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Hard Talk Recurring Thoughts on India under a Triumphant Narendra Modi

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Hard Talk Recurring Thoughts on India under a Triumphant Narendra Modi

IJSingh

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Recurring Thoughts on India under a Triumphant Narendra Modi

I.J. Singh


A stroll down Google Lane tells us that the term sound-bite originated around1980. Sound-bites holds your attention for about 30 seconds, a time span critical to catching a reader’s eye and focusing it quickly but sharply on a topical concern. I offer you a uniquely simple example: KISS for “Keep it simple, stupid.”

In the 1980 Presidential campaign, Ronald Reagan repeatedly threw There You Go Again in the face of President Jimmy Carter as a most effective sound bite. Twelve years later in 1992, it was Bill Clinton’s turn to leave President George H. W. Bush speechless with It’s the economy stupid. Then in 2008 Barak Obama turned the tables with Don’t do Stupid Stuff with telling effect. And then he swallowed Hillary Clinton’s rejoinder that Don’t do Stupid Stuff is not an Organizing Principle. Now sound bites, starting with Make America Great Again are Trump’s main {censored}nal aimed to pulverize his victims into rapid submission rather than unnerve them with the acute sharpness of a precisely-aimed idea. His darts are more in the class of Rumsfeld’s Shock and Awe that captured the spirit of the American misadventure in Iraq.

Such is real-politic; what goes around comes around. Sound bites -- of recent vintage; short on words, long on meaning, easy to remember. They have a dominating presence in the world of sports, politics and even religion?

Panth in Danger.” Panth (in Punjabi) indicates the collective Sikh community. Panth in Danger is a slogan that we have heard over a lifetime. Hypnotically catchy like a call to arms, this well-crafted sound bite dares us to respond viscerally, not analytically. That’s exactly what soundbites do. The kernel of truth in them gives them life, urgency and potency.

I don’t really know when Panth in Danger gained currency. Could it have been during Mughal rule in the 18th century when Sikh survival literally hung in the balance? I heard it ad infinitum during the 1950s. Sikhs were then pushing the Indian government to carve out a Punjabi-speaking state as was being done for a plethora of the other Indian languages. But was/is Sikhi really in danger then or now? That’s whole different matter for another time.

A hundred years ago, during Dayanand’s fulminations against Sikhi and their Gurus, the clarion call of Panth in Danger acquired poignancy. It arose to counter a campaign designed to deny Sikhi an independent and equal place in the nominally secular but, in fact, increasingly partisan Hindu India -- a reality that has become progressively worse. India seems to be developing alarming intolerance for non-Hindu cultures, be it Buddhism, Christianity, Islam or Sikhism.

Sample, for instance, Bollywood; its cultural humor is surfeit with Sikhs and Sikhi. With few exceptions, it hits at Sikhi via pointless banter, the easy laugh and the cheap joke, devoid of clever logic, intellectual gymnastics, rich or pointed play on words. Luckily Sikhs retain their ability to laugh at themselves. I write this not as a Hindu-hater or Hindu-baiter but from sadness because it cheats India of both its history and its promised tryst with destiny.

Around 40 years ago, a strident Hindu political party in India won the national election and ruled for some years. This led to a great unease in the Sikh community (barely 2 percent of India’s teeming billion plus) on how a partisan Hindu political party would treat minorities. At a pre-election meeting where Sikhs were tinkering with which party to support, a leader of the North American Sikh community advised Sikhs, to vote for the Hindu partisan party. His argument: Sikhs should help elect them even though their leaders do not recognize Sikhi as a distinct religion separate from Hinduism. When we asked why, his answer was beyond simplistic, not even remotely real. “The Hindu fundamentalist government, he claimed, will achieve nothing and would self-destruct. That will fragment the country and Sikhs will be able to wrest their own nation – Khalistan – from the internal mess.” So much for rational analysis!

Now once again, India is governed by a similar political elite and this time they won big. Don’t forget that Hindus, the largest vote bank in India, constitute better than 80% of the population.

Today, I step aside from the material and socio-economic impact of the election on India to engage briefly with Indian nation’s internal structure.
file-20190521-23814-1vlzlbn.jpg

The new sound bite in India is“Hindu, Hindi, Hindustan. This came forcefully and unmistakably home to me the night of the BJP celebration some years ago where I was one of the few Sikhs in a sea of Hindus, and reverberates more strongly today. Hindi is the language of Hindus even though a majority of Hindus finds it a foreign tongue because modern India is a mélange of many independent nation-states, each with its own language, culture and cuisine. Hindustan, literally land of the Hindus, is how the Indian Subcontinent has been labeled in history. The Constitution of free India does not list this name but refers to India as Bharat.


The ruling clique has added a novel twist to the mess. Political luminaries with scholarly pretensions argue that Islam and Christianity came to India with very few people from foreign lands who brought foreign ideology with them. Ergo, the overwhelming majority of all Indians who are now Sikhs, Muslims or Christians converted from Hindu stock and that’s a legacy that they must return to. They should reconvert and revert to their Hindu roots. So goes this argument.

Such reasoning muddles the realities for minorities in India, such as Sikhs. Clearly, the first four Sikh Guru-Founders of Sikhism came from Hindu stock. A growing Hindu view ignores the unmistakable renunciation of Hinduism’s defining practices by the Gurus. Similar reasoning is applied to Jains and Buddhists. By this logic there are no minorities in India, except for a small countable number of Jews and P{censored}es, and perhaps fewer Christians and Muslims. On this dubious logic rests India’s government-supported initiative ambitiously dubbed “Ghar Wapsi” to pressure minorities to return to Hinduism.

But I wonder!

True that very few Christians came into India from outside, so most Indian Christians are converts from Hindu stock. The conclusion that, therefore, they remain Hindus -- today, tomorrow and forever flies in the face of all reason. Apply similar reasoning to the world to see the absurdity. Since Jesus was born a Jew as were his early followers, should these upstarts be reclassified as Jews today? By this logic there are and can be few, if any, Christians in the world. In India, most Indian Christians likely converted from Hindu roots and should then return to the Hindu fold. And since Jesus was born a Jew, no matter what he taught and that his teachings are now known as Christianity all over the world, his movement remains Judaism and he remains a Jew. Such reasoning would surely be labeled asinine and rightly so. No thinking person should buy it.

This virulent campaign goes further and self-righteously asserts that it is fair to pressure all the Indian Sikhs, Christians and Muslims to return to the Hindu fold because that would only be returning to their roots – their original home and base, from where no can walk away in good conscience. In other words, once a Hindu, always a Hindu – through eternity.

A softer version of this proclaims that all Indians are Hindu by definition and by culture. Labels such as Muslim, Christian or Sikh are just weak identifiers of their particular sect of Hinduism -- a minor branch of the enormously vast Hindu mythological tree, forever inseparable from the parent root and stem.

Hence the Indian government-inspired campaign and demand that all ‘Indians’ come home to their Hindu reality – Ghar Wapsy or “Return Home” in translation. This idea of retuning to roots has gained enormous currency in modern India. It is an emotionally powerful wrenching slogan. Yet, India has the audacity to define itself as secular.

And I wondered a bit further!

Some social anthropologists suggest that the word “Hindu” is a variant of “Sindhu,” the river in the northwest of the Subcontinent, and that’s how the people became Hindus. Hindus insist that their rich scriptures and mythology, included the Vedas originated in India

Some fundamental questions remain: What were the people of the Subcontinent before their scriptures were elaborated? Certainly, there was intelligent life in India even during the many eons when the rules, dicta, and traditions of Hinduism were still in the making, when the Vedas were incomplete or not yet fully elaborated. Life existed then. Were the Indian people unclassified tribal perhaps?

By the logic of “Ghar Wapsy” don’t they all remain unchangeably whatever they were – forever and more before the Hindu label was even coined to define them. To return to what one was eons ago requires that we first search for the sect or tribe of apes that Hindus belonged to so that they can return to it. Only then we can decide of how to reclassify other (non-Hindu) natives of India.

Perhaps the largest mass conversion of peoples from age-old Hinduism to another religion in modern times occurred in mid-20th century when B.R. Ambedkar led almost 400,000 low caste (untouchables) Hindus into Buddhism. Earlier episodes of mass exodus out of Hinduism were likely prompted by the messages of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Sikhism.

But now that caste-riven India is politically free, a nominally secular India is being driven back in time by the demand and soundbite that free people return to their old slave reality of a divisive society.

This in short is the message of “Ghar Wapsee.” In other words, Come back little children. Return to the system – unjust as it was and unjust as it will likely remain, for such is God’s will. Suffer and enjoy. What is being sold here: Colossal ignorance or masochism?

A simple factoid from the New York Times is pertinent: Over the last decade, between two contiguous census periods, over 10 million Americans changed their religious identity in their census data. A free people have that freedom. Home is where the heart is.

I wonder how India, the world’s largest functioning secular democracy, would deal with such an earth-shattering event.


2019
 

ashdoc

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The same Time magazine has changed it's tune after Modi has won . Hindus are voting for Modi because they are afraid of Muslim terrorism and rising Muslim population .




T
 

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But your statement in itself reflects that he has dvidied the nation on the communal lines...
 

ashdoc

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But your statement in itself reflects that he has dvidied the nation on the communal lines...
the nation was divided along communal lines the day pakistan was created . if that nation ( pakistan ) had maintained normal ties with India after it's creation then maybe no problem would be there . but it seems pakistan has no other goal but to destroy India , even if it means it's own destruction---the classic suicide bomber mentality from a nation famous for producing suicide bombers .

pakistan sponsors many terror attacks in India and all these cannot happen without some degree of co operation from indian muslims . the only muslim majority state of india ( kashmir ) is in open revolt against india . the revolt began in 1989 when hindu nationalists were not in power . obviously some degree of responsibility of worsening hindu muslim relations lies on the muslims .

internationally also , with terror attacks in sri lanka and europe being associated with muslim terrorist organisations , islam does not cut a great image about itself . the word islamophobia was invented in the west because people there are also increasingly afraid of muslims . outside india hindus have also migrated , but no one fears them .
 

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So, what's the solution? Terminate all Muslims from India?
I don't know if there is any solution . I am merely telling the reason why hindus are increasingly turning towards Hindu nationalism . Their fears are obviously real .
 

ashdoc

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. Sikhs retain their ability to laugh at themselves
The latest joke that Sikhs have done on themselves is electing the congress in majority seats in lok sabha . The same congress that butchered them in 84 .
 

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I disagree, Sikhs have moved on... as they always do...

We need to shed our old baggae to surge ahead...

Joke is on those who do not understand... :cool:
 

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Hindu nationalism
Unfounded fears fueled by Godi media... 80% Hindus as per 2011 census... Under thousands years of prosecution & slavery Hindus were never in danger but now all of a sudden in last five year, Hindus are in danger... makes no convincing argument other than polarizing a nation and pushing it back by 100 years...

Again, do think plarizing a nation to get back to power is the solution to the problem?
 

ashdoc

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Unfounded fears fueled by Godi media... 80% Hindus as per 2011 census... Under thousands years of prosecution & slavery Hindus were never in danger but now all of a sudden in last five year, Hindus are in danger... makes no convincing argument other than polarizing a nation and pushing it back by 100 years...

Again, do think plarizing a nation to get back to power is the solution to the problem?
Hindus are less than 80 percent now , according to 2011 census . Muslims were 10 percent according to 1951 census but have risen to 14.2 percent . That is of course census figures which are politically correct so as to not alarm hindus .

Anyway you say thousands of years of slavery . That itself shows hindus have suffered . Now with increasing Muslim terrorism backed by Pakistan the spectre of suffering is on full scale . Are Hindus supposed to sit back and watch while the entire Kashmiri pandit community is kicked out of Kashmir just like hindus were kicked out of Pakistan at the time of partition ?
 

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Now with increasing Muslim terrorism backed by Pakistan the spectre of suffering is on full scale .
Do you think by targeting Muslims in India, it is not going happen? I think with polarization it is going to get even worse....
 

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Do you think by targeting Muslims in India, it is not going happen? I think with polarization it is going to get even worse....
your statements are due to fear of hindu nationalism targeting sikhs . as far as i can read it there is no such danger .
 

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The problem is one of intelligence and will power. It is very easy to counter all the ideology of hindu nationalists, but you will notice that they will not change even when they know that there position is untenable. Then there is the will power to resist an ideology. The same problem exists in the west, our current form of capitalism has recently switched to the divulging of people. Trading in human experiences through surveillance capitalism, a humans private life is at stake but does the will to resist and replace the system occur?

Hinduism reads like a series of hobbies, it is in no way a religion or way of life. It has no root, the people of India had there roots in the lament of suffering, well that's far gone today. What's fast replacing that feeling of being hard done by is nationilsm, this can therefore only be termed a mental health risk.

Politics is uglier today because the lie is not rejected it is continued with rigour and vigour. I would like Sikhs to not engage in these debates anymore as it is a waste of energy. Instead we should focus on the work started by our Guru's, to look to those in society who are hurt, hurting or damaged, and to help rehabilitate these people. For too long we have been keeping up with the jones's and where did we expect that would reach us? The Gurus path has no expectations, we do what we do because it's the right thing to do, we take on injustice because that's who we are.

I am no fan of the Captain but the punjabi people are right to elect him into power, our politics in India has always come with a threat assessment, the threat is greater from hindutva and RSS than the current Congress. Until Sikhs openly reject the BJP we will not understand the true nature of what they have in store for us, its a sad reality that there will come another round of suffering.

Pakistan may be bad terrorist sponsors but at least they don't simulate artificial events which kill there own people. We should all be thinking about an important question regarding power and control, what is my countries allowance? All countries in the world are not a fixed state, the state can manoeuvre people in to a new form of slavery which is lawful, accepted by the majority and will take a long time to overcome.

The promise of Sikhism is that it would and will help to usher in a higher form of civilisation, this promise is not lost but exists in a nascent form. It won't progress from its nascent form whilst the external machinations of government continues to beckon a redress from them. Nor will it progress until we learn to let go of our attitude towards internal differences.

On a positive note our enemies, and we have quite a few, have nowhere left to run. The majority of people are voting for the party to maintain the status quo, they do not vote for the ideology the party supports. The ideological base will gravitate to the fate of a pariah. I don't believe in the hype about the danger of a polarised community, we all work together and will eventually come together to achieve in spite of our political leanings.
 

ashdoc

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The problem is one of intelligence and will power. It is very easy to counter all the ideology of hindu nationalists, but you will notice that they will not change even when they know that there position is untenable. Then there is the will power to resist an ideology. The same problem exists in the west, our current form of capitalism has recently switched to the divulging of people. Trading in human experiences through surveillance capitalism, a humans private life is at stake but does the will to resist and replace the system occur?

Hinduism reads like a series of hobbies, it is in no way a religion or way of life. It has no root, the people of India had there roots in the lament of suffering, well that's far gone today. What's fast replacing that feeling of being hard done by is nationilsm, this can therefore only be termed a mental health risk.

Politics is uglier today because the lie is not rejected it is continued with rigour and vigour. I would like Sikhs to not engage in these debates anymore as it is a waste of energy. Instead we should focus on the work started by our Guru's, to look to those in society who are hurt, hurting or damaged, and to help rehabilitate these people. For too long we have been keeping up with the jones's and where did we expect that would reach us? The Gurus path has no expectations, we do what we do because it's the right thing to do, we take on injustice because that's who we are.

I am no fan of the Captain but the punjabi people are right to elect him into power, our politics in India has always come with a threat assessment, the threat is greater from hindutva and RSS than the current Congress. Until Sikhs openly reject the BJP we will not understand the true nature of what they have in store for us, its a sad reality that there will come another round of suffering.

Pakistan may be bad terrorist sponsors but at least they don't simulate artificial events which kill there own people. We should all be thinking about an important question regarding power and control, what is my countries allowance? All countries in the world are not a fixed state, the state can manoeuvre people in to a new form of slavery which is lawful, accepted by the majority and will take a long time to overcome.

The promise of Sikhism is that it would and will help to usher in a higher form of civilisation, this promise is not lost but exists in a nascent form. It won't progress from its nascent form whilst the external machinations of government continues to beckon a redress from them. Nor will it progress until we learn to let go of our attitude towards internal differences.

On a positive note our enemies, and we have quite a few, have nowhere left to run. The majority of people are voting for the party to maintain the status quo, they do not vote for the ideology the party supports. The ideological base will gravitate to the fate of a pariah. I don't believe in the hype about the danger of a polarised community, we all work together and will eventually come together to achieve in spite of our political leanings.
i can say only one thing---after having dealt with the hindus , the pakistanis will find you not useful anymore as tools to trouble hindus and will finish you off too , like they did in pakistan after partition . have a good think about this .
 

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I will quit the forum . I won't tolerate Hinduism's status as a religion being negated , nor will I tolerate it being reduced to a series of hobbies .
 

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Sorry to hear that you think this way, but forums, in general, are not for too sensitive minds.

There are just so many differences of opinions within the Sikh school of thought that if you are not tolerant to other's views, then there is no point in debating in these public forums, even within the frame of Sikh philosophy.

Your contributions are much appreciated at SPN. Staying or leaving is purely your decision.

We respect your decision.

Thank you
 

ashdoc

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Sorry to hear that you think this way, but forums, in general, are not for too sensitive minds.

There are just so many differences of opinions within the Sikh school of thought that if you are not tolerant to other's views, then there is no point in debating in these public forums, even within the frame of Sikh philosophy.

Your contributions are much appreciated at SPN. Staying or leaving is purely your decision.

We respect your decision.

Thank you
I am not sensitive . In fact for a long time I was part of a forum which thrived on abuses ( echarcha ) , but here I wonder if I will be ganged up against . Being a lone person defending the recent BJP victory against a lot of Sikhs hostile to it . Anyway I shall try to survive on this forum .
 

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In fact for a long time I was part of a forum which thrived on abuses ( echarcha )
This why it is very important to leave your baggage from other forums behind. Otherwise, you are not doing justice to this forum. If you would read through our forums, you would realize that we, at SPN, are most critical of our own belief system. We question every aspect of our understanding of established traditions of Sikh dharma. So, we can always agree to disagree and move on.

but here I wonder if I will be ganged up against .
As I said, everybody has a right to his opinions at SPN irrespective of any leanings but without getting personal.

Being a lone person defending the recent BJP victory against a lot of Sikhs hostile to it .
Coming back to topic... well, naturally, the politics of relentless polarization is frightening to say the least. Nobody can escape from its aftermath. Earlier in this thread, you said its just against Muslims but eventually the tide will turn against all and sundry... its just a matter of time... the politics of hate is blind...

Again, having gotten a spectacular mandate 2nd time and literally having wasted it the first time around, it is a great opporunity for BJP to focus on poor infrastructure, education, jobs, economics, farmers plight, women safety etc. Otherwise, this mandate will again be wasted, which would be a great pity and a great injustice to the people of India.
 

ashdoc

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This why it is very important to leave your baggage from other forums behind. Otherwise, you are not doing justice to this forum. If you would read through our forums, you would realize that we, at SPN, are most critical of our own belief system. We question every aspect of our understanding of established traditions of Sikh dharma. So, we can always agree to disagree and move on.



As I said, everybody has a right to his opinions at SPN irrespective of any leanings but without getting personal.



Coming back to topic... well, naturally, the politics of relentless polarization is frightening to say the least. Nobody can escape from its aftermath. Earlier in this thread, you said its just against Muslims but eventually the tide will turn against all and sundry... its just a matter of time... the politics of hate is blind...

Again, having gotten a spectacular mandate 2nd time and literally having wasted it the first time around, it is a great opporunity for BJP to focus on poor infrastructure, education, jobs, economics, farmers plight, women safety etc. Otherwise, this mandate will again be wasted, which would be a great pity and a great injustice to the people of India.
Admittedly BJP wasted the mandate it got . The so called ' acchhe din' ( good days ) never came . Economic growth was higher than China earlier but now it is below that of China . Unemployment is at a 45 year high . I suspect it is due to the demonetisation blunder made by BJP . The economy simply hasn't recovered from it .

But still I would vote for Modi . At least he is doing something for defence by buying some defence equipment . The Pakistani strike after Indian bombing of balakot displayed deficiencies in Indian military . The congress government literally did not buy anything in it's 10 years in power for defence . Allowed Pakistan to get military advantage over India . Indian fighterjets were equipped with inferior air to air missiles compared to Pakistani fighterjets as Congress had neglected defence completely .

Sikhs are unnecessarily getting worked up about the polarization angle . This is not Nazi Germany in the making . The Hindu nationalists never were against Sikhs . They are against Abrahamic religions like Islam and Christianity ( though not against Judaism due to Israel's good relations with India ) but not against dharmic religions like Buddhism Sikhism or Jainism .

In fact such is the magnitude of the threat from Islam that I would recommend dumping the misgivings against Christians inspite of the conversions they are carrying on in the countryside in South India especially , where in states like Kerala the Christian population is close to 20 percent . Reason---we all are threatened by Islamic terrorism . The whole world is . Muslims are rapidly migrating to Europe where the native European women are refusing to produce children thus reducing their population and creating a vacuum that Muslims are eager to fill . So Christianity in Europe is in danger too . In Asia Burma has the Rohingya Muslim problem and Lanka has recently been hit by Islamic terrorism . So Buddhists are threatened too . Unless all of us combine to face Islamic radicalism we might all get overwhelmed by the Islamic tide .
 
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Sikhbrah

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The problem is one of intelligence and will power. It is very easy to counter all the ideology of hindu nationalists, but you will notice that they will not change even when they know that there position is untenable. Then there is the will power to resist an ideology. The same problem exists in the west, our current form of capitalism has recently switched to the divulging of people. Trading in human experiences through surveillance capitalism, a humans private life is at stake but does the will to resist and replace the system occur?

Hinduism reads like a series of hobbies, it is in no way a religion or way of life. It has no root, the people of India had there roots in the lament of suffering, well that's far gone today. What's fast replacing that feeling of being hard done by is nationilsm, this can therefore only be termed a mental health risk.

Politics is uglier today because the lie is not rejected it is continued with rigour and vigour. I would like Sikhs to not engage in these debates anymore as it is a waste of energy. Instead we should focus on the work started by our Guru's, to look to those in society who are hurt, hurting or damaged, and to help rehabilitate these people. For too long we have been keeping up with the jones's and where did we expect that would reach us? The Gurus path has no expectations, we do what we do because it's the right thing to do, we take on injustice because that's who we are.

I am no fan of the Captain but the punjabi people are right to elect him into power, our politics in India has always come with a threat assessment, the threat is greater from hindutva and RSS than the current Congress. Until Sikhs openly reject the BJP we will not understand the true nature of what they have in store for us, its a sad reality that there will come another round of suffering.

Pakistan may be bad terrorist sponsors but at least they don't simulate artificial events which kill there own people. We should all be thinking about an important question regarding power and control, what is my countries allowance? All countries in the world are not a fixed state, the state can manoeuvre people in to a new form of slavery which is lawful, accepted by the majority and will take a long time to overcome.

The promise of Sikhism is that it would and will help to usher in a higher form of civilisation, this promise is not lost but exists in a nascent form. It won't progress from its nascent form whilst the external machinations of government continues to beckon a redress from them. Nor will it progress until we learn to let go of our attitude towards internal differences.

On a positive note our enemies, and we have quite a few, have nowhere left to run. The majority of people are voting for the party to maintain the status quo, they do not vote for the ideology the party supports. The ideological base will gravitate to the fate of a pariah. I don't believe in the hype about the danger of a polarised community, we all work together and will eventually come together to achieve in spite of our political leanings.
BJP threat assessment is bigger than Congress/Pakistan?

Read on Hindu ideologies and Islamic ideologies - you will realize who the bigger threat is.

The benign Hindu religion does not harbour dreams of wiping out Sikhism - Islam does though.

You really need to sit down and think of the situation without a bias mind.
 

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