Bosnia – Sarajevo and Blagaj

Marsala Tita Market
08 April 2019

Yellow tram !

Green with advertising

A bit of Farsi for a change

Tekija Blagaj
Tekke Derwish House
09 April 2019

The river Buna flooding the terrace

The river Buna – bridge for pedestrians

The Tekija Blagaj

More Bosnian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Man in Blue – Khatha on Akal Takht

Inspirational talk by Bhai Harjinder Singh Ji on Sri Akal Takht Sahib

please read:

546. Akal Takht & it’s Jathedar

Published in: on April 8, 2015 at 2:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Books on Sikhi in English

 The best book on Sikhi is the Guru Granth Sahib

It is easily available on the internet from with the original text (gurmukhi font) transcription and translation in (American) English. Do not rely on ‘quotes’, always read at least a full shabad (‘hymn’) for better understanding within context.

If you have any further suggestions, with or without comments, please send an email to

Man in Blue

Teach Yourself Sikhism
W. Owen Cole
NTC Publishing Group, Chicago, 1994
ISBN 0-8442-3747-7

History of the Sikhs and their religion
[Vol 1 – The Guru Period (1469 – 1708)]
Edited by Kirpal Singh and Kharak Singh (publisher: Dharam Prachar Committee, SGPC, Amritsar).
ISBN 81-8092-001-1

Sikh Stories (Storyteller)
Anita Ganeri and Rachael Phillips
I know nothing about this book – Man in Blue

Universality of the Sikh Religion:
A Guide to Understanding Sikhism and the Sikh Religion
Jaspal Singh Mayell
I know nothing about this book – Man in Blue

Sikh Gurus, Their Lives and Teachings
K. S. Duggal
UBS Publishers Distributors Ltd., New Delhi, 1993
ISBN 81-85674-99-X
I did not enjoy reading previous efforts by K S Duggal – Man in Blue

Dictionary of Guru Granth Sahib 
Surindar Singh Kohli
Singh Bros., Amritsar, 1996
ISBN 81-7205-174-3
Very useful when you start reading the Guru in the original – Man in Blue   

Essentials of Sikhism
Daljeet Singh
Singh Brothers., Amritsar, 1994
ISBN 81-7205-117-4
I do not like this book – Man in Blue

Fundamental Issues in Sikh Studies
Editors: Kharak Singh, Gobind Singh Mansukhani, Jasbir Singh Mann
Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, 1992
Should be useful, suspect it to be rather academical – Man in Blue

The Golden Temple
Patwant Singh
ET Publishing Ltd., Hong Kong, published 1989
ISBN 962-7375-01-2
Beautiful, rather costly, get from library – Man in Blue

Recent Researches in Sikhism
Edited by Jasbir Singh Mann, Kharak Singh
Punjabi University, Patiala, 1992
Should be useful, suspect it to be rather academical – Man in Blue

The Name of My Beloved, Verses of the Sikh Gurus  translated by Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh
HarperCollins Publishers, San Francisco, 1995
ISBN 0-06-067049-5
Useful translations, have some issues with the author’s views on Sikhi, but I would still recommend it –  Man in Blue

Sri Guru Granth Sahib, English and Punjabi Translation (8 volumes)
translated by Manmohan Singh ( highly recommended)
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar, 4th edition 1993
I love these 8 potia, but the English is very old fashioned, the Sikhi to the Max translation is a modernised version of Manmohan Singh’s work – Man in Blue

Sikh Religion and Women
GS Sidhu
I am no fan of G S Sidhu – Man in Blue

Dawn of Divine Wisdom
Bhai Ram Singh Ji
Was AKJ Jathedar in the UK, good and loving person, some AKJ personalities are remarkably sensible – Man in Blue

Based on a list found on the Sikhs in Belgium website
Don’t mind my comments,
read these books and compare with what you find in the
Guru Granth Sahib

525.Man in Blue – The Turban and the 5 Ks

Another of my columns that did not make it to the blog. As it is about Gurmat it is still relevant although it goes back to 2010.

I have earlier written about the notion propagated by the SGPC that you are a Sikh when you have uncut-hair (keshdhari), and that you are not if you have not. This division of Sikhs ignores the Sikh way of life as taught by the Guru Granth Sahib.

Guru Gobind Singh told us to be different, to behave different and to look different, to follow the Sikh way of life and to wear the Khalsa uniform of the turban and the 5 Ks. Amritdhari is a valid category in Sikhí, keshdhari not. Wearing the Khalsa uniform without having Khalsa behaviour is meaningless.

A Sikh is somebody who seriously tries to live according to the teachings of our eternal Guru, a Khalsa is somebody who does the same and has offered her/his head through the amrit ceremony.

I am at the moment reading ‘Guru’s Wisdom’, a book written by Madan Singh of Birmingham (UK). I found some useful information in the book, but when writing about hair he creatively interprets Guru Granth Sahib.

He writes that Sheikh Faríd must have uncut hair as the sheikh writes in a slok on pana 1380 : ‘your hair has turned grey, your beard has turned grey and your moustache has turned grey’. This indeed suggests that Sheikh Faríd had a moustache and a beard, but does not prove that he was ‘keshdhari’.

Guru Arjan writes on pana 749 in rág sohi : ‘I make my hair into a fan’. This is of course a poetic image, and does not prove that Guru had uncut hair. It is likely that he did, but this verse does not prove it. The same applies to : ‘with my hair I dust the feet of the Guru’ (pana 387, rág ásá, M 5).

In a different vein Guru Arjan writes in rág maru (solhé) on pana 1084 : ‘Let your total awareness be the turban on your head’. I have earlier discussed the full verse and its context in Man in Blue column 468, which can be found on the ‘Maninblue1947’ blog (search 468.).

When you read the sixteen verses of this shabad you will discover that a) the shabad addresses Muslims, not Sikhs and b) that the Guru is not suggesting in this shabad that either Muslims or Sikhs should have uncut hair or wear a dastar.

Madan Singh also thinks that the description of God as ‘He/She with the beautiful hair’ means that Sikhs should have uncut hair. Does describing God as ‘She/He with the dark skin’ mean that Sikhs should have a dark skin ?

The Guru Granth Sahib does not tell us to wear the Guru’s uniform. The Guru Granth Sahib teaches us the ethical values that are the core of the Sikh or the Khalsa way of life.

Guru Gobind Singh fully supported the Gurmat teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib. The Sant-Sipahi is practising seva, selfless service to all. Additionally the Sant-Sipahi follows the discipline of wearing the Guru’s uniform as a sign of her/his commitment to the teachings of our eternal Guru.

531.Man in Blue – Pheasants, Rabbits, Hares, Buzzards, Falcons, Lapwings

This column for some reason did not make it to the blog. It was written before June 2013, when I returned to the UK

The south of Belgian Limburg is not any kind of wilderness. Most of the landscape is taken up by fields where farmers grow fruit and other crops. There are also many towns and villages dotting the landscape.

But the farming is mostly relatively small-scale and there are many narrow roads in between the fields which make cycling in this area so enjoyable. Most of the ‘woodlands’ are parks belonging to manor houses, of which there are quite a few.

As far as wild life is concerned I have seen no foxes or badgers, and the only deer were the ones on the road signs that warn you that they might cross the road.

The animal I see most (not counting insects, smaller birds or mice etc) when walking or cycling are pheasants. These are not native birds and were introduced to give the huntsmen some ‘sport’. They are therefore quite keen to run away as fast as possible when they spot a walking or cycling human.

I have enjoyed the rabbits and hares crossing the roads and fields. Both of these are of course also targets for the hunters. The hares run fast and jump high in order to get away. Rabbits move at a steadier pace, but are good at disappearing in the undergrowth or into their rabbit warrens.

In the autumn and winter there are usually a good few birds of prey about, both falcons and bigger birds like buzzards. My theory is that as the mice and other smaller folk feast on the fruit that falls of the trees, the birds of prey feast on the mice in their turn.

In spring and early summer I enjoy the lapwings, which dance quite artistically in the air, showing the white nether side of their wings and the dark top sides.

I am busy preparing for my departure to Southall. In Southall you do come across rats and there are the usual moorhens, coots, ducks and swans in the Grand Union Canal. There might even be some rabbits about although I have never seen them.

There are many more Gurdwaras with daily programmes in Southall, and they are part of my reason for wanting to return there.

There are also many human birds of passage in Southall. The Sikhs still have a prominent presence, but there are now also Poles, Somalians, Tamils, Afghans (Sikh, Hindu and Muslim) and of course also our brothers and sisters from the other side of the Ravi, the Pakistan Panjabis.

I like the variety, I like the busy streets, the many small shops, the Gurdwaras, the churches for South Asians and others, the Mosques (Masjid) and the Mandirs.

I will take my cycle with me, and I will still go on tours like I did here, and there are also some nice walking routes. But we cannot have both the country lanes of Limburg and the eight Gurdwaras of Southall. You have to make a choice, and I made mine !

Nám Karan – The interview

Chandi Kaur interviews Harjinder Singh (Me) for Sangat TV
about the Sikh naming ceremony

Click on the link below
Improved sound quality !

It is all local, known Southall Sikhs in a well known place on Havelock Road

535. Man in Blue – High Blood Pressure – High Cholesterol

We are in a small Gurdwara somewhere in Continental Europe, it is a weekday and only about ten people sit together for lunch time langar. The management has instructed the langar crew to use less salt and less ghee/butter/oil, and the sevadars obey the instruction.

The fulka, dal, sabzí and dehí are served and then the sevadar does the last round and supplies the sangat with liberal amounts of salt and butter. There is only one foolish person who does not want extra salt and butter, and who requests fulka without butter.

This same foolish person has since April of this year either eaten Gurdwara food, or the food on offer in Panjabi families. You cannot complain because the food from Guru and the food on offer in Panjabi families is prepared with love and it is tasty.

But of course the foolish person gets loose motion. Not the sort of loose motion you get through illness, it is just that the system is too much oiled and buttered and whatever goes in comes out to readily.

This foolish person after his arrival back in Southall goes to Dr A K Sandhu’s surgery for a ‘MOT’ and is told by Dr Sandhu junior that his cholesterol is a bit on the high side.

In the Southall Singh Sabha Gurdwaras it is not all bad. Some days the salt levels are reasonable, some days the food is really spoiled by too much salt. Dal is usually not prepared with too much oil, butter or ghee, but with sabzí you take a gamble.

And of course the dehí is never low fat, and the milk used to make the milky Panjabi style tea is not skimmed milk.

The foolish person mentioned above wants to taste the vegetable and the dal, not just salt and butter. The foolish person agrees that the tea needs milk with some body, but not necessarily the variety with the highest fat content.

Do Panjabis want to be unhealthy, do they want to be overweight, do they want high blood pressure and high cholesterol ? Is it that they want to be with God so much that they poison themselves in order to obtain an early death ?

One aspect of the problem I recognise. Most of the Panjabi Sikhs are not from the cities but from the countryside and used to work in agriculture or in related industries. When you do hard physical work the fatty food makes sense. It does not make you fat, it gets burnt up by the hard labour.

Also, apparently when the outside temperature is near to or over the body temperature, salt helps retain liquids in the body.

But most of us in the UK do not do hard physical labour and temperatures rarely get over 30 degrees Celsius. What kind of Akal Purkh di Fauj are we, overweight, with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes ?

The Man in Blue – ‘Sikhí Works’ YouTube Video

I am Harjinder Singh, also known as ‘The Man in Blue’.

I am a Sikh, I am from the Netherlands, my biological age is 65 and I became an amritdhari Sikh on 14 July 1996.

I am a ‘white’ Sikh but I do not follow the yogi. I have been to many all-night kirtans but I am not with AKJ. I took amrit in Mehta Chowk in the Damdami Taksal Gurdwara, but I am not a Taksali.

The Guru instructed us before he passed away to follow Guru Granth and Guru Panth. I have been trying to practice this in my daily life since 1996.

I am not a saint, I am only human and make mistakes.

The YouTube video to which you find a link below is called ‘Sikhí works’. The meaning is simple : Those who follow the way of life as described by the Guru Granth Sahib will, as Guru promises, overcome ‘dukh’ (pain) and find ‘sukh’ (peace).

The interview was recorded in the Sangat TV studio in Southall and Pritpal Singh (‘The Dutch Sikh’ YouTube Channel) interviewed me.

462.The Man in Blue – Haryana, Rewari, Hondh-Chillar, 1984 Anti-Sikh Pogroms

The killing of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards is an act I understand in the context of the time, but I am not really proud of it.

Guru Gobind Singh was willing to visit Aurangzeb after he received a positive answer to his Zafarnama, in spite of the fact that Aurangzeb was responsible for the death of many Sikhs, including Guru’s close family members. Guru demonstrated the Sikh way of life.

This does not take away the enormity of what happened in 1984. Even if you agree with the Indian authorities that Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was a terrorist, treating everybody who happened to be in Harmander Sahib during the June 1984 invasion by the Indian Army as terrorists was totally wrong.

What happened in Delhi and in Congress ruled states in India after the killing of Indira Gandhi was in no way justified by the act of the Sikhs bodyguards. Even if  Sikhs agreed with the killing of Indira Gandhi, that does not justify the killings, the rapes or the attacks on houses and Gurdwaras.

What happened in Delhi has been reported by various independent non-Sikh observers, and although the Indian authorities still live in denial, all independent sources agree that organised mass killings of innocents took place while the authorities looked on approvingly.

What happened in villages in Haryana and in other Congress ruled states was only observed by other powerless villagers and any documents pertaining to killings in those locations were easily be lost or buried in a heap of other dusty papers.

These attacks on Sikhs were not riots. I was involved in the group who brought out the Sikh Kristallnacht report, and that report rightly used the word ‘pogrom’. The report has been re-launched by the Network of Sikh Organisations UK (without fully acknowledging its source) and should still be available from them.

Under Adolf Hitler in Germany the ‘Kristallnacht’ was the start of the ‘final solution’ of the ‘Jewish question’. During the ‘Kristallnacht’ organised attacks on Jews and Jewish property took place. The ‘Kristallnacht’ was not a series of spontaneous riots that got badly out-of-hand, it was a state sponsored pogrom.

What are needed in all parts of India where Sikhs were killed and raped, Gurdwaras and Sikh houses set fire to, often with people still inside, are truth and justice committees.

All parties should come together and admit to mistakes made, crimes committed, and achieve reconciliation, as we might have seen between Guru Sahib and Aurangzeb, if the emperor had not passed away before Guru Gobind Singh arrived at his court.

451.The Man in Blue – Are you a good Sikh ?

The Man in Blue

We are continuing from two weeks ago, when I discussed a Gursikh’s life. The subject was not and is not whether you are a mona, keshdhari or amritdhari. Only do remember that offering my head to Guru was the best thing I ever did.

Our Guru, the Guru Granth, does not discuss the state of your hair, the Guru Granth emphasises the quality of your meditation, not the quantity, the Guru Granth lays down the principles to base your life on.

If we look at the first page of the Guru Granth Sahib, it starts with the number 1 followed by five words and these describe God as All-Powerful and All-Pervading, as the True Nám and as the Creator Being. Knowing from further reading that the Nám is present in all then we see that all and everything comes from God and that God is present in all and everything. God and creation are one.

Through meditation we realise God’s omnipresence. This realisation leads to seva, selfless service to all. This service includes defending people who are persecuted because of their faith, race or caste, and armed resistance against unjust regimes.

When we see God’s presence in all we want to be honest in all spheres of life. When we see God’s presence in all we want to share time, goods and money with those in need. When we see God’s presence in all we cannot divide humanity in ‘us’ and ‘them’.

I can neither as a white European look down on ‘coloured’ non-Europeans, nor as a Sikh look down on non-Sikhs. I am not a Panjabi, but I have lived in Panjab and in a very Panjabi part of London and I am married to a Panjabi. From my experiences I have developed both positive and negative prejudices, as I am only human. But as a Sikh I should not live by these prejudices.

Sikhs had many interactions with both Hindus and Muslims, and since the days of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the subsequent coming of the British Raj to Panjab we also have had to cope with Christians.

Sikhs are a relatively small group in between other much bigger religious groups. Christians, Hindus and Muslims have at times treated us with arrogance and disdain. 

We as a people who see God’s presence in all should not judge individuals by their ‘labels’. There is good and bad in all groups. Guru teaches us that we should see nobody as our enemy. Bhai Ghanaya demonstrated this when he served water to wounded Mughals and wounded Sikhs after the battle.

A Sikh should not fight over differences of opinion. Throwing stones at a Gurdwara because they invited somebody you do not agree with, or killing an RSS ‘Sikh’ is not part of a Gursikh way of life. Being Guru’s Sikh is not easy.

Published in: on December 17, 2010 at 9:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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