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  1. Let's throw this in the mix. Haven't seen all of it yet. Looks 'controversial'. Don't agree with any slander of Sant Bhindranwala ji though. I know for a fact he wasn't casteist:
  2. Root Cause of The Sikh Problem: The Partition of India (1947) – Part I By Asia Samachar - December 8, 2020 0 159 Another map of Panjab – Source: To be identified By Hardev Singh Virk | OPINION | Introduction India Wins Freedom: An Autobiographical Narrative[1] by Abul Kalaam Azad outlines how Congress betrayed Muslim nationalists; Partition could have been avoided if it were not for some poor policy decisions from Congress high command. Sir Evan Jenkins, the governor of the Punjab from April 1946 – 15 August 1947, complained that the dogmatism of the Congress and Muslim League high commands prevented any settlement of the political impasse in the region. The British-Congress-Muslim League triangle in Delhi was intent on a swift transfer of power[2], which was not conducive to arriving at a settlement that took account of the particular conditions in the Punjab. On 15 August 1947 the Indian people gained their independence; but the price was Partition, death and displacement of population in the Punjab. After more than 70 years of Indian independence, Sikhs are not yet reconciled to their fate. India was divided on the basis of two nation theory into India and Pakistan. Sikhs were considered as part of the Hindus along with Jains and Buddhists. During political parleys with the British, the Sikhs were invited as equal partners with Muslim League and Indian National Congress but Sikh leaders failed to put up their case with the acumen and political wisdom desired at such meetings. Till the day of Partition, they displayed a dithering attitude to their demands. They were not sure which way to go? The demand for a separate nation status remained dormant and buried in their bosom. They were left with the only option to join India. Master Tara Singh was the indisputable leader of the Sikhs before and after partition of India. Master Tara Singh and Akali Dal strongly opposed the partition of India. I believe Master Tara Singh had to share the blame for failure of Sikh leadership during the parleys for Partition of India. It is obvious that Sikh leaders were not sure of their moves at the negotiation table. They had not done their homework sincerely. Sometimes, they were asking for Azad Punjab with dominant Muslim population, other times they were opposed to partition of India, which shows that in both these cases the Sikhs were fighting a losing battle. Ultimately, they were caught in a trap well laid out by the leaders of Indian National Congress and opted to join India without asking any written guarantees for their liberty and status as an independent nation. There are several studies on failure of Sikh leadership to obtain an independent Sikh state at the time of Partition of India but I shall summarize the results of only three for the sake of brevity. 1. Sikh Failure on the Partition of Punjab in 1947 Akhtar Hussain Sandhu [3] in his paper published in International Journal of Punjab Studies (September, 2012) has presented an incisive survey of the Sikh failure. The main points of this study are summed up as follows: Sikh leaders lacked political vision, therefore the Akalis were simultaneously anti-government, anti-Muslim League, anti-Congress, anti-Unionist, anti-British, anti-Khalsa National Party and anti-Communist and other Sikhs who were not their allies. Sincerity of purpose was badly missing in the political creed of the Akalis. While dealing with the Congress, the Sikh leadership many times demonstrated compromising behaviour on political issues. Sikhism attracted the main bulk of the followers from Hinduism. The impact of this link remained intact and affected the political idealism of the Sikhs. The Akalis brainwashed the Sikh masses through speeches and statements that the Muslims were their enemies and the Hindus were their friends. At every crucial moment, the Congress ignored the Sikhs but the Akali leadership did not dare to adopt an independent direction in their politics. The acceptance of the Congress’ influence proved pernicious for the Sikh future. The Akali policy to sideline and humiliate the Sikh aristocracy, Communists, Mazhabi Sikhs, Congress-supporting Sikhs, and other groups proved detrimental in the long run. The dual membership of many Sikhs was another problem as many were enjoying affiliation with more than one party. A Sikh was a Congressite and the Akali member at the same time or a Communist and Congressite . Master Tara Singh remained unchallenged as the sole leader of the Sikhs during the period 1923 to 1947. The Sikh masses rendered their wholehearted support to him but at the most sensitive time he went into the background and left the Sikh panth at the mercy of Sardar Baldev Singh and Sardar Swaran Singh. One of the main causes of Master Tara Singh’s aloofness was the severe opposition from within the Akali circles which convinced him to remain in the background for the time being as a deliberate tactic. He (Master Tara Singh) was headmaster of a high school who lacked the vision of a national or provincial political leadership. The Sikh demographic pattern was such a critical disadvantage which could not be adequately addressed by the Sikh leaders. They did not form a majority of the population in any district of the Punjab. Creation of a Sikh state or joining Pakistan or India were the main options available to the Sikhs but as freedom was coming closer the Sikhs started restricting their options. Their leaders were not talking to the Muslim leaders and were least interested in taking advantage of their bargaining position. They were pleasing the Hindu leadership by posing themselves as the champions of united India and protectors of the Hindus. They relied on the Congress which had betrayed them on every important political turn in their history. The Congress and the Hindu press gave a cold shoulder to the Sikhs but still they did not take the independent course in politics. The Sikh leadership also became victim of their traditional weakness in political parleys. Moreover, they had to deal with the competent leadership like M. A. Jinnah, M. K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru which put them in a defensive position. Sikh leadership, in the run up to partition, could not gauge the depth of the political issues confronting their community. They joined hands with the Congress and favoured united India in which they were only one per cent of the population. The main reasons behind this decision was their religious and cultural affinity to Hinduism, weak leadership, disunity, Mughal atrocities during the early centuries of the rise of Sikh tradition, and the Muslim onslaught in the late 1940s. The Role of Sikhs during the Partition of India Avinash Hingorani [4] has reported this study on academia.edu in 2014. He reports that after creation of Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh, the Sikhs aspired for their political identity and fought for independent political status in Punjab: From the time of Guru Nanak (1469-1539) to the last Guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708), Sikh followers began to acquire their own political identity which was independent from that of the Hindus and Muslims. Due to religious persecutions, the Sikhs wanted to create their own empire that was independent from Mughal rule, and this led to a war between the Sikhs and the Mughal Empire. Guru Gobind Singh inaugurated a group of Sikh authoritative leaders known as the Khalsa. Guru Gobind Singh then sent Banda Singh Bahadur, a Sikh general, to go fight the Mughal rulers”. The main points of this study are summed as follows: When partition occurred in 1947, the Sikhs wanted their own state in the Punjab region. Unfortunately the British Raj categorized the Sikhs as merely being a subdivision of the Hindus and never considered giving them their own separate nation. While the Sikhs shared many similarities to the Hindus it would be unfair to consider them as merely being a subdivision or a caste of Hinduism. The British did not acknowledge the Sikhs grievances, and in 1943 it became clear that the Muslims would be given their independent state of Pakistan. In response to this Giani Kartar Singh called for a separate state called Azad Punjab, which was to be comprised of Ambala, Jullundar, Lahore, Multan, and Lyallpur divisions. Many Sikh leaders supported this independent state of Azad Punjab. Lahore was once the capital of the Sikh empire and the Sikhs wanted Lahore most of all. Giani Kartar Singh asked “if Pakistan was to come out of compulsion because Mr. Jinnah’s demand could not be resisted, why not give an independent state to the Sikhs also?”. In 1944, Sikh leader and activist Master Tara Singh led the Sikhs in declaring their own independent state. Tara Singh believed that the creation of Azad Punjab would be necessary to protect Sikhs and Hindus from Muslim rule. Tara Singh believed that Azad Punjab could “take out the overwhelming majority of the Hindus and Sikhs from Muslim domination and get rid of the present Pakistan”. Master Tara Singh feared that if Pakistan were created the Sikh community would be “lost forever”. After making these comments Tara Singh was invited to a round table conference at Simla at the end of the Second World War by Governor-General Lord Archibald Wavell to represent the Sikhs of India and to quell the political relations between the different religious groups of India. Tara Singh argued that the “creation of Pakistan would be more injurious to his community than to any other community”. He strongly encouraged against the demand of Pakistan by the Muslims and coincidentally made several Muslim enemies. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who outwardly maintained an attitude of sullen and studious disregard towards the Sikhs, tried to cajole them privately. He knew in his heart of hearts that Sikh opposition to Pakistan was one real obstacle in his way and made several secret overtures to the leaders of the community. He chided them for being too subservient to Congress influence and held out all kinds of allurements, including the formation of an autonomous Sikh area within Pakistan. Some British officers also conveyed similar offers to Sikh leaders. It can be argued that the Muslims were able to achieve their own separate state from India because they were more assertive than the Sikhs. The Sikhs did not use violence against the other ethnic groups of India like the Muslims chose to do. The Sikhs were ultimately the odd man out in India’s partition and now had to make a difficult choice between India and Pakistan. For most Sikhs India seemed like the better option even if it meant leaving behind “their homes, their livelihoods, and their ancestral villages”. They also argued that an independent Punjabi Sikh majority state “was promised to the Sikh leader Master Tara Singh by Nehru in return for Sikh political support during the negotiations for Indian Independence”. This promise would finally be fulfilled on November 1st, 1966 and Punjab would finally become a Sikh majority state. Before 1966 Sikhs “constituted just over 33 percent of Punjab, after 1966, they made up a majority at 66 percent”. The Sikhs finally had power again in the land of their ancestral history and even though Lahore was still a part of Pakistan, the Sikhs were at least once again the majority group in Punjab. 3. The Sikhs and the Partition of Punjab Amabel Crowe [5] has reported this study as a part of MA history dissertation in the University of Edinburg in 2014. This study reveals many new facets of Sikh failure to share the exploits of Partition of Punjab along with the Muslim League. Sikhs constituted less than 15% of Punjab population but they contributed more than 40 % revenue to the state exchequer and were the richest community in Punjab. During Partition of India, Sikhs were the worst sufferers of all. They not only lost their religious and cultural heritage but also the richest economy based on agriculture in Pakistan. The main conclusions of this study can be summed up as follows: Sikhs were caught unawares as they were not prepared for the Partition of Punjab. First they wanted Azad Punjab with 40 % Muslim, 40 % Hindu and 20% Sikh population. When this proved to be a utopia, then they passed a resolution in favour of an independent Sikh State. Master Tara Singh and Giani Kartar Singh were their front rank leaders but they passed the baton to Baldev Singh and Swaran Singh. I consider this as a big blunder. Swaran Singh was a staunch Congressman and Baldev Singh was prevailed upon by Pandit Nehru to go with the Congress plan. He was the weakest link to present the Sikh case at London round table conference as his personal interests lay in joining India to save his business. Sikh masses were kept in the dark and Sikh elites were holding the reins of Sikh Panth. The elites (Baldev Singh, Surjit Singh Majithia, Ujjal Singh etc.) were in favour of joining India. The Akali leadership was not united and had no clear cut policy to protect the interests of Sikhs. Master Tara Singh failed to provide leadership at this crucial juncture of history. He wanted to remain in the background and his nominees (Baldev Singh et al.) had personal political ambitions to join India. Sikh leaders’ antagonism against Muslim League proved to be another hurdle in their decision making. Ultimately, Master Tara Singh, Baldev Singh and Giani Kartar Singh crumbled under the Congress pressure and together on 18 April 1947 met Lord Mountbatten to demand the Partition of Punjab into Muslim and non-Muslim areas. Sirdar Kapur Singh [6] squarely blames Master Tara Singh for failure of the Sikhs to get an independent Sikh State in Sachi Sakhi. I feel his account is based on some half-truths. For example, there is no written document found in the archives of Partition where British offered some special status for the Sikhs. However, Kirpal Singh historian cites one oral evidence based on the statement of Lord Mountbatten [7]: “It must point out that the people who asked for the partition were the Sikhs. The Congress took up their request and framed the resolution in the form they wanted. They wanted the Punjab to be divided in two predominantly Muslim and non-Muslim areas. I have done exactly what the Sikhs requested me to do through the Congress. The request came to me as a tremendous shock as I like the Sikhs, I am fond of them and I wish them well“. References [1] Abul Kalam Azad, India Wins Freedom: An Autobiographical Narrative, (Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 1988). [2] Lucy P. Chester, Borders and conflict in South Asia: the Radcliffe Boundary Commission and the partition of Punjab, (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009), 13. [3] punjab.global.ucsb.edu › journals › volume19 › Sandh [4] www.academia.edu › The_Role_of_Sikhs_during_the_Pa… [5] www.academia.edu › The_Sikhs_and_the_Partition_of_th… [6] www.panjabdigilib.org › searches › displayPage [7] Justice Din Mohammad, 5 August 1947. in: Kirpal Singh, Select Documents on the Partition of the Punjab. p. 377. Scholar and scientist Hardev Singh Virk retired from Amritsar-based Guru Nanak Dev University in 2002 after serving as Founder Head Physics Department and Dean Academics. Ex-Professor of Eminence, Punjabi University, Patiala. He is the present Visiting Professor at SGGS World University, Fatehgarh Sahib (Punjab), India Source - https://asiasamachar.com/2020/12/08/35040/
  3. By building across-the-board solidarities and bipartisan alliances, American Sikhs have carved out a space for themselves in US politics. But a host of key issues remain unresolved, argues Tridivesh Singh Maini http://asiasamachar.com/2020/08/13/sikhs-fight-for-dignity-in-us-politics/
  4. Guest

    Starting Again

    This has started off last year when I first started having the thoughts of cutting my hair. I let them slide and I was too busy to address them at the moment. But, now sitting in quarantine, I got to stop and think about where I'm going. i'm only 16 and I realize that I have a lot ahead of me and I shouldn't make any sensitive decisions right now. However, it's been getting worse where every morning I wake up with the same thoughts in my mind. I've been trying to push them away, may Waheguru Ji help me do so, but they don't stop. I have kept my hair since the day I was born and my family is fully amrit dhari. They say that when you take one step towards Guru Ji he takes a thousand steps towards you. I've decided to start again and rediscover Sikhi, not in the way my parents forced it upon me, but the way I should've done it before. In this hope that these thoughts will slide away and I won't end up cutting my Kesh. So, I tell you all this to help me, tell me where to begin again and tell me the best way to do it. Please forgive me if I have offended anyone or anything in any way, I'm still lost and trying to find my way. Thank you.
  5. http://asiasamachar.com/2020/04/03/30758/
  6. I'm talking about the inter-religious faith ceremonies that we hold at our Gurudwaras. The standing up for other religions. We tend to try to appease other communities too much or attempt to come off as being helpgul. We put all our effort into that, and instead denigrate our own fellow Sikhs and our practices by incorporating and being flexible to the practices of others. Where's our "Ankh"?
  7. Opinion The fluidity of spirituality By Asia Samachar - December 27, 2016 0 135 Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter | Opinion | 26 Dec 2016 | Asia Samachar | By Jagdesh Singh How we view our world and our reality depends on how we filter our perceptions. From birth, what we see, what we hear, what we feel through our own experiences tend to form what we think to be true. And just like evolution, we unlearn and learn what we think is true through newer experiences and circumstances. We build relationships, we forge them and we also see these relationships crumble. Such is the state of elusiveness of consistency in the truths to our reality. We learn, we unlearn and we learn, as the sands of time trickle through stopping for no one. These filters that we form over our lifetimes will determine how we interpret messages about our reality consciously or subconsciously. These messages will be derived from trusted sources. Like a never ending loop, we will trust sources that somehow incline towards what our filters find agreeable. Very rare will we completely shed our filters when confronted with messages completely the opposite with what our filters say to be true. If that happens, it’s drastic. Some call it a paradigm shift. When the light bulb is turned on with a blinding light or when the younger generations these days say ‘mind blown’, such is the drastic change. When it comes to interpreting messages about spirituality, likewise, we tend to understand it from our filters formed from our background since birth. Layers and layers of filters compounded until some of us ‘see the light’ and change our filters completely. Sometimes, through some weird manifestation of our surrounding that is illogical according to our filters, we experience a ‘miracle’. And because we experience it personally, without any reasoning logical to our comprehension, we attribute this ‘miracle’ to the great unknown spiritual world. This is another layer of the filters, either strengthening or shattering our previous. It’s another ‘seeing the light’ moment, no matter which. And this now changes our interpretation, sometimes quite drastically. Sometimes, people change religions, change Masters, abandoning everything held sacred before, from experiencing these miracles. This also forms the basis of faith. What that cannot be explained with our filters won’t seem logical in our eyes, and can only attributed to the unknown. Such is how faith is formed. And so, organized religions tend to ‘sell’ these miracles, with hopes that their interpretation of spirituality will be ‘bought’ by more people. The more people ‘buying’ their interpretation, the more solid the truth is in their interpretation. There is strength in numbers. The converted will tend to convert more. But what organized religion is really selling are not the so called miracles, rather their interpretation of how they’ve come to understand their spirituality. And faith, the illogical in this interpretation, plays an important role in this. Quite often, for their interpretation to be digested by the masses, these interpretations will quite typically boil down to a set of rules. The do’s and the don’ts. And the masses follow these rules and laws with full faith, hoping answers to their questions about their very own existence. I am no one to criticize nor condemn these interpretations because many have actually had their questions answered. Not all. Not the majority. But many from generations past have seen the ‘light’ and even evolved into spiritual beings. For us, Sikhs, we have the work of love about love for the Loved One enshrined within the pages of the embodiment of our Gurus. It was a work of love, written with love by them. They had written about their love for our Maker, the One that they loved. Their understanding of spirituality couldn’t be condensed into a set of rules and regulations, because Love has no such bounds. Because the design is as such, interpretations of each word, each sentence will wary for each unique individual as their filters process the meanings according to their fundamental beliefs. Here’s an illustration. Imagine someone who has no idea of the concept of karma reading the Guru Granth Sahib for the very first time. That person wouldn’t understand why there’s any reason to love another soul and to treat that soul with love because there wouldn’t be consequences anytime soon in his lifetime. But to a person who understand the gist of the laws of karma, then ideas and verses encouraging love for all souls, of compassion, of caring, makes sense because that person would want to be the recipient of such love in the future. Forgive me, but this was a crude and rudimentary illustration. And so, with the filters formed over periods of time in our lifetimes as we mature from childhood, the teachings of our Gurus written in the Adi Granth, will be digested and interpreted in an organic manner. Our interpretations evolve, our understanding evolves into more lofty complex concepts, as our faith evolves. Because it does take a good amount of faith to understand love for the unknown. Perhaps miracles will happen, perhaps logic prevails within our own capacity of what logic is. But what is constant is the fluidity of our own personal interpretation of the spirituality embedded in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. A verse as read by someone totally immersed in the confines of simplicity may well evolve within a matter of days to the very same person with a higher complex understanding. Vice versa, a verse read by someone with high intellectual reasoning can evolve into just the simple literal meaning. Emotions are always involved in this evolution. Faith is transgressed from these emotions. Our filters formed over our lifetime dictate our emotions, as our experiences while we evolve form our filters. In a nutshell, our interpretations will change as we evolve, the understanding of spirituality from our Gurus will change along with our faith. That the writings in our beloved Guru Granth Sahib are designed as such is a whole miracle by itself. Jagdesh Singh, a Kuala Lumpur-based executive with a US multinational company, is a father of three girls who are as opinionated as their mother [ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com] Source - http://asiasamachar.com/2016/12/27/the-fluidity-of-spirituality/
  8. Gurdwaras need nursing rooms to breastfeed babies http://asiasamachar.com/2015/11/04/gurdwaras-need-nursing-rooms-to-breastfeed-babies/
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