Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Why do Sikhs and Punjabis cater so much to Royals, Celebrities and Politicians?

As I was reading the following news about Prince Charles visiting Punjab, a lot of questions go thru my mind about the visit. Keeping in mind the history, political relationship of British royals with Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Punjab from the mid 1800’s, I view any closeness of Indian Royals and British Royals with lot of suspicion. Sometimes I look back at history, and I wonder why Sikhs lost the first and the second war with the British. The first thing that comes to mind is the weakness, shallowness and greed among the Indian royals including Maharaja Ranjit Singh. If Maharaja Ranjit Singh had held to the true Khalsa ideals as laid out by Guru Gobind Singh, Sikhs would not have lost. To me, he kind of betrayed the Khalsa Sikhs and Guru Gobind Singh by entrusting top positions to foreigners, declaring himself a Maharaja, going into marriage alliances with other royals and finally not trusting his own Khalsa Sikhs for top posts. To me, he kind of betrayed the Sikh forces that put him where he was as a Maharaja. It bothers me every time I hear or see Ranjit Singh being praised or portrayed for being a great Sikh. Thoughts of thousands of Sikh men, women come to mind who fought for him and trusted him for their lives, welfare and leadership. He kind of failed them all. Sadly same thoughts and conclusions come to mind when I hear Amrinder Singh getting too close to royals and acting like a maharaja. I ask, how can a person be truly a Sikh if he or she is tied up in this royalty and treat other Sikhs lower or less. If you read, it say that villagers were instructed to stay inside close doors, traffic was jammed and virtually curfew like atmosphere. That just seems like a most ridiculous thing. I mean, are these people any less than some of these Princes, Princesses and royals? It also shows the shallowness and close mindedness of Punjab leaders. I know a lot of you would disagree with me here, but ask yourself this question, what did both Indian and British royals give Sikhs in return for all the trust in the last 150 years? Despite all of the sacrifices and loyals by Sikhs, the Sikhs were completely ignored during 1947 partition discussion, and whatever there was got divided by the governors, ministers and viceroys appointed by the royals. There is no curbing of alcoholism, drugs and corruption in the state. Punjab teachers are absent 50% of the time in schools. Farmers are in huge debts. All the taxpayer money spent to protect the VIPs etc, but no time to serve and protect the common villager or farmer who is going in debt day by day. I look at this way, if Sikhs keep catering to royals and voting for the Indian ones, they might as well say goodbye to their bright future. Despite Punjab having a lot of political money at this moment, I really question if it is being spend wisely or is just being thrown on projects for the sake of politics and without any planning, thought, vision. The top down approach tells me, if the top leaders are not clean, hard working, honest, disciplined, and caring enough, what can you expect from the subordinates. I hope I am wrong on this and Punjab would come out with flying colors with this second green revolution. And hopefully Punjabis of todays are smarter, wiser, and informed enough to elect people that are honest, trustworthy, caring, visionary and have integrity. Sad thing is that the typical poor villager of Punjab of today can not even afford a computer or have access to a good library to inform him or herself. May be the Punjabis of tomorrow would be different.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Lead laced bracelet and other trinkets!

If you have little children, you may want to read this and keep in mind, the dangers of lead! Even the jewelary and cheap trinkets in those cheap vending machines in front of walmart, and other stores contain lead. A lot of those are made in India and China with a little or no concern about lead poisoning.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Why people suffer and seem lost in this World?

Lately, I seem to be little out of touch with spiritual world and feel a little lost or less focussed (may be spending too much time on things like blogging, news, some things at home which are taking time away from Guru). Every time it happens, I just go to SGGS and I don't know why, things start to get focussed especially when I start with page 14 and read the following bani. It just takes me into this world which is free from ego and really helps me focus. Please try if you feel lost in duality and less focussed:


Thank God for Gurbani!

Muslims criticizing Sikhi

I just happen to find an interesting debate between a Sikh and a Muslim and would like to pass it on for any one interested. See blog post on February 27 of blog

Even more interesting is the following news I read about a muslim being sentenced for converting to Christianity. I just don't understand this mentality. Read if you like:


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Class of 2010 - tech jobs!

Here is something that may interest some of you techies out there who are deciding on a career in technical field and wondering what kind of technical jobs will be available when you get out of school. Going to various technical shows and seminars, I have seen quite a few young Sikh techies out there working on all kinds of gadgets and stuff. This is great! Sometimes, I wish I was that smart:




Monday, March 20, 2006

Individual Freedom vs Social Responsibility

Can somebody put some sense into thuis guy? Khalsa Sikhs are not killers and our Gurus did not bless us with the titles of Singh or Kaur or the concept of Khalsa to be used for personal or political gains. Or am I just making a big deal out of nothing?


Now, I know wrestling is big among Punjabis in Canada and even in India, and me saying anything negative about this guy or some other wrestler would be taken very seriously. I just don't understand how wrestling that they show on TV like WWF can be appealing? I mean, the immature dialogue that never ends and less of real wrestling and more childish acting. I rather watch Greco Roman like they do it in Olympics or freestyle etc. It is funny and this is just my theory that somehow wrestling has bigger appeal in the Midwest and Southern part of U.S. like Arkansas, Missourie, Georgia, Kansas etc. and also many Punjabis which predominantly from more farming states. Which is okay, but why more from those backgrounds is the part I never understood? Back to my issue which is not about wrestling but about social responsibility vs. indivdual freedom. Now this guy has all the rights and freedom to call himself whatever he wants but where do we draw the line? Is he that ignorant about Sikhi? Why couldn’t he call himself like “Khalsa Warrior” or “Singh the King”or something? It is just shame he had to use the word killer. Similarly, other people like the play Behzti come to mind. I mean why did the play had to show a rape scene in a Gurdwara? Why couldn't they show a museum or a park and not bring disgrace to the Guru? Yes, it is sensational and probably will sell good, but where is the social responsibility? But I guess who am I to judge? You don’t have to go far to see Sikhi being misrepresented. Almost everyday, news about Punjabis going into drugs, alcoholism, gangs, aborting girl child, lying, cheating, murdering are on regular basis. Friday night, I was watching Discovery channel and they showed some guy “Dhindsa Singh” in New York that owned 53 gas stations and cheating people for gas, paying people for murders, and terrorizing other Punjabis. There are so many people like that which bring disgrace to the name “Singh”, Sikhi and the Sikh community. Every good and bad action that a Sikh with a turban, full beard takes is noticed by Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike all over the World and affects us all. How can I call myself a Sikh if I have a bottle of alcohol in hand, treat and abuse my wife and children bad, cheat, lie, gamble and all other things that are considered bad in almost all societies? Yes, protocols of doing things in different countries and societies may be different, but basic ethics of honesty in dealing, respect and compassion for humanity which could be in the form of a handshake, bow, Sat Sri Akal, Good morning, please, thank you, dhanvaad, shukria, holding door, giving up seat to elders, speaking kindly, helping, sharing etc. in general don’t change and are respected everywhere.

Friday, March 17, 2006

What did United Sikhs do with my money?

I just saw this on msingh's blog and thought might interest everyone. Please pass this on. Even I had donated money to United Sikhs last year for Katrina relief and this report just leaves a bad taste for donating. I guess the best thing is to help yourself instead of thru an agency.(no offense to other good Sikh organizations out there) One bad apple ruins it for all of them.


I just read the link on the Bibi, the founder of United Sikhs, on women seva. I have to say, I do admire her courage for the stand on role of women in Sikhi. I just don't understand how can a person like that can do totally the opposite thing like above which seems very unsikh. But who am I to judge and I will just leave it up to Waheguru!



Here is an interesting story of "Bibi Aftar" , the only woman warloard in Afghanistan! Boy! It sure sounds like wild west over there.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Holla Mahalla and the Horses of Sikh Gurus

On the occasion of Holla Mahalla, I was looking for some information to learn more about history of Holla Mahalla. As a kid living in Punjab, sometimes I think I was completely brain washed and did not really understand and never had the opportunity to take part in the Sikh festival of Holla Mahalla and always celebrated Holi as part of the Indian and Punjabi culture. I am not sure if Holla Mahalla was an officially recognized holiday by the Indian Government, but I could be wrong. But learning and reading about the festival, my thoughts take me back in time and I try to picture Guru Gobind Singh Saheb and the Khlasa men and women creating mock battles, riding horses, the archers and shooters, the swordsmen, families and children. What a scene it would have been! Yes, I know I have to live in a real world, and stop imagining things, but I can't help it. Then I look at the whole idea behind this whole thing and amazes me even more about the vision and leadership abilities of the Guru to commemorate a day which would instill courage among the downtrodden masses of India, shake them up, wake them up and charge them up to start a new beginning of Khalsa. I am not aware of any history where man had the ability, vision, courage, skill and statesmanship equivalent to Guru Gobind Singh. How is this possible? To create what he created and is continued to be carried on to this day and will forver. Goverments, leaderships, royalities, and other various systems of things and people will come and go, but the concept of Khalsa and Guru Granth Sahib will always remain. I do believe there was more than just this human ability and definitely a Divine hand in this whole thing. Just sitting here and thinking about it wakes me up and brings the feeling of Sikh courage, pride, ingenuity, and feeling of following in the footsteps of Guru Gobind Singh. It is also mind boggling any way you think it, analyze it or try to understand it.

I also found this interesting article below on blue horse of Guru Gobind Singh and how they are being bred to this day. Thoughts again take me into the future time machine, and I would not be surprised to see Holla Mahalla being celebrated with horses, drums and marches by Khalsa in Canada, United States and for the matter every where on this Earth. It could be a wishful thinking on my part and only time will tell, but knowing the Sikh and Khalsa spirit, Sikh history and courage, the chances are more likely than not. Sometimes, I hear or read people say oh! I wish I were alive during the times of Guru Gobind Singh or Guru Nanak. My thinking is that a Sikh is always living with the Guru. Past, present and future. It is how you look at it. Even though I have not been present at Anandpur Sahib during any Holla Mahalla festivals, but I don’t know why my heart and mind feels I am and was always there.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Fatwa against terrorists:

Here is an interesting news story about Islamic Fatwa against terrorists. It was interesting to learn that “Islam” literally means peace. I can believe that, but knowing history of Moghal rulers in India, Taliban in Afghanistan, Iran-Iraq War, Ottoman Empire that killed millions of Armenians and other dictatorships and royals in the Middle East that I hear about here and there, it seems totally the opposite. I can accept justification for violence (but not against killing innocents or destruction of holy shrines) by Palestinians to some degree, or even in India (again not killing of innocents or bombing of temples etc) where Muslims are a minority, but what about the countries where they were and are a majority and Muslim law and rule was or is held. The historical record on betterment and treatment of their own Muslim and non-Muslim subjects is not very impressive and needs much more improvement. Cruelties committed by Mughal Rulers of India and Afghanistan against Sikhs and Hindus, Dictatorships rule in Pakistan by generals like Bhutto, Zia and Musharaf, Saddam of Iraq, Ottoman Empire, Ivan the Terrible in Russia, Muslim rule in Spain, Khomeni of Iran and some others from Turkish rulers come to mind. I am sure there are a lot of good news and things going on in the Muslim World that we don’t hear about in the western media here such as great poets, philosophers, musicians, mathematicians etc but all the news seem to be focused on Islamic terrorism and not much else. I guess that is why we call it the “The War on Terrorism”. Another thing I don’t understand is the level of hate that is very prevalent in the Muslim World and among some leaders against Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs etc. Again, statements by Iran’s current President and Taliban rule in Afghanistan who destroyed the 1000 years old Buddhist statues, Destruction of Sikh s Gurudwaras like Darbar Sahib by Afghan invaders and just the general attitude towards non-Muslim holy places come to mind. Well, back to my story, this is a good step and I wish the whole World Muslim community were taking a stand like this against terrorism and hate against non-Muslims.


In case you have not taken the Hukum and to take mind away from all the hate, wars, killings, cheating, lying, negativity and all other lusts, greeds, angers, worldly attachments, false prides going on in this World; and here is today's Hukamnama. Who knows what tommorow holds for us. And, thanks to all visitors of the blog. I continue to learn things from posts and comments at this and other blogs.


Friday, March 10, 2006

How real is Indian democracy when it comes to Sikhs?

Punjab, India, the state I spent my childhood and have always longed to go back one day in order to undo the mistake I feel my parents made by tagging me along to Canada and then U.S during my late teenage years. What about the life here with American wife and kids? It is nice, cushy, and with God’s grace peaceful, nurturing and happy. But inside somewhere, there is always this feeling about going back to Punjab, living and settling there. I always wonder if I would have been able to live peacefully in Punjab. Parents weren’t that poor in Punjab that there was a desperate need to get out of India. Sometimes, I wonder how many people like my parents that make the same mistakes because they just want to join the rat race. I am sure there are genuine people that needed to leave India because of financial hardship; political pressures etc but in our case there was neither of those. It was basically to join other family members without knowing much about the country of destination. On the other hand, you read about the day to day lives of millions of peaceful men, women and children in Punjab and India that get affected in worst ways everyday by ill and corrupt officials of Indian and Punjab government, lack of community support and compassion among the masses. At times it feels like a “dog eat dog” mentality, but that may be just too much of negative thinking on my part. I wonder if India will ever change its ways to be a peaceful and compassionate place to live or always be chaotic with religious tensions, corruption and hatred. I wish these negative thoughts would just go away, but always come back to haunt. A Sikh is always supposed to be in Chardi kala and not worry about stupid things like these. But somehow, I feel it is the same rat race people have there as people here in America or anywhere else for the matter, about money, power, egos, jobs etc. Only the protocol, language, and way of doing things are different. Americans want to be more like others thru yoga, wine, tai chi, tanning, body messages etc. and others want to be like Americans thru McDonalds, KFC, Cowboy hats, jeans, CNN, MTV videos and all. But the underlying rat race is the same. The true way of living life seems to be missing for the most part, be it a Sikh way, Christian way, Buddhist or other. I guess, I am way off my original topic of Indian democracy, but it all started with the news below about latest arrests of Khalistani separatists and disruption of people’s lives by Indian government thru anti-Sikh media propaganda etc. As much as I am for unity and harmony between Sikhs and Hindus, the news tell me otherwise. Hope it will change one day and people of all religions, races, colors, castes, gender can live in peace and enjoy the truely democartic India and not a gender, religion and caste biased India that is full of corruption and makes people's lives miserable. Read if you like and but don’t go into cyber deepspace like I did. May be ISingh can shed more light on this after his recent visit:

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Soccer and Sex in Germany – a bad link to a great sport!

As a soccer coach for the last 8-9 years here, I take pride in generating kid’s interest in playing soccer and having fun. I think it is a great sport compared to baseball, cricket golf where most players just stand around for part of the game. Personally, the sports where everybody gets to run around for most part of the game like Kabaddi, American football, Soccer (football if you like), Field hockey, Ice hockey etc. catch my interest for playing or watching. I love coaching soccer since it gives a feeling of doing something positive for my own kids and other kids in the community. Then this morning, I read this story in an Indian newspaper, and I am kind of disgusted about this whole link of soccer World cup to the prostitution and sex in Germany. What do they expect future soccer players to learn from this whole thing? Anyways, read and comment if you like!


On a positive note, here is story about a one inch Japanese robot that will play soccer. And, guess what, also in Germany! Check it out!


Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Does this Chohan Sikh in Punjab remind you of Ayatollah Khomeni of Iran?

The news story below of this self proclaimed President of Khalistan sounds very familiar and similar to Ayatollah Khomeni of Iran who at first was sending secret religious audiotapes of his lectures from France to Iran and then finally went to Iran and became their leader after starting an Iranian revolution. I have no problem with that as long as the person who goes back to fight for a cause does not make a mess out of a country, brings chaos, violence, poverty, war and makes people’s lives hell by starting something that kills people for his or her own political or religious power and control. This is what Khomeni did to Iran and I feel some self proclaimed Khalistanis are doing the same as well. I haven't read or heard much about this guy, but there is another President of Khalistan in Washington which I have read, heard and very briefly met in our local gurdwara. Personally, I was not impressed by his persona, which reminded me of a used car saleman. Our Gurus never fought for land. They fought for giving people peace, happiness and justice, which I don’t feel some of these leaders are going to provide to any or my family. Personally, I rather fight for a Sikh leader like Manmohan Singh that shows more character, courage, vision and integrity and has much respected by Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike than some guy that is creating a divide within communities, and countries. I hope people are smart enough to realize and not support these kinds of Sikh leaders. I am probably offending some Sikhs who are for support of a separate Sikh homeland called Khalistan. I would like to live in a Khalsa Raj on this earth that is made up true gursikhs, sadh sangat and saints as envisioned by Guru Gobind Singh Ji but not in a 10 or100 acres of land called Khalistan envisioned by these political leaders to have their own control. Sometimes, I even wonder if these leaders are encouraged, sent and supported by the foreign entities or governments to create troubles in their native lands in order to create more divide and strife in these lands for further some foreign agenda. I really don’t know, but question marks are always there. Anyways, read and comment if you wish and the post is not to offend anyone’s feeling or create anger or hatred.


Tuesday, March 7, 2006

What should the Sikhs in France do?

To me sitting here in the U.S., the newsstory below about French rulings at various national and local levels on turban removal for driver’s license etc. and ban of religious articles of faith s may seem like a less of a real problem since France is physically so far away from U.S. At times though, I try to put myself in the situation these Sikhs are facing in France, I wonder what I would do in a similar situation. A few thoughts and question that come to mind are how the Sikh community outside of France can help the Sikhs of France besides challenges in courts, political maneuvering a and agitations etc. Without knowing much about visas and emigration legalities, my take on this whole thing is that Sikhs in France should leave France completely and Sikh communities of India, U.S., Canada and others outside of France should help them get out by offering immigration sponsorships, creating job opportunities etc. If the community was a large, my advice would be to stick around and fight for your rights, but we are talking only about 1000 to 2000 Sikhs in France. The outside help could be in the form of sponsoring a visa for a child for education, providing a job opportunities for Sikhs that possess special skills such as tabla and dhol players, Punjabi teachers, Punjabi cooks etc. that can’t be found that easily in U.S., Canada, or England etc. or even translating or teaching French in India or other countries. The opportunities and skill transfer could be unlimited. The ease of migration could be easy or hard depending upon the willingness of the family to seek help and the willingness of the outside Sikh communities to give help to make their lives better. Gurudwaras and Sikh organizations such as Saldef, United Sikhs, 3HO etc. along with Sikh businesses such as restaurants, schools etc. can play a major role in organizing monies, seeking immigration and legal help for French Sikhs to settle in other countries. After all, we are talking only a few hundred Sikh families. Anyways, these are just thoughts and a wishful thinking on my part in a hope for some individuals and organizations to act. I can do my little part by donating to a larger pool.


Monday, March 6, 2006

Interesting Math Puzzles!

Well, the weekend was busy between watching my son Camran's basketball team, who played three games on Saturday, and won the Final championship, and on Sunday fixing up our old house; minor painting, electrical, plumbling, dry wall etc. I feel like a real mistary, tarkhan, lohar and all. The renters left it in quite a mess! Have decided to sell instead of renting again. Too much headache renting! I guess I can tell people that I have been a landlord. If anybody is interested in moving to California, it is going on market next week! Things aren't cheap in California for sure, especially real estate which has been really crazy.

Anyways, enough about myself, here is a site that I found interesting bacause of its math puzzles and fun games. Check it out for just for the fun of it or a little brain exercise or may be you feel challenged!


Thursday, March 2, 2006

What is the proper protocol for death in Sikhism?

This post started as a comment at Sikhi Seeker's blog post on Ironic Idealism, but somehow ended up here. Death is one of those things I haven't had to deal with or haven’t had much experience with especially in the Sikh tradition. Growing up, all I remember was the death of my grandmother on dad side. I was like five or six year old. The only thing I remember is that my father and myself driving from Bias near Amritsar where we lived to the village where she lived. Men and women waiting for for my dad in white at the front courtyard of the house, some women in murmuring cries in veils, yet still peaceful. I am watching her covered body from a distance, laying on ice and later just getting busy playing with kids. I don’t remember but I think it was a day or two before the actual funeral. I was not allowed to go to the funeral at shamshan ghat. I wish I had been given the opportunity to learn and take part at Gurudwaras, home when it came to Sikh functions. In a sense, it was a very sheltered life when it came to learning about proper protocol on death or learning Sikhi. All very little I have learned about Sikhi or how to handle death in Sikhi has been learned from just watching things here and there at weddings, Akhand paths, reading and writing essays on Gurus in some schools. Sometime, I wished I had been given the opportunity to learn real Sikh tradition and kind of envy the people that have grown in a more gursikh environment from early on and have learnt how to do kirtan, play tabla, do ardas, perform Akhand paths, sevas at gurudwaras etc. There was not much effort on part of the parents to instill Sikhi. I don't understand, why things were just taken for granted and left for others and schools to teach? Even though I have older brothers and sisters, but I kind of grew up as an only child and they are much older than me and were out of home by the time I was born. From my previous posts, some of you out there may get the idea that I know Sikhi and must know my Banis, the right protocols for Sikh functions and other Sikh things. But in actual life it is totally the opposite and most nerve wrecking for me. Therefore to this day, I dread the thought of dealing with death and religious functions at home or Gurudwara such as Akhand Path because had never had to deal with it in my entire life. What would I do if my father or mother passes away tomorrow? I don't even know what the right protocol would be or what to do? Let us just say that there are good chances I am going to end up having to deal with my parents welfare and I am not counting on much help from other siblings. Would I go to the Gurdwara first and ask someone to help me or would I go to the hospital or call police/sheriff? Where will the bodies be taken and who will be taking them? What are the steps? The thought of this whole process just seems overwhelming to me since I have not had any experience with it at all. It is very sad that some things were just taken for granted and were never taught or allowed to be taught. I wish there was a really good book or a course on “Intro to dealing with death in Sikhism ” that takes you step by step as to what to do, where to go and how to deal? I don’t mean general Sikh protocol but more specifics like do’s and don’ts. I really can use some help here from some people in order to prepare myself for the day (Gurumustuk if you are reading this post out there by chance, I am sure there are thousands like me out there that can use this help!!). I am sorry, if some of the questions seem so simple and dumb on the issue.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Bush Visit to India - Complex Pakistan and China Equation

Here is an article on concerns and fears of India as it relates to China and Pakistan! These guys sure are a big headache for India, especially more China than India. Despite China saying that India and China have been peaceful countries in the last millinium, the 1962 war is still fresh on India's mind where India trusted China on "Hindu Chiney Bhai Bhai" dialogue but at the end was tricked and lost terribly to China. Hopefully, India has learned from the mistakes of the past and gained enough strength and intelligence to fight a high tech war. As usual I try to find the Sikh connection in everything, my personal take on this whole thing would be "Give control of India to Sikhs, and the Chinese will be kept at Bay". It just amazes me how Khalsa force of Guru Gobind Singh was able to eventualy control Delhi fort and shake the Mughal Empire despite being very heavily outnumbered in almost every battle. What was it that did it? Was it the unshakable faith in the Waheguru to do the righteous things? Was it the inginuity, leadership and vision of our Gurus to develop the weapons and warfare skills? Any ways I look at it and think it, it just boggles my mind about the strength and force that drove the Khalsa Sikhs and keeping Sikhi alive thru enormous hardships. Sometimes, I even wonder if India would have lost to China if a Sikh like Manmohan Singh would have been a Prime Minister. It is mind boggling to think that being just 2% of the whole population of India, Sikhs have been able to accomplish so much in and for India. I know it sounds very biased, but history is evident from Mughal Raj to British Raj and to current. I wish the whole of India had a Sikh way of thinking and living so it won't get beaten everytime by foreigners! Anyways, read and comment if you wish. Hope things will be peaceful between China, India and Pakistan.