08 August 2008

Whither The Khaliblog?

We have been thinking a lot about which direction this blog is heading.

When we started this blog, the three of us, Vini, Suni and Mai, we were very clear in our own minds what this blog was about. We had scoured the Internet and found a lot of information about the Indian atrocities of 1984, but very few personal stories. The main purpose of this blog was to help rectify this situation. We also hoped to be a platform where others could tell their personal stories.

The first purpose, we think, has been accomplished. Our stories are here; we've put a link to them a the top of the right hand column. Looking at Site Meter, we are pleased that those links are being used and our stories are being read.

We have been much less successful with our second objective. Only a very few have responded with their own stories. There might be several reasons for this. A big one is that many survivors don't have access to the 'Net, and many of those who do are either uncomfortable with English or unable to write in English. Another is that these stories are very difficult - painful - to tell, much less write. We hope that more will come forward. We do hope, as well, that our stories may have provoked discussions across generational lines about survivors' experiences. From e-mails we have received, we know that this is the case.

We would now like to issue an invitation to those who were not there, maybe not even born yet, to tell their own personal stories. Where were you when you first heard the news stories of these events? What was your reaction? Have you spoken to your elders about these things? What were their reactions? We would love to hear any such stories you would care to tell. Just send them to Mai at simayanan@gmail.com. We'll be happy to publish them, with or without your name, that's up to you. (Yes, anywhere on the 'Net you see 'Simayanan' no doubt that's Mai.)

Which brings us to this: For a long time now, Mai has been writing this on her own, with very little input from the rest of us. After some discussion, we feel we should officially turn The Road To Khalistan over to our Mai alone. Her health has improved and she seems able to handle it. We will always be here for backup and we both have her passwords (hehehehe), so we'll still be here in spirit. And if she gets too hot-headed, we'll try to rein her in a little - but only a little - her passion is one of the things we treasure about her.
So we two bow out and turn this over to Mai.

Go to it, Lady Khalsa!

Gurfateh and Chardi Kala to all!

Vini Kaur

Suni Kaur


I admit that I'm a bit sad at dissolving our corporate person; at the same time, I am now more free to say what I want without clearing any controversial statements I may wish to make. Now I have complete editorial control, although, of course, my co-authors are always very welcome to contribute. When we started this blog, we were all inexperienced and very naive about the Internet. We didn't understand much about search engines and key words. We all thought that our little blog would be lost among the millions out there in the blogosphere. Little did we realise that putting 'Khalistan' in our title would get us noticed. I think that if we had realised, we would have found another name, something less conspicuous.. None of us wished to draw attention to ourselves and our very personal stories. I am pleased, though, that our stories are out there and being read, not because they are our stories, but because these stories need to be told.

Now it seems that I have a few decisions to make.

First, is there any point in continuing this blog? Yes, I think there is. We have a readership of about 45 each day, mostly from India, Canada, The USA and The UK - in that order. We also have a regular readership in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia. There are a few readers from other countries, too, some intrepid person in Oslo, Norway visits often, plus a smattering of readers in the Arabian Peninsula and Pakistan. We have occasional visitors from throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. Once in a great while, someone from South America stops in for a visit. There are a couple of maps in the right-hand column that you can check out, if interested.
As long as you keep reading, I'll keep writing. Is that a deal?

Second, what about content? I have pretty much been putting into this blog whatever comes up of a nature that I feel involved in as a Sikh. You'll keep hearing about the continuing saga of Brother Laibar Singh Ji, a person I am strongly committed to. An exception to this policy of covering all interesting things Sikh is that I have avoided involving this blog in the shenanigans of the High Muckety-Mucks in Amritsar. I find their manipulating Machiavellian machinations in Maya to be disgusting. Sikhi is my religion, my way of life, who and what I am. It is the core of my being, my great passion, my way of maneuvering through this life. It causes me great pain to see those who are supposed to be leading us acting like snot-nosed little brats who should be sitting on the 'naughty stool, not holding positions of power affecting all Sikh worldwide. I hate seeing one family set itself up as the Royal Family of Sikhdom - and it hurts me to see others accept their domination. That said, I do not see how my delving into this cesspool of dirty politics and ruthless, filthy ambition will in any way help my dear sisters and brothers, my fellow Sikhs. So I intend to continue to avoid these political issues. But my mind might be changed if it gets too outrageous.

I intend to change my profile picture each month to reflect some current Sikh issue. I might or might not write about it, but it will be there. Last month, I showed the damage caused to a brother's back by a lathi in Mumbai. How deeply we are loved and appreciated by these Indian people whom we have saved numerous times! I guess seeing Sikh blood gives them a feeling of power. Or something.

This month, I am using a portrait by the very talented and equally modest brother simmal tree. Our former header picture, We Are Going To Battle, is also from him..He allows me to freely use his pictures, asking only that I acknowledge Vahe guru. Since anything good we do is really Vaheguru, I love doing that. To see the discussion on this month's painting, go here. I would also suggest that you click on his photostream there and look at some of his own pictures. This portrait, Daughter(s) Of The Khalsa, has several meanings to me. First is the way we Kaurs seem to have no voice. I think we need to find our voice ourselves. This Singhni is not bound or tied. What is stopping her from taking the tape off her own mouth? I also see this as a metaphor for the way the government of India keeps trying to subdue and silence us Sikhs. I have no idea what it will take for them to realise the futility of their tactics.

Another note. According to a poll I took some time ago, the majority of readers of this blog are young men in their twenties, mostly from India. I am aware only a small percentage of readers answer polls, and I think that is probably accurate, although quite a few female readers have comminicated to me privately and I also know of several older people, hurray! I want to assure all of you that I will never let The Khaliblog - my personal name for The Road To Khalistan - degenerate into a feminist rag. There is one very good reason for this. I am not a feminist. I do believe in the equality - or rather the equivalency - of the sexes, as Sikhi clearly teaches. I do not believe one gender ought to dominate. And I do not believe in one of the feminists' key beliefs, abortion on demand, for both moral and practical reasons. And I do have an outrageous sense of humour that has been very unappreciated by the feminists I have known. So, while I will continue to write on women's issues as they arise, I will continue to write on whatever concerns me.

The remaining author, Kamal Kaur, is my dear friend and younger sister. The Internet being what it is, and given the volitile nature of our world, we have thought it prudent to preserve this blog outside of blogger. She is helping with this and needs administrative powers to help me. She has never written here, but I heartily hope she'll one day write about how she first learned about the events of 1984, events that occurred before she was even born. Come on, Kamal, please? I'll even proof read it for you, if you like.

(BTW, I am aware that many of my readers do not have English as their primary language. I promise to try to avoid using expressions like 'manipulating Machiavellian machinations' too often, but I love the English language and can't promise I'll be entirely successful. I have put a dictionary widget in the right hand column. If anyone knows of a widget that will translate English into Punjabi, please let me know. I've installed the one that translates into Spanish, French, Japanese, Chinese, etc., but I haven't found one for Punjabi.)

So where is this blog headed? The answer is I'm not sure, except that it is running headlong into the Sikh experience in the Twenty-First Century of the Common Era.

There is a saying, if you don't know where you're going, you'll probably end up somewhere else. So let us gather up our chardi kala and stride into that 'somewhere else,' 'the road less traveled by', with our integrity intact, our heads held high, and courage and joy in our hearts.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

by Robert Frost
Mai Harinder Kaur