Saturday, October 29, 2011

Airport Sikh Turban Check – Unique Court Case In Poland

Warsaw, Poland: A unique Court case is taking place in Poland of a Sikh taking the Polish Airport Security to Court for disgracing Sikh travellers passing through Poland.
The actions started in Oct 2009. Sikhs travelling through Polish airports were being told to remove their turbans for security check – the turbans were then placed on the x-ray scanner and passed through it. No amount of requests that turbans be checked with hand held scanners, or by pat downs were accepted. The Guards seemed to take delight in telling many hapless passengers ” take it off, else you will not fly…”
In my case – as a fluent Polish speaker, having graduated from a Polish University, over 30 years ago and having worn my turban through all these years, I was not prepared to sit back & “take this”. After explaining many times to the hierarchy of the Polish Border Guard in a series of letters and in several face to face meetings, I decided that I could rest. Warsaw has many Sikhs, a SIkh Gurudwara, which is officially registered as a formal place of worship. The Sikh Community was outraged but seemed to be helpless. I wrote a huge number of letters to many concerned people: the Polish Ambassador in India, the Polish Ambassador in the UK, recruited the support from many senior Polish officials and the many colleagues that I studied with. All attempts to reach some form of dialogue with the Komandant of the Border Guard failed. Even the intervention of the Polish Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who having been a Delegate at the Polish Indian Trade Summit (Sept 2010) and having heard from the highest Officials in India (HH Preneet Kaur) that more respect could be given to the Sikh Community’s distres, was unable to move the Polish authorities.
Consequently having got the support from the Helsinki Foundation of Poland, and with pro bono support from one of the best Polish legal Houses, we launched a Court Case against the Komandant of the Border Guard Service that conducts security check at airports. This gained a lot of publicity of the issue. And a lot of sympathy too. No Sikh was trying to evade the security check…all Sikhs were asking for was to conduct the check in a dignified manner – if scanner or othjer evidence suggested that a security threat existed, then all law abiding people would naturally submit to all other intrusive checks – some fact that the Komandant of the Security Service seemed totally deaf to,
Most interestingly, as the case developed, the Airport Security Gurad turned vindictive – the more the publicity about the injustice, the more they became emboldened to demand stripping off Sikh turbans. Even on the official web site of the association of the Border Guard started to carry insulting and demeaning discussions and some of them directed personally to me !! To cap it all off one of the authors in the e-forum of the Border Guard set up a discussion challenging me by name, yet hiding behind his anonymity in the e-discussion!.

with thanks : SikhSangat : link above for detailed news. Mailed to us by : SHAMINDER PURI.

Sikh gets job, USD 295,000 in discrimination case in US

Washington:  Six years after he was denied a job as a prison guard in California because he refused to shave off his beard, an Indian-American Sikh has been made a correctional officer at a California jail. He's also won $295,000 in damages.

Trilochan Singh Oberoi, 63, reached a settlement with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and can report to work from November 1.

"Oberoi's legal battle exemplifies the challenges many Sikhs face in the US in seeking private and government employment after 9/11, as widespread ignorance, prejudice and hate pose serious challenges to equal opportunity for South Asians, and particularly Sikh Americans, who are often mistaken for Middle Eastern terrorists," said attorney Harmeet K Dhillon, who represented Oberoi.

In 2005, Oberoi applied for a position as a correctional officer with the CDCR, according to a statement issued today.

Oberoi advanced to the final stage of the application process, which involved a test that needed him to wear a special respirator mask - for this, he was told, he had to shave his beard.

with thanks : NDTV : link above for detailed news.

Sikh body demands memorial for Hondh-Chillar massacre victims

Amritsar, Oct 28 (PTI) The Shiromani Gurdwara Pharbadnhak Committee has come under criticism from a Sikh students' body for delay in construction of a memorial for the community members killed during anti-Sikh riots in November 1984 in Haryana. All India Sikh Student Federation (AISSF) Karnail Singh Peer Mohammed has asked SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar to begin construction of memorial by October 31. Peer said if SCPC fails to adhere to the same, AISSF would start construction of the memorial at Hondh-Chillar village, where the riots took place. Reacting to Peer's warning, Makkar said he has no problem if AISSF cames forward to construct the memorial. He said SGPC realised that there was no use to construct memorial there since none of the affected family was living at Hondh-Chillar and if needed, the memorial would be constructed after thorough discussion with the affected families. As per a SGPC report, 32 Sikhs were massacred at Hondh- Chillar village in Haryana's Rewari district during November 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

with thanks : IBNLive : link above.

The only living master of a dying martial art

A former factory worker from the British Midlands may be the last living master of the centuries-old Sikh battlefield art of shastar vidya. The father of four is now engaged in a full-time search for a successor.

with thanks : BBC News : link above for detailed news story.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sikhs to hold international martial arts competition in San Jose

Sikhs are not unfamiliar with battle, neither physical nor political, here in Silicon Valley.
And on Saturday, the community is holding its first international Sikh martial arts competition at the San Jose Gurdwara Sahib, or Sikh temple, in the Evergreen hills.
The battle is over who will be the best "gatka" expert, the one who best masters a sword, a stick and a shield in an ancient rite of Sikh combat.
"This is the first international gatka contest held in California," said Sukhdev Bainiwal, a member of the San Jose Sikh temple who is in charge of the battle. The first such contest was held nine years ago in Toronto.
He said about 200 competitors from California, New York, Houston, Maryland, New Jersey, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and India will participate. There are four age categories, from the under-7 group to those who are in their 60s.
The winners share a total of $9,000 in cash prizes.
Gatka may be best compared to the eskrima, the martial arts of the Philippines. Bainiwal said this form of martial arts is deeply infused in the Sikh religion; the sixth guru first used this technique on the battlefield.
"It's more spiritual and more meditative," Bainiwal said.

with thanks : mercurynews : link above for detailed news story.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wanna say something ?

Oldest marathon runner: Fauja Singh sets world record

with thanks : YouTube & the 

Sukhmani Sahib: Psalm of peace

Here is a line from the Sukhmani Sahib: "Sukhmani Sukh amrit prab nam,/ Bhagat jana kai man bisram. Rahau." Sukhmani is peace of mind, the nectar of the Name of God. The minds of the devotees abide in a joyful peace. Pause.

The word 'rahau' which means 'pause' manifests the true meaning of the bani or sacred sayings, the Sukhmani Sahib. Also known as the 'consoler of the mind' and the 'Jewel of Peace', its recitation leaves a soothing effect on the mind of the reader. A basic text of the Sikh faith, Sukhmani Sahib - Gauri Sukhmani in the Guru Granth Sahib - presents the teachings of the Sikh faith in a simple yet soul-stirring manner.

The sacred bani comprising 24 ashtpadis or cantos opens with an invocation to the Supreme who is remembered as adi-gure, jugadi-gure, sat-gure and sri-gurdeve - the primal guru, guru of all ages, the true guru and the great Divine Guru. It urges that in order to gain peace one should make a constant effort to remember the Name - Shabad or Word of the Almighty. Guru Arjan Dev says that the only way to realise God is through Namsimran or chanting God's Name. 

As weak beings, we are full of attachments and desires. In a world of maya or illusion, we forget the Creator while being engrossed in his creation. Only with His Grace and complete surrender to His Will one can overcome evils like anger, greed, attachment and desires. Namsimran helps in self-purification. 

with thanks : TIMES OF INDIA : link above for detailed version.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Must Read : FUN Time : National ID Card !

Operator : "Thank you for calling Pizza Hut . May I have your..."

Customer: "Hello, can I order.."

Operator : "Can I have your multi purpose ID card number first, Sir?"

Customer: "It's he..., hold..........on......889861356102049998-45-54610"

Operator : "OK... You're... Mr XYZZZ and you're calling from 17 Jal Vayu.....
Your home number is 2x26xxxx, your office 250xxxxx and your mobile is 09xxxxxxxx. Which number are you calling from now Sir?"

Customer: "Home! How did you get all my phone numbers?

Operator : "We are connected to the system Sir"

Customer: "May I order your Seafood Pizza..."

Operator : "That's not a good idea Sir"

Customer: "How come?"

Operator : "According to your medical records, you have high blood pressure and even higher cholesterol level Sir"

Customer: "What?... What do you recommend then?"

Operator : "Try our Low Fat Pizza. You'll like it"

Customer: "How do you know for sure?"

Operator : "You borrowed a book entitled "Popular Dishes" from the National Library last week Sir"

Customer: "OK I give up... Give me three family size ones then, how much will that cost?"

Operator : "That should be enough for your family of 05, Sir. The total is Rs 500.00"

Customer: "Can I pay by! Credit card?"

Operator : "I'm afraid you have to pay us cash, Sir. Your credit card is over the limit and you owe your bank Rs 23,000.75 since October last year. That's not including the late payment charges on your housing loan, Sir.."

Customer: "I guess I have to run to the neighbourhood ATM and withdraw some cash before your guy arrives"

Operator : "You can't Sir. Based on the records, you've reached your daily limit on machine withdrawal today"

Customer: "Never mind just send the pizzas, I'll have the cash ready. How long is it gonna take anyway?"

Operator : "About 45 minutes Sir, but if you can't wait you can always come and collect it on your Nano Car..."

Customer: " What!"

Operator : "According to the details in system ,you own a Nano car,...registration number GZ-05-AB-1107.."

Customer: " ?"

Operator : "Is there anything else Sir?"

Customer: "Nothing... By the way... Aren't you giving me that 3 free bottles of cola as advertised?"

Operator : "We normally would Sir, but based on your records you're also diabetic....... "

Customer: #$$^%&$@$%

Operator : "Better watch your language Sir.. Remember on 15th July 2010 you were convicted of using abusive language on a policeman...?"

Customer: [Faints].....!!!

Thanks : Mr  S L Watwani

CCTV released of meat and alcohol protest at Sikh centre

CCTV images have been released by police investigating a protest which resulted in people being injured at a community centre in Dudley.
Police started an investigation after a pre-planned demonstration turned to violence in Swancote Road on 28 May.
About 200 people were protesting at the serving of meat and alcohol at the Sikh Cultural Centre.
A police officer and two members of the public suffered head injuries during the disorder.
with thanks : BBC NEWS : link above for detailed news.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sikh body to widen services

The Ontario Sikh and Gurdwara Council (OSGC) is widening its range of community services, officials said last week.

"While the Nagar Kirtan we annually organize Downtown Toronto is today among the biggest - perhaps the fourth-largest - event in Canada, and there have been several other community issues we've brought into the mainstream focus, there are several other areas also in which we can contribute," said chairman Bupinder Singh Ubi.

OSGC secretary Balwinder Singh said these included helping the visually impaired; tackling the major issue of drug abuse; helping those with chronic health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension; and the need for organ and tissue donation.

"The focus will be on initiatives for which there are already considerable resources available in the mainstream, but which need organizations like ours to make them available to our communities," he explained.

with thanks : link above for detailed news.

Synagogue Is Home to Displaced Sikhs

The Sikh’s have accepted the invitation, and recently began worship services at the Old Bethpage synagogue last week. They will conduct their services on Sundays through November, and beyond if necessary.
"We saw it as a real chance for peace and understanding,” said Rabbi Michael Churgel, the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Elohim.  “We’re thrilled because it’s an opportunity for our communities to share and learn from each other.”
The Sikh Temple on Old Country Road in Plainview has been shut down for months by a variety of code violations brought by Town of Oyster Bay officials. The town was acting on the complaints of nearby residents. The gurdwara, or Sikh temple, draws hundreds of people to its services from all over Long Island. Some of their festivals go well into the night and involve music on traditional instruments.

with thanks : link above for detailed news.

Life as an Italian American Sikh female taxi driver in NYC

She looks and dresses like a traditional Indian woman, yet she speaks with an American-Italian Brooklyn accent.
Maria Provenzano Singh is also one of the few women cab drivers in New York City.
Recently, a young man pulled out a gun at the end of the ride in Harlem. She sped away, the cab's door slammed closed by the speed, and then continued working all day. "You can't be afraid and do this job," she says.
The 57-year-old emigrated to the US with her family when she was a toddler, but she has not spoken to her relatives for years after falling in love with, and marrying, a Sikh man from the Punjab.

with thanks : BBC News : link above for detailed news, pics, vids.

Second Sikh school approved for Birmingham as Government gives go ahead for more free schools : birminghampost

The first Sikh-ethos secondary school in Birmingham is to open its doors next year after it received the green light from Education Secretary Michael Gove.
Nishkam Trust, which this year opened a primary school in the city, will receive funding to launch its secondary school in September 2012, Mr Gove said.
The trust is linked to a major Gurdwara, or Sikh temple, in Soho Road, Birmingham.
But its schools are designed to serve every part of the community and to admit children from all religions.
The new secondary is one of 55 new free schools given approval by the Government.
Others include a proposed school called the Excellence Academy, in West Bromwich.
A school called the Rural Enterprise Academy will open in Staffordshire and a primary school called Barrow 1618 is planned for Shropshire.
On top of these, Mr Gove announced the creation of 13 new University Technical Colleges, modelled on the successful JCB Academy in Rocester, Staffordshire.

with thanks : link above for detailed news.

First Sikh High Court judge is sworn in: Lawyer is only second from ethnic minority background to be promoted

The first Sikh judge of the High Court was sworn in at the Royal Courts of Justice yesterday.

Rabinder Singh QC, a colleague of Cherie Blair at the human rights barristers’ chambers Matrix, is only the second lawyer from an ethnic minority background to be promoted to the senior level of the judiciary. 

Mr Singh, 47, is the son of Indian immigrants. He won a local council scholarship to the independent Bristol Grammar School and went on to Cambridge.

He has made a name as one of the country’s most prominent human rights lawyers since becoming a barrister 22 years ago.

with thanks : Dailymail : link above for detailed news.


Sikh temple a labour of love : Edmonton Journal

Volunteers continue to expand Nanaksar gurdwara 22 years after construction began.

Weather-worn sheets of plywood shield a makeshift cement plant in a back corner behind the Nanaksar gurdwara.

It says everything about this handson labour of love still growing as it enters its third decade in the northeast corner of Edmonton. The Sikh temple has been built with the coins and small bills dropped in the prayer room collection box, and with volunteer labour from as far away as England and India. University students spend their summers laying tile. They don't hire contractors.

"It's love, that's what it is," said Sehejpal Athwal, a 24-year-old customer sales rep for HSBC from England. He's spending most of his 11-day vacation visiting his brother and volunteering on-site.

They come because they work beside their Baba Ji, or religious leader, he said. "They give us love, we love them and they teach us to love one another. You all learn to love and become one. It makes a better world."

The dome of the temple now towers 10 storeys above the surrounding fields, but though they started in 1989, the Sikhs are not done building. Construction started on a new north wing designed to house a language school. Community leaders also have plans for a student residence, and perhaps a funeral home and a seniors residence, on the 36-hectare site.

But even though the spot is alone in the middle of a field off Manning Drive, it's the centre of a fast-growing Punjabi community in the north end. A crowd of more than 1,000 is expected to drive out for the fullmoon celebrations Tuesday night, and more than 2,000 for the fireworks on Oct. 26 marking Diwali, the festival of lights.

The hub of this community is tucked in the back, in a kitchen where 80-year-old hands roll the corn roti, strip mint leaves and wash spinach. Especially on weekends and full-moon days, the big main floor kitchen, with its six gas burners and pots the size of wine barrels, will be a hive of busy activity.

The Sikh community celebrates every full moon to remember their founder, Guru Nanak Devji, who was born on a full-moon day in 1469. He founded the Sikh religion to counter the strict focus on caste in the Hindu religion at the time, and started the practice of eating together.

"Anyone from any caste or religion, no matter how poor or rich, everybody sat together and had langar, which is food," said Jass Sekhon, a retired small-business owner who volunteers in the kitchen at least once a week.

with thanks : link above for detailed news story.

"He was trying to bring equality," she said. "They can never stop anyone from coming in to have langar here."

The Nanaksar gurdwara is the largest of four temples in Edmonton serving a community of about 12,000 Sikhs. It's the only one that has food seven days a week, Sekhon said.

The temple opens at 3 a.m., when the first priest comes in to start reading from the holy book in the upstairs prayer room. The first kitchen volunteers come in at 5: 30 to prepare breakfast. Others arrive later to make lunch and keep food available through the day. They serve community members, construction volunteers, school groups and anyone who stops in to learn about the Sikh faith, said Zora Grewal, vice-president of the Edmonton branch.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

After fresh intel inputs, Sajjan’s security increased

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) decided to strengthen the security cover for Sajjan Kumar, accused in 1984 anti-Sikh riots, after the President rejected the mercy plea of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, a former militant of Khalistan Liberation Force.
Kumar is undergoing trial in two anti-Sikh riot cases, being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI). He already enjoys Z-plus security.
The decision was taken after the MHA asked for a report from the Special Cell of Delhi Police. “We have to submit a report on a routine basis to the MHA. While analysing his security, we realised that he was under threat from Punjab militants. So we gave a favourable report. The MHA took the decision accordingly,” said a senior police officer.
Kumar is facing trial for the killing of six persons by a mob in Delhi during the riots. CBI had filed two chargesheets against Kumar and others in the riots cases, registered in 2005 on the recommendation of Justice G T Nanavati Commission, which inquired into the sequence of events leading to the riots.

with thanks : Indian Express : link above.

Thousands of Sikh pilgrims due next month

LAHORE: Evacuee Trust Property Board Chairman Asif Hashmi has said that thousands of Sikh pilgrims from different parts of the world will visit their religious places in Pakistan amid tight security and state-of-the-art facilities as part of the birthday celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak in November. 

He was addressing a high-level meeting of the board officers, including Secretary Junaid Ahmad, Zahid Hussain Bukhari, Faraz Abbas, Umar Sharif and Guru Dawara Parbandhak Committee chief Sardar Sham Singh while the military, Rangers, police and other officials were also present in the meeting. 

Hashmi said that the board had already made arrangements to provide housing and food to thousands of pilgrims.

with thanks : link above

Pair hurt in cooking explosion at Dundee Sikh temple

Two women have been taken to hospital with leg injuries after an explosion at a Sikh temple in Dundee.
The incident, which happened at Sri Guru Nanak Gurdwara on Nelson Street at about 09:00, is thought to have involved a pressure cooker.
Two women, aged 50 and 32, who were in the kitchen at the time were treated at the scene before being taken to Ninewells Hospital.
with thanks : BBC News : link above for detailed news

Sikh soldiers to be honoured in UK

LONDON: Sikh soldiers who fought with British troops in conflicts around the world will be honoured in the UK by showcasing the 'Khanda', which is one of the important symbols of Sikhism, and reflects the sacrifices and contribution of the Indian-origin community. 

The charity organisation that raises funds for soldiers who served or are serving in Britain's armed forces will honour Sikh soldiers this year by including the Khanda in its annual Poppy Appeal. 

The appeal is organised annually by the Royal British Legion, and is held on 'Remembrance Sunday', which this year falls on November 13. 

In this year's appeal in Leicestershire - which has a significant Sikh population - the Khanda will join the Christian cross, the Jewish Star of David and the Muslim Crescent which have been introduced in recent years. 

The Khanda, made up of a solid circle, two interlocked swords and a double-edged sword, will be on sale alongside poppies and the other wooden emblems. 

with thanks : PTI : Economic Times : link above for detailed news

Happy Gurupurab

Friday, October 7, 2011

INVITATION: Sikh International Film Festival and Leadership Event in New York City

  • International Film Festival highlights Sikh culture and traditions through features, documentaries and short films
  • Panel of Sikh leaders to discuss their journey into leadership positions
  • For more information on tickets and how to participate visit
New York, NY: UNITED SIKHS would like to extend an invitation to community members to attend two events in coming weeks: the Sikh International Film Festival on October 8, 14 and 15, 2011 and a Sikh Leadership Event on October 13, 2011. The events are hosted by Sikh Arts and Film Foundation and are held in New York City. 
Film Fest

Sikh International Film Festival 2011:

This year, films and documentaries featured at the festival address a variety of issues such as the farmer suicides in India, bullying of school children, drug addiction to name a few. Details of films with short write-ups are included on this weblink. Winners of the short films and documentaries will be judged by a distinguished panel of judges.

On the 8th of October children’s films will be shown at the Hofstra University, Student Center, in New York.

The schedule for the Film Festival is as follows:
Saturday, 8th October: Hofstra University, Student Center (11:30 am – 2:30pm)
Friday, October 14th : Featuring Session (7:00pm 10:00pm)
Asia Society and Museum, 725 Park Avenue, New York, NY
Saturday, October 15th: Short Films (11:30am – 1:30pm), Documentaries (2:00pm – 5:00pm)

To purchase tickets to the Film Festival, please visit:

Leadership Summit

Sikh Leadership Summit

Youth members of the community are highly encouraged to attend the leadership session which will focus on the nexus between diversity, mentorship, community service, and leadership development in one's career. The details of the event are as follows: 

Thursday, October 13th
Location: Asia Society & Museum, 725 Park Avenue, New York, NY 
Panel Session (7:00pm–8:30pm):  

Gurinder Chadha, Internationally Acclaimed Director / Writer
Mohanbir S. Sawhney, Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation Clinical Professor of Technology & Director of the Center for Research in Technology & Innovation, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
Gurvendra S. Suri, Founder and CEO, Optimal Solutions Integration, Inc.

Moderator: Matthew Breitfelder, Managing Director & Chief Talent Officer, BlackRock

Networking Reception : 8:30pm – 9:30pm : Network with peers and a diverse array of industry professionals

To reserve your complimentary tickets for the leadership event, please write to us at: or call 1-646-688-3525 | 888-243-1690

Issued by:
Mankanwal Singh

Sikh group seeks action against Nath in Belgium

New York: A US-based Sikh advocacy group has approached the Belgium government seeking criminal prosecution and arrest of Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, who is scheduled to visit Belgium next week, for his alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
In a letter sent to Belgium Prime Minister Yves Leterme, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) has said Nath should be denied entry into the country and criminal prosecution must be initiated against him.
Nath is scheduled to attend and address the 5th EuroIndia Summit on October 13, 2011 in Leuven, Belgium.

with thanks : IBNLive : link above for detailed news.