Harjinder Singh – Man in Blue YouTube video

On the 25th of August we recorded a programme in the Havelock Road Singh Sabha and in the Manor House Grounds off The Green in Southall.

Underneath the link to the YouTube video


Programme made by
Pritpal Singh – The Dutch Sikh
Amarpreet Singh – Camera
Harleen Kaur – Music

Pictures taken during the recording session :

17 till 27 August 2012 – Visit to London UK

17 till 27 August 2012 – Visit to London UK

Pictures taken during recording of Dutch Afghan Sikhs :

17 till 27 August 2012 – Visit to London UK


Pritpal Singh in Jalalabad, Afghanistan

431.Sikh Ultras in Panjab

Sikhs used to be terrorists, fundamentalists, agents of the ISI, but the new buzz word is ‘Sikh Ultras’. According to the Panjab Police, the Badal Dal, Amarinder Singh and the Tribune there are Sikh Ultras, mainly from Babar Khalsa, who want to revive the Sikh terrorism of the Seventies, Eighties and early Nineties.

There appears to be a Singh behind it all, loads of RDX and other evil stuff has been confiscated and some people have been arrested. Family and friends loudly protest their innocence and allege that the arrested persons have been tortured.

In the late nineties when I lived in Panjab stories about dangerous people who were smuggled in from across the Pakistan border by the ISI, carrying weapons, ammunition and explosives, kept popping up in the press. ‘After some time’ the arrested people were discretely set free, and the ‘confiscated’ weapons etc were redeployed in the next fake arrest of ‘dangerous Khalistanis’.

I do not live in Panjab anymore, and although I try to keep in close touch with events there, it is more difficult for me to judge the present stories. I have a working theory which fits in with impressions of the mood of people on the fringe of the Khalistani movement, and with past experience of Indian practices.

There are people on the fringe of the ‘established’ Khalistani movements in countries like Canada, the UK, USA and Malaysia who are angry that so many years after 1984 the culprits of the killings in Harmandar Sahib and in Delhi and other Congress ruled cities have not been prosecuted and that no real progress has been made towards establishing Khalistan.

They have no patience with the long term strategies of the established Khalistani organisations and are looking for action, in their home countries action against what are seen as anti panthic elements, but also direct action in Panjab itself.

When I visited Lahore in 1996 and 1997 I met ‘diaspora’ Sikhs who go to Pakistan and volunteer to go into the east Panjab and explode bombs or kill politicians. The persons I met never made it across the border, all they did was shuttle between Lahore and their Islamabad ISI contacts in the hope to progress their plans.

We all know that the Pakistani army and the ISI have never been under control of the Pakistani governments, not even of the military ones.

Looking at what is served up by the Panjabi press I think that that there might be at least one real incident with some kind of Khalistani connection, and that the rest are the usual scare stories and finds of the same weapons etc again and again.

The use of violence in India or elsewhere will not be of any benefit to the Sikh Qaum. Just like in the days of Indira Gandhi, Sikh violence will only give an excuse to politicians in India and elsewhere to implement anti-Sikh measures.

429.The Man in Blue – Once upon a Time …..

Once upon a time there was a rich man who lived near Chandigarh. He owned a big mango plantation and every year when the fruit was ready for harvesting he needed a lot of people to pick the mangos.

He offered a very low rate for the work and the only people that took the job were migrants from states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, living in the jhuggi colonies on the verges of Chandigarh.

By paying low wages and exploiting poor people he made big profits, and was able to buy very expensive cars and a huge house with a big garden. He was a Sikh and he knew about the teaching of Guru Nanak, but he did not realise that there was blood in his roti.

Once upon a time there was a man who ran a ‘sweatshop’ in Southall, where people stitched clothes. As he liked to maximise his profits he only employed a few people officially, paying tax and national insurance. His other workers were illegals who worked long hours for very low pay.

By paying low wages and exploiting poor people he made big profits, and was able to buy very expensive cars and a huge house with a big garden. He was a Sikh and he knew about the teaching of Guru Nanak, but he did not realise that there was blood in his roti.

I have made up these stories, but they are based on what I have seen around me, both in India and in Europe. The behaviour of the rich men in the stories is against the teachings of all ‘dharms’, all faiths.

People of all dharms, of all religions ignore these teachings, they forget that these also apply to life in 2010, that these are teachings for all times.

Whether it is Jesus’ Good Samaritan or Guru Nanak’s Bhai Lalo, they both show us the way to the sort of behaviour that will start us off on our journey to Sach Khand, the Realm of Truth, where we will find unity with God.

Respect all, pay a fair wage and if you want others to work hard for you, you should work hard too. Simple principles based on universal values. The world would become a much better place if more people would understand that these are practical teachings, not theoretical philosophy.

Some UK politicians say that we have a broken society. We can only mend that society by seeing God in all. Some people make fabulous profits on the stock and commodity exchanges, some families have been unemployed for generations, or are exploited doing degrading work for very low wages. The philosophy of ‘More, More, More’ and ‘Me, Me, Me’ breaks our link with The One All Pervading and All Powerful and breaks our link with All Creation.

425.The Man in Blue – Banning of Pag and Patka in schools in Belgium

I am on a crash course trying to understand the background of the problems that Belgian Sikh youngsters face in education.

Like France, Belgium is a majority Roman Catholic country. In the Dutch speaking north, which I know much better than the French speaking south, the Roman Catholic Church used to be very powerful.

I think that this power of the church explains the ‘fundamentalist secularism’ of France and Belgium. Additionally in the Dutch speaking area the often right wing Flemish nationalists are not just against being ruled by French speakers but also tend to be against any incomers (Flemish first !).

The anti-incomers’ sentiment is strongest against the Islamic immigrants, probably because they are blamed for the ‘Islamic’ terrorism. This sentiment explains the anti ‘headscarf’ mood in the Dutch speaking part of the country. It is mostly based on emotions, not on rational arguments.

At the moment schools can make their own decisions to ban headscarves (which include turbans and patkas) or not. As I read the political mood it would not surprise me if a total ban on headscarves in schools will be implemented in the Dutch speaking part of the country.

As long as the politicians we have a dialogue with accept that cultural and religious minorities in the country cannot be wished away, we have a chance to win our case based on arguments.

Popular opinion thinks that Muslim girls wearing hijáb or niqáb are forced to wear these by their family. Going by my experience in the UK this is a generalisations not based on facts. Some girls are under pressure to wear the hijáb, others wear it against the will of their family. The same applies to Sikh boys wearing the turban.

I think that Sikhs (and Muslims) should stick to their traditions and values while actively taking part in society. Sikhs should be seen ‘living the values’ that Guru teaches. Sikhs should practice making an honest living, practice compassion and practice One God/One Humanity. We should not withdraw into a narrow Panjabi world of our own.

Popular opinion assumes that Muslims and Sikhs wearing religious symbols do not want to integrate. This again is not evidence based, and we can prove them wrong.

Sikh children, all children, have the absolute right to be educated. We have, all have, the absolute right to work in all jobs. We have, all have, the duty to be active, critical citizens of whichever country we live in.

387.The Man in Blue – Sikh Mystics

Sikhs are to be mystics. Being a mystic does not involve dressing up in a dhoti or any other special outfit, it is perfectly possible to be a mystic in a pair of jeans, a kurta payama or a salwar kameez.

Being a mystic means to be in love with God and to feel God’s love for us. God is not just something or somebody the folks in the Gurdwara talk about, you can feel God, you can experience God in your life.

When I was in Amritsar I used to get up very early to join the jatha doing prakarma washing, then did my nitnem and helped carrying the palki to Harmandr Sahib. After the Vák and the Saviye I would be on a spiritual high, feeling very close to God and close to ‘sádh sangat’.

I think that this is essential Sikhí : feeling close to God should go together with, should be the same as feeling close to God’s creation. God’s creation includes all humanity, all the animate and inanimate world, and all the universe with the worlds upon worlds that Guru Nanak wrote about.

In the central area of Amritsar is Gurdwara Tahli Sahib with its own sizeable sarover called Santokhsar. Every Sunday the sevadars used to offer open air langar where most of those attending were not Sikhs, and many were not Panjabis either.

The sevadars did Vahiguru simran while serving, after explaining that this was not just for Sikhs but for all. They addressed this mixed bunch of sangat, some of whom were no doubt scoundrels, as sádh sangat.

These sevadars understood Sikhí and acted upon it. Everybody was not just welcome, everybody was made to feel part of what was going on there.  Everybody was asked to join in the simran, everybody was included in the ‘True Congregation’, there was no ‘Us’ and ‘Them’.

Spirituality in my understanding is not about us Sikhs sitting cozily together and excluding others, spirituality is about having a loving relation with God, feeling Oneness with God and with God’s creation.

In my work I come across people of all faiths and none who work in Further Education Colleges. I feel at one with all of them, regardless of their background, with whom I can work for the welfare of all the students.

Obviously not everybody is good, too many people are not even trying. Guru speaks out clearly against those who are wasting the chance of joining with God that this human life offers us, but Guru has compassion for those that seriously and honestly try. If we are to judge others we should judge on behaviour, not on labels like Sikh/Non-Sikh or Panjabi/Non-Panjabi.

Published in: on September 28, 2009 at 6:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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