website is dedicated to our great savior Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in
the memory of Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia, our great freedom fighter
& the founder of Ad Dharm
Onkar Singh Bindra*,
Ph.D. (U.C. Berkeley)
Formerly Head of Entomology Dept., Punjab
Agriculture Univ., Ludhiana, India;
Retd Entomologist, Food & Agric. Organization of United
Ex-Board Member, Renaissance Society, Calif. State Univ.,
Trustee Sikh Temple, Sacramento. Ph. (916) 858-2650
CALIFORNIA WILL SAVE KIDS’
LIVES AT SCHOOLS BY MANDATING
THE STOCKINGOF EPINEPHRINE AUTO INJECTORS
Sacramento (Sept. 16, 2014). As per press release of Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, the Senate Bill 1266 was signed into law on 9/15/2014 by California Governor Jerry Brown. Introduced by Sen. Bob Huff on 2/21/2014, it went through 35 steps before reaching the Governor. It will require schools to stock Epinephrine auto injectors on campus, effective January 1, 2015. The school nurse or a well-trained volunteer teacher or staff will be able to administer this critically important medicine quickly and safely within a few minutes, if a student suffers from a serious anaphylactic allergy reaction during school hours, and save his/her life. “SB 1266 will help save lives by ensuring emergency medication is available at schools, especially helping students who don’t know they have an allergy,” Senator Huff has said.
The press release adds, "This issue recently drew the attention of President Barak Obama, who signed federal legislation that rewards states who require stocking Epinephrine in schools, by giving them possible preferential treatment in the awarding of certain grants (HR 2094 – School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act). Current California law allows schools to stock epinephrine, but does not require it."
Many organizations and numerous individuals, including, Prof. Onkar S. Bindra, a Sikh educationist, testified before the various committees of the State Assembly and the Senate. He is thankful to the Sikh Sangat, his friends, and their friends, who supported the SB 1266 (Huff) through letters, faxes or phone calls to the Governor's office. Bindra adds that, we should continue supporting SB 1057 (Corbett) -revision of Content Standards for History-Social Science by phone (916-445-2841), fax (916-558-3160) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on www.ambedkartimes.com September 16, 2014
BINDRA FAMILY IN GRIEF
Ambedkartimes sends its condolence to the Bindra family, relatives and friends on their biggest loss.
For more information, please contact to Dr. Onkar Singh Bindra: (916) 858-2650.
S. Hans Raj Singh Bindra expired on Friday, June 7, 2013 in Sacramento after a short illness. He was uncle (Chacha ji) of Onkar Singh Bindra, Omparkash Singh Bindra and Mrs. Santosh Khaira. He was born in village Nainwan, Tehsil Garhshankar, District Hoshiarpur in 1924. He passed Matriculation from Garhshankar, and B.A. from Government College Hoshiarpur. Then, he joined the army and later got selected as a commissioned officer. At the end of the World War II, he got an honorable discharge. He worked as an auditor of AGCR for a long time. After retirement, he migrated to USA in 1982. Here, he worked as an auditor with the EDD. He and his wife went to the Gurdwara regularly. He
encouraged, guided and motivated his children and grandchildren to become well-educated. Despite failing eyesight, he liked to read. Recently, he read the biography of Einstein. He is survived by his wife (Rajinder Kaur), 4 children (Ravinder, Malvinder, Harinder, Karamvir), 6 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. May his soul rest in peace!
Posted on www.ambedkartimes.com June 10, 2013
WORLD RELIGIONS COURSE IN MODESTO CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT*
Modesto City School District has been teaching Sikhism
as a part of a course required by all students. It has
proved very useful in promoting
peace and harmony among the students. Other school Districts
can emulate the example of the Modesto City School District.
Readers may like to
take up the matter. Onkar S. Bindra, email@example.com}
The Modesto City Schools established a World Religions course
as a graduation requirement in the year 2000, as a 9-week study
paired with a 9- week geography component to form a semester
course. The course was developed by a teachers’ curriculum
committee that worked closely with an advisory group of parents
and religious leaders from the local community.
The committee determined that it was important to start by introducing
students to America’s religious tradition. This opening
unit includes discussions of Roger Williams and the establishment
of Rhode Island, the concept of separation of church and state
and the significance of each of the five rights listed in the
first amendment. This historical overview of religious freedom
allows the teachers to discuss the responsibility of safeguarding
rights across all areas of the Constitution. The district’s
character traits of responsibility and respect are highlighted
as students are taught the importance of listening to others
and making appropriate comments that will not be offensive.
Following this introduction, the course includes study Hinduism,
Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The emphasis
is on the academic information for each religion; geographical
location, founder, holy book(s), major beliefs, history and
cultural impact, etc. The information is portrayed from a neutral
academic standing. Students learn about each religion but are
not asked to practice or participate in any religious activities.
All seven comprehensive high schools in the district use a common
curriculum. All teachers undergo 40 hours of training before
they may teach the course. Originally, the training included
video lectures from local universities drawing attention to
the major beliefs of each religion. Further, teachers were invited
to meet with community members from different faiths and discuss
their curriculum. Budget squeezes have limited these. However,
the district has remained very supportive and has provided posters,
books, and age-appropriate DVD’s for each school.
The Modesto teachers used the California State Social Science
Framework Elective Guidelines (p. 121) in selecting the religions
to be included in the class. However, it was decided to also
include Sikhism because of the large Sikh community in Stanislaus
County. Some students at each high school campus are from Sikh
community and wear the turban. In years past there were many
misunderstandings. Other students and staff often mistakenly
identified Sikh students as followers of Hinduism or Islam.
Once the class was in place, these misconceptions were able
to be addressed and all students felt more accepted within their
learning communities. This is just one of many examples of how
the class has created opportunities for discussion that are
not only helpful for understanding the social sciences but are
also beneficial to the student population. California has a
very large Sikh community. The teachers’ curriculum committee
of Modesto City Schools believes that Sikhism should be added
to the California’s Social-Science Framework, in the elective
on World Religions.
of the main goals of creating the course was to help students
learn to find common ground. The process of creating the curriculum
itself was an ongoing discussion with stakeholders from throughout
the Stanislaus County Region. The process was very rewarding
in terms of discussing sometimes difficult issues but reaching
a consensus that there was common ground upon which all Americans
stand. A decade after its creation, the World Religions course
is still providing a valuable background which helps students
understand the cultural and historical significance of religion
before they take world history. More importantly, students continue
to explore the relationship between rights and responsibilities
and they come away from the course with a better understanding
of their peers and people in their immediate community.
Modesto City Schools World Religions Class has been positively
received in the following: (1) Doctoral thesis
of Professor Emile Lester- College of William and Mary- Learning
About World Religions in Public Schools- funded by the First
Amendment Center of Washington D.C.- 2005 (2). C-span TV presentation-
Close up TV Show review of Emile Lester’s findings (3).
Teaching Tolerance Magazine- “One Nation, Many Gods”
2007 (4). CBS Evening News- June 28, 2008 “Teaching, Not
Preaching, In CA Bible Belt”(5). NPR Day to Day show presenting
the World Religions Class- January 2009
by Niles Carlin, World Religions Instructor of Modesto City
at the Sikh Awareness Seminar held on April 9, 2011 at the Sikh
Temple Sacramento organized by Dr. Onkar S. Bindra. Posted
on July 11, 2011
SINGH, A UNIQUE GHADRI BABA
Baba Jawala Singh (1866-1938), a.k.a. Jawala Singh Thathian, was
a unique personality –a Potato King, Founder of scholarships
at Berkeley, Granthi of the Stockton Gurdwara, first Vice-President
of the Ghadar Party, and President of Kisan Sabha of Punjab. He
was born in village Thathian, near Beas, in Amritsar district,
Punjab (India). His father, Ghanaia Singh, was a small farmer.
Under the British rule, Punjabi farmers were treated as lease
holders of the land they had owned during Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s
regime. They had to pay exorbitant lease charges in cash, which
they had to borrow from money lenders who charged high interest
rates. This economic hardship forced many Punjabis to go abroad
to earn. Jawala Singh also left his village, in 1905. He reached
San Francisco in 1908, working his way through many countries,
including Panama and Mexico. When Visakha Singh learnt of his
arrival, he invited Jawala Singh to join him. They together leased
a 500-acre ranch at Holtsville, near Stockton. Visakha Singh spent
all his time on the farm, while Jawala Singh attended to outside
duties, including public relations. They became successful potato
growers, and Jawala Singh was called Potato King.
Scholarships: Jawala Singh was a very foresighted nationalist
and understood the value of education. He built good relations
with the University of California, Berkeley, and incredibly, founded
scholarships for Indian scholars, within four years of his own
arrival in the USA. Echoes of Freedom (2001) gives the notification
of the scholarships, issued on Jan.1, 1912 under Jawala Singh’s
signature, and includes his picture (The one on the left above).
Applications for the scholarships were to reach Mrs. Bertha Pope
by May 27, 1912. The scholarships were to cover the cost of two-way
transportation from India and to meet all expenses here. Scholars
were to be provided free board and lodging at 1731 Allston Way
(Berkeley). This home, purchased by the Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan
Society was called “Guru Nanak Dev Vidyarthi Ashram”.
Here, smoking and drinking were prohibited.
Jawala Singh enlisted support of his friends (Santokh Singh, Sohan
Singh and Wisakha Singh) to underwrite the scholarships. Though
underwritten by Sikhs, and named as Sri Guru Govind Singh Educational
Scholarships, the scholarships were open to men and women of all
communities hailing from anywhere in India. The selection committee
included Har Dyal, Taraknath Das, Teja Singh, and Professor Arthur
U. Pope of U.C., Berkeley. The 1912 awardees of the scholarships
included one Christian, one Sikh, one Muslim and 3 Hindus. Unfortunately,
the scholarship project was not continued, owing to financial
problems of the sponsors, who had to assume much responsibility
of the Sikh Temple Stockton and of the Ghadar Party.
Sikh Temple Stockton: The Holtsville farm had one room reserved
for Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS). A vast majority of the East
Indians in California were Sikhs. To begin with, they held congregational
prayers at different farms, by rotation. The first Sikh congregational
prayer in USA, in presence of SGGS, was held on November 1, 1911,
almost 100 years ago, at Sardar Nand Singh camp near Stockton.
Soon, they formed the Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan Society, with
Sant Teja Singh was its founder President. It was incorporated
on May 27, 1912, and functioned from Berkeley until October 1,
1917. The society purchased the 1930 South Grant Street residential
lot in Stockton in September 1912. Hundreds of protestors opposed
the hoisting of the Nishan Sahib (Sikh Flag), but they were pacified
and satisfied when Teja Singh explained its religious importance
for the Sikhs. The first prayer was held there on October 24,
1912 in a small pre-existing frame building. This first Gurdwara
in USA is now a Historical Landmark of California. Jawala Singh
and Visakha Singh served as its first Granthis.
A new wooden structure including a prayer hall and a Langar hall
was completed in 1915. Its dedication was held on 426th birth
anniversary of Guru Nanak, on November 21, 1915. Both Jawala Singh
and Visakha Singh had left for India as per decision of the Ghadar
Party. Professor Arthur U. Pope, of the philosophy department
of the University of California, Berkeley, delivered the key-note
address, and spoke of Sikhism’s pure and lofty monotheism,
strong opposition to idol worship, rejection of caste system,
equality of all, sharing, and tolerance of other religions. In
1929, the wooden building of 1915 was moved for use as a library,
and a new brick building of the Gurdwara was built in its place.
It has an elevated seat for Sri Guru Granth Sahib. With permission
from the SGPC, Western system was adopted. The congregation sat
on chairs, wearing shoes, and without covering heads. This system
was also adopted when a Japanese Church in El Centro was converted
into a Gurdwara in 1948, and in the Terra Buena Road Gurdwara,
in Yuba City, built in 1973. However, now-a-days all California
Gurdwaras require removal of shoes and covering of heads before
entering the prayer hall, and sitting on the carpet, but many
Gurdwaras do have benches or chairs for the physically challenged.
Political Activities. Jawala Singh’s patriotic spirit made
him very popular and he was elected President of the California
Branch of the Indian Association, an organization set up by the
Indian pioneers to guard their interests. Discriminatory treatment
meted out to them by the locals and the unsympathetic attitude
of the representatives of the British Indian Government created
a strong desire to overthrow the British government in India at
the earliest. This led to Jawala Singh playing an important role
in the Ghadar Movement.
The Holtville Farm became a center of activities of the Ghadar
Party. Jawala Singh played a key role in organizing a conference
of the Ghadar Party in Sacramento on Dec. 31, 1913, which was
attended by thousands. Here, he was elected first Vice-President
of the party.
Soon after the start of the WWI on July 28, 1914, the Ghadar Party
decided that its members must go to India to fight against the
British government in India. Jawala Singh and Sohan Singh Bhakna,
the President of the Ghadar Party, toured the Western states to
recruit volunteers to go to India. His farm served as camp for
training revolutionaries, going to India. Eventually, he and his
partner (Visakha Singh) donated their entire property to the Ghadar
Party. Jawala Singh was one of the leaders of the first large
group that sailed for India on August 29, 1914 aboard s.s. Korea.
From Hong Kong, he went on another ship, Tosha Mans, which reached
Kolkata on Oct. 29, 1914. On the way, at Singapore, Jawala Singh
tried unsuccessfully to win over the loyalty of Indian regiments
and to incite them for a national revolt against the British.
On arrival at Kolkata, he was arrested from the ship and taken
to Ludhiana by train. He was tried and awarded life imprisonment.
He served 18 years in Montgomery jail. On release in 1933, he
identified himself with farmers and workers and voiced their grievances
through a newspaper called “Kirti”. He worked for
the Desh Bhagat Pariwar Sahaik Committee; collected funds and
helped the families of freedom fighters. He was the first President
of the Punjab Kisan Sabha. For his new activities he was rearrested
in 1935 and sentenced to one year's imprisonment. He led the tenant
movement of Nili Bar. During his travel to the All-India Kisan
Conference his bus met with an accident in Bengal, resulting in
serious injuries, and he died on May 8, 1938. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Posted on June 21, 2011
SIKH-AWARENESS EDUCATIONAL SEMINAR
are cordially invited to learn history, culture and religion of
Sikh Americans. The Seminar honors the Assembly Concurrent Resolution
(ACR) 181 and Mr. Jack O’ Connell’s letters of Nov.
30, 2007 (http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/hs/im/sikhameriltr11-07.asp)
and of October 28, 2010 (http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/hs/im/suptltrlegres0910.asp
), on Saturday, April 9, 2011; 9:00 A.M.-12:00, Where: Sikh Temple
Sacramento, 2301 Evergreen Avenue, West Sacramento, CA 95691 (From
I-80 West, take Harbor Blvd. exit and make a right and another
right). No Fee, Complimentary lunch & Video show Dress: Casual,
comfortable, will need to cover heads and take off shoes, cameras
RSVP to email@example.com
Onkar S. Bindra
Seminar Coordinator (Tel: 916-858-2650)
Issued on behalf of Balbir Singh Dhillon, President of the Sikh
Posted on April 2, 2011