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Found 25 results

  1. “Namdharis” to whom the whole sikh community does not consider “Sikhs”, their present head Thakur Dalip Singh is talking about expensation of Sikhism. The way he (Dalip Singh) is talking to promote our sikh religion, nobody talks like him amongst our selfs. We guys are always mad at each other, fighting over the useless petty issues and use abusive language. Even though we don’t accept namdhari as “Sikhs” but we must watch his video and try to understand his concept of promoting “Sikhism”.
  2. Why we are called Sikhs? Sikh name to Sikh religion which Guru Ji gave. I am Sikh since generations. I am proud of being a Sikh. Sikhism is the best modern and progressive religion. Non Sikhs ask me and I want answers for the following questions. 1. Which Guru Ji started Sikh religion? 2. In which year Guru Ji started Sikh religion? 3. At which place Guru Ji started Sikh religion? 4. In which place and year Guru Ji declared that my religion name is “Sikh” 5. In which place and year which Guru Ji declared that my religion is a separate from others, and it is a separate Kaum also. If any Guru Ji made Sikhs a separate Kaum (nation) he must have written in SGGS. 6. Is our Sikh religion a religion or Kaum(nation) While answering please mention name of book and page, edition year etc. I tried very hard to find answers to these questions from old Janam Sakhis, Panth Prakash, Gur bilas, Suraj Prakash, Guru Granth Sahib, Bhai Gurdas Ji and Dasam Granth also. But no where it is written about my questions. Please do not quote from Modern history books. Please help me.
  3. In case you are not aware, there was a documentary about Sikhs and Afghanistan on the BBC a few days ago. You have just under a month to watch it on BBC iPlayer. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0005y6f/our-world-the-last-sikhs-of-afghanistan
  4. my dear Sikh brother just please think why we are opposing namdhari baba thakur dalip singh just think is not it what he is saying is not it that true and is not it that he is doing something for sikh panth ? is not it he grow sikhs or we are just opposing without giving second thought we should re think.
  5. Is it true that Sikh religion does not allow forced conversions of non-sikhs? If it is, where is the evidence?
  6. Why and how Sikhi spread throught the world in old days? My topic means : how and why several crore people from many Asian regions, all religions and all ideologies became followers of Guru Nanak Dev ji i.e. Guru Nanak Nam Leva, who were later called Sikhs? What was chrishma in Him which attracted people inlarge numbers without modern techniques of communication? I did not agree with people who say “Guru Nanak was very intelligent, due to that people became his followers”, that is not possible. Because during that period and now a days there are several people who are very intelligent and very good orators but still people donot become their followers in large numbers. There must be something else, which is not evident. Pl tell us with detail. In this forum there is a thread “why sikhi failed to spread”, By amardeep in 2015, which is very educative and eye opener. After reading that i became interested in this forum. I hope members of this forum can throw light on this topic also. I request everybody to give us knowledge about this topic. Even in this period there are about 11crore Guru Nanak Leva people mostly in India, many of them cannot understand Hindi leave aside Punjabi. We must analise: with so much language barrier and hardships of communications , why and how they became followers Guru Nanak Dev ji in those days or later? After 500yrs still they are his devotee, why? How their devotion/attachment survived when there is no contact/preaching/support from Sikh clergy/SGPC etc? I know many hard core Sikhs or who are in power, who are in posession of main gurdwara and goolks and so called mainstrem Sikhs donot consider them as Sikhs but as per my opinion they are Sikhs. They are real real Sikhs devotees, true disciples of Guru Nanak Dev ji because they have devotion inside, which is real Sikhi. Because Sikhi is not with any particular uniform or dress code or even kes/hair are not neccessory element of Sikhi as per Gurubani, Sikhi is with devotion to Guru Nanak Dev ji. I request everybody to give us knowledge about this topic.
  7. http://dailysikhupdates.com/12-greatest-warriors-ever-lived/ Bhul chuk maaf
  8. http://singhstation.net/2016/02/sikhs-comes-to-the-rescue-of-people-stuck-in-haryana-due-to-jat-agitation/ Bhul chuk maaf
  9. Celebrating the Sweet Memory of the Eternally Celebrated Bhai Sahib Bhai Kanhaiya Ji Maharaj Epitome of Naam, Compassion and Obedience (Part 1) Bhai Kanhaiya Ji Maharaj ~ His Barsi - Sept. 20. - Part 2 Bhai Kanhaiya Ji Maharaj ~ His Barsi - Sept. 20. - Part 1September 17, 2015 by Gurdhyan Singh and Amolak Singh Celebrating the Sweet Memory of the Eternally Celebrated Bhai Sahib Bhai Kanhaiya Ji Maharaj Epitome of Naam, Compassion and Obedience Gurdhyan Singh and Amolak Singh 'Bhai Kanhaiya Singh Ji' by Pen-Tacular-Artist ' PART I of II Sept. 19, 2015: The spiritual world, especially the Sikh world, is familiar with Bhai Sahib Bhai Kanhaiya Ji, who is widely known for his water seva during Sri Guru Gobind Singh Maharaj Ji's time in the battlefield. Due to the Blessing of Naam and the Grace of the Guru, when serving water to the fallen soldiers, Bhai Ji could only see his beloved everywhere, and not friends or foes. He was the pinnacle of Guru Shabad's translation in his existence. Bhai Ji's life journey shows that he was much more than someone who was merely serving water, he was a Brahamgyani, Gnostic. Before that, on is his path of Sikhi, Bhai Ji had to conquer his mind and eliminate duality. A heavenly soul named Kanhaiya descended onto earth on an auspicious night in 1648 in Sohdara, a town near Wazirabad now in Pakistan. His father, Bhai Nathu Ram Khatri, was a well to do trader from an aristocratic family. After Kanhaiya's birth, Bhai Nathu consulted the family astrologer who foretold that the child would have strong mystical tendencies. Bhai Kanhaiya Ji was educated and brought up in an aristocratic manner but he remained more interested in his quest for the common good and spiritual knowledge. As a young teenager, he would fill his pockets with coins and discreetly share them with the needy. On many occasions, he would leave home during the night without informing his family and spend time with ascetics and holy men. As Bhai Kanhaiya Ji grew, his compassion for those in servitude was outpouring. During his time, the rich and powerful would force the poor into servitude, coercing them to carry heavy home and business items on their heads and backs for many miles. Young Kanhaiya would anonymously wait on the paths of the village for them and discreetly carry the weight of those workers for some distance, his humble attempt to share their burden. The people were astonished at his compassion and the thoughtful nature of someone so young and rich. His altruistic activities were not enough for youthful Kanhaiya, as he had the inexplicable desire to search for something unknown, so he always attended holy congregations in the area. After the death of his father, Bhai Kanhaiya Ji, as the oldest son, inherited the family business and reluctantly accepted his father's responsibilities. However, his heart was not in right place as he was more altruistic. As his past life's karam sprouted, the 9th Nanak, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji Maharaj's divine game afforded him the opportunity to unfold the first chapter of his divine life. During one of his business trips, as he was sleeping in a tent, during Amrti Vela, Bhai Kanhaiya Ji was woken by chants of the Sloks of Mahalla 9th by Bhai Nanua Ji. Bhai Nanua Ji was a devout Sikh blessed by the Satguru Maharaj Ji. Bhai Ji walked in and found Bhai Nanua Ji chanting Sloks in a melodious and magnetic fervor. Each Slok, full of vairag, pierced his heart and shattered his world view, making him question the purpose of his life. He immediately understood that the message in the Sloks was for him. Once Bhai Nanua ji completed his Nitnem and Naam Abhyaas, Bhai Kanhaiya Ji requested Bhai Nanua Ji to explain the process of adopting a Guru and getting Gurmantar. Bhai Nanua Ji said that the Sloks are revealed by his beloved Guru, the 9th Nanak. He told him to go to the 9th Nanak to end his wandering. Bhai Sahib found himself unable to continue his worldly routine, and slipped away from his entourage into the deep jungle, discarding his worldly duties for good. Bhai Kanhaiya Ji, writhing in the pangs of separation, wandered into the forest. In the forest, he came across another devout Sikh, Bhai Bans Ji, who was also immersed in Naam Simaran. Bhai Banj Ji advised him to get the guidance of the Supreme Source of light, and hinted him to go to populated places, rather than the forest for that Light. As his desperation grew, Bhai Ji visited different towns. His search for Guru Maharaj Ji ended when he arrived in Sri Anandpur Sahib. People were going to meet Him to earn His eternal blessings. He also went to attend the sangat of Sri Guru Maharaj Ji. This meeting further exacerbated his love for Him and his separation became more unbearable. He started to attend Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji's congregations regularly. He resolved to stay in His congregation and service forever. Bhai Ji went forward and placed his head at His lotus feet, paying his obeisance. Maharaj Ji's divine vision instantly electrified him, and he felt he had found his beloved. Maharaj Ji initiated Bhai Ji and gave him Gurmantar, and explained him the methods of Naam Simaran and explained Rehat. Then Maharaj Ji told him to express his desire, Bhai Ji pleaded for blessings of simaran and seva. Maharaj Ji blessed him with simaran through surti, and asked him to bring water. Bhai Sahib instantly picked up a pitcher and filled it from a nearby river. He then placed it by Guru Maharaji Ji's side. His Holiness indifferently drank some water, washed his face, hands and feet, and then spilled the remaining water. Bhai Kanhaiya Ji immediately refilled the empty pitcher and placed it by His side. Guru Ji repeated the same process again. In full public view, he earnestly continued this difficult seva for several months. Bhai Ji never questioned Guru Ji's action of spilling water. He never complained and but was more enthusiastic every time he went to get water. He surrendered himself to Guru Ji's sweet will. Bhai Ji cleared the first hurdle and pleased, Guru Ji, allowing him to join his team of sevadaars. He was given Hazuri Seva. First, he was the official water carrier for Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. He brought water for His baths, for washing his clothes, and for preparing his meals. He later became in charge of the langar, and arranging Maharaj Ji's bed. He also looked after Maharaj Ji's horses. Maharaj Ji started to visit the stable frequently, unlike in the past. One day during His visit, Bhai Ji fell on His lotus feet with tears rolling. Bhai Ji uttered remarkable praises of Him out of love. Maharaj Ji said that He was happy with his seva, and uttered prophetic words that Bhai Ji's future was going to be filled with serving humanity. Bhai Ji carried on his Naam Simaran and Maharaj Ji's seva for about 17 years, without any iota of complaint or desire. Bhai Ji, with his devotion, was able to obtain Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji's happiness and grace. One day, Maharaj Ji came to the stable when Bhai Sahib was alone and ordered the gate sevadar to not let anyone enter. Sache Patshah expressed his happiness and told Bhai Sahib Bhai Kanhaiya Ji that his seva and simaran was complete and approved. His Holiness Blessed Bhai Ji with His Grace, put His hand over Bhai Ji's head, uttering Nihaal three times, and granted him the boon of Brahmgyan. He received the blessings of Naam in the form of the experiential light which eliminated the darkness of his subtle ego and other maladies of the mind. Bhai Sahib lost all duality of mind, and Maharaj Ji declared him to be His own approved Sikh. Now Bhai Ji was not just merely a Sikh, but the Sikh who joined the company of those approved in Guru's Sachkhand. Maharaj Ji also revealed him His eternal and majestic form, viraat form. During this process, Bhai Ji saw the all spiritual powers of the cosmos standing with folded hands in front of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji Maharaj. Maharaj Ji asked if has any desire. Bhai Ji humbly said he only wanted His Blessings and sangat forever. Maharaj Ji commanded that he must share his blessings with others. He told him to go to a place of his choice and establish a dharamshala to serve people and impart them divine knowledge (naam), work for their spiritual and worldly development, and continue his tradition of seva. Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji Maharaj gave his personal handkerchief as a gift to Bhai Kanhaiya Ji. Bhai Ji arrived at Kawa village in the Northwest Punjab. During his stay at an inn, he asked for water. He did not get it as the innkeeper told him that there was a shortage of water in the vicinity. The people had limited water at homes, as village inhabitants had to travel about two to three miles across high mountains to get water. He understood that this village is on a main, busy highway, with travelers who faced problems due to the lack of water and other facilities. So, for Bhai Ji, this was an opportunity to follow his Guru Hukam and start his seva here. The way Guru-blessed Sikhs live their lives is fundamentally different than from ordinary mortals. Bhai Ji did not preach, lecture, or request material or human help. He himself got a pitcher filled with water and sat on the side of road serving travelers. As soon as the water finished, Bhai Ji would refill the pitcher and serve again. Bhai Kanhaiya, on reaching Kavha, (district Attock, now in Pakistan), established a dharamsal providing much sought-after water, peace and resting place to ...News of this action quickly spread among local inhabitants. Slowly, more people joined Bhai Ji with their buckets. Bhai Ji's endeavor inspired many more to join seva. People also started to bring along black chole to serve with water. Bhai Ji immediately commenced daily congregational activities with his new sangat. With Naam radiating from his glowing face, the people realized that he was not ordinary, but actually a supreme holy one. Bhai Ji laid down the foundation of dharamshala, where, in addition to water and chole seva, a regular satsang would be held. Within no time, fragrance of His Naam spread far and wide, and Guru sangat grew larger as devotees from far away started to come. The place was a focal point of seva and simaran. Very soon, a full-fledged dharamshala was built that remained open round the clock, had a rest house of 200 rooms with 200 beds and pillows. Also, 200 pitchers of waters were ready at all times for the travelers. In the meantime, Maharaj Ji arranged His Delhi saka, and went to Sachkhand, and his son, Sri Gobind Rai Ji, succeeded him. Bhai Ji could not bear the departure of his beloved Guru, and he immediately left Kawa, and arrived at Anandpur sahib. He paid his respect to the 10th Nanak, Sri Guru Gobind Rai Ji Maharaj, and started to attend His sangat daily. Bhai Kanhaiya Ji Maharaj ~ His Barsi - Sept. 20. - Part 2September 18, 2015 by Gurdhyan Singh and Amolak Singh Read the story behind the story about the young man who would become one of the most famous and spiritually accomplished Sikhs of all time. MUST READ Part I PART II of II Sept. 20, 2015: During his visit to Anandpur, the city was under attack by an alliance of Rajputs and Moghuls. Kalgidhar Pathshah Ji asked Bhai Ji to do water seva because he had been undertaking water seva for so long, for the Sikhs fighting in the battle. Bhai Ji happily agreed to comply with His Hukam. Bhai Ji, wearing white robes, was often seen with a mashak (a water pouch) in the battle field, serving water to wounded soldiers without any discrimination. It was amazing that due to Bhai Ji's spiritual state, he had easy access to frontiers of all warring factions. He would fearlessly continue his seva while arrows were flying and swords were being swung at each other, and where bloodshed, violence, and hatred was the order of the day. However, in that battle, Bhai Ji with his love and compassion, pour water into the mouths of the wounded, bless them with his hand on their head, and heal the fallen and wounded soldiers, who would then rise and resume battle. His acts of compassion inevitably stirred up doubts and criticism among some Sikhs who were unable to comprehend the ways of a Brahmgyani, like Bhai Ji. They judged him from his outwardly conduct and were outraged with his conduct. They complained about this to Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj saying he was a traitor even though Maharaj Ji said he was a blessed Sikh. They said, he eats and lives with us, but gives water to the enemy and that he claims to be a Sikh despite his friendship with the enemy as he was helping the enemies heal so that they could get up and attack the Khalsa again. They also said that they tried to stop Bhai Kanhaiya Ji several times from giving water to others, but that he would not stop. Maharaj Ji called for Bhai Ji and told him that his fellow Sikhs were complaining about him and asked him to respond. Bhai Ji humbly stated that as mortal always sin, however, he never gave water to the enemy. Guru Ji enquired from Bhai Sahib about that, to which Bhai Ji replied "I see you alone, my master in every person, I cannot distinguish between the Turks , the Sikhs and You."The Sikhs got angry and told Guru Ji that Bhai Ji was lying. They said that yesterday, in a skirmish, they severely injured a Mughal commander Noori Shah, an associate of Wazir Khan, left him there thinking him to be dead. However, last night, he regained consciousness and loudly asked for water, which Bhai Ji immediately obliged. He also took Noori Shah to the Mughal camp and treated him for his wounds. Guru Ji smilingly asked him whether he gave water to the Mughals, which Bhai Ji denied. Then, He asked whether he gave water to the Pahari Hindus, which Bhai Ji denied. Again, He asked whether he gave water to the Sikhs, which Bhai Ji also denied. The omniscient Guru continued with His divine game, and asked whether he was even doing His assigned seva. Bhai Ji replied that, in the battlefield he is serving water, but he did not see Sikhs, Mughals or Hindus, but that he just saw his omnipresent Satguru Patshah. He said how can one who is smitten with your love, see someone else anywhere and then therefore not give water to those in whom you live. He said he was just giving water to his Satguru Patshah. Some of the Singhs got angry at this untenable explanation in their opinion, and went for their swords, asking Guru Ji's permission to punish Bhai Ji. But, Guru Ji told the Sikhs to look into Bhai Ji's eyes. When they gazed closely into his eyes, they saw Guru Ji's reflection. This was proof that Bhai Ji indeed saw Guru Ji's everywhere, and that he was telling the truth. Guru Ji explained what it meant to be a blessed Sikh, and dispelled doubts of Sikhs that Guru Ji was just defending his favorite Sikh. Sri Dashmesh Pita Ji, smilingly looked at his Sikhs and pointed to Bhai Kanhaiya Ji, saying that he understood the deeper message of the Gurus' teachings correctly and that they all should strive to learn to live like him. Guru Ji told them to let him carry on with his mission. He said that many more will follow in his footsteps and keep the tradition of Nishkam sewa alive. Maharaj Ji declared that Bhai Sahib was my real follower, i.e., a true Sikh, treading the Divine Path as a Gurmukh. Maharaj Ji said that Bhai Ji made his life a living example of Gurbani because Sikhi is meant to be a spiritually experiential way of living. Guru Ji then reminded the Sikhs of Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji' Maharaj Ji's Shabad in which He said that He had totally forgotten His jealousy of others, since He had found the Saadh Sangat. He said that no one was his enemy or stranger, and that He got along with everyone. He accepted Waheguru's will as good, which was the sublime wisdom He had obtained from omnipresent Waheguru. Thus, the great Guru spoke to the narrow-minded Sikh soldiers to fight in the battlefield, only to uphold the divine cause rather than fight with ill will, anger, and hatred because such a fight would not lead them to the path of the divine. The 10th Nanak also told the Sikhs that Bhai Ji has adopted the rehat of five elements of human composition: pure and cleansing water which washes filth of others, indiscriminant fire that gives warmth to all, air and earth which treat everything equally, even if someone has dug into the earth or decorated it, and the sky which is so wide and inclusive as it covers the whole earth. Satguru Maharaj Ji took him in embrace and took balm from his pocket and gave it to him, and told him to put balm on the wounded also when serving water; and put his Own stamp of approval on Bhai Ji's seva. After the end of Battle, Guru Kalgidhar Patshah asked Bhai Ji to go back to his home town, Sodhara, and with His grace, continue his seva and simaran. One of the key teachings Bhai ji used to emphasize was that a Sikh must be compassionate by nature, and if he should see someone in any difficult situation, he should pray for his emancipation and divine grace. The first fallen Mughal soldier who was healed by Bhai Ji was so touched by Bhai Ji's seva that after the war ended, he came to Bhai Ji. Bhai Ji was in trance on the bank of a nearby river. After Bhai Ji opened his eyes, the former soldier paid respect and offered him an expensive jewel. Bhai Ji smiled said these stones are not useful for him and threw it into the river. This made the him upset, and he asked Bhai Ji to give it back to him. Bhai Ji looked at the river, which immediately split into two. From the middle arose a sand spot with so many jewels. Bhai Ji asked him to take his jewel back. Bhai Ji lived 70 years full of contentment, love and compassion. He preached unity of humankind and God. His Gnostic life epitomized all the values of Gurbani such as Naam Simaran, service, obedience and surrender to Guru's will, renunciation, bliss, and divine grace. His journey was long and arduous. He is credited with the founding of the seva panthi or adanshahi sampradya. One day, in his pleasure, he patted his main sevadaar, Seva Ram, and expressed his appreciation of his seva and simaran. Bhai Ji told him that since he passed all the tests, he should take charge of seva and spread naam as ordained by Guru Maharaj. Nearing his time to go to the eternal place of Waheguru, on one bright morning, he discussed death and after death rituals with the sangat. During the discussion, it was mentioned that there either is the option of cremation or burial followed by extensive rituals. Bhai Ji, also added that holy people always live in transcendent state, and shed their body as a snake casts off his skin. Crossing all limits of humility, Bhai Ji then said that as poor people we cannot afford funeral expenses, if one of us had to leave this world as divinely ordained, it would be better to submerge one's body in running water. He said that it would be good for aquatic creatures. The sangat did not catch the clue, and thought it was a general sermon. That same evening, he came in the sangat as usual and sat with the support of wall. Exegeses were told and minstrels were reciting Gurbani. Usually, at a set time, Bhai Ji would signal them to stop. However, Bhai ji did not signal them this time. Everyone was exhausted. A sevadar went up to him to check on him and found his body motionless, and discovered that he had left his mortal body and went to his beloved's place, Sachkhand. The distraught and shocked sangat now understood the mystery of Bhai Ji's parable about death and after rituals. As per Bhai Ji's wish, the sangat submerged his body in a running stream nearby. As the news spread, Bhai Ji's family received news about his departure. They saddened by his passing and lamented for being unable to conduct traditional funeral activities. They hired divers to find his mortal remains within 18 miles of the river, but could not locate anything. In the entirety of the cosmos, Bhai Ji saw the only One, and eliminated all intellectual barriers. He overcame mind's fickleness and did not see the duality. His life exemplified that in the game of Love there is no duality and judgment; there is no victory or defeat, no enemy or friend, no loss or benefit, no hatred or attachment, and therefore no discrimination. His life proved that so long as mind control one's existence, there are going to be artificial barriers within humanity, therefore no justice. The mind cannot see all as equals with the omnipresent Light because it invariably studies, contemplates, and reinforces duality. Only Guru's grace in the form of Brahamgyan can illuminate the mind and erase roots of darkness, then one can see omnipresent Waheguru Akaalpurakh in his creation, and Bhai Ji's exemplified the same. Only those who are immersed in Naam and enlightened with the Guru's Grace, like Bhai Ji, who are holy and pure, have the capacity to be just because they see the cosmos in their own form and vice-versa. Only they can see HIM in both sargun and nirgun form in all, and give limitless space and love to everyone in their heart, therefore clairvoyantly can engage in the eternal salvation of human beings. Bhai Sahib Bhai Kanhaiya Ji, paved the way for the salvation of many others. His name and conduct will remain in eternity.
  10. I am interested to know if there are Sikhs who are only eating a raw food diet due to health issues, intolerances to certain foods or just preferred eating habits. Thanks.
  11. https://www.scribd.com/doc/260622584/Hazrat-Mian-Mir-and-the-Sufi-Tradition
  12. from SIKHNET Time for Truth, Justice and Reconcilaition January 1, 2015 by Gurdhyan Singh Source: www.independentoped.com India: Victims of Violence Deserve Truth and Closure: Time for a Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission December 24, 2014 By Gurdhyan Singh St. Paul, Minnesota, USA A QUESTION MARK? What happened to you? What you had gone through Is not part of any religion’s criteria, But sure can be part of barbarism. That’s why your body was raped; When I saw nail marks on your face, Barbaric stamp on your chest, A sharp needle pierced my veins, My heart filled with tumultuous pangs, I started to suffocate From the terror in your eyes. It appears that Your only brother was burnt alive And your father’s greying beard and hair was dishonored In the Chandani Chowk Delhi; Your mother’s heart stopped beating. Perhaps that time the humanity was under curfew And all religions went into hiding into their respective homes, Scared of barbarism, I heard that the city is always mute, But this time The city wailed And cried its heart out But was helpless; In your own home You’re becoming homeless, an orphan, a refugee Is a fundamental question mark? That will we ever learn to live sans advertisements? Otherwise We all will be guilty of our history and progenies. I wrote this poem 30 years back in Punjabi language, as an expression of my pain and agony and a tribute to a victim of the anti-Sikh violence that occurred in Delhi and other parts of India, in the wake of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s killing on October 31, 1984. The anti-Sikh violence resulted in the death about 3,000 Sikhs, many were put on fire, and their property destroyed. In addition, many women were subjected to various kinds of sexual assaults. Since then, I have read the poem numerous times. I came across, that all victims of violence share one common feeling; the deep emptiness that pervades their whole being, evidenced by their silent calls for help, for compassion. I saw this emptiness, the silent cries for help, in that victim that day. After 30 years, India has not been able to bring healing and closure to the pain and sufferings of the Sikh victims of violence. Other than random and incomplete attempts for compensation and some material benefits, there have not been any comprehensive effective attempts to address the scars and trauma of victims. The Indian government appointed ten successive commissions to investigate various aspect of anti-Sikh violence; all documented testimonies, collected evidence, and made recommendations, mostly legal in nature. The courts so far have convicted about 30 lower level individuals involved in the violence. The prosecution against those at top level is lingering, and always back and forth, without any end in sight. India has encountered similar tragedies in one form or another hence such pain and agony is not recent; the 1947 partition of India, with one million dead, and ten million displaced, reminiscent of former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Due to a lack of closure emotional pain of the partition still continues to manifest itself intermittently through poetry, drama, and even in Bollywood movies. In contemporary India, the cycle of violence in India has three variations: one is inter-group violence, often described as communal violence or mob-violence. Second, resorted by various armed opposition groups, and thirdly State violence. All these variations of violence effected people’s lives in a variety of ways as innocents, combatants, police and army personnel, politicians, bureaucrats, poor, and rich alike. In a broader sense, India has been unable to deal with emotional scars and hurt psyche of all those effected by all kinds of violence. There is a subtle denial of large-scale emotional suffering of masses; no therapeutic and cathartic processes have been devised. There has not been a serious national initiative or dialogue to develop any comprehensive mechanism for reconciliation and healing. The only idea recycled by Indian politicians of all hues is limited to the rhetoric of communal harmony, peace and national integrity. There has been few occasional and spontaneous talks of truth commission. For example, in 2011, the J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah remarked “setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to probe killings and cases of disappearances in the past 20 years would be the strongest Confidence Building Measure.” However, there was no follow-up on the idea even though proposal has a very limited scope. The civil society groups do occasionally make reference to the need for a truth commission. Recently in an article, Mr. Justice Rajinder Sachar (Retd) hoped that the Nanavati Commission’s “terms of reference would be on the pattern of “Truth and Conciliation Commission” appointed in South Africa by Nelson Mandela.” He added that “I still feel that this aspect should be followed by the Central Government because I am of the firm opinion that apart from punishing the guilty, it is important to know the real truth which is hidden in government files — human rights principles and justice to the families of victims demand this course.” The lack of truth and closure results in each group crafting its own narratives, eventually totally holding others responsible for their plight. The feelings of vengeance and the process of dehumanization of others continue to be passed on to next generations. The groups imprison themselves with bitterness and anger from within, and without any emotional outlet, victims continue to suffer. There is a need for a compassion-based process that engages in truth telling, admitting and assigning true culpability, forgiving the culprits, and moving forward towards reconciliation. That will only happen when India creates a national Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission; not only to deal with the past, but also as a preventive measure for future sustainable peace. While the Commission is bound to provoke painful emotions, it will acknowledge and address all painful emotions. The Commission should be tasked to set the historical record straight by preserving historical memories of tragedies in which human rights violations have occurred, and should ensure that these tragedies are never repeated by taking a variety of measures, including truth telling, investigating, prosecuting, applying reparations, and reconciliation. At global level, so far about 40 countries have benefitted from the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation commissions in a variety of ways, starting with Nelson Mandela’s South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Mandela’s experiment was able to steer the country away from more ethnic violence to co-existence. Commenting on the role of the Commissions, Mr. Pablo de Greiff, the first UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, concluded that “Ultimately, commissions have provided recognition to victims as rights holders, fostered civic trust, and contributed to strengthening the rule of law.” Recently, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Zeid Ra-ad Al Hussein noted that “You come to realize that there’s a deeper issue at hand, that there are conflicting narratives. And there is the truth. After all there is the truth as well. And it’s not that you can make up or contrive a narrative. There is a truth that has to be identified, and how do we do that, it is intensely difficult.” Mr. Zeid also added that,“Truth commissions…, can lead the way.” The Commission should draw from experience and global best practices and utilize the services of the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, and contextualize that with local approaches to reconcile and heal. Every victim of violence, whether of State, terrorist, rebel or inter-group violence, whether Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, lower caste, upper caste, whether a man, woman, or child, should be given the opportunity to tell their stories of suffering. Then, the perpetrators will get a chance to own up to their crimes, and by doing so; they may become eligible for amnesty. Those who don’t tell the truth about their culpability or do not fall within the scope of the Commission should be subjected to the justice system under the Supreme Court of India’s oversight. The Commission will not decide who was wrong or right from a political perspective, advocate for any cause or agenda, or for any -isms, schisms, or ideologies, but rather will act as a platform and process for allowing victims to know the truth, and facilitate collective and individual healing. To execute this, India needs to find leadership with unimpeachable integrity, a demonstrated commitment to justice and compassion; someone who can inspire trust and mobilize the broadest communities, and lead the Commission. Is setting of the Commission going to be easy? No. It is a formidable task but not impossible. However, first of all that there is need to initiate a national dialogue on this issue. Obviously, there are going to be skeptics, partisans and opponents of the process. There are also those who genuinely want to admit culpability and seek forgiveness but are fearful of the consequences. The key to the success of the Commission lies in an authentic dialogue to set realistic expectations, and not be viewed either as magic pill or redundant enterprise. We need to be mindful of the fact that the Commission will not solve all conflicts and all the issues of India, but it will for sure will bring some if not all victims out of their prolonged silent mourning and sadness into a new era of healing and closure.
  13. My father-in-law passed in a tragic accident involving an 18-wheeler. He was dropping passenger(s) off at Newark airport when he slid on black ice from a previous sleet/snow storm. After the car came to a stop, my father in law checked on the passengers to make sure everyone was okay. After that he proceeded to exit the vehicle to put proper flags, caution lights, etc. out to warn any oncoming traffic. Keep in mind he lost control on an exit ramp leading to the airport. Within minutes, an 18-wheeler came barreling up and around the ramp. Losing control because of speed and other unknown reasons, the truck spun out of control. After the sheriffs arrived to the scene and began to check on everyone involved in the accident, they realized the driver (my father in law) was missing. An officer then went to investigate the surroundings in search of my Parminder. A bit later, he was discovered under the truck. He was covered in snow. After removing the snow, it was obvious he passed of blunt force trauma to the head, neck and body. He was pronounced dead at the scene. My father in law loved to give. He would give you the turban off of his head, the shirt off of his back or the very last dollar in his pocket. He was very involved in the Sikh community here in NYC and loved to make a difference. He loved everyone he met and never stopped laughing. He helped anyone and everyone he possibly could. Any and all support is and will be treasured. http://www.gofundme.com/SupportTheSinghs
  14. Please share some of your experiences in light of 9/11 and if possible please answer the following questions. *Was the targeting of a majority of non-Caucasians (specifically brown-skinned) individuals an exhibition of deep rooted colonial bias? *In retrospect, was 9/11 a somewhat positive step towards forcing Sikhs to utilize the media? *What factors lead to all 'turbans' being classified as Islamic and thus radical head gear? *How has the racism, exhibited 9/11, affected the diaspora's perception of Western nations? *What are the social lessons of 9/11?
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