World Sikh News – Harvard University launches short term Sikhism studies through scriptures

Published 3 months ago – WSN News Bureau USA

The School of Humanities and South Asian Studies at Harvard University launches short term studies in Sikhism, which will go online on 6 August and will be available online and on iPad and iPhone. Celebrating 550 years of Guru Nanak Sahib, the founder of Sikhism, Harvard University is launching an online course on fundamentals of the Sikh way of life.

Sikhism, a monotheistic religious tradition with twenty-five to thirty million adherents across the globe, as one of the six major religions of the world, encomasses a number of religious, social, economic and political institutions, most of which were established and nurtured by Guru Nanak and his nine successors, known as the Sikh Gurus.

For the 4-week free self-paced course in the English language, with the coaching of 5-10 hours per week and verified certificate learners can enrol at https://​​course/​sikhism-through-its-scrip­tures.

The course will teach aspirants:

  • Exploration of a foundational Sikh text, the Japji, which was composed by Guru Nanak and is recited by Sikhs as part of their morning prayers.
  • The place of Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture, in Sikh life.
  • Interpretative skills to engage in a nuanced reading of Guru Granth Sahib.
  • Gurmat Sangeet, the Sikh musical tradition, as represented in the Sikh scripture and its cultural context.
  • The aesthetics of Sikhi, including literature, art, and music.
  • The political dimensions of Sikh scripture and its impact on the evolution of Sikhs as a Panth or community.

As per the course details available on the website, the course “examines the Sikh scripture from a doctrinal and historical perspective by providing an overview of Sikh teachings as well as the historical context within which the scripture evolved and became canonized.

It also examines the musical and aesthetic dimensions of the Sikh scripture, as well as ways in which the voluminous text has provided Sikhs with a social, ethical, spiritual and political message to help them respond to and shape the world around them.”

Harpreet Singh of South Asian Studies at the Harvard University and Ravinder Singh and Damanpreet Singh as Teaching Assistants, will be three guides and instructors running the course. The course will be in association with the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. – Sikh loaders being forced to work without a turban and trim hairs at Amritsar airport

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 02 September 2019. Several Sikh youths, who are working as loaders at Sri Guru Ram Dass International Airport (Amritsar), are being forced to work without a turban. It is learnt that a female official deployed by the Indo-Thai Airport Management Services is forcing the Sikh youths to work without a turban and to trim their hair.

Taking strong notice of the incident, Longowal has said that the female official has hurt religious sentiments of Sikh loaders by forcing them to work without a turban. He has asked the Airport authorities to take action against the female official.

Sikh loaders being forced to work without a turban and trim hairs at Amritsar airport

Gent: Europalaan – Zuiderlaan – Watersportbaan

19 Augustus 2019

Treurwilg – Weeping willow

Royal canoe club Gent

Watersportbaan – Rowing course

Watersportbaan – Rowing course

19 Augustus 2019

Bus 38 to Sint-Amandsberg – Achtendries

Skiffs – serious rowing

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

OFMI – Hindu-American Congressman Ro Khanna: Duty to Reject Hindutva

Khanna mentions “important article” documenting Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s RSS ties

Arvin Valmuci

Santa Clara – California – USA, 02 September 2019. USA Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA), a Hindu of Indian origin, recently urged his fellow Hindu-American lawmakers to “reject Hindutva,” referring to a religious nationalist political ideology which treats non-Hindus as foreign to India.

“It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist[s] & Christians,” wrote Congressman Khanna on Twitter on August 29. “That is the vision of India my grandfather Amarnath Vidyalankar fought for.”

Vidyalankar (1901-1985), who was repeatedly jailed for participating in India’s struggle for independence, later served as a Member of Parliament in the Republic of India.

Referring to a profile of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard published by Caravan magazine in August, Khanna called it an “important article.” The 18,000-word cover story documents how Gabbard’s early congressional career was heavily financed by leaders and members in American affiliates of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, an Indian paramilitary which promotes Hindutva.

Entitled “All in the Family: The American Sangh’s Affair With Tulsi Gabbard,” the article states, “By the end of her first term, one Indian paper was describing Tulsi Gabbard as ‘the RSS fraternity’s newest mascot.’ Few in the United States realize that Gabbard’s relationship with the RSS does not agree at all with the progressive image she cultivates.”

“The Sangh in America backed Gabbard because they understand that the international community is worried about the sectarian violent politics of the Sangh in India,” states Dr Ashok Swain in the article. A Hindu professor working in Sweden, Swain claims, “They want some powerful political personalities on their side, particularly in the United States.

They believe Tulsi can be one of them, who can provide them cover from international sanctions. Tulsi has also done that in the past.” Discussing Gabbard’s interactions with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the article notes, “Gabbard emerged on the US political scene at a pivotal moment for the Sangh’s aspiration to see Modi as the Indian prime minister.

The greatest diplomatic triumph for the American Sangh was rehabilitating Modi’s tainted reputation in the United States. Gabbard played a significant part in that project.”

The article identifies nearly 60 executives in Sangh organizations, including the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (international wing of the RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (international wing of VHP, the religious wing of RSS), and the Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party (international wing of the BJP), as donors to Gabbard’s congressional campaign between 2011 and 2014.

It states that over 20 percent of Gabbard’s campaign financing came from “Sangh and pro-Modi sources” during 2013, her first year in office. It discusses how she met with then BJP President Rajnath Singh and then RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav in Washington, D.C. in 2013, the year before Modi was elected.

Additionally, it discusses how she spoke at multiple HSS, VHPA, and OFBJP events as well as worked against legislation and hearings opposed by her American Sangh donors.

“Congressman Khanna’s courage in denouncing Hindutva is an example we hope all will follow,” comments Arvin Valmuci of the Organization for Minorities of India.

“As recent documentation published by Caravan shows, the RSS is not only involved in pogroms and massacres against Christians, Dalits, Muslims, and Sikhs in India, but it is also trying to cultivate politicians in America. Last year, Illinois State Senator Ram Villavalam took a similar courageous stand against supremacy. We hope to see words translated into action.”

Villavalam, a Hindu-American, had in 2018 stated, “I do not support any group and/or an event arranged or led by organizations that intimidate minorities, incite discrimination and violence, commit acts of terror based on race or ethnic background, promote hate speech, and/or believe in faith based nationalism.

As a Hindu American, I stand with my brothers and sisters in the Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Sikh, and other religious and ethnic minority communities against hate, discrimination, and persecution.”

“The American Sangh is especially hard at work in California right now, where they are trying to elect BJP activist Rishi Kumar to US Congress,” added Valmuci. Kumar is a Saratoga, CA city councillor who is challenging incumbent Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) for the 18th congressional district, which borders the 17th congressional district represented by Khanna.

Valmuci, however, remarks, “Kumar has a long track-record of working with the OFBJP to interfere in India’s elections from America. He joined HSS leaders Khanderao Kand and Chandru Bhambhra in 2015 to organize Modi’s ‘rock-star reception’ in San Jose. Kumar is an example of a politician who rejects pluralism and embraces Hindutva.”

Written by Pieter Friedrich, an analyst of South Asian affairs, the Caravan magazine article, which was published on August 1 and behind a paywall for the first month of publication, is now available to read online for free.

Organization for Minorities of India was founded in 2006 to advance individual liberties of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and all Mulnivasi people of South Asia by encouraging secularism, progressive human rights, liberation of oppressed peoples, and universal human dignity. Visit for more information.

Dawn – Growing humanitarian crisis

The scale of it is eye-watering: 1.9 million people excluded from the final list of the National Register of Citizens in Assam, published by the Indian government on Saturday.

Editorial, 03 September 2019. These are the people, mostly Bengali-speaking Muslims, that have been deemed to be ‘foreigners’ by virtue of being unable to prove that they or their forebears lived or entered India before March 1971, prior to which Bengalis were actively encouraged to migrate to India. Many have been living in Assam for decades, or have known no other home but India.

With the threshold for documentary proof high, and the appeals process long and murky, the process of updating the NRC has been mired in controversy given the BJP’s penchant for stoking anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant sentiment.

Narendra Modi’s home minister has gone as far as to promise that the NRC will be implemented across India, to root out those who he describes as ‘infiltrators’ and has likened to vermin.

Given that discrimination and dehumanisation are often precursors to a potential genocide, it is little wonder that human rights groups are so alarmed. Over 1,100 people are already imprisoned in Assam’s so-called foreigner detention centres. There are fears that mass internment is impending, or worse, such as forced displacements and genocidal massacres.

If the Rohingya crisis of 2017, when hundreds of thousands were stripped of Burmese citizenship and forced to flee Myanmar into Bangladesh, seemed a colossal human tragedy, what may occur in Assam might well be even more unimaginably catastrophic.

Rendering people stateless is an inhumane practice.

If an individual does not legally belong anywhere, then no nation is responsible for ensuring their rights, survival or even existence.

While the 1954 UN Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons does ensure basic protections, denying individuals a national identity effectively denies them the right to have rights, and states have in fact used the revocation of citizenship as a political tool to punish opponents and critics, and even change demographics.

This is why even the handful of cases of Western-born IS fighters and collaborators being stripped of citizenship has been so contentious; though it is important to stress that, here, it is the lives of countless entirely innocent civilians that are at stake.

Rendering people of Bangladeshi-origin stateless, at risk of being alienated, killed or shunted about in internment centres and refugee camps, is an incalculable humanitarian crisis in the making.

India’s move in Assam will undoubtedly strain its ties with Bangladesh, which has shown no indication it will accept these ‘unwanted’ humans, but it is incumbent on both nations to negotiate a reasonable and humane settlement to this brewing crisis.

Bangladesh must come to some sort of an agreement with India, and soon, as well as reconsider its policies with regard to the status of the stateless Rohingya seeking refuge within its borders.