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What Help Do Sikhs Give To Sikh Prisoners?

Apr 12, 2007
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Knowing that in life you can have ups and downs and also knowing that our own Guru's were put into prisons by the state's of their times. What support do Sikhs get from their own communities when things go wrong? Recently The case of Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana comes to mind, but what do we do as a society for people that have fallen down the wrong path surely they need more help on guidance and rehabilitation then most others in society. How much do Sikhs really care about their own communities, when things go wrong?
 
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Gyani Jarnail Singh

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Ask not what the "Country" can do for YOU..ask instead..What I can do for the country..would be an appropriate quote form Abraham Lincoln...applicable here..
If we tell the posters what WE have done for sikh prisoners..and then others can share their own contributions.

As for me i confess..i have never seen any prison even form afar..much less visit..for me only Hospitals, orphanages and old folks homes suffice.
 
Apr 12, 2007
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Other religions Abrahamic ones at least anyway do a good job in confronting the issues their communities face. When a person goes into prison, not talking from experience but what I have heard off the general public is this. A Christian, Muslim, Jewish prisoner will have all the help from there faith to help rehabilitate them they have chaplins in the UK anyway they have sermons. From what I have heard sikhs get no help from their faiths at all they are left to their own devises and because they are shunned by their own communities they turn to other faiths with a more listening ear. The other faiths even get the prisons to give them Halal or Kosher meat in prison because their faiths understand the meaning of love for humanity it seems like the sikh communities shun their problems sweep them under a carpet even may go as far as to call the fallen members of their own society non-sikhs. Until a problem hits them on their own doorsteps. I believe as sikhs we are quiet a bigotry society it is all ok to say things are bad but no one is willing to do anything to help improve the situation!
 

Ishna

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Good question Parma ji.

Here's something interesting: http://www.prison-volunteers.gov.sg/sop/vw/organisation.jsp

5th box in the grid:
Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (affiliates - religious groups)
SANA Sikh
These are the religious groups which are affiliated to SANA. The volunteers provide religious counselling and classes to the inmates.

There is an email address there too.

I'm interested, will keep researching. Google is awesome. peacesignkaur
 
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Ishna

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Sikh Organisation for Prisoner Welfare
http://www.prisonerwelfare.com/

The Sikh Organisation for Prisoners Welfare is a Registered Charity (UK), run by volunteers, working to achieve justice for the thousands of Sikhs, who have been illegally imprisoned and tortured in India.

http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sopw/28699-what-sikh-organisation-prisoner-welfare-sopw.html

Sikhs United
http://www.sikhunited.co.uk/#/sikh-prisoners/4549089992
We also look after Sikh prisoners. We advertise in Inside Times, a free news paper for inmates. We do this so they are aware we are here to help them and to let them know what's going on in the outside world.
We help them connect with their religion, send them Religious materials, eg turban or holy books, make sure they receive a Sikh Service every week and visit them to try to resolve any problems or conflicts they have. If your loved one is in prison, please do let us know. If you are finding it hard to visit them due to their location we may be able to help you with transport or if someone you know has not been treated fairly we will look into it for you.
Please remember you are not alone we are here to help you.

Sikh Coalition
http://www.aclu.org/religion-belief/california-department-corrections-agrees-amend-policy-allow-sikh-inmate-freely
 
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Apr 12, 2007
351
262
Ask not what the "Country" can do for YOU..ask instead..What I can do for the country..would be an appropriate quote form Abraham Lincoln...applicable here..
If we tell the posters what WE have done for sikh prisoners..and then others can share their own contributions.

As for me i confess..i have never seen any prison even form afar..much less visit..for me only Hospitals, orphanages and old folks homes suffice.
Gyani Ji, Old Folks homes, hospitals and orphanages are very good and well but does not all society deserve the Khalsa's seva?
 

Ambarsaria

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Gyani Ji, Old Folks homes, hospitals and orphanages are very good and well but does not all society deserve the Khalsa's seva?
Parma ji my father in England during his old age used to visit Sikh inmates in prison. He was forced to come out of retirement when he came to England and our elder brother had died and left a 6 month old son behind. My father devoted his time with his grandson, Gurdwara and as I said the visits to prison and discourse and correspondence with Sikhs on Sikhism. I believe he was paid actually nominal amount even for prison visits but I am not 100% certain.

As far as India, I don't know much.

Sat Sri Akal.
 
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Apr 12, 2007
351
262
Parma ji my father in England during his old age used to visit Sikh inmates in prison. He was forced to come out of retirement when he came to England and our elder brother had died and left a 6 month old son behind. My father devoted his time with his grabndson, Gurdwara and as I said the visits to prison and discourse and correspondence with Sikhs on Sikhism. I believe he was paid actually nominal amount even for prison visits but I am not 100% certain.

As far as India, I don't know much.

Sat Sri Akal.
Thanks for your comment Ambersaria Ji

I guess the need for Gurdwara development will always be their but I do think sometimes we have too many in such small places in some parts of the UK they have two gurdwara's on the same High Street less than an mile apart from each other. Politics should come last within these cases the Human cause comes first. I think instead of developing more Gurdwara's in some communities they should use that money more wisely and help out the local communities, local causes or atleast Sikhs on a wider scale.
 

Luckysingh

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Thanks for your comment Ambersaria Ji

I guess the need for Gurdwara development will always be their but I do think sometimes we have too many in such small places in some parts of the UK they have two gurdwara's on the same High Street less than an mile apart from each other. Politics should come last within these cases the Human cause comes first. I think instead of developing more Gurdwara's in some communities they should use that money more wisely and help out the local communities, local causes or atleast Sikhs on a wider scale.
I'm pretty sure you are correct here, as the numbers involved in such community work such as prison visits is small compared to the numbers involved in establishing gurdwaras.
You are right that there are too many gurdwaras in some areas in UK, but I see the same problem here in Surrey BC, yet people across on the island have to come over by ferry when major gurupurbs or events take place as the gurdwaras there are limited!!!

However I do remember that in the UK, I came across a Paathi that was involved in visiting a prison as this was the reason he got delayed in coming to help with our akhand path at home.
I remember him telling us that there was only a handful of paathis doing these voluntary visits. I got the impression that the service was requested by prisoners and staff via co-ordinaters that in turn contacted local gurdwaras.
This seems to be how the access was determined. It wasn't a service that was advertised or made freely available back then (15 yrs).
It should be a lot more readily available, even though some sikh societies mentioned above advertise the fact that they do.
But in reality I have learnt from a sikh prison officer there that this does not happen, there is no encouragement for prisons to be actively in touch with them and the help comes mostly after requests from inmates.

The paathis and gianis that do help only do so on a voluntary basis or for nominal fees by goverment grants by the prison.
You are right that in the sense of awareness, it should be pushed to greater depths.

Even in hospitals there are chapels for catholic and christian priests.
If you are a jew, muslim, jeohova...etc..even then the hospitals can make arrangements for the appropriate visits. BUT, there is never any details or leaflets for sikhs, I haven''t noticed any yet in UK or Canada, even where sikh population is high. I may be wrong that such doesn't exist, but I haven't noticed any in my personal experience.

Waheguru
 
Apr 12, 2007
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This is the point sikhism is the 5th largest religion in the world. Yet why do we not think of these things? Why are we not developing learning and being Sikhs? This is something the community and the gurdwara's and the whole world needs to think about as we are all sikh, though they may not all follow the Guru Granth Sahib, Waheguru exists everywhere. When Waheguru gives the request the Guru Granth Sahib gives the Sat kar and this will come as once you experience God/Truth you want to understand the truth, know the truth, know about the truth and you will search for it. Human nature is that way. People sit years on years in mountains, spend lives searching for the truth that is within the truthful thoughts that exist in the gurbani.

End Of For Me, Thanks for your time and for those who responded!

Sat Siri Akal

Sat Sangat Ji
 
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Harry Haller

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Parmaji

Speaking from personal experience, there are a few factors to consider here.

Firstly, I think there is a massive difference between a Sikh prisoner in a repressive country being held for his beliefs, or being held under false charges, yes these Sikhs need the utmost help and support from the community, there is no debate about that.

However if we are talking in the UK, then I think you will find most imprisoned Sikhs have been sent to prison after a reasonably fair trial, and more often than not, for a crime. I have spent time in a UK prison, 4 weeks, to be exact, the result of driving to Stansted airport the day after being banned from driving, and that at double the speed limit (so no miscarriage of justice here, I was young and stupid).

Of course prison is a massive shock to the system, but I think most Sikhs in UK prisons are probably there for short periods and for petty crimes. The authorities, and this is going back 20 odd years, were extremely fair, and in those days, we were all encouraged to go to the church on the Sunday, do not recall any other services for any other faiths.

A catholic priest did do the rounds of all the prisoners, regardless of faith, and came to see me eventually. An old irishman, he was a source of great comfort for me, in fact, the first time I met him, and having had time to reflect on the paths I was following, I was consumed with the desire to better myself, so I asked him if I could confess 'everything'. After 15 mins he started to look at his watch, after 30 mins, he started to look at the door, after an hour, he said he had to go, but, I replied, I am not even close to finishing, he took my hands firmly, looked me in the eye, and said 'son, you need to find your own God'. At the time I assumed he meant that I needed to pray to the Sikh God, but years later, I realised he meant I needed to find the God within, the Godhead if you will,

Amusingly, I noted I was watched constantly by a gang of skinheads, I walked around with my topknot in a hanky most of the time, so I was visual, but I was losing weight, so walked around with one hand on my jeans to keep them up, one day they surrounded me on the landing, and the leader came up to me, 'your jeans are loose', he said, I nodded, 'We've made you a belt from our laces, he said, and they proceeded to tie it round my jeans, and after admiring my new belt, melted away

I sympathise with anyone who is innocent and in prison, but if you are guilty and in prison, best just to get on with it, and pay the price for your crime
 
Apr 12, 2007
351
262
Parmaji

Speaking from personal experience, there are a few factors to consider here.

Firstly, I think there is a massive difference between a Sikh prisoner in a repressive country being held for his beliefs, or being held under false charges, yes these Sikhs need the utmost help and support from the community, there is no debate about that.

However if we are talking in the UK, then I think you will find most imprisoned Sikhs have been sent to prison after a reasonably fair trial, and more often than not, for a crime. I have spent time in a UK prison, 4 weeks, to be exact, the result of driving to Stansted airport the day after being banned from driving, and that at double the speed limit (so no miscarriage of justice here, I was young and stupid).

Of course prison is a massive shock to the system, but I think most Sikhs in UK prisons are probably there for short periods and for petty crimes. The authorities, and this is going back 20 odd years, were extremely fair, and in those days, we were all encouraged to go to the church on the Sunday, do not recall any other services for any other faiths.

A catholic priest did do the rounds of all the prisoners, regardless of faith, and came to see me eventually. An old irishman, he was a source of great comfort for me, in fact, the first time I met him, and having had time to reflect on the paths I was following, I was consumed with the desire to better myself, so I asked him if I could confess 'everything'. After 15 mins he started to look at his watch, after 30 mins, he started to look at the door, after an hour, he said he had to go, but, I replied, I am not even close to finishing, he took my hands firmly, looked me in the eye, and said 'son, you need to find your own God'. At the time I assumed he meant that I needed to pray to the Sikh God, but years later, I realised he meant I needed to find the God within, the Godhead if you will,

Amusingly, I noted I was watched constantly by a gang of skinheads, I walked around with my topknot in a hanky most of the time, so I was visual, but I was losing weight, so walked around with one hand on my jeans to keep them up, one day they surrounded me on the landing, and the leader came up to me, 'your jeans are loose', he said, I nodded, 'We've made you a belt from our laces, he said, and they proceeded to tie it round my jeans, and after admiring my new belt, melted away

I sympathise with anyone who is innocent and in prison, but if you are guilty and in prison, best just to get on with it, and pay the price for your crime
HARRY JI

I am all for people doing their time if they do the crime. Only where do we become the judges of their souls. Fair enough most people think most crimes are all un-imagainable but god created the sinner and the saint both. Though they should take punishment for the crime they inflict on society who are we to stop them recieving gods light maybe they never recieved a word of the shabad before that. Or something didn't correspond to their thinking, maybe they didn't ever recieve any proper guidance in life. Life is not all that straight forward my friend. If prisoners are totally against reform they will not attend any sermons, but prisoners do attend sermons given by other religions, only thing is we are lacking in our own guidance! Never forget guru nanak reformed a cannibal, jesus a prostitute who are we to stop reform and stop seeking the better in people
 
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