Friday, December 30, 2005

Guru Ki Golak looted and they know who did it

It was a surprise when I saw this news in a southern newpaper but I did not notice this report in Tribune. It seems 2.75 Lakh was stolen from the treasury of the Golden Temple, but no Police case has been filed. Those in charge of securing the room are no suspected of this act, but SGPC is not handing the case to Police to find the culprits. Does SGPC have its own detectives? How does SGPC plan to catch these people without Police help?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Justice Served — Khalra murders convicted

After a long time in Sikh history, justice has been served. The monsters in Khaki uniforms have been convicted of murdering a Sikh sewadar. Jaswant Singh Khalra, was a panthic sewadar working to shed light on attrocities being committed under the covers of laws like terrorist and disruptive activities act (TADA).

Its been a long time coming but it is definitely a day for history. Officers on the payroll of the Punjab Police have been convicted of murder. We would be foolish to think that DSP and SHO ranked officers did this act on their own without instructions from powers that be. Since the suicide of SSP Sandhu, it will be really hard to find any threads that tie this to any high-ranking officers.

What Sikh panth should mark down today is that Punjab Police did kill Sikhs who spoke up against them. Who within the ranks was doing so is not as important, as the fact that the institution has been convicted today.

For those looking to read up on the case of S. Jaswant Singh Khalra, here is a link to Amnesty Intl. brief.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Reflections on Yuba City Nagar Kirtan '05

It had been a couple year since I had attended the Nagar Kirtan at Yuba City. Mostly out of my sheer laziness to drive; and the hightened speeding enforcement by Highway Patrol.

None the less, I went this year. My first reaction was we are growing exponentially in numbers. My second observation was how many of us are here for the 'Mela' aspect of it and how many are true devotees?

In any case I am sharing a few images with you to show you this year's nagar kirtan from my viewpoint.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Bitta: nothing but a fake

Maninder Singh Bitta, a young unemployed, unqualified, college “gang leader” turned politician. This guy grew up in Delhi, around the same circle that I did. From that day he has been an opportunist looking for a “cause”. He milked the extremist movement in Punjab to the fullest.

You have to give him credit, to come up with a name like “All-India Anti-Terrorist Front”. All of us in business world know that marketing is 80% of the sale, and with a name like that he can even get President Bush to become a member of his front.

Now the poor guy will get thrown out of his posh Sector 7 house in Chandigarh, may be we should gather some “chanda” for him to get a place to cover his ego and himself. I can’t wait to hear how he spins this one… I would suggest Bitta Bha ji try to spin it as Governments support of terrorist by exposing you, the fearless anti-terrorist leader, and making you vulnerable target by evicting you…. LOL… koyee lok bhalee da kaam karo, Naukri labh deo, kissan di help karo, then you will really kill the cause of “terrorism” bahut der dada giri kar laee… Every bully goes down, and it may be your turn?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Demand exceed capacity yet it is Free?

A basic principle in economics states that prices are driven by demand and supply, as demand increases and supply decreases then the commodity should be sold at a premium. When the supply increases demand then the commodity should be discounted. You would think a retired Captain of Indian Armed Forces would be familiar with the principle, or may be one of his many IAS officers would advice him of the economics. Yet in the infinite wisdom Captain sahib has decided to follow the same path as his predecessor, by giving away one resource that is scarce not only in Punjab but in India, Electricity.

The decision to give away power to farmers cannot be explained by any principle of economics, it is pure and simple election year politics. Even though the elections are almost a year away, Captain Sahib is trying to secure support from farmers, despite the fact that what CM has declared to give away will not be available in sufficient supply.

While Prime Minister wants to use Nuclear option to generate more power to build the infrastructure, his own party man wants to give away what little there is. CM knows very well that this will not help the small farmers that are over burdened by debt, one motor on a small farm does not cost all that much. This will help the larger farmers like the Badal family that owns the whole village and then some, and some of the other larger families, but it will make for a great election year plank to run on.

If VAT has helped Punjab get some money in the coffers, I can suggest other uses that may be beneficial to the populace and the future generations: (1) Education (2) Roads (3) Health and Human Services (4) Information and Communication infrastructure (5) Parks and Recreation. If the people of Punjab are giving you more income, use it to raise their standard of living Captain sahib.

Monday, August 22, 2005

When did VHP and BJP start caring for Sikh rights?

Did I miss something? Did I sleep through the transformation of the Vishav Hindu Parishad becoming the well-wisher of the Sikhs? Since when does the Lion need the these alligators to speak for him?

Thank you Mr. Fernandes and Thank you Mr. Advani, but we don’t need you and we don’t need Mr. Modi to speak for the Sikhs. The general Sikh populace is not as weak as the Akalis to need your support to get our rights.

Remember it was your brother from Kashmir that our 9th Guru gave up his life to protect, those were your daughters and sisters that we brought back many times from Mughal abductors, if today we need anyone to speak for us on 1984 or any other injustice it will not be alligators like you with innocent blood of Gujrati Muslims on their teeth.

It is a great political football for BJP, for Akalis and the rest of the political machine in India, but the common man knows that much like the Democrats and Republican in US, its twiddle dee, twiddle dum in India as well.

Not until you are hurt do you know the pain, so for the love of god stop using this issue for your political gains and start to debate on real solutions. Bring a bill to the Parliament that discusses compensation, that discusses rehabilitation, a bill that recognizes Sikhs as a separate religion.

Then and only then can BJP or Akalis or even Congress can call itself the shubh chintak of the Sikhs.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Hear me once and for all: I am not a Hindu.

Despite what the Supreme Court of India says, Sikhs are not Hindus. Sikhs have their own religious tenets; we have our own identity, our own places of worship and our own culture. The Supreme Court is worried about minority “secular structure and constitutional democracy” as well as they say “We should guard against making our country akin to a theocratic state based on multi-nationalism. Our concept of secularism, to put it in a nutshell, is that the state will have no religion”

Then they go on to show the biggest failure of Indian secularism “The court said in various codified customary laws like the Hindu Marriage Act, the Hindu Succession Act, the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act and other laws of pre and post-Constitution period, definition of “Hindu” included all sects, sub-sects of Hindu religion, including Sikhs and Jains.”

Being so worried about the secular identity of India, why doesn’t the Court change the name of these acts to “Indian Marriage Act” “the Indian Succession Act”, “the Indian Adoption and Maintenance Act” If Indian judicial system is so worried about secularism, why does it not act to correct the mistakes of past and clean up its act.

I am proud to say I live in the most powerful democracy in the world, a secular nation and yet my religion is recognized by these United States of America. Patriot Act of 2001 (HR 3162), section 1002 recognizes Sikhism as a distinct religion. And Sikhs in America do no ask the US government for special protections or privileges that the Supreme Court of India fears… “Such claims to minority status based on religion would increase in the fond hope of various sections of people getting special protections, privileges and treatment as part of constitutional guarantee,” the court said adding “a claim by one group of citizens would lead to a similar claim by another group and conflict and strife would ensue”.

Supreme Court and the rest of India should know that Sikhs have always given way more than they have taken from India. Even today we feed the Billions, despite the debt the farmers in Punjab are suppressed under.

Dear sirs, when you think of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious society think of Salad as an analogy, nothing losses its taste, its color or its look in the Salad, but together they make the bowl that holds them look great. Recognize and reward people for who they are, they will not ask for anything but gladly give even more.

Congress sprinkles Salt on Sikh Wounds again

Another report has come out, from another commission and once again the victims of the largest organized anti-Sikh riots in India are re-living the pain of that dark week. I am a victim of those riots, I spent a week in my uncles’ neighbor’s attic. I remember the noises of the crowd even today; I relive them every time someone talks about those days.

Events like that change your life for ever; it was those nights in the attic that reaffirmed my identity to remain a Sikh, a turbaned Sikh. If Congress, BJP or any one else ever thought or think that putting fear in the heart of Sikhs will make them give up their religious identity, they are sadly mistaken. You can blame the riots of 1984 for reaffirming many Sikhs into their faith, giving voice to the sentiment that was being raised from Punjab for a separate Sikh State.

Every time a new commission comes out and gives a report, the victims relive those days. The findings of the latest, Nanavati commission are not new. The nine commissions before him have named same politician that Justice Nanavati named, there have been commission before that names Police officers… but no justice has been served. The findings of the latest have led to resignations, but what this victim is waiting for justice, file charges against the named in any report by any commission and run a fair trial without scaring away and bribing the witnesses. If the Government in incapable of doing that much do us all a favor and stop putting together any more commissions.

We know who the guilty are; any one else who cares to know can read the reports of the ten commissions. Sikhs are not good are remaining victims of any one or anything. We have always recovered and come up stronger… from the days of Mannu, the Mughal emperor, to present day. Mannu sadi datri, aasi mannu de soe, oh jeon jeon sanu wadh da, aasi dune chaune hoye.

I want to Thank Dr. Manmohan Singh for apologizing for the riots, I know he meant it. I am not sure about the party he represents, as its all politics. Much like Akalis would have us believe they stand with victims of the riots or for Sikh cause… answer one question Mr. Badal, what did you do following the riots to help the victims from your personal wealth? Don’t politicize the wounds of of weeping mothers and widows… maa di haa buree hundi ah badala!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Sikh Nation Condemns London Blast

Jathedar Vedanti, the highest-ranking Sikh Priest, today strongly condemned the London attacks. This is a good step taken by the Jathedar to come out and condemn terrorism against innocent civilians. Similar type of statement by the Vatican get major attention in Western media, Sikhs need to show that we have a pontiff that speaks for Sikh Nation and we stand along side other religions in condemning these cowardly acts.

Personally, I express my deepest condolences to families of those who lost their lives in London.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Congress and Akali: cut from the same cloth

Today Akalis are attacking Chief minister Capt. Amrinder Singh over a speech he delivered with a "Khalistan Zindabad" banner hanging behind him at Dixie Road Gurdwara in Ontario Canada. How quickly these chameleons change color, these very same Akalis were sitting next to Sant Bhindrawale, when militancy was at its height in Punjab. These very same Akalis that today are accusing Congress of dividing along race and religion, when they stand aligned with Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party, as friend of Hindustan and united against militancy use to support it for their self interest to get in power.

These Akalis got support from these very same NRIs from Canada and USA, now they are accusing these NRIs of supporting Khalistan and are upset over CM speaking from a podium that displayed a sign to support the movement they were a part of? Talk about hypocrisy!!

I can speak from personal experiences that people like Didar Singh Bains, a very close friend of Mr. Badal and family supported the movement and formed World Sikh Organization that promoted the idea of a separate Sikh state from Yuba City, Califonia. Even today, the Gurdwara at Terra Buena Road in Yuba City has Khalistan stickers on doors etc, left over reminders of Didar Singh Bains' support.

All this should not be taken as my support for Congress or the CM. Congress is up to its old colors as well, and two episodes have shown that clearly. Delhi Police caught Hawara, so in order to save face Punjab Police starts arresting his "accomplices" and by the way, any one who has ever had any contact with him since his escape is now an accomplice.

And secondly, the way the Govt. of Punjab has handled Simranjeet Singh Maan, for his outburst at Akal Takht shows their complete disrespect for human rights and freedom of speech. Congress and Punjab Police should realize that oppressing the movement and putting a lid on a boiling pot does not resolve the underlying issues that gave fuel to the uprising. As long as the social structure does not change, youth don't get jobs and farmers don't get relief there is always a fear of another Sant raising the people. Feeding people Bhangra, Alcohol and drugs will not make them forget the pain of living in Punjab today.

At times like this remember the old slogan "chitay kukar, neelay more, eh vi chor oh vi chor" and don't keep faith in either Congress or Akalis because they are all politician and nothing is more sacred then power to them.

May God Bless Punjab and Punjabis with a true leader, who will put his faith and his people before self interest.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Envision teachers that actually teach

Privatization of any sector in India is met with the same welcome, Protest. This times it’s the teachers of state run schools in Punjab that are up in arms over the fact that the state government is talking to private school management entities. There has been no decision to hand schools over to these entities, the teacher unions are already protesting. Can we say chor de dhari ch tinka

These teachers are legit in their protest because they very well know that if a private entity were to run schools, they would actually have to teach. God forbid that, that will mean end to sweater knitting, endless gossip breaks and never ending tea breaks. I would challenge most of the teachers in Punjab to pass the board exam they give to the students.

The issue I have with education system is a very fundamental one, its flawed at the core. They are teaching the students ancient knowledge and not vocational or transferable skills. The education in the 21st century is being given on bare floors with kids in the most uncomfortable position to write or read. The subject have not changed with time, neither has the system to bring in teachers with new skills.

The union has a vested interest in keeping the schools the way they are, because they know private entity will not let their employees, teachers, be part of the union. The unions are the evil left over from the socialist days, we keep them around much like the dogs that the Shepard keeps to herd in the sheep. Ideally the teachers will see the light and take the challenge head on to teach in the privately managed schools, if they are the best candidates for the job. Lets try to focus on the customer of the school, those who pay to reap the benefits — the students — what in their best interest.

If the next generation is to succeed in Punjab, it needs to be educated progressively with skills that are required in the 21st century. Even if the student is going to grow up to be a farmer we need to give him skills that he can use to be a better farmer than the generation before him, that is progress. Can the teachers honestly say that they are willing to be progressive and do what is right by the future of Punjab?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Boozing up Punjab: A Rs. 771 Crore Revenue Stream

Recently Mr. Chadha, the liquor baron, won the auction to run more than 3613 liquor stores in three division of Punjab, that include almost all of the major districts. You see its not like Mr. Chadha is exactly competing with common baniyas, he is competing with the rich and the powerfull. His biggest rival is a Mr. Mann Singh Garcha, brother of one Mr. Jagdish Singh Garcha, Akali leader.

So called "Sikh" leadership is responsible for boozing up Punjabi youth, and let me not just single out Mr. Garcha or Mr. Chadha, it is well known that these auctions are granted at the signal of powers that be. The Tribune article states that the auction was delayed more than an hour to accommodate Mr. Chadha, who apparently carries private guards. Do all businessmen in Punjab need guards? I thought K.P.S. Gill made Punjab safe for us all?

Regardless, let me not deviate into the politics of the whole thing. I want to use this space to suggest to Mr. Chief Minister a few ways his govt. can spend the 771 Crore Rupees that the state just earned for intoxicating the people:

  • Set up vocational training centers in tier 3 cities like Adampur, Mulanpur, Sirhind, Tarn Tarn etc. These are needed to enable the rural youth to get jobs in the urban cities. These small cities are close enough to rural areas yet have the infrastructure to make these centers viable.
  • Spend it on Primary schools and make English mandatory in grade 1. This will require changes to be made in staff, administration and curriculum. I would argue that it is a necessary change to make tomorrow’s Punjabi youth competitive in the world. If Kerela can have a literacy rate of 99% why can’t the most prosperous state in the nation?
  • Partner with business to open new doors for youth. Inovate program that enable Punjab's youth for the jobs of tomorrow. Establish partnerships to subsidize computer technology education for under privalged youth.
  • Prime Minister made roads a priority for Union government, and since you and Mr. Singh are buddies of the same political persuasion, may be you can get union to pitch in and you can upgrade the infrastructure to keep up with the growing population.

I hope you would agree that the money earned from intoxicating a generation of Punjabi’s should be and needs to be spent on the next generation. Punjab can only progress when we have an educated workforce, robust infrastructure, a political and financial environment that is inviting to doing business in state. Otherwise Punjab will become a state filled with Bihari’s, drunks, druggies and old folks.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Either way its Punjab's Loss

It is Punjab's misfortune that the leadership of Punjab regardless of their political affiliation is marred by bad apples. Same characters keep on surfacing as chief ministers, and opposition leaders, these opportunist politicians are rich, they have broken every law on the books, they have backdoor relations with every illegal activity in the state, yet they keep on blaming each other!!

To the extent that Mr. Badal is now using funds from Gur ki golak and utilizing SGPC events to talk about how life in Punjab for a farmer. When was the last time Mr. Badal worried about the farmer when he was in power? Farmer and the normal person in Punjab or for that matter the rest of India is suffering regardless of who comes to power. One gives free water and the other tries to restore riparian rights of Punjab, but neither tries to take on the struggle to create Jobs, to educate our youth on tobacco, drugs and liquor, SGPC is worried about SAD rather than Sikhi.

Who is really thinking about Punjab, Sikhs and Sikhi? Does anyone speak for you?

Kanishka Verdit a new beginning

Last week a Canadian judge acquitted the two Sikhs that the Canadian authorities had charged for bombing the Air India flight 182. This verdict outraged the families of the passengers on board that doomed flight. I applaud the verdict and the Judge for not bowing to pressure and emotions but looking at the merits of the evidence presented which he stated was all circumstantial. The truth of the matter is that a few Indians that have entered Canadian politics have been under pressure to bring charges against someone. So they picked Mr. Malik, a self-made Sikh millionaire and a devout Sikh as their targets.

The trial was a malicious act to deface the reputation of the two men in the Sikh community. The community in BC is already divided between fundamentalist and the moderns. The moderns used this trial to show the world that they are not the only ones with skeltons in their closets, they brought out irrelevent witnesses to the stand only to ruin the reputation of the two men. Despite all the "evidence" and witnesses that were presented the court saw through the malicious attempts and based the judgment on facts. And the facts are Malik and Bagri were not responsible. The million dollar question remains who was?

When Canadian and Indian authorities are able to bring the culprits to justice, only then will justice be served to the victims. But today is the beginning of that process, we should celebrate that two innocent men were freed. The victims families should stand with the Malik and Bagri family to questions why were they charged and imprisoned for 19 months? And who is really guilty of the bombing?

Saturday, January 15, 2005

So Help me God

First I want to ask for forgiveness from Waheguru, to excuse me if I say something here that will tarnish his image or that of his people. My intent with this blog will be to put a mirror in front of Sikhs and Punjabis to see their own reflection, to see if they think their actions are in line with that Guru ji intended a Sikh to be.

I am a proud turbaned Sikh living in California, I see many things on web, as well in my day to day life that make me proud to be a Sikh and many others that put me to shame. I will attempt to show both sides of Sikhi here and hope that by recognizing our shourt comings my fellow Sikhs will try to do the right thing. So Help me God.