Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Guru Gobind Singhs Eagles nearly extinct

Confusion reigns over the population of the threatened species of Baaj (Eastern goshawk), which holds significance for its association with the 10th Sikh guru. With no census on the bird available with the Punjab Government, the bird is on the verge of extinction.

Sources in the state Wildlife Department said a notification issued by the state government in 1989 mentioned that the State Bird of Punjab is Baaj. However, this bird seems to be sliding towards extinction and the state government has “failed” to either carry out a census or raise some breeding ground for it.

Talking to TNS, state Chief Wildlife Warden Gurbaj Singh said: “There is no data available on its population with us, as it is now spotted very rarely in the state. Though I cannot say if it was given the status of a State Bird due to its association with the 10th Sikh guru, it is impossible to identify this bird as both male and female goshawks look same and there is no arrangement for its breeding.”

Karamjit Singh Jattana, a former Divisional Forest Officer (Patiala), said the Punjab Government had failed to order any study to associate Baaj with the 10th Sikh guru or initiate steps to protect it from extinction. “Instead, it accepted a Central government grant for the breeding of falcon and ignored Baaj, which is almost extinct,” he added.

State Minister for Wildlife and Forests Tikshan Sud said he was not sure if there was a difference between a falcon and eastern goshawk but officials of the Wildlife Department must clarify it. “However, I will ask officials to conduct a detailed study on this topic and if Baaj is extinct or needs breeding ground, facilities should be made available,” he added.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Questionnaire for Sikh needs in the health service

Vaheguru ji ka Khalsa Vaheguru ji ki Fateh

I am a Trainee Clinical Psychologist completing the final year of my Doctorate at University College London. As a part of my studies, I am undertaking a thesis which will examine the attitudes of adult Sikhs residing in the UK and really require the support/co-operation of the Sikh community.

The thesis will explore knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of the Sikh community, with regards to difficulties experienced by other people. Research to date on this population is limited. The needs of the Sikh population within the NHS are unknown as a result, and policies and procedures are not tailored to incorporate the requirements of this group in relation to mental health. In order to help make an impact at policy and procedure level within the NHS, a large response rate will be required for this survey. I make a humble request, that you take 10-15 minutes out of your day in order to complete an online questionnaire. Your participation can most definitely pave the way for a greater understanding of Sikh specific needs in the health service.

Just click here and go straight to the Questionnaire

English version: -

Punjabi version: -

We are only interested in real and honest views, not right or wrong answers. It is the understanding of real Sikh attitudes that will enable instrumental steps to be made towards tailoring important public services towards the community.

If you could treat this study as a community project and promote/advertise it within Sikh circles/groups/Gurdwarai in your local area, you will be doing a great service to the Sikh community. Also, kindly forward this e-mail to all the Sikhs (friends/family etc) you know and put the details of this message on any internet Sikh forums you participate in etc.

Many thanks for your help.

Gurpreet Kaur
Trainee Clinical Psychologist

Monday, 16 August 2010

Punjab: The New Food Wars: Globalization GMOs and Biofuels

Scientist and activist Vandana Shiva explores whether the future will be one of food wars or food peace. She argues that the creation of food peace demands a major shift in the way food is produced and distributed, and the way in which we manage and use the soil, water and biodiversity, which makes food production possible. 17th Annual Margolis lecture at UC Irvine.

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Filmmaker Nav Kandola discusses the problems in the Punjab, and a solution hemp farming.

Bhang goes da Green Revolution from Nav Kandola on Vimeo.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Sikh Reference Library to get new lease of life

Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 30

Irked over the Centre’s dilly-dallying attitude over returning books and other valuable treasures of the Sikh Reference Library to the SGPC for more than 25 years , the apex Sikh body has finally undertaken the onerous task of resurrecting the library on its own.
The Army is yet to return valuable items like manuscripts, paintings, books and other important articles of the library after it had allegedly removed these items from inside the Golden Temple complex in the aftermath of Operation Bluestar in 1984.
The SGPC has been urging the Central Government to facilitate an early return of the Sikh treasures since 1984, but all its pleas have failed to yield any result so far. The assurances extended to the SGPC by the former President of India, Dr Abdul Kalam, and by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, regarding ensuring return of the valuable articles to the SGPC during their visits to the Golden Temple, too, are yet to be honoured.
After waiting for too long, now the SGPC has taken upon itself the task to resurrect the library by installing a couple of computers and constructing a fumigation chamber for the preservation of handwritten manuscripts and other books of historical and religious importance.
“Our efforts have started bearing fruit. Baba Narinder Singh, Chief Manager of Gurdwara Sri Guru Granth Sahib at Chhoti Jawaddi in Ludhiana, has offered 30 handwritten “Saroops” of Guru Granth Sahib and 29 other handwritten books to the SGPC. These have been installed in the library as per Gursikh Maryada,” said the SGPC Secretary, Dalmegh Singh.
The SGPC Publicity In Charge, Bhai Ram Singh, said the SGPC had issued an appeal to the Sikhs to come out with any handwritten or other articles and hand these over to the SGPC on payment or donation basis so that these could be preserved in the library for the benefit of future generations.
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Thursday, 29 April 2010

Barsi of Baba Santa Singh and Baba Chet Singh

Nishan Sahib in blue, at Baba Phoola Singh di ...Image via Wikipedia

For the first time there is barsi in the UK for the respected leaders of the Buddha Dal, but can the Dal Panth in the UK get together under the Nishan Sahib of the Guru, or are the Singh's egos to inflated to care? Akali Baba Santa Singh spent his whole life uniting the whole Dal Panth, he was respected by each faction due to his awesome presence, learning and bhagti. Around Baba ji were all types of people, but they remained unified due to common beliefs, practices and enemies.
Today the Nihang Singhs who have barely even taken off in the UK are backstabbing each other, name-calling, gaining and loosing farlas, dissing each others personal lives to Jathedars to whom these matters are trivial. Nihang Singhs, the true Nihang Singhs are great, because they keep their traditions no matter what the whole world thinks. The traditions of Gurbani: Adi Guru, Dasam Guru, Sarbloh Guru Darbar; Gurbana, Nishans, Nagare, Shaheedi Degh and Jhatka. Why are the Nihang Singhs caring about public perception? It is Kalyug, public perception will always move too and fro. One day its one Baba , the next its another Sant, like a never ending fashion, but the Dal Panth has always been there eternally because of Gurbana and Gurbani - Seva and Simran. The Dal Panth has always done its bhakti and seva gupat, or are we heading for the popular vote? Have we become actors - Bazigars?
Brothers there is nothing here to take, the only opinion that matters to a Nihang Singh is what the Guru - Panth Ke Vali - would have said. We know our traditions are recorded in the sacred scriptures of Adi, Dasam, Sarbloh, we don't need anybody to prove this to us. Whoever is meant to be in the Dal Panth, will be in the Dal Panth regardless of the image we try and portray. Don't judge anybodies way of life but your own, that is being a Nihang Singh. Nobody has the right to decide who is a Singh let alone a Nihang Singh, nobody knows what is inside anybodies heart either.
Baba Santa Singh was ego less, as a Jathedar is somebody who looses their ego to keep everyone together, to keep the band together. Not a person who is in it for themselves. A Jathedar is a person who can resolve differences, as he remains impartial. These are the Jathedars I have seen in India. We can waste the next ten year worrying about what people think, or we can spend the next tens years following the hukam of Karma Yog, action - that Guru Kalgidhar gave to us. If we let popularity rule us, then we have no hope for a future, as we will just become a part of Kalyug like everyone else.
The Nihang Singhs need to decide if they are under the Nishan Sahib, or if they are putting on a show. If you are under that blue Nishna Sahib, then let go of all your differences and be One. Let us remember Baba Chet Singh restored the Shastar Puja at Dusshera, even though there was objection from the rest of the Panth.
Ik Oankar Satinam Gurprasadi.
Ham Akali Sabh Ke Vali Hamara Panth Niara hai
Nanak naam chardikalah tere bhane sarbatt da bhalla.
Kamalroop Singh
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Thursday, 8 April 2010

Fools argue about meat. Maskeen ji explains the words of wisdom of Guru Nanak

Maskeen makes reference to Pracheen Panth Parkash, where Guru Gobind Singh states, to a Yogi that 'he [Guru Gobind Singh] keeps swords to hunt and eat meat.' Maskeen further explains that Sikhism differs from the philosophical beliefs of Hinduism, Snatanism, Buddhism, and Jainism. As Sikh concepts are world-affirming,and a warrior tradition, that was the tradition of the Deities of India, and rejects the idea of Ahinsa(not-killing),today this idea is mistakenly followed by Sikhs.

First Mehla:

The fools argue about flesh and meat, but they know nothing about meditation and spiritual wisdom.
What is called meat, and what is called green vegetables? What leads to sin?
It was the habit of the gods to kill the rhinoceros, and make a feast of the burnt offering.
Those who renounce meat, and hold their noses when sitting near it, devour men at night.
They practice hypocrisy, and make a show before other people, but they do not understand anything about meditation or spiritual wisdom.
O Nanak, what can be said to the blind people? They cannot answer, or even understand what is said.
They alone are blind, who act blindly. They have no eyes in their hearts.
They are produced from the blood of their mothers and fathers, but they do not eat fish or meat.
But when men and women meet in the night, they come together in the flesh.
In the flesh we are conceived, and in the flesh we are born; we are vessels of flesh.
You know nothing of spiritual wisdom and meditation, even though you call yourself clever, O religious scholar.
O master, you believe that flesh on the outside is bad, but the flesh of those in your own home is good.
All beings and creatures are flesh; the soul has taken up its home in the flesh.
They eat the uneatable; they reject and abandon what they could eat. They have a teacher who is blind.
In the flesh we are conceived, and in the flesh we are born; we are vessels of flesh.
You know nothing of spiritual wisdom and meditation, even though you call yourself clever, O religious scholar.
Meat is allowed in the Puraanas, meat is allowed in the Bible and the Koran. Throughout the four ages, meat has been used.
It is featured in sacred feasts and marriage festivities; meat is used in them.
Women, men, kings and emperors originate from meat.
If you see them going to hell, then do not accept charitable gifts from them.
The giver goes to hell, while the receiver goes to heaven - look at this injustice.
You do not understand your own self, but you preach to other people. O Pandit, you are very wise indeed.
O Pandit, you do not know where meat originated.
Corn, sugar cane and cotton are produced from water. The three worlds came from water.
Water says, ""I am good in many ways."" But water takes many forms.
Forsaking these delicacies, one becomes a true Sannyaasee, a detached hermit. Nanak reflects and speaks. 2
Adi Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1289-90. Rag Malar: Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Organic Farmer of Anandpur

The Organic Farmer of Anandpur


It might’ve been christened as an Organic Farm but around Nurpur Bedi, a 15-minute drive from Anandpur Sahib, it's better known as "angrez da farm". The angrez in question is Darshan Singh Rudel, a French-born British national who finally decided to make home in India and converted to Sikhism. Then, came the farm.

There's more to the farm than meets the eye. It's a farm, forgive the cliche, with a difference.

Organic. That's the byword for the products grown at this farm.

Darshan Singh, who married Malwinder Kaur aeons ago but settled down in Punjab about a decade years ago, grows wheat, rice, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables, pulses, turmeric and herbs like basil, thyme and oregano. "We grow on a rotational basis so that fertility of the soil is not lost and every season, we reap new crops," he says, explaining the intricacies related to the land.

Darshan Singh totally believes in the idea and spirit of organic food. As does his better half. But when they bought the land in Nurpur Bedi, family and friends actively discouraged them from the 'organic idea'. "Everyone agreed it wouldn't work out," he remembers wryly. But he believed in it. And went ahead. "It's a question of principles," says the farmer, "to produce healthy food. And consumption of organic food leads to a well-ourished body".

The farm, which has undergone a whirlwind change since Darshan took up work, looks transported from another country altogether. "It's the
landscaping effect." beams Darshan Singh. The proactive progressive farmer has not only done the landscaping of the farm all by himself but
has also added gazebos and fish ponds to complete the pretty picture. "I've worked hard on it."

However, his involvement is not just restricted to landscaping. Darshan Singh, who practically lives at the farm, is involved in all aspects, including odd jobs as well. "I like being a part of each and every thing that happens at the Farm - be it sowing, reaping, buying seeds and marketing."

The situation might have settled down by now but Darshan Singh's been through a rough patch. "Though I did have prior farming experience, the farming culture is different here and initially, there were a lot of labour problems," he admits honestly. Add to it, a bad yield and it might have scared away a less determined person. Darshan Singh stuck to his guns. "Now, everything's stabilised - the quality of the soil has improved many times over and the yield is excellent."

But he rues governmental attitude. "The government does nothing for the few of us who are trying to revive the fertility of the soil," he fumes. He believes government help, first in terms of encouragement and later by providing marketing opportunities, can go a long way in promoting organic farming in the state.

"Punjab farmers have to change their farming concept - that is, if we don’t want to end up with barren land. On the other hand, organic farming is a more holistic approach to farming and it is like working with nature - a long-term solution to calculated and controlled soil."

That brings him to the most important factor: marketing of organic products. While the situation definitely improved in the past couple of years, awareness, feels Darshan Singh, is still in the depths.

"We, at our outlet here in town, have a regular clientele and the number is only increasing," declares the rather reticent Malwinder Kaur, who takes care of the marketing aspect of the farm.

[Courtesy: The Hindustan Times]

Monday, 1 February 2010

Dasam Granth Controversy Promoted by Anti Sikh Scholars

UK: Attempts made by pseudo-scholars of Sikhism to try and create controversies are a part and parcel of Sikhism these days. The in-depth knowledge needed to understand Sri Dasam Granth requires hard work. However, a new breed of pseudo scholars and Internet cut and paste merchants are the standard. Whilst many Panthic scholars who, by nature, are pro-Dasam Granth have had years of training and methodology related to religion, studies of scripture etc, the opposite side is literally naked! In their bandwagon are the ‘YouTube’ Gianis, truck drivers, an excommunicated ex-Jathedar of the Akal Takht and the self-appointed Singh Sabha Canada – what a joke.

Cut and paste scholars

The self-appointed Chief of this ilk of Pseudo-scholars is none other than a doctor from Southern California, USA. Having a delusion that he has a Doctorate in religion he has dreamt up many a claim on the Dasam Granth. His delusions include cut and paste notes on how the scripture of the Sri Dasam Granth is incorrect and has no history. He is infamous for creating the most hilarious theory in pseudo scholarship – namely, the British created the Dasam Granth. This individual is a medical doctor, but he is more concerned with the anatomical references in the Charitropakhyan! He should do what doctors of medicine do – do the job he knows, and treat medical illnesses. What scholarship do we expect from a medical Doctor who has no training in religious studies?

Whilst there are many saroops of the Dasam Granth from the time of the Guru through to the 18th century, only somebody with limited intellectual skills could come up with such a lazy theory. This insane theory centers on one Manuscript of the Dasam Granth based in the British Library which he claims has the same compositions as the standardised Dasam Granth. This manuscript from the late 18th century was bought by a collector of manuscripts named Colebrooke. On one of the pages is the term “Nanak Panthi Kabya” hence as a result this gentleman states that that the Granth is not called the Dasam Granth. He claims that this Dasam Granth from the late 1700’s was used in the standardized Dasam Granth by the Sodhak Committee. However, this is a lie. The Sodhak Committee looked at over 25 different recensions of the Dasam Granth. He also tries to fool the public with the term “Nanak Panthi Kabya”. Little does he know that it also appears in a Janamsakhi in the British Library. The name is a catalogue name for manuscripts. So there dies this ingenious theory of a cut and paste scholar.

Whilst Akali Phula Singh was being attacked by the British he was maintaining the maryada prevalent at the Akal Takht, the same maryada which is maintained by the Nihangs to this very day and two Takhts of the Sikhs, Patna Sahib and Hazur Sahib. If the Akalis were venerating the bani of Guru Gobind Singh why would the British create a Granth and then attack the same people who did prakash of it with the Guru Granth Sahib?

The prakash of the Dasam Granth at the Akal Takht (which the Akalis were in charge of) was removed by the SGPC in the 1940’s. However the other Takhts would not bow down to such a sacrilege and as a result the prakash continues with flourishing colours.

Religion for sale
Some of this doctor’s articles have appeared in the World Sikh News who are peddling the phobia of the Dasam Granth and promoting a Tankhyia ex Jathedar, together with a tabloid website Sikhchic. It is matter of fact that some persons have been going around offering money to the people behind shady websites and individuals to write negative articles regarding the Dasam Granth.

This is not surprising as the anti Dasam Granth lobby do not have a leg to stand on as a result they have turned to writers for sale. It has been known for some time that money is being offered to various scholars at Universities. As a result recently a score of articles have appeared from people including Dr Balwant Singh Dhillon (Guru Nanak Dev University), Dr Kashmir Singh (Guru Nanak Dev University), Dr Balkar Singh (Punjabi University, Patiala), Dr Gurnam Kaur (Punjabi University, Patiala).

Whilst these individuals who have not undertaken the work of the Dasam Granth in their PHD’s they are now been brought into the limelight. Even more surprising is that the phony calendar maker Pal Singh Purewal has been brought into prove that the dates within the Dasam Granth are incorrect. These people have no bounds. All 18th century texts accept the dates of compilation within the Dasam Granth but now a failed calendar salesman is now an expert on the Dasam Granth. What next a genealogist to prove that compositions were not written at Paonta or Anandpur? Or astronomers to prove that the Sun rises from the West and not East. The pseudo clans of Scholars these proagandists are breeding are bound to call day, a night and vice-versa

Anybody with a little bit of sense knows it takes years to build up a theory, and to undertake real research many manuscripts, books have to be studied. That is why there are experts on the Dasam Granth who have their degrees in Universities. To understand the Dasam Granth you need linguistic Skills, historical knowledge of Braj literature, the poets of the Guru, study of manuscripts and many other methodologies.

In one writing, they also tried to belittle the contributions of the members of the Sodhak Committee by highlighting their occupation, but omitting their Gurmat and literary expertise. That exposed their nefarious anti Sikh designs and real modus operandi big time.

It is earnestly hoped such people shed their hatred for scripture of tenth master. Money can buy you a new car or house but cannot buy real research.

Written by Jangbeer Singh, UK

Changes to Holla Mohalla stadium angers the Nihangs.

Work in progress at Charan Ganga stadium in Anandpur Sahib

The drainage department today started work of widening Charan Ganga stadium that was left ‘squeezed’ during channelisation of Charan Ganga rivulet, much to the chagrin of Nihang organisations.

Last year in July, the drainage department had undertaken the work of widening the rivulet, which apparently reduced the area of Charan Ganga stadium that is frequented by the Nihang organisations, especially on the occasion of Hola Mohalla. The stadium is also of historical importance as Guru Gobind Singh had walked over the place.

The move drew flak from Nihang organisations that protested the move pressurising government to stop the work. Nihangs had observed that the stadium’s area was lessened to accommodate widening and channelisation of the rivulet. Instead of mooting a project for augmentation of existing infrastructure at the stadium, it was destroyed.

Intervening in the matter, advisor to the Chief Minister Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema asserted to Nihang organisations that the stadium would be restored to its original plan. The Nihang bodies then gave an ultimatum till January 5 expiring which they decided to pick up the spade and mend the stadium themselves.

The deadline was extended to February 10 on assertion from Takht Sri Kesgarh Jathedar Giani Tarlochan Singh. The present work is being executed from the Rs 105-crore funds earmarked to Anandpur Sahib from the Centre government.

Anandpur Sahib, January 31, Tribune India.