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Silent Crisis Within a Community

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Archived_Member16, May 28, 2008.

  1. Archived_Member16

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    Jan 7, 2005
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    source: TheStar.com | comment | Silent crisis within a community

    Silent crisis within a community
    May 27, 2008
    Jasmeet Sidhu
    Community Editorial Board - The toronto star

    Although I often have struggled with my cultural identity in this patchwork nation of Canada, I have always retained a sense of pride and devotion to my religion, Sikhism.
    The Sikh community's integral contribution to Canadian society in business, politics and philanthropy has helped me to maintain this unbroken connection.

    As an ardent feminist as well, I have always been especially proud of the fact that Sikhism, a religion born in patriarchal 15th-century India, holds gender equality as one of its core tenets and explicitly advocates respect for women as equals.

    But my pride in my religion has not been an unwavering one, especially when actions in the community are completely antithetical to what the religion advocates, and what I believe in as a person.

    One of these is the seriousness of physical and emotional abuse of women in the Punjabi-Sikh community, and the accompanying complacency surrounding the topic in the community at large.

    The Punjabi Community Health Centre (PCHC), an advocacy group based in Peel Region, has called violence against women "the most silent kept secret within the Sikh community" and described the role of the Sikh community in confronting the problem and aiding abused women as "pathetic."

    With a religion whose holy scriptures written more than 500 years ago explicitly challenged the inferiority of women and whose founders elevated and emphasized women's social status to that of equals, why then, in a research study conducted by the PCHC, is wife abuse in the Sikh community considered a serious problem by 75 per cent of the Sikhs surveyed?

    Wally Oppal, British Columbia's attorney-general and a Sikh, has even called domestic violence a "cancer" in the community. His comments were made after a string of Sikh women were murdered, allegedly by their husbands, in the Vancouver area in 2007. After such blunt claims, Oppal was accused by some in the community as being a traitor to his ethnicity and culture.

    On top of this troubling accusation of "treachery" and the obvious denial within the community, the harrowing possibility exists that gender-based oppression is not just limited to women in intimate partner relationships, but to unborn Sikh daughters as well.

    While the nationwide average according to Statistics Canada is 105 male births to every 100 female births, a 2003 study by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada found that in Surrey, B.C. – populated heavily by Sikh Canadian families – there were 109 boys to every 100 girls.

    There is no conclusive public data that would prove these numbers were the result of sex-selective abortions. However, the statistics are deeply troubling in light of allegations last year that several Punjabi Canadian newspapers (including a Mississauga-based one) were carrying advertisements by ultrasound clinics promoting female foeticide. The allegations, made by the head of a B.C.-based immigrant society, were countered by one of the ultrasound clinics that claimed there was no proof regarding how couples were using ultrasound data.

    The gap between the gender equality explicitly called for in Sikhism and its practice is deeply disturbing, though in some ways, not surprising. Indeed, other religions also have been labelled as racist or sexist when in reality only a chosen few engage in these behaviours and there is absolutely nothing within the faith that promotes or supports such attitudes or actions.

    Regardless of whether violence against women in the Sikh community is the result of a deeply rooted chauvinism in Punjabi culture or other reasons, what is more disconcerting is the complacency of Sikhs in terms of understanding and tackling the issue.

    By publicly acknowledging what now are regarded as individual or private matters, by engaging Sikh men and challenging the still very male-dominated atmosphere of Sikh temples by including more women in leadership roles, a sense of community consciousness can emerge that will not tolerate the physical and emotional abuse of Sikh women.

    In the more than 100 years since Sikhs first immigrated to Canada, they have proven to be a resourceful, dynamic and engaged religious community that has tackled issues of external prejudice and religious rights in Canada.

    However, the same level of will and leadership must be shown to end one of the most serious yet least acknowledged problems within the Sikh community.

    Jasmeet Sidhu is a university student.
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    1947-2014 (Archived)
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    Jun 17, 2004
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    I humbly submit that shame not be placed on one's religion. Sometimes it is impossible to separate the "practice" of religion from community and culture. So many gurdwaras were built once a critical mass of Sikh-Punjabi immigrants was formed. Therefore, many gurdwaras identify with Punjab roots. But let me say one more thing. Violence against women occurs in almost every religion and culture and community. The abuse of women is not a shame for "Punjabis" either. Violence against women happens one incident at a time. There is one victim and one perpertator at a time. And deep down inside individuals who abuse others know they are wrong -- here, in the Punjab, in Sikhism, in other religions and communities. Guilt for the abuse falls on the individual. Guilt for the silence falls on the community.

    More information

    World Health Organization - Multi-country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence against Women
  4. pk70

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    Feb 25, 2008
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    Quote "I humbly submit that shame not be placed on one's religion. Sometimes it is impossible to separate the "practice" of religion from community and culture."

    Strong and precise statement about the truth that is most time misunderstood. It comes down to hypocrisy of so called Sikhs, as said by aad0002 ji, it is the culture they adore more than Sikhism. Treatment of women, caste system, dowry greed, a few to state, are evil like cultural ego feed, well openly practiced by Sikh hypocrites in Punjab and abroad as well. Regardless what they claim, they are no where close to Guru message and, they dont care about Guru message either so to speak. Shame is on those who practice it, then claim to be Sikhs. Bogus remains bogus.
  5. Harjas Kaur Khalsa

    Harjas Kaur Khalsa
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    Feb 15, 2006
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    It is kalyug. There are problems both with male patriarchy and feminism. These issues will not clear up until the Satyug. Everything in this yug will be taken to destructive extremes. Don't look to human beings for guidance. None can live up to the highest spiritual principles. Only a few will find boat of mukti. Majority are posers after their own benefit. Love everybody. Be kind to everybody. Bless people where they are at, because most have hell in their own minds and suffering in their own life. Put all your trust in Guruji's kirpa. And there you will find your boat.

    This doesn't mean its wrong to have activism or honesty. It just means don't be disappointed by what you see. I will tell you something about karam. Most karam stems from woundedness, kaleshas that obscure the jyot of the atma. And nothing in human history has been more wounded than sexuality and relationship between the sexes. This holds the key to some of the deepest history of suffering and karam of the future. And the answer to all karam is dharam, choosing rightful action to correct imbalances and errors of the past. The karam is evenly divided in woundedness between males and females because the atma is neither male nor female, and both have undergone experiences which are negative in past as both sexes.

    To heal the deepest wounds as always is to hold the love and praise of God highest in your heart. Then you can be a light of blessing and deep understanding to the woundedness and suffering caused mainly by ignorance that you see around you and within you.
    ਬਾਬਾ ਤੂੰ ਐਸੇ ਭਰਮੁ ਚੁਕਾਹੀ ॥
    baabaa thoon aisae bharam chukaahee ||
    O Baba, get rid of your doubts like this.

    ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰਤੁ ਹੈ ਸੋਈ ਕੋਈ ਹੈ ਰੇ ਤੈਸੇ ਜਾਇ ਸਮਾਹੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
    jo kishh karath hai soee koee hai rae thaisae jaae samaahee ||1|| rehaao ||
    As you act, so shall you become, and so you shall go and mingle. ||1||Pause||

    ਇਸਤਰੀ ਪੁਰਖ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਕਿਆ ਓਇ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਹੀ ॥
    eisatharee purakh hoe kai kiaa oue karam kamaahee ||
    woman or man, what can anyone do?

    ਨਾਨਾ ਰੂਪ ਸਦਾ ਹਹਿ ਤੇਰੇ ਤੁਝ ਹੀ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਮਾਹੀ ॥੨॥
    naanaa roop sadhaa hehi thaerae thujh hee maahi samaahee ||2||
    The many and various forms are always Yours, O Lord; they shall merge again into You. ||2||
    ~SGGS Ji p. 162

    ਜੋਇ ਖਸਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਾਇਆ ॥
    joe khasam hai jaaeiaa ||
    wife gives birth to her husband.

    ਪੂਤਿ ਬਾਪੁ ਖੇਲਾਇਆ ॥
    pooth baap khaelaaeiaa ||
    The son leads his father in play.

    ਬਿਨੁ ਸ੍ਰਵਣਾ ਖੀਰੁ ਪਿਲਾਇਆ ॥੧॥
    bin sravanaa kheer pilaaeiaa ||1||
    Without breasts, the mother nurses her baby. ||1||

    ਦੇਖਹੁ ਲੋਗਾ ਕਲਿ ਕੋ ਭਾਉ ॥
    dhaekhahu logaa kal ko bhaao ||
    Behold, people! This is how it is in the Dark Age of Kali Yuga.

    ਸੁਤਿ ਮੁਕਲਾਈ ਅਪਨੀ ਮਾਉ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
    suth mukalaaee apanee maao ||1|| rehaao ||
    The son marries his mother. ||1||Pause||

    ~SGGS Ji p. 1194

    ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਸਭੁ ਬਰਲੁ ਹੈ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਖੁਆਈ ਰਾਮ ॥
    maaeiaa mohu sabh baral hai dhoojai bhaae khuaaee raam ||
    Emotional attachment to Maya is total madness; through the love of duality, one is ruined.

    ਮਾਤਾ ਪਿਤਾ ਸਭੁ ਹੇਤੁ ਹੈ ਹੇਤੇ ਪਲਚਾਈ ਰਾਮ ॥
    maathaa pithaa sabh haeth hai haethae palachaaee raam ||
    Mother and father - all are subject to this love; in this love, they are entangled.

    ਹੇਤੇ ਪਲਚਾਈ ਪੁਰਬਿ ਕਮਾਈ ਮੇਟਿ ਨ ਸਕੈ ਕੋਈ ॥
    haethae palachaaee purab kamaaee maett n sakai koee ||
    They are entangled in this love, on account of their past actions, which no one can erase.

    ਜਿਨਿ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਸਾਜੀ ਸੋ ਕਰਿ ਵੇਖੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਜੇਵਡੁ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਕੋਈ ॥
    jin srisatt saajee so kar vaekhai this jaevadd avar n koee ||
    The One who created the Universe, beholds it; no other is as great as He.
    ~SGGS Ji p. 571

    ਖਸਮੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਆਪਣਾ ਖੂਲੈ ਬੰਧੁ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥
    khasam pashhaanai aapanaa khoolai bandhh n paae ||
    One who realizes his Lord and Master is set free, and not bound by chains.

    ਸਬਦਿ ਮਹਲੀ ਖਰਾ ਤੂ ਖਿਮਾ ਸਚੁ ਸੁਖ ਭਾਇ ॥
    sabadh mehalee kharaa thoo khimaa sach sukh bhaae ||
    Through the Word of the Shabad, enter the Mansion of the Lord's Presence; you shall be blessed with patience,
    forgiveness, truth and peace.
    ~SGGS Ji p. 937

    YouTube - Past Life Regression on WB' Beyond with Hypnotist Tom SIlver

    YouTube - 5/5 An Investigation into Past Life
  6. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
    Mentor Writer SPNer Contributor

    Jul 4, 2004
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    Blaming..."Klayug"..etc is also merely shifting blame.
    There is a Shabad in the SGGS by Sri Guru nanak Ji...clearly explaining this blame game.
    First a little background.
    The story is that Guru nanak ji and Bhai mardaana Ji on their travels came to a Holy City where celebrations in honour of Bhagwaan Krishan were in progress......and some people ( Pandits) were doing soemthing shameful ( Surprised ??)..and the common talk going around was... ITS KALYUG...so what else do we expect ??? blah blah blah.
    Guru Ji then uchaared this shabad.... The Stars are the Very SAME ( as in SATYUG and other supposedly GOOD YUGS !!)..the SUN is the same..the earth is the SAME.... NOTHING has changed.
    Its the MAN...doing the EVIL DEED this is to be BLAMED...not the Sun, the stars, the earth, the heavens..the time..or the Kalyug ??
    A Bad workman always blames his tools..NEVER his own bad workmanship/lack of hardwork/abilities...
    Similarly we are so quick to jump on..OH Its KALYUG..Ghor kalyug hai..so naturally.....fathers rape daughters...priests rape schoolgirls...granddads rape children..priests rape small boys..nuns rape boys..blah blah blah....and granthis steal golucks..sgpc jathedars steal gurdwara langgar funds and rations..its all due to the Bad bad..KALYUG..what a MONSTER..oh what a releif if SATYUG were here..suddenly all will be crime free..peace on earth..baloney...BS big time. Its MAN that does evil due to his own actions..no matter he is in a GURDWARA among the " holy saints " or in PRISON among rapists and murderers !!! The same SUN shines on the Gurdwara as well as the maximum security prison.
    GURBANI is all time TRUTH and very clear...no beating around the bush...blame games...
    Gyani Jarnail Singh
  7. Harjas Kaur Khalsa

    Harjas Kaur Khalsa
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    Feb 15, 2006
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    ਇਸੁ ਕਲਿਜੁਗ ਮਹਿ ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮੁ ਨ ਕੋਈ ॥
    eis kalijug mehi karam dhharam n koee ||
    In this Dark Age of Kali Yuga, no one is interested in good karma, or Dharmic faith.

    ਕਲੀ ਕਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਚੰਡਾਲ ਕੈ ਘਰਿ ਹੋਈ ॥
    kalee kaa janam chanddaal kai ghar hoee ||
    This Dark Age was born in the house of evil.

    ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨਾ ਕੋ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੪॥੧੦॥੩੦॥
    naanak naam binaa ko mukath n hoee ||4||10||30||
    O Nanak, without the Naam, the Name of the Lord, no one is liberated. ||4||10||30||
    ~SGGS Ji p. 161

    ਕਲਿ ਕਾਤੀ ਰਾਜੇ ਕਾਸਾਈ ਧਰਮੁ ਪੰਖ ਕਰਿ ਉਡਰਿਆ ॥
    kal kaathee raajae kaasaaee dhharam pankh kar ouddariaa ||
    The Dark Age of
    Kali Yuga is the knife, and the kings are butchers; righteousness has sprouted wings and flown away.

    ਕੂੜੁ ਅਮਾਵਸ ਸਚੁ ਚੰਦ੍ਰਮਾ ਦੀਸੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਹ ਚੜਿਆ ॥
    koorr amaavas sach chandhramaa dheesai naahee keh charriaa ||
    In this dark night of falsehood, the moon of Truth is not visible anywhere.

    ਹਉ ਭਾਲਿ ਵਿਕੁੰਨੀ ਹੋਈ ॥ਆਧੇਰੈ ਰਾਹੁ ਨ ਕੋਈ ॥
    ho bhaal vikunnee hoee || aadhhaerai raahu n koee ||
    I have searched in vain, and I am so confused; in this darkness, I cannot find the path.

    ~SGGS Ji p. 145

    ਸਤਜੁਗੁ ਤ੍ਰੇਤਾ ਦੁਆਪਰੁ ਭਣੀਐ ਕਲਿਜੁਗੁ ਊਤਮੋ ਜੁਗਾ ਮਾਹਿ ॥
    sathajug thraethaa dhuaapar bhaneeai kalijug oothamo jugaa maahi ||
    The Golden Age of Sat Yuga, the Silver Age of Trayta Yuga, and the Brass Age of Dwaapar Yuga are good; but the best is the Dark Age, the Iron Age, of
    Kali Yuga.

    ਅਹਿ ਕਰੁ ਕਰੇ ਸੁ ਅਹਿ ਕਰੁ ਪਾਏ ਕੋਈ ਨ ਪਕੜੀਐ ਕਿਸੈ ਥਾਇ ॥੩॥
    ahi kar karae s ahi kar paaeae koee n pakarreeai kisai thhaae ||3||
    As we act, so are the rewards we receive; no one can take the place of another. ||3||
    ~SGGS Ji p. 406

    ਕਲਿਜੁਗੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਆ ਪਗ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਖਿਸਕੀਆ ਪਗੁ ਚਉਥਾ ਟਿਕੈ ਟਿਕਾਇ ਜੀਉ ॥
    kalijug har keeaa pag thrai khisakeeaa pag chouthhaa ttikai ttikaae jeeo ||
    The Lord ushered in the Dark Age, the Iron Age of
    Kali Yuga; three legs of religion were lost, and only the fourth leg remained intact.
    ~SGGS Ji p. 446

    ਸਚਿ ਕਾਲੁ ਕੂੜੁ ਵਰਤਿਆ ਕਲਿ ਕਾਲਖ ਬੇਤਾਲ ॥
    sach kaal koorr varathiaa kal kaalakh baethaal ||
    There is a famine of Truth; falsehood prevails, and the blackness of the Dark Age of
    Kali Yuga has turned men into demons.
    ~SGGS Ji p. 468

    ਜੁਗੁ ਜੁਗੁ ਫੇਰਿ ਵਟਾਈਅਹਿ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਬੁਝਹਿ ਤਾਹਿ ॥
    jug jug faer vattaaeeahi giaanee bujhehi thaahi ||
    In age after age they change; the spiritually wise understand this.

    ਸਤਜੁਗਿ ਰਥੁ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਕਾ ਧਰਮੁ ਅਗੈ ਰਥਵਾਹੁ ॥
    sathajug rathh santhokh kaa dhharam agai rathhavaahu ||
    In the Golden Age of Sat Yuga, contentment was the chariot and righteousness the charioteer.

    ਤ੍ਰੇਤੈ ਰਥੁ ਜਤੈ ਕਾ ਜੋਰੁ ਅਗੈ ਰਥਵਾਹੁ ॥
    thraethai rathh jathai kaa jor agai rathhavaahu ||
    In the Silver Age of Traytaa Yuga, celibacy was the chariot and power the charioteer.

    ਦੁਆਪੁਰਿ ਰਥੁ ਤਪੈ ਕਾ ਸਤੁ ਅਗੈ ਰਥਵਾਹੁ ॥
    dhuaapur rathh thapai kaa sath agai rathhavaahu ||
    In the Brass Age of Dwaapar Yuga, penance was the chariot and truth the charioteer.

    ਕਲਜੁਗਿ ਰਥੁ ਅਗਨਿ ਕਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਅਗੈ ਰਥਵਾਹੁ ॥੧॥
    kalajug rathh agan kaa koorr agai rathhavaahu ||1||
    In the Iron Age of
    Kali Yuga, fire is the chariot and falsehood the charioteer. ||1||
    ~SGGS Ji p. 470

    ਕਲਿ ਕਲਵਾਲੀ ਕਾਮੁ ਮਦੁ ਮਨੂਆ ਪੀਵਣਹਾਰੁ ॥
    kal kalavaalee kaam madh manooaa peevanehaar ||
    The Dark Age of
    Kali Yuga is the vessel, filled with the wine of sexual desire; the mind is the drunkard.

    ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਕਟੋਰੀ ਮੋਹਿ ਭਰੀ ਪੀਲਾਵਾ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ॥
    krodhh kattoree mohi bharee peelaavaa ahankaar ||
    Anger is the cup, filled with emotional attachment, and egotism is the server.
    ~SGGS Ji p. 553

    ਕਲੀ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿੰਨਾਂ ਦਾ ਅਉਤਾਰੁ ॥
    kalee andhar naanakaa jinnaan dhaa aouthaar ||
    In this Dark Age of
    Kali Yuga, O Nanak, the demons have taken birth.

    ਪੁਤੁ ਜਿਨੂਰਾ ਧੀਅ ਜਿੰਨੂਰੀ ਜੋਰੂ ਜਿੰਨਾ ਦਾ ਸਿਕਦਾਰੁ ॥੧॥
    puth jinooraa dhheea jinnooree joroo jinnaa dhaa sikadhaar ||1||
    The son is a demon, and the daughter is a demon; the wife is the chief of the demons. ||1||
    ~SGGS Ji p. 556

    ਹੋਵੈ ਪਰਵਾਣਾ ਕਰਹਿ ਧਿਙਾਣਾ ਕਲਿ ਲਖਣ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
    hovai paravaanaa karehi dhhin(g)aanaa kal lakhan veechaar ||1|| rehaao ||
    Those who act like tyrants are accepted and approved - recognize that this is the sign of the Dark Age of
    Kali Yuga. ||1||Pause||

    ਕਿਤੈ ਦੇਸਿ ਨ ਆਇਆ ਸੁਣੀਐ ਤੀਰਥ ਪਾਸਿ ਨ ਬੈਠਾ ॥
    kithai dhaes n aaeiaa suneeai theerathh paas n baithaa ||
    Kali Yuga has not been heard to have come to any country, or to be sitting at any sacred shrine.

    ਦਾਤਾ ਦਾਨੁ ਕਰੇ ਤਹ ਨਾਹੀ ਮਹਲ ਉਸਾਰਿ ਨ ਬੈਠਾ ॥੨॥
    dhaathaa dhaan karae theh naahee mehal ousaar n baithaa ||2||
    It is not where the generous person gives to charities, nor seated in the mansion he has built. ||2||

    ਜੇ ਕੋ ਸਤੁ ਕਰੇ ਸੋ ਛੀਜੈ ਤਪ ਘਰਿ ਤਪੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥
    jae ko sath karae so shheejai thap ghar thap n hoee ||
    If someone practices Truth, he is frustrated; prosperity does not come to the home of the sincere.

    ਜੇ ਕੋ ਨਾਉ ਲਏ ਬਦਨਾਵੀ ਕਲਿ ਕੇ ਲਖਣ ਏਈ ॥੩॥
    jae ko naao leae badhanaavee kal kae lakhan eaeee ||3||
    If someone chants the Lord's Name, he is scorned. These are the signs of
    Kali Yuga. ||3||

    ਜਿਸੁ ਸਿਕਦਾਰੀ ਤਿਸਹਿ ਖੁਆਰੀ ਚਾਕਰ ਕੇਹੇ ਡਰਣਾ ॥
    jis sikadhaaree thisehi khuaaree chaakar kaehae ddaranaa ||
    Whoever is in charge, is humiliated. Why should the servant be afraid,

    ਜਾ ਸਿਕਦਾਰੈ ਪਵੈ ਜੰਜੀਰੀ ਤਾ ਚਾਕਰ ਹਥਹੁ ਮਰਣਾ ॥੪॥
    jaa sikadhaarai pavai janjeeree thaa chaakar hathhahu maranaa ||4||
    when the master is put in chains? He dies at the hands of his servant. ||4||
    ~SGGS Ji p. 902

    ਕਲਿ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ਕਤੇਬ ਕੁਰਾਣੁ ॥
    kal paravaan kathaeb kuraan ||
    Kali Yuga, the Koran and the Bible have become famous.

    ਪੋਥੀ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਰਹੇ ਪੁਰਾਣ ॥
    pothhee panddith rehae puraan ||
    The Pandit's scriptures and the Puraanas are not respected.
    ~SGGS Ji p. 903

    ਆਤਮੁ ਜਿਤਾ ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਆਗੰਜਤ ਪਾਗਾ ॥
    aatham jithaa guramathee aaganjath paagaa ||
    He conquers his soul, following the Guru's Teachings, and attains the Imperishable Lord.

    ਜਿਸਹਿ ਧਿਆਇਆ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਸੋ ਕਲਿ ਮਹਿ ਤਾਗਾ ॥
    jisehi dhhiaaeiaa paarabreham so kal mehi thaagaa ||
    He alone keeps up in this Dark Age of
    Kali Yuga, who meditates on the Supreme Lord God.
    ~SGGS Ji p. 965

    Naming the Kalyug is an indication that this is a dark age for spiritual light to shine, and it is an era of corruption as this is what Gurbani says, the legs of religion have fallen down, demons have been born, righteous Dharam is unseated, the kings become butchers. It says nothing about not bearing karmic responsibility for one's actions or blaming an external factor. Kalyug is the karam of the whole world. Gurbani calls it the dark age because the Jyot of Vaheguru is very dim in this era.

    As to assigning blame, let's not lose sight of what Gurbani really teaches. All this creation, including duality, the three gunas and Maya are God's play. It is the formless uncreated One who is hiding behind all forms and causing them to dance. You're a scientific type. Surely you know that science has proven mathematically that outside these 3 dimensions of space and fourth dimension of Time, that Time itself does not exist? And this implies philosophically, that outside of the perceivable dimension of human experience, the acorn is already the oak tree, the baby is already grown old and died, the opposites of sinner and saint unite. Hidden behind all the forms, including Hindu devas, demons and human beings is the One incomprehensible form and ultimately all will reunite and merge completely.

    ਬਡ ਪਰਤਾਪੁ ਸੁਨਿਓ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਤੁਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਰੋ ਕੋਟਿ ਅਘਾ ਤੇਰੋ ਨਾਮ ਹਰਨ ॥੧॥
    badd parathaap suniou prabh thumharo kott aghaa thaero naam haran ||1||
    Your glorious radiance is great! So I have heard, O God. Millions of sins are destroyed by Your Name. ||1||

    ਹਮਰੋ ਸਹਾਉ ਸਦਾ ਸਦ ਭੂਲਨ ਤੁਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਰੋ ਬਿਰਦੁ ਪਤਿਤ ਉਧਰਨ ॥
    hamaro sehaao sadhaa sadh bhoolan thumharo biradh pathith oudhharan ||
    It is my nature to make mistakes, forever and ever; it is Your Natural Way to save
    ~SGGS Ji p. 828

    ਦੀਨਾ ਨਾਥ ਦੈਆਲ ਦੇਵ ਪਤਿਤ ਉਧਾਰਣਹਾਰੁ ॥
    dheenaa naathh dhaiaal dhaev pathith oudhhaaranehaar ||
    He is the Patron of the poor, the Merciful, Luminous Lord, the Redeemer of

    ਆਦਿ ਜੁਗਾਦੀ ਰਖਦਾ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾਰੁ ॥
    aadh jugaadhee rakhadhaa sach naam karathaar ||
    From the very beginning, and throughout the ages, the True Name of the Creator has been our Saving Grace.
    ~SGGS Ji p. 137

    ਆਪਨ ਖੇਲੁ ਆਪਿ ਵਰਤੀਜਾ ॥
    aapan khael aap varatheejaa ||
    He Himself has staged His own drama;

    ਨਾਨਕ ਕਰਨੈਹਾਰੁ ਨ ਦੂਜਾ ॥੧॥
    naanak karanaihaar n dhoojaa ||1||
    O Nanak, there is no other Creator. ||1||

    ਜਬ ਹੋਵਤ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੇਵਲ ਧਨੀ ॥
    jab hovath prabh kaeval dhhanee ||
    When there was only God the Master,

    ਤਬ ਬੰਧ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਕਹੁ ਕਿਸ ਕਉ ਗਨੀ ॥
    thab bandhh mukath kahu kis ko ganee ||
    then who was called bound or liberated?

    ਜਬ ਏਕਹਿ ਹਰਿ ਅਗਮ ਅਪਾਰ ॥
    jab eaekehi har agam apaar ||
    When there was only the Lord, Unfathomable and Infinite,

    ਤਬ ਨਰਕ ਸੁਰਗ ਕਹੁ ਕਉਨ ਅਉਤਾਰ ॥
    thab narak surag kahu koun aouthaar ||
    then who entered hell, and who entered heaven?

    ਜਬ ਨਿਰਗੁਨ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸਹਜ ਸੁਭਾਇ ॥
    jab niragun prabh sehaj subhaae ||
    When God was without attributes, in absolute poise,

    ਤਬ ਸਿਵ ਸਕਤਿ ਕਹਹੁ ਕਿਤੁ ਠਾਇ ॥
    thab siv sakath kehahu kith thaae ||
    then where was mind and where was matter - where was Shiva and Shakti?
    ~SGGS Ji p. 291

    ~Bhul chak maaf karni ji
  8. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    The only reply that made sense to me then and makes sense to me now. :yes:
  9. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    And this one as well makes sense in the face of wickedness. Bogus remains bogus. This is the gurpurab of the martyrdom of the sons of Gobind Singh, who gave their lives in defense of justice. It is the eve of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, later to become a martyr to a belief in the greater goodness of humanity. It is taken by many in other religions to be a time of peace, inner celebration of the heart, and a time of good-will. In the face of wickedness and evil let's not forget that we have the capacity to be better people even when each day tests our morality and kindness.

    ਕਰਿ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਮੇਲਾਇਅਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਸਿਆ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥
    kar kirapaa maelaaeian har naam vasiaa man aae ||
    Granting His Grace, God unites us with Himself. The Name of the Lord comes to abide within the mind.

    ਪੋਤੈ ਜਿਨ ਕੈ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਹੈ ਤਿਨ ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਮੇਲਾਇ ॥੧॥
    pothai jin kai punn hai thin sathasangath maelaae ||1||
    Those who have the treasure of goodness join the Sat Sangat, the True Congregation. ||1||

    Sat Nam to each and everyone of us -- I will reflect on these words of Guru Amar Das, who gives me the path to being a better person.
  10. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Fam Physician
    Vol. 54, No. 12, December 2008, pp.1722 - 1725
    Copyright © 2008 by The College of Family Physicians of Canada

    Burdened whispers

    Amritpal Singh Arora, MD CCFP
    [SIZE=-1] Family physician in Burnaby, BC [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1] [​IMG] [/SIZE]

    In the past few years, there have been numerous high-profile cases of domestic violence in the South Asian community of British Columbia. These cases have led to an increased focus on an oft-neglected subject. Research in this area, although scarce, has shown a complex interplay between patriarchy, cultural expectations, and a desire for autonomy.

    As a part of my residency in family medicine, I decided to explore the effects of domestic abuse on South Asian women in British Columbia. The intent of this exploration was to develop a better understanding of their experiences, coping strategies, and possible barriers to seeking support. Eleven South Asian women who identified themselves as victims of domestic abuse were interviewed in a combination of one-to-one and group interviews. Circumstances around the abuse, their methods of coping, and the effects it has had on their lives were discussed. They were also asked about the support available to them and possible barriers they faced in accessing this support.

    Common themes from the interviews were analyzed and used as inspiration to produce a work of fiction. I hope that this piece will provide family physicians with insight into the unique struggles faced by South Asian victims of abuse and serve as an impetus to identifying and supporting women at risk.
    I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the women who participated in this study. Their immeasurable courage and strength made such work possible.

    Burdened whispers
    Simran’s head is heavy, like she is 5 again, wearing Papa Ji’s starched blue turban; the first and last wraps form a perfect point resting on the bridge of her nose. She sits by her son, Karan, who sleeps to her left, his lips dry from allergies that have rendered him a mouth breather. Simran’s hand continues to move up and down her son’s back slowly, even though he has been asleep for hours. Each stroke slow and deliberate like that of a painter putting the final touches on her greatest work. She reaches with her free hand to untie Karan’s patka. She begins by unravelling the head covering’s strings from his top knot and then untying the knot at the back of his head. She removes his patka and softly rubs his forehead along a line defining the patka’s end seam, tanned skin below, smooth and milky white above. The line, like her life she thinks, varies greatly with the season. At times it is sharp and clearly in focus. At times it is blurred, barely distinguishable from its surroundings.

    The pain from the beating begins to subside. The sounds of Mohan’s snoring filter in from the adjoining room and throw salt on Simran’s wounds. He sleeps peacefully. She will not share his bed tonight, nor will she tomorrow. He will ignore her, carry on not as if she had never existed but as if he had suppressed her like an unpleasant thought brewing in the deep recesses of one’s mind. By the third night, guilt will compel her to return to him. She will adjust to fit his curves, put her hand on his shoulder and whisper apologies in his ear. He will acknowledge them with a pat on her head, roll over to his side and fall asleep. Such is the game they play, she thinks as she rubs the bruises on her forearm.

    Simran looks to her son, his thin chest rising and falling with every breath. One leg protrudes from underneath his covers, his body not fully convinced of the departure of fall, the beginning of winter. "What began with your conception," Simran whispers, "did not end with your birth." She thinks back to the pregnancy and the first time Mohan beat her. It was 4 months into their marriage, 2 months into the pregnancy. Nausea had prevented Simran from having a hot meal ready on Mohan’s arrival from work. He beat her with his belt, then with his shoe. She remembers being on her knees and against a wall, covering her belly with her hands, accepting blows on her face so as to protect the child that grew inside her. She remembers the apologies that followed and their convincing sincerity. Most of all, she remembers the feeling of guilt that plagued her: she did not have dinner ready in time. If one looks closely, one can still see the scars from that beating. They serve as small, measurable reminders that greet her every morning. What one cannot see, however, are the far larger scars Simran carries within her. They stem from more penetrating wounds, such as having to beg for rides to prenatal appointments, giving birth without a hand to hold, and the realization of continued beatings despite producing a son.

    A thick fog declares itself as it moves in from the Pacific and blankets Vancouver. Moonlight navigates through and shines tepidly in Karan’s open window. A slight breeze drifts in and dilutes the stale air. Simran closes her eyes and travels inward, wading through her own fog as she escapes to a place of solitude. She journeys to that temple within her, seeking shelter from the harsh realities of her life. Here, there are no prospects of midnight beatings, no need for sunglasses when there is no sun. There are no monitored phone calls and finances, no mixture of sweat and cheap cologne assailing her nostrils. This sanctuary, whose foundations were laid before Simran’s wedding henna had faded, is far from public humiliation and the silent tension that follows. She does not have to worry about walking 2 steps behind Mohan when she is here.

    Yet her escape is often fleeting. Long enough to perhaps catch a glimpse of Papa Ji reading the paper with his cloth thata tied so that his beard remains in shape. Smells of Mata Ji’s mesi parathay may drift into her room and whisper for her to wake up. She may hear the night chaunkidar’s stick scrape across the concrete as she lies with Mata Ji on the terrace to take advantage of a slight summer’s breeze. On the rare occasion, she can get away long enough to allow a conversation. She may be able to squeeze in a hymn at the Golden Temple or even enjoy a plate of Blue Fox’s famous chilli chicken.

    Tonight her mind is in Dharamsala, and she remembers skipping down Temple Road with her new pashmina-type shawl on her shoulders. Papa Ji and Mata Ji walk behind her, cautioning her to slow down, worried about her tripping and ruining her salvar kameez. The aroma of steamed momos fills the air. Tibetan women sit roadside selling jewelry to free-spirited Europeans who have come for the cheap drugs, to find themselves, or a bit of both. Monks in their maroon robes chat as they sip butter tea at roadside cafes. Tibetan elders out for their morning walk greet Simran with toothless smiles, folded hands, and an enthusiastic "Tashi Dele."

    Simran yearns to be there again with her parents. She imagines Papa Ji lifting her so she may spin a Tibetan prayer wheel. She hears Mata Ji recite "Waheguru" as she spins each wheel, combining the blessings of both Buddha and Nanak. She tastes the laichee in the chai from the self-proclaimed "best tea stall in Asia" on Jogibara Road. She laughs as Papa Ji strokes his mustache after each sip. Most of all she remembers a sense of contentment, the ability to breathe freely without the heaviness in her chest.

    Sounds of Karan stirring bring Simran back. The night has grown much colder. Simran moves to close the window. She adjusts the blanket to cover Karan’s outstretched leg and smiles at how his top knot has loosened and now lies limp and off centre. She gets a second blanket from his closet, rolls up a towel from his bathroom for a pillow and settles in beside Karan, moving carefully so as not to wake him. She closes her eyes, knowing full well that she will not sleep. She closes her eyes but the mental images do not stop. Her mind is restless, and her thoughts travel from the mountains of Himachal to the fields of Punjab. Images of her wedding day begin to traverse her mental screen ...

    [SIZE=-1] [​IMG] [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=-1] [​IMG] [/SIZE]

    She sits cross-legged on the floor of the Gurudwara. Extravagant patterns of henna cover her hands and feet. Her heavily embroidered red duppatta is pinned so as to keep her hair covered. Panjeban delicately caress her ankles and match the numerous bracelets that cover her forearms. Large gold earrings hang carefree from her ears, almost brushing her shoulders. Mohan sits to her right, dressed in a cream-coloured kurta with a Chinese collar and resham embroidery. Close friends and family sit in quiet anticipation and watch as Papa Ji takes one end of the cloth hanging from Mohan’s shoulders and moves to place it in Simran’s hands. In doing so, he prepares to absolve himself of his responsibilities and place Simran’s well-being on Mohan’s undeserving shoulders. To mark this transfer, the Ragis, musicians with matching turbans and long flowing beards, sit on a stage and sing the appropriate hymn:
    I have discarded praise and slander, O Nanak; I have abandoned everything. I have seen that all relationships are false, and so I have grasped hold of the hem of your robe, Lord.
    Simran takes the end of the cloth from Papa Ji and lowers her eyes ...
    As she thinks back to that day, she recalls the happiness in Papa Ji’s eyes. His eldest daughter was moving to Canada and marrying a successful man from a reputable family. "A father could ask for nothing else," he would repeat as he greeted well-wishers. The burden of having 3 daughters had clearly aged Papa Ji beyond his years. Three daughters meant 3 characters to keep pure, 3 sets of in-laws to please, and 3 dowries to assemble. Papa Ji carried this burden with his head high, Simran proudly remembers. He acquiesced to all of Mohan’s parents’ demands and went out of his way to please their guests; all in order to maintain the family’s izzat. Now, so much of that family honour rests with Simran and the life she builds in Canada. Simran, acutely aware of this fact, has kept her problems with Mohan from her parents. She has had thoughts of confiding in them, hoping they may intervene, but she cannot bring herself to inflict such disappointment on them. What can they possibly do? They are not going to change his behaviour from thousands of miles away. No, Simran knows that if anything, they will ask her to change her behaviour. They will encourage her to anticipate his needs, adapt to his moods. They will warn her not to trigger his anger. "A man’s blood can boil," she can hear Mata Ji saying. "A woman must cool it with her patience, obedience, and the softness of her touch."

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    Above all, they will implore her for her silence. If the community back home ever got wind of her situation, her family’s izzat would suffer greatly. Women sitting on woven beds sifting through uncooked lentils would speculate on her virtue. Cleaning women would pass stories from house to house, taking great delight in educating the housewives on the latest gossip. Men, tending to their fields, would openly cast doubt on the marriageability of Simran’s younger sisters. Vendors at the local sabji mandi would quietly whisper among themselves as Papa Ji shopped for fresh vegetables. Sharma Ji would warn of the dangers of allowing girls too much education and freedom as his customers purchased glucose biscuits at his general goods shop. For all these reasons, Simran will have to suffer in silence. She cannot bear the thought of Papa Ji, overcome with shame, lowering his eyes when addressing the other villagers. She cannot imagine ruining the lives of her younger sisters, Manjit and Raman. No one in the community will marry them if their family izzat is not maintained. Papa Ji will be forced to seek matches from different villages, arrange for larger dowries, and hope that stories of his eldest daughter don’t reach the ears of potential in-laws.
    Like the hands of a Kathak dancer in her standing thaat pose while narrating tales of Krishna-Leela, the hands of the clock strike 3; the constant ticking of the second hand provides Simran some respite from the night’s deafening silence. Her headache continues. She gets out of bed, reaches for her purse at the bedside, and walks toward Karan’s bathroom. His Transformers night light provides enough illumination for her to navigate his collection of toys, colouring books, and half-completed puzzles. In his bathroom, she turns on the light and looks in the mirror. Dark bags underneath her eyes weigh down their already pained expression. Strands of white mingle with her coarse and thinning black hair like unwelcome guests at a funeral. A look around the neck of her kameez reveals that Mohan’s hands have left their mark. She reaches into her purse and pulls out an assortment of medicine bottles. Some are for her sleep, others for her pain, and some to help with her mood. According to her family doctor, Dr Roberts,she has insomnia, chronic pain, and depression. "A chemical imbalance" Simran recalls Dr Roberts saying as he handed her the latest prescription. He is like the medicine-walla that used to come to our village, Simran thinks; listening to your story briefly and offering the latest magic potion. "Bhenji, drink this and it will help all tension-vension, all aches and pains, money-back guarantee," he would say.

    Simran has never been entirely comfortable with Dr Roberts. He is a slight, unimposing man with a predilection for print ties and wing-tipped shoes. When talking to her, he rubs his eyes and temples, making Simran wonder why his own doctor hasn’t offered him any pills. He is always running late, and Simran has often waited an hour to see him for 10 minutes. Chronic headaches and trouble with sleep have plagued Simran for years. Dr Roberts always seems to have a new answer: an increase in dose, a trial of new medicine, a sample in his cupboard. What frustrates Simran is that he doesn’t ask the right questions. Why does her head constantly hurt? What causes her to lie awake for hours? Why does she have no desire to attend Gurudwara on Sunday or no energy to fix Karan’s school lunch? She feels Dr Roberts has been handing her bandages without inspecting her wounds; quick fixes that are amenable to a 10-minute appointment and sufficient until the next visit.

    Simran once summoned the courage to discuss her marital problems with Dr Roberts. It was when Karan was about 1 year old; she had taken him in for his scheduled immunizations. Dr Roberts noticed and inquired about a bruise on Simran’s face. She alluded to her problems with Mohan hoping he would be able to provide some advice. She thought that maybe he would tell her what to say to Mohan to make him stop or that he might reassure her, tell her that Mohan would change and that she needed to be patient. Perhaps he would send her to talk to someone who could give her some ideas on how to be better, how to keep Mohan happy. What she had not been prepared for, however, was Dr Roberts’ suggestion: divorce. Simran remembers the chill that came over her body upon hearing this. Was he joking? Did he not realize the absurdity of his suggestion? She could never bring such shame upon her family.

    Leaving Mohan would ruin Mata Ji and Papa Ji. How would they ever overcome such a burden? What would they tell potential suitors for her sisters? They would be the talk of the village; she could not do that to them. What of Karan? A boy needs his father. He would blame Simran his whole life for taking his father away. She could not care for him alone. She could not provide for the both of them with no skills and a limited grasp of English. The government would certainly take Karan away and give him to Mohan. How could she live without him—her very breath, her reason for being, and the one source of joy in her life? Didn’t Dr Roberts understand that divorce is not an option for an Indian woman? No man would marry her; she would be forced to spend the rest of her life alone and in shame.

    Simran cowers as she thinks of the possibility of being alone. She swallows a sleeping pill and returns to Karan’s room. She stands at the foot of the bed and watches her son. He sleeps in peace, unaware the woman in front of him is but a mere shadow of her former self. He has kicked off most of his covers and the moonlight shines off his Kara, a metal bracelet on his right arm symbolizing the infiniteness of the Divine. She lifts his blanket off the floor and places it over him gently. Simran sits by his head and strokes her fingers through his long, uncut hair. "To suffer is my karma, son," she whispers. "I will not let it be yours." She settles in beside her son, closes her eyes, and waits for sleep to come.

    Competing interests: None declared
    Details of the research study can be obtained by contacting Dr Arora: PO Box 59026, 5962 Sperling Ave, Burnaby, BC V5E 0A3; e-mailamritpalsarora@gmail.com

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