• Welcome to all New Sikh Philosophy Network Forums!
    Explore Sikh Sikhi Sikhism...
    Sign up Log in

UK Sikh At Queen's Jubilee

Recent news about the Sikh who was invited to the Queen's Jubilee...


I've been thinking about this and understand Mr Singh has a past for which he has spent 4 years in jail but does that give the media/public a right to condemn him for turning up as he was invited?

Also, the incident happened in 1986, and since then he has done a number of years charity work which has been recognised? Yet the media only remember the criminal charges?

My question is what's the consensus amongst the members who's at fault? and should we condemn Mr Singh for turning up knowing he had a past?

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
My position is for a PUBLIC LIFE..one clearly has to be 110% Faultless....Cloroxed super WHITE !! Because in PUBLIC..you represent not only your own INDIVIDUAL SELF..BUT the ENTIRE KAUM....so your "black mark" affects many many hundreds of SIKHS who may indeed be 110% Super White BUT Now get PAINTED/TAINTED by your action.

WE had 10 Gurus, over 30 Bhagats, Sheikhs, several Generals right up to Sikh Raaj....each and Everyone a SUPER WHITE....in fact Legends abound about Generals like Hari Singh Nalwa who so affected a beautiful Afghan Princess that she called him into her palace privately and told him..i want to produce a SON like YOU...and Hari Singh fell at her feet and said MOTHER..There can be ONLY One like ME..I am YOUR SON. There is no record of just how many thousands of beautiful damsles the Sikhs rescued form the invaders and sent them back safe and sound to their parents (and its fact that they were exceptionally beautiful simply because the invaders woudlnt bother to take captive unattractive girls/boys)..BUT not a single SIKH ever got a black mark even under those trying circumstances...MORAL HIGH GROUND is our Hall mark...and SGGS stresses on THAT. Guru Gobind Singh ji has forbidden a Sikh to even DREAM of bedding someone whos not your legally wedded partner...so theres no question that sexual impropriety is FORBIDDEN in Sikhism and once a finger is raised...withdrawl is the best policy. Why go in Public and risk such issues being dragged out and the entire sikh nation is dragged thru the mud...I know its NOT FAIR..but then Lifes like that...most of the time...

A White bearded Fakir was once a neighbour of a Prostitute. She told him..Baba Ji..your ebard is so white..compared to my situation. The Fakir said..No Lady..my beard is NOT as white as you think...when its really white I will tell you. ON his DEATH BED, the Fakir called in his neighbour and declared..I have a few moments to live...NOW I can say with full confidence..MY BEARD is WHITE and I dare face my Creator with it.


Someone has dragged this out, fair enough.
I don't think that any royals would have known about this beforehand and besides they have judged him and invited him with regards to his charitable work.
I don't find it reasonable to judge him on his past.
I personally know that if someone were to judge me from 5-6 years ago then they would NOT get the true picture of me today.

I'm sure there would have been many more sikhs that were invited, but he seems to have got the spotlight. So, this would upset the other sikhs as they would regard him unsuitable to be representing the rest of the sikhs.


The distinct Sikh ID is a double-edged sword. ‘Singh was suddenly King’ when Manmohan Singh became a PM’ How proud we all felt. However, if he were to do something real daft, and were to fall out of grace, we will all face the brunt of the backlash. As it is Anna Hazare, arch rival of Congress policies, only yesterday, referred to Manmohan ji as “a noble soul” – thank Lord our izzat is still intact.

This double-edged ID is always at the back of my mind when I come across aggressive individuals – particularly those hostile towards Sikhs. If I lose my cool I will be seen as a Sikh and not as ‘AN Other’. Therefore, must we all act as good ambassadors of Sikhi? Perhaps yes if only for the sake of Sikhi.

In my younger days I would take no nonsense from anyone and even now, occasionally, my tolerance is tested but my wife always keeps an eye on me – bless her soul.

I have been working in the UK, sabat soorat since the late sixties. For the last 30 odd years I have lecturing in London Universities and colleges in UK and abroad. It was not easy in the sixties and seventies as any Sikh would tell you and, I stood even more because of my whiter-than-white dastar which I wore in my younger days – that was the Kenyan passion and trend. In all these years I have never felt any pressure to disrespect my hair – I know I have been lucky since the situation and pressure was even more pronounced for those working in factories or doing semi-skilled jobs – job discrimination was rife in those days. I remember, in 1972, going to the Job Office for my younger brother and a lady remarked ‘Oh you speak excellent English for an Indian’ and another quipped ‘isn’t his turban neat…..so white and clean…..soooo smart”. I kept quite for the sake of my brother’s potential job opportunity.

As far as Mr Rana is concerned, it is a pity that they only see his past not the reformation and the good work he has done and is still doing for ASHT (Anglo Sikh Heritage Trail). I donated some funds to this organisation two years back because of my goodwill towards a hard working Sikh who does a lot of charitable work and whom I have known for 30 years. He mentioned invitations to their functions which included the opportunity to meet Royalty (Prince Charles), however, I did not take the opportunity. Until now I had no knowledge of Mr Rana’s background. This is bad publicity for him and ASHT. I, in all sincerity, feel sorry for him – poor man’s past has come to haunt him again…… taking all this into his account perhaps he should have tuned down the invitation.

Rajinder Singh ‘Arshi’

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
<<<<, taking all this into his account perhaps he should have tuned down the invitation.<<

My heart too goes out to a fellow Sikh...but yes i agree...he should have declined the invite to save us all the embarrassment..esp since some in the western/Indian Media re always looking for an excuse to vilify the Sikhs..on the slightest excuse..


Yes absolutely Giani ji. Its a field day for the press especially the anti Sikh brigade. London City can be an uncomfortable place to be when we have such negative press - but then you keep your head down and carry on being a good ambassador.


I'm sure that he would have declined if he knew that this story would erupt.
Going by past history and scandals, there are many important figures there including MPs that have hidden scandals and romps that have NOT yet surfaced to the public.

It is certain that he would have thought exactly the same before accepting, but in his case he was unlucky in this sense as other figures with these hidden secrets stll didn't get exposed as yet!!

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
The ONLY way he could have KNOWN..the story would erupt...would be via BLACKMAIL/THREATS to Stay Away or be EXPOSED !! Since he didnt report nay BM attempts...he really thought he got away with it..BUT he Forgot that His GURU has written..Nanak ORRAK SACH RAHEE..TRUTH ALWAYS OUT. He should have kept AWAY at all costs. Not worth the RISK.


It is our practice of closinng our eyes which allows such opportunistics to steal limelight in our Gurudwaras/ social organisations and they are SEEN as benevolent. Inside he may not be.The details of his acts( repeated acts) makes him unsuitable and shameful for us. I am not saying that I can not do such acts but once it is done , i should have no moral grounds to be seen as community leader. Why we do not take the blame of letting him be such position that he got invited!


Yes, we should ALL look Within and Around us before we start pointing fingers.

I personally feel that OK, this guy did what he did but let's give it a break. We seem to carry on criticizing because we have someone to point the finger at.

In this day and age every member of the public knows that crimininals come in every walk of life, be they in the policeforce, doctors, lawyers, priests, teachers, charity workers... infact they can be anything or anyone, you can never guess.
So, I don't think that the view of sikhism to general public is going to be affected by this man .( I've given some actual facts below).

This guy did what he did and then he done the time. - He did a crime and the time-
He may have come out a completely better person, better than you and me, who knows ?- I don't personally know him, so I can't truly say, but give it a break is what I do say.
After all he is still someones son, someone's husband, brother and father.
I mean if he died tomorrow of something unfortunate like getting hit by a bus, are we still going to judge him for his crime or are we going to have some sympathy for his close family ?
I am still learning, you are learning and he is still learning and hopefully learnt from his mistake.
We are ALL learners and continue learning, wether it is from past mistakes, crimes, predjudice, violence, rudeness, unpoliteness, mistreating, not helping.. whatever, we ALL learn from different areas of our lives where we have deviated away from the Truth.

Yes of course, a better example of a sikh personality should have been appointed for this role, but it didn't happen, so what ?

I mean in reality it is interesting to know what WE feel is an impression of us as sikhs and what the general public ACTUALLY percieve as an impression of us sikhs.-

Below is some of the most common 10 remarks given by general public (non sikhs) living in close proximity to sikh populations, when asked -
What can they say to describe the sikhs in a few sentences.-

1) Very successful businessmen estabilished in all trades from shops,taxis to car dealers and restaurants.
2) Lots of them professionals like doctors,lawyers and opticians.
3) Live in big houses with large families, ie brothers, parents, grandparents and siblings, that have many cars on the drive as a result.
4) Have a huge festival in spring when shops and roads are closed (vaisakhi nagar kirtans)
5) Drive big cars like merc, bmw's and large suv's.
6) Often see large numbers of them with turbans and swords(kirpans) around the gurdwaras
7) Lot's have 'singh' in their names or as last names.
8) Known to be heavy drinkers of hard liquor instead of beer.(we all know the site of a turbaned singh drinking straight neat whiskey out of the bottle.)
9) Often see elderly turban grandads socialising together in groups and playing cards in areas.(a lot of parks usually)

and Most Importantly is number 10 which applies in this case, for the ones portraying the negative images and impressions-

10) In the news because police get called to the centres and temples where they have started violence and fighting with each other!!!

All and especially 8,9 and 10 are actual answers given by random people(non sikhs) when asked about us sikhs.
The last three 8,9 and 10 are nothing to be proud of and we should instead pay attention to wiping these points clean instead of pointing our finger at the jubilee sikh.
This is my true feeling and point and the descriptions above are facts by mainly white people.

Lucky Singh
Last edited:

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Lucky Singh ji..you miss the point.
He is NOT SUITABLE to represent the SIKHS. PERIOD.
He may be suitable as a friend, husband, father, father in law, grand dad etc etc etc and when and if he dies the Gurdwara will not refuse an akhand paath or ardass for his jordmela etc etc and whoever knows him is perfectly within his her rights to feel sympathy for him, cry for him, cry with his mother, offer solace to his wife daddy etc etc...BUT he is NOT SUITABLE to represent the SIKHS in PUBLIC...due to the "mark" on his chola/black hair in his white beard...just one tiny mark disqualifies the white chola to be called "WHITE". Its Not the pointing of fingers (many may/may not be), its not the fault finding (many may or may not be)..etc that MATTERS..its the fact that there is a Black mark..even a tiny tiny microscopic dot !!...on his character that..when he stands Tall a s a respected SIKH LEADER...the Tiny Mark becomes VISIBLE...and this raises a doubt...he may have changed..he may be the most charitable holiest nitnemi person who does five times more nitnem than anyone else..still the MARK remains..it MATTERS that He "represents" the SGGS..he represents GURU NANAK..Guur Gobind Singh..he represents Akali Phoola Singh, Baba banda Singh..all of whom are Past respected SIKH LEADERS !! He is NO MORE A PRIVATE PERSON...even if he was MY DAD i would advise him to DECLINE the invite and TELL the Royals about WHY !! I am 11000% SURE after knowing WHY he declined,,the ROYALS would have said.."PHEW. with Gods grace we have evaded a huge scandal..THANK YOU MR SINGH for telling us before hand.you are def EXCUSED !! Just see HOW Prince Charles is FUMING in PUBLIC.....and (CURSING IN PRIVATE)..and the bad smell emanating form the exposure...reverbrating around the world in emails, forums, media etc etc...and ALL for WHAT ?? Simply becasue this man thought he had "escaped"...he was "brilliant"...for having hidden his past..it just doesnt happen that way..see what happened to President Clinton...President Nixon...etc etc...did Nixon disappear for a while, form a charity and then wiggle his way to a Royal banquet or get himself into the Popes Good books and become the Archbishop of New York...no Nixon just walked off into the sunset..as clinton has done...thats the RIGHT DECISION...MR Singh should have taken.....RESUME LIFE AS A PRIVATE PERSON....and remain PRIVATE. Nothing less nothing more...no judging..not being judgemental etc etc just stating the obvious.. SAJJAN THUGGH was a blatant MURDERER, ROBBER etc etc...and after he met GURU NANAK he was REFORMED...But his name still remains SAJJANN "THUGGH" and thats what hes called in History...not even meeting Guru nanak ji Sahib could make the THUGGH Mark on his Super duper white Chola disappear...as Guru nanak ji observed..OOJal keha Chilkanna..oh so white and shining is your CLOAK !! So are we "judging" Sajjann as THUGGH hwne we refer to his name...are we pointing fingers..he has "served" his time by kneeling before GURU Nanak Ji..begged forgiveness..and CHANGED into a brand new man..but the past is the past and cannot be erased...if Today Sajjan THUGGH were to stand for election..his election posters will have to carry the name Sajjan Thuggh for President..and even a child will know why the THUGGH is there....and IF he cleverly REMOVES the THUGGH..someone somewhere out there will drag it out..and then what ?? same thing that happened to Mr Singh. As i said earlier..LIFE is NOT always FAIR...but its LIFE. we have to sleep in the beds we make...welcomemunda


Gyani ji,
I don't think that I clearly missed the point, but maybe I came across a little different.
I totally agree with what you say, a khala dhaag(black stain) cannot be erased.
I don't think that I said or was trying to say that he is suitable to represent sikhs. He is clearly not suitable, I agree.

But what I was trying to put forward was that I don't feel this man could change the perception of sikhs by the general public. They are aware that black sheep are everywhere in every group of people. The perception that the general public already have of sikhs is most commonly the 10 points above, in this the last 3 are the main ones that give negative attitudes. Clearly, if tomorrow I ask general public to give me a description of sikhs, No One is going to mention this jubilee guy, as they know he is a black sheep. It's all the sikhs around us that affect the image we portray.

He is clearly not a suitable person, it should have been someone else on the forefront, but it 's happened and that's that. There is no point in blamimg his stupidity for accepting, he should have known better but in reality he is not going to change the royals view or the publics on all us sikhs. The royals will simply be more careful next time before just appointing charity heads.

My own grandfather, who passed away some years ago, would have been very upset if he had known of this matter. My grandfather himself was a famous war veteran who was selected on a few occasions by the royals to attend dinner at the palace on the 50 year D day anniversary, special remembrance day events in UK and abroad, book signings on the war.TV programmes....etc..and many other special events.
If alive, I'm certain he would have been invited and he would have been quite dissapointed that this man stole the limelight.
I clearly am not saying that he should have been allowed to wear his turban with pride for Britain, but I'm saying that we shouldn't just think that he is the only one casting a nasty shadow on sikhs, but there are all those around us as in the 3 answers out of 10 above, that cast this shadow on a daily basis.



Sikhism teaches forgiveness and he has completely changed his life around. If you look at the comments after the daily mail article, most people also feel the article was in the wrong as he has paid his debt and moved on. Here's another take



Thursday, June 7, 2012

Oh Lord, stand by me
While I walk this lonesome road
Oh Lord, stand by me
Help me bear this heavy load
If I stumble, Lord
Pick me up, Lord
Help me drink this bitter cup
Oh Lord, oh lord, stand by me

[Old Spiritual]

Right on cue!

By Monday (June 4, 2012), the world was awash with the story of a blue turban on the Queen’s Boat during her Jubilee celebrations and the flotilla sailing along the Thames.

By Tuesday, e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e was talking about it.

Sikhs everywhere felt good about it. Non-Sikhs everywhere were curious … and impressed.

Our detractors - and we have more than our fair share - as always in these situations, suffered miserably.

Then, right on cue, members of the media received anonymous e-mails telling them that the man in the blue turban - Harbinder Singh Rana - has a past: three decades ago he was accused and convicted of a number of charges, including for sexual assault, and served a sentence for it.

Right on cue!
People around the world are waking up this morning to this “revelation”.

The details about Harbinder’s record are true.

I have known about the facts from 30 years ago for years and years, almost as long as I have known him - which is well over a decade.

Our community has known of all the details for years.

The media and all who ever work with Harbinder have known about it for years.


Because, predictably, right on cue, every time he is in the news - and he is often in the news, because of the extraordinary community work he has been doing during the course of the last two decades - these e-mails arrive on my desk, as they do at various media outlets, and as they do, I’m sure, on the desks of all those who work with Harbinder on his projects … including those at St. James Palace in London.

Which is every couple of years, when, each time, his magnificent work in the community attracts worldwide attention. For instance - to cite but a few examples:
When he had Prince Charles unveil the memorial to Maharaja Duleep Singh in Thetford. I recall I received the e-mails then.
When he spear-headed the celebration of the Duleep Singh centennial. I recall I received the e-mails then.
When he launched the bicentennial celebrations of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh 'coronation'. I recall I received the e-mails then.
When he did the inaugural Anglo-Sikh Heritage Tour across England. I recall I received the e-mails then.
When he began his biggest project yet - the marking of the Anglo-Sikh Heritage Trail across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. I recall I received the e-mails then.
When he helped establish the annual Saragarhi Memorial Cup to honour the heroes of the great battle. I recall I received the very same e-mails then!
Years ago, I spoke to Harbinder directly, openly and honestly about it all … and he was forthright.

I was not surprised when I was first informed that he had a past, that he had a flawed history.

In my various arenas of activity, I have come into close contact with every ilk of man - heads of state, heads of religions, heads of corporations, heads of media empires, etc. etc.

I have yet to meet one … even ONE person amongst the whole lot! - who, upon close scrutiny, hasn’t revealed a serious flaw. [I should know … I am one with stains galore!]

My only criteria in judging the person has been: how he (or she) has handled himself from that point on.

As a result, for example, I have known closely a man who spent a complete life sentence in prison for a set of hideous murders. He changed his life around, and I know him now as one of the most spiritual and learned people I’ve ever known.

I have also known, for example, those who the world thinks are saints and God’s gifts to mankind, and I know that they are anything but.

Those in the first category, I gravitate to and work with them with my heart and soul. Those in the second, I avoid like the plague. [That is why I stayed away from the world of politics, I guess.]

Harbinder falls smack in the middle of the first category.

He is a wonderfully decent man, humble and wise.

Much of what I have done in recent years has been inspired by him and his work.

I have seen him from up close doing incredibly selfless things for the sake of the Sikh community, the British nation and for “sarbat da bhalla”.

Again, honestly - those who know me well know me as one who is, to a fault, never prone to either exercising flattery or doling out baseless compliments - I couldn’t think of another Sikh alive anywhere who I could cite for doing better, selfless seva than Harbinder Singh.

Now that I think of it, I would extend that observation for anyone I know within any community, including the world at large.

So, please, please, do not rush to judgement, and particularly not allow those who have vested interests to push our buttons in mischief and get us to react in a knee-jerk fashion.
Let's be wary of the human propensity to see ourselves mirrored in those who do great things, and then suddenly, when confronted with their failings and failures, we flee, disclaiming all affliation and decrying the 'fallen hero' at the drop of a hat.
As a species, we humans are quick to elevate, and quick to destroy our very own.
As Sikhs, we owe ourselves much more. We need to show the same alacrity we showed two days ago in seeing ourselves in him when he was riding high, now, two days later, by still recognizing ourselves in the same man who now has the sheen disappear from his shine. Tearing him down is not the Sikh thing to do.
Are we mere good-weather friends?
[And ... "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone ..."]
This is time for us to stand back, to look at the overall picture, and to stand by this man.

Some disclosure from me is necessary here.

Yes, I’ve known Harbinder for years, and I list him as a good and dear friend.

However, for a variety of reasons, we’ve been out of touch for several years. I’ve had minimal contact with him for a long, long time, mostly because of my immersion in the secluded lifestyle of a writer.

He hasn’t asked me to write this piece.

He doesn’t know I’m writing it.

But let one thing be loud and clear … I stand with him by his side today, and am proud to be his friend.