SIGNS TWO IMPORTANT BILLS
pioneers had great fascination for agricultural land. Their work
ethics on the farmlands had impressed many a California landlords
who preferred leasing their land to them. It, however, aroused
imaginary fears in political circles that led Governor Hiram Johnson
to sign California Land Alienation Act of 1913. Sikh pioneers
continued to own more and more land taking advantage of some loopholes
in the Act. By the time Governor William Stephens plugged the
loopholes in 1920 making it virtually impossible to buy land in
California; Sikh pioneers had 88,000 acres land in their care
and were employers to many Californians. The signing of the two
bills marks 100 years of Sikhs' presence in influencing California's
legislative measures starting with Governor Hiram Johnson and
ending with Governor Brown.
Governor Brown signed two important bills yesterday, in a hurriedly
convened gathering of Interfaith groups at the State Capitol.
AB 1964, the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, introduced by Assemblywoman
Mrs. Mariko Yamada and supported by a variety of faith groups
including Catholics, Seventh-day Adventists, Muslims, and Sikhs,
is considered the landmark legislation in protecting civil rights
of Americans of all backgrounds. The bill defines Civil Rights
Act of 1964 more vividly so that employers avoid unnecessary civil
law suits by denying Americans equal treatment in employment.
Balbir Singh Dhillon, President of Sikh Temple West Sacramento
during a telephone interview said that he was always proud to
be American and with the passing of the above bills he felt Sikhs
as a minority are more secure in America than they are in their
land of birth. History of Punjabi pioneers in California has now
a chance to be included in the school curriculum. This will spread
awareness among Americans who will remain no more ignorant about
their fellow Americans.
SB 1540 History-Social Science Framework was introduced by Senator
Loni Hancock. The main purpose of the bill was to remove restriction
put by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in adopting
the revised framework. The bill was supported by California Council
for the Social Studies, Sikh Coalition, Sikh Council of Central
California, Sikh Temple of West Sacramento, and Superintendent
of Public Instruction. There was no opposition on record to the
California History and Social Science Framework was revised last
in 1998 and adopted in 2005. The school curriculum provided a
little or no information about some ethnic groups who had been
contributing to the economy and social life of the state for more
than 100 years. The bill requires including historical information
about them in revising Academic Content Standards. Dr. Onkar Singh
Bindra, an alumnus of UC California who spearheaded the campaign
to revise 13 year old History-Social Science Framework faced several
obstacles since he took up the matter of eclipsing historical
information that is essential for enhancing ‘pupil knowledge
of, and pride in, our history.’ The subject matter of the
bill was related with many other bills such as SB 1325 (Wyland)
which required the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the
State Board of Education to consider methods of enhancing students’
interest in civic participation, including developing new curriculum
frameworks and standards.’
Dr. Bindra’s watchword was ‘Try Try Try Again,’
when after years of grueling efforts and public hearings; History-Social
Science Framework was revised and submitted for final approval
of the former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who suspended it
due to financial constraint with a restriction until 2015. The
signature legislation will benefit not only Sikhs but all ethnic
groups who carved their niche in California’s history by
working hard and living their lives to the best of their potential.
Dr. Bindra thanked members of the Sikh community all over California
State for extending their unstinting support in writing letters
and ringing phones to Governor, assembly members and senators
for highlighting the significance of the legislation for their
children’s education. Dr. Bindra also thanked author of
the Bill Senator Lori Hancock, Superintendent of Public Instruction,
School Board of Education, Department of Education, Members of
the Senate and Assembly, and many others who expressed their unconditional
support for the bill.
During the pendency of the bill, Oak Creek shooting shook the
Sikh community for being targeted by a white supremacist Wade
Michael Page. Since 9/11 more than 700 cases of attacks on Sikh
community were mainly ascribed to the absence of information about
Sikhs and their history in the school curriculum. The journey
of Land Alienation Act of 1913—that targeted mainly Sikhs
from owning land in their names—to AB 1964 Work Place Religious
Freedom Act of 2012 and SB 1540 of 2012 is spectacular and eventful.
It may be considered the best tribute to the Pacific Coast Khalsa
Diwan Society of Stockton that was incorporated in 1912 and for
which the Centennial Conference is being held on September 22,
2012 in University of the Pacific Stockton. The invitation to
the conference is open and free to the public. Participants will
also enjoy free snacks and lunch. Posted on www.ambedkartimes.com
dated September 9, 2012
COAST KHALSA DIWAN SOCIETY' HOSTED A PRESS CONFERENCE
TO CAMPAIGN AGAINST DEATH PENALTY
TO PROFESSOR BHULLAR
historical Landmark 'Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan Society' hosted
a press conference on July 10, 2011 to campaign against death
penalty to Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar. Sikh religious
societies and human rights organizations participated in the meeting.
Professor Bhullar's mother Mrs. Upkar Kaur was a special invitee.
Custodial deaths at the hands of Indian police during tortures
are very common. Professor Bhullar's father and uncle were never
traced after they were picked up by the Indian police. Through
a unanimous resolution, the "International Coordination Committee
to Free Professor Bhullar" was formed. Manjit Singh Uppal,
President of Stockton Gurdwara, Bhajan Singh Bhinder of Sikh Information
Center and Tejinderpal Singh Bhullar, brother of Prof. Bhullar
were included as founding members. The purpose of the committee
is to coordinate efforts at the international level to expose
mockery of justice and denial of due process of law to victims
belonging to minorities in India and failing to protect life of
all human beings under Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It is strange
that India is not a signatory to the Resolution of Convention
Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
or Punishment. The resolution was adopted in 1985 and India continues
to defy international pressure to honor Article 55 of the Charter
of the United Nation. Bhullar was tried under a fabricated and
controversial law TADA which was allegedly used against minorities
in the name of controlling terrorism. None of the 133 witnesses
could link him with any terrorist activities, the presiding Justice
of the three-member Bench of the Indian Supreme Court ruled not
only against the death penalty, but also acquitted Prof. Bhullar
of any terrorist activities. But two other justices under reportedly
political pressure upheld the sentence. A confessional statement
was typed on a blank paper on which Prof. Bhullar was coerced
to put his thumb impression.
Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar's death sentence has aroused
worldwide attention. Canada's NDP leader Jack Layton has termed
Bhullar's trial 'questionable' and his conviction 'doubtful.'
The European Parliament expressed doubt at India's ability to
remain on 47-nation UN Human Rights Council as India in May 2011
assured to 'uphold the highest standards.' The campaign to free
Bhullar has support of World Coalition Against Death Penalty,
American Civil Liberty Union, and Amnesty International.
entitled The Faces of Terror in India researched and written by
Bhajan Singh Bhinder and Patrick J. Nevers of Sikh Information
Center was distributed to the participating members. It narrates
with evidence how government of India runs systematic and orchestrated
false flag operations to malign members of minority communities.
The involvement of a serving Colonel in providing RDX from the
military arsenals to arrange bomb blasts in the name of Muslim
terrorist groups was detailed in a separate chapter. The killing
of 36 innocent Sikh villagers during visit of the then president
of the United States Bill Clinton too had links with Hindu terrorist
groups. These groups are quite often disguised in robes of Swamis,
and decorated civil and military officers.
of Ajit Jalandhar, Satnam Singh Khalsa of Sade Lok, Gurjatinder
Randhawa of Punjab Mail, Kuldeep Dhaliwal of Indo-American Dialogue
and Amrik Singh of Examiner.com participated in the press conference.
Representatives of different organizations addressed the issues
related with the Sikh community. Manjit Singh Uppal, President
Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan Society, Ajit Singh Aloarakh, Gen Secretary
of Akali Dal Amritsar, Niranjan Singh Samra Gen secretary of Gurdwara
Ceres Modesto, Bhai Gurmeet Singh Khalsa, Ex-president Gurdwara,
Fremont, Pavinder Singh Kariha President of Gurdwara Tierra Buena
Yuba City, Balbir Singh Dhillon , president of Gurdwara West Sacramento,
Resham Singh from Bakersfield, Karnail Singh Khalsa of Khalsa
Jagriti Lahir, Mohinder Singh, Gen Secretary Gurdwara Tracy, Harbans
Singh Pamma of Live Oak, Kulwant Singh Khaira of Gurdwara Fremont,
Jaswant Singh Hothi President of AGPC, Davinder Singh Bahiya of
American Sikh Organization, Gulwinder Singh Gakhal, founder of
Sikh Youth of America, Manjit Singh Brar Ex vice president of
Sikh Youth, Darshan Singh Sandhu, Kuljeet Singh Nijjar, President
Akali Dal Amritsar of California, Jasbir Singh Takhar, Harnek
Singh, Kashmir Singh Thandi, Balhaar Singh, Darshan Singh Mundy,
Coordinator of Media and Sacramento Interfaith Groups, Amarjit
Singh Dadwal, Chairman Election, Stockton Gurdwara, Amarjit Dhanesar,
ex-president Gurdwara Stockton, Amarjit Singh Tung, Bhai Baljit
Singh, Joga Singh, Gurmel Singh Khela, Karmjit Singh Treasure,
Harbhajan Singh of Ceres and Balwinder Singh Dhanola shared their
views and extended support to the campaign for immediate release
of Professor Bhullar. Penalty
Posted on July 12, 2011
US President goes overboard in extolling M.K. Gandhi
Dr. Amrik Singh
One is the powerful symbol of US’s predominant position
in the world. President Barack Obama used this customized airplane
for his ten day visit to Asia. It is literally a royalty in the
midair. About three thousand officers and secret service agents
traveled with the president in 40 separate warships. The glitz
and glamour of President’s fabled visit to India was however,
tarnished by results of the midterm election. It exposed limits
of President’s rhetoric, and diminishing hold on the leftover
mess of the Bush era. It became immediately a matter of great
concern for democrats.
The first African American president in the White House aroused
not only more curiosity in the world, but also great expectations.
President Obama’s first hundred days seemed to mark big
achievements. He signed the first executive order for closing
the Guantanmo Detention Facility in Cuba. But due to the intervention
of the court, his orders could not be implemented. Second major
success was touted to be the healthcare reforms. He successfully
created circumstances in which the healthcare measure was passed.
But the problem is how to fund the bill when economy has been
experiencing one setback after the other.
He had picked Joe Biden for Vice President on the advise of his
well-wishers in preference to Hillary Clinton. But the mid term
results have revealed how shortsighted the decision was to dismiss
the proposal of Ms. Clinton as VP. It would have in fact strengthened
his presidency. Obama doubted Clinton would dominate even in her
secondary position. Doubts seem to be still persisting as the
State Secretary didn’t accompany the president to his Asia
trip. No doubt, Obama is very comfortable his VP, but whether
he can be successful with him is still questionable. Hillary for
sure would have reminded him about 3 AM call in the white house.
Flight aboard Air Force One might have given the president some
respite. His dreams about journey to India must have soothed his
frayed nerves. At the same time, the republicans rejoiced at their
phenomenal victory that wouldn’t have been otherwise possible
for a long time. President Bush started two wars, drained off
the economy with his tax cuts, and left the US without any credible
influence in the international affairs. It is amazing that republicans
with so low rating could rise in so short a time.
Before the midterm election President Obama could have provided
an organized leadership as he did during his own campaign. The
president could not understand Tea Party Epress and its high decibel
noise that targeted mainly those who had voted for Clinton in
the primary. Tea Party escalated Ground Zero Mosques controversy
single-mindedly for gains in the election. The president could
have dismissed it by remaining quiet. He gave his opinion in a
professorial tone only to contradict himself the following day.
President Obama’s visit to Asia was expected to raise his
stature. The lowest point of Bush’s presidency was when
he had to duck his head to dodge a shoe-missile. Fortunately,
Obama still commands greater respect among Americans. Though people
haven’t dismissed him as yet, they are however scrutinizing
everything he proposes. The treatment he got in South Korea wasn’t
a good sign for his presidency. In India, the president almost
became slavish to the Gandhian myth which the world knows is more
of a construction of non-violence than the reality of peace.
American military engineers’ erection of a 1.2 Kilometer
bulletproof, air-conditioned tunnel for facilitating the president’s
visit to the residence of Gandhi (Mani Bhavan) in Mumbai only
showcased technological aspect. The president remarked in the
guestbook that M.K. Gandhi was not only India’s leader but
of the entire world. Analysts believe that the president Obama
used platitudes to please the upper castes of the Indian society.
In such a world Untouchables and minorities hardly exist. Chief
Minister of the largest state of India, Ms. Mayawati represents
the Untouchable segment of the society. She quite often complains
from the public forum that Gandhi fought for only making rich,
richer, and poor, poorer. She doesn’t even make any secret
in saying that he was an imposter.
Mayawati’s inspiration to become one of the most powerful
women of the world was her mentor Dalit leader Kanshi Ram who
was a staunch opponent of M.K. Gandhi. Kanshi Ram held Gandhi
responsible for status quo of Untouchables in India. Gandhi also
humiliated Dalit intellectual, an alumni of Columbia University
Dr. B R Ambedkar psychologically and emotionally. A Dalit American
Gopi Dass of Stockton said that Gandhi could be a world leader
only if Untouchables and their leaders are not part of it. Gopi
Dass observed that all alliances Gandhi formed were to defraud
minorities and Untouchables. His sole aim was to lay the foundation
of Hindu nationalism. Gandhi entered into a conspiracy with a
few Muslims to push the demand for Pakistan. Dr. Ambedkar writes:
“Why did Mr. Gandhi come forward to give the Musalmans their
fourteen demands at this particular juncture? These fourteen political
demands of the Musalmans rightly or wrongly were rejected by all.
They were rejected by the Hindu Maha Sabha. They were rejected
by the Simon Commission. They were rejected by the Congress. There
was no support for these 14 demands of the Musalmans from any
quarter whatsoever. Why did Mr. Gandhi become ready to grant them
except with the object of buying the Musalmans so that with their
help he could more effectively resist the demand of the other
minorities and the Untouchables? ----In my view Mr. Gandhi was
not engaged in making any bonafide agreement. He was inducing
the Musalmans to join in a conspiracy with him to resist the claim
of the smaller minorities and the untouchables. It was not an
agreement with the Musalmans. It was a plot against the Untouchables.
It was worse; it was a stab in the back.” 322 Vol. 5
About Hindus’ denial of Untouchables to enter their Temples,
Dr. Ambedkar writes, “Not very long ago there used to be
boards in club doors and other social resorts maintained by Europeans
in India, which said ‘Dogs and Indians not allowed.’
The Temples of the Hindus carry similar boards today, the only
difference is that the boards on the Hindu temples practically
say “All Hindus and all animals including dogs are admitted
only Untouchables not admitted.” the situation in both cases
is on a parity.” 382 Vol. 5
In the Indian parliament, the president went overboard in saying
that he became the president of the United States of America only
because of Gandhi. How naive, contradictory and self-congratulatory
the president became in extolling Gandhi, who according to Arthur
Koestler, is one of the greatest anachronism of the twentieth
century. Presidents can’t afford half measures. The consequences
can be far reaching. 43rd President George W Bush never found
weapons of mass destruction for which he sent troops to Iraq.
Bush would never admit he was wrong. His newly released book is
steeped in his self-righteousness and ups and down of his journey
to the White House.
When Obama gave Gandhi full credit for his being in the oval office,
he was discrediting American voters who elected him so enthusiastically.
Where did American voters get the appreciation for making a better
choice? His personal narrative no doubt has the power to sway
them, but that was only during his personal campaigns
President Obama’s speech in the Indian Parliament neither
touched hearts of 80% Indians living below poverty line, nor he
addressed aspirations of average Americans. The mention of Dr.
Ambedkar’s name with a reference to Indian constitution
came up only to fill the gap in the narrative. Gopi Das stated,
“Gandhi’s views about African blacks are racist. He
helped the Whiteman in strengthening apartheid. He called African
blacks savages and kaffirs. His fight was to help the Whiteman
in suppressing blacks and thus secure preferential rights for
Indians in South Africa.”
Gandhi says all this in his own words:
September 2, 1907
“From these views expressed by a White we have a lesson
to learn: We must encourage the Whites too. It is a short-sighted
policy to employ, through sheer niggardliness, a Kaffir for washing
work. If we keep in view the conditions in this country and patronize
the Whites, whenever proper and necessary, then every such White
will serve as an advertisement for the Indian trader.” ~
Vol. VI, p. 276
In the Indian Parliament, it is so ironical that most, who were
listening to the president praising Gandhi, also were privately
aware of Gandhi’s racist views about blacks in Africa.
on November 17, 2010
CONTROVERSY OF MAHATMA GANDHI'S STATUE
AT THE CAPITOL AND THE INDEPENDENCE OF
INDIA AND PAKISTAN
Dr Amrik Singh, Sacramento
Independence Days of India and Pakistan are round the corner. The
midnight of 14th & 15th August 1947 was set for the partition.
Religious nationalism became the basis for the Muslim Pakistan and
the Hindu India. The questions of 70 millions untouchables, and
40 millions Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians had no immediate answers.
The only options for them were to accept the dominance of Islam
in Pakistan, and Hinduism in India. Thus the citizenship of minorities
in both the countries became handicapped to the majority’s
latest research about the question of partition of India suggests
that Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Lal Nehru had accepted the division
of India in principle before the Indian National Congress actually
declared it. But for Mahatma Gandhi, it was hard to publicly digest
it since his name was associated with being an apostle of universal
peace. His correspondence with Viceroy Lord Mountbatten retrieved
recently testifies that Gandhi had accepted the partition though
reluctantly. In the new revelations, Gandhi’s allegiance for
Hindu-Muslim unity becomes suspect. Historians are investigating
the facts and circumstances of 1 million people losing their lives
in riots in 1947. Whether leaders, on both sides did want it to
happen regardless of their faith in non-violence and its effectiveness
is an intriguing question?
Gandhi never got the coveted Nobel Peace Prize, though he was nominated
for Nobel Peace Prize five times in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 &
1948. Nobel committee cited different reasons each time. In 1937,
Professor Jacob Worm-Muller found “sharp turns in his policies.”
In 1947, historian Jens Arup Seip wrote “"from 1937 up
to 1947, led to the event which for Gandhi and his movement was
at the same time the greatest victory and the worst defeat –
India's independence and India's partition."
Gandhi, 60 years after his assassination, lives in memory of the
world as a great soul. His last name has dynastic implications for
the Indian National Congress that has ruled for about 50 years after
It is universally believed that India is a country within a country.
The upper caste India is the world’s fastest emerging economy.
However, there is India of Untouchables and minorities that is known
in common parlance as “Bharat.” People belonging to
Bharat don’t view Gandhi in the same manner as upper-caste
this dichotomy became more apparent than in the Indian American
community of Sacramento over the question of installation of Mahatma
Gandhi’s statue at the State Capitol. The upper caste Indians
mostly Hindus have been campaigning hard to get the legislative
support for putting Gandhi’s statue. On the other hand, minorities
are opposing it as they allege they remained pitiless victims of
upper caste atrocities.
A delegation of the Indian American community met Assembly member
Ms. Mariko Yamada on July 28, 2010 in her office situated at the
State Capitol, Sacramento. The issue that was brought to her attention
was about the installation of a life-size statue of Mohandas Karmchand
Gandhi at the State Capitol lawns.
delegation spokesman Harbhajan Singh Bhinder told the Assemblywoman
that tempers had run high during a meeting earlier convened by Dr.
Sham Goyal, an upper-caste Hindu and a plant scientist at UC Davis.
The agenda of the meeting held on April 24, 2010 at the Evergreen
Avenue Holiday Inn in West Sacramento was to canvass support of
four California State Senators and eight Assembly members to sponsor
a bill to allow the statue at the State Capitol.
The proposal of Dr. Goyal was largely cheered by about 30 members
except a few who disagreed with it. Mr. Bhinder who was present
then, had expressed a strong disapproval of Gandhi’s name
for the statue. “When I think about Gandhi, I am only reminded
of India’s partition and bloodshed of a million people.”
During the question answer hours, Mr. Bhinder told that the leaders
of the Untouchables & depressed classes, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar,
and Ms. Mayawati, Chief Minister of the largest state of India,
blamed Gandhi for defrauding and keeping them in straitjackets of
caste discrimination and hovels of poverty.
The assemblywoman was told how ignominiously and curtly Dr. Goyal
had rejected names of leaders of the minority. When he asked whose
statue could possibly replace Gandhi, Bhinder suggested Dr. Ambedkar
or Bhagat Singh. Goyal taunted: “Who knows Ambedkar?”
Bhinder responded: “Nobody knows him because you won’t
put up his statue.”
Featherington, the American who witnessed the attitude of Dr. Goyal,
narrated to Ms. Yamada his remarks about leaders of the Untouchables.
When Ms. Mayawati’s criticism of Gandhi was mentioned, Goyal
responded by calling Mayawati a “Harijan,” stating:
“If she is not grateful to Gandhi, then India would be better
off if she was dead.”
and others leading the meeting then insisted Bhinder should keep
quiet, but James Featherington, the American gentleman, spoke: “I’ve
never heard these things before. In the interest of objectivity,
I’d like to hear what Mr. Bhinder has to say.”
James Featherington explained to Assemblywoman Ms. Yamada, that
Mr. Goyal’s remarks had created lot of resentment in members
of the minority community. Dr. Goyal declared government of India
was prepared to spend more than $30,000 on Gandhi’s statue.
Journalist Mr. Hussan Laroya Banga also attended the meeting and
apprised about the developing situation.
Amrik Singh who teaches at Sacramento State said that Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
is an intellectual of high order. Dr. Ambedkar has recorded his
experiences with Mr. M.K. Gandhi and other national leaders in his
writings, published in 23 volumes 40 years after the independence.
Gandhi’s portrayal as an apostle of universal peace has been
a special project of government of India, however, it contradicts
with observations made by Dr Ambedkar.
highlight Dr. Ambedkar as the real hero of the downtrodden, Mr.
Prem Kumar Chumber runs an Internet magazine. He presented to the
Assemblywoman a book of Dr. Ambedkar and printed- copies of Ambedkar
Times Newspaper. Dr. Ambedkar is an alumnus of Columbia University
New York. Recently, a Legal Chair has been established to commemorate
a large body of his writings. Known as an architect of the Indian
constitution, Dr. Ambedkar’s name remained ignored for long
because he was a low-caste.
with the rising wave of Untouchables’ political awareness,
Dr. Ambedkar has been emerging as a champion of India’s oppressed
and minorities. Historians say Gandhi’s stardom is at stake,
as Dr. Ambedkar has documented entirely a different history of India
in his writings.
Mr Jaswinder Banga, chairman of Guru Ravidas Society, Rio Linda
supports many programs that highlight the contribution Dr. Ambedkar
and other leaders of the oppressed classes. He felt greatly hurt
at the objectionable and humiliating remarks of Dr. Goyal and Mr.
Janak, the leader of a prominent Hindu organization.
Darshan Singh Mundy, the Public Relation secretary of West Sacramento
Gurdwara said that downtrodden and minorities face discrimination
in everyday life. Subedar Joginder Singh told that he had attended
many political rallies of Mahatma Gandhi and was aware of his negative
attitudes towards the oppressed classes.
delegation requested Ms. Yamada to consider carefully fears and
feelings of the Indian American community of the downtrodden and
minority classes, and also apprise other assembly and senate members
about the ramifications of installing the life-size bronze statue
of Gandhi at the Capitol.
INTERVIEW WITH KULDIP NAYAR
Dr. Kuldip Nayar answers the questions asked by Dr. Amrik
Singh Sacramento & Prem Kumar Chumber. (Bottom)
: Mr. Prem Kumar Chumber, Editor of Ambedkar Times
(News Paper, www.ambedkartimes.com & www.mbedkartimes.org
) presents a book of Caste & World Conference against
Racism (Durban 2001) and Bharat Rattan Baba Sahib Dr. B R
Ambedkar’s “Annihilation of Caste” to Dr.
Kuldip Nayar. In the center is Dr. Amrik Singh Sacramento
Nayar was in Sacramento, California on a special invitation
to attend 10th Ghadar Memorial Foundation Conference. The
Foundation’s president Charan Singh Judge arranged a
special appointment with the noted columnist. It lasted for
several hours and touched sensitive issues like Hindutva,
terrorism, politics, foreign policy and NRI affairs.
syndicated columnist Kuldip Nayar has many distinctions to
his credit. As a member of the Upper House of Indian parliament,
he tried to awaken the dormant conscience of the Indian politicians.
He had prevailed upon the then vice president Krishan Kant
to tender an unconditional apology for what had happened to
Sikhs in 1984. He rued how the very idea was spurned then,
and how after a decade of his proposal, Dr. Manmohan Singh
had to perforce tender it in the parliament. The pain of 1984
tragedy will remain profound and hard to heal.
At 86, Nayar is nostalgic about his childhood years in Sialkot,
now in Pakistan. Guru Granth Sahib occupied a proud place
in their house. His mother hailed from a Sikh family. She
read Guru Granth Sahib and prepared Parshad on every Sangrand.
He reminisces how restlessly they would wait for savoring
it. He earned Honors in History and a law degree from FC College
Lahore. He had no intention of becoming a journalist. But
partition had given deep wounds that only his writing could
have healed. Old ones were not healed fully when the new had
sprung up in the shape of 1984. He still hopes something could
be done to win back the lost confidence of the Sikh community.
his stint as the High Commissioner London, the first thing
Nayar noticed was that very few Sikhs frequented the office.
The main entrance and reception remained closed to the Sikhs
for security reasons. When on his intervention it was opened
for them, he received warning from the office of the Foreign
Minister of India to be held solely responsible for any untoward
incident. Similar caution came from the British
Scotland Yard Police expressing their inability to provide protection
to the Indian Mission if the High Commissioner insisted on giving
free access to Sikhs. When Nayar sternly told that the protection
of British Embassy in Delhi could be withdrawn as a reaction to
it, they relented from raising imaginary fears of Sikhs’ violence.
As a Punjabi he empathized with Sikhs’ pain.
Nayar also shared his experiences when he went to a Sikh Gurdwara
in London. He was disturbed at being greeted with epithets like
“Indian dogs, go back. Khalistan Zindabad” He remembers
granting an appointment to a delegation of Sikhs who wanted to get
the Black list revised. Some of the names on the lists were without
any rhyme and reasons. Nayar made observation that the Indian bureaucracy
most of the times has its ways to impose its will on the functioning
of public offices.
Nayar still finds no words for the mass massacre of Sikhs after
Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s assassination. He worked with Human Rights
organizations to hold the guilty responsible for crimes against
humanity. The report “Who are the Guilty?” records whatever
little evidence remained after Rajiv Gandhi assumed office of the
Prime Minister with a massive mandate. The arrangement of killing
Sikhs seems to have originated from the Prime Minister’s office.
The President Giani Zail Singh’s car too was stoned when he
came back from the foreign tour. But his decision to immediately
install immature Rajiv to the august office of the Prime Minister
might have given direction to violence against the Sikhs.
To a question how India would have been today, had the collapse
of Janta Party not taken place. Nayar clearly stated that India
would have been much stronger and more civil than it is today. Jaiparkash
Narain revolutionized Indian politics, but the installation of Morarji
Desai as the Prime Minister of India proved counterproductive. The
name of Jagjivan Ram had also come up for it, but was dropped because
he was associated with Emergency resolution. JP was a man of principles
about his stint as Press Officer of the PM JN Nehru, he recalls
how Nehru had listened to his briefing patiently.
about Dr. B. R. Ambedkar to a question of Prem Chumber, Editor of
ambedkartimes.com, Mr Nayar said that his contribution in creating
Indian Nationalism is tremendous, but unfortunately his writings
were not promoted after independence. That is why still many people
in high offices feign ignorance about his works. He remembered that
Ambedkar didn’t favor the modern version of reservation, because
according to him, it was like providing crutches to people who otherwise
could be strong both in body and mind. His goal was to remove the
disabling conditions of economic, social and emotional slurs and
smears which are woefully continuing uninterrupted even today. It
was more for politics than for actually improving the lot of Dalits
that reservation was introduced initially for ten years.
to Durban conference and his criticism of the lot of Dalits, Nayar
regretted that India remained in denial mode about questions of
their discrimination and degradations. But international community
was kept in dark due to India’s reluctance to admit subhuman
treatment to certain sections of society. Nayar said that Kanshi
Ram’s contribution will remain invaluable and revolutionary.
Samaj movement initially was a reformative and progressive. The
animal and idol worship was condemned and at times caste discrimination
was sought to be ended. However, it became reactionary due to politicization
of the freedom struggle.
Nayar’s fervent appeal to all Punjabis for a strong society,
the question was asked that Punjabi left to themselves had no problem
of living together peacefully and harmoniously. Hatred, however,
comes from outside that made Punjabis partner in their own damage.
central government has not sorted out any issue satisfactorily whether
it was reorganization of states, water sharing, Rajiv-Longwal Accord
and protection to minorities. Nayar said that Nehru was vehemently
opposed to the division of Punjab.
Reminiscing Longowal - Rajiv talks in Delhi, Nayar felt proud that
Akalis had lodged full confidence in him. Balwant Singh, the former
Finance Minister, had proposed to the then PM Rajiv Gandhi to make
him (Nayar) the arbiter in resolving all nagging issues. Bajpai
consulted him quite often on Pakistan affairs, but not on Punjab.
In Sonia Gandhi’s eyes, Nayar was a staunch opponent of Mrs
Indira Gandhi. It might have been the reason that Dr. Manmohan Singh
didn’t accept Nayar’s offer of help in domestic and
On being informed about exploitation of Punjabis who got citizenship
of the US, Nayar made it clear that the purpose of Indian Missions
in foreign countries is basically to provide help and not create
obstacles. He promised to take up issues with the Consulate General,
Home and Foreign Ministries. Nayar was informed that protests and
demonstrations are integral to democracies, therefore, shouldn’t
be used against people of Indian origin.
faced many threats in his life. Threats came in the form of angry
letters and phone calls to shoot him and his grandchildren.
To questions about Mumbai Massacre on November 26, 2008, Nayar couldn’t
clearly say if a specific plan to target the then ATS chief Hemant
Karkare was in place or not. However, Karkar’s wife Mrs. Kavita
is very vocal in exposing missing links in the official narrative.
Nayar had a very successful career. He is the strongest witness
to the pre and post partition politics of blood and gore. Nayar
is very concerned about the widening gulf between countries’s
rich and poor.
on July 20, 2010
GENOCIDE AND SIKH
EXTREMISM ROIL CANADA
Left Dr. Manmohan Singh among G 20 leaders
Picture:Right Bollywood Star Akshay Kumar was invited to G
20 Summit in Toronto.
Amrik Singh writes from Sacramento
special invitation to Akshay Kumar, the Bollywood star
of ‘Singh is King’ fame for a specially arranged banquet
in honor of Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh glamorized
the significance of the occasion. In the backdrop of the colonial
past of the two countries, a regal approach to socio-economic problems
invites a careful attention. Though the focus was to sail through
the volatility of fiscal reversals, however, India used the occasion
to clinch Civil Nuclear Cooperation deal and garner unflinching
support of France and Great Britain for a permanent seat in the
UN Security Council.
participation at G 20 Summit on June 28, 2010 in Toronto hogged
maximum attention of the world for many reasons. The fact that world’s
largest democracy exuded a great confidence to show 8-9% growth
impressed world leaders of Dr. Singh’s professional expertise
in economic matters. He doled out pearls of wisdom by stressing
fiscal discipline to reduce sovereign deficits and opposed huge
cuts by Germany and Britain to stem the tide. By entering Comprehensive
Economic Partnership Agreement and bilateral trade of 15 billions,
Dr Singh made a mark that top-tier Indian industrialists, highly
politicized bureaucrats and Savarkar-type brand of politicians most
expected of him. The sternness of their message to the Prime Minister
before leaving for Toronto had domino effect on him that reverberated
in his strident tone to demonize Canadian Sikhs as outsiders and
to it, on July 16, 2009, Dr. Singh after NAM summit in Sharm el-Sheikh
in Egypt had to cut a sorry figure in the Indian Parliament when
he had de-linked Islamic terrorism from the composite dialogue to
be pursued by India and Pakistan. Obsessed not to repeat the same
unpardonable error at NAM summit, and eager to please Pundits of
Indian foreign policy back home, Dr. Singh unambiguously connected
Sikhs outside of India as wedded to terrorism.
Dr. Manmohan Singh’s visit to Canada coincided with 25th anniversary
of bombing of Air India Flight 182 and the completion of the public
Inquiry by Justice John Major. Victims of families and magnet of
Indo-Canadian politics hoped terrorists would be identified after
25 years of long investigation. The failure of Canadian Intelligence
agencies was solely held responsible for the most horrific act.
A few days before the G20 summit, much heat was generated over a
petition in Canada Parliament, when two liberal party MP’s
succeed in tabling the motion of declaring 1984 Sikh massacre as
genocide. India reportedly tried its best to defeat it and define
it as anti-India sentiments. Dr. Manmohan Singh earlier in his bilateral
talks with Canada PM had apprised him of Canada’s soil being
used for anti-India activities by Sikh extremists.
in an exclusive interview, with the Tronto Star, Dr. Singh showed
his complete transformation from his earlier soft stance of suggestiveness
to aggressiveness. His tone became authoritarian, harsh and accusatory
in warning Canada of providing its resources to Sikh terrorists
to destabilize India. The language and measured cadence had all
the effect of an arm-twisting that Canada had never experienced
before. Canada had ignored the warning of a terrorist attack before
the bombing of Air India Flight on June 23, 1985. India had reportedly
thorough intelligence of bombing the Air India Flight, but the riddle
remained unsolved as to why no extra-precautions were taken up by
Air India staff to flop the smuggling of bomb aboard. The suspected
Canadian Sikh’s death in Indian Police custody further complicated
the investigation. Air India Flight 182 came down exactly one year
after the storming of the Golden Temple Amritsar in 1984 and seven
months after the Sikh carnage in Delhi and many other cities of
The focus of the world media drastically shifted from the State
terrorism to the Sikh terrorism. 329 innocent lives could have been
saved according to Justice Major in his report. The report still
is silent as to who exactly was responsible for the worst attack
in the Canadian history.
Some analysts believe that Prime Minister’s forewarning maybe
an indication of an impending terrorist attack on a wider scale.
Official terrorist cells may arrange such an attack to give weight
to Dr. Singh’s words. Only a month before, Ujjal Dosanjh complained
of threats to his life. He reportedly warned India to suppress the
rising radicalization of Sikhs in Canada. A section of Sikhs believe
it is all a political posturing. Some politicians of Indian origin
get votes by supporting Sikh issues, and others get a larger vote
bank of non-Sikhs by acting as victims of Sikh extremism. A Sikh
from Surrey referred to Mr Dosanjh, the First Punjabi Premier of
BC as suffering from such an obsessive mindset. He asserted that
Dosanjh can get more votes by masquerading cosmopolitan style and
at the same time portraying baptized Sikhs as regular terrorists.
Dosanjh’s political career has become so much dependent on
so-called hatred of Sikhs that he would keep it alive in the Canadian
media on usual basis.
During the bilateral talks with his Canadian counterpart, Dr. Manmohan
Singh similarly profiled Canadian Sikhs without giving specific
details and evidence of a violent trend. He warned “Sikh extremism,
separatism and militancy were a problem in India two decades ago.
Today, Punjab is at peace and there is a growth and prosperity.
---There are, however, some elements outside India, including in
Canada, who try to keep this issue alive for their own purposes.
In many cases such elements have links to or are themselves wedded
Their activities are a reason for both governments, in India and
Canada to be concerned. We have sensitized the Canadian authorities
in this matter, we have been pointing out that Sikh extremism in
Canada which has no support in India, is not good for Canada.---We
feel that vigilance and close co-operation between both governments
on the issue is necessary.” Isn’t Dr. Singh targeting
Canadian Sikhs for popularity of a larger audience at home?
Dr Singh seems to have played the majoritarian card by making Canadian
Sikhs a soft target of the fascism of the Indian intelligence agencies.
In such circumstances, Indian Consulate offices all over the world
got a free license to not only demonize average Sikhs, but literally
fleece them of their hard earned money. Sikhs have already been
facing tremendous problems in practicing their religion. Many European
countries have banned Sikhs’ turban in Public. In the wake
of stereotyping and making scapegoats of Sikhs at the global level
by a Prime Minister who himself is a Sikh, the community feels aggrieved,
betrayed and alienated.
By consistently refusing meeting with Sikhs living outside India,
Dr. Singh has been demonstrating a poor image of his people. Why
an average Sikh in the Indian context has to be apologetic for imaginary
view of his community’s extremism? Maybe the only way for
claiming one’s Indian identity is to acquiesce in your own
vilification? KPS Gill is a national hero because he is a party
to fake encounters, elimination of human rights activists and pandering
to murderous intents of Indian political leaders. Similarly, Giani
Zail Singh had to mislead all members of his community two days
before the attack by assuring them that Government had no plan to
storm the Golden Temple. His lie cost thousands of devotees on a
Sikh historic day trapped in the crossfire in June 1984.
During many of their verbal duels, Congress leaders Rajinder Kaur
Bhatthal and Capt. Amrinder Singh accused each other for harboring
hardcore Sikh militants in their bungalows. Dr. Singh’s government
never found it necessary to interrogate them for their links with
terrorists? Wasn’t Samjhauta Express, the dream train of India-Pakistan
friendship blown up by the imaginary Muslim terrorists? The use
of 60 KG RDX from Indian Military arsenal to destroy the train,
however, was traced to the Colonel of the Army. In November 2008,
the media hadn’t even learned yet to use the word ‘Hindu
Terrorism,’ when 26/11 Mumbai massacre completely wiped it
out along with the ATS Chief, Heman Karkare who had dared to link
Hindu to terrorism? If Hindu terrorism is a misnomer, why Sikh or
Muslim terrorism isn’t?
Minister though has been riding a wave of economic success, isn’t
it only to be a King of an Empire in which 80 % poor have no role?
Dr. Singh perhaps remembers that Mrs. Indira Gandhi had to play
the Sikh extremism card at such a time, when she had miserably failed
in checking rising prices, poverty, and inequity of justice. Sikh
terrorism card wasn’t a sign of her strength, but an embarrassment
to her leadership.
on June 29, 2010
City occupies a special distinction for Punjabi Community of United
States of America. It organizes a largest religious gathering of
Punjabi Diaspora outside Punjab every year. About a hundred thousand
people converge to celebrate Guru Granth Sahib’s “Gur
Gaddi Divas” in the first week of November. Yuba City also
enjoys preeminence in the cultural field as the biggest Punjabi
Festival is organized annually by Punjabi American Heritage Society.
Despite the fact that there are many restrictions for entry, a great
number of Punjabis make to the festivities. The main reason of its
popularity is that it keeps all norms of Punjabi decency. Organizers
never let it deviate into a bad taste. Only those items are presented
that promote creative, entertaining and chivalrous aspects of Punjabi
culture. Very prominent artists are invited to amuse the audience.
festivals play a key role in bonding young children with their roots.
Competitions are organized to identify talent and creativity in
children. This year contests for Miss Punjaban and Mr Punjabi were
also introduced. Dr. Jasbir Singh Kang, who is an alumni of Medical
College Patiala, is one of the main leaders of the event. The proceedings
of this festivals are broadcast both in American and Punjabi media.
Maybe this is the only festival to be given so much prominent coverage.
Dr. Kang is associated with many activities that promote dialog,
mutual understanding and fellow feelings about Punjabis among Americans.
He was instrumental in production of many documentary films about
Punjabi people in America.
Kang’s team never fails in recognizing distinguished personalities
of the region who have contributed significantly to the community
welfare. This year among the prominent persons to be honored are
World Wide Promoter Jessie Banga, Director of KVIE television David
Hosley, President of Guru Ravidas Sabha Rio Linda Shingara Singh
and Professor of Sacramento State University, Dr. Amrik Singh. Jessie
Banga was recognized for his positive approach towards community
welfare and David Hosley for producing a film “Sikhs in America”
for the KVIE network of television.
Special honor was also accorded to Yuba City’s First Punjabi
Mayor Kashmir Singh Gill for creating a favorable history for the
community. Along with him many other officials of the Yuba and Sutter
county were recognized for their cooperation to the Punjabi community.
LAND ACT AND PUNJABI
PIONEERS OF CALIFORNIA
Book Review by
Dr. Amrik Singh Sacramento
Life and Times of Pakher Singh Gill
A Panjabi Californian in the Early Twentieth
By Nirmal S. Mann, M.D., Ph.D
89 pp. Rose Dog Books. $14
of the most difficult tasks for an intellectual is to recover
the lost history from the margins of times. Stories of toil and
trials remain buried under twists and turns of those at the helm
of affairs. Dr. Nirmal S. Mann’s reconstruction of Pakhar
Singh’s life is emblematic of towering Punjabi pride that
blossoms in the distant lands in spite of all-pervasive threats
to its existence. It has a great significance for the emerging
history of Punjabis in California. It is a multilayered story
that needs to be carefully understood in a larger context. It
is as much a saga of struggle and survival as it is a patriotic
response to India’s freedom and love for America. Pakhar
Singh was first and foremost a Jutt with Scythian blood in his
veins. Scythians of Steppe, according to the author, settled in
India during 7th B.C. On top of it Pakhar Singh was a Sikh with
an outgoing and friendly attitude towards others. Rising from
a farm hand to a lease holder of 320 acres land in Imperial Valley,
Pakher Singh became an envy of Anglo American settlers. He worked
shoulder to shoulder with Mexicans to produce a rich lettuce crop.
They looked upon him as their leader. However, it was not a smooth
ride for him. Alien Land Act of 1913, 1920 barred Indians to buy
lands in their names, therefore, verbal leases became common.
Pakher’s three Anglo American friends violated the verbal
agreement with him that not only exiled him from his leased-estate
but also racially abused him. Since the law was not on his side,
Pakher settled scores first by shooting two of them —Victor
R. Sterling and William B. Hagar and then battering their heads
with his axe. He went off to kill the third one too, but changed
his mind on the plea of his pregnant wife. The story created a
sensation in the Imperial Valley. Each community reacted differently
to two white men’s murders.
The story of Pakhar Singh Gill unfolds in the second half of the
book. In the first part, the author tries to solicit all influences
that worked in making up of Pakhar Singh’s character. The
foremost influence, according to the author is his ancestry and
racial stock. Scythians invaded Punjab in 6-7th BC and Jutts according
to Mann are the direct descendants. The fearless fighters, great
revenge seekers, ruthless killers, Scythians can survive in the
most hostile circumstances. They literally sleep on their horsebacks.
The next immediate influence, the author has tried to trace is
Pakhar Singh’s Sikh heritage. Mann tries to sketch an outline
of Sikh history with a view to illustrate the psychological factors
in determining Pakher’s volatile action. Pakher started
his life in Imperial Valley in 1917 with his active involvement
in India’s freedom movement by the Gadhar Party. He would
help it in fund raising efforts. Lala Hardyal would stay with
him during his visits to the valley. He knew about atrocities
on freedom fighters in India by the British. Interestingly, a
majority of white settlers in the Imperial Valley hailed from
Britain. Some of them behaved like colonial masters. Preceding
Pakher Singh’s murders on 1st April, 1925, Jallianwala incident
in Amritsar had shaken all Indians. Peace loving protesters were
showered with bullets killing several thousands of them just in
a single incident.
The gold rush in California drew Anglo-whites to California. They
constituted a multi-cornered system of repression to establish
their hegemony on other communities. American Indians became the
worst victims of discrimination. 100 Native Indians were executed
for every white man killed by the American Indian. Black, Mongolians,
and American Indians were not admitted in Public schools. When
California Constitution was ratified, other minorities didn’t
get the right to vote. The slavery was though illegal, but Fugitive
Slave Act was operative under which any slave could be arrested.
Negroes were not allowed to testify against white people. American
Indians and the Chinese being from Mongoloid stock were barred
from testifying against whites. In 1870, California formally established
segregation system for separate schools. Whites having preemption
right to American Indians’ land expelled them from their
own lands which they had occupied for thousand of years.
After the annexation of California, Mexicans were the great target
of discrimination. Mexicans too became a helpless minority. The
California gold rush attracted all sorts of outlaws, gambler,
criminals from the west and the Europe. The foreign Miners’
tax in 1850 mainly affected the Chinese and Mexicans. In 1882
Chinese Exclusion Act was passed. Japanese too were stereotyped.
In such a background, Indian immigrants to California shores wouldn’t
have been welcome.
When they started settling in the Imperial Valley in 1910, it
appeared as if the ‘Turban Tide’ would occupy the
whole valley. Most Anglo farmers benefited from Punjabis’
hard work and they relied on them more than anyone else. But they
didn’t like voraciousness for owning more and more lands.
Punjabis enlarged their land holding to 32,380 acres in a short
period of hard labor. They supplied for large corporations and
British shipping companies. The trio Victor R. Sterling, John
B. Hagar and William Thornburg worked for British Shipping Company.
Victor R. Sterling was an agent who entered into lease agreement
with Pakher Singh Gill. Sterling was the one who insulted Pakher
by blurting out “goddamn Hindu” that triggered his
ire to commit the crime. At the time of the murder there were
some Mexicans and a white man present there. Their witnesses ultimately
bailed Pakher Singh Gill out of the prison.
The author rues the fact that Congressman Dalip Singh Saund hasn’t
mentioned his name in his autobiography. It is a fact that Pakher
Singh went to Jail for 10 years and after that he was a freeman.
It had a very momentous effect on people at large. His friendship
with the Judge, Bank Manager of Brawley, and Sherrif point out
to the fact that Pakher was regarded basically a good man. Dalip
Singh Saund may have been benefited from the situation that was
created by Pakher Singh, yet he refrained from acknowledging it
simply because he professed Gandhianism in Public.
Nirmal S. Mann’s effort in recreating Pakher Singh’s
genealogy deserves appreciation on all accounts. He has done a
lot of research work to authenticate his narrative. He seems to
have spent sometime in the Imperial Valley to connect bits and
ends of Pakher Singh Gill’s story. Mann has tried to incorporate
as much background knowledge as possible to delineate the story
of Pakher Singh Gill. As a result, his life embodies a multilayered
narrative of his struggle. His marriage with 18 years old Mexican
women Alicia at 66 years of his age is another chapter. The author’s
endeavor to interview Gill’s wife and four sons was not
a happy experience. Sons didn’t permit him to interview
Alicia. It points out to the alienation that might have taken
place in Mexican Punjabis due to the lack of a viable connectivity
with the mainstream Punjabi community. Mann’s book raises
many a question about the next generation, and the present efforts
to integrate them with values. The author suggests that Mexican
Punjabis have done a lot to sustain the pioneers in California;
therefore, a suitable way of appreciation should be worked out
for their honor.
The author appears to be suggesting different and sometimes intersecting
perspectives in demonstrating underlying factors of Pakher Singh
Gill’s action. The racial superiority shown by Anglos in
their actions in India and California comprises a system of exploitation
of non-white races. The actions of Udham Singh, Bhagat Singh and
Kartar Singh Sarabha were free responses to the regime of repression.
Nirmal S. Mann’s Scythian discourse about Jutt’s ancestry
appears congratulatory at times. The racial factors are not fixed
contingencies in the long history of mankind, but they are manipulated
to segregate one from the others. The study of races had been
pioneered by the British; therefore, it was a greatest invisible
weapon in their hands.
Shakespeare’s predecessor, Christopher Marlowe in his play
Tamburlaine presents Timur, the lame as a Scythian shepherd who
rose to become the most powerful on earth. Elizabethan knowledge
of Timur was influenced by Ottoman Empire and Europe’s anxiousness
to stop its expansion whereas the real Timur India knew was much
Dr. Nirmal Singh Mann is a Clinical Professor of Medicine &
Gastroenterology at UC Davis. He has won many awards for teaching
excellence. The biography of Pakher Singh Gill will go down as
a major work to reconstruct lives and times of Punjabi Pioneers
on June 25, 2010
Parliament has recorded a unique petition on June 9th 2010. It is
about several thousand Sikhs killed in a planned manner after the
assassination of Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi in 1984.
The government machinery was allegedly used to identify Sikhs’
houses from the voters’ lists. Delhi police first disarmed
some Sikhs by confiscating licensed weapons from their possession,
and then collaborated with mobs to kill turbaned citizens of India.
The ruling Congress leaders allegedly decided the mode of killing
and made available all apparatus for committing crimes. People were
targeted on the basis of their appearance. They had no connection
whatsoever with the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Despite about
a dozen commissions appointed in the last 25 years to apprehend
perpetrators of crimes, India failed to punish the guilty. More
than 3000 Sikhs lost their lives alone in Delhi. The law of the
land became redundant. The ruling party immediately after the Sikh
carnage and Bhopal gas tragedy, created a history by winning 411
seats out of 530 in the 1985 parliamentary election. Massive mandate
appeared to have ratified the murders of Sikhs. A new definition
of the Nation underpinned the collective consciousness. Sikhs as
a people had no place in it. Sikhs vaguely characterized as Indians
or Hindus however had every chance to shine in the Indian firmament.
Those who subscribed to it prospered, those who didn’t, risked
there reputations as terrorists and separatists. Punishing the guilty
was always interpreted as encouraging Sikh separatism. To discourage
it became a new passion for the neo- nationalists. No where it turned
out to be as evident as it is in the case of Canadian Sikhs’
audacity to move a petition in the court of people in spite of the
heavy odds in its way.
On June 9th the first matter to be taken up on the floor of the
Canadian House of Commons was the petition about 1984 Sikh genocide.
Two Canadian MP’s Mr. Andrew Kania and Mr. Sukh Dhaliwal read
the contents. No objection from any quarters was raised to the motion.
The petition is based on the premise that United Nation’s
protocol on genocide is very defining and unambiguous. Since Canada
has emerged as a multicultural society championing human rights
of minorities, the petition seeks to secure justice for victims
of 1984 violence. Prominent among those who supported the motion
were Gurbax Malhi, Navdeep Bains, Bonnie Crombie and Kristy Duncan.
Bains described 25 years of apathy as a “blot on India’s
the other hand, Tory MP Deepak Oberoi worked very hard to defeat
the petition by terming it as mischievous and divisive. He lamented
“These guys want to use Canada to divide India.” Consulate
General of India allegedly coordinated with other organizations
to support a consistent drive to influence Canadian lawmakers’
opinion. Canada India Foundation, an advocacy group jointly with
Consulate office devised strategies to block the petition.
India Foundation was established in 2007 by high profile Indo-Canadians
to promote business and good relations. It actively sought to dismiss
the petition on the grounds that it would divide Sikh Community
and alienate them from other Indians. The foundation warned Canadian
Parliament of dangers in taking up the cause of militant Sikhs.
a letter written to MP’s the CIF reminded that they should
take notice of $12 billion Indian money in Canadian business as
compared to Canada’s only 500 millions in India . Aditya Jha,
National Convener of CIF tried to emphasize the corporate profiteering
over human rights concerns. Jha asserted that Manmohan Singh and
Montek Singh Alhuwalia are excellent examples of Sikhs enjoying
preeminent positions in the Indian society. Manoj Pandit, spokesman
for the Foundation, said that the petition was “ill-advised
and ill- intentioned since there is no justification for Canada
to take the position that the petition demands.” It will damage
stronger Indo Canada bilateral relations.
Jha in his article for the National Post “Rejecting the Message
of the Militant Sikhs” writes that the petition by Liberal
MP Andrew Kania and Sukh Dhaliwal is to inflame anti-India sentiments
among Sikhs. He impressed on the Canadian lawmakers to ignore the
petition as it was the internal matter of India. The resulting damage
to Indo-Canadian business ventures would affect both countries.
National Post carried out another article on June 9th, asserting
that the petition in the House of Commons was Anti-India.
Jha had many supporters in people like Balraj Deol, a Punjabi journalist
who expressed that the petition would be a memorial to terrorists.
“Elements in the Sikh separatist movement pressurized to move
the agenda forward.” Editor of the “Canadian Post”,
Jagdish Grewal also condemned the petition as not reflecting Sikhs’
India Foundation lobbied vehemently to convince MP’s that
the petition was designed to appease terrorists and divide those
Sikhs who want to live as peaceful citizens of India. CIF brought
many lawmakers and Indo Americans to its apprehension of fears of
militant Sikhs. CIF successfully persuaded Liberal Chief Michael
Ignatieff to denounce the petition publicly. The leader said “It
is used here to provoke a changed visceral response which will not
bring closer to mutual understanding. His party never stands with
those who polarize communities or aggravate the tensions around
long standing conflicts that divide us in other lands.” The
activists of CIF were sure of the success of their aggressive struggle
and defeat of the petition on the floor of the House of Commons.
But to their utter shock and dismay, no objections were raised by
any member in the house.
to the Foundation website “Canada India Foundation is a national,
non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental organization (NGO) established
in 2007 to foster support for stronger bi-lateral relations between
Canada and India; to educate Canadians on the changing face of India;
and To increase the participation of Indo-Canadians in the public
policy process in Canada. CIF's founding members include industrialists,
senior Canadian business executives and top tier professionals.”
foundation’s claim of being non-partisan compels scrutiny.
In the above case it has not only played a partisan role, but also
tried to use its clout to defend criminals responsible for a spate
of murders. The petition only highlighted how culprits have been
given shelter by the government that claims to be fighting terrorism.
Punishing them would have strengthened such a fight and made India
stronger. But interpreting the demand for justice as anti-India
is rather devious and preposterous. It only implies that such killings
are pro-India or a nationalist cauase. The Foundation needs to do
introspection as to how it got the right to speak for all Indians?
When its membership is restricted only to a few top tier industrialists
and professionals, how it got the right to speak for the second
most populated nation in the world?
The scope of the petition after a quarter century of the bloodshed
is to explore peaceful solution to wounds of the psyche. It is a
step to unite people and share their pain. When there is a true
sharing, a lot of anger disappears automatically. On the contrary,
the action of leaders of the Canada India Foundation is partisan,
divisive and anti-India in the literal sense.
petition will go down in Indo-Canadian history as a new chapter
of solving global issues. A spirit of dialog and deliberation can
solve most intricate issues if taken up in good faith. Ironically
it is a method that India most recommends to others but follows
least in her own case.
on June 17, 2010
Nobel Peace committee applied a different yardstick to award 2009
Nobel Peace Prize. It was more for the possibilities and prospects
of peace in the nuclear-armed, terror-ridden and fiscally-starved
world than for any accomplishments in these areas. Diplomacy in
the 21st century is no more a play of tricks, but a commitment
to high ideals of integrity, honesty and humanity. The lack of
the same in the last two centuries brought much manmade havoc
on humankind. Agent provocateurs, secret societies and pseudo
divines only made this planet more vulnerable to devastation.
Unethical standards in the shape of scientifically proven policies
were more to control one kind with the other. Warfare is no more
the same old strategic advantage. The meanings of heroism and
patriotism have changed and compel a point of departure from old
immorality of conflicting times.
Only a ‘no strike principle’ can save the planet from
impending nuclear annihilation. Who can instill such a moral responsibility
even in ones who are ready to blow themselves up for their heavenly
dreams? Who can stir the conscience of invisible terrorist mentors
in administrative set-ups, religious orders and welfare clubs
who thrive on people’s money and hog media attention for
their facade of diplomatic acumen? May be, no one, but if there
is a possibility; it can be the US president.
While accepting the honor, President Obama measured up
to verbal expectations in his highly analytical speech. He divested
himself from all hangovers that he had used in his famous speeches
before and after assuming the office. He realized it was necessary
to distinguish the rhetoric from reality. War has been a determining
factor for making or unmaking of nations. Regardless of horrors,
“just war” as a last resort is waged against evils.
Fighting nation enter treaties to protect human rights, end genocide
and secure liberty in the hope of establishing “imperatives
of just peace.”
During primaries, Obama referred to Martin Luther King,
Jr. as his hero for he fought a battle for civil rights through
peaceful means. Since it has some connections with Gandhi’s
much-hyped struggle for Untouchables of India, Obama made frequent
references to both King and Gandhi. But while accepting Nobel Peace
Prize, he disassociated from both Gandhi and King by clearly making
a statement that they could not be his leaders in his fight against
terrorism. To submit to terrorism and allow terrorists
to annihilate all symbols of life and liberty with the hope that
they will renounce violence themselves one day sounds totally unrealistic.
Unchecked Hitler would have left a different world than the one
that we see today. Baruch Spinoza rightly puts that peace is not
an absence of war; it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition
for benevolence, confidence and justice. According to Malcolm X
“you can’t separate peace from freedom because no one
can be at peace unless he has freedom”
Arthur Koestler’s essay “Mahatma Gandhi - Yogi and Commissar:
A Re-valuation” provides profound insights into Bapu’s
“Himalyan inconsistencies” in advising Jews to become
sacrificial goats to Hitler’s ire. Even when Hitler had six
million gas victims, Gandhi advised that the Jews should have offered
themselves to the butcher’s knife. They should have thrown
themselves into the sea from cliffs---it would have roused the world
and the people of Germany. When asked how he would meet the atom
bomb with the non-violence, Gandhi said he would bare his chest
to the pilot who would change his mind in throwing the bomb. Koestler
points out that the Indian establishment attempted not only to suppress
Gandhi’s last experiment of sleeping with Manu, but a conspiracy
of silence rules the roost to wipe out all inconsistencies of Gandhi’s
character. Koestler terms Gandhi as the greatest “anachronism”
of twentieth century and emphasizes, “It is equally pleasant
but futile to argue with intellectuals who adhere to the Gandhi
cult and pay a lip service to a philosophy easy to eulogize and
impossible to realize.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. went to India in 1959. He wanted to get
inspiration from Gandhi’s life for civil rights movement.
That Gandhi lived a life full of contradictions, that British invested
in his making, that he grabbed Dalit baton forcibly from Dr. BR
Ambedkar, that he got the role of a Mahatma only when Krishna Murti
had rejected Annie Besant’s offer, that he was the creation
of the Theosophical Society are altogether points of a different
story. For deification of Gandhi, the role of Ambedkar, Sikh and
Muslim freedom fighters had to be not only driven underground, but
also to be discredited. For making the relevance of non-violence
with Vedic overtones, theatre of violence has to be established.
Similarly for testing his abstinence from sex, a sexual scenario
has to be masqueraded with young women.
is known to have got inspiration from Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy.
But Tolstoy was critical of Gandhi's style of politics. Tolstoy
wrote a “Letter to a Hindu” (1908). It was a reply to
Tarak Nath Dass who was the Editor of Free Hindustan. Tolstoy castigates
Indians in the following words. “A commercial company enslaved
a nation comprising two hundred millions. Tell this to a man free
from superstition and he will fail to grasp what these words mean.
What does it mean that thirty thousand men, not athletes but rather
weak and ordinary people, have subdued two hundred millions vigorous,
clever, capable, freedom loving people? Don’t the figures
make it clear that it is not the English who have enslaved the Indians,
but the Indians who have enslaved themselves?-----"
“If the people of India are enslaved by violence it is only
because they themselves lived and have lived by violence, and don’t
recognize the eternal law of love inherent in humanity.” Tolstoy’s
oblique reference to Indians for supporting violence of the British
against their own people is obvious. It was so discomfiting for
Gandhi that he urged readers not to believe in everything Tolstoy
said in "Letter to a Hindu." Gandhi mentioned it in his
introduction to Tolstoy's letter.
Two books: Gandhi: Behind the Mask of Divinity by G.B. Singh and
Gandhi: under Cross-Examination by G.B. Singh and Tim Watson examine
Gandhi’s masked divinity. Their research has questioned many
premises of Gandhian philosophy. They claim that his entire philosophy
is based on a ‘lie,’ the lie that was needed by the
British to steady their shaky foundation and that more suited to
lay the foundation of Indian nationalism.
According to Dr. BR Ambedkar, most movements that Gandhi pioneered
turned out violent. On 28 December 1931, when Gandhi came back from
Round Table Conference, depressed classes welcomed him with “Our
Charge sheet against Gandhi and Congress” “Enough of
patronizing attitude and lip sympathy. We ask for justice and fair
play.” Depressed classes came with black flags. This led to
a clash that killed forty people on both sides. Ambedkar writes,
“For the first time Mr. Gandhi was made aware that there could
be black flags even against him. When he was asked about it later
in the day, he said he was not angry, the Untouchables being the
flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. This is of course the Mahatmic
way of concealing the truth.” George Orwell in his reaction
to Tolstoy’s criticism of Shakespeare characterized Tolstoy
– and other would-be saints like Gandhi – as forbiddingly
inhuman in their attitudes.”
The world accepted Gandhi as he became synonym for peace, non violence
and civil rights. But it was more for rhetorical purposes than adapting
non-violence in social and political discourses. In the Indian context,
non-violent poseur inspired non-alignment on the one hand and an
alignment with former Soviet Union on the other. It helped India
in International image making and at the same time rejecting any
offers of mediation in their disputes. Nelson Mandela was snubbed
once when he suggested resolving Kashmir issue. Similarly, many
other countries have to eat humble pie, when they offered to mediate
in disputed territory. Despite ritualistic vows to non-violence
and civil rights, flagrant violation of citizenship rights takes
place unchecked ever since India got freedom. India has smartly
dodged any International pressure to sign NPT and ratify UN Convention
against Torture. According to bureaucratic circles such contradictions
only establish India’s unique position in world affairs.
Obama was honest enough to make it clear to the Nobel Prize Committee
that though he used King and Gandhi in his speeches as the guiding
North Star, yet they can’t be his leaders to deal with the
reality that is more complex, intractable and challenging.
ML King Jr. schema-root.org
Posted on January 11, 2010
SECULAR AND THE SECESSIONIST
Dr. Amrik Singh,
Attitude, competency and
knowledge are three components of problem-solving and positive
environment. Experts believe that mere knowledge gaining skills
can’t help in building positive environment if social attitudes
that hamper it are not challenged. Indian universities and colleges
may have promoted knowledge and competency, but appears to have
done very little to challenge social attitudes. Ingrained in our
consciousness, attitudes determine our responses to commonplace
social situations. Quite often, we become helpless in getting
out of the ghettos of our attitudes, even when it is socially
and economically unviable. As a consequence, we are ready to jeopardize
social cohesion, economic loss and political stability. Political
parties form alliances to accommodate prevailing attitudes. Gerrymandering
guided the creation of states, constituencies and districts. The
challenging and dismantling of all those attitudes which warp
our judgment requires a conscious decision.
In Punjab, attitudinal politics of religion, class and caste created
two types of diametrically opposite leaderships: urban leadership
represented by Congress and BJP and the rural leadership represented
by Akali Dal. Left and Dalit parties dangled between these two
poles having no solid identity of their own. For their presence
they indirectly supported the agenda of the two: quite often one
over the other. The urban leadership is based on the assumption
that Sikhs’ political aspirations were separatist. It supported
the programs that subverted the nucleus of Sikh ambitions at the
political and religious levels. Congress coordinated all efforts
from within and without to lead other Indians about Sikhs’
secessionism. Four decades of power provided governmental and
media support to Congress’s efforts. The rural leadership
represented by Akalis couldn’t create support at the national
level to reverse Congress and RSS systematic campaign. The support
of Dalits could have created national support, but Akalis’
fixation with Hindutva restrained them from going into that direction.
Paradoxically, Akali leadership instead helped Congress and RSS
with all the proofs they needed to prove Sikhs’ separatism.
The opposition between the Secular and the Secessionist had many
advantages for Congress and the RSS as it became easier to execute
pending plans like demolition of Babri Mosque at a greater scale.
The tension between the secessionist and the secular was allowed
to reach climaxes at many times. But attitudes never changed,
or challenged or sought to be reconciled, simply because the simmering
pot is what determined the unique character of Indian democracy.
In the context of Punjab, cows' heads and tails were found once
in Hindu temples, cigarettes in Sikh Gurdwaras and pages of Guru
Granth Sahib in the streets. People of Punjab still didn’t
come out in the streets to slit one another throats. They only
wondered why political leaders were thrusting difficult choices
on them. Concrete evidence was collected of the involvement of
a political party in power, but that was dismissed. Urban leaders
created fears of agitating peasantry as a threat to the Nation
on the Move. News media promoted passionately all that was imaginary.
It is a time for the public to scrutinize the role of Sikh and
Hindu leadership across party lines in maintaining negative attitudes
and thus endangering peaceful coexistence. The post emergency
politics of the Congress targeted Punjab for its sectarian politics.
Sikh-Nirankari disputes should have been only the affair of Sikhs
and the Nirankaris, but it developed into Sikhs and the rest of
India issue. Lala Jagat Naryan representing Punjabi Hindus supported
Nirankaris’ contention that Guru Granth Sahib was not the
eleventh Guru. Lala had no intention of accepting Nirankari chief
as his spiritual Guru, but he supported him because such an attitude
had a record of politics behind it. The confrontation started
the row that brought Indian Army to the Golden Temple in 1984
and plunged Punjab in the tragic mode. Even when people of one
community were targeted in buses and trains, Hindus and Sikhs
didn’t kill each other in the streets. However, mainstream
Hindu leaders projected the movement of peasants for their social
and political rights as anti-India. The establishment had not
only maligned Punjabi peasants, but also everyone professing Sikh
religion. Urban Punjab suffered a lot. Many businessmen left Punjab
to other states, but couldn’t get traction in their business.
The rise of militancy and its veering towards terrorism should
have taught many lessons to both Hindu and Sikh leaders, but it
only strengthened their resolve to repeat the tragic play again
when the politics required it.
The failure of both Sikh and Hindu leaders of Punjab in dismantling
negative attitudes speaks of the degradation of ethics in the
polity. Sikhs in BJP, Congress, and left parties not only subscribed
faithfully to the sectarian party agenda, but also showed more
enthusiasm in clobbering members of the maligned community. Instead
of challenging negative attitudes of their respective parties,
they donned the cloak of pseudo-nationalism that had no place
for those Sikhs who demanded their social and political rights
under the constitution of India. Such pseudo-nationalism has been
also denying basic rights to Dalits from times immemorial.
Ledership of the Shiromni Akali Dal after a prolonged and unsuccessful
battle with the Congress conceded defeat and submitted to invincible
Hindutva for its political existence. Akalis have come to such
a pass that they couldn't even express their difference of opinions.
On December 6th, Akalis felt paralyzed in front of supermen of
RSS, Shiv Sena and BJP. They yielded to them unconditionally,
thus plunging once again a phase of uncertainty in Punjab.
During Dera Sauda melodrama, Punjab BJP at no time shared the
perspective of Sikhs that they had a right to respect Guru Granth
Sahib as their Guru. Currently, Harish Bedi, a sitting MLA evoked
all those attitudes that would humiliate Sikhs. It is strange
that Badals could not convince their coalition partners about
the explosive nature of the situation. On the other hand, Badals
became apologetic to Hindu hardliners. Unable to resist the Congress’s
subtle attacking policies, Badal went for a total submission.
Badal’s unconditional support to BJP was the only way to
maximize his vote bank that he lost to congress. Hindus being
in majority would help him more than Sikhs in minority can bring
him back to power. His dependence on Hindu hardliners created
many anomalies in the practice of Akali Dal’s policies.
Sikh leadership across party lines can't be absolved of its complicity
in the genocide of Sikh community. Analysts argue that after Indira
Gandhi’s assassination, the President Giani Zail Singh appointed
Rajiv Gandhi as Prime Minister of India by violating all the protocols.
Gaini only wanted to exhibit his unconditional loyalty to Nehru
family. Constitutional experts averred that had Giani been a statesman,
he would have appointed the senior most cabinet member as interim
PM. The senior most cabinet member at that time was the present
Finance Minister Parnab Mukherjee. Recently, his statement in
the parliament that 1984 Sikh Massacre was most tragic in India’s
history, implied Giani Zail Singh’s faux pas.
Zail Singh's personal allegiance to Nehrus crossed all limits
of decorum. By appointing the senior most cabinet member in 1984,
the president would have given time to Congress party to decide
the leadership questions later. Giani acting out of his extreme
servitude had cleared all decks for party members to concentrate
their energies in arranging Sikh massacre all over India. It was
the only way to show devotion to newly appointed Prime Minister
who happened to be the grieving son of the assassinated leader.
It is often alleged that Giani Zail Singh by indulging in unprofessional,
un-statesmanlike behavior prepared grounds for tragic events of
Delhi. The Sikh president clearly saw how circumstances were building
up, but he didn’t respond even when he could have. Giani
Zail Singh blinded by his unconditional faithfulness, abject servility,
and apologetic fixation might have made an oblique statement that
he would remain a lapdog at the doormat of Nehrus even at the
cost of his people. Is it the only way for Sikh leaders to show
Posted on December 28, 2009
OF FORT HOOD
Dr. Amrik Singh, Sacramento
rampage at the largest military installation has sent tremors
all over the world. Fort Hood was no combatant zone, it was no
enemy territory, but it was a 340 square mile military base for
more than 40, 000 fellow US soldiers. The shooter, Nidal Malik
Hasan was no teenager brainwashed to act as a suicide bomber,
but a high ranked military officer in the medical corps who was
trained in etiquettes of the elite force that educated and employed
him. He took two guns in the fashion of a Virginia Tech killer
and positioned reportedly like a Jihadist to inflict the maximum
damage on fellow soldiers. He wantonly killed 13 and injured more
than two dozens others. He may face death sentence for his crimes.
massacre has raised many questions, the answers for which are
not easy to find. The foremost is the mental health of soldiers
who are sent in the combatant zone. The fight against terrorism
that the former President George W. Bush had vowed to take to
the enemy’s home ground, has struck a tragic note in our
own home. The phrases like axis of evil or a crusade against America’s
enemies had earlier evoked weird associations with early medieval
times. In an effort to decipher the shape and size of the monster
of terrorism, Bush administration came under heavy criticism for
putting American troops in the harm’s way. Soldiers returning
from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from mental agony interpreted
as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As a physician Nidal Malik
Hasan assuaged their frayed feelings and suggested the ways to
cope with their fears and obsessions The therapeutic practice
rests on the premise that when the patients narrate the contours
of their obsession, mental health starts returning. But this kind
of practice needs time. Major Hasan appeared to have no time for
increasing number of wounded soldiers. He might have become bearer
of so many gruesome stories from the field. It reportedly leads
to “compassion fatigue” or second hand post traumatic
stress disorder. The evaluation of mental health of the psychiatrists
The training to keep everything private might have created an
overload of hypersensitive secret knowledge. Patients’ narratives
might have been hard for him to grasp. No evidence shows that
other military officers discussed with him any strategies that
could have put salve on their emotional and psychological wounds.
He had no family to share his grief with. He sought a discharge
when he couldn’t handle himself. 408 psychiatrists in the
cadre of more than 500 thousand soldiers reveal a reality that
remained overlooked during war times. Caught in the trauma of
the battlefield, some soldiers had more than a year wait time
for consulting a psychiatrist. In 2009, about 117 soldiers suffering
from unspeakable emotional and psychological setbacks committed
suicide. The rising number of physically wounded and mentally
hit could not be practically accommodated in psychiatrists’
schedule. Overwhelmed and affected with the secondary trauma,
Major Hasan might have sought comfort in religion. But finding
no cure for his inner afflictions, Hasan allegedly became obsessed
with stories of suicide bombers.
He went to a Mosque to make sense of his mental agony. But he
was not able to communicate what he felt deep inside. It is said
when feelings become pent up, it leads to disaster. Investigation
points out to his communication with radical leaders, but tone
and tenor didn’t arouse any suspicion. The catastrophe that
befell too soon on unarmed, unsuspecting and welcoming group of
soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas was unimaginable. It is not clear
what triggered such a hostile behavior.
15, 2009, John Van de Walker, a soldier who returned from Iraq
scratched the passenger side of his car and ripped the bumper
sticker “Allah is love.” The incident caused a damage
of $ 1000 and resulted in a police case. The accused was evicted
from the apartment. But Major Hasan could not afford to be angry
during Ramadan fast that lasted from Aug 21, --September 19, 2009.
It is reported that Hasan gave two week notice to the apartment
Manager before the shooting rampage. If the ripping of the bumper
sticker “Allah is Love” is the trigger, Hasan probably
planned massacre after September 19 to the day when he gave two
week notice on October 23. The alarm signals were already there.
The incendiary feelings raging inside his mind only needed a trigger.
Once ignited flames engulfed whatever was in the vicinity.
Today, the US policy makers are struggling to identify goals to
be achieved in Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But during the primaries,
the Iraq war was projected as unnecessary and avoidable. The candidate
for President Barack Obama promised to bring troops back home
and protect them from harm’s way. Hillary Clinton’s
judgment of supporting the unjust war in the Senate became the
rallying point for Barack Obama’s criticism. The talk of
withdrawal now having been replaced with the question of surge
in Afghanistan is totally a reversal of the situation.
very serious questions before the investigators. The fact that
the psychiatrist indulged in killing spree due to his weak mental
health should draw serious attention. Many massacres earlier occasioned
only a momentary reflection. Due to their disturbed family life,
such criminals find alibi for their depression in violence. Since
they have no sense of good and bad, they pick their target randomly.
As obsessed with their action plan, they only think of themselves
and their grievances, and has no sense of what is chivalrous and
what is cowardly behavior? For them, their very act of shooting
is a brave gesture that supposedly would attract the attention
of the entire world. They become apathetic to the feelings of
their victims. They find refuse in some kind of their own martyrdom
for their fellow beings. Since they have not been confronted with
opposing views, they are convinced in their own righteousness.
Major Hasan might have been victim of such a mindset.
Suicide bombs have been causing a heavy toll both in Afghanistan
and Iraq. Several thousands of Muslims have lost their lives inside
mosques, public squares and office buildings. American troops’
success is predicated on the cooperation of Muslim populations.
American media’s effort to malign all American Muslims as
would be terrorists may jeopardize US Military’s plans to
succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Most American –Muslim organizations have condemned the massacre
as a heinous crime. But still the fear of backlash bothered the
army mandarins. One brutal act should not result in hitting American
tradition of diversity in the military. It is easier to stereotype
all Muslims for what Major Nidal Hasan has done, but it will be
disastrous for the American forces. The patriotism of Muslims
who are serving the US army can’t be doubted simply because
Major Hasan involved his faith to attack his fellow soldiers.
Every mental wreck would find cover in the archetypes of what
he believes in, whereas the real culprit maybe wounds of the psyche
which are not unique to Muslims alone. The alienation and malignity
exists within. The manifestation often results in painful moments.
Major Nidal might have been treated badly for his faith at Walter
Reed. But it is no justification for what he did. There are many
acceptable ways of voicing one’s grievances. .
It is sad that alarm signals were ignored for long. The military
top brass should have intervened on time. Mental health of soldiers
should be a top priority. The psychiatrists involved in the process
should have some evaluation or exit strategy. The chaos of mind
often causes a bigger chaos in the society.
on December 23, 2009
violence on the eve of 17th anniversary of Babri Masjid’s
demolition and 53rd Death anniversary of Dr. B.R.Ambedkar portends
dangerous signals for Punjab. Nothing happens in Punjab that has
not a history to it. The state has been a theatre of manipulative
politics, intricate designs and provocative rationalities since
ancient times. In the last hundred years, it remained a target of
a colonial milieu, vivisection, and diversionary techniques. The
name of one such policy was “the Great Game” of 1885
that the British had designed to provoke sectarian identities to
dissipate anti-colonial venom from the hearts of Punjabis. The British
in 1947 left a colonial heritage which new rulers of India followed
in letter and spirit. New masters revised “the Great Game”
and named it “Secularism.” As per its unofficial agenda
, non-Hindu religious beliefs have to be discouraged, destroyed
and dismantled to an extent that people accept the supremacy of
Secularism, which experts believe is just a strategic name for Hinduism.
Hardly anyone knew Dayanand Sarswati when he tried his luck in Maharashtra
and in his home state , Gujrat. But when he came to Punjab under
a special mission to alienate the poor from Sikh religion, he drew
everybody’s attention, especially the British. Earlier, nobody
listened to his discourses of returning to Vedic glory, but the
moment he made controversial comments on Gurbani, he achieved stardom.
He created in Hindu intelligentsia a desire to not only control
Punjab, but the whole Indian sub-continent with their racial superiority
and intricate designing, scheming and maligning. The dream didn’t
appear far-fetched when the English were ready to fulfill their
M.K. Gandhi was non-entity when he came back from South Africa.
The moment he entered Punjab after the Jallianwallah massacre in
1919, he found an easy route to nationalize his leadership role.
The peaceful protests of Sikhs for freeing Gurdwaras from Hindu-oriented
Mahants, inspired him to fashion his non-violence mainly for suppressing
Punjabis’ rising patriotism and anti-colonial venom. British
highlighted Gandhi’s role for their colonial ends because
Punjab seemed to pose a growing threat to them. Gandhi kept delaying
freedom until the way for Hindu Nationalism was charted by alienating
Muslims, forcing Dr. Ambedkar to enter Poona Pact and defrauding
Sikh leadership with a state where they would relish the glow of
freedom. The epicenter of three grand frauds was Punjab. Undivided
Punjab would hinder Hindu nationalistic goals, therefore, suppress
the emerging alliance of Dalits, Muslims and Sikhs. All efforts
were directed for provoking violence that led to the partition of
Divya Jyoti Sanghthan’s founder Asutosh appended Maharaj with
his name when he came to Punjab in 1984. His arrival in the state
was under a special mission that related to 1984 attack on Harmandir
Sahib. Austosh believed Operation Blue star was necessary to stop
Pakistan from helping militants. He declared he would not let terrorism
again raise its head in Punjab. Although, an elected government
at the center and a trained military were in place for meeting any
foreign threat, yet Asutosh assumed the extra- constitutional role
of the state to free Punjab of terrorists. He questioned Sikh traditions
that inspired Amritdhari Sikhs to recite Gurbani daily, which according
to him, is just parroting to no effect. He considered Sikhism an
offshoot of Hinduism. One of his followers projected Guru Gobind
Singh seeking blessings of Hindu Gods and the Khalsa created by
him as a misconception. The real Khalsa, according to one of his
deputies, was a body of Asutosh’s devotees.
The controversial remarks were brought to the notice of the Akal
Takhat. Ashutosh was refrained from creating unnecessary controversies,
but his influence reportedly runs in Badal’s family. The state
BJP stood behind him even at the cost of the coalition politics.
The minority commission had censured Ashutosh for poisoning Punjab’s
atmosphere, but could not deter it to abandon provocative speeches
in the name of Braham Gyan and to the disparagement of Gurbani.
BJP is of the opinion that every one has right to practice whatever
religion one believes in. Therefore, the action of Sikh bodies’
to march towards the venue of the function undermined the freedom
of religion. Sikh bodies argue that the BJP didn’t comment
on Asutosh’s interference in the practice of other religions.
The freedom as a right only exists so long as it doesn’t undermine
freedom of the other. Damdami Taksal Chief Harnam Singh Dhumma blamed
the government for misleading Punjabi Hindus and creating an anti-Punjab
Mohan Rao Bhagwat, chief of radical Hindu organization RSS, selected
historical Babri Masjid’s demolition day for his visit to
Punjab. On December 6, 2009, he held a RSS camp and a press conference
in Chandigarh . He declared that he had no regrets for what happened
in Ayodhiya on December 6, 1992. He also made it clear that all
minorities (Muslims and Christians) are descendants of former Hindu
forefathers. The aim of Hindu raj should be to take them back in
its fold. On December 6, posters of the controversial sect leader
displayed all over Ludhiana were said to ridicule Sikhs and create
ruckus that might deflect attention from 17th anniversary of Babri
mosque demolition. The shooting of Darshan Singh is a sad commentary
of Akali-BJP alliance in Punjab.
It is an open secret that Ashutosh’s function was organized
by Ludhiana Ashok Malhotra Group of Industries at the behest of
BJP party. The top leadership’s incarceration in the Librahan
Report motivated them to seek the theatrical protection of the controversial
religious leader. Raising the bogey of Sikh terrorism and linking
it with Pakistan could wash blood from hands of both Congress and
The dangerous trends point to apprehensions that the Punjab will
burn again. The hatred comes here packaged in the name of peace
and non-violence. Mantras of annihilation are chanted to decimate
the voices which don't conform to Brahamanical codes. RSS chief
has already pronounced that all minorities have their origin in
Hinduism. Bhagwat is looking forward to times when minorities will
submerge in the ocean of Hinduism. He is fantasizing Mahan Bharat
that will include Afghanistan, Kashmir and Tibet as well. If viewed
in the background of colonial history nothing has changed even after
one hundred years. Science has broken many frontiers of knowledge,
but more the development in India, the greater the slide into primitive
When Arya Samaj came to Punjab
as part of the “Great Game,” it focused on Amritdhari
Sikhs and Guru Granth Sahib. In the beginning years, Arya Samaj's
programs included reading from Guru Granth Sahib . But it was only
to denigrate Gurbani in comparison to the purity of eternal Vedas.
The founder of Khalsa Akhbar, Bhai Dit Singh objected to Dayanand’s
derogatory commentary on Gurbani and challenged him to debate with
him about Vedas and Gurbani. It was Bhai Dit Singh’s genius
that exposed Swami Dayanand’s imperfect knowledge about planetary
revolution. Swami Dayanand kept insisting that the Sun revolves
round the earth. The dynamic personality of Bhai Dit Singh had experienced
at Dera Gulab Dass Chatthianwala a negative mindset that degraded
Gurabani simply because it had hymns of Saints who owe their origin
to Shudra families. Later, he joined Arya Samaj for there appeared
a promise that caste would not be followed. Shuddhi of dalits attracted
many followers. When Bhai Sahib saw the proponents of Arya Samaj
raging with their superiority and replete with blasphemous words
for Gurus and Saints, he vowed to give up that faith forever. He
met Bhai Gurmukh Singh and embarked on a mission to inculcate true
Sikh spirit through his discourses and writings. Bhai Sahib left
the world in 1901, but his influence on Sikh history is tremendous
Punjab has seen the blood-soaked
politics of Congress in the past decades. The militancy can’t
be studied by separating it from the culture that created it. Ludhiana
violence has shown that BJP is apathetic to interests of Punjab.
Sikhs are either with Congress or with BJP. They barter Sikh ideals
for the hateful campaign of their political masters. Right-minded
Hindus should rise to discourage nexus of politicians and criminals.
Guilty politicians’ attempts to hide behind religious sentiments
of people should never be allowed to succeed in Punjab. If Punjabis
keep their house in order, no foreign threat can vanquish them.
The unity of Dalits, Sikhs, Christians, Muslims and Hindus in a
new alliance can force BJP, Congress and their allies to shift the
Gory Theatre to some other place.
Posted on December 11, 2009
Amrik Singh, Sacramento
Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcome Indian Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh and wife Gursharan Kaur, as they arrive for the G-20
summit dinner in Pittsburgh, Pa., Sept. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles
Dharapak) (Right) President Barack Obama
greets Michaele and Tareq Salahi during a receiving line in the
Blue Room of the White House before the state dinner with Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh of India. (Samantha Appleton/White House)
Barack Obama’s first State dinner in honor of Indian Prime
Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on November 24, 2009 became a star attraction
of worldwide media. Besides people of fame, and pageantry, the sight
of the first lady in a hand woven silky gown from India compelled
the fashion industry to alter meanings of beauty. Party crashers
jolted not only the secret service, but also exposed how vulnerable
the president and prime minister were to the captivating charms
of a lady in the red sari. However, one can safely say all is well
that ends well. For Indo-American community, the honor was historic
as well as a productive achievement.
partnership in the emerging global leadership was never as strategic
as it is today. Owing to the history of more than a hundred years,
Indo-American community has been playing a significant role in restructuring
of international relations. Early pioneers, who set foot on this
land, brought with them their culture of hard work, spirit of sharing,
human rights’ awareness, and commitment to the best thought
and practiced in the world. American Revolution had fired their
imagination and they embarked on a mission to free their land from
the British occupation. The efforts of less than five thousand people
in 1913-1914 had international implications. The British colonialists
lobbied to secure United States’ military support to suppress
German alliance in World War I. The English succeeded in getting
American Foreign policy amended accordingly and held San Francisco
conspiracy trials in 1917 to prosecute activists of Ghadar movement
and their German allies. Scholars view Americans’ uncritical
tilt towards the United Kingdom in 1917, as a major drawback of
their foreign policy.
created a culture in which freedom of spirit became necessary. Efforts
of early pioneers continued until after the World War II. A battle
for American citizenship was won a few months before India got freedom.
Earlier, United States had bluntly told the British to negotiate
with Indians about granting their freedom. The British duplicity,
however, was exposed as they tried to influence President Roosevelt’s
decision against freedom of India. A confidential memo by Ambassador
William Phillips, the US special envoy to India in 1943, had created
a media sensation as its leakage bewildered the US State Department,
and frustrated the British efforts in maligning freedom fighters.
The story in Washington Post was path breaking for activists of
Indian freedom. It came to light that the President Roosevelt had
made British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to consider questions
of withdrawal from India and form an interim government until the
complete withdrawal. The US had advanced such an argument for India’s
full participation in war efforts.
Harold A. Gould’s book : Sikhs, Swamis, Students, and Spies:
The Indian Lobby in the United States, 1900-1946, highlights how
seeds of freedom sown by Punjabi pioneers grew into so big a campaign
as to make the US presidents plead their cause from 1943-1946. The
ethno-demographic base of these early pioneers, according to Gould,
was “a mélange of South Asians who had found their
way to the United States by diverse routes. They were scattered
all across the country but, as noted, the bulk of them at first
were concentrated on the Pacific coast, in California, Oregon and
the state of Washington. Most were Sikhs but there were also Hindus
and Muslims plus a few Parsi Zorastrian and Indian Christians as
A few thousands have grown into a mass of 2.7 millions. Their influence
is seen in almost every field of American life. Congressman Dalip
Singh Saund brought laurels to the community in 1950’s; Governor
Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Mayor Kashmir Singh Gill are heroes
of today. The social, economic and political clout has increased
many times. But something is missing that early pioneers had in
abundance: their commitment to serve the country of their origin
according to the best ideals of human potential. Today, Indo-Americans
sequester themselves in mutually exclusive groups and take refuge
in their own superiority.
It appears as if they have no regard for those who kissed noose
in the hope of a dream for their country. Early pioneers like Kartar
Singh Sarabha wanted nothing except an honorable place in their
countrymen’s memory. Their dream never translated into reality.
Rather its murder was celebrated on the intervening night of August
14th & 15th 1947. No lessons were learned from blood that streamed
in the Indus through its five tributaries. A fence was again erected.
Seeds of poison on both sides have grown into a bumper crop. Both
sides want to profit from it, but marketing skills of the one are
the ruin of the other.
Indo-American community is afraid to go back to the roots. All efforts
end in frustration as very few share pioneers’ vision. Indo
American community’s time is either spent in securing US visa
for discredited leaders like Gujrat CM Narender Modi or celebrating
the Independence Day by flaunting national flags in the face of
some on the side of the street. People who might have emotional
ties with such events have to participate in a different way. Black
flags in their hands are interrogatives which remained unanswered
for one quarter of a century. Indo-Americans have never joined heads
to tell modern politicians of India what early pioneers had dreamed
about their country. Why Amnesty International has to write to President
Obama to speak to the Indian Prime Minister about what happened
in November, 1984? Why couldn’t Indo-American community question
Prime Minister to invoke law of the land against perpetrators of
mass murders? Any step in this direction would have honored those
who paid the price of their lives to just secure a place in the
red carpet welcome to India’s Prime Minister has undoubtedly
provided a momentary relief from painful memories of November. Dr.
Singh expressed his confidence in President Obama’s leadership
in operationalizing Civil Nuclear Deal he entered with former President
George W. Bush. He also resolved to jointly end terrorism that threatened
the civilized world. President Obama expressed that Al Qaeda’s
effectiveness had to be dismantled. While welcoming Dr. Singh, President
Obama used Hindi greetings and mentioned celebration of Guru Nanak’s
birthday in the White house. He also honored M.K. Gandhi and Martin
Luther King in fighting for civil rights of the downtrodden. United
States sought India’s partnership in educational exchange,
knowledge initiatives, intelligence sharing and fight against infectious
negotiations have been described as meeting of minds. Obama’s
joint statement with China had created feverish nervousness in Indian
circles. Doubts were expressed about a halfhearted treatment to
the Indian Prime Minister. But the glitz, glamour and gaiety at
the party have squashed all premature reactions.
The mood at the First banquet was celebratory as well as thought
provoking. Obama’s presidency seems to be all set to follow
a crucial path of making the world a friendlier place. The president
asserted that United States stood committed to work with India for
a better world. The lavish American hospitality to the Indian PM
would have upset China, had Obama not made it to Beijing earlier.
In that case, it would have some serious consequences for the struggling
economy of the United States as China is a tremendous partner in
all efforts for recovery and growth.
on December 03, 2009
and Posturing for Peace
Dr. Amrik Singh, Sacramento
Courtesy : theprudentindian
ruling Congress is overwhelmingly convinced that Jagdish Tytler
is no embarrassment, but a zealous soldier of the party. It doesn’t
matter if law makers in the parliament once forced Dr. Manmohan
Singh’s government to dispense with his tainted services
in the Union Cabinet. Tytler has greater resilience to bounce
back. Though a shoe missile had hit him in the eye, Tytler startled
the civil society again with his appointment as chairman of the
Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee. It seems Sonia Gandhi
can go to great lengths to accommodate his interests. Dr. Manmohan
Singh can imperil his own fair name for the sake of the like of
Tytler and suggest to the Sikhs to forget the past. Home Minister
P. Chidambram endured the slight of the shoe but did not miss
defending Tytler. What a shame for a sovereign India that one
of its top dignitaries could be arrested in London for murders
committed in Delhi 25 years ago!
Vir Sanghvi of Hindustan Times had reacted to shoe fiasco in a
questioning way. He wondered why Congress issued tickets to Tytler
and Sajjan Kumar in the first place? Then why had it withdrawn
their names after Jarnail Singh’s impatience stared in its
face? Sanghvi knows quite well that the politicians who become
an eyesore for minority politics are in fact trump cards for majority
politics. Mainstream media that Sanghvi represents does not stand
up for the muffled people. When Sonia, Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi
declared in tandem that Dr. Manmohan Singh was their candidate,
think tanks of the party negated his Sikh credentials by purposely
issuing tickets to Tytler and Kumar who clearly are champions
of turban terminators. Congress’ think tanks were sure of
Sikhs’ protests and that was what they needed to stir the
nerve of the Hindu majority rule in the ensuing elections. In
their view, it was a device par excellence!
Rewarding mass murderers has been in vogue since ancient times.
Shudras suffered wrath of marauding mobs at different times. Convinced
of their status at “the holy feet of Brahma”, they
had no language, no myth, no religion that could liberate them
from their subjugation. Those who aspired to a better life were
either absorbed in the Vedic dharma or were torn from the community
they vowed to serve. Deprived and depraved of any life affirming
forces, Shudras’ highest pleasure was to serve their masters
without question. That was the only condition of peace in the
Buddhists once embarked on a path to reverse the said dictum of
peace. A systematic invasion continued until Buddhists stopped
claiming their religion as separate from Hinduism. In the early
seventeenth century, when Shudras’ voice found a parallel
status with all other spiritual traditions in Aad Granth, an earthshaking
paranoia seized the top tier of Brahman hierarchy. It erupted
in an organized plot against the Holy text and the Harmandir built
to preserve it.
Armed with all arts, knowledge and occult mantras, Brahmins found
allies in rulers of the time. They aligned all their goals with
those of the rulers with a view to decimate emerging Dharma. Any
attempts to empower Shudras over and above Vedic edicts amounted
to blasphemy. The West believes that occult Brahmins are unparalleled
in smearing campaign. Pandits’ slander follows uninterrupted
path until a majority becomes polarized to their opinions.
That precisely is the signal for henchmen “Strike when the
iron is hot.” Blue Star operation came after a consistent
campaign of projecting the entire Sikh community as violent and
bloodthirsty. In November, Indira’s India rose to rid the
land of “Sikh demons”. The message traveled with equal
emphasis to the executive, the judiciary and the parliament to
suspend their operation completely for 72 hours and partially
thereafter. Earlier in June 1984, the Indian Military was given
48 hours to finish everything in the Golden Temple. The symbolic
sweep of secretive messaging affected all political parties. The
1985 parliamentary elections ratified genocidal hunger in the
shape of ¾ majority to Indira Gandhi’s Congress.
Her party won 408 parliamentary seats to convince the world how
necessary it was to kill Sikhs in free India. The largest democracy
in the world set new precedents: bash minorities to save democracy.
Orwell’s 1984 is so true in case of Sikhs’ persecution.
Totalitarian regimes’ guiding principle is ‘who controls
the past, controls the future.’ In Orwell’s novel,
Ministry of Truth is engaged in altering old poems to the spirit
of party’s ideology. In the similar fashion, the Indian
Army ransacked Golden Temple reference library at the behest of
Indian Big Brothers. Their attempt to control the Sikh past is
quite obvious in sheltering anti-Sikh spiritual traditions and
fearless interference in the practice of their religion. All pervasive
surveillance, mind control strategies, and voiding of citizenship
rights are themes of George Orwell’s novel 1984 that he
wrote in 1948.
Orwell had served in Indian Imperial Police for five years from
1922 to 27 and had remained the BBC Talk Producer for India in
1941. Thus, he had witnessed the alliance of the British with
Occult Brahmins as sure steps towards totalitarianism. Orwell’s
vision is often referred to Stalinism, but his oblique references
to the desire of the British and Brahmins to control religious,
social and the political life of people round the globe are often
True to Orwellian vision, Sikhs are target of all pervasive government
surveillance, mind control strategies through diversionary techniques,
and voiding of their citizenship rights. So far they demanded
justice for 3000 murders in the Capital of the country. A greater
number of Sikhs were killed in other cities, for which even victims
have not raised their voice yet.
In the month of November, Indira Gandhi’s death anniversary
and Sikh pogroms evoke mixed memories. Congress makes every effort
to laud Indira Gandhi role in Indian politics and ignore Sikhs’
demand for justice. Some gestures sound satirical, deliberate
and depressive for victims of anti Sikh violence. For instance
on November 15, 2004 “Seavey Awards” was given to
Delhi police for ‘High Quality Enforcement Through Community
Policing.’ In November, Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament
and Development worth 25 Lac Rupees is given to renowned national
and international figures. Among 22 recipients, Jimmy Carter,
Bill Gates, Mikhail Gorbachev, Kofi Annan are few of prominent
Director Krishna Shah has announced making a film in English on
Indira Gandhi that will be shot in India, U.K. U.S.A and Russia.
Madhuri Dixit has agreed to play the role of Indira Gandhi. The
Film “Mother: The Indira Gandhi’s Story” will
probably constitute a myth of Indira’s greatness in quelling
Sikhs’ seditious intents.
With 22 recipients of Indira peace awards, a film in English shot
in most influential countries of the world, and a Sikh prime minister
at the helm of affairs will establish Indira’s credentials
for peace and non-violence. Sikhs with their self-contradictory
statements, and murky politics of Delhi and Amritsar Gurdwara
Prabandhak Committees will probably indulge in self-defeating
posturing to lay blame somewhere else.
Posted on December 03, 2009
DIALOG AND DRAMA:
HISTORY OF PUNJABI PIONEERS AND GADHAR HEROES
Photos by: Prem Kumar Chumber Ambedkartimes.com
In North America, Gadhar Movement 1914-1915 was the first organized movement to free India from British occupation. A few thousands Indians pooled their resources to plan an armed insurrection against British colonialists. Though they could not succeed in their mission, they awakened a longing for freedom in their countrymen. They started their freedom struggle even before the Russian revolution. More than 200 freedom lovers were martyred for their patriotism. An appeal was made to raise a suitable memorial for them in Sacramento. They tilled their lands in Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley and supported the campaign until India got freedom in 1947.
These views were expressed during a Conference on 22 August 2009 at Sheldon High School Sacramento organized by Gadhar Memorial Foundation. The keynote speaker was Dr. Harish Puri who authored a book about Gadhar movement and held the Chair of Ambedkar Studies at Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar. Dr. Jaspal Singh Vice Chancellor Punjabi University Patiala, Dr. Surinder Singh Mand Government College Talwara and Dr Jaswant Singh Neki also addressed the audience. Earlier, Dr Gurdev Singh Khush, a renowned agriculture scientist, inaugurated the conference. ‘Gadhar Express’ a play written by Dr. Atamjit Singh and directed by Surinder Dhanoa was staged after the conference.
Dr. Harish Puri underlined the role of intellectuals in Gadhar Lehar. It was their learned guidance that was responsible for building the movement. Gadharis according to him were secular in their vision. He quoted Harold Gould to stress that Gadhar activists were naive and unorganized. Most of them, according to him, were uneducated. Dr. Harish Puri, however, didn’t go further to investigate the causes of movement’s failure. Commenting on papers of the main speakers, Dr. Amrik Singh pointed out that conferences become totally irrelevant if the history becomes a casualty of ideology and false opinions. He referred to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s book on the question of Pakistan published in 1941. Dr. Ambedkar quotes Lala Hardayal’s statement that appeared in 1925 in “Partap” as part of a Hindu solution to the question of Pakistan. Dr. Ambedkar clearly outlines that Hindu hardliners like Lala Hardayal and V.D. Savarkar pushed Muslims to entertain ideas of Pakistan. Hindu chauvinists’ proposal for “Shuddhi” was an expression of intolerance and threat to other minorities. Dr. Amrik Singh regretted that historians ignore authentic resources and fabricate imaginary and mythical account of selected leaders under the influence of the majoritarian mindset. He also referred to the need of understanding why Gadri activist Babu Mangoo Ram Mugowalia had to start Ad Dharm Movement in 1926. The selective use of history by the majority escalates sectarian tendencies. That is why the role of great rebels like Mehraj Singh, Baba Ram Singh and Maharaja Dalip Singh has not been made part of the national heritage. Their rebellion had caused the British to pump huge resources to suppress their popularity among the masses.
Dr. Jaswant Singh Neki held that Guru Nanak was the greatest revolutionary. Gadharis were influenced by the revolutionary spirit of Guru Nanak. The construction of Gurdwara in Stockton in 1912 was a precursor in building up the Gadhar movement. Dr. Jaspal Singh referred to the publication of two books by Punjabi University Patiala that are compilation of poems and essays written during the Gadhar movement. He said Gadhariss contribution was not recognized mainly due to an unusual stress on Gandhianism. Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement was built by the government beyond proportion. As a result, the armed incursion of Gadharis was reduced to insignificance. He said Gadhar failed due to the treachery of some insiders. Dr. Jaspal Singh said that it was a challenge to historians to reevaluate Gadhar movement and rewrite its history. Dr. Surinder Singh Mand’s lecture focused on the monumental contribution of Gadhris in the struggle for India’s freedom. According to him, they influenced Punjabi literature and language by writing revolutionary poems and essays.
Kuldip Singh Dhaliwal, chairman of Gadhar Memorial foundation announced that to commemorate 100 years of Gadhar movement in 2013, a big conference will be held. The patron of the foundation, Charan Singh Judge, thanked the audience for coming from far off places to attend the conference. Among other speakers, Dr. Sukhwinder Kamboj, Major Bhupinder Singh Daler, Dr. Onkar Singh Bindra, Dr. Baldev Singh Dhaliwal of Punjabi University Patiala also commented on the success of the conference.
After the conference, the audience waited with bated breath for the staging of “Gadhar Express.” A renowned playwright from Punjab, Dr. Atamjit Singh stated that he faced an uphill task in writing the script about Gadhar history. Surinder Singh Dhanoa directed the play.
As soon as the curtain lifted, a big book with the title “History” written on it appeared as a stage setting. The characters emerge from the book and look totally strangers not only to the audience, but also to the actors themselves. Through this device, the playwright ironically denounces the apathetic ignorance about the glorious history of the Gadhar. Gadhar Express is a play within the play. The rehearsal is a part of the play, thus it demonstrates lapses in acting at places. The director’s efforts to improve the performance of his cast appear natural. The play sometimes gets buried under too much load of historical information. But it successfully comes out from the darkness of history and appeals to audience to empathize with characters’ pain and longing for freedom. The actors who play the role of historical characters can’t remain untouched. The role of Ram Singh who shot Ram Chandar is highlighted to emphasize his patriotism for the cause of freedom. Darshan Aujala takes pride in acting as Ram Singh. Whereas, Kamal Randhawa, the actor playing Ram Chander expresses his shock and shame for betraying his colleagues. In this way, the playwright deftly solved difficulties of handling historical matter. Kamal also felt elevated by playing the role of Kartar Singh Sarabha and his undying love for freedom.
Given the time needed for rehearsals, the director achieved a remarkable feat in blocking the movements. In his role of a director-actor, Mr. Dhanoa was impressive. He appeared to be heading a team of like-minded, mutually appreciative, and self-motivated actors who enlightened by playing their specific roles exhort audience to recognize what so far remained concealed in history books. For the audience, the play was a challenge. As Punjabi audiences’ conditioning of mind is more towards music and traditional dances, the historical play posed problem of an intrusive consciousness. A large number remained stuck to their seats to make sense of the historical knowledge. They might have for the first time realized that entertainment was also possible through historical theatre. The staging of the play succeeded in engendering eagerness to know more about history.
The play prominently figures incidents revolving round murders of William Hopkinson by Mewa Singh, Vancouver in 1914, and Ram Chander, San Francisco by Ram Singh in 1917. Both incidents took place during the court proceedings. A Canadian Immigration inspector and a British Spy, Hopkinson headed a network of Sikh agents engaged by the British to diffuse rising wave of patriotism among Sikhs of California. Ram Chander at the height of Gadhar movement, engineered dissensions that led to the failure of Gadhar. He received huge funds from Germany that he appropriated in his personal accounts.
Dharm Paul in his role as Jodh Singh was at his theatrical best. Dilawar Chahal acted Hopkinson in a very impressive manner. He understood his character and brought out expressions of his anti-Punjabi zeal on the stage. Balwinder Mahey successfully performed traitor Bela Singh. Harmesh Sidhu, as Gen O ‘Dwayer and Pandit Kanshi Ram; Gursharan Sekhon, as Rahmat Ali Wajidke; Sonu Randhawa, as Ganesh Pingley; Jaswinder Dhanoa, as Lady Judge and Rukmani; Jaswinder Bawa, as Sarkari Vakeel; Jaswinder Chhoti, as Bela Singh’s wife Bhindi; Jaspal Saini, as Cleveland, Surinder Dhanoa, as Dirctor and Hafifz Abdullah; Rashpal Khangura, as Tarknath Dass; Manjit Singh, as Bhagwan Singh, played their roles appreciably. Cool Punjabi Virsa Academy’s Parmjit Singh and Renu Singh of Stockton provided music. Punjab Lok Rang was honored for its excellent performance.
Many organizations were seen present on the occasion. Journalists Daljit Sra Chief Editor of Amritsar Times, Prem Chumber of Ambedkartimes.com, Gurjatinder Singh Randhawa of Punjab Mail, Husan Laroya of Ajit Jalandhar were there to cover the event. Punjabi Sahit Sabha California was represented on the stage Manjit Kaur Sekhon, and Vishav Punjabi Academy by poet Kulvinder.
Posted on September 17, 2009
|PRELAUNCH OF AJMER SINGH’S
1984 UNIMAGINABLE TYRANNY
Dr. Amrik Singh from Sacramento
Harmandir Sahib ( Golden Temple) occupies a special place in the Sikh psyche. It is an exclusive territory of the Sikhs open to people of all persuasions. Disturbing its reigning peace and harmony with artillery fire led to utter shock and disbelief. 1984 invasion came after 219 years. Though the English had their agents in Sikh Gurdwaras, they avoided launching an attack on Sikhs’ most revered shrine. Earlier attacks on Golden Temple had identical response of the Sikhs, but June 1984 traumatized the community in a different way. Sardar Ajmer Singh, author of his third book on Sikh polity: 1984 Unchitviya Kehar (1984 Unimaginable Tyranny) expressed his views during a talk on Saturday, June 27 2009 arranged by Sikh Youth of America (Bay Area Unit). Introducing the author, Jasjeet Singh of Amritsar Group of Newspapers, urged a distinguished gathering of scholars to participate in the discussion and dwell on points raised by Sardar Ajmer Singh in his third book. The book will hit the bookstands shortly.
The author stated that some Sikh intellectuals blamed Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale for the desecration of the holy place. Alternative sites like Mehta Chowk would have been appropriate for fighting with the army. Challenging the audience about their perception of Sant Jarnail Singh’s decision to fight from the precincts of the Akal Takht, the author characterized it as necessary for safeguarding Sikh legacy. Earlier taking part in debate some said Sant Jarnail Singh’s action was to defend the Harminder Sahib, and others believed it was the only option left to appropriate the spirit of Miri Piri. Sant Bhindrawale, however, had premonition of a tactically planned military operation. He was aware that Pundits had predicted a rollercoaster ride for Indira Gandhi in general elections due that year after the Blue Star operation. A coordinated attack on 37 other gurdwaras was to give the severest blow to the Sikh psyche. November 1984 tyranny against Sikhs outside Punjab speaks a lot about the structuring of the Hindu nationalism regardless of its rhetoric of secularism and universal brotherhood.
The author explained how the course of history changes when unique acts of valor occur for the expression of self respect. Baba Deep Singh’s decision to liberate Golden temple was one such action. He inspired many on the way to enact legendary heroism in the history of mankind. His battle played a dynamic role in Sikh history. The symbolic sacrifice set a paradigm for generations to come. Among unique dynamic exploits before Baba Deep Singh, Baba Banda Bahudar is remembered as the first to cut a hole in the mighty Mughal Empire. It not only led to the establishment of the Khalsa Raj in 1799, but also excited the East India Company to fantasize their rule in the rest of India.
Sardar Ajmer Singh reminded that 1984 attack on Golden Temple remains a contrast to earlier attacks. A significant section of Sikh community perceived it with the eyes that were colored by the Hindu nationalist media. Ajmer Singh pointed out that pens had stopped to make sense of the acute pain of 1984. In the post 1984 era, even writers like Khushwant Singh had to revise his earlier discredited opinions; he joined with other writers to stress on Sikhs’ subjugation. The author admits it was not easy to write about one of the severest crises in the written history of the Sikhs. It has to be put in the perspective that encompasses the entire tragedy of Sikhs’ dreams, hopes and aspirations in free India.
Guru Arjun Dev Ji after having completed Aad Granth and Harmandar Sahib had sensed that conspiracy was afoot to destroy his work. He had already ordered buying horses, so that Sikhs’ spirit could be elevated and made fearless to defend the legacy of Saints, Bhagats and Gurus. Turning points in history are hard to understand at the time of occurrence. Contradictory claims and counterclaims mark the beginning of such phases. But it is the concluding stage that establishes the truth of an epoch. Sixth Nanak, Guru Hargobind’s war–like spirit had created a crisis for even devout Sikhs of his time. It is no wonder Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale had mixed response from Sikhs in the twentieth century.
Baba Deep Singh’s decision might have been naive from the tactical point of view, but that was precisely vibrant push for the history. Sant Jarnail Singh’s counterattack was a defining moment for Sikhs who had been suffering onslaughts of media, police, paramilitary and military operations. November 1984 exemplified the modus operandi of the fifth column, the faceless mob. That is why in 25 years, Indian criminal justice could not identify any faces so far who were responsible for thousands of Sikhs’ lynching.
The whole discussion took place in an atmosphere of peace. The author respected others’ difference of opinions. He answered questions focused around the viewpoint that Sant Jarnail Singh was a ploy of the politics of Darbara Singh and Giani Zail Singh. The destruction of reference library also figured in the discussion. Dr. Harbans Singh Saroan moderated the discussion deftly.
Posted on June 30, 2009
the world saw the disappearance of an A330 Air Frane during a trans
Atlantic flight between Rio to Paris. Two shots taken inside the
plane before it crashed. Unbelievable! Photos taken inside the GOL
B 737 aircraft that was involved in a mid air collision and crashed.....
DEATH A330 AIR
two photos attached were apparently taken by one of the passengers
in the B737, . The photos were retrieved from the camera's memory
stick. You will never get to see photos like this. In the first
photo, there is a gaping hole
in the fuselage through which you can see the tailplane and vertical
fin of the aircraft. In the second photo, one of the passengers
is being sucked out of the gaping hole.
photos were found in a digital Casio Z750, amidst the remains in
Serra do Cachimbo. Although the camera was destroyed, the Memory
Stick was recovered. Investigating the serial number of the
camera, the owner was identified as Paulo G. Muller, an actor of
a theatre for children known in the outskirts of Porto
Alegre. It can be imagined that he was standing during
the impact with the Embraer Legacy and during the turbulence, he
managed to take these photos, just seconds after the tail loss the
aircraft plunged. So the camera was found near the cockpit. The
structural stress probably ripped the engines away, diminishing
the falling speed, protecting the electronic equipment but not unfortunately
the victims. Paulo Muller leaves behind two daughters, Bruna and
Sent by Dr. Amrik Singh Sacramento
Posted on June 17, 2009
|VIENNA JOLTS PUNJAB & DIASPORA
By Dr. Amrik Singh Sacramento
Vienna incident on May 24 is still under investigation. Police released partial identity of six attackers. One of the suspects has been released for lack of concrete evidence. Vienna police suspect the attack was planned and circumspectly executed. The mastermind of the crime suffered a bullet injury in his head. He continues to be in the artificially induced coma at one of the Vienna Hospitals. Nothing is clear as to who shot the ringleader of the crime. The news sent by followers through phones, text messages, emails and Youtubes spread within few minutes evoking memories of thousand years of oppression of dominant castes against Dalit community.
As per the messages from different sources, six people with flowing beards wearing five K’s, symbols of the baptized Sikhs, entered Guru Ravidass Temple in Vienna, and shot Dera Sachkhand Ballan’s Sant Niranjan Dass and Sant Ramanand Dass in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib. Dera followers interpreted immediately the dastardly killing of Sant Ramanand as committed by radical upper caste Sikhs. The speculation led to widespread arson, vandalism and violence in Punjab. The news of the immediate arrest of all six suspects could not bring peace in Punjab. Badal government came under severe criticism for being soft to the arsonists. Badal’s arch rival Capt. Amrinder Singh viewed disturbances as an opportunity for dismissal of Badal government. Had law and orders been enforced forcefully, according to Capt., violation of curfew orders would not have happened resulting in an unprecedented loss of the state property. The protesters viewed baptized Sikh attackers in Vienna as terrorists and even held mainstream Jat Sikh community responsible for the attack.
Vienna shooting jolted many Sikh organizations because the incident put them in lurid lights. Dera Sach Khand Ballan, according to some of them, was preaching Gurubani to the ignored section of India's society. Attackers' criminal activity by Sikh standards is a violation of the Sikh Code of Conduct that prohibits obscenity, profanity and violence in presence of the most revered holy book. In this case attackers disguised as Sikhs frightened people who were congregated in the name of Akal Purakh. Second they abused the martial tradition of the Khalsa that inspires hope and confidence in the unarmed and unguarded. Third, unlike other Deras such as Sauda and Bharniarewala, the Khalsa Panth had no known history of dispute with Dera Sach Khand Ballan that would have required the use of weapons in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib. Sikh organizations never reported to Akal Takhat any Code of Conduct problems. If there are any complaints, Akal Takhat normally attempts to sort out Maryada problems through peaceful dialog and moral persuasion. In extreme circumstances of impasse and standoff, Akal Takhat may issue a boycott call, as it happened in case of Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa. But there was no such call from the highest seat of the Sikh religion.
The condemnation of violence in Austria by the highest seat of Akal Takht, the president of SGPC, Chief Minister and deputy CM of Punjab poured forth immediately after the incident. Radical Sikh organizations like Babbar Khalsa International and Khalistan Zindabad Force condemned the incident and pointed finger at the Indian government agencies’ campaign to defame Sikhs. According to a telephone call to a certain Radio Station in England, Khalistan Zinda Force had earlier claimed responsibility, but later denied it. Dal Khalsa convener Kanwarpal Singh Dhami advised SGPC to send a fact-finding mission to Vienna to probe shooting. Diaspora Sikhs in North America and Europe too came out with denunciation of dastardly killing of the Sant. They demanded investigation from every angle of the conspiracy and pressed to disclose detailed background of the masterminds of the crime.
Sikh activists across the world feared a severe setback to their efforts to get Sikh turban and ceremonial sword recognized in Europe. Vienna incident has negatively portrayed Sikh community as intolerant, bigoted and violent.
Some people allege violence was the natural outcome of controversies such as preaching of casteism in the name of Gurbani and promoting image- worship in direct contravention to the original message of Guru Granth Sahib. Even though it maybe plausible explanation, however, the tone and tenor of such claimants seemed to imply justification of violence. Experts opine that since eternal Guru of Sikhs is Granth Sahib, therefore, there should be no controversy of Gurbani as Guru. Sikhs bow their head not alone to the holy book but to the eternal spirit symbolized in Gurus' and Bhagats' messages of unity of mankind and God. Analysts blame SGPC for abdicating its duty in working with different religious groups and sorting out problems of Maryada in the true spirit of dialog, discussion and consensus. No directions have ever been issued not to install paintings, pictures and images in the main hall of Sikh Gurdwaras. Famous paintings of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh by painter Shobha Singh adorn in the main Darbar halls of many Gurdwaras. Sikh scholars consider it a gross violation of Sikh Maryada. They assert that no picture of any Guru should be displayed where Guru Granth Sahib is present. They assert that it amounts to (Murti Puja or image-worship). Paintings are creation of artistic mind of its creator, therefore, have no spiritual value worth to be equated with Gurbani. They suggest Gurudwaras may mark a separate place for installation of pictures of Gurus and martyrs elsewhere in the complex, but not in the main hall. The failure Akal Takhat and SGPC in this regard created anomalous situation.
Many Guru Ravidass Sabhas in Punjab expressed their thanks to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for standing by Dera Sachkhand in the hour of great tragedy. A charted plane was sent to Vienna with a team of distinguished personalities to bring back injured Sant Niranjan Dass and the body of Sant Rama Nand. Punjab government ordered a State Funeral for the Sant and made all arrangement in collaboration with officials of the Dera. Everything passed off peacefully. Km. Mayawati Chief Minister of UP expressed her shock and apprehended a great conspiracy to eliminate Dalit leaders. She promised to meet PM Dr. Manmohan Singh to apprise him of enemies of Dalits. Capt. Amrinder Singh along with many congress leaders attended the funeral and also condemned Badal for being incompetent and inefficient head of Punjab government. He didn’t mince his words while appealing to people at the funeral to pack off Badal government at the earliest. Some followers didn’t appreciate the former Chief Minister’s words on the occasion that required solemnity of expression.
Three weeks after the Vienna incident, followers of Guru Ravidass Sabha all over the world are trying to figure out the contours of their pain. Unscrupulous elements are adding fuel to the fire by posting hateful contents on Youtube and other internet sites. They present themselves to be the guardian angels of Sikhism little realizing how their very actions are antithesis of their very faith. Gurbani preaches humility, tolerance and selfless service. Some messages I read were highly sectarian, chauvinistic and hurtful.
It is a time for introspection for Sikhs of all persuasions to reflect on how their actions are compatible with the universal spirit of Guru Granth Sahib. The charity begins at home. Let us not sit back to explore all avenues of common grounds of peace and amity.
Posted on June 13, 2009
|A STYLE THAT
MATTERS FOR PM
Dr. Amrik Singh writes from Sacramento
The projected Prime Ministerial candidates in 15 th Lok Sabha elections tried to convince voters that India needed a strong prime minister. BJP’s Lal Krishan Advani portrayed Dr. Manmohan Singh as the weakest prime minister in the history. He presented himself as iron- willed to combat Pakistan terrorism. Dr. Manmohan Singh in his characteristic soft and suave style admitted shrillness of Advani`s rhetoric but exposed his weakness on terrorism front. Km. Mayawati took cudgels with Sonia Gandhi and Maneka Gandhi on different occasions to give an impression that she was the strongest of all. International media reported as if Mayawati would repeat Obama in India. In the post poll scenario, the star campaigner N.K. Modi’s strident tone proved spiteful and Fascistic. Gandhi family (Sonia, Pariyanka and Rahul) not only defended Dr. Manmohan Singh from all invasions on his leadership, but also hinted at the strength of his character in negotiating Nuclear deal and Mumbai massacre. Dr. Singh avoided a war with Pakistan despite provocations; otherwise Pakistan and Taliban would have fought side by side against India. Now Pakistanis are fighting against Talibans.
The recent election results in favor of UPA have given a heavy drubbing to NDA, third and fourth fronts. Parkash Karat had earlier tested his might by withdrawing support to Singh’s government and then he planned a non-congress and non BJP government. A desire to don the role of a kingmaker in the style of his predecessor Harkishan Sujeet, Karat extolled BSP chief’s social engineering. He thought Obama factor would blow in their favor. But everything went haywire. Analysts believe UPA mainly gained because rival parties’ rhetoric was all vitriolic and unpalatable.
For Parkash Karat, it was his first opportunity after Harkishan Singh Surjeet to prove his ingenuity in striking successful national alliances. He could not muster the magic of veteran communist leader who always remained at the center of secular governments. Karat’s failure to become iconic in his political wizardry, led to the party humiliation. Though BSP Supremo came into power in 2007 apparently garnering sympathy vote after Kanshi Ram’s death, she failed to gauge voters’ mood. She depended too much on magical promises of her Brahmin Gen Secretary, Satish K Mishra who was key factor in distribution of tickets. Mishra is said to have moved BSP from sectarian to the universal approach. However, the founder of BSP Kanshi Ram had preferred regimental control on Dalit votes taking inspiration from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s ideology. Critics say that the transformation from ‘Bahujan’ to ‘Sarvjan’ erased all distinctive marks of Dalit connectivity. They say the weakening of BSP is the singular reason of UPA success at the national level.
In 1984 elections Congress had won 404 seats alone. The party had a dictatorial mandate to legalize and legislate anything it wanted. As November 1984 violence against Sikhs was historic, so was the landslide victory for the congress. Barely a month before Blue Star operation in Golden Temple, Kanshi Ram founded BSP on 14 April 1984 with a view to end dictatorship of one party. Kanshi Ram was the only voice from outside the Congress periphery that had become instrumental in reducing Congress to coalition politics. VP Singh, I. K. Gujral and H.D. Gowda, however, were congressmen at some point of their careers. Kanshi Ram exposed Hindu nationalism hidden in the ‘secular ideology’ of the congress party. He exhorted Dalits to desist from voting for Fascism of the upper castes and successfully weaned away a major chunk of congress’s dalit vote bank. This led to shattering of the proverbial truth “ who rules in Utter Pardesh, rules in the Center.” Too great hype on Mayawati, as the next prime minister might have been based on the above adage. In view of the reversal of the dictum in recent election, “who rules in the Center, rules in UP,” compelled Mayawati to ditch the third front in less than a week.
2009 election appears to have reintroduced the old Mantra, the UP factor in Delhi power struggle. Rahul’s successes in UP have sent shock waves in Mayawati camp. A Chief Minister who was non-compliant, disagreeable and intolerant only a week before, has extended unconditional support to Congress at the center. A last ditch effort to save her own skin, some say. Interestingly, Mayawati’s arch rival Mulayam S. Yadav too has extended support to UPA without any reservation. Submission of both protagonist and antagonist is literally Congress’s victory in UP. Maybe it is the first step of two parties’ gradual extinction or merger in the Indian Nation Congress.
The strength of Congress in general and PM in particular is obvious from the fact that parties outside UPA are competing with one another to extend unconditional support. These are signs of Congress’s consolidation among its traditional voters who had veered off the track due to emergence of third -alternative parties. It is doubtful if a leader critical both of Congress- and BJP- centered politics will ever arise. Mayawati has missed the boat. Sympathizers assert that Mayawati could have risen to stardom had she avoided many controversies. Nationally projected conflict with Kanshi Ram’s mother had put her in lurid lights. Alluding to it, Maneka Gandhi had unleashed barbed attack on Mayawati for being apathetic to mother’s pain.
As pointed out earlier, the success of UPA is an utter failure of Karat, the architect of the third front. Karat looks more of a bureaucrat than a socialist leader. He could have easily spared veteran leader Som Nath Chatterji for rising above party lines while in House Speaker’s seat. He pushed congress to Mamta Banerjee’s fold in Bengal. Politburo is trying to control the damage. But the left should accept the reality and stop taking opportunistic measures for its stability.
Dr. Manmohan Singh’s second term gives him more freedom to introduce his reforms. One of his top priorities is to restructure governance. But it is not clear how Prime Minister will deal with issues like clean chit to Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and Otavio Quattrocchi in Bofors gun case. These contradictions appeared during the campaign also. Dr. Manmohan Singh commands a considerable reputation among the majority of people for his personal integrity. In the last phase of election, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi acted as if pro-Sikh in their approach. But Sikhs all around the globe were shocked when the party president refused to withdraw tickets to Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar until a shoe was thrown toward Union Home Minister.
A few days before the poll, Captain Amrinder Singh, the former chief Minister of Punjab visited Dera Sauda for votes and support of the controversial sect apparently defying the edict of Jathedar of Akal Takht. In Malwa some of his strong supporters were shocked at his flirtation with the discredited religious leader. Three youths have already lost their lives in the stand off. Bathinda voters shocked Captain by electing Harsimrat Kaur. Parkash Singh Badal, who always harped on Congress’s anti-Sikh policies, stunned his supporters especially Sikhs and Muslims by inviting N.K. Modi to campaign for his candidates. It seems Malwa region voters discarded Captain’s bonhomie with Dera Sauda. In the same vein, Doaba and Majha region rejected Badal’s love for disgusting Modi.
Dr. Manmohan Singh’s second term seems to have enthused most Sikhs for his symbolic representation of the Sikh community. But PM’s suggestion to forget and forgive 1984 confounded Sikh leadership and it may continue to do so for times to come. Captain’s friendship with Dera Sauda and Badal’s with Modi have similar consequences.
TIME TO LOOK WITHIN
Written by Dr. Amrik Singh from Sacramento