377.The Man in Blue – The Arsonist GOI Agent

During the weekend of 13 and 14 June the jathedar Akal Takhat visited Southall. Apart from an appearance in the Singh Sabha Gurdwara he also visited a private house in the area.

During that visit somebody from the Woolwich Ramgarhia Gurdwara told the jathedar about a person who calls himself ‘the Man in Blue’, who is involved in the arson attack on the Bow Sikh Sangat Gurdwara and who is an agent of the Government of India.

Those that read my blog know that I did visit Woolwich and was ‘apprehended’ by the Prabandhaks while committing the horrible crime of taking pictures of the Gurdwara, was accused of being involved in the fire at the Sikh Sangat Gurdwara and was also told that I was not a Sikh but only dressed up as a one. When I tried to leave my exit was blocked.

The Prabandhaks phoned the police. When the police arrived I was very happy that I could leave the company of the committee members, but I was then searched under article 44 of the prevention of terrorism act.

Of course nothing was found that was even the least bit incriminating, but I think it is ridiculous that if you take pictures of a Gurdwara without the consent of the committee, the police think that this gives them the right to search you under the prevention of terrorism act.

I feel that I have an unresolved issue with the police, but have no wish to have an ongoing row with the Woolwich Gurdwara committee. They had me badly wrong, they made a mistake and they were told by Sikhs from East London that I was not a bogus Sikh and that everything I told them was true.

I have no appetite for a dialogue of the deaf like : You are an arsonist – No I am not; You are an agent of the GOI – No I am not. I am far too busy doing positive things, which I hope contribute to the ‘Welfare for All’, and which will give a positive image of Sikhí.

A friend gave me the contact details of somebody on the Ramgarhia Board, a number of people have offered to support me, but at the end of the day if the Woolwich Ramgarhia Committee keeps slandering me I suppose I will take legal advice about suing them.

I would certainly win, as the committee’s accusations are a completely nonsense. The only grounds for their suspicion are that I took pictures of the Gurdwara and that I did not like being accused of being involved in arson and being called a fake Sikh. In my thirteen years as an Amritdhari Sikh I have had some adventures with Prabandhaks, but never have I been treated with such malevolence.

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Published in: on June 23, 2009 at 5:45 am  Comments (5)  
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376.The Man in Blue – Modern Sikhs, Old Fashioned Sikhs

I have been reading about the history of Sikhs in the UK. All the books I read so far are weak in their sections on Sikhí, but it is fascinating to read about the individual Sikhs and Sikhs as a community who settled in the UK, and about how they became established in this country.

Some of these books divide us into ‘modern/reforming’ Sikhs and ‘old fashioned/orthodox/conservative’ Sikhs. I do not recognise any value in being either ‘modern’ or ‘old fashioned’. Something that was thought of thousands of years ago is not necessarily bad, something thought of yesterday is not necessarily good.

Our Gurus were reformers, and ‘orthodox’ Sikhs should all be reformers. Our Gurus were not conservatives and Sikhs should not be conservatives. The Gurus were on the side of the poor, the dalits and women. Many ‘modern’ Sikhs in the UK and Panjab are arch-conservatives and are not at all interested in people who are less well off, less powerful than them.

The teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib are progressive. The teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib are for everybody, regardless of their skin colour, gender, faith, nationality or whatever. Prejudice against people from other countries or from other Indian states, prejudice against those with darker skins, those from different caste or creeds just is not part of Sikhí.

The umpteenth debate about wearing the 5 Ks is raging on the internet. In this debate there is always an undertone suggesting that people without the 5 Ks, and especially those without ‘unshorn’ hair are lesser human beings. This is not supported by Gurmat.

The Sikh way of life recognises the 5 Ks (and the turban) as powerful signs of the commitment to Guru’s teachings. The kirpan does not mean that we are a ‘martial race’, it powerfully represents the struggle against injustice, the defence of the oppressed. Today we should fight the xenophobia of the BNP and UKIP in the UK and the xenophobia of the Dal Khalsa in Panjab.

When I was young long hair was ‘modern’, now short hair is ‘modern’. As a Sikh my long hair has nothing to do with being modern or old-fashioned. My long hair is linked with my serious attempts to stay on Guru’s path. But Guru will not judge me on the length of my hair or of my kacchera or on the size of my kirpan or my dastar. I hope that God will judge me on my serious efforts and not on my meagre achievements.

Let us be Sikhs who believe in One God and One Humanity, in Simran and Seva. Let us live the Sikh way of life, the way of Love. Let us live like Sikhs and look like Sikhs, let us be proud to be Sikhs, Singhs and Singhanís, who wear the Guru’s uniform, the 5 Ks and the dastar !

Published in: on June 14, 2009 at 6:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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375.The Man in Blue – 1984, Let’s remember, but not in anger

It is this year 25 years since the June invasion of Harmandr Sahib and later in the year the killing of Indira Gandhi followed by the organised pogroms against Sikhs in Delhi and in other states ruled by Congress.

In India people like Pradhan Mantri Manmohan Singh are telling us that it is time to forget. I strongly disagree with him. I think we should remember, but we should not look back in anger.

I am a Sikh but I am not from Panjab. My family members were not killed during the invasion of Harmandr Sahib, my family members were not killed during the Delhi pogrom, my family members were not abused by the security services in Panjab. That makes it is easier for me not to be angry.

Guru teaches that ‘Krodh’ (anger) is one of the ‘panj chor’ (five thieves). Anger does more damage to you than to the person you are angry with. Anger eats up your soul. I do get angry at times, which is bad enough, but I calm down fairly quickly. It is far more damaging when you keep feeding that anger. It is a sure way of losing your connection with God.

Why should we not forget ? No group should forget its history, not the good parts, not the bad parts. The past shapes the future, the past made us who we are. The issue is not forgetting or remembering, the issue is dealing with the violence and human rights abuses of the eighties and early nineties.

I think that India and the Sikhs need a reconciliation process, which is not about punishing people, but about looking at what went wrong and why it went wrong. In that process both parties should be willing to admit to acts of violence and injustices committed.

Sikhs should admit that it was not just the security services who abused Human Rights, we should recognise that people who claimed to be Khalsas also committed injustices. Equally we know that ‘Sikhs’ in the security services were amongst the worst Human Rights abusers.

We should be realistic and admit that shouting Khalistan Zindabad and having pictures of Jarnail Singh and other ‘shahíds’ is not going to solve anything. Peaceful, patient and persistent campaigning on human rights for all, including the right to campaign for an autonomous or independent Sikh homeland, is the way forward.

We have to keep the pressure on MPs and Human Rights organisations, we have to raise a ‘stink’ every time a tainted politician or police man visits this country. We should clean up are act and stop the infighting in our Gurdwaré. And we should publicly admit that Sikhs in the UK or the USA cannot determine the future of the Panjab.

Published in: on June 11, 2009 at 6:36 am  Comments (2)  
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374.The Man in Blue – From whom do we receive ‘Khande di Pahul’ ?

This article was inspired by something I was told, but which might not be true. According to my source one of our leading Gurdwaré flew over Sikhs from Panjab to be the Panj Piaré for the Vaisakh Khandé di Pahul ceremony.

This reminds me of how various swamis and other charlatans whisper your own personal mantr in your ear. Those that read the Guru Granth Sahib know that our Guru does not give us a mantr, Guru wants us to keep ‘nám’ in our minds, and act there on.

You can learn to see ‘nám’ (Godly essence) in nature, you can find it in Guru’s sabads, in words like Vahiguru or in what I have heard call Guru’s signature, Ik Ongkar Satguru Prasád (or Ik Ongkar Sat Nám Satguru Prasád / Ik Ongkar Kartar Purkh Satguru Prasád) or in the full nine descriptions of God starting with Ik Ongkar and ending with Gur Prasad.

These are all gifts from God, part of the Divine Understanding that comes to us through Guru’s sabad. This gift is there for all, this gift is not owned by Jathabandis or Deras, this gift is not owned by Sikhs, it is God’s gift to all.

Similarly ‘Khandé di Pahul’ is Guru’s gift. It is a contract between the individual and Guru. Our part of the ‘bargain’ is to offer our heads, to commit ourselves to living a Sikh life, a life of service, a life of honesty, humility. We are weak, we keep making mistakes, but we keep trying.

Guru’s part of the ‘bargain’ is that because you stop living for Maya, stop looking for fulfilment through having more, more and more again, because you start looking for inner peace, inner joy instead of joy given by artificial stimulants, you will become truly happy.

In the process of taking Amrit the Panj Piaré represent Guru and that makes it important to find people who are truly committed to following Guru’s way. They do not need to be perfect (I am 62 years old and so far have not met any perfect persons). They do not need to be part of any particular group within Sikhí. They should be seriously committed to living Guru’s life.

But more important is the commitment and understanding of the person undergoing the Khandé di Pahul. If you are seriously committed to follow the teachings of the Guru Granth, if you are truly committed to living a Sikh life, it does not really matter all that much who the Panj Piaré are.

The practice that Panj Piaré can impose their own rules, or the rules of their dera or jathabandi, on people undergoing Khande di Pahul is just not right. We should follow Guru. If our Panj Piaré think that they or their dera or their sub-group has the authority to change Guru’s teachings they are badly mistaken !

Published in: on June 1, 2009 at 10:59 am  Comments (1)  
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