Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Auction of Sikh Empire’s artifacts in Britain

London: An 1805 report, first-hand accounts, a book and and a few paintings throwing light on the life of Maharajah Ranjit Singh, under whom the Sikh empire expanded to its maximum, will go under the hammer at Mullock’s auction house here on Nov 5.

One of the highlights of the auction will be an early edition of the “History of the Sikhs” by Joseph Davy Cunningham which was published in 1853. It is considered the first extensive work on the Sikhs by a European, said a statement here Monday.

Other items on sale will be a first-hand account of the Sikhs by John Malcolm (1813), an 1803 account by the Marquis of Wellesley, portraits of Ranjit Singh and Gulab Singh, a rare 19th century British cast model, a fine engraving of the Nihangs dating to 1844, an early drawing of Ranjit Singh, an illustrated book on the Sikh court of Lahore by a Russian traveller, and the earliest European view of the Golden Temple dating to 1836.

“This is one of earliest accounts of Ranjit Singh, he would have been at the tender age of 25, a young ambitious man who was set to rule a vast empire. He was clearly an obstacle to the British expanding their territory in India,” specialist Richard Westwood-Brookes said of the 1803 account. 

“This sale is very unique as it sheds light on the Sikh empire and religion from the eyes of the British and European explorers of the 19th century,” he added.

with thanks : Mizo News : LINK

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Zee TV - Dance India Dance - Season 4 - with Choreographers Feroz Khan & Muddassar Khan : Indiblogger

Dance India Dance - Season 4 : with Indiblogger : What an event. Great fun & enjoyment. The new judges of the Dance India Dance - Season 4, Choreographers Feroz Khan & Mudassar Khan were really friendly. The Indiblogger team really co - operative. It was all fun & enjoyment. Never expected this much from Indiblogger. But Thanks to the entire Indiblogger Team for this fun filled evening.

And than it was the SKIT. So many entries & so many groups. It was our turn & i proved the metal, i proved that i am a true Punjabi. I spoke in my true spirit, in my own Punjabi language to save a girl from eve teasers.

My performance was so strong that everyone started clapping & shouting. My husband sitting in front was also laughing loudly. The judges the Choreographers, both Feroz Khan & Mudassar Khan were clapping. They appreciated me in true Punjabi style. 

Now it was the results time. My heart was beating loudly. And than it was announced that we were the winners. Both the judges again appreciated me and my True Punjabi style. It was joy n fun every where. Great time. Great enjoyment. Never expected this much from Indiblogger.

We ran towards the stage & both the Judges of the great Dance India Dance, Season 4 team joined us. We were given our prizes and than Choreographers Feroz Khan & Mudassar khan taught us various dancing Steps. Never expected that we will learn our first dancing steps from the Judges of the Dance India Dance Season 4 team. And after that everyone present there just DANCED, DANCED & DANCED. I can never forget such a fun filled event. Thanks Dance India Dance - Season 4. Thanks Indiblogger.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sikh clergy should look hard at itself over sentencing of priest

Ajai Singh, the son of former Akal Takht chief, will now serve 90 days in jail, followed by 18 months probation. He was visiting Canada earlier this year when the incident was first reported to police on February 9.

with thanks : Hindustan Times : LINK : for detailed news.

UK drive to get Sikhs on organ donor list

A new drive has been launched to overcome the extreme shortage of British Sikhs on the organ donation list of the UK.
Members of the Asian community are more likely to need a transplant but wait longer than the general population in Britain for a match.
According to official figures, only around two per cent of organ donors each year are Asian but the community makes up nearly a fifth of those needing a transplant.
The National Health Service (NHS) has kicked off a targeted campaign across the country, starting with the Sikh community, to urge them to join its Organ Donor Register.
A series of TV programmes titled "Organ Donation: Let's Make a Difference" will air from next week in collaboration with Sikh community channel Sangat TV and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust's organ donation committee.
"We believe organ donation fits with the Sikh faith and that there is a real need in this community for more donors. If more people registered. more lives could be saved and members of the community might not face waiting longer than others when they need a transplant," said John Bleasdale, clinical lead for organ donation at the NHS Trust.
The TV shows, in a mix of Punjabi and English, feature a man, Satnam Kang, who is waiting for a kidney transplant and talks about the difficulties of being on dialysis at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

with thanks : Indian Express : LINK : for detailed news.

SAD to contest in 12 seats in Delhi polls

Eyeing a pan-India footprint after its huge success in the recent Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) elections, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has apparently decided to contest alone in 12 seats in the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections.
The decision to start legwork in 12 constituencies was taken after the Akalis failed to reach a seat-sharing agreement with the BJP, its alliance partner in Punjab.
In line with this, the Akalis will contest these seats even if the BJP fields candidates for these seats.
The 12 constituencies chosen by the SAD are Rajouri Garden, Tilak Nagar, Hari Nagar, Moti Nagar, Timarpur, Adarsh Nagar, Greater Kailash, Kalkaji, Parparganj, Shadara, Shakur Basti and Vishvas Nagar.
Explaining the reason behind the move, a party leader said, “The BJP is not able to decide on sharing seats with the SAD. With little time to go for the elections, the leadership has asked us to contest from the seats having a big chunk of Punjabi and Sikh population independently.”
The reason for the parting of ways in Delhi was the deadlock over Rajouri Garden and Tilak Nagar seats. The BJP wanted the Akalis to chose from one of these.
The development does not bode well for both the allies. According to SAD sources, the party can barely hope to get one seat while the BJP could lose the seats where SAD puts up candidates. Sources said its Delhi unit is going to start holding poll meetings in the 12 constituencies from Tuesday.
The announcement of BJP’s Delhi state unit president Harshvardhan as chief ministerial candidate in place of unit president Vijay Goel has the BJP men in Delhi in a state of flux.
In the 2008 Assembly elections, the SAD had contested four seats - Rajouri Garden, Adarsh Nagar, Jangpura and Shahdara - but lost all of them.
Of these two were fought on the SAD symbol and two were fought on the BJP symbol.
SAD Spokesman Daljeet Singh Cheema said, “Our talks with the BJP are going on and the final decision is yet to be taken.
“We hope things will work. The Delhi unit of the party had a meeting with SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and they have apprised him of the situation.”
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister and SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal had been maintaining from day one that his party would contest the Delhi Assembly elections in alliance with the BJP.

with thanks : Indian Express : LINK

Sunday, October 20, 2013

California Sikh student kicked off bus for refusing to remove kirpan

A Sikh college student in California was kicked off a bus for wearing his faith.
20-year-old Harsimram Singh said an Amtrak bus driver alerted the police after spotting him with the kirpan, a curved ceremonial knife that baptized Sikhs are required to carry at all times.
According to the New York Daily News, cops told him to store the kirpan in the luggage compartment or find another way to travel. Singh chose to stick to his religion.
The University of California - Davis student said that he has been riding Amtrak for two years, sometimes with the same driver, and has never had an issue before.
Singh said that he often wears his kirpan around campus and has traveled before with it on Amtrak, but this was the first time he's encountered any sort of problem.
Amtrak's policy is that knives and weapons should be stored in checked luggage. The Transportation Safety Agency enforces the same rules on airplanes, the report added.

with thanks : Business Standard : LINK

Thursday, October 10, 2013

UN raps France for asking Sikh to remove turban for Id photo

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has concluded that the religious freedom of 57-year-old Shingara Mann Singh was violated when he was asked by French authorities to remove his turban for his passport photograph.
A French citizen since 1989, Shingara couldn’t renew his passport in 2005 because the authorities insisted that he remove the turban for his ID photograph, which he refused to do. A legal team of the NGO United Sikhs  took up his case in French courts and then engaged O’Melveny & Myers LLP to file a petition with the UNHRC in December 2008.
The UNHRC, in a statement dated September 26, 2013 but made public last week, said France had failed to explain why the restriction imposed on Shingara was necessary. The international rights body found that the restrictions resulted in a potential obstruction to his fundamental right to freedom of religion when he was required to appear in ID photos without the religious headwear that he always wore, as he might thereafter be forced to take off his turban in public when going through ID checkpoints.
The UNHRC also observed that France had not explained why wearing a turban covering the upper portion of the head and forehead(leaving the face clearly visible) makes it more difficult to identify the wearer, or why a bare-headed ID photograph in Shingara’s case would make it easier to ascertain his identity or to prevent fraud or forgery given that he always wore a turban in public.
“This is the third turban case that the United Sikhs legal team has won at the UN since these cases were filed against France in 2008. This shows the international community recognises that wearing a turban is not only a Sikh’s religious duty but also a part of his identity,” said Mejindarpal Kaur, international legal director of the NGO.

with thanks : newindianexpress : LINK

Army Enlisted Sikh Soldier Earns Rare Promotion


FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina, United States
Simranpreet Lamba, the Army’s only enlisted Sikh soldier, was promoted to corporal, making him the first Sikh to earn that rank in more than 30 years, according to the News Tribune.
“I kind of think all my hard work has paid off,” said Lamba, whose enlistment in 2009 triggered a ten-month review in which Army officials considered whether he could serve while sporting a turban, uncut hair and a beard.
He is one of a handful of Sikhs serving in the Army across the active-duty and Reserve forces, according to the New York-based Sikh Coalition. Two of the others are in the medical field as officers, one a dentist and one a doctor.
Lamba, 29, hopes his promotion will show “there’s nothing about being Sikh, about our turban and our beard that can stop us from excelling in the Army,” he said.
He enlisted through a military program that recruits foreigners with special skills and offers them a path to citizenship. Lamba, who has become a naturalized U.S. citizen, speaks Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi.
He moved to America from New Delhi in 2006 and found his way to the Army after he earned a master’s degree in industrial engineering from New York University.
The Indian American said he always wanted to serve his country in uniform. Enlisting let him fulfill that dream.
His promotion from specialist to corporal was a lateral move, but it signifies that he’s doing well and is on a path to becoming a sergeant. He’d be the first Sikh sergeant in decades if he earned that rank.

with thanks : Indiawest : LINK

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hyderabad Sikhs protest attack on Vizianagaram Gurudwara

Sikhs staging a demonstration at Gurudwara Saheb Ameerpet in Hyderabad on Sunday in protest against the attack on a Gurudwara by Samaikyandhra protestors in Vizianagaram on Saturday | a suresh kumar

Protesting against the attack on a Sikh Gurudwara in Vizianagaram on Saturday and sacrilege of the sacred scripture of Sikhs besides attacking a Sikh priest by antisocial elements, Sikhs  staged a protest demonstration at Gurudwara Saheb Ameerpet in Hyderabad on Sunday.
Sikhs, holding placards and black flags, gathered in large numbers at the Ameerpet Gurudwara and demanded the arrest of the  attackers and stringent action against them.
President of Gurudwara Saheb Ameerpet S Darshan Singh said anti-social elements threw stones on the Gurdwara Saheb in Vizianagaram and a few of them even barged into the shrine and abused the priest there in a filthy language.
“Attacking a religious place which has nothing to do with the ongoing agitation is very unfortunate,” he said.

with thanks : New Indian Express : LINK : for detailed news 

Curfew imposed in Vizyanagram in Andhra Pradesh

Vijayanagram Update : Curfew has been imposed in Vizianagram town with police given orders to shoot at sight in the wake of large - scale violence by anti - bifurcation agitators, police said in Hyderabad.

with thanks : IBN7 : LINK

Anti Telangana Protestors vandalized Vijyanagram Gurdwara & Guru Granth Sahib saroop's burnt

SGPC seeks stern action against those hurting Sikh religious sentiments

AMRITSAR: While condemning the act of burning Saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and vandalizing Vijyanagram Gurdwaa by anti-Telengana protestors in Andhra Pardesh, Shiromani Gurdwaa Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has sought strict action against those involved in sacrilegious act.

SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar told media persons on Sunday that Sikhs were deeply hurt on the incident of attacking Shikligar Sikhs and Gurdwara before burning Sri Guru Granth Sahib on the road.

He said he had sought intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and AP chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy to take stern action against those hurting Sikhs and Sikhs religious sentiments.

with thanks : Times of India : LINK 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Anti-Sikh riots victims living in darkness, BSES wants them under fold

New Delhi: Living in government-alloted flats in Tilak Vihar, they have received free electricity for almost three decades but now the 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims have been asked to apply for new connections to get uninterrupted supply. 

Some 500 families in the area say they are being "forced" to apply for electricity connections by power distributor BSES Rajdhani. 

The families claim that they were promised free power by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as part of rehabilitation of victims of November 84 carnage. However, they have nothing to show on record. 

BSES on its part says that they did not make any promise and people must get new connections for uninterrupted supply. 

There are 944 janta flats, which used to get power through a 1000KV transformer which burst on September 6. BSES has for the time being installed a mobile transformer of 600KV, saying there was no point investing in an area which gives them zero revenue. 

The residents of this area are now enduring long power cuts of at least 16 hours a day. 

According to sources in BSES, the distribution company suffers an annual loss of Rs five crore because of non-payment by consumers in this area. 

"Life has become hell. My children's studies are getting affected during exam times. What do we do? We get power only for storing water in the morning and evening. We can't sleep properly. We don't get power during nights. These last 30 days have been terrible," said Rupinder Kaur. 

Another elderly lady, who lost her husband during the riots, said the government should first fulfil all its promises, then "we are ready to have metres and pay bills". 

A BSES official said all their efforts to convince residents to get the meters installed have failed. 

"It's not that we want to harass people. The annual loss that we incur is more than five crore. We keep talking to them, ...But there is no positive response," the official, who is involved in the talks with residents, said. 

"Earlier, there were only bulbs or fans in their rooms but now they have air conditioners too. People use heaters. Due to overload, the transformer gets burst early...We surely don't want to harass them," he said. 

Ajeet Singh, who was three-years old when he lost his father in riots, said they want an assurance from authorities that they will not have to pay arrears and will get subsidy. 

"After my father's death, I lost my mother in 1986. I could not study properly and don't earn much. You know how costly power is. Unless we are given in written assurance that we will not have to pay bills of previous years I am not going to get a meter installed in my house," he said. 

Atma Singh Lubana, an activist in the area, said he has written to the government that they be given subsidy. 

"I don't have anything to show but Rajiv Gandhi had announced that victims will get free power. We will convince people to get meters installed if we get some subsidy.We want there should be no charge on consumption of 1-200 units and Rs 2.50 should be levied for units from 201-500," he said. 

However, the BSES official said, "There are no government guidelines that they will not have to pay. And even if there were, it was the government, which made the promise not us, so let government pay it. If subsidy has to be given, it has to come from the government and not from us". 

with thanks : Zee News : LINK : for detailed news.

Sikh Gurus' Portraits Removed from Los Angeles Bar and Cafe.

Los Angeles, California- UNITED SIKHS International Civil and Human Rights 

Advocacy (ICHRA) Team received an email confirmation from the Pikey Bar and Café Management detailing that the portraits of the Sikh Guru’s have been removed from the Bar as of October 1st, 2013.

After learning of the portraits, UNITED SIKHS first wrote to the Bar management on August 29th, 2013 expressing deep concern and anguish of the community. We explained to them why this act is so disrespectful, and asked for immediate measures to be taken to address it. Specifically, we requested for removal of the portraits, and offered to have them transported to the nearest gurudwara.

Pikey Bar and Restaurant management responded by removing the pictures of the portraits from their website, but did not acknowledge receipt of our communication. After numerous follow up communications and on being unable to solicit a response, UNITED SIKHS created an online petition on behalf of the Sikh community. The petition requested the Pikey Bar and Restaurant management to respect the religious sentiments of the Sikhs by removing the portraits of the revered Sikh gurus from the Bar. It informed the management that to hang the portraits of the Sikh gurus in an establishment serving alcohol is a sacrilegious act. 
A few days after the petition was launched, the Pikey Management contacted UNITED SIKHS Staff Attorney Manmeet Singh and confirmed that the management had decided to take down the pictures. After numerous back and forth communications and much convincing, Singh received a call last night from Mr. Abraham Beltran, Special Projects Manager at Committed Inc., the parent company of Pikey Bar and Restaurant, informing that the portraits had been taken down. In an email sent  today, Mr.Beltran summarized our conversation confirming the removal, and shared the attached picture which shows that the portraits are no longer there.

“UNITED SIKHS is humbled to successfully address another issue which had deeply hurt the sentiments of the Sikhs. In future, we hope business establishments will be more considerate of, and sensitive towards religious sentiments of every community” said Manmeet Singh.

We would like to thank Mr.Abraham Beltran and the management of Pikey Bar & Café for understanding the sensitivity of this issue, and taking the right step.

Our heartfelt gratitude to S. Parminder Singh of Buena Park for informing us about this issue, the community and individual activists who have written to and called the Pikey management directly and signed the petition. If you are interested in volunteering with our legal team for similar causes, please sign up here.

You may read a previous report on UNITED SIKHS' advocacy for the Sikh community here

For media inquiries, please contact media-usa@unitedsikhs.org.

Issued By:

Manmeet Singh
Staff Attorney, International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA)
Tel: 1-646-688-3525

Punjab University beats IITs to be rated India's best : Hindustan Times

Amritsar Sikh museum being readied for news times

Preserving times gone, Central Sikh Museum (Ajaib Ghar) at the Golden Temple is getting ready for future, all set for a major facelift that the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) has finalised.
The plan rolled out suggests elevators, plush flooring, and touch-screen and audio catalogues will be added to the facilities. The SGPC has roped in expert curators and architects to come out with something spectacular. So far, no deadline fixed but the authorities concerned promise early start to the project's first phase.
As the museum is on the first floor, the elevators will help disabled people and senior citizens reach the galleries. "It is one of the most eminent museums of the state, and in near future will be no less than leading international galleries," said Iqbal Singh, additional manager of Darbar Sahib. "It will attract foreign visitors who are interested in history."
Looking into the future, he visualised a new manner of displaying pictures to make it easy to grab information and appreciate art. In 1958, the-then SGPC president, Gurcharan Singh Tohra, inaugurated the museum to preserve the artefacts and history related to Sikh Gurus. Other than historical pictures, it displays old musical instruments; maps; Nanakshahi coins; weapons; and Guru Gobind Singh's Kanga (comb), Kamar Kasa (belt), and Gatra (sword sling); besides Mool Mantar written by Guru Hargobind.
Visitors would also like exploring the world-journey map of Guru Nanak Dev, and gain awesome knowledgeable from the detailed wall paintings based on the life of Sikhism's founder. The exhibits document many other historical incidents, struggles, and proud moments in Sikh history.

Six grand halls with high ceilings receive good daylight to bounce on more than 400 paintings and highlight the brief descriptions in Punjabi, Hindi and English. If you want further information, the many sewadars in the galleries will assist you.

The galleries hold the works of great artists such as Sobha Singh, Karpal Singh, SG Thakur Singh, Aulak Singh, Gurwinderpal Singh and Sukhwinderpal Singh. Directions from all entrances to the Golden Temple can help increase the footfall.
Museum overview

Open seven-days a week from 7am to 7pm (summer); and 8am to 8pm (winter) Photography not allowed. For any museum-specific project, take permission for photography from the SGPC officials. No entry fee.

with thanks : Hindustan Times : LINK

Gov. Christie Nominates Sikh American as County Prosecutor


United States
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced Sept. 12 that he will nominate Gurbir Singh Grewal, an assistant U.S. attorney from Glen Rock, N.J., as the next Bergen County prosecutor.
If approved by the New Jersey state Senate, Grewal would become the first Sikh American to serve as a county prosecutor in New Jersey, leaders of the Sikh community told NorthJersey.com.
Grewal’s nomination ends months of speculation over whom Christie would tap for the position.
A Democrat, John Molinelli, has held the post since being nominated by Gov. James E. McGreevey in 2002. He was reappointed by Gov. Jon Corzine and continued to serve as a holdover since his term expired in January.
Christie in a statement said Grewal “has the right credentials and background to be the chief law enforcement officer for Bergen County. He also brings diversity to a highly diverse county.”
The Sikh American prosecutor has been working in Newark, N.J., at the U.S. Attorney’s office as deputy chief of the economic crimes unit and computer hacking and IP crimes unit since 2010, Politicker NJ reported.
A year ago, Grewal helped prosecute an employee of a New Jersey defense contractor who was found guilty of exporting military-related technology to China.
He also recently prosecuted a former Morgan Stanley Smith Barney financial adviser who pleaded guilty in February 2012 to wire fraud on charges of money stolen from clients’ accounts.
Members of the Sikh gurdwara in Glen Rock, where Grewal and his family worship, told NorthJersey.com they are excited about Grewal’s nomination.
“It’s excellent news for the community, because I think he is one of what we call the new generation, born here, raised here and someone who went to school here and is a full-fledged Sikh,” said Karmjit Singh Sidhu, president of the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Sikh gurdwara on Prospect Street.
He added that Grewal’s father was a co-founder of the temple and Grewal has volunteered to serve meals at its community kitchen.
Amrik Singh Sikand, past president of the gurdwara, described the Sikh American nominee as “very dedicated,” and “hardworking.”
“His passion is public safety and that's why he is prosecuting people that have done wrong things," Sikand told NorthJersey.com.
Grewal is a graduate of Georgetown University and received a law degree from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at The College of William & Mary. The Indian American is past president of the South Asian Bar Association of New York and is a member of the New Jersey Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association.

With Thanks : IndiaWest : LINK