31 May 2008


First, go to the Panthic Weekly and read:

.The Ghalughara: Operation Blue Star - A Retrospect

Look a minute at this lovely little flower, the forget-me-not. It rather has the shape, I think of a blue star. A beautiful reminder of an ugly event!

Now, as we are entering the season of the Third Ghalughara, I know there are many memorials planned in different places. If you have anything planned, we will be happy to post it here in The Road To Khalistan. Please feel free to send it to my e-mail at simayanan@gmail.com.

Here is the first I have received from BC Sikhs.

Vaheguru ji ka khalsa, Vaheguru ji ki fatheh!


June 2nd to June 8th, 2008 is INTERNATIONAL 1984 MEMORIAL WEEK.

There are special events happening ALL WEEK.

If you feel "enough" is not done in our community to reach out, to make our issues known, to commemorate our history, to celebrate Gurbani - this week will have a range of events covering all of these topics.


It is *EXTREMELY* important that we come out in large numbers on Saturday, June 7th at Vancouver Art Gallery, to commemorate the 24th anniversary of the June 1984 Massacre of Sikhs in Punjab and the November 1984 Massacre of Sikhs in Delhi.

Still, 24 years after this horrendous attack, the perpetrators roam free and have NEVER BEEN SENTENCED by the faulty and corrupt criminal justice system of India, which claims to be the world's largest democracy but is instead one of the world's largest human rights abusers and has one of the highest rates of child poverty worldwide.

The Sikh youth in BC have been working with local intellectuals, politicians, community leaders, business people, activists, and have invited esteemed guests from out of country for this WEEK-LONG MEMORIAL, including Author and Professor at the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Cynthia Mahmood; World-Renowned Advocate for 1984 Victims in India, Harvinder Singh Phoolka; Director of the Sikh Research Institute, Harinder Singh; Program Associate at Ensaaf, Jasmine Marwaha; Professor of Sociology at Langara College, Indira Prahst; Communications & Gender Development student Kamal Arora; and many others.


Let's stand up for justice for victims of oppression everywhere.

Let's gather as a whole community to recognize the sacrifices of human rights defenders around the world.


* 1984 OPEN COMMUNITY FORUM / DISCUSSION With Dr. Mahmood & H.S. Phoolka
Tuesday, June 3 at 6:00pm at SFU Surrey Campus

Wednesday, June 4 at 6:00pm at Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar

* SIKH WOMEN IN 1984 - Discussion / Q&A with Dr. Cynthia Mahmood
Thursday, June 5 at 6:00pm at Guru Nanak Academy


* HUMAN RIGHTS IN INDIA - FORUM (Tickets By Invitation Only)
Friday, June 6 at 6:00pm at Kwantlen University College


Saturday, June 7 at 6:00pm at Vancouver Art Gallery

Vaheguru ji ka khalsa, Vaheguru ji ki fatheh!


30 May 2008

PETITION: Golf Digest Depicts Fifth Sikh Guru as "Golf Guru"

SALDEF requests that this be widely distributed, so here it is:


Golf Digest Depicts Fifth Sikh Guru as "Golf Guru"

SALDEF urges retraction and apology for gross irreverence of Sikh faith

Washington D.C. – May 29, 2008: The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), the nation’s oldest Sikh American civil rights and advocacy organization, calls upon Golf Digest to apologize for the depiction of Sikhism’s Fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji, as a “Golfing Guru" in its May 2008 edition.

Sign the Petition expressing your displeasure about the image to Golf Digest

On page 66 of the publication appears an article titled “The Golf Guru” which answers reader's questions about general topics associated with golf. The beginning of the article features an image which, at first glance, appears to be a South Asian man dawned in a turban and beard, holding a golf club and wearing a golf glove. The image used is an obvious play on words where consumers have their questions answered by a “Golf Guru.”

However, under closer examination, the image Golf Digest uses appears to in fact be a widely distributed picture of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Sikhism’s fifth Guru. Guru Arjan Dev Ji was instrumental in strengthening the message of equality and freedom of the Sikh faith. He stood up against all types of religious oppression and denounced social segregation.
SALDEF has contacted Golf Digest publisher, Thomas Blair commenting, “While we understand the message that Golf Digest attempted, and failed, to send to their consumers, the decision to use the specific picture shows the cultural and religious ignorance of Golf Digest staff and senior executives.”

SALDEF urges the community to sign the petition to voice your displeasure in the use of the image in their publication.

SALDEF would like to thank Sartaj Singh Dhami and Harjit Singh Sandhar for bringing this depiction to our attention and for allowing us to use the photo above which was taken from Mr. Dhami's blog, Restoring the Pride.

Please distribute this widely to family, friends and at the local Gurdwara

29 May 2008


I was just reading a thread about abbreviations, of all things, in one of the Sikh forums I regularly participate in. A Sikh friend has commented to me that Sikhs will argue, seriously, with each other about ANYTHING. That argument convinvces me. (OK, not to be mysterious, someone refered to the "Sikh Relay Marathon" as the SRM. SRM, however, usually stands for "Sikh Rehat Maryada," the Sikh Code of Conduct. I admit it confused me a bit, at first, but is it really something to argue about when we really do have so many serious problems facing us?)

One of my daughters-in-law sent this to me, and I think it's appropriate to share it here:

Some years ago, on a hot summer day, a little boy
decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole that was behind his
house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back
door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went.
He flew into the water, not realising that as he swam toward the
middle of the lake, an crocodile was swimming toward the shore.

In the house, his mother was looking out the window. She saw the two
as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward
the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could.

Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed, and made a U-turn
to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the
crocodile reached him. From the dock, the mother grabbed her little
boy by the arms, just as the crocodile snatched his legs. That began
a very incredible tug-of-war between the two.

The crocodile was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was
much too passionate to let go.

A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his
truck, took aim, and shot the crocodile. Remarkably, after weeks and
weeks in the hospital, the little boy Survived. His legs were
extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. On his arms,
there were deep scratches where his mother's fingernails dug into his
flesh, in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.

The newspaper reporter, who interviewed the boy after the trauma,
asked the boy if he would show him his scars.

The boy lifted his pant legs. Then, with obvious pride, he said to
the reporter, 'But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms,
too. I have them because my Mom wouldn't let go.'

You and I can identify with that little boy.

We have scars, too. No, not from an crocodile, but the scars of a
painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly, and have caused us
deep regret. But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused
to let go. In the midst of your struggle, S/He's been right there,
holding on to you.

Gurbani teaches that God loves you.

You are a child of God. S/He wants to protect you, and provide for
you in every way. But, sometimes, we foolishly wade into dangerous
situations, not knowing what lies ahead. The swimming hole of life -
the terrifying world ocean - is filled with peril ~ and we forget
that anything can - and does - happen. That is when the tug-of-war

If you have the scars of His/Her love on your arms, be very, very
grateful. S/He will not ever let you go.

Never judge other persons' scars, because you don't know how they got them

(A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the
bricks that others throw at him or her.)

Chardi kala!


28 May 2008

Sukhvir Singh's Attacker Sentenced

I guess I have been most remiss in not writing about the sentencing of the [person] who so viciously attacked Sikhvir Singh Ji. Our dear brother is saintly, and Mr. Vazquez got off very lightly, at his request. First, please watch this video from our local PBS station, KCTS Channel 9:

I, personally, believe Lius Vazquez got off way too lightly. While I applaud the forgiving nature of Sikhvir Singh Ji, I believe the judge should have given out a much harsher sentence. Other yaxi drivers have been assaulted in the past, but for many reasons didn't want to or were unable to go to court. I'm afraid this light sentence will insure that others will be assaulted in the future.

This thoughtful article is reprinted from AASRA Magazine. Please visit their link and read the whole magazine. It's from my local area and I read it on a regular basis myself. I am including only a few pictures from the article; I hope you will go see the rest of them.

Wed, 05/21/2008 - 03:03 — tejdev

A historic judgment!

Sukhvir Singh’s forgiveness for a man who called him an “Iraqi terrorist” and “responsible for 9/11” led a King County Superior Judge to be lenient and spared him from a longer jail sentence. Judge Monica Benton sentenced Luis Vázquez, 21, of Kent, to nine months in jail and 240 hours of community service for the hate crime. He will be eligible for work-release during his time in jail, the judge said.

Sukhvir Singh suffered a brutal, hate-filled attack on the night of November 24, 2007 after police directed a drunken Mr. Vázquez to be driven home in Sukhvir's cab. Mr. Vázquez called Sukhvir an "Iraqi terrorist" and threatened to kill him. As his anger escalated, he attacked Sukhvir from the back seat, putting him in a chokehold, knocking off his turban, biting into his head, and pulling out clumps of his hair. Sukhvir Singh became the innocent victim for Luis Vázquez to vent anger and frustration and hate because of alcohol and having been turned away from Apple Cup at the Husky Stadium. This lead to numerous calls to the 911 center from others using the freeway. Everyone was impressed by the calm of Sukhvir Singh who barely escaped death and brought the taxi to a stop at the busy time of traffic. The attack led to traffic being held up on Interstate 5 highway until the police intervened. Singh, who pulled to the side of the freeway, told police that he had been afraid for his life and that of others on the road.

Vázquez pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment, second-degree assault and malicious harassment, the state's name for a hate crime, for the Nov. 24 attack on Sukhvir Singh, an Indian-born member of the Sikh religious community. Vázquez said he did not remember the drunken assault. "I'm really, really sorry for what I put you through," Vázquez told Singh during the hearing that was packed with his family and members of the Sikh community. "I'm sorry for making you have to look back over your shoulder when you walk." His attorney, Greg Girard, called him a responsible man who realizes alcohol played a big role in his actions; he is now in treatment.

In court Sukhvir Singh spoke through an interpreter. He said he did not want to see the young man's life ruined. "If someone has made a mistake, they should learn a lesson from it," Singh said. "They should be punished accordingly, and it should be known to society that it is not good to have hate toward any human being." Several members of the Sikh community spoke at the hearing. They talked about how the Sikhs are peaceful and have no ties to terrorists but have endured prejudice and slurs since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Many members of the Sikh community spoke at the hearing to express the frustration and anguish the community has felt on account of this and other hate filled incidents targeting the young and old in the community. Hardeep Singh, a community attorney helping Sukhvir Singh, expressed how the incident has affected him at a personal level and how he expected the judgment to ensure that hate and prejudice were not accepted in our communities.

"The Sikhs in this community have contributed a lot, and it's very hurtful when people attack us based on our looks," said Hardeep Singh Rekhi. There have been "a number of such incidents ... but nothing so egregious" as what Singh endured at the hands of Vázquez , Jasmit Singh Kochhar said. "Hate is one of the most divisive and intolerable emotions that we can have." Gurdev Singh Maan said 9/11 left the Sikh community as hurt as everyone else; he couldn't understand how some could equate Sikhs with terrorists, or even "where they find that word."

Benton, the judge, said Vázquez should be given leniency in the same way that Singh has given forgiveness, adding that the attack only reiterated that the community needs to "talk about and address our racial differences. When one drinks, as you did, Mr. Vázquez , those deep-seated fears arise and those prejudices surface," she said. "It is unfortunate, truly, that you do not recall this event, because he will never forget it."

Truly the Sikhs who have been victims of hate never forget what they have been through, while forgiving their attackers again and again. They are denied justice in every part of the world. One Sikh man (who wanted to stay anonymous) asked if a Sikh or minority gets in trouble with the law there is no leniency even if it is a speeding ticket, but maybe it is the color of the skin that matters even in a justice system that is meant to be fair? Once his turn signal malfunctioned and he had to pay full fine for “improper lane change.” What the future holds for the community is surely a big question? The acceptance of guilt by Luis Vázquez and forgiveness by Sukhvir Singh has left the community with a “wait and see attitude.” Surely this judgment will go a long way and reflect on the justice system of this country.

The statement issued by Sikh Coalition reads: “The journey in front of us is arduous. This was one of the very few cases in the recent past that have been prosecuted as a hate crime. The Sikh community's experiences with hate assaults in Hoboken, New Jersey and Roseburg, Oregon have left the community disheartened.

In the Oregon case, a Grand Jury did not charge an attacker with a hate crime after attackers tore off a Sikh's turban and stole it. Even worse, in New Jersey, the Hudson County prosecutor refused to charge a women who grabbed and pulled a turban with a hate assault even though she told the victim that she had a problem with his turban.

Nevertheless, the resources invested in order to achieve this result in Seattle were significant. It took a lot of time for dozens of community volunteers who took off time from work, called the press, mobilized other community organizations, pursued all legal options available, organized meetings, and showed patience, poise and perseverance through a somber vigil.

As a community, we have a long way to go before prosecutors and the public alike understand that attacks on Sikhs are generally not random occurrences but the result of a huge societal animus against our articles of faith.”

“When one drinks, as you did, Mr. Vázquez , those deep-seated fears arise and those prejudices surface. It is unfortunate, truly, that you do not recall this event, because he will never forget it.” King County Superior Court Judge Monica J. Benton

"The Sikhs in this community have contributed a lot, and it's very hurtful when people attack us based on our looks" Hardeep Singh Rekhi

“There have been a number of such incidents ... but nothing so egregious as what Sukhvir Singh endured at the hands of Vázquez.” Jasmit Singh Kochhar

“Hate is one of the most divisive and intolerable emotions that we can have. 9/11 left the Sikh community as hurt as everyone else. I can’t understand how some could equate Sikhs with terrorists, or even where they find that word." Gurdev Singh Maan

Sukhvir Singh speaks through an interpreter. Deputy Prosecutor Mike Hogan is on the right. "If someone has made a mistake, they should learn a lesson from it," Singh said. "They should be punished accordingly, and it should be known to society that it is not good to have hate toward any human being."

Luis Vázquez sits with his attorney, Greg Girard, in the courtroom filled with Sikhs and members of Luis Vázquez family.

Press reporters from various news media cover the event.

Press reporters from various news media cover the event.

"I'm really, really sorry for what I put you through. I'm sorry for making you have to look back over your shoulder when you walk." Luis Vázquez

Luis Vázquez in the courtroom filled with Sikhs and members of Luis Vázquez family.

Attorney Greg Girard talks with Deputy Prosecutor Mike Hogan, while Hardeep Singh and Sukhvir Singh look on.

Hardeep Singh (center), with Sukhvir Singh (left) and Deputy Prosecutor Mike Hogan.

Editor: Sarab Singh, Kent, Washington, USA. No rights reserved.

24 May 2008

Boiled Potatoes and Lionesses


I just read an article from Time Magazine from 1955 that says a shaved Singh looks like a boiled potato. I personally go a little farther. When you (horrors!) shave a lion's mane, what do you get - other than killed? You get a very sad lioness-looking lion.

Lionesses are great wonderful, being one myself, I well know about lionesses. But lions need to be lions. Please, dear Singhs, young, old, in between, listen to a Gramma Kaur! (Gramma is OK, but don't you dare call me an Aunty!) Your hairs - each and every one of them - is/are precious and valuable and beautiful. The ones growing on your face are a sign from Vaheguru of your masculinity, among other things. (We won't talk about the ones growing on my face right now; they serve some other purpose, I'm sure.) I know I'm not a nubile young lady, ripe for courtship and marriage, so maybe my opinion just doesn't count. But I find a natural man, one as Vaheguru made him, very handsome and attractive. Oh, my! Mai has gone off on a tirade.

Did I forget to mention that this is not just the eccentric taste of an aging Kaur? Guru Ji asks this of you, too. And that is that!

The article is really about Tara Singh and the freedom movement at that time. If you have never heard of Sikhistan, you must read this article!! What!? You never heard of Tara Singh?! You must read this article!!

A point of humour. My Google gmail account, where I am writing this gets 'relevant ads' to each e-mail as it comes up. I will not illustrate these, as I'm afraid they would get a bit too suggestive for my rather Victorian tastes. This particular one generated:

Easy Hair Removal
Go from hair to bare with the new Bliss-Philips bikini perfect deluxe

Men Hair Removal
Upgrade Your Shave w/High-Tech Hair Removal from Philips Norelco

Men's Total Body Shaver
Philips Norelco Bodygroom Shaver Guys, shave anywhere you like!

Shave With Billy Jealousy
Shave Cream Award Winner. For Today's Sophisticated Bad Boy.

How totally relevant., lol.

The choice is yours. Naked, boiled potato, lioness face? Or the wonderful, handsome face of a Singh? The choice is yours.

Lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my! But mostly lions.

BTW, the picture of the gentleman standing in front of the french connection uk sign is by Australian photographer Andrew Kelly, who likes to take pictures of Sikh male models. This one is from SikhChic Magazine. I am just now sending him an e-mail. I hope he approves! [Later that same day: He approves! He likes the context. Hurray!]


23 May 2008

Four (4) New, Exciting Links!

Today is my day for updating and and tying up loose ends. I know, via my spy, Sitemeter, that not many of you actually outclick on posted links. Nonetheless, they are good sites, worthy of your exploration. Today I have added four new links, each one completely different from the other. They are Sikh Freedom, Khalsa Kids, Sikh Moms, and a brand new forum site, Sikh. in. The links are here, as well as in the right sidebar.

I have gotten overly busy writing several blogs, three public, several private, keeping up with IHRO, GLZ and SAN, as well as answering my e-mails. Don't stop with the e-mails, though! Along with your comments, they make my day! My point is that I need to make a schedule. I am setting aside Fridays, for now, as update days to make sure the blogs are up to date and fresh, especially the Sikhtoons and the Dag quotes, which I (my bad!) have been very neglectful of. Any suggestions for this blog, improvements, changes, just comments, are, of course, always very welcome. I have several e-mail addresses, my somewhat compulsive personality, I suppose, but for present, I suggest you use simayanan@gmail.com. If you use another that you have, that's fine; they all get forwarded as long as they pass the SPAM filter.

Here are the new links:

Sikh Freedom. From their home page:

Purpose of this website is to educate people about the freedom fight of Sikhs and expose the true face of Indian terrorism. We have included current religious, political and economical situation of Sikhs in India so that people can get a little insight of the truth that the situation today is not any different than it was before. Sikhs are still not free and are being oppressed in many ways in India. This web site is dedicated to Sikhs who sacrificed themselves for freedom to keep their dignity, self confidence, pride and turban on their heads. LONG LIVE THE REVOLUTION.

Khalsa Kids. From their home page:

Sikhism is the 5th largest religion in the world. Still, most Americans know very little about who Sikhs are. Because of that, Sikh students are often harassed and bullied in school. In May 2007, Harpal Singh Vacher, a Sikh student from New York, was the victim of a violent hate crime. His attackers removed his turban and cut his long hair. In a study released this summer, the Sikh Coalition found that nearly 75% of Sikh boys who study in Queens are harassed, bullied and teased in school.

The information you’ll find on this website can help you stand up for your rights and explain Sikhism to people who don’t know much about it. Khalsa Kids lets you to find others your age who can give you advice, answer questions, or just inspire you to be proud of who you are. Teachers, students and parents can use these videos, handouts, and presentations to learn and teach about who Sikhs are. (Sponsored by Sikh Coalition)

Sikh Moms. (http://www.sikhmoms.com/) From their home page (they have a lovely logo, but it won't copy, so you are treated to this picture of two happy Sikhlings at present on their home page:
Being a mom is a huge commitment but one of the most natural feelings in the world. Being a SIKH mom is an even bigger commitment, not only to yourself, your child but also to God. We all express our religion in a different way and we have found different ways to make raising our kids a natural feeling for ourselves. This mission of this group is to unite Sikh Moms everywhere so that we can create a network to support each other, to give one another ideas and most importantly, to not only raise good citizens of the world, but also confident children with strong Sikh Values.

Sikhs.in Forum. Their home page, at present, is just a list of what's going on in the forums, but they sent me this, which will give you an idea of what's going on, I'll tell them that they were written up here, so they'll expect your visit::

Welcoming you to the Forums...
We are looking forward to more contributions from your side and in suggesting sections / forums for the community. Also look forward to your support in encouraging people on your lists to register here and make it a powerful forum. Mai, we would appreciate if you could start some good topics which would be beneficial for young Sikhs. Some information, images, etc... anything.

Looking forward to your support and participation...


All the best,
.:Sikhs.In:. Uniting Sikhs Worldwide

20 May 2008

Seeing Vaheguru

My youngest brother - the one who is not Sikh, but whom I still love so much - has been visiting for the last week. He has been going with me on my daily walks while he is here. I enjoy his company, but in its own way, I miss the solitude and my usual practice of naam-jap on these walks. Usually some tune comes in my head and I sing softly as I walk, or occasionally bit louder, drawing amused glances from our neighbourhood Sikhs and bemused glances from everyone else.

Today, I choose something different, a little different. I set my eyes on seeing Vaheguru in everything around me. Some of it was easy. some more difficult. So here is my walk.
As I start:

I see the huge blossoming rhododendron bush in full bloom and I say: 'Vaheguru.'

I see the white clouds in the clearing sky and I say 'Vaheguru.'

I hear a cawing crow somewhere above me and I say 'Vaheguru.'

I smell somebody's new-mowed lawn and I say 'Vaheguru.'

I pass an elderly Sikh neighbour lady dressed in an orange-flowered salwar kameez, a black jacket and a lovely, flowing chunni,walking home from her shopping. I greet her, 'Vaheguru ji ka khalsa, Vaheguru ji ki fateh!' Her wizened brown face breaks into a huge smile as she returns my greeting and I say, 'Vaheguru!'

I see and hear the children shooting hoops, including the young boy with the strange white patka that barely covers his jura and suppress the urge to fix it before it falls off as he jumps around and I laugh, 'Vaheguru.'

I see the crazy Hungarian lady - the one who hears cockpit conversations as airplanes fly over her rooftop - working in her yard and I wave as I walk by and I say, 'Vaheguru."

I see the Muslim family down the block all dressed up going somewhere together and I smile and say Vaheguru.

I come to my favourite tree, the mock crab apple. heavy with blossoms and I stop under it and look up for a moment; a breeze comes up and the flowers fall onto me and I say 'Vaheguru.'

I come to the point where it is time for me to turn around to head home and in front of me I see towering over everything, majestic Mt. Rainier, a sight to impress the most jaded among us and I exclaim, Vaheguru!

All that is really, really easy, but there is more to observe that is not so easy.

I look at the decomposing litter in the gutter by the side of the road and I say 'Vaheguru.'

I cough as a diesel truck
drives by spewing exhaust and I say 'Vaheguru.

I see the dead opossum lying by the roadside and make a mental note to call animal control

when I get home and I say 'Vaheguru.

I stumble over a crack in the sidewalk and I say 'Vaheguru.'

I see a garbage can at the roadside, waiting the garbage men to come empty it - in fact I see many - and I say "Vaheguru.'

And as I pass a last rhody bush in our front yard and turn up our driveway to enter our house, congratulating myself on an altogether successful walk, I am challenged. Across the street, I see our neighbour - the one I look straight through, the one whose existence I refuse to acknowledge, the one I've nicknamed 'the Maggot,' the one who tried to rape (that's 'dishonour' to Indians) his 14 year old neighbour girl - and I'm not sure if I pass the test as I kind of choke out 'Vaheguru.'

So that is the summary of my walk. And what an egotistical post this is. I count the word 'I' 53 times. Oh, well, it would be even more egotistical to expect anything like perfection from myself now, I (54) suppose.


08 May 2008

A Letter From A Friend

Today, this comment arrived from the post of a few days ago, A Letter To A Friend, to Laibar Singh Ji. I thought most of you would miss it there and, anyway, I wanted to make a few comments of my own and add a picture or two.

nkaur has left a new comment on your post "A Letter To A Friend":


Maf Karna Mai Ji for delaying so long in posting this response.

I had shown Laibar Singh Uncle Ji your letter..his eyes welled with tears and he had the most stunning smile on his face. He couldn't believe his dear sister wrote him a letter. He kept repeating the words CHARDIKALA as I read the letter.

Your ways motivated him, your attitude alarmed him. (I have been told that there is something a bit alarming about my attitude before; mt youngest brothers insists that I'm 'scary.').He loves his sister he says! He wishes you can gain back the languages you lost..and one day dance with bundles of joy on both feet...and even if your never able to he thinks you are soooooooooo lucky to be in the situation you are in now. He recalls having some awful disheartning treatment from a hospital he was in..they didn't think he could make it. (They told my husband to prepare for my funeral and didn't even bother to put me in intensive care. Ah, but my wonderful Kaurs...!)


Your letter opened up and took us into a deeper conversation on many difficulties he has been faced with in his life. He lost 2 sons (age 5 and 11 months) within 1 month apart. He was a difficult and unfortunate time for him and his wife. After this they decided to have a couple more children..but then his wife passed away. He said life honestly hasnt ever been easy. Its always been difficult..but he thanks God so much for always providing and being there as his support in such times. He thinks you are funny and lovely! (What a find he is for me! My sense of humour is often misunderstood and gets me in a lot of trouble.) He said he hasn't ever thought about the blanket thing..but he has a brand new Lion blanket sitting in the corner of the room and promises to remember to use it if the Media comes by and takes some pics..but for now..he just uses a typical flower reddish kes.

I told him about the struggles you and your family faced in 1984..it made him quite sad.

He thanks you, and all the Sangat for all the support..he wants everyone including himself to always remain in CHARDIKALA.

He said he misses his long hair and long dhari...and can't wait till it grows back to the way it use to be. (That makes two of us. Mine is still trying to recover from the electricity sent through it by the defibrilator. Electrical jolts are as damaging as scissors. I love combing my hairs, especially in the morning, but it's still so short, just below my shoulder blades. )

He felt heaviness in his legs a couple days ago (after being in a wheelchair for a few hours)and this brought great joy to him bc he felt sensation below the waist! (Hurray! YIPPEEE!!!! JUMP UP AND DOWN!!! My left side is hurting like you wouldn't believe. The feeling is coming back!)

He has been noticing improvement and it's thanks to Guru Ji and all the encouragement he gets from people like yourself. (Mostly it's the KIRPAA OF VAHEGURU, I think, but we all help, I hope. I hope.)

I must have forgot some things he said..but the main things were,


He smiled throughout your letter, it made him feel very special- (Oh, good! Brother Laibar Ji, you ARE very special; when was last the British Columbia Sangat been united, as they were on December 10, 2007?) Thank you for that. He hopes you are doing well..and the same love for Suni and Vini. He says he adores and respects his older sister! (Ah, shucks. *Blushes* We love and adore him, too.)

(I had wrote a longer response earlier, but when I went to go publish it..I had to sign up for an account..so by the time I did that..it had deleted the text) (Computers are mysterious entities. I have had quite a few of my masterpieces lost in cyberspace, too.)


Your SEVA WILL NEVER GO UNNOTICED (We want only to help in whatever way we can.)


I hope the pictures aren't too over the top. I made them quite a while ago and they just seemed to fit here.

Darcey, be nice, please!)


01 May 2008

Being A Sikh

I have been wanting to write this post for a long time, but it seems every time I actually sit down to write, something intervenes. A new announcement from Sikh Activist Network arrives, a Sikh brother has been attacked in his taxi, the Canadian government is again trying to kidnap Laibar Singh or the government of Haryana has decided to arrest and torture an innocent Amritdhari sister - or some such emergency that needs my immediate attention.

I am temporarily putting aside the slightly gloating, but also tragic post I want to write about the firing of KP Gill and a really interesting article about how 9/11 made us rethink so much. The SAN announcement has been posted, and, as far as I know, none of the others need my attention this minute, so I am setting aside the time to write a post just for my own pleasure. I hope our loyal readers enjoy it, too.
For twenty years, I avoided everything and everyone that reminded me of anything Sikh. Anything at all. My own family, even. I ceased being a Khalsa and tried to get Guru Ji to give me back my head. (He refused, but I've already written about that.) Eventually, though, I wandered back, not all of my problems worked out, my wounds still unhealed, but my sanity slowly restored. And I learned the truth of the line from the song Stones,
by Neil Diamond.

Being lost is worth the coming home.

I enjoy being a Sikh.

A friend suggested that I sounded a little fanatic the other day when I grandly, with a sweep of my arms, well, my right arm, my left arm just isn't quite up to sweeping, and OK, he didn't see the sweeping gesture anyway because it was in an e-mail, 'I love everything about being a Sikh!'

I do. But Fanatic? The dictionary says a fanatic is

A person marked or motivated by an extreme, unreasoning enthusiasm, as for a cause.

Enthusiastic, sure, but I don't think extreme. And I'm 100% certain not unreasoning.

I love the beliefs, of course, the prayers, the songs, the Panj Kakkars, all the usual things. But it goes beyond that. Being a Sikh is a complete package, a 24/7 experience.

The sounds of the tabla and the harmonium. The voices of the Sangat singing kirtan. The voice of the Sangat Jaikara-ing. The sweet sound of the words of Guru Ji in the air.

The dull roar of the langar hall, the wonderful smells that waft their ways in and through.

The Nishan Sahib, flying joyfully and proudly above the trees against the sky of blue or grey or filled with the colours of sunrise or sunset. The clean, beautiful appearance of the gurdwara building itself. (Note: Driving by the Sabha Singh Gurdwara Sahib in Renton the other day, I noticed that the sign in front really needs to be painted.)

Even more, the many people, dare I say colourful characters, I have met?

Let me skip over my own family; I have written a great deal about them, much of it in my personal blog, sometimes - 2. Feel free to go there and check out the labels Family, Dad, Mani, etc.

I think also about the lovely Babas that I am so fond of. The gentleman I found with his turban neatly tied and his hair hanging to his waist. The other gentleman who was, in a confused state, imperiling his life by making - indecent - proposals to women. The gentlemen I see daily walking, just as my own Dad did, backs straight, eyes strong and clear, gait sure, turbaned heads held high and proud. These send a thrill of pride through my whole body.

And no Baba he, the Nihang in Amritsar that rescued a seven-year old girl, who, ashamed of her shorn hair, ran away from home, and then carried her back to her family on his broad shoulders!

The women I have known, with or without dastaars. (More are tying dastaars these days, a trend I heartily applaud.) My dear Kaurs, the nurses who saved my life two years ago and have continued to be my close friends. Several I know who wish to remain in ghostly shadows, those who, like myself survived the carnage in Delhi during November, 1984. The ones I have never met, but who are, nonetheless, my sisters who survived and raised their children, somehow salvaging some chardi kala to keep going on, day after harrowing day, seemingly forgotten by the Saadh Sangat, ignored by the wealthy SGPC. These women are among our greatest, bravest heroes and deserve our highest praise - and our material help.

The people I have met online. The only one I will identify by name is Kamal, who is listed as an author of this blog. She hasn't written anything here - although she certainly is welcome to - but she is helping me preserve this blog, just in case. She is a young Amritdhari woman, as sweet and just plain wonderful as anyone could be, a constant source of light and encouragement to me. All my Sikh friends on facebook - my nonSikh friends there, too, but right now I'm writing about the Sikhs - an interesting and varied group. There is my gentle, determined young man friend from Punjab who wonders if Vaheguru couldn't be more gentle in teaching us here in Maya. The young woman who is friends with Laibar Singh and lets me know how he is doing. My secretive friend who doesn't want to be quoted. My even more secretive son who won't tell me his name. My two lovely bird ladies, we exchange e-mails and comments, not just about birds, but that's how our communications started. Even, perhaps, the strange young Amritdhari man on orkut who seeks, I think, to preserve the purity of the Khalsa, by inquiring into - forgive me - my sex life! (And me old enough - almost - to be his grandmother.)

I love the Vaisakhi celebrations, just concluded. I love our contentious arguments by people that just refuse to give in. I love the giggles of the Aunties to the young bride. I love being a part of all this. Oh, I could go on and on. Sikhs are a colourful, varied lot. It is a sobering thought to me that I fit into such an interesting, varied group.

More than those things, though, being a Sikh has given me something greater. I am part of something grand. Something much bigger than my rather ridiculous little self. Something strong and wonderful. And precious. Let me explain it like this:

Along with many other of our brothers and sisters, I was called upon to face the worst thing I could imagine, the violence and horrors first of Bluestar and then of whatever you want to call the carnage in Delhi. It might be argued that being a Sikh put me in those situations. What cannot be argued is that being a Sikh gave me the strength and courage to survive and want to go on building a life, wanting to do something to improve the world in which I live. Believing that I could make a difference. Knowing that whatever may happen, I don't have to give up or give in. To know that Guru Ji loves me and will give me whatever strength I need. All this just for the price of one worthless head!

I hope you enjoy the Nihung Ardaas and some more pictures by Charles Meacham. Please check out his website at Charles Meacham Photography.

BTW, in the time I have written this, two hours, my inbox has grown from 16 to 54, mostly from GLZ and IHRO, Sikh groups both.

May Day of Action This Saturday!

Vaheguru Jee Ka Khalsa! Vaheguru Jee Kee Fateh!

This is a reminder for the May Day Of Action, Community Rally for Immigrant Rights, This SATURDAY, MAY 3rd.

For those attending or interested in attending there is a FREE BUS leaving form Dixie Gurdwara (Dixie and Derry) at 10:30am. Prior to departure we will be meeting in the Langar Hall.

The Rally will be starting off at Christie Pitts Park (750 Bloor Street West) and end with a community fair, musical performances, food, and much more.

We would like to remind everyone that if there is enough interest shown from those attending Kaurs United Camp, the FREE BUS will also do pick-ups from Jot Parkash Gurdwara.

After the rally is done, we will be joining the Maahan Youth Keertan Darbar @ Jot Parkash Gurughar.

For More Information Please View The Attached Flyer.

Or watch one of two videos, from last years demonstration!

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rwQ-FMR9ic&feature=related
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3rnfmSDjgA&feature=related

Hope to see you all out!

Sikh Activist Network

Panth Kee Jee!!

Millions across North America have taken to the streets in the last two years, demanding STATUS FOR ALL. In Toronto, workers, students, trade unionists, activists, and community members have led passionate demonstrations calling for justice and dignity for immigrants and refugees.

We continue to fight against the Conservative government's ongoing attacks on migrant communities. The last year has seen unprecedented targeting of refugees in Sanctuary. Asylum seekers have been arrested from schools, workplaces and even hospital beds. Families have been torn apart. Over 12,000 friends, family, and community members have been deported.

In the face of intimidation and fear, our communities have refused to be silenced. Together, we have forced immigration enforcement out of Toronto District schools. Inspired frontline community workers have taken up the struggle for Access Without Fear. We have fought and won a full Don't Ask Don't Tell policy at many community agencies.

But the fight is not over. There are over 500,000 undocumented people living and working across Canada, over 80,000 in Toronto alone. They are forced to live in daily fear of jailing and deportation. At the same time, new categories of "temporary foreign workers" without full status and without rights are being created by federal and provincial governments. These workers are exploited as cheap labour, based on fear of deportation

On May 3rd, we will take to the streets. We will demand an end to detentions and deportations. We will demand access without fear to essential services. We will demand an end to security certificates and secret trials. We will demand a full and inclusive regularization program. We will demand justice, dignity and respect!

trials. We will demand a full and inclusive regularization program. We will demand justice, dignity and respect!