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The 51 Top Sikhs-WSN Comments on HT Publication

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Gyani Jarnail Singh, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
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    Cashing on the Sikh Face
    Charanjit Singh

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    Not to be left behind Bollywood, where every other actor and even actress wants to sport the turban, Times of India’s sister publication in Hindi, Navbharat Times, in association with business house Ayur Herbal, too has joined the bandwagon. It has come out with a well-produced but ill-researched TOP 51 SIKH coffee table book, handpicked by a whole set of non-Sikh “experts” of the paper.


    The book was presented to me by a non-Sikh friend, who, doesn’t fail to bring to my notice anything which is even remotely related to Sikhs and Sikhism.

    Before getting into the who’s who of the members who were outlined in the book with their pictures and testimonials, let’s look at the overall format of this publication and what was the need or drive behind such a publication along with the people behind this endeavor.

    The book is result of a collective effort of the following panel of Navbharat Times- Shachindra Tripathi, Madhusudan Anand with additional assistance from Manjiri Chaturvedi, Balmukand , Shrikant Sharma, Joseph Bernard and Sunderchand Thakur. Non-Sikhs may set out their preferences on who the Top 51 Sikhs are, but if they do not do cross referencing with a Sikh, they are bound to trip badly, as the current editors have by including Mandira Bedi as a Sikh stalwart in a Bollywood-style revealing photo! Is it deliberate marketing strategy to tease the Sikhs? Not stopping there, to taunt the Sikhs to the hilt, included in the list is convicted molester and former Punjab police chief KPS Gill. Including K.P.S Gill is tantamount to including Salman Rushdie while presenting a piece on famous Muslims.

    The political correctness of the publishing house is clear from the inclusion of the father and son politicians –Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal. This is not only outrageous but presentation of a vitiated image the Sikhs in the eyes of the lay Indian.

    The media in general and the Times of India in particular have rightly made the Sikhs cynical about Indian media. Try sending a rejoinder or communication to The Times of India calling attention to any unfair representation of Sikh community and you would invariably receive no response. In such a scenario it’s quite difficult to understand this daily’s effort of going out of their way and coming up with a book dedicated entirely to a minority community.

    The media in general and the Times of India in particular have rightly made the Sikhs cynical about Indian media. Try sending a rejoinder or communication to The Times of India calling attention to any unfair representation of Sikh community and you would invariably receive no response. In such a scenario it’s quite difficult to understand this daily’s effort of going out of their way and coming up with a book dedicated entirely to a minority community.

    Firstly the title Top 51 Sikh (why not Sikhs?) sounds highly colloquial rather than profound, includes only Sikhs from India and the text has many typographical errors, which is uncalled for coming from the prestigious house of Bennett and Coleman Limited.

    The book starts with a small commentary on Sikh faith, its tenets, and then a brief on each of the Sikh Gurus. Beautifully and boldly inscribed is the Mool Mantar, only in Devnagari and not in Gurmukhi, which script too is a significant contribution of the Gurus.

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    The preface by the Indian Prime Minister spells out the agenda of the compilers of the book. Dr. Manmohan Singh says, “Sikh Quam Desh Ki Raksha Karne Ke liye hi Paida hui hai” meaning,” “The Sikh community was born with the sole purpose of defending the Indian nation.” The reputation of Times of India to toe the line of the government is pretty well-known. Obviously, the editors could not have reacted to this travesty of truth from the Sikh prime minister. Guru Gobind Singh lived and died in the 17th century. India as a country came in to being only in the 20th century and here we have the Sikh Prime minister telling us that, “we were born to protect the country.”


    The very universality of the Sikh thought and the existence of the Sikh Diaspora have been badly ignored both by Dr. Manmohan Singh and by the editors of the book.
    It is a consolation that the authors have included stalwarts like former Air chief Marshal Arjan Singh, Vice-admiral Jagjit Singh Bedi, Montek Singh Alhuwalia, Athlete –Milkha Singh, environmentalist – Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal, hockey player Balbir Singh Senior, sufi-singer Rabbi Shergill, author Dr. Mahip Singh, painter Arpana Caur, commentator Jasdev Singh and writer Prabhjyot Kaur.

    These names won’t fail to bring awe and inspiration. It is, however, a task to sift the chaff from the grain. Some like Harbhajan Singh force their way into the book and some have greatness thrust upon them, though the Sikh world is oblivious to their contribution.

    The preface by the Indian Prime Minister spells out the agenda of the compilers of the book. Dr. Manmohan Singh says, “Sikh Quam Desh Ki Raksha Karne Ke liye hi Paida hui hai” meaning,” “The Sikh community was born with the sole purpose of defending the Indian nation.” The reputation of Times of India to toe the line of the government is pretty well-known. Obviously, the editors could not have reacted to this travesty of truth from the Sikh prime minister. Guru Gobind Singh lived and died in the 17th century. India as a country came in to being only in the 20th century and here we have the Sikh Prime minister telling us that, “we were born to protect the country.”

    Sikhs welcome any effort by a mainstream publication, but an effort of this magnitude should have called for much more seriousness so that in doing so the makers won’t hurt the sensibilities of a community. And that too with a sponsorship from the Sikh business house of Ayur.

    The owner of Ayur, Mr.Narang must have been through what every Sikh has faced some time or the other in his life. A battle between acceptability and faith. This battle has led many to applaud with pomp and glory any attention which members of your community receive. Be it in any form, from anyone. How else would you explain the featuring of J.J. Valaya and Jigs Kalra who adorn the pony and the cap respectively, with audacity - giving Maharaj Bhupinder Singh’s turban a run for its money.

    Fortunately, it is a coffee table book, meant to be seen, not be read and referenced.
    Charanjit Singh is World Sikh News’s young columnist based in Mumbai. He may be contacted at singh_charanjit@rediffmail.com
    5 August 2009
     
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  3. Huck_Finn

    Huck_Finn
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    (previously amarsanghera, account deactivated at t
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    lol

    i think over 50% of the ones mentioned do not follow the SGPC "Rehit", so how come they were listed as "sikhs".

    being "sikh" is a special sticker(tag) given by SGPC.

    wondering why SGPC is not suing B&C ?

    oh...i forgot...the SGPC's masters are in that list....hahaha
     

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