The Times of India – Sikh generals betrayal opened door for British

Arsh Behal

Chandigarh-Panjab-India, 10 December 2017. The Anglo-Sikh Wars of 1845 and 1848 are the only two instances where the generals betrayed their own army. The complex account of how it changed the course of Indian history was the topic of discussion during the second session on Day 2 of Military Literature Festival here on Saturday.

Moderating this conversation among historian Amar Pal Sidhu, professor Sukhmani Bal Rai, and Scottish author William Dalrymple, bureaucrat Mandeep Rai said: “Generals Tej Singh and Lal Singh betrayed their own Sikh army to join hands with the British… otherwise Pakistan would have never been in existence.

This account of treachery runs very deep,” he said, “even historians don’t know how deep.”

In the first Anglo-Sikh War, governor-general Sir Henry Hardinge was ready with 7,000 troops of the British Bengal Army. The entire British army, which included the East India Company soldiers, had five divisions and 13,000-odd troops.

Rai said: “In the (first Anglo-Sikh) war, the sons of Maharaja Ranjit Singh died one after another. His son, Sher Singh, was shot by his own cousin from point-blank range, while grandson Nau Nihal Singh was killed on way back from his father’s funeral. If the generals had not committed treachery, the Sikhs would not have lost the first war.”

Amar Pal Sidhu, who has written a book on the Anglo-Sikh Wars, highlighted the vulnerabilities of the British army and how close it came to surrender. Hardinge was at Ferozshah and preparing to lay down arms. “The British army had not eaten for days, not had water for 20 days, and run out of ammunition.

It was weak and incapable of fighting further, only if generals Tej Singh and Lal Singh had not betrayed their Sikh army. The British surrender would have been a seminal moment in history, which would have changed its course.”

The death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839 was a great blow to the Sikh Empire of Lahore. “It collapsed like the empires of Alexander and Nader Shah after their demise.”

About his experience of visiting these battlefields next to the Sutlej riverbanks in Pakistan, Sidhu said: “These are the loneliest places in Punjab.”

The history writers also tried to imagine what a Punjab without Pakistan would have been like.

The second Anglo-Sikh War happened when Multan revolted and killed two British officers. “The army under general Sher Singh Attariwala, son of general Chattar Singh Attariwala, joined the rebels on the banks of the swollen Chenab river,” Rai said.

Dalrymple said: “The tragedy of the Sikhs is that their richest archive sits in Pakistan and they cannot access it without a visa. What has survived of the Sikh and Afghan war papers in the national archives is not enough… a huge frustration for the Sikh historians.”


The Tribune – Recruitment row likely to figure in SGPC meet

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, 9 December 2017. Controversy surrounding recruitment and promotions is likely to figure prominently in the maiden meeting of the newly constituted SGPC’s executive committee to be held at Ludhiana on December 12.

Other matters on the agenda for the meeting are expected to include maintenance of gurdwaras, acceleration in the campaign of “dharm prachar” and special stress on educational institutes.

Prominent among these would be appointment of about 500 employees in different categories in various wings of the SGPC.

However, recruitment of some persons, despite their being close relatives of Shiromani Committee members and senior officials, earned criticism and charges of nepotism were levelled.

Sources stated that there was wide resentment among a section of employees over out-of-turn promotions to selected employees.

All new-face executive committee and office-bearers of the SGPC may also delegate all powers to president Gobind Singh Longowal. As per the Gurdwara Act, all powers vest in the executive committee and SGPC president.

Ieper – Poppy Parade – 11 November 2017

Remembering those that gave their lives
First World War 2014 – 2017

Jaspal Singh Slough wala

Gent Gurdwara Panj Piare

Jaspal Singh and Jagdish Singh’s sons

Left Dabinderjit Singh – Right Gurdev Singh (?)

Sikhs at the Menen Gate

Ninety-nine years ago, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, fighting ceased in the “war to end all wars”

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue – Why India should not bother to ask Britain to apologise for Jallianwalla Bagh

If we are talking massacres, the British colonial administration oversaw millions of starvation deaths from the 1860s

Anjali Mody

Op/Ed, 10 December 2017. On a visit to India earlier this week, London mayor Sadiq Khan called for Britain to apologise for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, the killing of over 1,000 peaceful protestors by the British Army in a walled public garden in Amritsar in 1919.

Khan is not the first to make such a statement. In October, the Labour Party MP for Ealing-Southall, Virendra Sharma, had submitted an “early day motion” calling on the British government to formally apologise in Parliament and commemorate the Jallianwala Bagh massacre with a memorial day.

Calls for an apology for what is widely regarded as one of the most barbaric attacks on Indians by the British colonial administration come every few years. Each time a head of government or the queen visits, the question of whether they will or will not apologise gets aired.

In recent years, prime ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron and the queen have all visited the memorial at Jallianwala Bagh and expressed sorrow, even shame, but not apologised.

And they were right not to. Apologising for historic wrongs is an empty gesture. And apologising for historic wrongs that the people on whose behalf you are apologising do not even know about is a bit of a joke.

Should Britain apologise for Jallianwala Bagh, most of its population is likely to say “sorry for what?”

Why only Jallianwala Bagh?

Besides, the history of the empire is strewn with bodies. The question could be asked, why only Jallianwala Bagh?

After all, if we are talking massacres, the British colonial administration oversaw millions of starvation deaths from the 1860s onwards. These thoroughly avoidable deaths were the result of state policy.

In years when there was sufficient rice to continue exports to Britain, colonial administrators ideologically wedded to the idea that market forces would solve the problem, that providing relief work promoted laziness, and the Malthusian theory that famines are a way of population control, caused millions to starve to death in eastern and southern India.

Winston Churchill, who had excoriated Colonel Reginald Dyer, on whose orders soldiers had opened fire at the crowd in Jallianwala Bagh, pursued the same policy in 1943. Grain exports to Britain continued while over 3 million people died, most of them in Bengal.

Simply because there is no memorial to those millions dead, and their deaths are not directly linked to the movement for independence, does not make them less historically significant. In today’s parlance, they would be termed genocides.

Understanding colonial history

Yet, the past cannot be undone. But it can be understood.

British universities have produced some of the most interesting recent histories of the empire. But the majority of Britons who study history only in school have little opportunity to benefit from their understanding.

Despite changes to the school curriculum in 2014, students in Britain learn very little about colonialism and the empire, not least because the segments on colonialism are not mandatory. Like other countries, school history lessons are used to fortify national myths.

Hence, the great age of the Tudors and Britain’s heroic role in the World Wars and in the defeat of fascism remain the focus.

But even in teaching the wars, the fact that 2.3 million Indian soldiers fought or served on the British side, that 89,000 of them died in the Second World War, is not something that figures in school history lessons.

Why would this part of the story, which locates British Asians within the grand national narrative, and contributes in principle to national cohesion, be ignored? Could it be because by acknowledging that colonial subjects died for Britain, more uncomfortable questions about the empire might pop up?

An apology for Jallianwala Bagh, one terrible event, also skirts more uncomfortable questions about the nature of colonialism and of the British Raj. It gives the appearance that one event was an aberration. It is, in short, a cop out.

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Dawn – Provincial cabinet asks centre not to issue permits for hunting in Balochistan

Syed Ali Shah

Quetta-Balochistan-Pakistan, 8 December 2017. The Balochistan government has asked Islamabad not to issue permits for hunting in the province saying it is beyond the mandate of the federal government after the passage of the 18th Constitutional amendment.

The Balochistan cabinet on Friday evening directed all 34 deputy commissioners of the province not to allow anyone to hunt in their respective districts.

Chief Minister Balochistan Nawab Sanaullah Zehri chaired the cabinet meeting, which endorsed the Balochistan Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation, and Management) Act 2014 and decided to implement it in letter and spirit.

Without mentioning the houbara bustard, the provincial cabinet also asked the Foreign Office not to issue licences to anyone for hunting in Balochistan.

This decision has come a few days after security forces detained four Qatari nationals near the Pakistan-Afghan border in Noshki district on charges of illegal hunting. Five locals were also charged with collaborating with the foreigners for illegal hunting in the area.

The cabinet decided that the reservations and apprehensions of elected representatives in connection with the issuance of licenses and permits for hunting in the province would be addressed in due time.

The News – Sindh Government to facilitate disabled persons in various sectors

Nimra Afzal

Karachi-Sindh-Pakistan, 9 December 2017. Sindh Minister for Transport and Information, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah assured that people with disabilities would be facilitated in transport, education and health sectors.

Speaking at a seminar in connection with ‘International Day for Disabled Persons’, he said the government has decided to take strict action against Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) for not implementing his directions issued for effective access to the disabled persons.

Nasir Hussain said his party chairman Bilawal Bhutto has issued special directives for provision of jobs to special persons, not only in the government but also in private sector besides providing them all necessary facilities.

A think-tank, belonging to Neurology Awareness and Research Foundation (NARF), gathered at the seminar to present various demands for the disabled persons.

The panel at the seminar urged the governments, persons with disabilities and the concerned organizations, academic institutions and the private sector to work as a ‘team’ to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Professor Muhammad Wasay, President NARF, told the audience that the disability rate in rural areas was 65% while in urban areas of the country, 34% suffer from disabilities. The 58 percent men while 42 percent women suffer from some kind of disability. The victims in Punjab are 56% and in Sindh are 28%.

As per Dr Wasay’s statistics, only 14% of the disabled persons are part of workforce, where only 10% have access to rehabilitation and 17% have access to social and educational support. He mentioned the ratio for disabilities including physical disability (35%), multiple (8%), blind (8%), mentally challenged (7%), deaf (7%), psychiatric (6%) and others (30%).

The number of disabled persons in Pakistan is growing at an alarming rate of 2.65 percent annually as the estimated 5.30 million population of the country was suffering with disability, as mentioned by Dr. Wasay, children being the prime victims.

‘Provision of appropriate and effective access’

Where 43% of the national population of the total disabled comprise solely of children, as compared to 10% of global percentage (2.18 million); statistics tell that 1.4 million children are of school age but no access to education”, Professor Muhammad Wasay lamented.

Dr Madiha Latif, neuro-psychologist, Erum Zehra, occupational therapist, General Secretary NARF, Dr Abdul Malik and Syed Ibn-e-Hasan, senior vice president of NBP also spoke at the seminar.

The panel demanded a full concession in admission fee and relief up to 75% in tuition fee in government educational institutes must be ensured.

The panel stipulated demand for Special Computerized National Identity Card by NADRA, whereas 50% concession on total charges of tickets to the disabled persons in Airlines, Railway, public and private transport companies, endowment of free treatment in all federal, provincial, district, tehsil, social security hospitals, dispensaries, as well as 60% discount in private hospitals were also suggested.

They also demanded that necessary changes in the existing buildings for the effective access to the disabled persons in public offices housed in such public and private buildings must be made, including access of wheelchair in all available public transport which currently is zero.

The seminar demanded to ensure the implementation of special quota in Federal and Provincial Public Commission.

‘Global statistics tell 20% of the world’s poor are disabled’

Globally at least 10% of the world’s population, or 650 million people, live with a disability. Twenty percent of the world’s poor are disabled. The percentage of children with disabilities not attending school is extremely variable and is between 65 – 85% in some African countries.

Mortality for children with disabilities may be as high as 80% in countries where under-five mortality as a whole has decreased to below 20%. In many low-income and middle -income countries, only 5-15% of disabled people who require assistive devices and technology have access to them, experts shared. – Bhai Jagtar Singh Tara makes major revelation in Beant “Singh” assassination case

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh-Panjab-India, 6 December 2017. Hearing on the pending trial against Bhai Jagtar Singh Tara in Beant Singh assassination case was conducted by a special court of additional session judge J S Sidhu in the Burail jail on December 4.

The prosecution lawyer of probing agency CBI asked Bhai Jagtar Singh Tara to answer almost 30 questions during this hearing.

Replying to question asked by the CBI lawyer, Bhai Jagtar Singh Tara revealed that he, along with Shaheed Bhai Dilawar Singh and death row convict Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana had gone to the Punjab Secretariat in a car to assassinate the then Chief Minister Beant Singh on August 30.

“But CM Beant Singh had left the Secretariat before us and we had to return from our mission. After coming back, we slept in a room of government tubewell after removing bomb belt of Shaheed Bhai Dilawar Singh”, he added.

Bhai Jagtar Singh Tara further revealed that on August 31, 1995 they again went to the Punjab secretariat. “Before departing for accomplishing our task, I fixed the wires of bomb belt on the body of Shaheed Bhai Dilawar Singh and performed prayer before the Almighty Lord.

I dropped Shaheed Bhai Dilawar Singh to Punjab Secretariat in an Ambassador car. Later, I met Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana who was following us on a scooter and moved away from the Secretariat,” he added.

Sikh24 has learned that the CBI lawyer has sought answer to 31 questions and Bhai Tara answered his first 20 question on December 4. Meanwhile, the Court has deferred next hearing onto January 16, 2018.

Dampoort to Ieper

Dampoort to Ieper
11 November 2017

Gent Dampoort – Two northbound tracks

Gent Dampoort – One Southbound track

Gent Dampoort

Train to Lille (Rijssel) Flandres and Poperinge
The train will be split at Kortrijk

Poppy Parade
11 November 2017

Gent Gurdwara Pardhan – Pardhan da putr – Harpreet Singh – Balkar Singh – Granthi Singh – Mehakpreet Singh

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

BBC News – Sikh activist Jagtar Singh Johal filmed in police custody

The brother of Scottish Sikh activist Jagtar Singh Johal has condemned a video filmed in police custody

Mr Johal, from Dumbarton, has been held in Punjab since 4 November, accused of conspiracy to murder prominent right-wing Hindu leaders.

The 30-year-old has also been accused of involvement in the murder of a Christian priest.

Mr Johal’s lawyer has previously accused the police of torturing his client, who denies all the allegations.

In the latest development, a video of Mr Johal in custody has been screened on Indian TV.

Gurpreet Singh Johal said he was “shocked” when he saw the footage and claimed it jeopardises his brother’s right to a fair trial.

He told BBC Scotland: “The only thing I can see from the video is that it seems like a hostile situation.

“Allegedly there is a confession but I don’t see a confession there.

“There is nothing there.

“He is just saying that he has translated some articles for a website.”

He also questioned how anyone managed to film his brother while he is in custody and fears he has been “found guilty without a trial”.

He also urged the UK government to do more to help Mr Johal.

The Scottish government has previously said it is “deeply concerned” about Mr Johal’s detention.

Punjab Police have denied the torture allegations.

The Hindu – Adultery law weighted in favour of men: Supreme Court

Section 497 of the IPC treats only the man as the offender and the married woman as a victim

Krishnadas Rajagopal

New Delhi-India, 9 December 2017. The Supreme Court on Friday said the dusty Victorian provision of adultery in the Indian Penal Code treats a married woman as her husband’s “subordinate”.

The court admitted a petition to drop adultery as a criminal offence from the statute book.

“Time has come when the society must realise that a woman is equal to a man in every respect,” the Supreme Court recorded in its five-page written order.

Section 497 of the IPC mandates that “Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery and shall be punished”.

Issuing notice, the court would examine two aspects of the penal provision. One, why does Section 497 treat the man as the adulterer and the married woman as a victim.

Two, the offence of adultery ceases the moment it is established that the husband connived or consented to the adulterous act. So, is a married woman the “property” of her husband or a passive object without a mind of her own?

“The provision (Section 497) really creates a dent in the individual independent identity of a woman when the emphasis is laid on the connivance or consent of the husband. This tantamounts to subordination of a woman where the Constitution confers (women) equal status”, the Supreme Court declared.

Further, only a husband or the person in whose care the husband has left his wife can file a complaint under Section 497. The petition challenges the validity of Section 198 (1) and (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure which deems that only a husband can be an aggrieved party in offences against marriage like adultery and only he can go to court.

Arguing for petitioner Joseph Shine, advocates Kaleeswaram Raj and Suvidutt M.S., submitted that the penal section was framed at a time when women were considered a man’s property. They have asked the court to annul Section 497 as unconstitutional.

Equal status

The Constitution confers equal status to a man and a woman. The time has come when society has to realise that a woman is equal to her husband in every respect, Chief Justice Dipak Misra recorded in the order.

Justice D Y Chandrachud paraphrased the petitioner’s arguments that it amounts to a violation of a women’s fundamental right against discrimination under Article 15 when law “assumes a patronising attitude to women”. “By presuming the woman to be a victim, has the law made a patronising assumption” he asked.

Why is prosecution under Section 497 completely dependent on the husband’s word. So much so that, a woman can enter into an adulterous relationship if her husband consents. The debate in the court centered on the question whether Section 497 demeans a woman to the extent of her being considered the husband’s “commodity”.

“Does this relegate her to the level of a commodity?” Justice Chandrachud asked.

Terming the provision “quite archaic,” the court observed in the order that when society progresses, rights are conformed and a new generation of thoughts should spring forth.

The apex court had earlier on three separate occasions, in 1954, 1985 and 1988, upheld the constitutionality of Section 497.