Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Attending a Funeral Service…

Well, last week, one of our uncles on my wife’s side of the family passed away. He was actually a grand uncle being a brother of my father-in-law’s dad. Wife, kids and I went to the service in a local Napa church where he used to live. From the little time I knew him and things he had said to me, all I can say is that he was really a good man. He was a soldier in World War II and a family man with a successful marriage of 60+ years. I do remember one of the things he had said to me about 13 years ago and which at the time I thought was very nice. The service itself was really nice, with a special honor given by the guard for his service to the country. It was nice to see some of the family members from my wife side after service, since it had been about three or four years since we had attended the annual family picnic. This was also a first time for me to attend a church service with a turban. A lot of the family members had not seen me with a turban and flowing beard and were somewhat surprised. I kept thinking about how short this window of life is and before we know it is over. Uncle Jimmy as we called him, had a great granddaughter which was probably year or so old and she just kept looking at me. I finally got to hold her and she was pretty comfortable. I even jokingly mumbled to her “I may look scary with turban and beard, but I am not” but I don’t she could talk yet, and her Grandfather saying “no!”. Not that it matters, but personally it was a nice feeling to attend a church service and doing my little part in an increasingly interfaith atmosphere. Even though no discussions about Sikhs etc. came up but just having a turban and beard was enough to generate curiosity. At times, I wished that there were more Sikhs attending church, temple, or mosque services like this one, since it encourages understanding and tolerance among faiths. I did not feel any less Sikh or more Christian by attending a church. I thought I should share this with everyone.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Let us keep Punjabi cultural and architectural heritage

I saw the following news on Sikhnet and it just makes me sad. Years of Punjabi cultural heritage and history being ruined in the name of modernism, development and advancement. Moving with time is okay, but not at the hyper-speed rate at which Punjab is developing. This just seems so unnatural. It is like making every car go from 0 to 80mph in milliseconds. It may be a thrill for a short time but it sure takes away from the pleasure of normal leisure driving. I feel Punjabi voters should be given choices as to if they really want to take part in this ultra rapid development scheme of Amrinder Singh government. Where are the leaders in Punjab like Dr. Manmohan Singh to help save the state from being ruined? Haven't they heard of the phrase:

"Haste makes Waste!"

Read and comment if you wish:


Monday, January 23, 2006

How is a gun that can kill millions in a minute different from a WMD?

I had read a similar story a few years back in a magazine. What is this World coming to? How can the World stop Iran, North Korea and many others that will eventually pursue this bandwagon to stop developing nuclear weapons, when guns of this kind are being developed? At least for now the nuclear weapon states such as United States, France Pakistan, India, Israel, China etc. have promised to behave nicely, but what happens if all hell broke loose such as another world war or something starts? It just looks pretty scary and hope never happens. But World history is evident that chances of happening are more likely than not. With Iraq war and current situation with Iran, things are not looking very promising. I really don’t have any opinion against or for this kind of weapon development, but sometimes do think that a weapon like this can finish small communities like Sikhs or Jews or Bahai etc. within minutes if an aggression by a majority government or culture ever takes place. On a second though, I can’t be worrying about stupid things like this. Waheguru will take care of us all. Please read and comment if you like:

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Do I even know what I am consuming anymore?

Boy! They sure don’t make life easy for people who want to be vegetarians. I didn’t use to read ingredient list on every product, but since my interest in being a better and better Sikh everyday and being a vegetarian, I try to be aware of what I eat. But it seems like a never-ending uphill climb with all of the products out there. I just don’t understand this fascination with meat and meat products. Just take a look at the list of products available out there. I mean why do the candy, cereal, and cookies have to have a mixture of bones and skins of animals? Why can’t we get that same protein from nuts, grains, milk, and cheese instead of crushed bones and skin? I know we are supposed to take care of our bodies, but it just doesn’t seem natural. May be, I just live in a different world and my beliefs are so out of this world. Is there no such thing like sin or karma? I wonder what Guru Nanak, Jesus, or Buddha will say about this? Don’t all creatures die and go to heaven? Even my fellow Sikhs that take pride in farming, but sometimes I wonder how about those earthworms that get killed when we plough the land or dig with shovel? Why do people cry if a pet such as cat or a dog dies, but eating a chicken or a cow, or wearing leather or killing earthworms during farming is okay? Aren’t all creatures created by the same one creator? Are animals really created for human use as per Abrahamic religious thought or are they supposed to be treated equal to humans like eastern religious thought? I wonder if I will ever know. For time being, my heart just tells me to be a vegetarian and try to live righteously as much as I can no matter what any religion or culture says. Here is the link to Gelatin as to where it comes from and if it is really good for people:


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sikhs in America – The Land of Opportunity!

The article below outlines the stress and struggle faced by Sikhs in America. I say, what stress? Being a true gursikh and being stressful are oxymoron. A true Gursikh never gets stressed no matter what comes in their way! Actually it is easier than ever to be a Sikh in America after September 11 tragedy since it has awakened the Sikh community up and assert there right to be an American like everyone else be it an Italian-American, Jewish American, or an African American. America is truly one of the lands of opportunity, even more for Sikhs than for non-Sikhs because of our good work ethics, good discipline, emphasis on family, and interest in acquiring knowledge and educating ourselves. A Sikh boy or girl can go to any school or college or university, A Sikh can work for alomost any company, and practise Sikhi in peace. If issue of turban and kirpan comes, and if one company denies employment or one university denies education to us, there is always another or worst come worst we can always self educate ourself and open our own companies. Books and computers are are available everywhere. The opportunities are just unlimited, we just have to continue having the right mindset for it, which comes from reading and getting inspiration from our Guru Granth Sahib. I want to give a few famous quotes for having the right mindset:

“Manjeete Jagjeete”
Conquer your mind then you can conquer the World
Guru Nanak

“Our life is what our thoughts make it”
Marcus Aurelius

"Can't see God in all, can't see God at all"
Siri Singh Sahib

Every Sikh needs to think America as a land of opportunity in their mind and set our goals real high. Sikhs can be even stronger in North America if we apply ourselves to educating ourselves about everything including Sikhi and Punjabi, educating Sikhs and non-Sikhs about Sikhi (not asking for their sympathy but showing the real beauty, compassion, love, peaceful side of Sikhi, conquering our fears of other cultures and religions which comes from ignorance. I say it is a relatively an easy task, and with the right mindset, great things can be achieved. I would not be surprised to see a Sikh U.S. President or a Canadian Sikh Prime Minister in the next 100 years. The author has done a great job on researching facts, history and lives of Sikhs and there is no denying that Sikhs have been struggling since arriving on this continent due to racism, bad laws etc. Anyways, please read and comment on the post or article if you like:


Monday, January 9, 2006

Punjab Sex ratio - Celebrating Lohri for girls

I am sure by this time we are all aware of the problem of declining sex ratio in India. Here are three newsstories, one estimating the number of aborted girls to be 10 million in the past two decades and the second and third, which have more positive side to this and the response of Punjab government and actions being taken by people. One of the big missing link in this is the sprituality, teaching parents the value of life, and social thought of girl as a burden on family due to dowry custom. A child is a gift from Waheguru to parents. At least it is a step in a right path and I hope the other states are taking similar actions and making sincere efforts.




A few days ago , I read in Punjabi newspaper that during a death of Sikh, the funeral rites and the lighting of pyre are performed by the eldest son, and I was thinking what happens to a Sikh who does not have a son and the eldest is daughter. I really question all these customes if they are just adopted from the Hindu tradition or genuine Sikh. I just can't believe Sikh Gurus who would preach equality would have said that these rites belong to the eldest son. I am going to write in my will to make sure this ceremony is performed by all of my children, and not just eldest. Any Gursikh out there that can shed a light on this.

Friday, January 6, 2006

Why most AIDS in Punjab trace back to truck drivers?

With India catching up to Africa in the number of AIDS cases, and Punjab is no exception. Even the village I hail from, two or three families have suffered losses. One most common thing I have started to notice from news and cases like in my village is that most of the wives or kids are related to truck drivers. I wonder, if these Punjabi truck drivers are having extra marital affairs while on route all over India? I wish government or some university would do some study on this pattern. Anyways, read if you like :


Mother of Punjab AIDS victim seeks justice - The Tribune (November 30, 2005)
She is HIV+ but faces no stigma in her Punjab village - The Tribune (December 2, 2005)
Indian minister says concerned about AIDS awareness - Alternet.org (November 30, 2005)

taken from www.Sikhnet.com

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Happy Birthday to my father Guru Gobind Singh!

Khalsa mero roop hai khaas.
The Khalsa is my complete image
Khalse maih hau karo nivaas.
I dwell in the khalsa
Khalsa mero mukh hai ang-aa.
Khalsa is my chief organ
Khalse ke hau sadh sadh sang-aa.
I am always with the khalsa
Khalsa mero mitr sakhaa-ee
Khalsa is my closest friend
Khalsa maat pitaa sukhdaa-ee
Khalsa is my mother, father & source of all comforts.
Khalsa meri jaat ar pat.
Khalsa is my caste & creed.
Khalsa sau maa kau utapat.
My creation is through the khalsa
Khalsa mero bhavan bhand-aa-raa.
I dwell in the khalsa who is a storehouse of all my requirements.
Khalse kar mero satk-aa-raa.
I am honoured because of the khalsa.
Khalsa mero pind par-aan.
Khalsa is my body & breath.
Khalsa meri jaan ki jaan.
Khalsa is my life & soul
Khalsa mera satgur poor-aa
Khalsa is my full-fledged Guru.
Khalsa mera sajan soor-aa.
Khalsa is my brave friend.
Khalsa mero budh ar giaan.
Khalsa is my wisdom & knowledge.
Khalse ka hau dhar-au dhiaan.
I always contemplate the khalsa prayerfully
Upmaa khalsae jaath na kahi
Eulogy of the khalsa is beyond me.
Jihv-aa ek paar nah lahi.
I cannot fathom full praise of the khalsa with one tongue.
Ya mai ranch na mithe-aa bhaakh-ee.
I certify that I have not mis-stated anything in the foregoing.
Paarbrahm gur Nanak saak-ee.
God & Guru Nanak are my witnesses to endorse the foregoing truth.

Guru Gobind Singh, Sarb Loh Granth, (MS), 519-526.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Is Bollywood teaching good values to my children?

Sitting here in the U.S.A., only Indian program I have been getting locally is Namaste America on Saturday mornings. For the last 10 years or so, I have watched may be about 20 –30 shows. One thing I have noticed is that almost all of the movie songs for the past years and more recently have started to look alike, especially the increasingly sexual theme behind all the dance routines. They all show very little originality or creativity behind these cookie cutter songs. Even though Bhangra has reached mainstream with some success in Canada, England and here, especially among NRIs, I see some of the same routines in Bhangra songs as well and I thinking it has killed all the other folk dances of Punjab and grace that goes with this traditional Punjabi dance. Bhangra has lost it’s gracefulness. I just can’t believe people watch this stuff and spend money on it. There are a very few artists, directors, choreographers that go the extra mile to bring something original. I wish there were more movies like Lagaan, musicians like A.R. Rahman which bring creativity into Bollywood. I have seen some of the western Sikhs that are doing Bhangra with so much grace and are bringing somewhat of the originally back into it. People say movies like Des Hoya Pardes are so good. I did not see anything good in that movie and would not want my kids to watch some of the police torture scenes that they have shown in the movie. I understand that they are based on real political issues, but why do the kids need to watch it. Exposing kids to this stuff is like stomping on plants before they even have chances to grow. Sometimes I wonder if all this violent and sexually explosive Las Vegas style stuff is really any good for my kids and if it is teaching any good ethical values to them. And this is not the India that I grew up in or the Indians I grew up around. I want my kids to learn about Sikhs and India, but seems like Indians are going the other way and adopting everything Western. Where are all these Indian people that are shown behaving in this manner in the movies. Another trend lately is to use a mix of western women and Indian men and women in the songs and dances that could almost be considered porn. This is really a bad taste on part of bollywood since they are not really portraying the western culture. I feel Bollywood is demeaning to western women and women in general and sends a wrong message to the younger kids. I usually end up turning the show off half way thru. Sometimes I wish the choices were not so limited to just one hour show in a week. I feel bollywood has to be held more accountable since it is not just in India anymore and is a global phenomenon. Hope one day, Bollywood will wake up to this and change its ways to portray women and minorities such as Sikhs the right way.