20 February 2007

Khalistanis or 'Islamist'

Most of the papers now are saying that it was 'Islamists'who did it, but the Hindu seems to still hold onto the Khalistan idea. I don't know where this is heading, but we don't feel as nervous as we did last night.(I still feel nervous; I live there. Vini)

Instead, experts are looking hard at bomb intelligence and data. Khalistan
terrorist groups, for example, have repeatedly used incendiary devices over the
last two years. Firebombs went off on buses in Jalandhar in April and May 2006.
A third bus was bombed in Chandigarh in 2005. Several people were injured in
these low-intensity bombings, which were at first mistaken for accidents, but
there were no fatalities.

Punjab police investigators recently charged two alleged members of the
proscribed Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), Lasuri resident Satnam Singh and
Phagwara-based Charanjeet Singh, with executing this series of bombings. The
investigators believe that the men used incendiary devices, instead of
traditional bombs, in the hope that police would find it impossible to trace the
origin of the petrol used in their manufacture.


19 February 2007

A New 'Crackdown on Terrorism'?


New 'Terrorist Crackdown'?
I came across this in the Hindustan Times this morning and it made my blood run cold.

In the past 10 years, seven incidents of explosions in trains werereportedin the
state, besides some incidents of sabotage on railway tracks.Terroristgroups such
as Khalistan Commando Force (KCF), Khalistan ZindabadForce (KZF), International
Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF-Rode) elements were foundto be involved in these
incidents, intelligence officials said.

Amongst the terrorist groups
operating in Punjab which have the potentialto strike are KCF-Panjwar (headed by
Paramjit Singh Panjwar), Babbar KhalsaInternational(headed by Wadhawa Singh),
KZF led by Ranjeet Singh Neeta (originally from Jammuand Kashmir) and Dal Khalsa


Don't get me wrong. I am not afraid of terrorists. But I am afraid - I admit it - of the Punjab police. How many of our innocent brothers and sisters are going to 'disappear' or reappear after being tortured by these...I was going to say animals, but why insult innocent animals?...[human males]?

As I have said before, I am opposed to terrorism in all its forms - individuals, groups, state - and in no way can I condone the blowing up of trains with even one innocent person on board. But I am afraid of reprisals, especially since evidentally someone has decided that Khalistanis are behind it.

We shall see what we shall see. But I am very apprehensive.
(Written by Mai, approved by all three)

17 February 2007

A New Link

This is another link that turned up in our Google Alert for Khalistan. It is a really excellent account of what happened in Delhi, whether you call it riots or pogrom or battle by a nonSikh witness.


05 February 2007


First published November 2, 2006

on the 22nd anniversary of your Shaheedi
in the Battle of Delhi,
November 2, 1984
and our two little sisters who died unborn
and to all the thousands of others who died in this battle.


We three have, after much discussion come to the conclusion that we have done as much here as we can. We have told our stories openly with as much candour as we can, leaving ourselves completely exposed in public, in the hope that others who have hesitated will come forward and speak as we have. There are some who have, many can be found on our links. Please try them and see what has happened to these other ones.

We believe our stories speak for themselves as to why all three of us have come to believe that Khalistan must be more than a dream. It must become an independent land where we can live with dignity and safety. A land of justice and hope and respect for all people. But to quote from an American song of 1969, 'if we can't do it with a smile on our face, if we can't do it with love in our hearts, then children, we ain't got no right to do it at all. That just means we ain't learned nothing yet. We're supposed to be some kind of different.'

There is much more we could write, all of us have another 22 years during which we have grown, run, fallen, picked ourselves up and kept going. We have laughed and cried, worked and rested, worshipped and prayed. In short, we have lived our lives. But we have decided that those are other stories for other blogs.

We have only to complete what we want to say now.

The pain we have felt from these events has not healed or lessened over time. The common belief that 'time heals all wounds' is a fallacy. The wounds have become a part of us and we have learned to some extent how to live with them. We have learned to grow stronger and more courageous, we hope, in the process. Sometimes we are asked, do you think about this all the time? Of course not, but it is always with us. If you ask our gender, we don't have to stop and think, I'm a woman; it's just there. This is much the same and it is that much a part of each of us.

Nothing could ever justify what we, all of us Sikhs, went through. There can be no justification for evil and injustice nor should there be. Should twenty-two years be enough to start to distance ourselves from this? When young people say,'Get over it!' is there any validity to that? No, we will never get over this, nor should they ask us that of us. And we sincerely pray that they will never have a pain such as this to understand what we have been through.

For the two of us, Suni and Mai, the hardest part is facing the sheer hatred and maliciousness of people we had thought of as our brother-in-heritage Indians. (Vini never had this illusion.) Although we were both mothers in our thirties and thought of ourselves as worldly and sophisticated, in fact, we had been protected and sheltered from the sheer ugliness of our fellow humans. Although we read newspapers and saw television news accounts of such things the American civil rights movement, the various wars and the killing fields of Cambodia, these were things that happened to other people, people who weren't quite real to us. Now that has changed.

When we see a mother holding the dead body of her child in Iraq or a woman's vacant eyes after seeing her family hacked to death in Rwanda, we see and feel no difference between us and them; they are us and we are them. The horrors and injustices of our age continue. If not for one thing, the sheer evil around us would overwhelm us and render us useless.

But we have that one thing. We are Sikhs. We have a way of being in this world that both gives to us and demands of us the strength not to give up hope and not to stop fighting against the wrongs we see and experience. Along with everyone else, we saw on 9/11, with horror, airplanes fly into buildings and the world go mad.

With great apprehension, we saw pictures of the leaders of those who did these things. You saw those pictures and, we're sure had the same sinking feeling we did. You know, the beards and the turbans. Our fears were not baseless, as it turned out. Some of us have been murdered. Many of us, especially our keshdhari men, have had to learn to live with a new prejudice: Americans who hate us for being what we aren't, Muslim. Some little good, however, is coming out of this. People are beginning to learn who we are and a bit of what we believe in.

We know we are not going to solve the problems of the world with our little blog. But please accept this as a small sewa from three women who would like to make the world a little better, and to help Sikh sisters and brothers, especially our Khalsa sisters and brothers, to stand a little taller and be a little more determined to live up to being the people our Gurus taught us to be.

If anyone wants to add anything to this blog, just leave a comment or email us, we will be overjoyed to contact you. Or if you have any further questions or comments for us, we love to hear from you. We all have our private blogs, which we choose to keep private, except Mai, who invites you to visit her at sometimes 2 http://mai-sometimes.blogspot.com, if you wish.

Let us clutch with our whole being what we are and never forget:

One Universal Creator God,

The Name Is Truth,

Creative Being Personified,

No Fear,

No Hatred,

Image Of Undying,

Beyond Birth,


By Guru's Grace

Chant And Meditate.

With much love from Vini, Suni and Mai


Another possible flag for Khalistan.

This post was originally published by Mai in September 2006.

The link below shows some very graphic pictures , for example,
a dog eating the body of a shaheed in Trilokpuri. This link is not for people who have weak or queasy stomachs. http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.netphotograph.com/netphoto/Images/200312/12202003_n004_anti_sikh_riots_10665-004.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.netphotograph.com/visitors/search/searchimages.zhtml%3Fkeyword%3D10665-%26start%3D0%26display%3D1&h=118&w=175&sz=3&hl=en&sig2=isRlxQEH-Qdvafz6cXpDJA&start=4&tbnid=aEnPj78CUT9K-M:&tbnh=67&tbnw=100&ei=G4fGRYWxG82IJMeJ7P0N&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dtrilokpuri%2B%2B%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den

(I know that this is an absurdly long address, but it's the best we know how to do.)

More pictures are also available in the links on the right, notably the Gatka Gallery. I know they are difficult to look at; I found the last photo on the Gatka Gallery page particularly horrifying. But...LEST WE FORGET...


October-November, 1984

After 22 years, I cannot let go of those few days.

'Oh, get over it! It was all so long ago! Nobody cares about that stuff anymore. Anyway, India's changed. They even have a Sikh prime minister now.' (Puke.) Did he really apologise on behalf of the Indian government, as I have read?


Thousands murdered, tortured, burned alive, children and husbands slaughtered in front of their wives. I know. I am one of those wives. We tried to fight the mob, but there were just too many of them. The death toll in our one home: two husbands, two sons, two brothers, two unborn children, whose first breath was their last.


My sister/cousin, Suni and I come from fairly well-to-do families in Canada and India, so we did not, at least, suffer financial hardship, as so many of the '84 widows did. They lost not only husbands, fathers, sons, but also their livelihoods, and being destitute in India is its own special hell. It takes a very special sort of cruelty to kill off the men and leave the women to fend for themselves.


At first I wanted vengeance. But - I have never told this to anyone - that was satisfied when the Air India plane went down in June 1985. My sister/cousin, Suni, who had also survived, and I were at my brother's home in Montreal when the news flash came on the television. We looked at each other and instantly surmised what must have happened and why. Our eyes met and we both burst out laughing. We laughed until tears ran down our cheeks.

I felt that the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. I spoke to our dead shaheed men and told them that now they could relax. I am not proud of this reaction. In fact, I am so ashamed of it that I have kept it all these years as my secret. Now I am publishing it on the Internet for the whole world to see. I pray that Waheguru will forgive me; I will never be able to forgive myself.

I remember on 9/11 seeing a Palestinian woman with large glasses and wearing hajib, dancing and laughing, celebrating in the streets. I heard so many condemn her, but I understood how she must be feeling. I wondered who she loved that had been killed and felt a close kinship to her. Like it or not, we are sisters in this. I fervently pray that you reading this never find out what can drive a person to such a reaction.

I am surprised how easily this all flows out of me. That day, I learned that I was not the nice, civilized person I had always thought I was. I have this deep, horrible ugliness inside my being that I dare not give expression to except here.

My husband, who is not Sikh, just came up and read what I have written. He almost never tries to order me around, but this time he said, 'Delete it!' and walked away. I know what he is thinking, that I have said that Sikhs in post 9/11 America are having a hard enough time and I don't need to aggravate the situation. But this time he's wrong.

To begin with, most Americans have no idea what a Sikh is. They see a turban and a beard and they see a Muslim. Also I think I have made it clear that my reaction was immoral, uncalled-for and disgusting. If any friends or relatives of people on that plane see this, please know that I am sorry for my reaction. I cannot take it back and I don't ask for your forgiveness. I have never been able to forgive those who cheered on the murdering bastards who killed my family or those who today have the nerve to say, 'Get over it!' I cannot expect you to do what I am unable to do.
But still:


Note from Suni: Everything Mai has written in this post applies equally to me.

03 February 2007

A Statement From Suni

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa! Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

I have been asked what has become of Guruji.

He has been installed in my home, where he is treated with the utmost love and respect, and where he is consulted usually several times each day by me or Hope or one of our visitors, always lovingly and with the dignity and respect he deserves.

I have been reading the Respect For Guru Ji (R4G) website and want to assure everyone of this.

During our battle, I held him with all the love and strength I had. He, in turn, gave me all the love and strength I needed to endure. Afterward, when our rescuers tried to relieve me of the 'burden' of carrying him, I refused their help. I know that we could not follow all the usual rules of caring for him during this time, but he was always given all the love, respect and care that was possible.

By the grace of Waheguru, he came through our battle completely uninjured.

I most sincerely hope that I have not offended anyone.


Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa!
Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

01 February 2007

Vini Speaks

(We have stayed up all night and day working on this. Again, please read gently. Our Maman is very reserved and we're really proud of her having the strength and courage to tell this. Almost all the words are hers exactly as she told us.)

I usually let my two daughters-in-spirit, Mai and Suni, do the talking, but they are insisting that I tell my story and Mai, especially is an irresistible force, so what choice do I have? They say to do it however I want, they'll transcribe, we'll edit together and put it together to sound good and make sense.

I was born in 1926 in Srinigar, Kashmir to a Sikh family. Girls married very young then, so I married my husband, Jotinder, in 1939 and we came illegally to America shortly after our marriage. Both families thought I was far too young to travel so far only to live illegally, but I insisted on going and they finally fgured out a way to smuggle me in. This was unusual because quite a few young men emigrated at this time, but very few risked taking their wives into foreign countries illegally. But young as I was, I adored my husband and refused to be separated from him. Both of our families have strong-willed women.

We joined my husband's father who had been in Canada for quite a long time. I bore our son Mandeep in 1941 when I was 14. My body was too young for child-bearing, so he was our only child. We were in America when he was born, so he was American by birth, but we moved right away to Canada where eventually we managed to get him legal papers like a birth certificate.

We were not really welcome in either country at that time, but we were resourceful and, as they say now, flew under the radar. We always knew Mai's family. Although they were Punjabi and we were Kashmiri, our families had always had close ties. It was good that we had friends.

Mai was born 10 years after Mani, as he was always called, and we always hoped the two would get married. It was one of our happiest days when they did. About a year later, their son was born. Guruji said that the child's name should start with 'S' and Mani thought that 'Mandeep and Sandeep and Mai,' had a great sound, so that's how he got his name. Everybody was very happy for a long time.

Mani and Mai had often spent summers in India when they were young, but Mai was never comfortable there and after their marriage they stayed in Canada. Mani, however, wanted very badly to go back to Harimandir Sahib in Amritsar and was always pestering Mai for them to go.

He finally persuaded her and they left in early May, 1984. I remember Mai was in a dither about the trip and tried to get him to postpone it until their fifteenth anniversary in 1985, but he refused. As far as I know, it was the only time he ever refused her anything. I don't know, but I have always wondered if he had some particular reason for wanting to go then.

They went to Amritsar.

I got letters from them, telling that there was a lot of tension, you could cut it with a knife. During Operation Blue Star they were taken in and questioned. I have saved the letter I got from Mani about that which he wrote after their escape from the Punjab because the Indian government wasn't letting anyone in or out at that time. A whole post earlier in this blog was devoted to that incident. He was so proud of her and her behaviour, but I began to urge them to come home. I had a bad feeling about them being there.

They stayed, though, and travelled some, but not much because Mai was pregnant with twin girls and he didn't want to risk her health. I love her, but even she will admit that she should be more careful about her health, and she wanted to keep moving around. They spent most of the time in the countryside near Delhi, but outside of the city because with her pregnancy, the smell of the air pollution made Mai sick.

The last week in October they returned to Delhi, with plans to fly home during early November. As you know, that didn't work out.

I remember hearing the news on the radio that Mrs. Gandhi had been shot, followed immediately by the news that it was Sikhs who had shot, or more properly executed, her. I immediately called them in Delhi and by a miracle, got through. They said it was good they were in the capital, that if there was trouble, that at least Delhi would be the safest place to be. We said good-bye. I never spoke to my son or grandson again, of course.

We soon heard about the antiSikh violence in Delhi and I nearly went mad. We tried and tried and tried to call, but couldn't get through. For nearly a week we had no idea what had happened to them. Then, Alain, Mai's eldest brother, came and told us that they had Mai and Suni and Guruji, but the others were all dead, and Mai was badly injured and would probably die. I am trying now, as Mai would say, not to bleed emotionally all over the computer, but that was the worst moment of my life.

I wished I could faint or maybe wake up and it was all a nightmare, but it was real. Every mother loves her child, but Mani was the kind of son everyone wishes they had, but not many really have. He was so wonderful, loving, strong, good to everyone and funny, he always made us laugh. I didn't understand how anyone could kill him. And Mai was as close to me as any daughter could be; growing up her own mother was usually gone and useless when she showed up - I'm sorry to say that, Mai, but you said to tell the truth - and when her father needed a woman to deal with her, I was her second mother. My grandson was pure joy, full of life and laughter - how could they be dead?

I will tell what I have never told anyone ever. I cursed life, I cursed the Gurus and I even cursed Waheguru. Not the way a Khalsa woman is supposed to react to the shaheedi of her family.

Mai was in a coma for 24 days, as I recall. During this time, Suni gave birth to a healthy baby girl, but refused to let her be named. She said Mai would name her when she woke up. We were all afraid that the baby would never have a name.

Then, one day, we were in her hospital room, where we spent most of our time and we heard a loud voice cry out,"What the fuck am I doing here?" (That really is exactly her first words.) We all jumped out of our skins, but we were overjoyed. "Where are Mani and Sandy?" We all fell silent. Someone had to tell her, but we all hesitated. Then she said that she knew they were dead, why wasn't she with them? Alain looked her square in the eye and said," I guess you weren't found worthy of martyrdom." They glared at each other for a time. Then she started laughing. Mai usually laughs like that when she doesn't know what to do.

We all gathered around her, not knowing what to expect next. Then the baby started crying. Suni held her out to Mai, who touched her wet little cheek. Suni said at once, "Mai, she needs a name." Mai said, "I'm not Guruji. But it seems we all need a little hope." So she became our little Hope, and she has always lived up to her name. She is now a lovely young lady of 22, just ready to graduate from the university. (She asks us to also include her name Harjinder, even if it's rarely used since it wouldn't do for her to have only a Western name.)

I remember all this vividly, but it all happened through a thick fog. It cleared a little with Mai's survival and I realised that I could not go through life filled with hatred and bitterness. The words of the Mool Mantar washed over me like a cool, healing stream,... nirbhao, nirvair... and I began to recover my senses. I have never recovered completely. As I have heard, you don't recover, you don't get used to it, you just learn to live with it. Or you don't.

Mai left us in 1985 to deal with her loss in her own way. Unknown to her until recently, I always made sure that I knew where she was, always, always hoping that some day she'd come back to us. It took twenty years of her searching for peace and healing and nearly dying again, but now we have become a family again. Although I am visiting now from India, we still live half a world apart in distance, but we are united as a family. Suni stayed with the family, went to the university and earned her doctoral degree in clinical psychology, while raising her daughter. She has specialised in helping people deal with and overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Neither of the girls has ever returned to India.
(We two add: Or ever intend to.)

In 1986 my husband died of a heart attack, a broken heart. He hardly spoke ten words from November 1984 until he died. I am not ready to discuss this part.

Since the bitterness and hatred, with the gracious help of Waheguru and the very Gurus I had cursed, had left me, I felt the need to take Amrit again, which I did.

After my husband's death, I moved to Amritsar, where I have lived since with his family. I shouldn't say this, but I went in hopes of helping to build our Khalistan by any means necessary, so this could never happen again. I still hope there is some way we can have our country, our sacred homeland, but now without killing and bitterness. The people of the Punjab, Sikh, Hindu and Muslim have been through too much. I pray we find a way to establish our Khalistan without causing more pain.

I have started talking and it seems I can't stop. I'm afraid that I am bleeding all over the computer. I hope someone will read this and then be willing to tell their own story. It is difficult, especially after being silent about it all for so long, but it is also a relief. We are Sikhs and we are strong and we are truthful, and this is a truth that needs to be told. It was not only those who were there whose lives have been devastated. Each of us who lived through that time has a story to tell. For me, this has become my time to tell.


Now I complete my account of the events of November 1984. I last left off with Mani's death.

I lay down and either slept or passed out. I believe I slept because I was aware of the passage of time. When I woke up, it seemed that my mind had cleared a bit. I sat up, still on the floor, and looked around.

Bodies and blood everywhere. And the smell. I have never read a description of the smell of the aftermath of a battle; I think no one really wants to describe it. Blood, of course, and urine and, pardon me, shit, mixed with the odour of violent death. Yes, there is an odour associated with violent death. Having experienced it, it cannot be forgotten.

Suni was sitting in a large chair, seemingly uninjured, still clutching the Guru with both arms around him. She glanced at me, but there was no recognition in her eyes. She turned her attention back to Guruji and ignored me.

I struggled stiffly to my feet and stood up. I had been badly beaten and, as it turns out, had gone into premature labour; in fact, it would take me many weeks to recover. At this time, though, I was experiencing no physical pain; my body must had produced a surfeit of endorphins.

From somewhere, I remembered that dead bodies were supposed to be washed with fresh yogurt (curds). We had some that Suni had been culturing in the kitchen. I went there and brought back a pail of water, some washcloths and the yogurt. Passing the body of the [male human] with the slashed neck, I kicked it in the head.

I went first to Mohan, washed his face with water and then yogurt, closed his eyes and kissed his forehead.

Next, I went to Balbir, washed his face with water and then yogurt, closed his eyes and kissed his forehead.

Having taken care of Suni's men, I went to my brothers.

I went to Bert, washed his face with water and then yogurt, closed his eyes and kissed his forehead.

I went to Eddie, washed his face with water and then yogurt, closed his eyes and kissed his forehead.

Last, I went to my men.

I went to Sandeep, washed his face with water and then yogurt, closed his eyes and kissed his forehead. Last,

I went to Mani, washed his face with water and then yogurt and kissed his forehead.

Done with that, I picked up the bowl of water, now red with blood, and the cloths I had been using. Glaring down at the body of the [male human] with the slashed neck, I stopped for a moment. Its eyes were still wide open in terror, the mouth gaped loosely. I looked at it for a moment, then tossed the cloths and dumped the bloody water on it. 'You wanted our blood? There, have it!' I cried out loud, my voice echoing in the silent room. I thought for a moment of mutilating the body in the way HT had been forged for, but, as our men's bodies were left intact, I chose not to.

I walked to Suni. 'Do you have a picture of Guru Nanak Dev Ji or Guru Gobind Singh Ji?' Still with a blank dazed look, she reached inside her shirt and pulled out some pictures. I looked through them and took the two I wanted. I held them up and told them. 'You see what has happened? They're all dead. You better be proud of them.' I started laughing, hysterically, I guess, and handed the pictures, now bloody from my hands back to Suni. She stuffed them back down her shirt.

My work done, I walked back to Mani, lay down beside him and

...the next thing I knew someone was trying to pull me off his body and I was refusing to let go. There was a lot of confusion and yelling in Hindi, a language I had trouble understanding in the best of times. I was, by this time more dead than alive; I couldn't move or talk or even open my eyes. My thinking was not rational. I knew only that nothing would get me away from Mani. Then I heard Suni scream at me, 'Mai, they're going to burn down the house. If you're here, you'll burn with it! You've got to let them take you! We're Sikhs. Even Hindus don't commit sati any more!' Sati? She really didn't understand. Or maybe she did. Please, just leave me with my husband. Looking back, I'm horrified. I can only say that, from the beating and from a large loss of blood, I was near death and my brain wasn't functioning properly. People kept pulling at me...

The next thing I was aware of was being in a hospital room in Montreal, about four weeks later.

Suni has many times assured me that the house burnt down with the bodies of our men inside.

I would love to be able to tell you how we were rescued. Unfortunately, the people who saved us, for their own reasons, do not want that story told and have refused me permission to write it here. So let me just say that, while their story will remain unwritten, their courage and sacrifice will not go unacknowledged.

Reading this now, I realise how gruesome it is. I have tried to tell the story without all the grizzly details, leaving those to your imagination. I have purposely not written a blow-by-blow description of the actual battle; it would add nothing positive to our story. Suffice it to say we fought hard and skillfully, but were too badly outnumbered to accomplish much. Also, I remind you that this was a home invasion, we were in no way the aggressors. All peaceful means had failed. And we took up the sword, as we had been taught.

I am most proud of the way we fought, each of us to the best of his or her ability, no one backing off. None of us, living or dead, are victims. Our dead men were, each of them, true saint-soldiers, deserving of the title 'Shaheed,' and we can all be proud of them and all the others who died during this battle. May the rest of us never forget their sacrifice and may we all live in a way that honours them and what they fought and died for!

Up to this point, all these posts have been adaptations of entries in Mai's personal blog. We are trying very hard to get Maman (Vini) to write or dictate her story, which has never been recorded. We hope that will be our next post.

If anyone reading this wants to start their own blog, go to the top of this page and click on the words 'Create Blog' in the right hand corner. and you will get full instructions. You have a choice; if you choose, you can make it public as we have and others can read it, or you can make it private, so only those you give permission to can read it. So please, don't hesitate. If you have a story to record please do it before it's too late. Remember, if we don't tell our stories, only the accounts of our enemies will remain.