Dec 22

BBC: SIKH RELIGION MOST GENEROUS RELIGION IN THE WORLD

The Most Generous Religion Sikh by dailysikhupdates


It preaches help for the poor and loving thy neighbour but now a new study has provided evidence that religion can make people more generous in their everyday lives.
Research commissioned by the BBC found that people who profess a religious belief are significantly more likely to give to charity than non-believers.
Sikhs and Jews emerged as the most likely to share their worldly goods with a good cause, just ahead of Christians, Hindus and Muslims.
The study, carried out for the BBC’s network of local radio stations, included polling by ComRes of a sample of more than 3,000 people of all faiths and none.
It found that levels of generosity across the British public are strikingly high, but highest among those with a religious faith.

Dec 21

AMERICAN MAGAZINES PUTS SIKHS AS “GREATEST WARRIORS”

It was 1984, and the Indian Army must have known it was in for a big bloody mess to get the temple back, especially since its upper ranks are filled mostly with Sikh generals, Sikhs being the designated hitters of the Indian war game. But Indira Gandhi was PM, and she was a lady who didn’t like being disobeyed, so she ordered her Sikh Commanding General to overrun the temple.

Mistake. The Sikh CO inside the temple was a dude named Shahbeg Singh, who pretty much single-handedly engineered the collapse of the Pakistani Army in the 1971 Indo-Pak War. It was Shahbeg who organized the Mukhti Bahini, the Bangladeshi guerrillas who made history by being the first Bengali armed force in history not to pee in their dhotis and flee at the sound of gunfire. In fact, this Sikh must’ve given the Bengalis some kind of Sikh blood transfusion because they fought well enough to make the West Pak garrisons surrender en masse even before Indian troops crossed the Bengal border. After that it was the end of history for East Bengal, except for a bunch of whiney George Harrison begging chanteys, and a tidal wave or two.

Well, this same Shahbeg arranged the defense of the Golden Temple so well that at the end of a seven-day battle with the Indian Army’s best units, his 200-odd amateur militants had inflicted 83 KIA on the army and even managed to blast the first tank to enter the compound. They paid a price, naturally – at least 500 Sikh dead. But Sikhs — well, if there’s one thing you can say about ‘em, it’s that they’re willing to pay any price.

And they make the enemy pay, too. Less than five months after Indira Gandhi ordered the attack on the Temple, she was strolling into her garden to be interviewed by that fat old Brit with the Russian name, Peter Ustinov, when the Sikhs got their revenge. It must have been a pretty scene, the fat man sweating in the Delhi heat, Indira swirling up in her best sari — when BOOM! Two of her bodyguards, who were Sikhs, naturally, opened fire on her with machine guns, turning her into human chutney. She died before the sweat dried on Ustinov’s chins. And then, just to add to Ustinov’s fun, her other non-Sikh bodyguards started blasting at the Sikh shooters, killing one and wounding another.

Shortest — and loudest — interview the old battle-ax ever gave. Last, too.

That was the Sikh revenge for “Operation Bluestar,” the temple raid. By the way, that’s another of these lame ops titles they keep coming up with. Should’ve called it “Operation Blowback,” or “Operation Indira, Are You Sure?”

For the Sikhs, this was just like Chapter Two Million in a long and glorious series of battles, assassinations and massacres. The Sikhs were born in the Punjab, the coolest part of India. Every conqueror in history headed that way as soon as he got his learner’s license at 15. Punjab was the last, and the toughest place Alexander himself ever tried to take. He was so impressed with the army of Pontus, as they called it then, that he said every Punjabi deserved to be called Alexander. Which was high praise, since Alex was never known for modesty.

Before him even those lazy necrophiliac Egyptians had a stab at the Punjab. I couldn’t believe it when I read it, but apparently those Nile-side loungers had the energy to attack the Punjab. Everybody had a turn, though it was the Persians and the Afghans who turned invading the Punjab from a healthy, occasional fun evening into an unhealthy obsession.

And that was before Islam was added to the subcontinental mix. By the time Sikhism started, about 400 years ago, the Mughal emperors, basically a bunch of land pirates who swooped down out of Afghanistan to plunder the plains, had tried to convert India to Islam by using the time-honored method of appealing to the prospect’s common sense: “Convert or we’ll hack you into a million tiny pieces.” The Hindu majority, under the thumbs of hundreds of feudal kings, tried to weasel out of conversion so they could hang on to their own homegrown miseries, like the caste system. The Hindus’ ultimate weapon was simple inertia and birthrate. The Afghans’ sword arms just got tired after a while, hacking in that heat, and they said, “Aw, the Hell with it.” Northern India settled into a lazy routine with the occasional massacre, a lot of bribery, nasty little village snobs hating each other.

Then along comes the founder of Sikhism, Nanak, and says, “There is no Muslim, there is no Hindu.” Meaning the Hell with both of you. Sikhs were radicals from the start. All the little traditions people know about them started out as in-your-face rebel yells in the Punjab. Like those beards: only the Mughal were allowed to wear long hair and beards. So the Sikh all let theirs grow longer than John and Yoko’s. That name, “Singh,” every Sikh guy has? It means “Lion” but the real point is that it replaced all the caste names they had before. Like Malcolm making his last name “X.”

The Sikhs’ real weapon was the flintlock. A grumbly Muslim Afghan wrote that “these dogs [the Sikhs] invented the musket, and nobody knows these weapons better. These bad-tempered people discharge hundreds of bullets on the enemy, on the left and right and back.” Aww, poor little Afghan! Those pesky bad-tempered Sikhs, shooting at you when all you want to do is massacre them for their unbelief and steal their stuff along the way! No-friggin’-fair!

The Sikhs were more than happy to fight hand-to-hand whenever it made sense, and even got praise from the Brits for hacking Brit soldiers to death with their swords even after being spitted on the redcoats’ bayonets. But the Sikhs were also sensible people: Why risk getting cut when you can lure the enemy into an ambush and knock him out of the saddle at long range?

The Sikhs evolved a theory of warfare called “the two-and-a-half strikes.” You got a full point for ambushes and hit-and-run attacks, but only a half point for pitched battles where you lost a lot of your own men. Nathan Bedford Forrest, Francis Marion and Patton himself would have agreed.

By 1810 the Sikhs had driven the Mughals out of the Punjab. They owned the place, literally: They had an independent Sikh kingdom running there, and by all accounts it was the one place in India where something sorta resembling law and order actually prevailed.

The only reason the Sikhs didn’t go on to run all of India and maybe the world is simple: They ran into the Brits. Same reason the Zulu didn’t get to own all of southern Africa. A lot of big, strong tribes were on the move in Queen Victoria’s time, and the same thing happened to most of them: They met the Brits, and that was all she wrote.

Ranjit Singh, the ruler of the Punjab, was smart enough to sign a treaty with the Brits, keep a strong army to back it up, and avoid the sort of little faked “border incidents” the Raj loved to use to start a war. When he died in 1839, the Punjab fell into the usual bickering, and the Brits pounced.

I keep telling you, the Brits circa 1840 weren’t the cute little Monty Python guys you imagine. They were stone killers, the best since the Romans, totally ruthless, no more conscience than a drain contractor. They saw the Sikhs fighting among themselves and went for it.

Even then, even with Sikh traitors fighting for the Brits, the Sikhs had the best of the first Anglo-Sikh war. The Brits lost more than 2,000 men in the first battle, Ferozeshah, in 1845, and were on the verge of offering unconditional surrender when reinforcements arrived and overwhelmed the Khalsa, the Sikh army. The second war, in 1849, was easier, because the Brits, who knew more about occupation than our lame Bremer clones ever will, used the three years in between to bribe, assassinate and divide the Sikh elite. Even so, the Sikh cavalry, fighting basically without any leaders, slaughtered the British cavalry at the battle of Chillianwalla, smacking down the redcoats’ little ceremonial swords with their big scimitars. I’ve read Brit officers’ accounts of that battle, and they say something you get in all accounts of the Sikh: how big and strong the bastards are. The Brits said they felt like children beside the Sikh horsemen, and there’s really funny picture of a white officer surrounded by Sikh soldiers, looking like a pasty little midget with his bodyguards.

And you know the best thing about the Sikhs? They don’t waste time holding grudges. The Brits won; they accepted it, worked with it, and in a few years they were the core of the Raj’s army. That came in handy during the Great Mutiny; the Sikhs stayed loyal and that was what saved the Raj. In fact, the Sikhs stayed so loyal that the battle of Saraghari, one of their greatest-ever last stands, was fought in the service of the British.

In 1897, 21 Sikh soldiers in British service were occupying two tiny forts on the Afghan frontier. The Pushtun were getting bored, the way they do every few months, and decided to stop taking British gold and attack the Raj instead. So 15 or 20,000 Afghans whooped down to the frontier. And those 21 Sikhs were standing in their way.

The Sikh garrison knew they were doomed, and if anything it kind of relaxed them. They went on to cover themselves with glory, killing hundreds of Afghans before they were overrun. The unit’s communications specialist, who used a helicograph, a kind of semaphore, sent his last message asking permission of his Brit officer to stop signaling and go down and die spitting Afghans on his bayonet. Permission was granted, and he carefully packed up his helicograph, charged into the fight and died gloriously.

The only objection you could make, and it’s kind of a quibble, is that politically this is a little weird, like a bunch of Mexicans dying in defense of the Alamo. I mean, it was the Brits who wrecked the Sikh’s homeland and all. But see, that kind of nitpicking is what ruins war-nerding. If you ask me, the Sikhs who died at Saraghari were just doing what they do best. I mean, what boy didn’t dream of dying at the Alamo, or Thermopylae, or on the Bonhomme Richard? Not many of us get a chance to actually do it, and if you do, you don’t nitpick about who pays your wages, you just soak up the gloriousness of it and imagine the songs they’ll write about you, how you’ll look as a statue.

And that’s the great thing about being a Sikh, which I’m gonna be soon unless the beard turns out too scratchy: It’s still happening! The Golden Age of Sikhism is still in session! When the rest of the world is a convalescent home, you can count on the Punjab – along with the Horn of Africa, and the Congo — to keep the old ways going. And you can count on the Sikh to be there, doing a Little Big Horn or Alamo every few years to keep life sweet, and give me hope that there’s something better outside of this office life I’m stuck in.

Dec 08

December 2015 Feed The Homeless Event

The next Christmas “Feed the homeless” event will be at Lifeshare Limited in Manchester.

We shall meet on Monday 28th December 2015 at 10am at Gurdwara to cook all the food and then we shall form a “delegation” from those present to attend the homeless shelter after that (same afternoon)

Please do Ardas (pray) that we can always carry on this fantastic sewa (selfless service) of feeding the homeless and carry on forward Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s great philosophy forever.

Look forward to seeing you all on Saturday / Sunday or both, to make this event a success and feed the homeless/needy with hot food when they need it most at this time of the year.

Dec 08

We are all creations of God and we must never forget that. Compassion is the key!

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package.

What food might this contain?” The mouse wondered – he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr.Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.”

The mouse turned to the goat and told him, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”

The goat sympathized, but said, “I am so very sorry, Mr.Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers.”

The mouse turned to the cow and said “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”

The cow said, “Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose.”

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house – like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught.

The snake bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital , and she returned home with a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main Ingredient.

But his wife’s sickness continued, so friends and neighbours came to sit with her around the clock.

To feed them, the farmer butchered the goat.

The farmer’s wife did not get well; she died.
So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn’t concern you, remember when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.

We are all involved in this amazing journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.

Each of us may not be connected through a blood line, we may not even be friends. But we are all connected through humanity.

Share this wisdom with the intention that others may benefit from it too.

Dec 03

How American Sikhs became collateral damage in the war on terror

http://fusion.net/story/240946/american-sikh-hate-crimes/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=socialshare&utm_content=desktop+top#mail-share

 

Technically, what happened to Inderjit Singh Mukker was a case of mistaken identity. The 17-year-old who leaned into his car and punched him until he was unconscious thought Mukker’s thick black beard and turban were signs that he was a “terrorist” or “bin Laden.”

But what happened to Mukker was a brutal anti-Sikh hate crime that left the 53-year-old with a fractured cheekbone, an eye swollen to the size of a plum, and his white shirt soaked with blood.

“Holy shit. Holy shit, this happened in my family.”

That’s how Harvind Kaur Singh said she felt in September after being told that her cousin was beaten only a few blocks away from his house in Darien, a suburb 25 miles outside of Chicago, where he has lived for 27 years. Mukker, held by his seatbelt, was trapped like a hamster in a cage.

Courtesy of the Sikh Coalition

Inderjit Singh Mukker after he was attacked.

“People need to always find a way to put a face on the hatred,” she told me recently, referring to the slurs that were yelled at her cousin. She ran her pink fingernails through her long, black and brown hair. “How does a 17-year-old have so much hatred in his heart?”

The attack on Mukker is the most high-profile anti-Sikh hate crime in the nation since the FBI started recording the data in 2015. This year, for the first time since 9/11, violence against Sikh Americans—who are often mistaken for Muslims by their attackers—is not just considered collateral damage in the pursuit of Islamophobia, but broken out it into its own category in federal reports.

The new hate crime data collection training manualdistinguishes between anti-Arab, anti-Hindu, anti-Muslim, and anti-Sikh hate crimes. Here’s the detailed (and well-sourced) blurb for what constitutes a Sikh:

Mentioning a dastarr and kanga may not seem momentous, but consider that before this year, incidents of hate-fueled violence against Sikhs were stuffed into the numbers of anti-Muslim hate crimes. For most of the 2000s, the more than 300,000 American Sikhs in the nation were forced to grapple with a question: How do you feel like you count as a citizen when crimes against you aren’t even counted?

Everything changed on August, 5, 2012, when white supremacist Wade Michael Page opened fire at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing six and catapulting violence against an often ignored people into the spotlight.

“When you have the spotlight and the nation’s sympathy is with you, you essentially get one request,” said Simran Jeet Singh, religion fellow at the Sikh Coalition, a group formed to protect the civil rights of American Sikhs. Reforming the FBI statistics, Singh said, was the stricken community’s one request. Enough was enough. The FBI had essentially said attacks against Sikhs weren’t significant enough to be tracked separately, but the massacre of six innocent Sikhs proved otherwise.

Today the doors on the temple are locked, there have been $75,000 in security additions (24 cameras, bullet-proof windows, safe rooms that can house 500), and Sikh Americans have the dignity of being a statistic.

“If we were to address the ignorance, and people just knew who Sikhs were, then would xenophobia end?” asked the Sikh Coalition’s Singh. “We know from history, unfortunately, xenophobia doesn’t work that way. People who are bigoted are bigoted.”

The shooter’s motive will never be known for sure. He killed himself before he could be arrested.

Anti-Sikh sentiment was amplified after 9/11—there werean estimated 200 cases of anti-Sikh hate in the days after the terrorist attack, according to a Sikh organization—but it wasn’t born in the rubble. The price of wearing a turbanwas not a new phenomenon. In the ‘70s Sikhs were calledKhomeini (Iran), then Saddam Hussein (Iraq), then bin Laden (Saudi Arabia), and now—for example, when aiding Syrian refugees—as ISIS. Even in India, “Sardar jokes,” which are basically blonde jokes, are rattled off at the expense of Sikhs.

Last month, a photoshopped selfie of Canadian Sikh Veerender Jubbal, making him appear to be one of the Paris terrorists, went viral. In the doctored photo, Jubbal’s iPad was changed to a Quran and his flannel shirt was now covered by an explosive vest.

The earliest case of bigotry directed at Sikhs in America can be found in the forgotten Bellingham riots of 1907 (explored here by Slate). Indian immigrants from Punjab–predominantly religious Sikhs who didn’t drink alcohol–were accused of stealing logging-industry jobs from white Americans in the Pacific Northwest. Whites rounded up hundreds of Sikhs, beat them up, and kicked them out of town. One startlingly racist front page of The Puget Sound American chronicled these “hindu hordes invading” in a story headlined “Have we a Dusky Peril?” (Image provided by the South Asian American Digital Archive.)

***

When police first responded to the scene of Mukker’s attack, there wasn’t an immediate understanding that racial bias was involved. To the officers it was just an incident of “road rage.”

A few days later, after outcry from the Sikh Coalition and a more thorough review of the evidence, the State’s Attorney’s Office filed a hate crime charge. (The teen also faces five counts of felony aggravated battery—one for punching a police officer who arrived at his house to arrest him). It is unlikely the case will be moved to an adult court.

Mukker’s cousin, Harvind Kaur Singh, said she wasn’t surprised that authorities had to be prodded into adding the hate crime charge. She has two daughters, 11 and 7, who keep their hair long, while her husband wears a turban. She said that the girls often ask about what happened to Mukker, who they call their uncle.

“He’s afraid. That doesn’t go away,” she said. “My kids are afraid.”

Harsimran Kaur, legal director of the Sikh Coalition, said the police’s initial oversight was telling: prosecutors and law enforcement must be culturally competent enough to understand that being told things like “go back to your country!” is evidence of bias. It’s not enough to notice that Mukker was beaten senseless. Motive matters.

To prove a hate crime, prosecutors have to show evidence of religious-fueled malice at the moment of violence. When an attacker yells a racial epithet, this becomes obvious.

“I’m appalled and disgusted by this decision,” Mukker had said before the hate crime charge. “What happened to me on Tuesday night is the definition of hate.”

Mukker hasn’t spoken much publicly since the incident, though he has returned to work now. His 20-year-old sontold the Chicago Tribune, “Respect your elders and there is no point in hating.”

Family from India landed in Chicago the day after his brutal attack, a visit planned months earlier. They were shocked that something like this could happen in America. I asked whether Mukker is angry. There’s a common, though misguided, refrain for Indian immigrants in the face of racism: America will never be our country.

“It’s not the Indian in them or the faith in them that’s keeping them from being American,” she said. “It’s other people. It’s other people who are having a hard time accepting that they’re American.”