27 January 2011

KIRPANS IN QUEBEC - follow up statement

Where have my brains been hiding? Why didn't I see this immediately?   This whole thing was a set-up by Bloc Quebecois.

I was reading this editorial (I'll copy/paste it below) when I realised what a dolt I've been. Quebec has been fuming ever since the Montreal public schools were ordered to let that kid keep his kirpan in school. This accommodation (or not) for the niqab was the perfect opportunity to get even with us and take it even a bit farther.

The Quebec government is well aware of the importance of the kirpan to Sikhs because of the above case. When they invited the Sikhs to testify, they knew very well they would be carrying kirpans. They purposely made no arrangements with security to permit the Sikhs in, knowing that they Sikhs would refuse to surrender their kirpans. They knew the Sikhs would rightfully raise a huge stink at being treated so unfairly.

This publicity give the Bloc the chance to up the ante and get kirpans banned not only from the Quebec Legislature but to also try to get them banned from the Canadian Parliament where Navdeep Singh has been attending with his kirpan for more than six years and, I might add, has made no attempt to stab any opposition MP.

So we've been seriously punked! What are we going to do about it?

I realise that probably everybody else saw this from the beginning, it's so obvious.

My dear readers please sign the petition (if you haven't already) :   Say NO!! To Bloc's Call to Ban KIRPANS in Parliament

and also join the Facebook Cause with the same name.  

The article that brought about this much belated epiphany (italics mine):

Only in Quebec you say?

Other provinces have long tolerated minority rights. Not us

The Gazette
January 27, 2011

What is it about Quebec that makes it more dangerous for orthodox Sikhs to wear the kirpan here than elsewhere in Canada?

After Sikh boys in other provinces had been allowed to wear the dagger-like religious symbol to school for a hundred years, why was it still considered unsafe in 2002 for a Sikh boy to do the same here, even under severe restrictions?

And in the latest incident involving the kirpan, why was a Sikh delegation barred from the National Assembly last week after refusing to surrender their kirpans, when a Sikh member of Parliament is allowed to wear his in the House of Commons?

(And why, after Liberal Navdeep Singh had been doing so for more than six years, did the Bloc Quebecois only get around to objecting after the incident at the Assembly?)

Safety was the official reason given by the Assembly's security service for forbidding the Sikhs to wear their kirpans. But, as ruefrontenac.comblogger Marco Fortier pointed out, the kirpan is no more dangerous a weapon than the table knives in the Assembly's restaurants.

And it's not as if the Sikhs just showed up unannounced on a bus tour, catching everybody at the Assembly by surprise. They had been invited to appear before an Assembly committee examining a bill on, ironically, religious accommodations.

But since the committee had neglected to make prior arrangements for them to be admitted while wearing their kirpans, the Sikh delegation wasn't heard.

More than one made-in-Quebec compromise between the Sikhs' religious beliefs and the need for security at the Assembly was available.

The delegation could have been escorted by Assembly constables, as was a Sikh leader invited to a ceremony at the legislature last year.

Or they could have been allowed to wear their kirpans sealed inside their clothing. That was the solution suggested by the Supreme Court of Canada in its 2006 "reasonable accommodation" decision in the case of the Sikh boy forbidden from wearing his kirpan to school. 

In applauding the exclusion of the Sikh delegation, Louise Beaudoin of the Parti Quebecois expressed disagreement with the Supreme Court's decision. "Multiculturalism might be a Canadian value," she said. "But it is not a Quebec one."

The conditions under which the boy could wear his kirpan to school originated not with the Supreme Court, however, but with the boy's French-language school board. They were expanded in a decision by a Frenchspeaking judge of Quebec Superior Court.

And contrary to what Beaudoin implied, the Supreme Court's decision was not based on multiculturalism.

Rather, the court ruled that forbidding the boy to wear his kirpan to school violated his freedom of religion under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

And that freedom is protected not only by the Canadian Charter but also by Quebec's own Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms -adopted seven years before the Canadian Charter.

(Beaudoin's position is wrong, but at least she took one. Liberal Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil, the sponsor of the accommodation bill, refused to say whether the Sikh delegation should have been admitted.)

So "reasonable accommodation" reflects Quebec values as well as so-called Canadian ones.

Or at least it reflects what used to be Quebec values, before the backlash against the Supreme Court's decision on the kirpan.

Since then, the parties have been competing over the identity question for the votes of the majority, at the expense of the Quebec Charter and the rights of minorities, and not only religious ones.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Reprinted from Sikh Philosophy Network

26 January 2011



As many of you know, I was born and raised in Montreal, in the French Canadian province of Quebec.  This is a part of Canada and yet apart from much of the Canadians' ideals.  I won't try to make sense of that right now.  It's just too complicated.  Enough to say that a group of four Sikhs were invited to speak at the Quebec Legislature talking about religious rights and freedom and the niqab.  Make a note, they were invited guests.  When they arrived, they were not allowed inside to testify because they were carrying their kirpans.  I am not making this up!

Four Sikhs rejected from entering the Quebec Legislature

Invited to Quebec legislature, Sikhs then barred for carrying kirpans


QUEBEC— From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
They came to the National Assembly to support a woman’s religious right to wear a niqab in Quebec but four members of the World Sikh Organization of Canada were turned away because of another religious flashpoint – the kirpans they were carrying.
The four Sikhs had been invited to appear before a legislative committee debating a bill that deals with the reasonable accommodation of religious minorities. But the group never got through the metal detectors at the entrance of the National Assembly building as security agents ruled the kirpans, or ceremonial daggers, they carried were a potential weapon...
Louise Beaudoin, the [Parti Québécois]’ designated critic on secularism, said, "...multiculturalism is not a Quebec value. It may be a Canadian one but it is not a Quebec one."
 Ms. Beaudoin supported the security agents’ decision to prohibit access to the four Sikhs when they refused to remove their kirpans.

Not satisfied in keeping Sikhs out of the Quebec Legislature, they are now trying to ban  our kirpans in the Canadian Parliament.  Clearly this is unacceptable to Sikhs everywhere.  We must stand up and say a resounding NO!  to this nonsense.  One way to do this is to sign the petition
Say NO!! To Bloc's Call to Ban KIRPANS in Parliament
 Please, dear Gursikhs, help the Sikhs of Canada, your sisters and brothers preserve this right.  We need your help now.  Don't let us down!!

Please note that Jack Layton of the NDP (a proven friend to the Sikh community) supports our right to carry the kirpan, as does Liberal Party Leader Michael Ignatieff.The Conservatives have remained silent.

Photo Credit:  CTV News

17 January 2011


Today is a national holiday honouring Martin Luther King, Jr., the great non-violent civil rights leader of the 1960s.  Because of his efforts and the efforts of hundreds of thousands - maybe millions - of USAers,  laws enforcing and perpetuating segregation, the USA's apartheid system, were outlawed and racial equality became the law of the land.  This was very good.

I do feel the need to point out that passing laws is one thing and getting them enforced is another.  [Think of India's anti-dowry laws, for example]  The enforcement actually involved quite a bit of violence on both sides.  Things seem to have settled down.  The election and presidency of Barack Obama is one indication of this.

About the video:

For those who may not know, "Abraham" is Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the USA, who is credited with freeing the slaves;
"John" is John Kennedy, 35th President of the USA;
"Martin" is Martin Luther King, Jr.;
"Bobby" is Robert Kennedy, JFK's younger brother who was running (standing) for President in 1968.

All four were assassinated.

15 January 2011


I have again been asked the perennial question, Is Khalistan really necessary? This time it was in a Facebook group, Sikhism(English Language).  The person who posted it seems to have removed it.  I think it deserves an answer and, anyway, I have taken the time to write it and my time is valuable.  Here is the exchange:

His question (completely unedited ):

Mai Harinder Kaur ji , I can understand the state which you went through in the past . But cannot understand why you are still supporting Khalistan ? Past is Past . The new generation here in India does not want to listen to the Khalistan stories . With time , people are moving ahead . Looking for Justice is a separate thing and Dreaming of Khalistan is a separate thing .Many teenagers who were not even born 25 years ago , get into debates of Khalistan - Khalistan here in this Virtual World . The age which is meant to make career , look for life partner is spent in hatred and criticism debates regarding Khalistan . As a human , we all want Justice . But With Khalistan tales , we are again creating hatred and criticism among new generation people . Isn't it so ?

Indian Princely States

My response:

No, it isn't so.  Hatred is not being created.  Injustice exists.  That creates a certain amount of negative emotion all on its own.  Criticism is necessary and justified.  Any system will be and should be critically examined.  That includes the system that is called The Republic of India.  Has India treated Sikhs with respect in the past?  If not, how can we expect India to treat us fairly in the future?

This statement is most interesting:  "The new generation here in India does not want to listen to the Khalistan stories."  If this is true, the solution is simple.  Don't listen.  No one is forcing you to listen or read or watch videos about Khalistan.  The writings and videos are there;  it is your choice to pay attention or ignore them.  I have found, however, that many young Indian Sikhs are very interested.  Also your statement that "the age which is meant to make career, look for life partner is spent in hatred and criticism debates regarding Khalistan" implies that one cannot make a career and look for a life partner while debating Khalistan.  That is simply not true.  Career and marriage, and working toward Khalistan are not mutually exclusive at all.  In fact, Khalistan will need educated workers and stable families in order to exist and thrive.

Are we Sikhs a people?  Yes, I believe we are, both spiritually and physically.    We have a history, a language, a culture and an ancestral homeland, as well as a religion.  We have the right and the need to preserve all this.  All people long for their own autonomy.  In India, we Sikhs will always be a thorn in the side of the ruling elite because we don't accept their self-claimed right to rule over us.  Because of promises such as M. K. Gandhi's assurance, " No Constitution would be acceptable to the Congress which did not satisfy the Sikhs." (Collected works of M K Gandhi Vol.58. p. 192), the Sikhs threw their support to Congress only to be betrayed when Independence was achieved.   The Constitution of India (which accepts us only as Hindus) has never been accepted by us and will certainly never satisfy us.  With such disrespect shown to us at the highest levels, how can we ever enjoy safety in our homes and businesses?

If you think the need for Khalistan is rooted in hatred, you are completely wrong.  It is rooted in the love we have for our Sikh sisters and brothers, in our love of Sikhi and in our love for the highest Khalsa ideals.  If you read my writings carefully, you will find that I have never advocated violence to establish Khalistan.  I have always said that Khalistan will become a physical reality when it is the Hukam of Vaheguru.  I expect eventually that India - a legal fiction created by the British for their own convenience - will fall to pieces. People from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashrta,  Gurjarat are foreigners when it comes to history, language and culture.   There has been no point in time in the last 3000 years when Kashmir, Tamilnadu, Bengal and Punjab were under the same administrative unit.  Again, India was created by the British for their administrative convenience.  It was Gandhi/Nehru foolishness that a person from Jalandhar or Ludhiana needs a visa to travel to Lahore but doesn't need a visa to travel to Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore.  It's simply absurd.  Creation of Khalistan is a means to end this absurdity.

When India disintegrates, it is our right and responsibility to be prepared to govern Punjab and whatever other parts of Balkanised India choose to join us.