Thursday, August 31, 2006

It is so nice to hear Christian ministers reading the word of Sikh Gurus! May be this is Waheguru's Hukam afterall!

Well, I just read the story below on but was not surprised at all about the hate message from a church to Sikhs condemning them to hell. This is just a tip of the iceburgh when it comes to hatred and guilt being part of Christian mantra to force people to think their way. To me it is just a part of a big hypocarcy. How can a person keep a slave and go to church next day? How can a society claim to save the Earth's environment and kill billions of chickens, turkeys, cows, fish, crabs and all other species I can't even think of and thank Jesus for it before eating them? You don't have to go far back in history when it comes to preaching hatred. Look at black slavery of southern America, look at Native Indian servants and slaves forcefully converted by Spanish missionaries. Look at the missionaries in China, India, Africa and other places? Is it a numbers game? What happened to Christians like Mother Teresa? I say there is hardly a true Christian left on this Earth since almost all Christians seem to be so condemning people to hell and putting guilt on them. I don't think Jesus condemned people to hell and force converted anybody. Why are these preachers, ministers and pastors etc. spending so much time reading Guru Granth Sahib (the holy book of Sikhs) anyways? They must not be reading their Bible really well if that much time is used to nitpick other religions. Actually, I am glad that they are reading Guru Granth Sahib because it is so beautiful and may be they will learn something from divine saints, gurus and fakirs. All I know Sikhism has no room for hatred for anyone (male, female, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, God and its creation). May Waheguru bless these souls and show them the path of love and peace.

A beautiful message of our Gurus to these Christian Preachers has been given thru our local Gurdwara! Please read if you wish.

"A happy person sees everyone as happy. A sick (wicked) person sees every one as sick (wicked). The Master (God) has the
power to do anything and to get His creatures to do as He wishes. He holds spiritual joy and sorrow in His hands. O my mind, to
one who has overcome his doubt and has seen God in all His creation, no one is lost. One whose mind is at peace after meeting
the Guru sees peace in the entire world. However, one whose mind is pervaded by the sickness of ego is miserable and is dying
while alive." [page 610]
"Through meeting the Guru, I have given up dependence on others. I have dug a deep pit and in it buried pride, love of Maya,
and desires of my mind. The Guru gave me (God's) Name which liberates me from bondage (to Maya). I have come to the Guru
and all worries have been forgotten from my mind. I have no enemies left (I do not see anyone as an enemy) and I am not
anyone's enemy. I have understood that all the creation is God Himself, that He pervades all. I got this understanding from the
True Guru. I have befriended everyone and I am friend to all. When the feeling of separation (from God) went away from my
mind, my King united me with Himself. My stubbornness is destroyed, I find Guru's Word to be sweet. It gives eternal life and
has come to abide in me. O Nanak, on land, on sea, and in the air, I have seen the All-pervading God." [page 671]
"I am a servant of all God has created. My God resides everywhere. There is no enemy or opponent. I walk hand in hand with
all. We are all brothers." [page 887]
Interfaith Understanding and Harmony
"The Vedas and the Books (Torah, Bible, Qura'an) all stand and worship You. Countless people are at Your door. Numerous
Brahmas and Indras with their thrones, Shivas and incarnations of Vishnu sing God's glory and so do many Pirs, Prophets,
Sheikhs, and holy men. You pervade all completely and are fulfilling Yourself in all. Falsehood destroys and people can reach
You only if they follow the correct way but we all do what You Yourself get us to do." [page 518]
"Some people call you Ram, others call You Khudaa. Some serve Gosain, some Allah. O Merciful Creator and Doer, have
mercy upon me. Some bathe at holy places and others go for hujj. Some do pooja others bow their heads. Some read the
Vedas, others the Books (Torah, Bible, Qura'an etc.). Some wear blue, others white. Some call themselves Muslims, others
Hindus. Some seek bahisht (persian for heaven), some suarg (sanskrit for heaven). O Nanak, say; whosoever has understood
the Hukam (Divine order), has learnt the secret of God, the Master." [page 885]
"This world is like a flower-garden and God is the gardener. He cares for all and ignores none. Each flower has the fragrance
that the gardener has put in it. It is known by the fragrance the gardener has put in it." [page 1187]

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Cleaniness is Godliness and without illness!

Prasad leaves 895 ill in Bhubaneswar school
Indo-Asian News Service
Bhubaneswar, August 30, 2006

At least 895 people, including 200 children, were taken ill after consuming 'prasad' (food distributed to devotees) after prayers to Hindu god Ganesh in their school in Orissa's Mayurbhanj district, an official said Wednesday.
Around 200 students of Nodal English Medium School and Ashram School at Rangamatia village, near Baripada, around 260 kms from Bhubaneswar, jointly held prayers on Sunday in their school campus as part of the ongoing Ganesh festival.
Once the rituals were over, they all ate prasad - a sweet mixture of flattened rice, jaggery and banana - provided by the school authorities, District Medical Officer Rabinarayan Kanungo said. Many children also took the prasad home to their family members, he added.
All those who consumed the preparation complained of health problems like fever, vomiting and loose motions. "We came to know after people came to the local hospital for treatment," said Kanungo. Local health officials have been rushed to treat the affected people."
Kanungo said, at least 895 people have taken ill since Sunday. He added that around 54 are undergoing treatment in the local hospital and 80 in a hospital in Baripada, which is the district headquarters. The remaining are being treated in their homes. The condition of all the patients is stable, he said.District health officials have collected the food samples for testing to ascertain the cause of food poisoning, said Kanungo.

Another related story:

70 children take ill after consuming contaminated food
Press Trust of India
Sitamarhi, April 15, 200519:30 IST

Nearly 70 children were taken ill after consuming contaminated food and water at a fair on the banks of the Lakhandei river in Bihar's Sitamarhi town on Friday.
The children were admitted to the Sadar hospital and some nursing homes with symptoms of food poisoning after they took "contaminated chaat and water" at the fair, district Deputy Development Officer (DDC) P C Chaudhary said.
"Nearly 70 children residing in Kotbazaar locality of the town had gone to the fair held on the occasion of Chaiti Chhat festival where they consumed contaminated food and water. They were admitted to various hospitals following complaints of gastrointestinal disorder," he said.
Chaudhary, who visited the Sadar Hospital and nursing homes, said all children were now out of danger but a watch would be kept till this evening as a precautionary measure.,000900030002.htm

Monday, August 28, 2006

Caste based Sikhism? What does Guru Granth Sahib say?

"Manas ki jaat ko ek pehchanio"
"Recognize human race as one"
- Guru Gobind Singh

Here is a beautiful article that shows how casteism is such as cancer on Indian society and probably will stay as long as there are narrow minded ignorant human beings irrespective of their faith. Whoever does not believe this to be true, check out the classified or the matrimonial section of your major Punjabi or Indian newspapers. The trash all over the streets and towns of India is another evidence of why nobody wants to do the dirty work and everyone wants to belong to a brahman or upper caste. I don't understand why Indian government doesn't utilize prisoners or criminals to clean up trash as a punishment of their crime. Also, to all the Sikh entreprenuers I say, here is a good money maker if you have the will. I just wonder when was the last time when the so called caste oriented Sikhs did their real Nam Simran, Jap Ji Sahib or Jap Sahib or read Guru Granth Sahib for the matter. Or these Muslims and Christians read their respective Koran and Bible. And, if they did, how much they followed it or understood it? To all of them I say, its time to call yourself Hindus or Brahmans or Dalits since that is where you are trying to go back to afterall with these caste practices. Why follow Sikhism, Christianity, Islam etc. and call yourself Sikhs, Muslims or Christians if you want to hate human beings on basis of their deeds. Anyways, read and comment if you wish:

Danger Will Robinson
Casteism is often regard as a religious matter of the Hindus. However in India other religions too are equally caste riddled. Sikhism, Islam and Christianity formally do not sanction caste since the varna-dharma concept do not exist in their founding ideology. Nevertheless, in reality members of all three replicate the Hindu caste pattern including untouchability. Sikhism was begun by Guru Nanak in Punjab in sixteenth century who invited all irrespective of caste to join him as equals. He was followed by nine gurus who kept up the tradition. Respect for manual labour is enjoined on Sikhs so that no one is held to be high or low because of his occupation. Sikh commitment to equality is demonstrated by the institutions of 'sangat' (gathering) and 'langar' (dining). It is a religious requirement for Sikhs to socialize in the gurudwara (temple) and take food together in the community dining hall. Since commsensality is the most important element of caste, such practices break down caste -barriers. Priesthood was open to all. The new religion was naturally attractive to low castes and many joined. However, gradually, social forces came into play and inevitably all kinds of distinctions came in. Sikhism does not have any Brahmin as such, but the equivalent position is occupied by Jats, a land-owning and soldiering caste. Belonging to the peasant caste, which is a low caste, they had converted to Sikhism : there they found mobility and soon established themselves at the top by virtue of their wealth and political power. By the seventeenth century a great Sikh empire had been established. But Sikh society had also become split into several castes like Jats, Arora, Ramdasias, Khatris etc., with them further subdivided and it was hierarchical. The various castes were strictly ranked, and commsensality and connubium was adhered to rigidly. All Sikhs were equal in langar, but in the outside world social difference were legitimized. Even untouchability made a return; Sikh untouchables, called Mazhabis, were denied access to gurudwaras and village wells. When the Sikhs took service in British army, Sikh regiments were caste based, since the higher castes would neither mix nor take orders from lower castes. Caste was a way for Jats to retain their social dominance. In 1880's Bhai Kahn Singh published his book Hum Hindu Nahi. The aim of the book backed by a large number of educated Sikhs was to persuade the British that Sikhs constituted a separate people from Hindus so that Sikhs should have their own representatives and laws. The thesis of the book was that Sikhism did not not support Varna, while Hinduism does. Probably in answer , Gianni Ditt Singh, a disillusioned new convert, wrote Naqli Sikh Prabodh; he pointed out that an amritdhari or fully baptized Sikh retained his caste name and an untouchable remained an untouchable even after conversion. In 1900's Rahtia Sikhs tried to enter the Golden Temple, the chief temple of Sikhs. The head Sardar ordered their arrest. The reason for their barring was that they were impure and so defiled the purity of the temple.Because of dangerous reformist tendencies developing, the Khalsa Dharam Shastra was published in 1914. It strictly laid down the rules. Members of Mazhabi, Rahtia and Ramdasia castes did not have the right to go beyond four steps inside the Golden Temple. The four Varnas were instructed not to mix with the untouchable Sikhs. Those guilty of breaking the caste rules were called 'patit' or fallen and were shunned by civil society. 1920' s saw the Gurudwara Reform Movement which continued to gather steam. The religious body of SGPC was set up and they passed resolution to ban untouchability and took in low caste priests. However it did not make much headway. Even in 1933 the head of Golden Temple noted that mahzbis' offerings of consecrated food were not accepted and other Sikhs denied them use of public utilities. (One story is that when Ambedkar wanted Hindu dalits to convert to Sikhism, Sikh dalits told him of the atrocities they suffered daily and dissuaded him). In fact so entrenched had the caste system become in the Sikh psyche that after Independence the Sikh leaders demanded that Sikh untouchables should have the same reservation rights as Hindu untouchables. Thus the same Sikhs who demanded that the Indian Constitution recognize them as a separate religion because they did not recognize caste , now argued that not recognizing Sikhs had untouchables was discrimination against Sikhs. Since then caste system had continued among the Sikhs, though concern with purity and mixing is less than it si with the Hindus. A survey in 2001 found that each castes have separate temples. Most villages even have separate crematoriums for dalits. Though the upper castes insist there is no discrimination because Sikhism do not believe in caste, the dalits tell a different story. They had to sit at the last rows in the temple, to eat last at langar (which defeats its purpose), are often not allowed to cook or serve food at langar, are not allowed to carry the Granth sahib or Sikh holy book and is often taunted for their origins. If the try to cross the limits set for them (like taking out a guruparb procession or entering a caste gurudwara) violence is inflicted on them by the upper castes. The more they assert themselves, the more atrocities are inflicted on them, religion notwithstanding. Sikhism is confined to a limited area, is a newer religion and had been documented extensively since its inception; hence it is easier to study the development of caste hierarchy in it. Study of Sikh social history tells us a great deal about the rise of caste in Hinduism.

The Indian Muslim society is divided into Asrafs (noble) and non-Asrafs. Ashrafs and non-Ashrafs are collectively referred to as 'oonchi zat' (high caste) and 'neechi zat' (low caste). In their turn Asrafs are subdivided into Sayyids supposedly descendants of Muhammad, Shaykhs (Arabic: “Chiefs”), descendants of Arab or Persian invaders, Pathans (members of Pasthun tribes) and Mughals. It is not that all who belong to such castes actually are descended from these races; but high hindu castes who have become absorbed into them took such designations as well. Economic relationships between Asrafs and non-Asrafs depend on the jajman-kamin or patron-client system. The non-ashraf Muslim castes are similarly subdivided into farmer, artisan castes etc., with untouchables at the bottom. They follow the same rules of endogamy and intermixing as do their Hindu counterparts. Though rules of pollution are less strict, they are nevertheless observed so that people like barbers are treated as untouchables. Nightsoil and carrion carriers form the most untouchable caste whose very touch pollutes. Even mosques are sometimes separate. Among the non-Asrafs superiority or inferiority of a caste is determined by the relatively pure or impure nature of the occupation associated with each, and how close they come to physical proximity of the Asrafs in their daily activities. However non-Asrafs are always inferior to Asrafs. If an Asraf marries non-Asraf the Asrafs will not accept him or her as equal and would not dine with them, particulary not on formal occasions before the general public. The non-Asrafs are also known as Ajlaf meaning wretched, mean. Even after conversion all the old practices remain. For example, Meos are Muslim rajputs who employed Brahmin genealogists to fabricate claims to Ksatiryahood.

The case is the same with Indian Christians. They too are divided into a number of castes with the previously Brahmin castes at the top and untouchables at the bottom. The same rules of Hindu caste system govern them, and they are known by their caste names --- Christian Nayars, Christian Paraya etc. Hardly any lower castes are allowed to be appointed as priest. Untouchables have separate graveyards and churches. So entrenched is the system that if a Christian upper caste cannot find a suitable caste Christian to marry, then a Hindu of the same caste will be selected rather than another Christian of lower caste. The Dalits who converted to Christianity possibly gained a new sense of self-respect, but the gains were wiped out by the fact that uppercaste Christians from whose ranks their religious superiors come still treated them as untouchables. There has been recorded instances of priests refusing to enter the houses of their dalit congregation; the mission schools have separate arrangmenets for dalits and other castes. Nor did their relationship with Hindu castes change in any way. So, many Dalit Christians have either started new churches themselves or reconverted back to Hinduism. How castesim is practised by Christians is attested by the Christian dalits"But the irony is that caste discrimination is very much practised in Christianity. For example, there are separate seats for the dalits in churches; in fact there are separate churches for Christian dalits, separate communion cups, and even separate burial grounds. As Mr. Kaka Karlekar. Chairman of the Backward Classes Commission, commented, "even today the Christians belonging to the SCs are forced to have separate cemeteries in some parts of India. Even the dead must observe caste and untouchability." Though Christianity also does not recognize caste system, there are upper and lower caste among Christians. In Goa, for example, there are upper caste Catholic Brahmins who do not marry Christians belonging to the lower castes. In many churches, the low caste Christians have to sit apart from the high caste Christians. In Andhra Pradesh, there are Christian Dalit, Christian Malas, Christian Reddys, Christian Kammas, etc. In Tamil Nadu, converts to Christianity form Scheduled Castes - Latin Catholics, Christian Shanars, and Christian Gramani are in the list of Scheduled Castes. Such instances are many and vary from region to region. " The external forms of untouchability and their practice still exist among Christians, within the Church, in the graveyard, in the festivals, in marriage alliances, etc. The most unfortunate thing is that the caste Christians, practising these inhuman acts are often supported by their own caste-priests and nuns, who even encourage them to attack Dalit Christians. That is the main reason for caste-practice continuing in the Church. Incidents in the past and also in recent years prove that in those areas and villages where large number of priests and nuns have been ordained, (few example: Thatchoor in Madras diocese, Eraiyur in Pondy diocese, Varadarajanpet in Kumbakonam diocese) the Caste-Christians are more active in oppressing Dalit Christians and resisting vigorously when they demand dignity, equality, and justice. Most of the caste priests, nuns and some in hierarchical positions use their money, authority and institutional power against Dalit Christians at the times of crisis, instead of supporting their just cause. We are saying this from many experience"."Archbishop George Zur, the apostolic Pro-nuncio to India spoke to the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) in December 1991, declaring ....: "Though Catholics of the lower castes and tribes form sixty percent of church membership, they have no place in decision- making. Scheduled caste converts are treated as low caste not only by high caste Hindus but by high caste Christians too. In rural areas they cannot own or rent houses, however well-placed they may be. Separate places are marked for them in the parish churches and burial grounds. Inter- caste marriages are frowned upon and caste tags are still appended to the Christian names of high caste people. Casteism is rampant among the clergy and the religious. Though Dalit Christians make up 65 percent of the ten million Christians in the south, less than 4 percent of the parishes are entrusted to Dalit Priests. There are no Dalits among thirteen Catholic bishops of Tamilnadu or among the Vicars-General and Rectors of seminaries and Directors of Social Assistance Centres." Protestant Churches suffer from the same malaise. The feelings of the low castes can be gauged from the event where about a 1,000 Dalit Christians armed with lethal weapons had barged into the "Conversion Victory Mela" on July 13, 2002 at the Chengalput St. Joseph's Church shouting "Don't dupe Dalit Hindus by promising equal treatment!"It might appear surprising that Islam and Christianity though being religions of equality should be so riddled with caste. Their apologists invariably explain that Hinduism has corrupted them. Of course it is true that when castes converted enbloc, they carried all their baggage with them and the economic-political forces ensured that the social relationships do not change. But they ignore the beam in their own eye, viz that, though all Muslims or all Christians might be equal in God's eyes, the religious institutions had always sanctioned social inequality.Among the Arabs the Querash claimed excellence by virtue of being Prophet's tribe, and Omar distributed booty according to the length of time one has been a convert. In India the names of the Asrafs give away their claims to superiority; they were superior because of their birth from conquering invaders, while their conquered subjects were low or ajlaf. Rather like the varna system, Humayun brought with him a Muslim society divided into Ahl-e-kalam or clergy, Ahl-e-Jegh or warriors and Ahl-e-Murad. Above all slavery was practiced. Though the Koran says that freeing slaves is a meritorious act slavery was never abolished; Muhammad himself enslaved captives of war and freely engaged in buying and selling slaves --- there can be no greater social discrimination than that. Therefore though the Muslim rulers and clergy expressed surprise at untouchability which did not exist among them, they saw nothing wrong with a endogamous hierarchy and made no attempts to change things when their co-religionists practiced it. Indeed there do not seem to have been any highly regarded Islamic authority who ever spoke of an equal society. In Christianity also, spiritual salvation was no guarantee of social equality. Whatever Christ may have taught, the Christian Church had never been too eager for equality. The New Testament condones slavery explicitly.Ephesians 6: 5-9:Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.1 Timothy 6:1-3 "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;"Titus 2:9-10:Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.1 Peter 2:18-21:Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.Philemon 1:6.He is no longer just a slave; he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a slave and as a brother in the Lord.Slavery was continued in Christian Byzantine and slaves were kept in the heart of Catholic Rome by the Popes during medieval age. USA of course practised slavery , justifying it with quotes from the Bible.During Middle Ages Europe was ruled the hierarchical system of feudalism --- though pollution was not a concern and interdining was allowed, in every other respect from dress codes to marriage rules it showed the same pattern as the caste system. The Church taught that this feudalism is divinely ordained, and a good Christian who did not protest his lowly position would be rewarded by God. After the Protestant revolution at first there was some impulse towards equality and reformation within the Church. . But soon both Catholic and Protestant Churches became more interested in retaining power and gaining wealth. The mainstream Churches taught that one should not rebel against the status quo; indeed after the 1857 mutiny in India, the Monghyr Baptists told the British govt. that had they been allowed to convert all Hindus then the mutiny would never have happened because "Christianity does not teach subjects to rebel".When these Churches came to India it was never with the idea to change society; saving souls was only a way to swell their numbers. Letters still exist from the Colonial times where we find churches engaged in bidding for heathen souls. Caste leaders would send letters asking what material benefits each Church could offer even listing what other Churches had offered; an auction of sorts would ensue until the whole caste converted. When uppercastes converted it was with the understanding that caste distinctions would be maintained. Some priests did try to do away with these practices but the Churches were more anxious not to upset wealthy and powerful patrons. The missionaries themselves came from a society that was class-based with fixed ideas about how each class should behave. So though they found untouchability to be against Christian principles they found nothing wrong with a hierarchical society per se. (Not to mention they missed the irony of trying to separate the Hindus and Christians on basis of purity). Moreover the Britishers brought with them racism. They thought that darker skinned people were inherently inferior. When the first Brahmin clergyman, (fully convinced of his superiority as well) demanded equal salary with European missionaries his religious superiors were scandalized. They spoke bitterly of his ingratitude and lamented that natives now thought themselves to be as good as white men. It is not surprising therefore that the Churches made no serious attempts at eradicating casteism, though the Bishops are fond of proclaiming loudly how they are eradicating caste. In fact even now certain Christian groups are quite prepared to accept caste, if only Hindus would convert.

taken from:

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Today's Hukamnama from Guru Granth Sahib! A historical account of muslim invaders plundering India


[August 26, 2006, Saturday 05:00 AM. IST]
English Translation :
As the Word of the Forgiving Lord comes to me, so do I express it, O Lalo. Bringing the marriage party of sin, Babar has invaded from Kaabul, demanding our land as his wedding gift, O Lalo. Modesty and righteousness both have vanished, and falsehood struts around like a leader, O Lalo. The Qazis and the Brahmins have lost their roles, and Satan now conducts the marriage rites, O Lalo. The Muslim women read the Koran, and in their misery, they call upon God, O Lalo. The Hindu women of high social status, and others of lowly status as well, are put into the same category, O Lalo. The wedding songs of murder are sung, O Nanak, and blood is sprinkled instead of saffron, O Lalo. 1 Nanak sings the Glorious Praises of the Lord and Master in the city of corpses, and voices this account. The One who created, and attached the mortals to pleasures, sits alone, and watches this. The Lord and Master is True, and True is His justice. He issues His Commands according to His judgement. The body-fabric will be torn apart into shreds, and then India will remember these words. Coming in seventy-eight (1521 A.D.), they will depart in ninety-seven (1540 A.D.), and then another disciple of man will rise up. Nanak speaks the Word of Truth; he proclaims the Truth at this, the right time. 2 3 5

Taken from

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Poor state of Punjab Affairs! Who is to blame?

Here is an indication of Amrinder Singh government's lack of inaction in Punjab. When will Punjab get some honest leadership that cares about Punjabis and not their royal image, filling their own pockets and investing in foreign countries, bringing their own families into politics? Same goes with Akali government of Badal as well. I hope a true honest leader in Punjab emerges to bring honor to Punjabis thru good governance.

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 23
The Union Ministry on Programme Implementation has said Punjab has been placed at a low 29th rank — second from the bottom— among all states in India as far as the implementation of some programmes for the rural areas, the poor and the Scheduled Castes is concerned.
The state was found lagging behind badly on drinking water supply in villages, providing assistance to families of the Scheduled Castes and in building houses for the economically weaker sections, among other aspects monitored by the Government of India between April, 2005, and March, 2006. A report in this regard has been received here, said top officials , adding that the state government last week started its own exercise to find out how the state lagged behind while one of its neighbours, Himachal Pradesh, secured the first rank and Haryana the 15th.
The Centre has praised Punjab for achieving "very good" results in the immunisation of children against DPT, polio and BCG , for managing its integrated child development scheme and for operational anganwadis.
Only Manipur has been placed behind Punjab at the 30th rank while states like UP, Bihar and Orissa, along with newly carved out states like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, have raced ahead and met their targets.
Sources in the government said the departments where the performance had been adjudged as "very poor" by the Central Government have been asked to give detailed replies within the next few days. The reasons for non-implementation could be that funds were not released in time or the beneficiaries as in the case of families of the SCs could not be identified. It is possible that the departments also did not seek the release of funds. The details will be known only when the departments get back to the government with their version on the matter.
Punjab was given eight schemes to follow and targets were fixed. These included the provision of drinking water in 800 villages or clusters. The state managed to do it only in 417 villages or clusters. About 59,000 SC families were to be assisted while the state did so only in the case of 19,241 families. No house was constructed for the economically weaker sections and also for persons in the lower income group. The target was 2,850 and 1,800 houses, respectively, under the two categories. Under the Indira Awas Yojana the state was to construct 11,081 houses. However, it achieved 61 per cent of the target and constructed 6,730 houses.
The state was also given a target of installing 40,000 pumpsets, but it installed only 17,421. It is possible that the state thought it imprudent to install so many pumpsets as the water table was falling. Also, the state could provide 336 biogas plants against a target of 500 plants, says the report and adds that in the sphere of the plantation of forests the target was not met. The state planted only 1,471 hectares of forests as against the target of 25,000 hectares.
Even though the report has set the alarm bells ringing in the bureaucracy, Punjab fared badly last year also when it was 27th on the list. Haryana and Himachal Pradesh were placed at the ninth and first positions, respectively, last year.

Black students ordered to give up seats to white children

Here is another news story about racism, ignorance and hatred that is present like a social cancer in America. It has to be a learnt behaviour at home and in society at large. Afterall, this is year 2006 and civil rights marches were over 50 years ago. Read if you like:
Black students ordered to give up seats to white children
Status of Red River Parish bus driver is unknown.

August 24, 2006
www.screamingstocks.comBy Vickie
COUSHATTA -- Nine black children attending Red River Elementary School were directed last week to the back of the school bus by a white driver who designated the front seats for white children.The situation has outraged relatives of the black children who have filed a complaint with school officials.
Superintendent Kay Easley will meet with the family members in her office this morning.The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People also is considering filing a formal charge with the U.S. Department of Justice. NAACP District Vice President James Panell, of Shreveport, said he would apprise Justice attorneys of the situation this week. He's considering asking for an investigation into the bus incident and other aspects of the school system's operations, including pupil-teacher ratio as it relates to the numbers of white and black children, along with a breakdown of the numbers of black and white teachers employed."If the smoke is there, then there's probably fire somewhere else," Panell said in a phone interview from New Orleans. "At this point, it is extremely alarming. We fought that battle 50 years ago, and we won. Why is this happening again?"Easley would not comment much on the allegations Wednesday, saying it is a personnel issue. She acknowledged that she has investigated the claim. And she confirmed that the bus driver did not run her route Wednesday, nor would she today.Asked if the driver would work for the rest of the year, Easley said, "I'm not going to answer the questions. "» You're getting all that you're going to get from me. I'm sorry."Red River Elementary School Principal Jamie Lawrence tried to rectify the seating situation when it was brought to her attention. But it was ultimately handled at the Central Office, Patricia Sessoms said.Sessoms aunt, Iva Richmond, is the mother of two of the children, ages 14 and 15, and foster parent to three others, ages 5, 6 and 10. Janice Williams, who is the mother of the other four children, is Richmond's neighbor. All nine children catch the bus at a stop on Ashland Road.Sessoms will join Richmond and Williams in their meeting with Easley today. Sessoms said they would ask for bus driver Delores Davis' immediate termination. Davis, who originates her bus route in Martin, has called Richmond to apologize, Sessoms said. A message left on Davis' answering machine late Wednesday afternoon was not immediately returned.After Richmond and Williams filed complaints with the School Board, Transportation Supervisor Jerry Carlisle asked Davis to make seat assignments for her passengers, Sessoms said."But she still assigned the black children to the back of the bus," she added.And the nine children had to share only two seats, meaning the older children had to hold the younger ones in their laps.A new solution reached Monday by School Board officials has a black bus driver driving across town to pick up the nine black children."I think the whole school system needs to be reviewed in Red River Parish," Sessoms said.Sessoms, who has two children at Red River Elementary, said she has no problems with her bus driver. "I have a wonderful bus driver," she added. Sessoms' request to have her young children sit near the front because of their ages was granted.School Board member Gene Longino said Wednesday evening that he had not heard about the situation involving the nine children."I don't know anything about that. "» Until something formally comes to the School Board members through the superintendent, we don't know the details," Longino said.School Board President Ricky Cannon was at work Wednesday evening and unavailable for comment. Board member J.B. McElwee also was not at home. Calls to the homes of Cleve Miller, Kassandria Wells White, Karen Womack and Jessie Webber were not answered.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Why don't Punjabi farmers learn money management?

Here is an article that shows how Punjab farmers are going in debt just to show off for elaborate weddings, sending kids to foreign lands and buying tractors that they may not even need. I wonder what else these guys are wasting their hard earned money on? I wish Punjabi farmers would get smarter and teach themselves some financing, lending, and money facts to keep the loan sharks and avoid suicides later. The whole thing just makes me sad and shows how materialism and good marketing works everywhere. No offence, but it also reflects on the degradation of good Sikh values among Punjabis and shows how they are being caught up in the same rat race.

"bhukhi-aa bhukh na utree jay bannaa puree-aa bhaar."
The hunger of the hungry is not appeased, even by piling up loads of worldly goods.

Read if you like:

Sunday, August 6, 2006
Harvest of debtOnce a symbol of the Punjab farmer’s prosperity, tractors have now become a debt trap. Shveta Pathak visits the roaring tractor mandis of Moga and Sangrur and wonders whether the proposal to waive farm loans of around Rs 26,000 crore will help those struggling with reduced outputs and high costs of cultivation
A view of the tractor mandi at Moga: Moneylenders hog almost 50 per cent share in the total farm credit
Time was when while standing amid the vast acreage of lush green fields Sukkha’s heart swelled up with pride. He commanded respect in his village even with a medium-scale land holding. He wanted to increase productivity and scale a new high. But Sukkha is a worried man today because of the decision to purchase a tractor on loan. He thought it would be an asset, increase productivity and save cost on manual labour. The feel of a tractor standing in the courtyard of his house was enriching. The tractor could also help to get a “good” proposal for his son and daughter. When he went to inquire about purchasing one from an agency, he was advised to take a loan. It sounded logical and even before he could consult his family, the company delivered the tractor to his house. He loved his new possession and did not take long to finish the formalities and avail of a loan.
Things did not quite work the way he had thought they would. The produce was low and he had to marry off his daughter. He was provided with a solution by his friends. “Sell off the tractor at a reduced price,” they advised. And so he did. The five-month old tractor was sold off at a lakh less than its purchase. Neither did the buyer talk of transferring papers as his buy was cost-attractive nor did it worry Sukkha. Hence he used the cash towards his daughter’s wedding and thought life would continue as usual since he would pay instalments the way he had planned.
Probably, he forgot his dependence on rain gods. Comfortable living became difficult. Of the two mobile connections his kids had, they gave up one. Other expenses too were curbed as income inflow was reduced and paying off the loan instalment became tough. Recently, bank officials warned him they would take possession of the land Sukkha had pledged. What if they put his name on the list of loan defaulters? Sukhha repents, but there is no way out. He already owes some money to the village ahrtiya. Neither a bank, private financer nor a moneylender would now come to his rescue. And Sukhha is not the only one.
In the state, there are scores entrapped in this vicious debt circle.
“But what should a farmer do? Considering the diminishing margins, there is no way he can do without credit,” says Swaran Singh , from Khwajke, Ludhiana. With over Rs 26,000 crore of credit, Punjab’s farmers wonder whether a waiver would put an end to their woes in the long run. The factors responsible for the plight of the state’s farmers, according to experts, are: Insufficient and lack of timely availability of credit, absence of transparency in lending, lack of awareness among a large section of farming community and unorganised money lenders who still control half of the total lending. It is doubtful that a loan waiver alone has the ability to put an end to these problems.
“A loan waiver as a singular measure is not a long-term solution,” opines Dr S.S. Johl, renowned economist and Vice-Chairman, Punjab State Planning Board, adding, “the root of the problem is low income. Unless alternate employment opportunities are created and reforms in land measures taken, farmers will not be able to come out of the debt-trap.”
Rising debt is co-related to diminishing incomes both of which are a major cause of concern today. As per a report by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), each farmer in Punjab approximately has a debt of more than Rs 41,000 as compared to the national average of Rs 12,000. To mitigate the debt, the rise in income should be proportional to the rise in cost of inputs like pesticides, diesel, generator, tractor, running the bore etc. Evidently, this is not happening and the gap continues to widen on the negative side.
On the other hand, unlike the rest of the states where most farmers belong to economically weaker sections, Punjab has ‘richer’ farmers. Yet to come to terms with the income that has significantally declined now after the initial spurt in earning on account of the Green Revolution, they do not want living standards to worsen. Providing comforts, if not luxuries, to their families, giving good education preferably in urban areas to their kids, sending children abroad and spending generous amounts at weddings, are things farmers in Punjab have lived with.
“It is worse than an insult for a farmer when his prestige is on stake in the society,” feels Sharan, another farmer. “And what is the harm if a farmer wants to live a decent life? He has been doing so, it is only in recent years that incomes have declined and the problem of debt arisen. This needs to be tackled but the solution is not that farmers start starving and live a life devoid of comforts or luxuries,” says Rajinder Pal Singh Grewal from Barewal. That explains why the state has double the number of tractors it requires. “We have 4,000 plus in the state that requires almost half of these. Of the 1,000 hours a tractor should be used, farmers in our state use it for barely 450 hours,” points out Dr P.S. Rangi, adviser, Punjab Farmers’ Commission, who also emphasises the need to tackle declining margins on a priority basis.
Besides the need to increase agricultural income, there are other loopholes that are doing harm.
Take banks which registered an increase in loan disbursement from Rs 6,706 crore in the year 2002-03, Rs 8,090 crore in 2003-04 and Rs 11,255 crore in 2004-05 to Rs 15, 608 crore in 2005-06. They also consider over 16 lakh Kisan Credit Cards (KCCs) currently in use a big achievement.
And even as lending towards farm mechanisation (most part of which is used towards buying tractors) captures a very small percentage of total credit, it was Rs 2,097 crore in 2005-06, it is this segment where gross misutilisation of funds occurs. “In case of crop loans, towards which most of the credit amount is diverted, repayment is almost regular, irregularities, if any, are found in case of mechanisation,” reveal bank officials.
A visit to any of the tractor bazaars highlights the situation. One finds even a few days’ old tractors up for sale. “Many farmers buy a tractor and sell it off immediately at a lower price when they need cash instantly. We get new tractors they want to sell because they are getting either children married or sending them abroad. A farmer does not want to get entrapped in lengthy bank formalities. He knows even an ahrtiya (a commission agent) would not give him as much money,” said a dealer in the Patiala tractor bazaar.
Quite aware of the problem, banks say they are working towards generating awareness. “Banks are working more towards generating awareness among farmers so that they know the risk is lower and decision wiser when they avail a loan from a bank instead of a money lender,” says I.D. Singh, General Manager, Punjab Zone of Punjab National Bank (PNB), which is the convenor bank for the State-Level Bankers’ Committee meeting.
Farmers still complain and trust the good old ahrtiya (moneylender) more than they would a bank. “Banks keep boasting of their schemes but it is only when a farmer goes to a bank that he realises the hassle of filling unlimited number of forms¸ completing formalities that could take even 20 days or a month and pay an interest that is almost on a par with what a moneylender in the village would charge. I experienced the same and hence went to our village ahrtiya, who trusts me and merely asked for a single signature on his account book and gave the me money instantly. Why should I go to the bank again,” questions Kiranjit Singh, a farmer from Baddhhai Kalan, Moga.
No wonder moneylenders hog almost 50 per cent share in total farm credit. “It is quite simple with us. Since we belong to the village and know farmers, chances of debt going bad are rare,” Ranjit Singh Rana, a moneylender, from village Kalala in Sangrur says. Most moneylenders charge an interest of 1.25 to 2 per cent per month, the economics of which is ignored by a farmer who needs money on an urgent basis.
The existing measures by banks towards increasing credit flow are insufficient, say experts. “The price they get for output has to be increased and at the same time interest rate needs to be significantally reduced,” asserts Dr Rangi.
Regulating moneylenders has been identified as a major challenge. Another major problem that needs attention is banks, particularly private ones and financers that are extending loans only to meet their own targets, without bothering whether the credit facility goes to the rightful candidate or not.
High costs, low returns
Considering average productivity (per acre) of wheat to be 20,000 quintals, a farmer at the prevailing MSP roughly gets a revenue of Rs 14,000. Operating costs come to around Rs 9,000. That excludes other costs like labour, rent etc. “In the last five years, costs involved in growing rice have registered an increase of 49 per cent and those for wheat by 66 per cent. On the other hand, income inflow in case of rice increased only by 26 per cent and for wheat reduced by 1 per cent. Calculate gross margins and these come out to be only seven per cent for rice and 34 per cent on the negative side (cost is more than revenue) in case of wheat,” says Dr Rangi.
Costs rose on account of various factors, he adds. These include requirement of more fertiliser and inputs to obtain the same yield, increase in prices and factors like reduction in water table which result in major expenses averaging Rs 1 lakh every three years, and also over capitalisation like more tractors than required, leaving a farmer with deficit instead of a surplus.
Farmers or traders?
A majority of traders in the market are farmers
Every Sunday, the Moga bypass wears a festive look. Thousands of tractors, ranging from a few days to a few years old, adorn this biggest weekly tractor bazaar in the region. Estimates have it that at one time, this market, which houses 35-odd bazaars has nearly 3,000 tractors on sale. The actual sale in one season, however, squeezes to a few hundreds only. “You get all kinds of tractors here which is why this market has grown so popular over the years, there is no other market that offers such diverse range,” Tejinder Singh, a leading dealer in this market says.
Seems true. One look and you can see shining new ones, many of which are only a few days old, a lot many old ones and variations also come in features like power. The rush begins on Saturday evenings when bookings for place start. Dealers assure you of attractive buys, happy buyers manage striking good bargains and there are those who come to sell.
Even as the state has other weekly tractor bazaars at Barnala, Talwandi Sabo, Jira and Samrala and daily markets at Patiala, Lehra Gagga and Ghagga, the bazaar at Moga attracts buyers from even as far as UP and Bihar.
Commenting on the enormous volumes, Sundaram, who works with a dealer, says: “Many farmers purchase a second-hand tractor when the season begins and sell it off once the season is over.”
An interesting trend in trading is emerging. One finds that a majority of traders in the market are farmers themselves. It is not buyers and sellers who are directly engaged, a fact that explains the jubilant mood the bazaar captures. For, selling an asset for a farmer is not something he feels happy about. “They sell off the tractor whenever money is needed for other purposes and it is not a very pleasant feeling,” a dealer commented.
On farmers taking to trading, says Singh: “Using a tractor makes you learn almost everything about it. Farmers are considering it a good source of additional income helping them when agricultural income is reducing significantly. It has become a normal practice, even with medium-scale farmers, to buy two-three tractors and put them up for sale.”
Regarding the new ones, while no one here admits these are the ones that carry loans, sources say there is no dearth of new tractors which could even be a day or two days old. “Many times, farmers already under debt are refused loans by banks and even moneylenders. It is then that they buy a tractor on loan and sell it off, at times the very next day at a lesser price. They get cash in hand and the other party gets a new tractor for a low price,” a dealer said requesting anonymity.
The catch here is that transfer of tractor is not on paper. “Most such tractors are taken by traders from other markets and sold off, they merely take an affidavit. Banks and financiers can’t do much in such cases, they are not even able to locate the tractor that they sold.” A major problem that those related to this field identify is the urgency with which the selling companies want to meet their targets. “We just went to enquire about the rates and they delivered one at our place. They said we were free to use it. Ultimately, I ended up buying it on loan,” said Iqbal Singh a farmer of village Waraich, Mullanpur.

Friday, August 18, 2006

How ready are Sikhs to show India the Khalsa way of life and why should India embrace Sikh way of life?

As I read the news of Sikhs protesting in London about Independence Day in India, all kinds of questions come to mind as to why some population of Sikhs are bent on creating Khalsitan and dividing India further? How valid is their claim? What does Guru Granth Sahib says about Khalistan? Then I read about Hindu right wing entities like RSS showing films claiming Sikhs as Hindus, installing Guru Granth Sahib in Hindu temples and all of their other aggressive ways to destroy Sikh identity. Why Indian government or the entities like RSS are bent on destroying Sikh identity, treating them as second class citizens since 1947 and not letting them enjoy religious liberties like everyone else? What is the big deal in saying Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism are different religions than Hinduism? I mean Jews seem to be okay with Christianity and Islam being separate religions and are not claiming them as Jews, even though they branched out of the Judaism. And, majority Christians don’t seem to be having problem with Jews either with exceptions like Mel Gibson. Also, I would think that Hindus would be more worried about their conversion to Christianity and Islam in India than Sikhism, Buddhism or Jainism given the brutal history they have had with Christian British and Islamic Moghul rulers and nature of those religions to force convert to their ways of life. Sikhs have had no history of forced conversions of anybody.

If it is the unity of India as a nation that Hindus are afraid of, I think India is underestimating the Sikh intelligence and does not fully understand Sikhism. Logic tells me India as a country would be further strengthened economically, socially, militarily, ethically, if more people of India all over follow Sikh ways of life and share rich Sikh values of hard work, righteous living, equality of sexes, military tradition, sharing, compassion towards humanity and not just Sikhs, faith in One Creator, healthier lifestyle, peaceful musical tradition. I mean that is what the modern India is striving for in long run anyways. With the current degradation of moral values thru Hollywood, Bollywood, sorry state of women, children, farmers, cancer of caste system, I think India with Sikh ways of life would be much better than where it is today. The only problem and question that comes to mind is how ready are people of India in adopting Sikh ways of life. I think it will happen given some time, since Hindu ways are not working currently. The second question is how ready are Sikhs willing to embrace people of India as a whole in stead of as separate Khalistan and show them the Sikh ways of life to make India a better place to live for all. If 50% of people of India become Sikhs in next 20 years, Sikhs would be that much closer in creating Khalsa Raj that Guru Gobind Singh has envisioned with 96 crore Khalsas. Both people of India and Sikhs need to realize that it is very easy to divide and tear something, but very hard to put together and unite. Plus, a united India would benefit all including Sikhs, Hindus, Jains and others. But a divided, all Sikhs, Hindus, Jains, Buddhists will fail. If people of India including Sikhs and Hindus do not realize this, India is digging its own grave by killing Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and their identities because history does repeat itself, and instead of becoming a developed country in 2020, India would be heading towards a biggest loser of this millennium.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Righteous Living!

Zoroastrian Teachings:

“Ideal are the thoughts, ideal the words, ideal the deeds of the Righteous Zarathushtra.Let the ever-living promulgators present the Gathas.Homage to the righteous Gathas!”

“Righteousness is the best good. It is radiant happiness. Radiant happiness comes to the person to whomrighteousness is for the sake of the best righteousness alone.”

Righteousness is the universal law that stands for order, evolution, progress, and perfection as ordained by the Creator for the creation. One becomes righteous by doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right place, and with the right means to obtain the right result. It means precision in every thought, words, and deed. It means constant improvement and continuous renovation. It brings enlightenment, true radiating happiness, provided that this happiness is shared with others. It then becomes righteousness for the sake of righteousness.
The above Avestan couplet frequently repeated in prayers, is popularly known by the name of 'Ashem Vohu', the two words in the beginning of the text. It is, in fact, the "main motto" of the entire Zarathushtrian teachings. Righteousness, the universal law of precision, is the basic principle of the Good Religion.

Zarathushtra conveniently divides mankind into two camps: Adherents of 'asha', righteousness. They are 'ashavan', the righteous who promotes the human society and the living world. Followers of 'druj', harmful lie, wrong. They are 'dregvant', the wrongful. The main mission of Zarathushtra and his companions is to promote 'asha' and to eliminate 'druj' -- to completely establish an 'ashavan' society that radiates 'ushtâ', enlightening happiness to all.

Pondering Points: Righteousness radiates health and happiness.

Note: Zarathustra is the person who seeks to bring in the new change, and introduce a complete departure from the past policy of senseless force and aggression. He is naturally chosen by the free living, rather the thinking world both as the Lord and the Leader.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A great Astronomy site for kids

Here is a site that could be helpful to your child in learning Astronomy. Check it out:

Can someone explain eras like Kalyug, Satyug and what happens after Kalyug?

I understand there are four ages, Satyug, Treta, Duapur and Kalyug. But what I don’t understand is when they began and when do they end, what happens after and how to relate to each one of them as a Sikh? I guess, we are in Kalyug age now, but when did it begin and how long it lasts.

Sorry state of affairs in India

With India celebrating Independence day on August 15, here is an artcile that every Indian should read and how it shows the lack of great leadership and governance in India along with erosion of good ethics such as honesty, truth, sincrerity, compassion and love for humanity and nature. Author is also forgetting to mention Punjab affairs and Sikh problem that India of 60's has been responsible for creating by carving Punjab further and not fully and rightfully addressing the Sikh grievances ranging from post 1947 independence, 1984 massacres, lack of compassion and sincerity towards improving lives of villagers and farmers, water sharing with other states, creating equal opportunities for females and lower caste at workplaces etc. Read if you wish.

Freedom for whom?
By H.K. Dua
As India moves into the sixtieth year of its Independence, it is finding itself adrift, aimless and almost rudderless.
So caught up the nation is with the immediate, it is fast losing its ability to look ahead. A peculiar kind of anxiety is blocking its view of a future that should rightly belong to over a billion people.
The 21st century belongs to India. This is what many people abroad have been saying of the emerging India lately. Yet, it is not hard to see why this promising view of the nation's destiny being increasingly accepted outside India is not shared by most of our own people. They have their reasons.
Rarely a day begins on a cheerful note. The headlines in the morning's newspaper or on the television only add to the general despair. The politicians' pep talk continues to sound banal, lacking in sincerity.
Violence in Kashmir is a running story of killings. If there are no reports from the Valley, there will surely be reports from the North-East. When there is some respite from violence, come the serial blasts in Mumbai, sending tremors. Naxalites have gained considerable strength to upset the daily life in several parts of central India. And if that is not enough, Maoists in Nepal are causing worry unrecognised across the open border. The security situation - internal and external - is causing extra strains requiring much more than deployment of more battalions.
Sensex has gained new heights to cause excitement in Mumbai and in corporate India; speeches of Mr N.R. Narayana Murthy or Mr Azim Premji do cheer up Indians living far away from Dalal Street or the glitter of Bangalore. Yet, all the success stories don't dispel the general gloom prevailing across the country - in the big cities, small towns and lakhs of villages which are crying for jobs, education, healthcare, drinking water and shelter.
A nation of over a billion people is bound to have formidable problems and there is hardly any choice for the country to tackle these problems urgently and move on. The people are ready to lend their hand in the effort but are finding that most leaders across the political spectrum are busy with their petty pursuit of power and all that goes with it. What the politicians do not realise is that neglecting concerns of the people is bound to cost them their standing among the people, who have at times shown an inclination to reject those who feed themselves at the cost of those whom they are supposed to serve.
Some leaders are hopeful that India, despite its handicaps, can make it to its new destiny but they are vague about what has to go into it or the route to success. The tragedy is that those who are clear about their vision - they are only a few in numbers - are finding themselves unable to take others along; and those who can do not have the vision but only personal interest to guide them.
Over the centuries the people of India have shown a tendency to live with misery and suffering with immense patience. Their tolerance threshold has been fairly high all along. But their worry about all that is happening around them is ominous. It can burst out in anger in the face of the politicians one day.
Surely the people cannot go on applauding the politicians who have the tendency to forget their promises soon after elections, the company they have to keep and their abominable conduct in and outside Parliament.
The success of Indian democracy so far is that the people have learnt to respect their right to vote and reject those who use power for their own ends. The unfortunate part is that while people have learnt to respect Parliament, Honourable MPs are busy wrecking it from within.
The conduct of the Members of Parliament is often irresponsible and is increasingly becoming obnoxious, irrespective of who sits on Treasury Benches and who in the Opposition. When the NDA was in power the Congress party thought it fit to boycott a chunk of proceedings; now the NDA is crossing all limits of propriety in not letting Parliament function. The recent happenings in Parliament, including serious attempts to denigrate the office of the Speaker, show how MPs themselves are out to destroy what the people want them to nurture.
So busy are the politicians in petty pursuits and so trivial their concerns that they do not know that the people have begun to wonder - whether democracy in the country is really in safe hands. It is not the price of their presence in Parliament that the people grudge but the danger of degeneration of parliamentary democracy that worries most citizens.
Nearly six decades after Independence, the question most people are asking across the country is: Independence and democracy are meant for whom, the elector or the elected?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Indian Mathematics and Its Contribution to the World

Here is a cool articles that describes some history of Indian system of Mathematics. Read if you wish:

History of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Numeral systems

Hindu-Arabic numerals
Western ArabicEastern Arabic
Indian familyBrahmi
East Asian numerals
Alphabetic numerals
Other systems
Numeral system topics

Positional systems
Decimal base,
Binaries: 2, 4, 8,16, 32, 64, 128,
other: 3, 9, 12, 24, 30, 36, 60, more.
The Hindu-Arabic numeral system originated from the Hindu numeral system, which is a pure place value system, that requires a zero.[1] Though it is, in actuality, a purely Hindu numeral system, it is know to the Western world as Hindu-Arabic because of its introduction to Europe through the Islamic middle east.
1 Origins
2 Positional notation
3 Adoption by the Arabs
4 Adoption in Europe
5 Impact on Mathematics
6 References
7 External link
In Sanskrit literature number words for 1-9, 10, 100 and further powers of 10 - up to 10 - were used (similar to decimal system).[2]. The most widely used place value symbols belong to the Nagari script numerals, very similar to the Brahmi numerals, which form the basis of the modern Arabic numerals. [3]
Historians trace many modern numerals to the Brahmi numerals, which were in use around the middle of the third century BC.[4] The place value system, however, evolved later. The Brahmi numerals have been found in inscriptions in caves and on coins in regions near Pune, Mumbai, and Uttar Pradesh. Dating these numerals tells us that they were in use over quite a long time span up to the 4th century AD.[5]
During the Gupta period (early 4th century AD to the late 6th century AD), the Gupta numerals developed from the Brahmi numerals and were spread over large areas by the Gupta empire as they conquered territory. [6] Beginning around 7th century, the Gupta numerals evolved into the Nagari numerals.
Positional notation
There is evidence that the Babylonians had a place value system as early as the 19th century BC. However, the Babylonian systems were to base 60. Babylonians used a separator mark to separate various place values. This separator mark never was used at the end of a number, and it was not possible to tell the difference between 2 and 20. This innovation was brought about by Brahmagupta of India. Further, the Babylonian place value marker did not stand alone, as per the Indian "0". There is unsure evidence that the Indians developed a positional number system as early as the first century CE [7]. However, the oldest dated Indian document showing use of the modern place value form is a legal document dated 346 in the Chedii calendar, which translates to 594 CE. [8], but some historians claim that the date has been added as a later forgery. Despite such doubts, historians are fairly certain that an early place-value system was in use in India by the end of the 5th century. [9] Indian books dated to this period are able to denote numbers in the hundred thousands using a place value system. [10] Many other inscriptions have been found which are dated and make use of the place-value system for either the date or some other numbers within the text [11], although some historians claim these to also be forgeries.[12] In around 500 CE Aryabhata devised a positional number system without a zero digit. He used the word "kha" for the zero position.[13] Evidence suggests that a dot had been used in earlier Indian manuscripts to denote an empty place in positional notation. [14]. The same documents sometimes also used a dot to denote an unknown where we might use x. Later Indian mathematicians had names for zero in positional numbers yet had no symbol for it.
The use of zero in these positional systems are the final step to the system of numerals we are familiar with today. The first inscription showing the use of zero which is dated and is not disputed by any historian is the inscription at Gwalior dated 933 in the Vikrama calendar (876 CE.) [15] [16].
This 9th century date is the scientific consensus on the earliest acceptable evidence for the use of positional zero in India. According to Lam Lay Yong,
"the earliest appearance in India of a symbol for zero in the Hindu-Arabic numeral system is found in an inscription at Gwalior which is dated 870 AD".[17].
Professor EF Robertson and DR JJ O'Connor report:
"The first record of the Indian use of zero which is dated and agreed by all to be genuine was written in 876" on the Gwalior tablet stone[18].
According to Menninger (p. 400):
"This long journey begins with the Indian inscription which contains the earliest true zero known thus far (Fig. 226). This famous text, inscribed on the wall of a small temple in the vicinity of Gvalior (near Lashkar in Central India) first gives the date 933 (A.D. 870 in our reckoning) in words and in Brahmi numerals. Then it goes on to list four gifts to a temple, including a tract of land "270 royal hastas long and 187 wide, for a flower-garden." Here, in the number 270 the zero first appears as a small circle (fourth line in the Figure); in the twentieth line of the inscription it appears once more in the expression "50 wreaths of flowers" which the gardeners promise to give in perpetuity to honor the divinity." The Encyclopaedia Britannica says, "Hindu literature gives evidence that the zero may have been known before the birth of Christ, but no inscription has been found with such a symbol before the 9th century."[19].
The earliest Arabic accounts of the Indian numerals, dating to the 7th century, describe them as a system of nine symbols. It is, therefore, uncertain whether the crucial inclusion of zero as the tenth symbol of the system should be attributed to the Indians, or if it is due to Al-Khwarizmi's 825 On the Calculation with Hindu Numerals.
Adoption by the Arabs
Before the rise of the Arab empire, the Hindu-Arabic numeral system was already moving West and was mentioned in Syria in 662 AD by the Syrian-Orthodox scholar Severus Sebokht who wrote:
"I will omit all discussion of the science of the Indians, ... , of their subtle discoveries in astronomy, discoveries that are more ingenious than those of the Greeks and the Babylonians, and of their valuable methods of calculation which surpass description. I wish only to say that this computation is done by means of nine signs. If those who believe, because they speak Greek, that they have arrived at the limits of science, would read the Indian texts, they would be convinced, even if a little late in the day, that there are others who know something of value."[20]
According to al-Qifti's chronology of the scholars[21]:
"... a person from India presented himself before the Caliph al-Mansur in the year [776 AD] who was well versed in the siddhanta method of calculation related to the movement of the heavenly bodies, and having ways of calculating equations based on the half-chord [essentially the sine] calculated in half-degrees ... Thiinto Arabic, and a work to be written, based on the translation, to give the Arabs a solid base for calculating the movements of the planets ..."
The work was most likely to have been Brahmagupta's Brahmasphutasiddhanta (Ifrah) [22] (The Opening of the Universe) which was written in 628[23]. Irrespective of whether Ifrah is right, since all Indian texts after Aryabhata's Aryabhatiya used the Indian number system, certainly from this time the Arabs had a translation of a text written in the Indian number system. [24]
In his text The Arithmetic of Al-Uqlîdisî (Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1978), A.S. Saidan's studies were unable to answer in full how the numerals reached the Arab world:
"It seems plausible that it drifted gradually, probably before the seventh century, through two channels, one starting from Sind, undergoing Persian filtration and spreading in what is now known as the Middle East, and the other starting from the coasts of the Indian Ocean and extending to the southern coasts of the Mediterranean."[25]
He notes, however, that Al-Uqlidisi's work, Kitâb al-FusÞl fî al-Hisâb al-Hindî, "the earliest extant Arabic work of Hindu-Arabic arithmetic", written in Damascus in AD 952–953, showed “this system at its earliest stages and the first steps in its development.” (ibid, p. xi.), especially so that "The manuscript claimed to have a collection of all past knowledge on arithmetic" and "a clear exposition of what was currently known about the subject". Saidan also writes:
Whatever the case may be, it should be pointed out that Arabic works give no reference whatsoever to any Sanskrit text or Hindu arithmetician, nor do they quote any Sanskrit term or statement.
Until Al-Uglidisi's work, the Indian numerals and arithmetics required the use of a sand board, which was an obstacle to their use in official manuscripts. As-Suli in the first half of the tenth Century:
Official scribes nevertheless avoid using [the Indian system] because it requires equipment [like a dust board] and they consider that a system that requires nothing but the members of the body is more secure and more fitting to the dignity of a leader.[27]
In his work cited above, Al-Uglidisi showed required modification to the numerals and arithmetics to make them suitable for use by pen and paper, which was a major improvement.
Al-Uqlidisi book was the earliest known text to offer treatment of decimal fraction.[28][29]
The numerals though were already in wide use throughout the Arab empire, as Avicenna who was born in 980 tells in his autobiography that he learnt them, as a child, from a vegetable seller. He also tells that when his father, in Bukhara, was visited by scholars from Egypt in 997, including Abu Abdullah al-Natili, they taught him more about them. J J O'Connor and E F Robertson point out:
He also tells of being taught Indian calculation and algebra by a seller of vegetables. All this shows that by the beginning of the eleventh century calculation with the Indian symbols was fairly widespread and, quite significantly, was known to a vegetable trader.[30]
The numerals came to fame due to their use in the pivotal work of the Persian mathematician Al-Khwarizmi, whose book On the Calculation with Hindu Numerals was written about 825, and the Arab mathematician Al-Kindi, who wrote four volumes (see [2]) "On the Use of the Indian Numerals" (Ketab fi Isti'mal al-'Adad al-Hindi) about 830. They, amongst other works, contributed to the diffusion of the Indian system of numeration in the Middle-East and the West.
Adoption in Europe
Main article: Arabic numerals
Fibonacci, an Italian mathematician who had studied in Bejaia (Bougie), Algeria, promoted the Arabic numeral system in Europe with his book Liber Abaci, which was published in 1202. The system did not come into wide use in Europe, however, until the invention of printing (See, for example, the 1482 Ptolemaeus map of the world printed by Lienhart Holle in Ulm, and other examples in the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany.)
In the last few centuries, the European variety of Arabic numbers was spread around the world and gradually became the most commonly used numeral system in the world. Even in many countries in languages which have their own numeral systems, the European Arabic numerals are widely used in commerce and mathematics.
Impact on Mathematics
The significance of the development of the positional number system is probably best described by the French mathematician Pierre Simon Laplace (1749 - 1827) who wrote:
"It is India that gave us the ingenuous method of expressing all numbers by the means of ten symbols, each symbol receiving a value of position, as well as an absolute value; a profound and important idea which appears so simple to us now that we ignore its true merit, but its very simplicity, the great ease which it has lent to all computations, puts our arithmetic in the first rank of useful inventions, and we shall appreciate the grandeur of this achievement when we remember that it escaped the genius of Archimedes and Apollonius, two of the greatest minds produced by antiquity."
Tobias Dantzig, the father of George Dantzig had this to say in Number:
"This long period of nearly five thousand years saw the rise and fall of many a civilization, each leaving behind it a heritage of literature, art, philosophy, and religion. But what was the net achievement in the field of reckoning, the earliest art practiced by man? An inflexible numeration so crude as to make progress well nigh impossible, and a calculating device so limited in scope that even elementary calculations called for the services of an expert [...] Man used these devices for thousands of years without contributing a single important idea to the system [...] Even when compared with the slow growth of ideas during the dark ages, the history of reckoning presents a peculiar picture of desolate stagnation. When viewed in this light, the achievements of the unknown Hindu, who some time in the first centuries of our era discovered the principle of position, assumes the importance of a world event."
"The Development of Hindu-Arabic and Traditional Chinese Arithmetic" by Professor Lam Lay Yon, member of the International Academy of the History of Science
Indian numerals by J J O'Connor and E F Robertson
Arabic numerals by J J O'Connor and E F Robertson
Hindu-Arabic numerals
The Arabic numeral system by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson
External link
Laputan Logic - The Evolution of Numbers
Retrieved from ""

Bibi Snatam Kaur at Fremont Gurdwara

Well, weekend came and went fast. Yesterday, Bibi Snatam Kaur along with Guru Ganesh Singh was one of the kirtan performers at the Fremont Gurdwara. She really sings so beautiful. I was only able to listen to first shabad and had to leave due to soccer coaching commitments, but I wish I could have stayed thru the whole performance. This is really great and helps builds the bridge further among various Sikh and non-Sikh communities. She asked the whole sangat to sing the shabad along and experience the joy of Gurbani, which in my opinion is a great way to be part of kirtan and sadh sangat. Another great part was that the Gurdwara had a really large screen connected thru a computer displaying the shabad text in Gurmukhi along with the English transliteration. It was really nice that she was able to take time to stop by the Gurdwara out of the busy schedule and hope she would be able to make more trips like these to surrounding Gurdwaras like El Sobrante, Pittsburgh etc. as well. She truly has a great gift of voice.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Balancing Act for a Sikh

Sometimes various thoughts go thru mind about how easy or hard it is for a person to be a Gursikh? I mean on one side he or she may have the responsibility to immediate family such as spouse, a child, or brother or sister or son or daughter and at the same time they have equal responsibility to the welfare, growth and happiness to larger Khlasa family or humanity. This seems like a big juggling act but the more I think of it the easier it seems, but still hard to follow. I mean that is why Gurus came up with the concept of Dasvandh that is giving 10% of one’s time or money to larger Khalsa family or humanity. Question comes to mind is when is right time or what is the right cause? Do I just give to the Guru and leave every thing else in Waheguru's hands? But, do I have to give every day? How about every week or as a lum sum before I die? I would think any of these would be okay as long as I rightfully give. Here is another question, does it have to be money? How about if I donate two and half to three hours of my time everyday? Again, what if I just donate one day worth of in a week. That comes out to about 21 hours. It seems like a lot of hours in just one day or let us make it two 10 hour days or so on weekends. Yet , another thought that comes to mind is why does it have to be every day or week? Can I wait till I retire and then I will spend more time at the Gurdwara and do more volunteer work then. After all these thoughts, the ultimate question comes, what if I die tomorrow and I don’t get to donate 10 percent of my time or money? That would be a disaster and I would definitely have to account for that to Dharamrai who will judge my righteous living. I think I have concluded that I am just lazy and I just like putting things off till tomorrow and then tomorrow comes and they get put off again for the day after. It makes me wonder how much I really owe. I think it is time to start giving more and more since I can’t bear the thought of dying without giving enough.

Relationship of a Sikh with Guru and God

Today's beautiful hukum from Guru Granth Sahib (August 11, 2006). Please go to archives if the day of Hukamnama is different.

I especially love the following lines:

Even though the oceans and the salty seas are very vast, the GurSikh will cross over it to get to his Guru. 14

Just as the mortal dies without water, so does the Sikh die without the Guru. 15

Just as the earth looks beautiful when the rain falls, so does the Sikh blossom forth meeting the Guru. 16