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Clamping down on Udta Punjab is not a solution, it is the problem June 7, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Elections, Punjabi, Punjabis, Sikhism , add a comment
Banning Udta Punjab is a political game plan to control damage done by SAD-BJP government. These ten years of SAD-BJP Government in Punjab have been the worst years Punjab has seen post Khalisatan demand days. Drug abuse is the biggest achievement of this Government, and second best is that each of its MLAs are “rumored” to have over Rs 1,000 crores in personal assets. Richest MLAs of almost a bankrupt state, right?
 
On one side the Badal Family-BJP Government has been most corrupt State Government any Indian state has ever seen and on the other side, Sikhism as a religion has been systematically diluted through free flow of drugs and patronage of Deras and Dera Sants. Sikhs are no longer a majority in the “Sikh state”. Even among those who count themselves as Sikhs, over 50% are opting to go back to caste system, nonacceptance of which is the base line of Sikhism. Yes, base line of Sikhism is not the turban and it was never the turban, turban came much later. Yes, baseline of Khalsa is the turban and has always been. Sikhism is all about simple values and it is not about Kukar-Shukar, Whisky-Shisky and Dope-Shope, which this Government has worked hard to establish. It is about doing good, through every act, all the time. This government in Punjab is the most anti-Sikh government Punjab has ever seen. I would have been happy if it was pro-Punjabi, but this Government is not even that. All its steps are against Punjabi values of being inclusive, this Government is an exclusive club of who you are, whom you know and what is your caste.
 
IMHO banning Udta Punjab is the best thing which has happened to Punjab. This is going to be a major rallying point and in its banning Badal Government has exposed chink in the armor. I will be glad if AAP structures its campaign around restoring Punjabi/ Sikh pride and lowering corruption considerably. Why would I say AAP and not Congress? Congress remains “it is not an option” for India. They have done enough damage.
Clamping down Udta Punjab is not a solution for SAD-BJP, solution would’ve been to come forward and say, we will change it and this is how we will do that and making sure next nine months saw qualitative and quantitative action. For starters each SAD-BJP MLA can do an Amma act, go ahead and distribute at least Rs 100 Crore worth of freebies from their pocket or by begging central government for being even more kinder to the corrupt state. At Center NDA Government must remove Harsimrat Kaur Badal and disassociate itself from its dynasty/ family agenda. For BJP to support SAD is worse than their going and tying up with Laloo Yadav and Mayawati together.  Center shouldn’t have obliged Badals by clipping wings of Udta Punjab, it should have rather started a movement with Navjot Siddhu leading Save Punjab camps in all constituencies, even if it meant withdrawing support.
People would find a way to watch Udta Punjab, even if they don’t, there would be enough written for word to spread around.

Golden Temple Amritsar – Where Renovation Never Stops January 10, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Blogging, Sikhism , add a comment

I have been visiting Darbar Sahib/ Harminder Sahib/ Golden Temple almost every year for over 30 years now. Two things have been consistent lines of devotes have been becoming longer and the renovation at the complex has never stopped. Over last 12 months or so the list of additions is mind blowing and character changing of the complex. 60 plus years old shops on the periphery of Darbar Sahib Complex are all gone. Hmm… it may not be right to say they are gone, maybe it is more appropriate to say that the periphery has moved by almost 50 meters and the shops are once again on the periphery.

Parking, Shops, Joraghar (Place for keeping shoes), parameter walls, Darshani Deori and all the open area between Darshani Deori and Akal Takht Sahib have had various changes. In one of the major changes Saropa and Patasa Parshad are now given at a cash counter in one of the rooms in Parikarma area. The langar complex is also changing a lot, it has become bigger with a defined waiting area. Two new guest houses have also come up. The biggest changes have happened from the Darshani Deori to the main Darbar Sahib Gurdwara. Starting from temporary structure over the walkway from Deori to the gates of Darbar Sahib, the roof has become permanent, though some would still call it temporary. it has lights fans and rows of vigilance cameras and LCD/LED roof mounted televisions sharing the Shabads being recited inside.  Even the place for taking Jal has been transformed completely.

Toilet complexes are still a challenge and miles away from completion and  good access.

30 years back by and large Parikarma  and prayers use to take about 20 minutes on a regular day and an hour on a Gurpurab. Now it takes about two hours on a normal day and 4-5 hours on a Gurpurab day.

Congress was amply rewarded for 1984 Anti-Sikh Pogrom November 29, 2015

Posted by simarp in : India, Sikhism , add a comment

There is a lot of talk today about ‪#‎IndiaIsTolerant‬ & ‪#‎IntoleranceRising‬, two tweets or comments later I am reminded of 1984 and asked, “have you forgotten what Congress did to Sikhs?” The intent of the other person is to play then&now or some crazy game, but he/she touches an open wound and it is blood flowing all over again. I have an answer, once or twice I have managed courage to share it, most often I just say that you can’t even force my dead body to vote for Congress.

Here is my answer.
Yes it pains, what Congress engineered was horrendous and the fact that it has gone unpunished and in the process making a whole community of lions and princesses at times wonder, where the lions are? But the pain doesn’t end there, it just begins, the blood has just started flowing.

The worst for Sikhs and Secular India didn’t end on November 5th, a big hole in secular fabric of India emerged. Elections were announced and Congress mobilized huge rallies to share how “Sikh Guards” killed Indira Gandhi and worked to divide the society on religious grounds. Every evening on Government Controlled Door Darshan television, leader after leader, unabashedly talked about “Crime committed by Sikhs” and how “Sikhs were dully punished”.

Shame for India, they succeeded. Rajiv Gandhi’s “theory” that “when a giant tree falls….” was vindicated. Delhi, where the worst massacres happened, rewarded him with all 7 seats. Yes, rewarded, that is the word, that is the blood, that is the pain, that is the trauma. Haryana gave him all 10. Himachal all 4 and Uttar Pradesh 83 out of 85 seats.

Democracy did win that day, but it was at the cost of secularism, inclusiveness, and legitimacy of anti-Sikh pogrom. There was no rigging, the mood of the nation was that what happened to Sikhs was deserved by them and now we should move on. With 404/533 seats, Congress and Rajiv Gandhi had no reason to think about Sikhs, the “nation” was with them. That is the pain which lingers and even if a day comes when justice prevails, this pain still won’t ebb.

I ask myself, if it was why not then why now? Then who were all those people who gave Congress 404 seats. Who stamped Congress & Rajiv Gandhi’s Pogrom against Sikhs as legit? Blood oozes and pain lingers.

1984 Anti Sikh Pogrom (Riots) and Twitter November 1, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : Sikhism, Twitter , add a comment

Twitter is a medium which shows everyone naked, instinctive statements taught a lesson to a host of thought leaders on eating crow. Shashi Tharoor, Barkha Dutt, Vikram Chandra, Pritish Nandy, Rajdeep Sardesai were all stopped in their tracks and requested/asked/ pushed to clarify their statements and use of words. Some like Pritish Nandy were extremely quick in clarifying their views and stating their position where as others like Barkha Dutt,  Rajdeep Sardesai and Shashi Tharoor took a circuitous route to reach the same place. Shashi Tharoor was quickly reminded of his “Cattle Class” misadventure on Twitter and decided to go absolutely silent on this question after making one simple clarifying statement.

The clarification seekers came from all geographies and belonged to all communities, however Sikhs from India, US, UK, Australia and Canada outnumbered everyone else due to obvious reasons. Sikh, Sikhs, Riots, 84 and 1984 remained critical words in all tweets. Rough estimate of number of tweets pertaining to 1984 Anti Sikh Pogrom puts the number close to 100,000. One could see instinctive collaborations happening simultaneously in putting across point and countering thought leaders, in some cases to a great  pounding effect.

A random check of  profile and age group of those who were actively countering or correcting the “thought leaders” talks a lot about the even spread of community across diverse verticals and 1984 atrocities hurting all age groups. An 80-year-old tweeted about re-living the partition mayhem and a 21-year-old talked about his being brought up listening to first hand stories from elders who faced it all and survived to talk about it.

On Twitter the Sikh community emerged as a Virtual Nation and grieved as one.

Quick Takeaways from Gurbani January 18, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : Golden Temple, Punjabis, Sikhism, Uncategorized , add a comment

Here are some quick takeaways from Gurbani. They all lead to a good life. 

Takeaway:

In the beginning, the Lord created the Divine Light, And all mortals were His creation;
From the Divine Light spawned the universe, so who is good and who is bad?

As in Gurbani: Avval Allah noor upaya, Kudrat ke sab bande;
Ek Noor te sab jag upjaya, kou bhale kou mande.

Takeaway:

The Truth existed in the Beginning, The Truth existed through the Ages;
The Truth exists now, and Nanak says that the Truth will exist in the future.

As in Gurbani:

Aad sach, Jugaad sach; Hai bhi Sach, Nanak hosee bhi Sach.

Takeaway:

Oh Lord! Grant me this boon, that never shall I desist from doing noble deeds;
Nor while fighting the enemy should I ever be afraid, but with a firm resolve achieve victory.

As in Gurbani: Deh hai Shiva var mohe ehe, Shubh karman te kabhoon na taron;
Na daron ar seo jab chahe lado, Nischay kar apni jeet karon.

Teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji November 14, 2008

Posted by simarprit in : Punjabis, Sikhism , 17comments

When you are born, and where you are born has a bearing on who you are and what you become.  Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born  in 1469, around that time  – invasions, terror and blood-bath were leading to a large scale unrest in the pious land of five rivers.

Guru Sahib’s inherent nature of not accepting what was told and taught at its face value led him to evolve as an original spiritual thinker. He believed in listening, understanding and having first hand knowledge before expressing or forming his own opinion.

He listened to people of all faith and cultures.

He read extensively about the religion he was born in – Hinduism, and the dominant religion of the region Islam. He also studied Buddhism in depth.

He travelled widely to famed and acclaimed seats of learning of those times. Traveling towards the east he stayed  at Haridwar, Varanasi, Kamrup in Assam and  Jagananth Puri in Orissa  and visited/ camped at many other important towns and schools of thought. His journey towards south of Punjab took him to temples and places of worship spread across the four states in the southern part of India and Sri Lanka. In his jtravels  to north,  north east and west of Punjab he covered the holy lands of Tibet, mainland China, Mecca (Saudi Arabia) and Baghdad (Iraq).

Guru Sahib desired a Sikh  to- (Sikh – origin the Sanskrit word Shishya – Student)

believe in one God

do selfless worship at all times (not only in the time of need)

do service to humanity without any self interest

share and care, especially with those who are in need

earn an honest living by ensuring that no action leads to cheating or exploitation

shed all inequalities, rich – poor, men – women, higher caste – lower caste

be compassionate

be open to the view of others on all matters

practice brotherhood and not be self-centered

be not scared of death

Guru Nanak Dev Ji is also refered to as Baba Nanak or Nanak Shah.  The currency of Empire of The Sikhs established by Maharaja Ranjit Singh was Nanakshahi

Guru Sahib passed away peacefully in 1539 at Kartarpur, his teachings are a way of life to millions of people all over the world.