Posts Tagged ‘Sikh’


Punjab Update: Unholy Haste to Save the Faith

   Posted by: aman    in Punjab

Friends, thanks to Punjab Today for carrying my recent The Hindu Businessline piece with some additions on the discussion in Panjab Assembly over the Ranjit Singh Commission report on the series of sacrilege in the state and the new Blasphemy Law. I hold that the Congress has handed over a draconian, regressive law to BJP on a platter.

‘While Punjab looks to heal from the scourge of sacrilege, the new law now forces not only the Granth Sahib but even other religious texts behind three locks. To some extent one can understand the law in the context of monotheistic religions like Sikh, Islam and Christianity but how will it work for polytheistic Hinduism with a hundred Ramayanas, a thousand Mahabharatas, a million other revered texts and icons? My aging aunts, who find it hard to walk a few steps, habitually ask a younger cousin or their kids to get them the Gutka Sahib from the shelf at home. They sit in their chairs and doze off while praying. As they nap, they leave the Gutka Sahib in their laps, or next to the pillow. Are they committing blasphemy per the new law? Aunts and uncles in Panjab carry the Gutka Sahib, the Hanuman Chalisa, the Holy Bible in their leather purses or kurta pockets. Is that blasphemy? At village Chakklan itself, a samadh – shrine on a grave – of an unknown village elder has recently become a temple with a trishul and a shivling. Is that blasphemy? On the Pakistan border in Amritsar, at village Naushera Dhaala, the 16th Century saint Baba Jallan ji’s samadh has recently turned into an elaborate Gurdwara. Have the followers committed blasphemy? When Captain Amarinder Singh took his famous oath at Damdama Sahib in December 2015 promising to eradicate drugs, he held a Gutka Sahib in his hands. Everyone on the stage were wearing shoes. Was that not blasphemy? What exactly is a ritual, a prayer, a way of life and a blasphemy? Merely inserting names of texts into a revision of law, without due deliberation, is going to be detrimental to the way of life of the people in Punjab and the nation.’

Read full story here …

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The Hindu Businessline: Unholy Haste

   Posted by: aman    in Punjab

Friends, on Tuesday when the news of activists being arrested drove the country into an uproar, a lot was going on in the Panjab Assembly. A marathon discussion took place on the Ranjit Singh Committee report that probed 157 incidents of sacrilege in between 2015-17 and focused on the role of the Badals and the police in the state – a force that has enjoyed unparalleled impunity ever since the days of militancy.

While the Akalis walked out, the Assembly (Congress and AAP) passed two historical resolutions unanimously – one on SGPC and another on taking back cases from CBI. To my mind these will have great ramifications in robbing the Akalis of the Panthic (Sikh religious) agenda and centre-state relations.

These developments were important for Panjab. However, at the same time, for the nation, the Congress committed a blunder by passing an amendment to the Blasphemy Law – Indian Penal Code 295 and placing texts from Hindu, Muslim and Christianity in it. The amendment to the law was an Akali face-saver in 2016, this Congress government could have just let it slide. But it did not.

Thus the Congress has now handed over a ready-made, draconian revision of law to the BJP on a platter. Beats me why Congress shot itself in the foot. The Bill only needs the Presidential nod now to become a nation-wide law. Its ramifications are massive and dangerous.

Here is my piece. I have tried to sketch the background but print media with word restrictions does limit how much one can say at a time.

Please read more here …

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Friends, over the last few days a photograph of a Sikh police man from Uttrakhand saving a man from a lynch mob has gone viral. I wrote about it on Facebook. The post was shared many times and picked by media. Putting up links below.

DailyO picked up the post, please find here …

The Quint picked up the post, please find here …

Punjab Today picked up the post, please find here … 

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Indian Express: Views on movie Nanak Shah Fakir

   Posted by: aman    in Punjab

Friends, rarely one finds that a student of history going through material which remains problematic with the community yet is the best illustration of a case. Journalist Adrija Roychowdhry explored the reasons behind the Sikh stance against the movie Nanak Shah Fakir. She also quoted me.

Please read …

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The article in Punjab Today condemning Shekhar Gupta’s lies has evinced greater interest in the Diaspora. Recently Punjabi Radio USA interviewed me and we discussed how media mis-represents Panjab. In fact, even more than that how Panjab has been steadily mis-represented. Thank you Harvinder, Gurjaspal, and Arvinder. Chardi Kala.

Please listen here … 


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My Review of Deep Singh Blue in The Wire

   Posted by: aman    in Other, Punjab

Friends, my review of Ranbir Singh Sidhu’s novel ‘Deep Singh Blue’. What struck me immensely about the writing was that it is without crutches, the writer creates and inhabits a world within language alone yet it is deeply rooted in the human experience. Kudos! Thank you Omair Ahmad for the opportunity.

‘DSB is a dark bildungsroman – a coming of age novel – about different types of unbelonging: in cultures, in the community, in the family, in relationships, in place and in time. The protagonist is lonely, immensely lonely, but the novel is not about loneliness or about an emotional or cultural pain. Instead, DSB explores the deep angst of being and a human’s relationship with the world.’

Please read …

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Friends, a few weeks ago I had raised the question of Sikh identity in my article on the Gurdwara Amendment Law regarding Sehajdharis in The Caravan Magazine. That went viral. Here is another argument in the context of a slightly older but even more revealing court case.

However, you look at it the Sikh identity is now severely compromised. The only way ahead, and I dread it, are the calls for ‘ghar wapsi’ which the right-wing is raising and what would lead to a split in the community – the way other established monotheistic religions have gone: Islam and Christianity. Ask ourselves, did we ask for this? Look at the Sikh identity question through these two angles.

‘The irony of a Sikh community, known much beyond its numbers for its service and egalitarianism, is that it fights its identity battles in the courts of a secular country and ends up losing in the real sense when it thinks it is winning court battles.’

Please read here …

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Friends, while we feel concerned about Punjab – recent Pathankot, drugs, caste issues, agrarian and industrial crises – I feel we also need to understand the state as it warms up to elections next year.

For a while now the Sikhs have been calling for reform within their highest religious institution. They are being thwarted by those in power and control the institutions. Over last year the common people have showed their displeasure to the political leaders but at the recent Jor Mela they boycotted their religious leaders too. After that the SGPC demonstrated its betrayal of the Sikh community. This is unprecedented.

This genuine unrest of the common people in their political and religious representatives is in turn exploited by radical forces – Khalistan etc. A story on one of the grave fault lines of Punjab.

Please read…

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Friends, if you heard about the Sarbat Khalsa near Amritsar November 10 you may want to read my report on the proeedings and critical remarks. If you have not heard of it because regular media managed to blank it out, you must now get acquainted with how Punjab is inching towards risky times. It needs your attention. Also read for the resolutions passed at the plenary meet. In spite of one and a half days now, I have not found them anywhere on the web in English.

‘I do not know what to derive from the resolutions as they put me squarely back into the dilemma: am I first a Sikh, and then an Indian, or vice versa, or only one of the two?’

Please read …

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Here is the translation of Daljit Ami’s column on the Dera Sachha Sauda Head being given general pardon by the high priests of the Sikh faith. It talks about the current reality of Punjab and traces how vote-bank politics has dictated the decision.

Please Read …

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