Monday, February 28, 2011

Sikh TV's 21-year old owner found murdered

One of the owners of Sikh TV, Gagandip Singh, 21 has been murdered, with his body found in the boot of a car which had been set alight in what is understood to be revenge for his attempts to seduce a woman. 

The Telegraph reports that neighbours have linked this tragedy to the murder of his father, Charanjit Singh, who died in a contract killing in India two years ago. However, police are still investigating and are not linking the two murders together. 

Gagandip's body was found in a burning car on the edge of Greenwich Park on Saturday morning at 02:00. Gagandip suffered severe head injuries but do not know what caused his death. Post mortem results on his remains proved inconclusive and detectives are awaiting the outcome of further tests. Police have yet to determine whether he was still alive when the car was set on fire. 

with thanks : media247 : link above for detailed news.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

National Seminar on Baba Banda Singh Bahadur

Two days National Seminar on Life,Times and Achievements of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur was held in Sri Guru Nanak Dev Khalsa College ,University of Delhi,Dev Nagar on 25th & 26th February 2011.It was sponsored by U.G.C. and Punjabi Academy ,Delhi.

Famous Sikh Historian Prof.J S Grewal ( former Vice Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar) inaugurated the Seminar.S.Bhupinder Singh Chadha (Chairman) also graced the occasion with his presence along with many other famous historians & research scholars who presented their well-researched paper.
The credit to organise this rewarding and fruitful seminar goes to Principal- Dr.Man Mohan Kaur

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cop who forgot it all

CHANDIGARH: The SHO whose area witnessed the alleged killings of Sikhs in Rewari district of Haryana in 1984 has now become SP, but has forgotten details of the macabre incident.

Talking to The Times of India over phone from Sularia battalion of India Reserve Battalion (IRB) in Rohtak district, the then SHO of the Jatusana police station, Ram Kishore said, "He was away to Narnaul when the incident happened on November 2, 1984."

The only other thing he could remember was it was a "big incident." The police officer said the incident had taken place 27 years back and he was even going to retire next month. "Because of such a long duration, I have forgotten details and action in the case," he said.

When asked what has he got to say about the disappearance of the FIR number 91 of November 3 that recorded the carnage of Sikh families in Hondh Chiller, 13km from Rewari, Ram Kishore said, "Mujhe kuchh yaad nahin hai (I don`t remember anything)." 

with thanks: Times of India : link above for detailed news.

Bir Devinder questions silence of minorities minister, NCM, NHRC on Hondh

JALANDHAR: Former deputy speaker of Punjab assembly, Bir Devinder Singh, has questioned the silence of Union minister for minorities, Salman Khurshid, National Commission for Minorities and National Human Rights Commission over the issue of massacre of Sikhs in Hondh Chillar village of Haryana in November 1984.

"When would they wake up to take suo-moto cognizance of the matter,`` he asked, adding, "Minorities in India do not mean only Muslims and Christians. Sikhs also constitute an important minority in India and their concerns should also be addressed with the same swiftness as is done in the case of other minorities."

He added, "I wonder why Khurshid has not cared, so far to take cognizance of the horrendous incident even after a lapse of 26 years. The massacre has come to light and appeared prominently in the print media all over India but despite that, even the National Commission for Minorities has failed to take any significant initiative in the matter." 

with thanks : Times of India : link above for detailed news.

27 years later, preliminary probe conducted

REWARI: 27 years after the carnage in which around 32 persons of Sikh families were killed by a mob, the Gurgaon divisional commissioner visited Hondh Chillar for preliminary inquiry into the incident.

The Haryana government had sought preliminary report about the incident from the commissioner two days ago. Divisional commissioner TK Sharma was accompanied by Rewari deputy commissioner Ajit Joshi and other officials from the revenue department on Thursday.

A Sikh body has dug out the horrific details of the massacre recently stating that a mob had completely wiped out a helmet of Sikhs adjoining the Chillar village on November 2, 1984, three days after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. 

with thanks : Times of India : link above for detailed news.

Akal Takht Jathedar, SGPC ask Sonia Gandhi, PM to visit Hondh Chillar

CHANDIGARH: Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, who visited Hondh Chillar village in Rewari district — the site of November-1984 Sikhs massacre — on Thursday, declared that the PM Manmohan Singh and AICC President Sonia Gandhi should visit the place, if they had any feelings for the victims of the crime against Sikhs.

The Jathedar was apparently moved by the ruins of the abandoned village and said that it appeared as if the Sikhs were "still living like slaves in a free country`` since the perpetrators of the crime were roaming free even after 26 years of having committed it.

"Till the time, the guilty are not punished, Sikhs would continue to suffer the agony of the massacres,`` he told mediapersons at the site.

In Amritsar, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) urged the Prime Minister to hold a detailed and time-bound investigation into the massacre. The Akal Takht Jathedar has also asked the All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) and Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) to look for similar incidents in places like Bokaro and Kanpur where Sikhs were targeted in 1984 but not many details could emerge "just like the Hondh village``. 

With thanks : Times of India : link above for detailed news.

Makkar rejects Haryana probe, seeks inquiry

REWARI: SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar rejected Haryana government's action of ordering an inquiry by the divisional commissioner into the reported mass killings of Sikhs in Hond Chillar village of Rewari district in 1984 which was exposed by a Sikh body a few days ago.

Talking to TOI, Makkar who visited the village along with ten surviving members of the families that were allegedly butchered by the mob in an organized attack, demanded a high level probe into the incident. 
with thanks : Times of India : link above for detailed news.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NSS Unit of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Khalsa College,University of Delhi,Dev Nagar

NSS volunteers of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Khalsa College students paid visit to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib along with their College teachers ( Dr.Gurdeep Kaur,Dr.Inderpreet Singh & Dr.Bhupinder Kaur ). They have been actively involved in various efforts for social cause like zero illiteracy zone campaign,Tree- Plantation, Cleanliness Drive, blood donation camps, visit to orphanages and old people.
Today they took initiated in distributing old clothes and other amenities to the rag pickers in Cannaught Place area ( near Hanuman Temple on Baba Kharak Singh Marg).

Letter to God by Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj ! : shabadvichar

Guru Ram Daas had three sons, Prithia, Mahadev, and Baba Arjan Jee. Guru Ram Das's cousin visited him and said, "My son is getting married, will you come and bless the wedding?" Guru Ram Daas couldn't go so he decided to send one of his sons. He asked Prithia, his oldest son. Prithia complained and didn't want to go. Guru Ram Das went to Mahadev and asked him, "Mahadev, will you go to Lahore and represent me at a wedding?" Mahadev only wanted to meditate and had nothing to do with the world. "It's all Maya, I won't know what to say or do, please don't send me." So his father, the Guru had compassion and let him stay. Next, Guru ji went to his youngest son, Baba Arjan Jee and asked him to go in his place. "Yes father, as you wish. I'm lucky to even have you ask. I'll do what you say." said Baba Arjan. Then the Guru told him, "Go to Lahore, bless the wedding. When the wedding is over, share the light of the teachings of Guru Nanak with the people there and take care of the poor. Listen to me son, do not come back until you receive a letter from me." Baba Arjan said, "I'll do just as you say my beloved Guru father. I shall leave right away." So Baba Arjan left for Lahore.

The wedding was full of good food and people. The people were pleased with how Shri Arjan acted and the things he said. Baba Arjan missed Guru Sahib the whole time. So someone told him, "Write a letter to your father and ask him to call you back." So Baba Arjan wrote a short a beautiful letter of poetry telling of his longing to see the Guru: "My mind is thirsty for the sight of you. I am always, always a sacrifice to you beloved saint..." And he sent a Sikh to deliver the letter to the Guru. When Prithia saw the Sikh coming he recognized him and met him at the door. "Have you brought anything from my brother?" he asked. "Yes, I have a letter from Arjan for the Guru." Prithia said, "I'll give it to the Guru, give it to me. My father wants him to stay there longer" When Prithia read the letter he became jealous of how beautiful the poetry was and he hid the letter. The Sikh came back to Baba Arjan and told him, "Prithia says your father wants you to stay longer and he will give the letter you wrote to the Guru."

Shri Arjan Jee knew that Prithia was a liar and so he wrote a second letter: "Your face is beautiful and your words are pleasant. I haven't seen you in such a time, without seeing you I have no peace. I am a sacrifice to you my divine friend..." Shri Arjan told his messenger to deliver it only to the Guru. When the Sikh arrived Prithia met him there. "Give me the letter!" The Sikh tried to protest but Prithia said, "I am the Guru's oldest son, do as I say. The Guru wants him to stay there we will bring him back soon. Go." When Prithia read this second letter he got even more jealous of how beautiful this poetry was. The messenger returned and told Shri Arjan of how Prithia forced him to give up the letter. Shri Arjan couldn't return as there was no letter from his father yet. He was getting sick from missing the Guru. He couldn't sleep and forgot to eat. He felt empty without seeing his father.

He wrote another letter of poetry which was full of devotion: "A second without you is like endless darkness. When can I see you, I can't sleep without seeing your court. I am a sacrifice to you...." At the end of the note he wrote: "#3" so his father would know he wrote two others. "Don't be tricked and only give this personally to my father himself." When the messenger arrived to the Guru's court Prithia was waiting but the messenger hid and waited for Prithia to leave. Then he snuck in and put the letter at the Guru's feet. "Oh, a letter from Arjan, I was wondering when he would request to come back. It's a very beautiful letter but why does it say '#3' on it?" The messenger told Guru Ram Das how Prithia took the other letters. Guru ji called for Prithia and asked him, "Did you take the other two letters?" "No, I didn't.... I don't know, I forgot." The Guru had someone go in to Prithia room and find the letters, which they did. The Guru sent the messenger back to tell Shri Arjan to return.

The Guru announced to everyone, "I tested Prithia and found him to be a liar and a cheat." When Shri Arjan returned he was very happy to see his father finally. The Guru told him, "You have written 3 letters, write a fourth and complete the poem." Then Shri Arjan wrote the final letter: "How fortunate I am to see you dear saint. I have found God in my heart. I want to serve as a slave. I am a sacrifice, a sacrifice..." The poem was so beautiful the Guru hugged him and said, "This poem is so full of longing it has the power of a thousand shabds. It is called Shabd Hazare. The Guruship goes to the most humble,serviceful and devoted. I give it to you. You are now Guru Arjan." Guru Arjan Dev ji now humbly carried the throne of Guru Nanak. He never stopped writting love letters to God and the Guru Granth Sahib is filled with his beautiful poetry.

ਮਾਝ ਮਹਲਾ 5 ਚਉਪਦੇ ਘਰੁ 1 ॥
ਮੇਰਾ ਮਨੁ ਲੋਚੈ ਗੁਰ ਦਰਸਨ ਤਾਈ ॥
ਬਿਲਪ ਕਰੇ ਚਾਤ੍ਰਿਕ ਕੀ ਨਿਆਈ ॥
ਤ੍ਰਿਖਾ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਸਾਂਤਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਦਰਸਨ ਸੰਤ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਜੀਉ ॥1॥
ਹਉ ਘੋਲੀ ਜੀਉ ਘੋਲਿ ਘੁਮਾਈ ਗੁਰ ਦਰਸਨ ਸੰਤ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਜੀਉ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਤੇਰਾ ਮੁਖੁ ਸੁਹਾਵਾ ਜੀਉ ਸਹਜ ਧੁਨਿ ਬਾਣੀ ॥
ਚਿਰੁ ਹੋਆ ਦੇਖੇ ਸਾਰਿੰਗਪਾਣੀ ॥
ਧੰਨੁ ਸੁ ਦੇਸੁ ਜਹਾ ਤੂੰ ਵਸਿਆ ਮੇਰੇ ਸਜਣ ਮੀਤ ਮੁਰਾਰੇ ਜੀਉ ॥2॥
ਹਉ ਘੋਲੀ ਹਉ ਘੋਲਿ ਘੁਮਾਈ ਗੁਰ ਸਜਣ ਮੀਤ ਮੁਰਾਰੇ ਜੀਉ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਇਕ ਘੜੀ ਨ ਮਿਲਤੇ ਤਾ ਕਲਿਜੁਗੁ ਹੋਤਾ ॥
ਹੁਣਿ ਕਦਿ ਮਿਲੀਐ ਪ੍ਰਿਅ ਤੁਧੁ ਭਗਵੰਤਾ ॥
ਮੋਹਿ ਰੈਣਿ ਨ ਵਿਹਾਵੈ ਨੀਦ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਦੇਖੇ ਗੁਰ ਦਰਬਾਰੇ ਜੀਉ ॥3॥
ਹਉ ਘੋਲੀ ਜੀਉ ਘੋਲਿ ਘੁਮਾਈ ਤਿਸੁ ਸਚੇ ਗੁਰ ਦਰਬਾਰੇ ਜੀਉ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਭਾਗੁ ਹੋਆ ਗੁਰਿ ਸੰਤੁ ਮਿਲਾਇਆ ॥
ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ ਘਰ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥
ਸੇਵ ਕਰੀ ਪਲੁ ਚਸਾ ਨ ਵਿਛੁੜਾ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਦਾਸ ਤੁਮਾਰੇ ਜੀਉ ॥4॥
ਹਉ ਘੋਲੀ ਜੀਉ ਘੋਲਿ ਘੁਮਾਈ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਦਾਸ ਤੁਮਾਰੇ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥1॥8॥

First Sikh in US Army talks about his journey

AMRITSAR: The first Sikh in the American army, Tejdeep Singh Rattan, interacted with students of Khalsa College and shared his experiences with them. He told them about the many ups and downs and the hardships he faced in the US, and how he finally emerged victorious. He revealed that he was rejected to be part of the American army on several occasions only because he had refused to give up the symbols of Sikh faith. 

with thanks : TOI : link above for detailed news.

Sikhs Killed in Rewari in '84 Riots: Hooda Seeks Report

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today said a report has been sought from the Gurgaon Divisional Commissioner on the killing of some Sikhs at Hondh-Chillar village in Rewari district during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

"A report on this matter has been sought from the Divisioinal Commissioner," Hooda told reporters here in reply to a question after a state cabinet meeting.

Punjab's Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had, while speaking at Bathinda on Saturday, said he was "shocked to know the massacre of 70 Sikhs during '84 riots at Hondh village in Rewari district that was suppressed by investigating agencies for 26 long years".

The Badal-headed Shiromani Akali Dal had constituted a seven-member fact-finding committee of SAD on Saturday to get first-hand information on the reported "massacre" of the Sikhs in Rewari district.
with thanks : outlookindia : link above for detailed news.

Sikhs of Sasaram

Jagmohan Singh Gill

In Kolkata, we have seen the presence of some Sikhs who are originally from Bihar. They call themselves Agrahari Sikhs. As the organizer of Sikh Mission Poorvi Bharat (S.G.P.C. Amritsar) and Parcharaks, three years ago, I came closer to them.  

With the help of local Gurdwara Committee of Agrahari Sikhs, we initiated Gurmukhi classes where Gurbani, Sikh history, Kirtan and Gurmukhi is taught regularly to children of Agrahari Sikhs. We even started helping Sikh students to get scholarship as given to minority students from Government of West Bengal under various schemes. We are trying to make them aware and educate their ‘minority rights’ as members of the Sikh Community. Sikhs in general are facing economic, educational and spiritual famine. This problem is no less in Agrahari Sikh’s case. In Kolkata, I have seen how they are pushed back to the wall in today’s modern time and are made submissive. I came very close to them which deepened further my understanding and relationship with them.

Through regular interaction I came to know about their very long stay in Kolkata, where colonial heritage still stands tall. They talked about their ancestors. Most of them trace their roots to Sasaram, which is a place of origin of Agrahari Sikhs. I heard many good things of Agrahari Sikhs of Sasaram which raised my eagerness to visit this place. My many Agrahari Sikh friends heard about my anxiety of visiting Sasaram. They arranged my accommodation at the places of their relatives. I was fascinated and took a train journey to Sasaram. As I reached there, I was received by Rajesh Singh, Kirpal Singh and their friends who were waiting eagerly of my arrival at around 4 am on 19th April 2010. They gave me a rousing welcome and I followed them to the residence of Satpal Singh. I was hesitant to stay at their place, and was planning to stay at hotel, but I surrendered to their love and affection and stayed there. No sooner, I realized myself to be an integral part of my brotherhood of Sasaram. While taking bath and doing my Nitnem, in the mean time my host arranged my visits and schedule for two days. They contacted different Gurdwara heads, and informed them of my wish to visit important shrines. I got a warm welcome and even ‘Siropao’ of Guru Ghar.  My visit also enhanced my knowledge of Gurus coming to this area. I got to know about various Gursikhs who came from Punjab and other areas in various times, including their various benevolent works.

Thus, out of love and gratitude, which was showered at me as their Sikh brother, I am compelled  to write about my visit to this holy place of Sasaram.

Short description of Sasaram:
It is an old historical town trailing back long from the period of Emperor Ashoka. There is Samrat Ashoka’s pillar (one of the thirteen laghu shilalekh) situated in a small cave of Kashmir Hills near Chandan shaheed around 7th century AD. It is also known as the residence of Satyawadi Raja Harishchandra. There is a majestic fort known as Rohtas fort related to him which later served as the head quarters of Sher Shah Suri and later on Raja Man Singh during his reign as the governor of Bihar and Bengal under the regime of Akbar. There are several old temples and waterfalls which add beauty to this town. Sher Shah Suri, the Pathan ruler of India belonged to Sasaram. He was famous for infra-structural development during his tenure (1539-1545). He was buried at Sasaram. There is a huge mausoleum built of stone with great work of architecture, in his memory.

Sasaram is situated on NH-2 and surrounded by national highway and railway station. It is located at 24.95 degree North, 84.03 degree east. In 2001 census the population was 1,31,042. It is the headquarters of district Rohtas. The economy of this area is mainly agro-based due to fertile land nearby. This region is also known as ‘Dhaan ka Katora’ (bowl of rice grain). Beside rice polishing, thriving rock mining and stone chips are the main industries.

Sikh Perspective on Sasaram:
My interest about Sasaram is quite different and much more significant. It grew while working on the development of the Agrahari Sikhs of Kolkata. I had learnt about Guru Nanak’s visit to this place during his first Udassi when he was going from Benaras to Gaya.  Sasaram is also known as the Gateway of Bihar while coming from north. On the foot prints of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, third Guru, Sri Guru Amardas Ji sent the masands(missionary) to build permanent Sangat at different places. One named Phaagu masand was send to Sasaram, who later on during the time of Guru Tegh Bahadur ji was called by the name of ‘Chacha Phaagu Mal ji’. He was lucky to have ‘darshan’ of six Gurus. Only one great Sikh Baba Buddha ji had the privilege of having ‘darshan’ of six Gurus. He had wide and deep respect among local population of Sasaram.

It is said that Guru Tegh Bahadur ji , while going to Patna  from Benaras  stayed at Sasaram for 21 days. He was accompanied with mother Nanaki ji, wife Gujari ji, Baba Kirpal ji (brother of  Gujari ji) along with Sadh-Sangat.It  is also said that Guru Ji chanted ‘Baani’ which is in raag Jaijawanti.

Raag Jaijawanti Mahalla 9
‘’Raam Simar Raam Simar, Ihe Tere Karaj Hai……..’’

Baba Phaagu Mal ji came to know about the arrival of Gurus, so he made a house at this place with a huge entry gate so that Guru ji would not have any problem in entering the house. Guru ji along with his horse entered Baba Phaagu Mal ji’s  kutiya and called him, “Chachaji, I have come”. Tears of respect started rolling down from this old holy man’s eyes, thus he was called ‘Chachaji’ by the sangat of Sasaram.Thousands of devotees came and participated in Satsang of Guru ji. Locals Kings and Zamidaars donated valuables as ‘daswand’, as a tribute to Guru ji and Sangat. According to folklore Guru ji got one ‘ber’ from the house of an old lady, and he sowed it in front of Chachaji’s cottage. Till now this 350 years old historical ‘beri’ exists as a huge tree as per locals belief. It is understood that during the visit of Guru ji to Sasaram, a good number of Sikh followers existed there.

Some details of the above said Guruji’s visit to Sasaram and about Chacha Phaagu Mal is given:

1:In Twarikh Khalsa , Page no;838, Guru-9 Hissa-1. By Bhai Gyan Singh.
2: Sri Guru Pratap Suraj Granth Jilad Aathwi, from page 345, Raas 11,                                                                           Adhiaya 55 under heading “Sasaram Chache Faagu De Ghar”. and Raas 11 Adhiaya 56 page 351, under heading “Sasaram Dera ,Beri , Bagh Wich Niwaas”. By Bhai Santokh Singh ‘Churamani’
3: ‘Mahankosh’. By Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha
Among them most are Agraharis, some Kasera, Sonar, Kesari, Passi, Choudhary, Teli, Kumhar, Keori, and other section became Sikhs and some Sehajdhari Sikhs. Agrahari’s became the back bone of Sikh culture and took Sikhism wherever they went along with them in the Eastern part of India like, Gaya, Hunterganj, (Kendli and Chiti villages), Patna,Kathiar, Dacca, Kolkata etc. for business and trade by making Gurdwaras, Sangats, and other Sikh institutions.

Agrahari Sikhs not only came eastward, they are also present in some parts of Uttar Pradesh. Around 200 years ago, they went from Sasaram to Sikuni, Dhudi, Meolpur and Renukot in district Son Bhadar.There is a Gurdwara in Ahrora. Some Agrahari Sikhs in this area are not having Sasaram as their base. In Meolpur a Gurdwara is constructed by an Agrahari Sikh, Gurdial Singh with sufficient help of Punjabi Sikhs of Renukot. In Dhudi, non-Sikhs also take part in Gurdwara activities. Local dialects of people of Sasaram including Sikhs is ‘Bhojpuri’, but they always try to speak Gurmukhi language, some of them even with broken accent. They know that through the knowledge of Gurmukhi they can have easy access to reach their beloved Gurus’ teaching in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.   

The thing quite notable is that Khatris of Punjab and Agraharis had relationship owing to their trade links. When the Khatris moved towards east, Agraharis also moved along with them. This is also a vital reason that took Agraharis to Kolkata. In Kolkata, renowned Khatri traders Omichand and Raja Hazuri Mal, along with Agrahari Sikhs erected Gurudwaras (Gurudwara Burra Sikh Sangat, Gurudwara  Chotta Sikh Sangat). It is also said that Khatri businessmen lived in Sasaram. During Guru ji’s visit, they sent Agraharis to receive Guruji, thinking themselves superior. Guruji blessed the Agrahari Sikhs who are still living in better way today and their clan has been increased manifold, while on the other hand Guruji was not pleased with Khatris. The Khatris slowly got marginalized and only two or three families are staying there in a very pathetic condition.
Agrahari’s  have settled in Sasaram as traders around four hundred to four hundred fifty years back. There are different notions about why they are called Agrahari’s. They are classified as below--                                                                          1) They come from Agra and some say from Amroha in Uttar Pradesh.                  2) Agrahari’s are inheritors of Maharaja Agarsain just like Agarwalas .                3)  Other version say’s that as they traded agarbatti and henceforth called Agrahari,s.
I discussed this with some distinguished and educated Agrahari Sikhs. Some claim first version as true but many stick with first & second version. Third version is out rightly rejected by most of then.
The bond of Sikhism grew stronger among local communities specially Agraharis due to preaching of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. In Sasaram I heard that only Agrahari Sikhs lived, but to my surprise I saw that there is multilayered identity hidden under one vivacious identity and how multiple strands of Sikhism continue to flourish and gain adherents with in a kilometer.  This had great impact in this area. Most people of Sasaram come to Gurdwara to pay homage to the almighty in the Gurdwara for any kind of sad or happy moment that comes in their lives. They have great respect for the Gurus and the Gurdwaras. The great impact of Sikh culture is seen here, which is rarely found in any other town or city of Eastern India. In the field of local economy the presence of Agrahari Sikhs is felt. They are dominating the wholesale market which is very much amazing. Cloth, grains, hardware, crackers (which are used for mine blast), diary products (ghee, milk etc), bakeries and many other products are traded by them. Their markets are mainly at Jaani bazaar, Gurdwara road, Gola, Dharamshala road, Mahajan toli and many other places. The main feature is that they are financially much better than their counterparts in Kolkata.

In Kolkata as discussed by Dr.Himadri Banerjee, and from my prolonged experience, they lead a miserable life. They lack flamboyance of their predecessors and live in illusions of grandeur of its colonial past. In Sasaram, most of the Sikhs are having their own houses made in modern style with all accessories and gadgets. Sikhs of Sasaram are scattered all over India and always willing to go at any place for better job, studies and opportunities. They are very much mobile. Their children are getting very good education. Many have got jobs in government departments like railways, income tax, education and sports etc. Many have become professionals like engineers, doctors, accountants, etc. and are well settled in upcoming and growing cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore etc.They are physically strong than other people in Sasaram.

There are about ten Gurdwaras and Udasi Deras in this town. Most of them are constructed in the memory of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. Where ever Guruji visited he established sangat. The Gurdwaras are:

  1. Gurudwara Chacha Phaagu Mall Ji: This is the most important and historical Gurudwara which enshrines Guru Teg Bhadur Ji’s stay. He preached the Sangat of Sasaram. As heard from locals, it is also known as Gurudwara ‘Chau Varni’. i.e. Gurudwara for all castes (Sikhs are a casteless society but it’s still sad that we are unable to break the barriers of caste) The Jathedar of the Gurudwara, Giani Sarabjit Singh Khalsa is a devout sikh and ardent follower of Sikh Rehat Maryada of Akal Takht Sahib.  Presidant Rajinder Singh is a second Generation Kumhar Sikh. The Gurudwara is run according to Sri Akal Takht Rehat Maryada. New Gurudwara building is being constructed under the supervision of Baba Harbans Singh ji Kar Sewa Wale (New Delhi).

  1. Gurudwara Taksal Sangat: This Gurudwara is very significant. It is said that the place where the Gurudwara is situated, there was tobacco cultivation during the visit of Guru TeghBahadur Ji. Guru ji’s horse stopped their and was obstructed. This land belonged to Bhai Achal Ji and Mata Jio Ji. Here Guru Ji asked Sangat to construct Gurudwara and name it Taksal Sangat. The owners of land donated their land to build Gurudwara. There is a 15 member committee and is run by an exclusive committee of Agraharis Sikhs. In this Gurudwara, there is a steel arrow said to be of Guru Tegh Bahadur along with a rare picture of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and of Mata Jio Jee. A new Gurudwara building was made under guidance of Baba Raghuvir Singh -the Nirmala Sant from Kankhal Haridwar.

3.     Gurudwara Purana Guru Ka Bagh: Here Guru ji used to convey and preach the message of Almighty. At present, it is the Dera of Udasis with huge garden of 52 Bighas. Guru Ji came here in 1660. This garden was owned by Nawab named Khankhah. It is said that the condition of garden was shabby and dry. By coming of Guru ji, it became green with full of life. There is an old tree where Guruji tied horse, one well filled with sweet and potable water. The Sangat from Hindu and Sikh community celebrate Shahidi Diwas of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji every year. It is said that even Bhai Gurditta Ji visited this place before Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. There is a platform where Guru Ji used to sit during Satsang.

4.     Gurudwara Guru Ka Bagh: It is branch of Taksal Sangat also known in name of Nihang of Bhatinda as Nihang Narain Singh Gurdwara. It is located at one side of garden named Guru Ka Bagh. It is said that the Nihang came here but was not allowed to enter by Mahant of the Dera, so he sat at the corner of the garden and he started preaching Sikh ideology. Local Sangat helped him to construct Gurudwara. Baba Darvesh Hari used to come from Prem Nagar Dehradun and visited this place regularly. It is controlled by Gurudwara Taksal Sangat (Agrahari Sikh Committee), Granthi S. Dwarka Singh gave details. They celebrate Dushera for ten days and do Chandi Paath.
’Barsi’ of Nihang Narain Singh is celebrated on Jeth Sudi-6 every year.

5.     Gurudwara Bari Purani Sangat: Foundation stone of this Gurudwara is said to be laid by Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. It is located in Jaani Bazaar, managed by mixed castes mainly Sonar (who have became clean shaven after 1984 massacre). This Gurudwara is partially non-functional now.

6.     Gurudwara Nayi Sangat: This Gurudwara is purely managed by non-Sikh Kasera Community and is located at Jaani Bazaar and is partly non-functional.

7.     Gurudwara Beni Sikh Sangat: This is a private Gurudwara owned by a Agrahari Sikh. It is in a dilapidated condition and totally non-functional and situated at Madhar Darwaja, Killa Mohalla.

8.     Gurudwara Guru Sahai Singh: This is situated at Pathan Toli owned by Taksal Sangat Committee and is partly closed. One or two programs are held every year.

9.     Gurudwara Nanak Darbar: This is situated at Guru Nanak Pura which was previously known as Sri Guru Singh Sabha Nanak Darbar. Punjabi Sikhs shifted after the 1984 pogrom. Now it is controlled by Sehajdhari (Punjabi) Sikhs under a changed name.

10. Gurudwara Baba Saryu Das Ji: This is Udasi Dera of Sant Saryu Das at Alamganj. Now the Dera building is in very dilapidated condition.

Beside this, there is an old house of Zamindar Tekmal Singh at Jaani Bazaar who is said to come from Punjab around 1856-1857. His fourth generation stays here and they seemed to be mixed in Agarahari Sikh Community. They possess old Bir of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji having 1640 pages along with sphere said to be gifted by ninth Guru.

There is Taksal Bhawan which was made under guidance of Sant Raghuvir Singh Ji. This dharamshala was made for various social occasions of the community. Some schools both government and private are seen. Among them Rajkia Sri Guru Mukhi Madhya Vidyalaya which was established in 1934, is a government sponsored school. This school is up to standard VIII and is run by committee of Taksal Sangat.
Two branches of Guru Tegh Bahadur Vidya Niketan is privately run by prominent educated Agrahari Sikh, Satyanarain Singh. Earlier, he was an important functionary of Gurudwara Taksal Sangat. He served Gurudwara Sahib for nineteen years. During his tenure, the committee made mandatory for the member of each family to participate in funeral and last rites of any Sikh who had died. He gave extensive details of Agrahari Sikhs of and outside Sasaram. He is great grandson of Zamindar Kuldeep Singh. He also put forward grievances of how this Sikh brotherhood is neglected by their Punjabi counterparts.

There are two more schools named Guru Nanak Public School run by Udasi Sampraday’s Mahant Baj Rangi Das and other school, Harinaam Public School, which is also run by Udasis.

In Sasaram, the prominency of Agrahari Sikhs is seen in many ways. There were Sikhs from other castes like Sonar (goldsmith) Kasera or Thatera(who are expert in nickelling and metal works). Their identity as Sikh disappeared after 1984 anti riots.

Many like Kesari or Kuswaha (generally businessmen like Agaharis) Chaurasia, Teli (oil manufacturers), Paasi, Koeri, Kumar have great respect to Gurus.  Some Sikhs from Punjab used to come in different times and said to mix in local Sikhs. There is an example of Sonar Sikh who came from Punjab and got settled in Sasaram. He employed local Sonars as staff and subordinates. He helped them to establish their own businesses and married his daughters to them. There are some more examples likewise. Sikhs like S. Gurdev Singh (a well off land lord) in colonial rule used to run the court. He used to even arrange langar for Sangat from Punjab who visited Patna Sahib via Sasaram.

It is seen that Sikh missionaries’ work has been started right from time of Chacha Phaagu Mall. During previous century, Nihang  Narain Singh had made a good effort to promote Sikhism, Baba Darvesh Hari (a spiritual person) who used to come from Prem Nagar, Dehradun, has also given Sangat of Sasaram wise Sikhi deliberation.

However the maximum role to retain Agarahari Sikhs in the Sikh fold was done by Sant Raghbir Singh Ji, a Nirmala Sant from Kankhal Haridwar. He initiated regular Gurudwara activities like daily ‘Paath’ and ‘Simran’ especially by females in morning (starting from daily prayer, Sukhmani Sahib and then Simran). Regular Gurmat classes are taken where Sikh children (even children from other religion) come and take part in learning and practising Gurmukhi, Kirtan, Gurbani.
The Sikhs of Sasaram take part in each and every activity related to Sikh Philosophy and culture. Their ‘Sikhi Jiwan’ is no less important to them than any other Sikh in world. They stay in a diverse society with a strong culture of pluralism.

The basic apathy towards concern of Agrahari Sikhs from Punjabi Sikh has broadened gap between them.  The big change has to be taken in account, the question over how to make lost brotherhood stake holders in Khalsa’s new growth story.  Some outsiders have been trying to exploit the gap between the community and building their base among them. Some of them even call themselves ‘Sanatani Sikhs’, but there are few takers of this concept while many of them reject this idea. We have caused much damage by not having relationships with our own brothers, and the effects are there for all to see. We have to make effort so that all the Sikhs are connected to each other, and have a good relationship bond between each other. We need to strengthen grassroots network. They want “Roti-Beti Di Sanjh” with the Sikhs of Punjab so that basic differences can be sorted out.

It’s the time we wake up. Our thoughts are to be expressed, followed by constructive action.

There is change now because some progressive Sikhs like Sarabjit Singh Khalsa have challenged iniquities in the system. We believe in standing up for their causes that make difference to Sikhism. In coming years, we seek to build a huge house of ideas to help building this global Sikhism with actual message of Gurus.

My visit to Sasaram was an eye opener as well as a great pilgrimage to me. Here great Gurus and Gursikhs had come. Since the time of the Gurus, the basic character of Sikhs and the town hasn’t changed which is itself a pilgrimage and is of great significance for any dedicated Sikh. Unlike big cities, where identities are lost in a sea of humanity, small towns adhere to exactly opposite philosophy of life.  People here are known and appreciated for what they do and what they are.

My trip to Sasaram drew to an end and I bid adieu to Raju Singh and Kirpal Singh who were along with me throughout the two days. I captured the last glimpse of their moist eyes and I will cherish that for the rest of my life.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Swiss NRI fights for justice

AMRITSAR: He created a business empire on foreign shores and, in fact, contributed in building the first gurdwara in Europe made according to Sikh architecture, but is now fighting to get justice. Ever since a Swiss TV channel aired the success story of NRI Sikh Ranjit Singh Masuta in 2006, he became a target of jealousy and conspiracies and as a result was arrested on suspicion of fraud and money laundering. The charges had to be dropped for want of any evidence against him, thus restoring his reputation, but at the cost of his empire, which he had built from scratch. 

with thanks : times of india : link above for detailed news.

70-yr-old ‘survivor’ recalls Hondh killings

Claiming to be a resident of Hondh village in Haryana that is in news these days after it came to light that several Sikh families were allegedly killed in anti-Sikh riots there in 1984, 70-year-old Uttam Singh narrated the November 2, 1984, attack here on Sunday. 

Now settled in Bathinda and into a business of clothes, Uttam Singh said he had to take a sleeping pill on Saturday after a news item aired on a TV channel highlighted the attack on Sikhs refreshed his wounds all these years later. 

SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar is likely to meet him on Monday. 

The Punjab government has constituted a fact finding committee with Akali leader Balwinder Singh Bhunder as its chairman to look into the alleged massacre, brought to light by the All India Sikh Students’ Federation a couple of days ago. 

“I had managed to get over the pain and trauma. But after watching the story on a news channel, the bad memories are back to haunt me. I had to take a sleeping pill yesterday, as my mind could not help but recall what happened on the fateful day,” Uttam said here on Sunday, recounting the “attack by a mob” on the village inhabited by Sikhs. 

with thanks : Indian Express : link above for detailed news.

Buta Singh blames Bhajan for Sikh carnage in Hond-Chhilar

JALANDHAR: Former Union home minister and senior Congress leader Buta Singh has alleged that then chief minister Bhajan Lal was responsible for not only the alleged massacre of around 60 Sikhs in Hond-Chhilar village of Rewari district in November '84 but also for the cover-up, as the incident remained unreported till a couple of days ago. In fact, he also accused Bhajan Lal for adding, "Bitterness between the then Congress ruled Union government and the Sikhs, as the latter were humiliated by the Haryana police on National Highway during 1982 Delhi Asiad Games."

"Clearly Bhajan Lal behaved in a communal manner and this added to the problems between the Sikhs and the Centre which led to the unfortunate developments in 1984," Buta Singh said while talking to mediapersons at the residence of Railway trade union leader Gulzar Singh. 
With thanks : times of India : link above for detailed news.

Discussion Board

Prof.Sahib Singh's grandson Dr.Gurjit Singh (well-known Eye-Surgeon in Chandigarh) has opened a discussion board through Prof.Sahib Singh's page on face -book .He invites people from all over the world to share knowledge about the meanings of Sikh magnum opus Sri Guru Granth Sahib and about Sri Guru Granth Sahib Darpan.Please log in to this page & share your valuable views !

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Punjabi Baba Who Sued Sikh-British Journalist Ordered To Pay £250,000

LONDON -  A Baba from India known as  Jeet Singh Maharaj, who heads Nirmal Kutia Johlan sect in Punjab, was on Tuesday ordered to pay £250,000 in court by way of security for costs.

Baba Jeet Singh had filed libel case against journalist Hardeep Singh for his article published in 2007 by Sikh Times, a local newspaper, for referring to the Baba as “an accused cult leader.”

The High Court in London threw out the case in May last year, ruling that the libel case involved an argument of religious doctrine rather than establishment of fact and could not be tried in English courts.

with thanks : thelinkpaper : link above for detailed news.


We cannot be clubbed as Hindus: Sikh organization

BANGALORE: Government's move to include Sikh religious institutions under the amendment to the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Act, 1997, has not gone down well with the community. Sri Guru Singh Sabha, a Sikh religion organization, has maintained that Sikhism, where idol worship is strictly prohibited, is separate from Hinduism.

"The gurdwaras come under the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1971. Hence, Sikh gurdwaras cannot be clubbed under the KHRICE Act, 1997 and we cannot be clubbed as Hindus," Sabha's general secretary Harminder Singh said.

with thanks : times of India : link above for detailed news.


AISSF unearths ’84 riots-hit village lying in ruins

With thanks : various sources.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Museum at Nadda Sahib to showcase Sikh history

PANCHKULA: The historic Gurdwara Nadda Sahib on the banks of river Ghaggar is all set to establish a museum to showcase ancient Sikh history. The museum will showcase portraits of Sikh gurus, arms used by them and their manuscripts. It will be set up in administrative block of the Gurdwara premises.

According to managerial staff of Gurdwara Nadda Sahib, the administrative block is under construction. Once it is complete, they will start working on the museum. They are making a proposal to establish the museum that would showcase ancient Sikh history. They will tie up with other gurdwaras in Punjab and Haryana to gather historical archives. 
with thanks : times of India : link above for detailed news.

Purewal slams SGPC on calendar amendments

The ongoing controversy over the amendments made by the Akal Takht and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee in the Nanakshahi Calendar last year took yet another turn with Canada-based Sikh engineer Pal Singh Purewal, the maker of the calendar, terming the changes “unnecessary”, “misleading” and “conspired by RSS”. He said the SGPC made the amendments in a hush-hush manner on the dictates of its “political masters” under the RSS. 

Talking to the media, Purewal said the SGPC and the Akali leadership had done a heinous crime by intermingling Nanakshahi Calendar with Bikrami Calendar. “This is no amendment but total drift towards Bikrami Calendar,” he said, adding that the decision was arbitrary and the original version of the calendar, as adopted in 2003, should be restored.

with thanks : Indian Express : link above for detailed news.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Alexandra Aitken's devout Sikh husband used to be party animal like her

Former British socialite Alexandra Aitken seems to have a lot in common with her devout Sikh husband, who has been revealed to have been a "wild boy" who liked to party.

Aitken, 30, who is the daughter of disgraced former Tory minister Jonathan Aitken, had in the past been photographed coming out of London nightclubs in daring dresses.

Now all that has changed ever since she got married to Inderjot Singh, 27.

But while she gushes about his "extraordinary presence" and how he is part of "the warrior tribe of Sikhism, the SAS, if you will, of the religion", it has emerged that he too had enjoyed an active social life and only became devout in his mid-20s.

"He used to be a wild boy. He cut his hair [forbidden in Sikhism], went to parties, chasing girls, smoking and drinking," the Daily Mail quoted one, Gagandeep Sandhu, as saying.

Another, Bikramjit Singh, a lawyer who shared a room with Inderjot when they studied law together, said the latter dropped out of college in India in 2007 and went to Sydney, Australia.

"He wanted to start a new life there like many people who go abroad from the Punjab. He went to a college there but came back after a year," he said.

"While he was there he met a saint and became very religious. Before that, yes, he was not so religious; he did like parties," he revealed.

with thanks : sify : link above for detailed news.


Sikhs rally to bring injured man's family to NZ

The Sikh community has rallied to raise money for air tickets for the family of an alleged carjacking victim who cannot afford to pay their way to New Zealand.

But their arrival could be some time off as none of the relatives have passports.

Sukjhinder Singh is in an induced coma in a serious but stable condition in Waikato Hospital, breathing with the aid of a ventilator.

The 21-year-old foreman of a Katikati kiwifruit gang has a broken right leg, a broken right arm, a busted right eye socket and suspected brain damage.

Mr Singh was injured after two 15-year-old boys allegedly forced him to hand over his keys at a party in Waihi before taking off with him and two teenage girls he had picked up earlier in his car to Paeroa, where they forced him to buy fast food.

with thanks : nzherald : link above for detailed news.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Birth Anniversary of Professor Sahib Singh (1892-1977) : Sikh Grammarian and Theologian


Respectful homage and heartiest congratulations to all on the auspicious occasion of Prof.Sahib Singh's 119th Birth Anniversary on 16th February.He has done valuable work in making Gurbani and Gurmat philosophy accessible to the Sikhs of 20th century. These included exposition of several of the Sikh sacred texts and his monumental 10-volume commentary on Sikh Scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Darpan, published during 1962-64.He made a notable contribution to Punjabi prose through his essays on moral and spiritual themes,religious philosophy.

Prof.Sahib Singh's grandson Dr.Gurjit Singh( well-known Eye-Surgeon in Chandigarh) considers that it is due to his Grandfather’s blessings only that he is able to read Darpan four times. He is very sure that very few sikhs have read Darpan as it requires a lot of patience .Dr.Gurjit says“I am totally addicted to reading Sri Guru Granth Sahib darpan. I have read it from first page to last page four times.More I read it ...more I love it ...One day I aim to remember it page by page.I am amazed with the thought that from where Prof.Sahib Singh got knowledge and the energy to do such an impossible task.He must have been chosen by the Almighty to do such great task”.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

New Akshay Kumar Film Criticized As Hurting Sikh Sentiment

AMRITSAR – Sharply reacting to what it dubbed scenes hurting sentiments of the Sikh community, the All-India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) today flayed Nikhil Advani, director of the forthcoming Akshay Kumar-starrer, “Patiala House”, which is all set to be released on Friday.

In a statement released here, AISSF chief Karnail Singh Peer Mohammed alleged that the film, “Patiala House”, “portrays an incident, in which a Sikh youth gets his hair cut for playing cricket, as a trivial episode”.

He termed the film as one against the Sikh rehat maryada (code of conduct). The federation leaders alleged that such films were being made under a well-planned conspiracy. They said the film’s producer, Bhushan Kumar, and director, Nikhil Advani, should release the film only after cutting the “objectionable scenes”.

with thanks : thelinkpaper : link above for detailed news.

Don't mention caste in census, SGPC asks Sikhs

AMRITSAR: President of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) Avtar Singh Makkar has appealed to Sikhs not to mention their caste during the ongoing nationwide census.

"Sikhs in India must mention their religion as Sikh, Punjabi as mother tongue and humanity as their caste," Makkar said on Friday. He also asked all Sikh men and women to suffix Singh and Kaur after their names. "This will help establish the distinct identity of Sikhs," he added. 

with thanks : Times of India : link above for detailed news.


Sikh passengers forced to remove turbans for security check in Italy

President of Indian Overseas Congress in Italy Karamjit Singh Dhillon, while addressing mediapersons accompanied by senior Congress leader and MLA from Bholath constituency in Kapurthala district Sukhpal Singh Khaira here yesterday, claimed that he was asked by the Italian Immigration check authorities at the Rome airport to remove his turban for security check.

He alleged that ten other Sikh passengers, accompanying him, were also directed to remove their turbans for security check.

''When I refused to remove my turban in full public view, I was taken to a room where I removed my turban,'' Mr Dhillon said.

He said this was for the first time that he was forced to do so in the last 27 years he was living in Italy. He was to leave for India via Doha from Rome airport.

with thanks : new kerala : link above for detailed news.

Delhi HC asks Centre to decide on ‘blacklisted’ 169 Sikhs

The Delhi High Court today directed the Centre to take a decision on the plea of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management (DSGM) to allow the entry of 169 Sikhs who were blacklisted and barred from entering India during the days of Khalistani extremism. 

A division Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna directed the Home Secretary to take a decision in eight weeks and disposed of a PIL for review of the list. 

Filing its petition through senior advocate K T S Tulsi, the DSGM pleaded the list of 169 Sikhs should be reviewed as it has led to "unnecessary harassment" to various individuals at different airports and embassies across the world due to non-renewal of their passports by Indian government. 

Appearing before the Bench, Tulsi apprised it of a recent case involving Mayor of Slough (UK) Joginder Singh Bal who had been sent back from Delhi airport on the ground that his name figured in the blacklist

with thanks : Indian Express : link above for detailed news.

Swiss gurdwara donor drug dealer?

AMRITSAR: Activities in the only gurdwara with classical Sikh architecture in Switzerland have come to a standstill with the police of the European country booking the main donor for allegedly indulging in drug- trafficking and money laundering.

The Sikh NRI Ranjit Singh Masuta on Wednesday blamed the Swiss police for allegedly implicating him in false cases and causing him huge financial losses, due to which, he was not in a position to support the activities in the gurdwara built on land donated by him.

Sikh Foundation of Switzerland that manages the Gurdwara Sahib and a representative body of Sikhs there have decided to defend Masuta in the 2005 case, in which he was later given a clean chit, foundation chairman Karan Singh said on Wednesday. The foundation hired two lawyers to contest the case and called a meeting of Sikhs of Europe to muster support for the donor. 
with thanks : Times of India : link above for detailed news.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

SGPC, DSGMC on war path again

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) are once again at loggerheads; this time over a word in the form for registering new Sikh voters for the next SGPC elections. 

DSGMC office-bearers have blamed SGPC for playing with basic Sikh tenets by interpreting the word ‘patit’ (disqualified Sikh) as one who indulges in ‘dhumarpaan’ (smoking), contrary to Sikh Gurdwara Act-1925 that uses the word to mean ‘use of tobacco’. 

Former SGPC Secretary, Manjit Singh Calcutta, a close confidant of DSGMC chief Paramjit Singh Sarna, said SGPC has ignored the major discrepancy. “The SGPC has resorted to an anti-Panthic and anti-religious act by allowing changes by Gurdwara Election Commission — using the word ‘dhumarpaan’ instead of ‘using tobacco’. This means that anyone using paan-masala, gutka, paan and khaini, which usually contain tobacco, is not disqualified as a Sikh”, he said. 

with thanks : Indian Express : link above for detailed news.

Alexandra Aitken, daughter of former government minister Jonathan, has married a devout Sikh

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Surge of immigrants from India baffles border officials in Texas

Thousands of immigrants from India have crossed into the United States illegally at the southern tip of Texas in the last year, part of a mysterious and rapidly growing human-smuggling pipeline that is backing up court dockets, filling detention centers and triggering investigations.

The immigrants, mostly young men from poor villages, say they are fleeing religious and political persecution. More than 1,600 Indians have been caught since the influx began here early last year, while an undetermined number, perhaps thousands, are believed to have sneaked through undetected, according to U.S. border authorities.

Hundreds have been released on their own recognizance or after posting bond. They catch buses or go to local Indian-run motels before flying north for the final leg of their months-long journeys.

"It was long … dangerous, very dangerous," said one young man wearing a turban outside the bus station in the Rio Grande Valley town of Harlingen.

The Indian migration in some ways mirrors the journeys of previous waves of immigrants from far-flung places, such as China and Brazil, who have illegally crossed the U.S. border here. But the suddenness and still-undetermined cause of the Indian migration baffles many border authorities and judges.

The trend has caught the attention of anti-terrorism officials because of the pipeline's efficiency in delivering to America's doorstep large numbers of people from a troubled region. Authorities interview the immigrants, most of whom arrive with no documents, to ensure that people from neighboring Pakistan or Middle Eastern countries are not slipping through.
with thanks : latimes : link above for detailed news.

'Let a Sikh head Punjab and Sind Bank'

CHANDIGARH: Following a query by PMO on why only a Sikh should always head the Punjab and Sind Bank, and amidst arguments put across by various Sikh leaders to continue with the tradition, Congress MP Pratap Bajwa has now written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, urging him to select a Sikh for the job. 

With thanks : Times of India : link above for detailed news.