has hardly anything left for development. The legislators would do well to strive for generating more revenue instead of appropriating the scarce resources for their own benefit.

with thanks : source : http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090711/edit.htm#2

SikhsIndia
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A sikh web portal

Sikh route to Italy’s cheese empire

TRIENT, ITALY: Far away from the lassi kingdom of Punjab,Indian Sikhs are doing Chak
de Phatte in the province of parmesan.In Italy’s central Emilia- Romagna region,home to the famous cheese, cattlesheds that produce milk for parmesan are managed by Indians,mainly from the 30,000-strong Sikh community.So the joke goes among Italian parmesan makers: “If Sikh workers go on strike, Italy will not produce parmesan.”
Not a chance, their admirers retort. “Sikhs are good,honest guys, they work really
hard without complaining,”said a policeman based in Reggio Emilia, a wealthy city
in Emilia-Romagna, declining to be named as he is not allowed to speak to the media.
“They don’t drink, don’t quarrel,it’s like they don’t exist.” With its abundance of water,endless fields, farms and cattlesheds,Emilia-Romagna is,in a sense, he ‘Punjab of Italy’.And it is famous for its gastronomic specialities, strong socialist sympathies and racing cars — its home to legends like Ferrari, Maserati,
Lamborghini and Ducati.“I’ve been in Italy since 1992.I work very hard, but it’s good
here,” said a 40-year-old man from Punjab’s Sangrur town.“I’m well-paid, and on Sunday I watch football on TV. I’m a supporter of Juventus.” Alongside football, faith is alive too. A nearby town has the second biggest gurudwara of Europe, Gurudwara Singh Sabha, opened in 2000 in the presence of Romano Prodi,then President of the EU. And Emilia-Romagna’s parks often have Sikh children playing cricket, a little-known sport in Italy.But young Italians don’t want to sweat in the farms
and dairies. “Milking cows?” said a young woman in Italian. “No man, it’s a job for immigrants.”

with thanks : source : http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/world/25784-sikh-route-italy-s-cheese-empire.html

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A sikh web portal

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dr. Ravinder singh Bajaj is now a contributor to sikh blog SIKHSINDIA


SikhsIndia
11th July, 2009

We are pleased to inform that Dr.Ravindar Singh Bajaj, Consultant Paediatrician, is now a contributor to our Sikh Blog : SikhsIndia.

Thanks

SikhsIndia
www.sohnijodi.com
A Sikh web portal

An endearing look at Sikhs everywhere


Shubha Singh, Indo-Asian News Service
Book: Sikhs Unlimited
Author: Khushwant Singh
Price: Rs 495;
Publisher: Rupa

Did Chandigarh lose out to Bangalore as the e-capital of India due to then prime minister PV Narasimha Rao's insistence that since Punjab had the benefit of the Green Revolution the next revolution should go to a southern state?

According to Gurujot Singh Khalsa, one of the pioneers of the off-shoring and back office processing business in India, he started his initial venture in northern India, but real time data transfer between India and the United States could begin only after the first satellite earth station was set up in Bangalore in December 1993.

Khalsa's HealthScribe company was the first commercial subscriber to use its facilities for data transfer. Later, his other company First Ring became the first to do voice transfers, which set off the trend for the call centre business.

This anecdote is related in a book titled Sikhs Unlimited, and Gurujot Khalsa is one of the Sikhs profiled in the book. Punjab lost out to Bangalore as even the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee did not take seriously Khalsa's proposal to jointly set up an earth station in Mohali in 1991, according to him.

The book maps the lives of Sikhs living aboard, celebrating the achievements of the Sikh diaspora that has excelled in diverse fields - from the arts to theatre to entrepreneurship.

The author of the book, Khushwant Singh chose to spend time with his subjects, living in their homes to be able to draw personalised portraits of each of them. The author's style is simple and readable. The book is written as a part travelogue, but it is the portraits of individuals that are interesting rather than the author's own journeys.

He has selected an interesting group of people to write on - they are not just the usual bunch of non-resident celebrities.

The portraits include entertainers like the standup comedian Sodhy Singh Kahlon of the Britain-based comedy troupe called Funjabis; Channi Singh, the King of Bhangra Pop and painters like the twin sisters, Amrit and Rabindra KD Singh, who have adapted the miniature style of paintings to depict contemporary themes.

Fauja Singh began running as a way to fight depression, and now the 92-year old marathon runner is a worldwide icon. He starred in Adidas' Impossible is Nothing campaign in 2004, and has beaten his own record at every new marathon.

Not so well known in India is Harvinder Singh Sahota who invented the Sahota Perfusion Balloon that is used in angioplasty surgeries all over the world. Chirinjeev Singh Kathuria has the knack of floating companies that become huge successes. His company Planetspace plans to send tourists into outer space.

The book brings out the irony of Sikhs wearing turbans being targeted after the 9/11 terrorist strikes, when one of America's largest private security firms Akal Security is owned by a Sikh. Guruteg Singh Khalsa's Akal Security provides security to American airports, court houses, harbours and major corporate offices.

The author has done his homework well to portray engaging personalities and little known facts.

with thanks : source : http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?id=8648fcf0-08c8-4470-80ee-277bc7f48825

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