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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Arvind Kejriwal Serious About Banning ‘Sikh Jokes’

A physical copy of the petition was signed by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj 

A petition seeking a ban ‘Sikh jokes’ has received about 40,000 signatures online and off, with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal being among those who have supported the cause.

The petition, which was started on at the beginning of the month, had received 20,866 signatures as of Friday evening.

A physical copy of the petition was circulated at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj on Wednesday when Guru Nanak Jayanti was celebrated.

It was there that Mr. Kejriwal signed a hard copy of the petition that wants websites that host jokes at the expense of the Sikh community taken down. After signing, he said: “We should not be making jokes on religious and caste lines.”
With the Aam Aadmi Party planning on contesting elections in Punjab, it can’t be a coincidence that Mr. Kejriwal lent his support to the petition and that his government on Friday decided to give a restricted holiday on the martyrdom day of Guru Teg Bahadur on December 16.

Meanwhile, R.P.S. Kohli, who started the petition, said 17,000 to 20,000 people signed the physical copy of the petition at the gurdwara. “We are still in the process of counting the signatures, but we were overwhelmed by the support,” said Mr. Kohli, a businessman from West Delhi.
He said he decided to start the petition after his own experience of being bullied while growing up in Odisha.
“There were very few Sikhs living in Odisha so I was subject to jokes on my religion. Even after moving to Delhi, my sons faced similar jibes,” said Mr.Kohli.

Jokes based on stereotypical exaggerations of the Sikh community should be banned, ask the petitioners. But, more than that, Mr. Kohli said there was a need for an anti-bullying legislation as well as guidelines on how to deal with hate speech.

“Racist humour should be defined as hate speech and there should be appropriate laws to deal with it,” he said.
The Supreme Court is also hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by lawyer Harvinder Chowdhury that seeks a ss0similar ban.

The next hearing of that case will be January 4, when activists and members of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee are expected to hand in the petitions.

PS: The Petition had received 21,190 signature till 28th November 2015


Comedian Sunil Pal's views on #BanSikhJokes

Comedian Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi 's views on - #BANSikhJokes

DSGMC Welcomes Delhi Government's U-Turn order

With Thanks : Media DSGMC

Protest By DSGMC on 27th November 2015 Against Change in the Date of Ninth Guru Teg Bahadur's Martyrdom Day

With Thanks :

Thursday, November 26, 2015

India Gate turns orange for ending violence against women

As part of a global Orange the World campaign, the iconic India Gateon Wednesday lit up in the colour orange celebrating the International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women.

The event was organised by UN Women Indian along with UNFPA India, UNDP and UN in India as part of the United Nations global campaign that is set to continue till December 10, designated as the UNs Human Rights Day.
Inaugurating the event Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said, "Addressing the issue of woman empowerment should be the topmost priority right now. During my tenure as a minister, we celebrated women empowerment day every year.

"Violence against woman is disliked and condemned worldwide. Ending discrimination against woman and empowering them should be given importance in India," she said.

Frederika Meijer Representative UN Population Fund, India and country director UNFPA said that United Nations aims to eliminate all kinds of violence against women and gender discrimination and seeks to end it by 2030.
Filmmaker and classical dancer Aishwarya Dhanush who was present at the event said, "The awareness regarding the discrimination and violence against women should start from home. Raising hands must only be for raising doubts, and nothing else. The foundation has to be started right from the home."
"We are born in a chauvinistic society and men should help in changing the mindset," she further said.
According to the UN the colour orange is symbolic of "a united fight to end violence against women".
The campaign, which began in 1991 witnessed participation across 17 countries with landmarks such as the Sphinx in Egypt and the Empire State Building in New York lit up in orange in solidarity.
The event addressed issues like eve-teasing, dowry, acid attacks, child marriage, compulsory education for girl child and physical violence among others. The women leaders called for the participation of men and boys towards the progress of women in the world.
Chairperson of National Commission of Women (NCW) Lalita Kumaramangalam said, "When I took over I realised the pressure on police officials in addressing the grievances by women was mind boggling. Until the society as a whole does not address women issue, the problem will continue to stand before us.
"As NCW chairperson I feel that every family must join hands with the administration to eliminate violence and discrimination against women. Then only it will be eliminated from its root cause," she said.

Stating that discrimination and violence against women often starts even before their birth Preeti Sudan, Additional Secretary, ministry of women and child development said, "Government initiatives like Beti Bachao campaign has brought the issue in the public forum. The factor of fear among women needs to be address equally and the Indian government is with the UNs cause to instill a sense of security in them."

Davinder Singh named Singapore’s Best Dispute Lawyer

Senior Counsel Davinder Singh (right) was named Singapore’s “Disputes Star of the Year” at a Hong Kong event. Senior Counsel Cavinder Bull received Drew & Napier’s awards. — PHOTO: ASIALAW ASIA-PACIFIC DISPUTE RESOLUTION AWARDS 2015/ST
Legal eagle Davinder Singh was named as Singapore’s best dispute lawyer at the inaugural Asialaw Asia-Pacific Dispute Resolution Awards 2015.

Drew & Napier, the Singapore-based law firm that he helms at the chief executive officer, took home two awards at the ceremony held on Sunday (Sept 24) in the republic.
Davinder  Singh received the “Disputes Star of the Year – Singapore” award while the firm won the award for the Singapore’s national law firm of the year and also the best domestic arbitration firm.

The 58 year-old lawyer had represented the late Lee Kuan Yew, the nation’s first Prime Minister, as well as his son and current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in the courtrooms.

He graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1982 and joined the Litigation Department of Drew & Napier thereafter. He was in the first batch of Senior Counsel appointed in 1997, according to his profileavailable at the firm’s website.

Davinder Singh, who has been a commercial lawyer and advocate for over 30 years, was also a former Member of Parliament for the Bishan-Toa PayohGroup Representation Constituency from 1988 to 2006.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

With Malice Towards None: Are Sardar jokes hurtful? Grin it but don’t bear it!

Having read Vikramjit Singh’s article in TOI on November 8 “A brief history of Sardar jokes”, I am compelled to go on a nostalgic trip. And yes, having initiated a petition on to let people voice their opinion, I do not think that the Supreme Court PIL is frivolous.
Born in a nondescript town in Odisha, I was a curious, well-behaved but a wondrous kid. It was time to join school and after a big racket, my businessman father gifted two fans and bingo… off I went on a new journey, holding the scooter handle.
But my enthusiasm was short lived, for I was reduced to an object of interest for the rest of the kids. They reached out with curious eyes and probing hands. Touching my ‘patka’, patting my head and outrightly annoying me. I was taught by mom never to let anybody touch my hair. They were sacred. I was told. And I could never cut it or else my dad would throw me into a deep well. I feared him. Then one of the bright-eyed ears-up kid pumped my ‘Joora’ and squealed ‘Pon pon’. And thereafter, I was crestfallen. The name ‘Paiyyun’ stuck for eternity. Confused by these actions, I simply grinned at it.
As I grew, I outperformed the class in most studies, debates and social activities. But my school days were tormenting and confusing on certain occasions. I invented my way to stay in the positive limelight. I used to regale the class with my funny, clean one-liner puns. I was the favorite of most teachers and that was heart-wrenching for a few. My classmates used to bring alarm-clocks and set them for 12 noon. ‘Bara baj gaye Sardar ke’… confused and angry, I landed on my mom’s lap and thrust this question to her. She asked me to bear it. And added that the tormentors were only jealous “Sadhhde ne saare. Tu nahi bolna, mooh dooje paase kar lavin” was her sermon.
As time progressed, the teen in me was bewildered. “Kyon Sardaron wali baat kar raha hai Paiyyun?” “Tere to Bara baj gaye hain“. “Sardar kahin ka“. Dazed. Flustered. Sullen. Resentful. Fuming. I was an upset teen with a sprouting goatee with the best sense of humor, timing, jovial and the ability to laugh at myself. I was the topper in the class and most proactive idea-churner for initiating social projects. The first school magazine editor, interact club and literacy program for the nearby village were my contributions. Yet, I was an object of ridicule, chuckles and taunts. Was I a buffoon, an idiot or my appearance was too funny? What else could I do?
Another Sikh junior of mine shocked us. He came to school clean-shaven. Again mom’s lap was my Vikramaditya’s seat. My poser shocked her. “Can I too cut my hair?” Tears welled up in her eyes; she held me close and said “Waheguru tainu taakat deve“. I thought I had hurt her badly. I walked off with a heavy heart and looked back “Mumma, I will not let you down”. That moment, realization dawned on me that this thing that they thought was humor; was actually a reaction to my success.
I researched a bit. I learnt how the British had started this campaign of degrading a community that did not allow them easy access in Punjab. Santa and Banta were their produce. Sic! “Angrez chale gaye Racism chodd gaye“.
I found my answers to ‘Bara baj gaye‘. 1738, the era of loot and plunder by Ahmed Shah Abdali under Nadir Shah. Thousands of young women were taken captive. Sikhs pitched in. Decided to attack Nadir Shah’s camp. Raided his camp at 12 midnight. Freed the women and restored dignity to Hindu community. Shame! These stories of valor and courage were forgotten. Kids in school setting their alarms to 12 o’clock. Films taunting Sardars by cutting frames to look at watches.
I did not have a ‘Dhai kilo ka haath’. I learnt kick-boxing since I had a frail frame. And ‘Paiyyun’ decided to take all those brutes head-on. One month of turmoil and disruption. Every time somebody said “Bara baj gaye“, I used to growl the Ahmed Shah Abdali narrative to him. I decided to use my news time in the morning assembly to let the school know that we don’t appreciate this sick humor. “The rescued torment and ridicule the rescuers” and the assembly nodded in hush. Soon, word spread that ‘Paiyyun’ had changed.
I was fortunate I had a formidable faith-driven mom who injected values in me. I refused to take shelter under the Oxford nitty-gritty of tolerance, freedom of speech, ‘taking it too seriously’ or ‘jokes are jokes’. I prayed for civility and fortunately god bestowed this around my academic and social circle.
Civility doesn’t necessarily mean tolerance. Encouraging civility also means showing intolerance towards people who are impolite and discourteous. Look at the western world.
Morality and civility is what we need. Unlike tolerance, civility requires knowledge and courage. Civility is a higher virtue than tolerance. And I can see enough lack of civility and more of apathy and indifference in our society.
Bigotry should not go unchallenged. The physical, psychological, spiritual, exploitation and subjection of Sikhs or Sardars by others have to stop. It is the systemic racism or social institutionalization of the psychological concept of supremacy by the weaker ones.
Sorry! I wandered off in a heavy serious zone. Up from my nostalgic slumber. I have a couple of paradigms or questions to ask? The answers would be your food-for-thought.
  • Supposing it is our own sister who has been eve-teased or molested. Would we preach tolerance to her or take upon the tormentor?
  • This late September, setting aside religious code, two young Sikh men saved a group of drowning boys in Punjab by tossing their turbans to them. How would the two saviors feel if the rescued comes up to them and says “Sardar, Bara baj gaye the kya?”
That was the feeling in ‘Paiyyun’ when he understood the context of ‘Bara baj gaye’. Millions of Sikh kids in India and across the world undergo such racism in the name of humor. Civility is a higher virtue than tolerance. Let us learn to be civilized and then seek tolerance.

RPS Kohli

(The writer is a social worker with one of the largest educational charities in the Sikh community.)

Parkash purab of Guru Nanak Dev ji : Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib's Bhai Lakhi Shah Vanjara Hall

With Thanks : Media DSGMC

Happy Gurupurab : Pics from Parbhat Pheri at Krishna Nagar, Delhi