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Sikhism And Social Justice

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by spnadmin, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    1947-2014 (Archived)
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    Jun 17, 2004
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    Preface: Each of our Gurus spoke clearly against political oppression, and faced the reality of human suffering head on. Guru Nanak confronted the moral depravity of the destruction of Lahore, mincing no words with Babar. Beloved Guru Harkrishan fell victim himself to small pox after caring for those who were ill, dead and dying. Not one Guru abandoned his moral responsibility to speak loudly against the oppression of women, the untouchable castes, religious persecution, and victimization of the weak by those who were corrupt and powerful. We may not be perfect, but when we speak out as Sikhs against injustice then we are acting within a long tradition of advocacy that began with our Gurus.

    Narayanjot Kaur
    SPN Administrator

    Please read and savor these forum recent articles about advocacy and injustice:


    Punjab is land of the Great Gurus, the land of prosperity, and the land of great saints and warriors. Yet, inexplicably, it is stained with the sin of killing its baby daughters. According to the Punjabi University, every fifth household in Punjab commits female foeticide.


    Every year parents from Britain take their ‘looser sons’ to India and allow them to destroy the lives of innocent girls who crave for a life in Britain – or so they think. Many of these culprits are Sikhs, they have plagued the Punjab, with thousands of girls who have become bride and signed their lives to misery and pain, as they allow themselves to be robbed of the ‘virginity’ become objects that give these bachelors a ‘*****’ on command whilst they are on holiday, with never a thought to these women once they return to Britain.


    Within hours, a blood bath ensued. Sikh property was looted and destroyed. Sikhs were chased down, beaten, set on fire, killed. People forgot that Sikhs make up a huge portion of our army, that they defended the country in wars with China and Pakistan, that most Sikhs are not fundamentalists. Terror struck us all as we acknowledged the vulnerability of our head of state, but for Sikhs the nightmare was compounded by their neighbors turning on them. Ultimately, students, intellectuals, journalists and homemakers came forward to protect the Sikhs, to offer shelter and comfort.


    Punjab has a long history of doing away with newborn girls. The preferred method today is foeticide after a sex determination test, but centuries ago the practice was to bury them. This tradition perhaps goes back to the days of repeated invasions by Muslim armies from the northwest, who used to carry off girls as booty for their own pleasure or to be sold in the slave markets of the Middle East. Today, it is the extortionate dowries that parents of girls have to provide upon marriage. The custom of polyandry in Punjab probably arose out of the shortage of girls - the eldest son of a family would take a wife, his younger brothers would also have access to her.


    What appears to Western observers to be infighting among members of different groups within Sikhism is actually a confusing tangle that involves both caste discrimination and sectarianism. Although Ravidassi have historically considered themselves Sikhs, members of the Sikh community shun them. Ravidassi leaders claim it’s an example of ethnic discrimination, but orthodox Sikhs trace the conflict to religious differences.


    There has been much recent effort by organisations to curtail conflict between Sikh & Muslim youth in Britain. An honest reflection on the current state of affairs is required.


    The recent disturbing news about the widening rift between the Sikhs and the Ravidassia sect has made me ponder for days how to bring the understanding that we are fallen victims of the Vedas teachings. I welcome views on this matter which should be for the sole purpose of narrowing our differences. Any hate messages will be deleted. To start the conversation, here's a video clip that gives a concise background on how Indians have been brain-washed from childhood about the limitations they have to adhere to.


    For decades, American leaders and opinion makers have chosen to ignore the dark side of democratic India. Now new reports documenting the pervasive abuses committed by the Indian police are providing firsthand evidence not only of warrant less arrests, illegal detentions, torture and the deaths of thousands of citizens but also the complicity of parties and political leaders, who have turned police and paramilitary forces in a number of states into bodyguard agencies and private armies.


    I was stunned. Unlike people in Kashmir, my north Indian co-passengers had no reason to be scared of the soldiers: they ordered them around and the soldiers obeyed. After a while the ticket examiner arrived. "What are you doing here?" he barked at the soldiers. "Sir, there is no room in other compartments. Sir! Please adjust us somewhere," they pleaded. He asked the soldiers to leave the coach and began to walk away. They followed him. A few minutes later they returned and installed themselves on the floor. "How much did he charge you?" someone asked. "Fifty rupees each." My co-passengers laughed and chatted about corruption. "This is India," declared the man with the news magazine.


    Taranjeet Kaur doesn’t know how old she is, but her mother thinks she must be around 10 years old. She was born, says Jaan Kaur, her mother, soon after the Soviet-backed Najibullah government in Afghanistan was overthrown in 1992. "Those were days of great trouble," recalls Jaan Kaur in her hesitant, broken Hindi. In the violence that followed, the family’s comfortable house in Hilmand, in eastern Afghanistan, became the target of an anti-Hindu attack. The casualty of that attack was her 13-year-old elder daughter Paranjeet. Almost a decade later, the only memory of that daughter is a discoloured photograph stuck on the cracked, yellow wall of her present home in Delhi’s Old Mahavir Nagar. Today, Jaan Kaur has more pressing worries – like the safety of her husband who, if he is still alive, should be somewhere in Kandahar.

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