31 May 2010

Storming The Temple, a video

This video is primarily about the attach on Darbar Sahib and the events and conditions leading up to it.

I can't say I agree with everything in it, but it in more balanced than most.  I do wish that  SaintSoldiers would move their logo so we could read the subtitles.

From The History Channel.  In English.

30 May 2010

Blue Star Massacre Widget.

I have made this widget - also in the sidebar to the right - to commemorate the shaheeds of the Bluestar Massacre.

Bluestar Massacre Widget
If you would like to add it to your blog/website, the code can be found at:


Copy/paste that into your site's html. To put it in the sidebar, add it as a gadget using the Javascript/html.

While you're there, feel free to look through that website.  I set it up to thank the people in my life who need thanking.  That most certainly includes you, my faithful readers.   The pages are meant to be read in order and start at the home page:  Thanks, Gurufateh and Chardi Kala. 

20 May 2010


We have been trying for this for a long, long time.  Here is the release I received this morning.  A nice thing to see in my inbox.   Now, Step One is complete.  I will be keeping a close eye on this.  In the meantime, you might like to friend Sikhs For Justice in Facebook. 

Sikhs Justice May 20 at 9:45am

The sustained struggle for Justice by victims of November 1984 Sikh Genocide, Human Rights Advocacy group Sikhs For Justice and All India Sikh Student Federation (AISSF) bore fruit when a Delhi Court ordered framing of charges against Congress Leader Sajjan Kumar for his role in killing of Sikhs during the November 1984 Sikh Genocide. The charges will be framed under Murder; Looting, Dacoity and Robbery; Spreading enmity between communities; Violation of curfew orders, Arson, burning of Gurudwara and burning of Houses. Additional Sessions Judge Sunita Gupta allowed CBI's plea seeking prosecution of Sajjan Kumar under various sections of Indian Penal Code after finding prima facie evidence against him. Besides Sajjan Kumar, the other accused in the case are Balwan Khokhar, Mahender Yadav, Maha Singh, Capt Bhagmal, Santosh Rani, Girdhari Lal and Krishna Khokhar.
This case relates to killing of five Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment area by a mob led by Sajjan Kumar and other accused during the November 1984 Sikh Genocide. On the basis of recommendations of Justice Nanavati Commission, this case was entrusted to CBI in 2005 for further investigation/ reinvestigation against Sajjan Kumar and other accused. The investigation and the case against the accused would have closed for lack of evidence if it had not been for the efforts of the Human Rights Advocacy group Sikhs for Justice and AISSF who brought forward and (held the arm) of star witnesses like Jagdish Kaur, Nirpreet Kaur, Jagsher Singh, Sheila Kaur to testify against the powerful politicians. Sikhs For Justice and AISSF even arranged for the investigation agency to be taken to Amritsar where the statement of the witnesses were recorded. It was after testimonies of these important witnesses that the CBI filed chargesheet against the accused.
Sikhs for Justice and AISSF are pursuing a legal battle in Indian courts to get punished those guilty of killing Sikhs during the November 1984 Sikh Genocide in India. Sikhs for Justice has established a legal team which is headed by Advocate Kamna Vohra along with Advocate Navkiran Singh Advocates have also been appointed to represent the CBI including Senior Advocate Mr. RS Cheema, Mr. DP Singh and Mr. Y.P. Saxena.

Senior advocate Mr. HS Phoolka who is representing the victims of the Genocide since last 25 years said that the framing of the charges will pave for trial in the case. The Delhi High Court had earlier issued direction to complete the trial within six months of cases relating to November 1984 Sikh Genocide. The trial will be held on day today basis.
Advocate Kamna Vohra appearing for the victims stated this is a very important development and she is very hopeful that the perpetrators of the November 1984 Sikh Genocide will be punished.
Attorney Gurpatwant S Pannun, Legal Advisor of Sikhs for Justice stated that as a human rights advocacy group we have completed our task by locating and bringing the witnesses forward and now it is upto the Indian Judiciary to bring the cases to their logical conclusions and punish the perpetrators of the Genocide. He stated that the hopes of the victims and all others are now pinned on the Indian Judiciary.
AISSF President Karnail Singh Peermohammed stated that though delayed, he is hopeful that justice will be done. He stated that the wounds of the Sikh community will be healed only after the killers of the Sikhs are punished by law.
In January 2010, CBI filed two charge sheets against Sajjan Kumar for his role in the November 1984 massacre of Sikhs. The chargesheets pertained to killing of seven Sikhs in Sultanpuri, North-West Delhi and killing of five Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment in November 1984.
The charges in this case will be formally framed in the court on May 24, 2010.
The Sikhs for Justice legal time is currently pursuing 32 Appeals involving 98 accused in Delhi High Court and 3 Appeals against acquittal of accused at the Supreme Court of India.
Newspaper Coverage:

Photograph from The Hindu 16 February 2010

Google Translate in Punjabi

It seems my little vacation has been cut short by events.  Two new posts today.  Both good news.

First, I have been looking for a way to translate this blog into Punjabi for nearly four years.  Now there might be a way.  It's a long shot, but then my being here typing this is statistically impossible and here I am.

Google has a really cool service called "Google Translate" which translates web pages from one language to another very quickly.  So now when I get a Spanish or German or even Chinese.  But not Punjabi.  This must be corrected!

There is currently a petition to get Punjabi covered by Google Translate.  Google has a reputation of listening to its users. It is totally nonpolitical.  All it says is:  

We would like 'Google Translate' to create a language Punjabi. All the signatures, are willing to use this feature, if created. 

Please sign it at:


19 May 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Golden Temple Fish

9Pgoldentemple-fish1, originally uploaded by Liz Highleyman.

Photo by Liz Highleyman
Used under a Creative Commons License

17 May 2010


I am on hiatus, but this story just begs to be told.  So much tragedy on our last trip to India.  It wasn't all tragedy, though.  There were some funny moments that have tended to become lost amidst the blood and guts and glory.  This is one such moment. 
Twenty-six years ago almost to the day, three very weary Sikhs landed in the Delhi International Airport.  The three, a man of 43, a woman of 34 and a boy of 13, really just wanted some quiet sleep after two days air journey from Montreal.  We three, of course.  I'm sure we looked less tired than we actually were.  Mani and Sandeep were both in bana, I was wearing a red silk Punjabi suit.  We looked very, very Sikh.  Mani was his usual 188cm (6 ft, 2 in) self, straight back, striding through the airport as if he owned it.  Sandeep - with a beginner's mustache, quite attractive and a few stray strands of hair on his chin, already taller than his 152 cm (5 ft.) mother - and I  trotted along beside him. Neither Mani nor I of us had been to India since the summer of 1969 and we didn't know what we would find.  It was Sandeep's first visit.  We knew, of course, about the tensions between us Sikhs and Indira's government and were very much aware of -  and supporters of - the Khalistan Movement.  We had even hoped that we might somehow be able to meet Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale ji.   Still we were unprepared for the feeling of coldness, even slight hostility toward us.  Nothing we could quite put our fingers on, but definitely something unpleasant in the air.

As we walked quickly through the airport, a weaselly little Hindu kept running alongside us barely able to keep up, jabbering on and on about, "It's 12 o'clock, Sardar."  No ji.

It was a bit annoying, but we ignored it and just kept going.  Finally, the gnarly weasel stepped directly in front of Mani.  I have to say this about the little creep, he had guts.  "He looked up at Mani, directly into his eyes, and said, "What do you think you're going to do?  Who do you think you are, anyway?"  Or something very close to that.  I gasped;  even Sandeep was taken aback.  I knew Mani was tired and might well lose his temper.  His left hand was on the hilt of kirpan and a scowl was on his face.  The weasel seemed to relise that he had made a mistake.  Others, too, noticed what was going on, and our immediate environment became very quiet.

This, of course, is not us.  Mani and Sandeep had turbans and I bear little resemblance to the luminous Sophia Loren

Mani was Mani.  He threw back his head and began singing, very loudly,

Oh the trumpets of glory
Now call me to ride,
Yes, the trumpets are calling to me,
And wherever I ride,
Ever staunch at my side
My squire (one arm around Sandeep's shoulders)
my lady(the other arm around my shoulders)
shall be!
I am I, Don Quixote
The Lord of la Mancha

We caught on and joined him in the song:

Our destiny calls and we go!
And the wild winds of fortune 
Shall carry us onward,
Oh, whithersoever they blow,
Whithersoever they blow,
Onward to glory we go!

By now, the weasel was groveling in front of us, shaking, obviously terrified.

But Mani wasn't finished.  He tossed back his head and bellowed:


For a split second, I was about as scared as the weasel , half expecting the cops to roughly arrest us or possibly herd us on the next plane back to Canada.  Nothing could have prepared me for what actually happened.

Loudly, from all sides, came the response,

Mani gave a last look of contempt at the little Hindu, by now just quivering jelly on the floor and tossed a coin at him.  

 Sandeep, very quietly, whispered at him, "Khalistan Zindabad."  I have often wonder how this whole incident sounded when told from his point of view.

We continued on through the airport, singing loudly that we were all Don Quixote, the Lord of La Mancha going onward to glory.

Even at the time, it felt like being in a very silly Bollywood movie.  Looking back, it seems even funnier than it was at the time.  I guess it could have gotten very serious if the officials had decided to make an incident out of it, but someone was watching over us, I guess, and there were no bad repercussions, just a lot of giggles.

So those of you who know me well and have heard me burst out with "I am I, Don Quixote..." for no apparent reason now know the rest of the story.

The section with that contains the "I Am I" song  that we sang starts 2:11 at in the following video, the song itself starts at 8:52 (fortunately, Mani did not drop dead while singing).  Please listen and imagine the three of us and the weasel at the airport.:

The video is from the 1972 movie, The Man of La Mancha, which I highly recommend.  The song, "The Impossible Dream" has been an important part of my life since I first heard it.  The woman who plays my part is the very lovely Sophia Loren at the height of her beauty.

"What is illness to the body of a Knight Errant?
What matter wounds?
He rises where he has fallen and 

12 May 2010


SKIHTOONS.  Until someone gives me a good reason to resume writing, enjoy the Sikhtoons.

With much thanks to Vishavjit Singh, who graciously lets his Sikhtoons to be published all over Sikh sites on the 'Net.