Everyone is fighting for power these days.Countries,nations,tribes,races,
castes,communities,religions,companies,politicians,political parties,gangs,individuals - all are increasingly engaged in a rising struggle for power.
America is after world domination.Multinational companies want world domain and the largest chunk of profits.Fanatic Muslims are shedding blood for power over the world with their campaign of ‘Khilafa’.Power-hungry politicians everywhere are becoming almost dictators or despots in their running of national and international affairs.Similarly one can see the power-struggles of other contenders.
As far as individuals are concerned,almost every man,woman,child on the street is biting one another.Crime is soaring and breaking all previous records.And the result of all this craze for power?The world is descending into turmoil,strife and disorder.The poor and vulnerable are the innocent victims of this madness.
Throughout the world today there is oppression and suffering humanity while the rich get richer and the poor poorer.The weak are trampled by the strong and there seems to be no-one coming to the rescue of the woebegone, hapless victims.
Where is all this leading to?It appears there is bound to be a climax of all this escalation eventually,in the form of a large scale clash between forces of good and evil.Even now we can see the good becoming even more refined in their goodness,
while the bad ones are committing themselves to more clearly defined evil.
Kidnappings,rapes,murders,massacres are visible everywhere.Exploitation and abuse is rampant throughout the world.At the same time,the forces of good are also gathering strength and confidence.The ambiguity between good and evil is gradually clearing up,and there appears to be a War between truth and untruth, looming on the horizon way up there,in the blue beyond…..
Can the situation be saved?Perhaps religion,the so-called cause of all conflicts,has a part to play in this grand scenario:
Mankind’s religious future may be obscure,yet one thing can be foreseen.The living higher religions are going to influence each other more than ever before,in the days of increasing communications between all parts of the world and branches of human race.In this coming religious debate,the Sikh religion and its scriptures,The Adi Granth,will have something special of value to say to the rest of the world.
I have studied the scriptures of the great religions,but I do not find elsewhere the same power of appeal to the heart and mind as I find here in these volumes(Guru Granth Sahib)…They speak to a person of any religion or of none.they speak for the human heart and the searching mind.
(Pearl S Buck,Nobel Laureate)
Too often the names and practices of our religions have been associated with warfare and strife.Now we must reverse this by:
(1) Breaking down barriers of prejudice and hostility between religious communities and institutions.
(2) Confronting the powers of the world with the teachings of our religions rather than conforming to them when they act contrary to the well-being of humanity.
(3) Building inter-religious understanding in our local communities.
(World Conference of Religions for Peace,UNO)
Sikhism is a Universal World Faith……a message for all men.This is amply illustrated in the writings of the Gurus.Sikhs must cease to think of their faith as just another good religion and must begin to think of Sikhism being the religion for this New Age.
(Rev H L Bradshaw)
“Recognize ye all the human race as ONE”,
“Listen all ye,truth I say: Only those who love shall attain God.”
- Guru Gobind Singh(Tenth Guru of Sikhs)
“Raaj karega Khalsa (Khalsa shall rule
Aki rahe na koye Detractors shall not remain
Khwaar hoye sabh milenge Lost ones shall meet
Bache sharan jo hoye.” Who seek Mercy shall be saved)
- Sikh Prayer
LOVE IS GOD
GOD IS TRUTH
TRUTH SHALL ALWAYS PREVAIL…
Bharat Vir Singh
Derby.(UK). 10th Aug ‘04
PERSECUTION OF SIKHS
Sikhs are God’s people.They have always faced hostility at the hands of bigots,pagans,atheists and fanatics.But despite heavy odds,the Khalsa has always emerged victorious,thanks to the personal blessing and Grace of Almighty God Himself.
For 300 years,extremist Muslims(Moguls)and their Hindu allies persecuted Sikh Gurus and the Sikhs.Then came the British and they usurped the Sikh empire,followed by overt persecution of the Sikhs who were at the forefront of the freedom struggle.
During the early 80’s around the time when Indira Gandhi was facing the struggle for human rights in the Punjab,Margaret Thatcher,the Queen,Prince Charles and Princess Anne, all visited Delhi to meet Mrs Gandhi.Soon, protesting Sikhs were branded as militants,and later as terrorists.Government machinery started harassing Amritdhari Sikhs.
In 1984/85 the Thatcher government published a health report claiming that Asians were deficient in certain nutrition constituents and therefore the government would introduce chemical additives in the wheat flour widely consumed by Asians(mostly Punjabis) as a staple diet.Evidently this was direct official interference into Punjabis and their way of life.
There in Punjab,Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala was asking the beleagured Sikhs to fight back against state oppression and abuse from those Hindus who were allegedly taking undue advantage of Sikh females and misbehaving with Sikhs in general.A government-sponsored ‘Nirankari’ had been involved in killing of innocent Sikhs and there was an atmosphere of anti-Sikh tension in Punjab.
In 1984 thousands of Sikh pilgrims were massacred in Amritsar when government troops allegedly tried to flush out armed militants from Harmandar Sahib.The Golden Temple complex was desicrated and the holy Akal Takht Sahib was bombarded.Sikh books,literature and artefacts were destroyed and confiscated.As a result Indira Gandhi was shot down in revenge by her Sikh bodyguards.There followed a series of dastardly pogroms against Sikhs,starting from Delhi,where government officials were openly inciting and orchestrating the burning,looting and rape of Sikh communities.
During the next decade there were reported to be several thousand cases of unlawful detentions,tortures,killings,kidnappings and disappearances of innocent Sikhs in Punjab.Even Amnesty Interantional confirms this.India,we are told,does not honour international human rights obligations,and considers itself above accountability regarding its abuse of its own Sikh citizens or other minorities.
Today the western governments are busy in their “war against terror” but hardly any support is given to Sikh victims of the ‘9/11’ reprisals where Sikhs are mistaken for Arabs,Muslims or Middle-Eastern males and wrongly targeted with violence and abuse.In USA several turbaned Sikhs and ‘brown-skinned’ people have been the victims of hate violence from crazed white Americans.Even in UK there can be felt an undercurrent hysteria against Sikh identity from some extreme right-wing quarters of the indigenous population,plus other anti-Sikh elements.Neither is any support given at the right time to oppressed minorities in general.
Adding to the troubles are anti-Sikh activities by extremist Muslims in UK e.g. Al-Muhajiroun,which was recently ousted from their planned rally by young Sikhs in Trafalgar Square in central London.Sikh Federation UK rightly complains about inaction of the government and CPS to prosecute the likes of Al Muhajiroun who are openly spewing venom in the form of religious hatred against Hindus,Sikhs and Christians.These extremist Muslims have been forcibly converting young Sikh girls to Islam,attacking Sikh boys and sending threatening leaflets to gurdwaras, and flouting democratic traditions during their hate campaigns and Khilafa rallies.
Hence it can be seen there is considerable opposition to Sikhs in practising their religion peacefully without hinderance,and sometimes these attacks come from organized sources.
At a very critical time in the world as now,forces of terror and extremism are operating under cover of proselytizing religions and supremacist agendas.The peaceful,the innocent and the weak are being targeted by these evil forces.
When Sahib Guru Gobind Singh Jee instituted the Khalsa in 1699,he was standing up to such evil forces in those times as are rampant today in even more cunning and subtle form.To fight against evil,the Sikh nation is well-equipped with Miri-Piri philosophy and blessing of Khalsa Panth.Guru Gobind Singh Jee arrived in this world to establish Dharma and uproot evil.In this fight against evil,countless Sikhs and our Gurus themselves have sacrificed their all, and earned the eternal Grace of Almighty Sri Akal Purakh Waheguru.No amount of persecution can ever deter the Sikhs and their supporters and well-wishers.Sikhs are victorious in every campaign of truth and righteousness.The exalted position of Sikhs,Sikhism and Khalsa Panth is forever assured in the world and beyond.
May I please draw the attention of my fellow-Sikhs to the following points:-
1. The Sikh Panth is faced with a lot of argument from so-called intellectuals who are generally western-educated and hold degreees and doctorates.They seem to have caught the disease of ‘modernism’ and so they question Sikhi on the basis of logic and scientific argument.They are more ‘intellectual’ and less Gursikh.For example they challenge the authenticity of Sakhees,calling them mythology.They apply scientific analysis to all the Kautaks performed by Gurus and Gurmukhs.This has led to many controversies and conflicts,causing doubt and confusion.
2. Many ‘monas’ or apostates challenge the directive of Panj Kakaars (5 K’s),saying that Guru Granth only includes teachings of 9 Gurus.They claim it is only Guru Gobind Singh Jee who instituted Keshadhari Sikhs.They should realize that Guru Gobind Singh Jee was only the 10th Jama of the same Jyot of Guru Nanak as in all the Gurus,and all Gurus were keshadhari.In fact the 10th Guru only standardized the Sikh identity henceforth after Baisakhi 1699.
It may be said that anyone can be a Sikh but to be a proper SINGH,one has to fulfill the requirement of the Sikh Rehat Maryada.
3. Taking Amrit is entirely voluntary.When Guru wishes,we offer our head to him.This can be a gradual process of collecting each of the 5 K’s one by one,or it can be a sudden surrender to him, leaving it all to him to guide us on the Way of Sikhi.
There are many jathas and babas going around offering their own brand of Amrit these days.So there is an urgent need for caution.Only Khande batey da Amrit from Panj Pyaras is valid,provided they baptize the aspirants in the holy presence of Guru Granth Sahib Jee and by reciting the full 5 Baanis,including all the 40 Paurees of Anand Sahib.Sometimes during Amrit sanchar,they take a short-cut by reading only 6 Paurees of the shorter version.That is definitely wrong.
4. There is propaganda from Hindus that Sikhs came from Hindus and therefore they are part of Hinduism.We have to tell such people that our founder,Guru Nanak Sahib,clearly declared that “na hum Hindu na Musalman”.Sikhi is directly from Almighty God,and not from Hinduism or Islam.Even some western writers and historians wrongly follow this propaganda by Hindus or Muslims.It is to be noted that Guru Teg Bahadur Jee sacrificed his head for the fundamental human right of free worship,and not because he was pro-Hindu!In the process,he saved the tilak and janju of the Brahmins.
5. Some parents who call themselves Sikhs but still believe in jaat(caste) and got(surname) are passing on their bigotted beliefs to their unfortunate and innocent children.Then these youngsters go and sing Bhangra lyrics such as “ putt jattan dey bakray bulaundey”,all the time emphasising superiority of their caste.They should realize that a Sikh has no jaat or paat,and no surname except “Singh”.
6. It is nowadays popular,esp among Khalistanis,to hate Hindus and love Muslims.As a result they hate India and love Pakistan.Such prejudice and misplaced loyalties are entirely un-Sikh because a Sikh should hate neither. Sikhi does not teach hatred but love,and it is wrong to generalize and paint all Hindus as bad and all Muslims as good,or vice versa.There is good and bad in each human being,and in each community.
7. The path of Sikhi is sharper and narrower than the sword’s edge.But Guru makes it easy if you totally surrender to him.Baani says,“tan man dhan sabh saup Gur ko,hukam maniyai payiyai”.(“surrender body,mind,wealth to Guru,and obeying his command, thou shalt attain Him”).
8. We have to partake of the society we live in;that is,as Sikhs we have to vichr in the world while keeping to rules of Sikhi all the time.No food is bad or good provided it doesn’t take you away from the Lord.Similarly no music is bad,no dress is bad,no work is bad,provided you are with the Lord all the time.Vegetarians are no bettter than meat-eaters,if they are not remembering the Lord.What Guru says is good,is good.What he says is bad,is bad.The sole object is forever to obey the Guru and be joined with the Lotus Feet of the Lord.
9. Many may have noticed the stark,visible difference between the standard Khanda of the Khalsa and other variations by certain groups like Babbar Khalsa,etc who use a strange-looking symbol which they wear on the front of their rather over-sized turbans - it is a crescent shape with an upright in the middle.Is that a Khanda?Doesn’t look like one!It has no two separate kirpaans of miri-piri,and neither a Chakkar.We have to be careful when depicting the Logo of the Khalsa.It has to be the standard version of the Khanda.Any other distortion or variation is unacceptable.
10. Along with the Gatka training being imparted to young Sikhs,it should be imperative in Gurmat camps to provide training in other traditional Sikh arts like horse-riding,shooting,archery(‘teer-andazi’),jungle/extreme survival skills,self-defence,etc.
Defending our gurdwara premises and sangat during special occasions such as non-stop Akhand Paath or Rain Sabayi Keertan is also essential because on such days gurdwaras are open throughout the night,and any intruders or miscreants could cause mischief.We know there have been attacks on gurdwaras and inmates in USA,UK and India.Sikhs are fully entitled to defend themselves effectively when adequate support is not forthcoming from the local police.Khalsa doesn’t depend on anybody for protection;in fact defends other oppressed and weak persons.Sikh security guards with proper Kirpaans and fire-arms should patrol the premises and stand guard at the gates,because times are bad,and self-defence is a fundamental human right.
When a Sikh is attacked and his/her Kesh(long uncut hair) and honour is threatened,then he/she has every right to defend oneself using the Kirpaan.We must fight to get the law to accept this basic right of the Sikh to self-defence using the Kirpaan,which is not so at present because the holy Kirpaan has been reduced to a ‘symbol’.The Sikhs’ Kirpaan is in fact a weapon of defence against oppression and a deterrent against offenders,and the law must be convinced about this truth,esp in the present times of rising crime and lawlessness.Evidently,this calls for a legal battle ahead,and Khalsa is fully capable of victory as usual.