31 December 2009
Something very special and very cool happened last night.
Does everybody remember Brother Laibar Singh? If not, there are far too posts about him and his situation (36, at least) for me to link them here.
In short, he came to Canada illegally, was denied refugee status, then contracted a spinal infection that left him paralysed. Canada, however, was determined to deport him..At one point, he was taken to the Vancouver Airport, where the plane was waiting to fly the very physically weak Singh to India. The sangat and few other friends turned up en masse and succeeded in foiling that attempt. He then sought sanctuary in different gurudwaras until he finally allowed himself to be sent back to India. He said he missed his children and that was why he was returning. I know him well enough that I don't believe that for a nanosecond. My belief is that he felt that he had become a burden, something unacceptable to any Sardar ji (or Sardarni ji). Whatever his reason, he returned to India in November 2008, his faith and dignity intact. These two pictures were taken at that time.
I finally got his telephone number and a dear friend in India called him and talked to him! His elder daughter has just gotten married, his son has grown kes and is studying Gurmat, and his younger daughter has moved in to take care of him. Dear Gurmukhts from Canada are continuing in their support of him. His health has improved and he remains in chardi kala!
Now I must invest in a calling card and at least exchange a fateh with him!
This is a very happy New Year 2010 CE for me. He has become my younger brother and I love him dearly. He is a sweet, kind man. May he be blessed with all good things, now and always!
09 December 2009
I have been very lax in writing about this. It is excruciatingly painful to me, as it is to us all. When will those idiots running what passes for a government in India going to clean up their act? When is what passes for a police force in Punjab going to protect and defend the citizens instead of murdering and torturing them? And when are Those Fools in Amritsar going to stand up as our leaders and give us something to be proud of in them? WHEN, WHEN, WHEN?
We have no idea how many have been injured and how many have achieved shaheedi in this latest round of violence. I just received this e-mail from Kaurs United. If you live anywhere near British Columbia, Canada, please attend. It's the least you can do to show your appreciation of and solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Occupied Khalistan.
FROM KAURS UNITED:
Vaheguru jee ka Khalsa Vaheguru jee kee Fateh!!
"Freedom from slavery is achieved only when a person starts to feel and understand that he would prefer death to life as a slave; when he does not consider living (as a slave) worthwhile." - Sant Jarnail Singh jee Khalsa Bhinderanwale, Mukhi Damdami Taksal Jatha Bhindran
The time has come again where Sikhs have taken the ultimate step of giving their lives in protest of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji's disrespect and slander. You've assuredly seen videos of the recent Ludhiana Kaandh and the brutal beating, shooting, and abusing of Singhs who were protesting against Ashutosh Noormahal, the government hired self-acclaimed "Baba", who insults Gursikhs, and claims that the jot of Guru Nanak Dev Ji is in HIM, and not in Guru Granth Sahib Ji. If we conversed with Sant Jarnail Singh ji today, would Sant Ji not send another Jatha of 13+ Singhs to protect the honour of the Sikh Nation and fight the disrespect of our Gurus?
Numerous Singhs have been killed by police bullets in the past few days when we were sitting in our warm homes.... What's worse is that many bodies have been taken by the police, and we are not even able to count how many have actually gotten Shaheed. Shaheed families have been offered money from the government, to remain quiet about their loved one's Shaheedi. Khalsa Jee, are we feeling Panthic Dardh, or just worried about our own hungers and desires? Why are we not thinking about our brothers who were brave enough to fight in the front line against those who disrespected our Guru?
THIS SUNDAY AT SUKH SAGAR GURDWARA SAHIB .... Sikh Youth and Families from all over B.C. will gather to pray for our Shaheeds and the beautiful Singhs who are still in the hospital, barely recovering from the attacks (http://dhansikhi.com/
12:00 pm - 6:00 pm : Chaupai Sahib Jaap
6:00 pm - 6:30 pm : Rehraas Sahib
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm : Youth Kirtan Darbar and Katha
Sangat Jee, let's not disappoint our Shaheeds and mistakenly believe or imply that our time is more valuable than their sacrifice. Whether it means calling in for compassionate leave that day or finishing your work early, please, for the sake of our SHAHEEDS, attend this event for as long as you possibly can, as times of unity may not last forever... Alas, some Gursikhs around the world are left to feel this Panthic Dardh all alone, and cry for the safety of their brothers, and for the freedom of their Nation, while we can share our pain together. Let's share our love this Sunday and prove to every Anti- Panthic Dusht that we will never be silenced. Are the Panth's SHAHEEDS worth your time?
~ ਰੱਖੋ ਮੱਤ ਉੱਚੀ
11 November 2009
We have been remembering our wounds and pain now for a long time. Twenty-five years is a long time in the life of an individual. It is right and proper and necessary that we remember. We will never forget. Those of us who lived through it, whose loved ones were brutally murdered carry a special pain. We will never get over it. We will - we have - however learned to live with it.
Life goes on.
I remember the song written after the terrorist attacks (?) of September 11,2001, "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning"? A touching title, but the world didn't stop turning. It goes on and on, around and around.
Our search for justice continues. We will continue our demands, loudly and persistently, until those guilty of genocide against us face the rope or until we ourselves are dead. This does not need to be said. We cannot and will not forget.
Life goes on.
We want Khalistan. We need Khalistan. The way our neighbours, the very people we have been defending and protecting for hundreds of years, turned on us in 1984 underlines this fact. We have the right of every people to self-determination. We are not unreasonable. We demand only that India live up to the promises made to us when we agreed to support them at the time of Independence.
Let's move a step further. What is this Khalistan we will build for ourselves? I see a land of rivers and streams, rolling hills of wheat, beautiful prosperous farms, crowned by clean, elegant cities. I see Amritsar a city worthy of our glorious Harimandir Sahib, with pristine blue skies and pure, clean air.
I see an end to the ecological disaster that has overtaken and threatens to destroy Punjab. I see ourselves reversing the desertification of the land of our Gurus, of our land. I see our groundwater restored, I see the water of our rivers restored to us.
I see a land of joy and happiness. I see a people strong and prosperous and healthy in body, mind and spirit. I see us treating each other with love and respect, all vestiges of castism thrown into oblivion where they belong. I see all of us living as sisters and brothers, both sexes treated - and valued - equally as our Gurus have taught us. I see a land where all people are welcomed in the old Punjabi tradition. I could go on.
Am I dreaming? Of course I am! We need our dreams. We need to remember who we are and what we are. We need to remember where we have been - the proud moments and the painful - and we need to move forward. Is this practical? Probably not. But everyone who knows me has heard me say things like "Practicality is overrated." All great dreams are impractical.. Great people move beyond that and accomplish what seems to be impossible. This will not be easy, but worthwhile projects are rarely easy.
Can we do this? Of course we can IF we become the people are Gurus taught us to be, if we become real Sikhs, real Khalsa. Think about it. Dream with me and let us move forward to claim what is rightfully ours, spiritually and materially.
Before I start sounding less like a Khalsa and more like a motivational speaker, let me leave you with a song that we can sing together as we move forward in chardi kala!
30 October 2009
Who is he? Who is this Singh? I have spent countless hours staring at this photograph asking myself questions. Whose son is he? Whose husband, whose dad, whose brother, whose uncle, cousin, friend? Is someone waiting anxiously at home for him, waiting for a footfall that will never come?
Where is he from? Does he live in Delhi or is he just visiting? Where was he born? What is his pind? When was he born? How old is he?
What is his occupation? Is he an engineer, a doctor, a professor? Or is he a taxi driver or a trucker?
What are his politics? Is he an Akali or a member of Congress? Is he a Khalistani or a Bharata Mata lover? Or is he political at all? Is he just trying to live his life and not really concerned about the niceties of the larger world.
Why is he keshdhari? Is it just habit, following family custom? Or is it deeply meaningful to him? Does he pray each day, do naam jap, love Vaheguru? Or are those just incidentals that have fallen by the wayside of his life? Where is his turban? How does he feel as it is ripped from his head and his kesh is exposed?
How does he feel as he realises the mob is coming for him, chasing him down the street or dragging him from his home or his car or from the bus? What goes on in his brain as the petrol is poured on him and set alight? What is he thinking as his body burns? Or is he beyond thought? Is he aware of the laughing jeering mob around him, enjoying watching his final agonising moments of life on this earth?
What is his last awareness as he dies alone, surrounded by merciless thugs?
Questions without answers. Whoever he is, he deserves to be remembered. I doubt he had even a death certificate, so I have made him one.
There is something so very final about the certificate. And, of course, I realise that all I have written is wrong and must be rewritten to reflect the truth of 25 years later...
Who was he? Who was this Singh? I have spent countless hours staring at this photograph asking myself questions. Whose son was he? Whose husband, whose dad, whose brother, whose uncle, cousin, friend? Was someone waiting anxiously at home for him, waiting for a footfall that never came?
Where was he from? Did he live in Delhi or was he just visiting? Where was he born? What was his pind? When was he born? How old was he?
What was his occupation? Was he an engineer, a doctor, a professor? Or was he a taxi driver or a trucker?
What were his politics? Was he an Akali or a member of Congress? Was he a Khalistani or a Bharata Mata lover? Or was he political at all? Was he just trying to live his life and not really concerned about the niceties of the larger world.
Why was he keshdhari? Was it just habit, following family custom? Or was it deeply meaningful to him? Did he pray each day, do naam jap, love Vaheguru? Or were those just incidentals that had fallen by the wayside of his life? Where was his turban? How did he feel as it was ripped from his head and his kesh was exposed?
How did he feel as he realised the mob was coming for him, chasing him down the street or dragging him from his home or his car or from the bus? What went on in his brain as the petrol was poured on him and set alight? What was he thinking as his body burned? Or was he beyond thought? Was he aware of the laughing jeering mob around him, enjoying watching his final agonising moments of life on this earth?
What was his last awareness as he died alone, surrounded by merciless thugs?
He was our brother and he was one single human being, one Sikh among the thousands murdered during the madness of those days in 1984.
He is our brother and he deserves justice.
One final, unanswered question: When?
29 October 2009
Time Magazine coverage of the Delhi Pogrom 19 November 1984
"Indira is India, India is Indira." That once ubiquitous slogan seemed even truer in death than in life. No less shocking than the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by two Sikh bodyguards was the brutality that erupted across India in its wake. Frenzied mobs of young Hindu thugs, thirsting for revenge, burned Sikh-owned stores to the ground, dragged Sikhs out of their homes, cars and trains, then clubbed them to death or set them aflame before raging off in search of other victims. The death toll approached 2,000, and in Delhi, where more than 550 died, four days of madness and murder also left some 20,000 Sikhs crowded into refugee camps. Suddenly a nation that had thought of Indira as its mother seemed rudderless and orphaned. "Over the years, Madame kept us in check," said a senior Indian journalist. "Once she is gone, we go berserk."
That orgy of death and disorder pointed up as nothing else the daunting task faced by India's new Prime Minister, Indira's son Rajiv, 40, who determinedly assumed a burden for which scarcely three years of political apprenticeship had little prepared him. After ceremoniously igniting his mother's funeral pyre, Rajiv met with a score of foreign dignitaries who had attended the funeral, including U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz.
"Gandhi came through with a sort of quiet strength that I find reassuring," said Shultz after their meeting. The new leader also met with Pakistan's President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq, whose presence—the first by a Pakistani head of state at the funeral of an Indian Prime Minister—seemed a promising gesture of geod will. That same day, at his first Cabinet meeting, Gandhi disclosed that he would serve as his own Foreign Minister.
After that initial bow to foreign affairs, Rajiv concentrated on restoring order and confidence to Indian life. He lost no time in establishing a commission of inquiry, headed by a Supreme Court justice, to investigate the slaying of his mother. He visited the ravaged, riot-torn areas of his capital in a tour that the pro-Gandhi National Herald declared "had an efficacious and reassuring impact on the morale of the people." Then, in answer to chilling claims that the police had simply shrugged their shoulders or looked away while the bloodbath continued, the new Prime Minister fired the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi, P.G. Gavai, and replaced him with Home Secretary M.M.K. Wali.
Early this week, some semblance of normal life was beginning, ever so tentatively, to return to the capital. Banks opened, residents ventured into the streets again, and vendors reappeared in market areas. But the tranquillity seemed tenuous. While combat troops patrolled the city in olive armed personnel carriers and Jeeps mounted with machine guns, tan-uniformed policemen wielding bamboo sticks stood guard at every street corner. That, however, was no guarantee of law-and-order. Two TIME photographers were attacked by Hindu toughs who smashed the glasses of one and tore two cameras from the neck of the other.
If the authorities were conspicuous by their presence, so were the Sikhs by their absence. Largely gone from the streets were the familiar bearded, turbaned men who have traditionally driven cabs and manned stores all around the capital. Half their cabs had been burned; perhaps 70% of their shops had been devastated. Some of the Sikhs fled to their homeland of Punjab; some still cowered inside the houses of Hindu neighbors. Others, whose homes were destroyed or had to be abandoned, huddled together within makeshift refugee camps.
There they could do nothing except repeat horror stories of the chaos and carnage that had swept through more than 80 cities. In a camp set up in the Gandhi Memorial Higher School in Delhi, one Sikh survivor after another described how friends and loved ones had been murdered. "My three sons were burned alive," quietly began Amrik Singh, a sad-eyed man whose gray beard had been forcibly shaved to a silver stubble by a mob wielding knives. "They came to my house. They dragged my sons out. They put petrol on them and set them on fire." Near by, Purani Kaur, 60, leaned against a wall in the dusty school courtyard, her eyelids almost swollen shut. "They came to my house with swords and bricks," she said as friends reached out to steady her. "All my five sons and my son-in-law were killed." In a dark corner of a corridor, Amrit Kaur sat with her head swathed in a blood-soaked bandage. "My husband was burned alive. My children were beaten senseless. Then my house was set on fire. My children could not come out, and they were burned inside." With that she broke down and began to weep.
Off to one side of the courtyard women squatted beside a fire, making bread. "There is no food, no water here supplied by the government," complained Satpal Singh, a government stenographer. "Now the people who killed us are free." A 90-year-old man showed the wound across his forehead where gangs of rampaging toughs had ripped off his turban and almost scalped him while cutting the hair that Sikhs must by religion keep unshorn.
"The government, the police did nothing to protect us," he said. "They turned their backs while Sikhs were slaughtered."
Amid the shame and shock, however, there were a few reassuring stories. Some Hindus, at great risk to themselves, organized units for defending Sikh dwellings; some gave sanctuary to their Sikh friends; others offered medical aid to the wounded. Moved by such gestures, 13 prominent Sikh writers and intellectuals issued a statement to "put on record our gratitude to our Hindu brethren." Rajiv also pledged that the government would pay fixed amounts for every Sikh wounded or killed and for every home damaged ordestroyed.
While trying to heal his nation's wounds, the new Prime Minister had asserted his power skillfully. But he had also, in his first week in office, acquired the problem of wide-scale Sikh homelessness to add to the burning fuse of Sikh restlessness. After all the tributes paid to Indira Gandhi, the finest, he knew, would be a resolution to the Sikh problem that had ended his mother's life, and that, if unresolved, could end many more. —By Pico Iyer. Reported by Dean Brelis and James Willwerth/New Delhi
Bhenji Sukhmandir Kaur Khalsa, author of the website, About.com: Sikhism, has set up a place where this can be done. You are welcome to go to In Memory - The 1984 Delhi Massacre Memorial. You are welcome to write about your loved ones or just leave their names.
We remember. We will never forget.
WAHEGURU JI KA KHALSA
WAHEGURU JI KI FATEH
IN LOVING AND GRATEFUL MEMORY
FROM YOUR KHALSA SISTERS
VINI AND SUNI AND MAI
the Delhi Pogrom,
31 October- 4 November, 1984
TO OUR KHALSA BROTHERS
SHAHEED BERTRAM K. SINGH
SHAHEED BALBIR SINGH
SHAHEED EDUARD P. SINGH
SHAHEED MANDEEP SINGH KHALSA
SHAHEED MOHAN SINGH
SHAHEED SANDEEP SINGH
and our two little sisters who died unborn,
BABY KAUR ONE
BABY KAUR TWO
and to all the thousands of our other brothers and sisters who died in this battle/pogrom/massacre.
YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN
WAHEGURU JI KA KHALSA
WAHEGURU JI KI FATEH
OUR SEARCH FOR JUSTICE CONTINUES UNABATED.
28 October 2009
My little sister. Kamal, sent me a link today which I followed and I must share with you. It starts out:
"They were in their mothers stomach, just delivered, toddlers or school going children in 1984 when their fathers, uncles or siblings were butchered in the anti-sikh riots in Delhi which left almost 3000 sikhs dead. These children were suddenly wrenched out from their cosy family life and hurled into the world of neglect, apathy and abuse. They grew up in the shadow of the riots, struggling between going to school and making a living. Their fathers were killed and their mothers either remarried or were so busy working to eek out a living that the kids were virtually forgotten. 25 years on they have grown up into young men. Some wayward due to the neglect , others unemployed due to lack education, and yet few others transformed their lives by sheer grit and determination. These are their stories."
"Sheer grit and determination" I interpret to be that great Sikh virtue of chardi kala, which means, among other things, we never give up, no matter what!
This is the introduction to an incredible collection of pictures and the stories that go with them. These are photographs by Sanjay Austa, a professional photographer. PLEASE go check out From Children To Adults-1984 Anti-Sikh Riot Victims. I know I ask a lot of my readers, from keeping kesh to signing petitions. Here is one more action I ask of you. It won't be painless, but it will be worthwhile.
I'll have a picture here, if I can get the photographer's permission.)
After looking at all these pictures and reading their brief histories, do you feel the need to do SOMETHING? I have a suggestion. Please take this idea to your gurudwara, wherever you are in the world.
A long time ago, I tried to get a programme going in India, invite one of the widows and her kids to join your household as an honoured family member. In India, even Sikhs don't like widows in close proximity. Not even the widows of our beloved, honoured shaheeds.
But why can't our gurudwaras do that from wherever we happen to be? Someone over there would have to find individual survivors and then they could be helped in whatever way is necessary on a one-to-one basis.
I think that kind of personal touch would help a lot. "Somebody really cares about me, as an individual, as a human being." Remember, these women feel unloved, unwanted, unappreciated...We here complain about that, but our situation is heavenly compared to them. So I suggest personal visits, if possible. When we visit Punjab, take detour to Delhi and go meet the families.
There were maybe about 10,000 Sikh heads of household killed...(I don't believe the smaller numbers)..With more than 20,000,000 Sikhs - about 4-5,000,000 families, certainly we can take care of our own. The Sikh establishment, namely the SGPC, has dropped the ball. I suggest thast we ordinary, everyday Sikhs pick up the ball and run with it.
27 October 2009
I have not celebrated Hallowe'en since my young son objected to it in about 1977, asking, "Why do we celebrate bad, imaginary things like the devil and demons? That doesn't seem very Sikh to me." He was right. There is enough evil - imaginary and otherwise - in Maya that I see no reason to celebrate.
I turn out the lights and let the trick-or-treaters go on to the next house. I don't preach about it, but I answer truthfully (generally without calling the devil and demons imaginary) when asked. Anyway, most Hallowe'en treats are bad for kids and it is no longer acceptable to give homemade goods because of the danger of poison or foreign objects.
And, of course, it is the day (appropriate, I think) of Mrs. Gandhi's execution and the beginning of the Delhi Pogrom.. Hardly a day for celebration.
Should you choose to celebrate, some suggestions can be found in Sukhmandir Kaur Khalsa's article in About.Sikhism, Is Hallowe'en A Good Idea For Sikhs? Should you not choose to celebrate, the column still contains a bunch of great information and you would, no doubt, learn quite a lot by reading it.
24 October 2009
Dal Khalsa has called for everyone to close down everything in Punjab - except really essential services - in memory and honour of our shaheeds from 1984. I personally think this is a great idea. What do you think?
This is the press release I picked up from IHRO:
Amritsar, Oct 23 (PTI)
Radical Sikh organisation Dal Khalsa today gave a call for a complete shutdown in Punjab on November three to mark the 25th anniversary of 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and elsewhere.
"The objective of the shutdown call is to express anguish against" the riots and "expose" the "denial of justice" to the victims besides paying homage to those killed, its spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh told reporters here.
The Khalsa Action Committee (KAC), a conglomerate of various Sikh outfits, endorsed the call and said "only essential and emergency services including medical services will be allowed during the total shutdown".
19 October 2009
Every time I hear of some young Singh cutting his kesh, shaving his beard because he is teased or out of fear or because of his belief that the girl prefer a more conventional-looking boyfriend, or of some young Kaur shaving her legs and underarms because of the bullying by the "Mean Girls" at her school or plucking her eyebrows for the sake of "fashion," I think of the Battle of Saraghari. Twenty-one Sikhs against 10,000 Afghan tribesmen. Today, we are well aware of the fierceness and determination of the Afghans.
The Afghans fought against the Soviet Union until that country retreated in defeat, bankrupt, only to fall into nonexistence in a very few years.
Now the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom and a few other Western countries are again - foolishly, in my opinion - attempting to defeat the Afghans using military power.
In 1897, against 10,000 of these fierce, determined fighters stood 21 equally fierce, determined Sikh warriors.
My Sister Kaurs and Brother Singhs, these are the people we are sprung from, either by blood or by choice (or by both). This is who we have been, who we can be and who we should be. Guru ji asks this of us and we are strong enough to respond with a shout of "BOLE SO NIHAL! SAT SHRI AKAL!!" if we choose. The choice is ours.
Whether you are Kaur or Singh, if you are thinking of dishonouring your kesh because of fear or fashion or any other reason, please watch this video first and think about who and what you are. Consider deeply those who have gone before, those even now being persecuted (including possibly yourself) and those who will come after. If your choice is to cut, you cannot be stopped; it is your right as a free human being. Just be sure you understand that you are throwing away more than a few strands of hair. You are throwing away the gift of Vaheguru and are belittling the sacrifices of our shaheeds.
09 October 2009
I like Mr. Obama. I supported him in the US Presidential race last year. I am glad he won.
I do not understand why he was awarded this most prestigious prize, however. He has a lot of promise, true, but what are accomplishments. other than being elected? What has he actually done? I consider here only on the international scene since that is really the scope of the Nobel Peace Prize..
Gitmo is still up and functioning, US troops are still occupying Iraq and the war in Afghanistan...Ah, yes, the war in Afghanistan. That one is going badly and there is no end in sight.
Admittedly, in the past there have been some strange choices. The two strangest have to have been Henry Kissinger and Yasser Arafat. One I respect and admire, the other I despise. This is not about my personal opinion of the men involved. It just seems to me that these two men had greater interests than bringing peace to the world.
Is Barack Obama really in the same league as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela?
Or my personal hero, Aun Sa Suu Kyu?
If you're interested, the whole list is at Nobel Peace Prize Winners 1900-2009.
I do not believe he is in their league. Not yet. Perhaps in a year or two - or six or seven. My thought is that this is in the order of a bribe of sorts. "Mr. Obama, we're giving you this prize in the hope that you will live up to your early promise as the first great person of the new millennium. Maybe.
05 October 2009
Our young sister has been found alive and apparently unharmed. There is still a mystery here, but the most important thing is that she is alive and well.
Missing Teen Karamjit Kaur Found
(From KOLO 8 TV Reno, NV)
The Reno Police Department has located Karamjit Kaur in Merrillville, Indiana. The 16-year-old had been missing since last Wednesday.
Detectives with the Reno Police Department worked through the night with new investigative leads, focusing on a family member who was visiting the Reno area just prior to Karamjit's disappearance.
With assistance of the local FBI, along with the Merrillville Indiana Gang Response Investigation Team, Karamjit was located at America’s Best Inn in Merrillville with her brother-in-law, Parvinder Singh.
Karamjit was unharmed and is now in police custody.
At this time circumstances surrounding her disappearance are still under investigation to determine any criminal conduct.
High School student Karamjit Kour disappeared Wednesday evening from her home in Stead. It happened on Anchor Point Drive, at around 6:30 p.m. Thursday, detectives found her bicycle thrown into a drainage ditch by the highway. Police said her disappearance was suspicious, and they suspected foul play.
Crews from the Washoe County Hasty team along with volunteers and search dogs searched neighborhoods and industrial areas near Stead Saturday and Sunday.
Karamjit Kour moved to Reno less than a year ago from East India. Her family told KOLO 8 News she speaks little English, has no friends, and no reason to run away.
Dozens of family friends and members of Kour's Sikh temple scattered Friday in the Stead neighborhood, posting flyers of the 16-year-old.
16 Year Old Sikh girl Karamjit Kaur Missing in Reno.
From Global Sikh News
Published on Saturday, October 3, 2009 by A Kaur
Kaur is described as East Indian, 5’7, 140 pounds with long black hair, brown eyes, a left canine tooth is that is longer than her other teeth and a scar on forehead.
RPD says Kaur was last seen at riding her red and silver mountain bike from her residence located on Anchor Point Drive in Reno Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
She was last seen wearing a black v-neck short sleeve tee shirt, bright blue cotton pajama bottoms, and black flip flops. She did not take any possessions with her when she left.
2:30 p.m. update: The father of missing Karamjit Kaur implores whoever has taken his daughter to return her safely to her Reno home.
“Whoever took her, bring her back safely. Drop her off. We just want her back,” said Surinder Mathon, 50.
“She is very nice. She is a smart girl.”
Family members and friends are gathered at the gir’s Anchor Point Drive residence, where Kaur lived for the last eight months. They were waiting for news.
“We just hope she’s coming back. It’s the only hope we can have,” said Harry Thandi, a close family friend. “We’re hoping for the best.”
1:45 p.m. update: Searchers called Reno police detectives to the Stead industrial area after discovering a t-shirt, blankets and beer bottles near and beneath a bridge at the end of Echo Avenue.
Reno Police Detective Allan Fox said it appeared the area was used for partying by youths and the discovery was unrelated to the case of Karamjit Kaur.
“We’d rather overkill than miss something,” Fox said.
As a precaution, Fox planned to have a cadaver dog inspect a nearby area where some recent digging has occurred.
1 p.m. update: Searchers are combing the industrial areas of Stead in the on-going search for a missing Reno girl.
Karamjit Kaur was last seen Wednesday riding her bicycle,
By foot, on all-terrain vehicles and their four-wheel-drive vehicles, they are inspecting brushy fields, parking lots, and landscaped areas near industrial buildings in the area of Moya and Lear boulevards.
“We’re trying to be as meticulous as we can,” said Randy Post, a volunteer with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Hasty team. “If the brush gets thicker, we try to walk closer together so the chance of detection remains the same.”
Searchers also inspected dumpsters and looked around parked big-rig trailers and storage areas and under bridges.
Among places searched are anywhere persons might seek shelter during a cold night, Post said.
11:15 a.m. update: There’s been several tips from the public and also from interviews for detectives to follow in their search for a missing 16-year-old Stead-area girl, Reno Police Department Lt. Mike Whan said this morning.
Karamjit Kaur was last seen Wednesday riding her bicycle and police have been looking for her.
“Actually, it’s been very successful overnight, since the last press release,” Whan said. “We’ve got a whole bunch of Secret Witnesses (anonymous tips) now.”
The tips have been about girls who look like Kaur and also about suspicious people in the North Valleys area, Whan said. They are following up on Secret Witness reports.
They’s also received possible leads from interviews.
“We can’t go into details on those yet, though,” Whan said.
A command post has been set up at the Shell Station on Red Road Rock and officers are still going to vacant and foreclosed homes looking for signs of people. If the house is unlocked or shows signs of forced entry, police will go inside, Whan said.
A cold front is expected to move through the area tonight, but Whan said that does not concern him.
8:30 a.m. update: The Reno Police Department reports nothing new this morning in the search for Karamjit Kaur. a 16-year-old Stead-area girl missing since Wednesday.
Police are sending more people out today to knock on doors and ask people if they’ve seen Kaur or have any other information that might help them find her.
North Valleys High School students sounded a somber note at their homecoming football game celebration Friday, handing out fliers and putting a sign of one of the halftime floats that said “Help Us Find Our Classmate, Karamjit Kaur.”
A North Valleys sophomore who has been missing since 6:30 p.m. Wednesday when she went to ride her bicycle in front of her home near Stead, Karamjit is believed to be a victim of foul play, Reno police said Friday. Police plan to continue searching the North Valleys area today for Karamjit.
The 16-year-old had moved to this country eight months ago, police said.
Even though she was an English language learner at the school, her grades were outstanding, said Principal Cinda Gifford.
“She has a tremendous work ethic, and she’s very well respected by her teachers and her classmates,” Gifford said.
Emily Bassett, treasurer for the sophomore class, helped paint the homecoming signs and print the fliers urging people to help find the missing teenager.
“It makes me angry, especially that someone did this to someone new to this country,” said Bassett, who has a history class with Karamjit. “And I live in the same area as her, so it’s kind of frightening to think it could happen to me or someone else here.”
Reno police Lt. Mike Whan said Kaur, pronounced “core,” had told her family she felt hot and left about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to ride the family’s red-and-silver mountain bike in front of their house on Anchor Point Drive.
When she failed to return within a half hour, the family became worried, contacted other relatives and they began knocking on doors in the neighborhood and searching for her, Whan said.
“She had been wearing her pajamas, and being out there in the cold is what really worried the family,” he said. “She had just been learning to ride the bike for the past month, so she normally only rode it in front of the house.”
One of the girl’s uncles who speaks English called the police to report her missing. The uncle, Joginder Singh, said after the family searched for Karamjit, they called the hospitals and then the police.
“They are not taking it serious and think she will come back tomorrow,” Singh said. “She just barely started school here and so no friends, no phone or any access, so we know for sure someone kidnapped her. They keep thinking she run away and she come back, but I told them, this won’t happen. She has no friends, no boyfriends, no fights or any kind of argument. (Thursday) they started getting serious.”
“We took it seriously from the very beginning, so that is a misperception on their part,” he said.
The family’s missing person report came in at 7:24 p.m. Wednesday, but since it was not a shooting or murder, it was put on a screen as a priority 3, Whan said. An officer called the family about 8 p.m. No one answered so he left a message. At 8:30 p.m., the family called back, and a report was completed and handed to the desk sergeant.
“The desk sergeant sent officers to look for (Karamjit), and as soon as they saw the circumstances, we sent a whole team up there to talk to the family and do a search from 9 p.m. until 5 or 6 in the morning,” Whan said.
On Thursday morning, the search included Raven helicopters and police dogs, he said. They also checked on every registered sex offender in the area.
No Amber Alert was issued because law enforcement needs a vehicle and/or license plate number to help citizens and officers be on the lookout in those instances, Whan said
Police started asking for the public’s help through the media about 4:30 p.m. Thursday. Later that evening, police stopped cars in the area of Karamjit’s neighborhood, asking residents if they had seen the girl.
Amolak Powar, president of the Sikh Temple of Reno where Singh is a committee member, said Friday that Karamjit’s uncle and family are very thankful for the Reno Police Department’s help.
Police found her bicycle at 3 p.m. Thursday about a quarter mile from her home. It had been left at a skateboard park near Silver Lake Elementary School between Red Rock Road and Stead Boulevard northwest of Reno.
Whan said the bike was about 200 to 300 yards from the school. There was no evidence it had been struck by a car and dumped there, and there was no evidence a struggle.
The fact that the bicycle was found about a quarter mile from Karmajit’s house is another concern for police because the family said she has never ridden that far from home before, Whan said.
If she was abducted closer to her home, someone else might have found the bike and ridden it down to the skateboard park, which would result in police searching the wrong area, he said.
“The bike could have been put there by a kid who found it at another location and saw it lying on the side of the road, jumped on it and rode it to the skateboard park,” Whan said. “If that’s the case, it changes everything for us. If we knew where the bike had been left when (Karamjit) left it, we would be concentrating our search in that area instead.”
Whan said if someone did find the bicycle and rode it to the skate park, they need to contact the police department and there will be no repercussions.
“I don’t care who they are, and I would say they just borrowed the bike,” he said. “We just need to know the last place she really was riding the bike in or if it was ridden to the skate park by another person.”
Karamjit’s uncle said her family is suffering and has been praying for her return.
“They are very sad. They are depressed and scared,” Singh said of his niece, who has one brother and three sisters.
“Her mother cries every day,” he said. “This is the second day, and everybody worries. The more time, the more fear we have.”
Source: Lenita Powers • firstname.lastname@example.org RGJ.COM
01 October 2009
I think the less said about this video, the better. Especially note our brother and sister from about 3:10 to 4:20.
FORGET?! WHO ARE THEY KIDDING?
And then they cannot understand our desire for self-determination.
22 September 2009
I do not want to say too much about this entry made by Japman Kaur, age 12 and Triman Singh of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. I'll just say that their Gian Kaur is expressing openly the feelings that I keep unexpressed, close to my heart for 25 years.
Please go vote for this video at:
It's worth the trip!
11 September 2009
My dear brothers and sisters,
I wrote this and hesitate to post it in the tribute to 911 - it's hardly a tribute - but having written it, I would like to share it with you. I had not intended to write a 9/11 post this year, but reading Pres. Obama's speech, I was struck by the similarities. Read on and you'll see what I mean. Pres. Obama's words are in regular print; my revisions are in italics.
I have said elsewhere that 31 October-4 November 1984 was my 9/11. I ask your forgiveness for my slight rewriting of the beginning of Pres. Obama's speech....
We start with President Obama's opening words.
Eight years ago, on an ordinary Tuesday morning, nearly 3,000 lives were lost in the deadliest attack on American soil in our history.
Twenty-five years ago, on an ordinary Wednesday morning, more than 3,000 lives were lost in the deadliest attack on the Sikh people in centuries.
It was an event that forever changed the life of this city. And it was a tragedy that will be forever seared in the consciousness of our nation.
It was an event that should forever change the life of Delhi. And it was a tragedy that should be forever seared in the consciousness of the Sikh nation.
Every year on this day, we are all New Yorkers.
Every year on these days, Indians should all imagine themselves Sikhs.
We pause to remember the victims, to grieve with the families and friends of those who died, and to honor the heroes of that day and each day since who have sacrificed to save lives and serve their country.
We pause to remember the victims, to grieve with the families and friends of those who died, and to honor the heroes of those days and each day since who have grieved their loved ones sacrificed at the alter of hatred and prejudice.
We will never forget the images of planes vanishing into buildings; of billowing smoke rolling down the streets of Manhattan; of photos hung by the families of the missing.
We will never forget the images of turbanned men running in circles with burning tyres around their necks as the mobs jeered; of billowing smoke rolling down the streets of Trilokpuri; of photos hung by the families of the missing.
We will never forget the rage and aching sadness we felt.
We will never forget the rage and aching sadness we felt.
And we will never forget the feeling that we had lost something else: a sense of safety as we went about our daily lives.
And we will never forget the feeling that we had lost something else: a sense of safety as we went about our daily lives.
The memory of those images and that vulnerability reminds us of the real and present danger posed by violent extremists who would use terrorism against Americans at home and around the world.
The memory of those images and that vulnerability reminds us of the real and present danger posed by violent extremists who would use terrorism against Sikhs at home and around the world.
07 September 2009
Here is a picture of Sant ji on a bus, completely unlike any other picture I have ever seen of him.
That bright smile is the very definition of chardi kala! That can never die.
From the Flickr photostream of Singh Soorme.
I do suggest you go take a look.
28 August 2009
Watching this video, it takes me back to the 1960s in Montreal when we were going to change the world and build Utopia. We were totally in chardi kala and really believed we could make a difference.
("Are you willing to die for the Revolution?" "Die? Heck, anybody can die. I'm willing to live for the Revolution!" Mind you, none of us was quite sure what "the Revolution" was, but we were willing to live and die for it.)
Looking back, we were naive and maybe a bit silly, but we were dedicated and strong and we believed - we knew - that we had to make a difference. For a while, it looked like we were wrong. We made no difference at all. Some got discouraged. Some quit trying. Some remained in chard kala.
Then - 1984! It all fell to pieces. We were caught up in the violence in India. We fought. We died. Some lived to tell the story. It seemed that everything we had believed in, had dedicated our lives to, lay in ashes at our feet. Akaal Takht was in ruins, the evidence of our great history burnt by a bunch of thugs calling themselves the Army of India. Thousands dead, first in Amritsar, then in Delhi and elsewhere. Operation Woodrose. Operation Shanti? We realised that we, who had long fought for the rights of the oppressed and had gained independence for India, were despised, feared, looked upon as food for stray dogs in the street. We were stunned, stopped dead in our tracks. Ashes at our feet.
Then we remembered that we are Sikhs. We can be killed, but we cannot be destroyed. Our recovery has been slow and painful. These past twenty-five years have been difficult beyond words. But words are all we have to express ourselves with. So we try. Difficult these years have been, but not impossible. We are still here. We are still alive. We are still vital. We are regaining that chardi kala that is one of the marks of the Sikh, as recognisable and as Sikh as our panj kakkars.
I often hear my generation bemoaning the cutting of hair, the losing of identity, the lack of devotion among our young. These are problems, big problems and they must be faced and overcome. Then I think with great joy of my many young cyberfriends around the world, young Khalsa that who would make any generation of Sikhs burst with pride. They may not be many, but Guru ji will bless them and their ranks will grow.
[Note: I wanted to make a collage of some of these, but they would rather remain anonymous.]
Our problems will be faced and overcome as we have done in times of crisis in the past. As the parents and grandparents (when did I get old enough to be a grandmother?), we need to love and encourage these young people, teach them what we have learned. I have found that they are hungry to hear from the mouths and pens of the survivors what really happened in 1984. We are reluctant to speak, partly from our own pain and partly from a misguided desire to spare our children the pain of those years. This is their history and they have a right to it. We must share our experiences with them. This history is their birthright, as much as are the stories of Mughals.
[Note: this picture is from [The Rise of the Khalsa]
(Follow the link for a preview!)
So, back in 1967, we were out to build Utopia. We haven't yet succeeded in that. It's not likely we will. There have been positive changes, however. The Canadian government has openly recognised the injustices done to us in the past. To the south, I watched with amazement the Presidential debate between a Black Senator and a White Senator in a university that had been integrated within my memory with bloodshed amid shouts of "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!"
With even more amazement, I watched the inauguration of that same Black Senator as the President of still the most powerful nation in the world.
We recently celebrated the 91st birthday of Nelson Mandela, former President of the Republic of South Africa.
It is no longer unusual to see women in the governments of various nations. A woman is Chancellor of Germany.
Have we done enough? Of course not! I do think that we need to stop a minute and acknowledge that we have accomplished something. And move on forward, refreshed and in chardi kala.
This is what this song brought up in my heart and mind.
Earlier, I said we have only words. I was wrong. We have words and images and music. Let us be joyful as we walk from the past
through the present and
into the future,
into the future with our turbaned heads held high, a smile on our collective face and love in our collective heart.
BTW, I am not endorsing this group, only presenting my thoughts on the video.