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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sikhs Genocide observation in Dallas

Request to fellow Indians: If you are not inclined to read the whole thing and then decide how you feel about it, please do not read the following piece. Also posted at DallasIndians@yahoogroups.com and http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com

URL:: http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2012/10/sikhs-genocides-observation-in-dallas.html

Last week, I  posted an upcoming event "Remembrance and Reflection: 1984 Sikh Genocide (posted below)" at Dallas Indians, a 1800 member group in the Dallas area for all Indians. I am glad a few friends called in and sought clarifications. It is always good to inquire and find out before building up emotions against it. The event is on Saturday, November 3rd at Noon.

Then I read a beautiful personal story by Kirpal Singh from Melbourne, who shared the story of stereotyping Muslims in Nigeria and alluded to bringing a closure to the Sikh Massacre in India. I have included that story below.

The humorous part of the story was, one of the callers was cursing Muslims that they do not understand free speech, and yet, he asked me not post events like this, he believed it was divisive.  Indeed on the surface it does sound like it, but when you read the entire note, you will find otherwise.

You might get away refusing to oblige your spouse or a child's request... or even compel them to obey you...but it builds resentment if not dealt with squarely, it puts a damper on the enthusiasm of the relationship and no one lives in peace. If there is a murder, child abuse or sexual abuse in the community, we cannot sit quite, we have to find a resolution so the victims can leave in peace, and justice is meted out to the abuser.

Taking the example to India - The Kashmiri Pandits, Dalits, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs have been treated unfairly and unjustly on occasions, especially when it comes to killing a large number of people. The wounds remain unhealed for the communities and every one lives with un-ease, discomfort and apprehension. Silence or Money compensation is not the way to repair the damage, but an acknowledgement is the way to go. An apology will heal the wounds for the entire society. We need to seek Mukti from the gnawing conscience, and no ones Karma will go unbalanced.

When Queen Elizabeth visited India a few years back, she apologized for the Jalianwala Bagh Massacre, that was the right thing to do and we welcomed it. There have been many more good examples of healing like that.

About six years ago a film was made by Memnosyne Foundation, "One source many paths" where I represented the Muslim community and 47 other people represented other faith traditions. Uma Mysoreaker, president of the Hindu Temple in New York represented the Hindu Community. The Hindus and the Native Americans shared their pain about the forced conversions by Muslims and Christians alike, while Muslims also have been a target of prejudice after 9/11. I apologized for the wrong doings done by Muslims kings like Aurangzeb and Ghaznavi and individuals like Bin Laden.

The healing was done when a Native American offered a Bandana to be received as a closure, a Christian minister gracefully accepted it, .. every one remained silent and absorbed the moments, some of us cried, including me, it was indeed a relief. It is also an acknowledgement that we the people (living now) have nothing to do with what was done, and yet, we owed an apology as the wrong doing was committed in the name of the religion or the land we shared.

The Chapters on Pandits, Dalits, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs can be brought to closure by acknowledgment of the wrong doing, its not going to go away by hiding from it. Humility builds bridges, that is what every religion teaches; to be humble. It is wrong, and dead wrong to believe that we are all against each other, we are not, some of us are, but we need to work cohesively to make India a greater nation by being on a higher moral ground of shedding the arrogance or pretending that, we do not have a problem.

The Sikh Massacre is obviously not brought to the closure,  mass graves have been discovered and the identified remains have been given back to their families, but there are hundreds of kids, women and men missing from that period. An accounting needs to be done to bring a relief to families as to what happened to their loved ones. We are all in this together without blaming the past and to find solutions.

The bad guys are not Muslims, Sikhs, Christians or Hindus, the bad guys are those who went on a rampage and hurt fellow Indians be it in Delhi, Gujarat, Bihar or Orissa. No one should go Scot free,  an apology from them individual wrong doers, forgiveness from the victims or lawful action is in order to restart
This is the most common form of ignorance that surfaces every minute of the day in our lives. Our freedom to think is lost when we stereotype people and fall in the ditch when we justify it. If we want others to treat as fairly, we have to do it too.

If I murder someone, it is my heine that needs to be hauled off to the jail and mete out the deserved punishment under the law and serve justice. Stereo typing in this instance would be to blame my race, parents, siblings, spouse, nationality or religion, it is not wise, is it?? Yet we do it and let others do it without even imploring them to think. What has India or Islam got to do with my criminal act?

Shame on you and I to allow the mind to believe that the murder by a black man allows us to gossip that blacks are criminals, and start justifying some creepy facts to suit our beliefs. Oh well, the educated ones are not… that is even wronger than the first statement…Are all white people ruthless and war mongers? Are Muslims terrorists? Jews will get you one way or the other?

Catch yourselves in your stereotyping, where you make judgments about a people

We reflect on Holocaust and genocides every year, and one of the element is stereotyping. Details about the VII Annual Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides at www.HolocaustandGenocides.com

Mike is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, interfaith, politics, foreign policy, Islam, India, Israel, peace and justice. He is committed to building a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, commentator on national radio network, writes weekly at Dallas Morning News and bi monthly at Huffington post and several periodicals. His daily blog is www.TheGhousediary.com

On Oct 24, 2012, at 3:13 AM, kirpal singh kirpal2singh@ ..> wrote:

Dear All,

It was in Nigeria in mid 1980s, Dr. Iyengar, a colleague of mine in the Science Faculty of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU met with an accident in which a family of five while crossing a road outside the main Gate of ABU struck against his car while a speeding heavy truck was coming from the opposite side with full lights which blinded Dr. Iyengar who was driving with his wife in the car. As a result of impact two children died on the spot, mother, and two others were badly injured.The driver of the heavy truck fled away in the darkness. Dr. Iyengar stopped his car and while he and her wife were panicking a policeman appeared on the spot and he arranged injured and dead to be taken to the University hospital. The police arrested Dr. I and dropped his wife at their residence.

Next morning Mrs. Iyengar came to our house also on the university campus and told what had happened. I had known Dr. Iyengar as a polite and decent person who never consumed alcohol and a careful experienced driver. Certainly he had no intention to harm or kill any one. This was to happen but it created a mystery.

I had known a Sikh medical doctor (Dr. Sandhu) and Mr. Gowon, a businessman who was younger brother of Gen. Gowon who once ruled Nigeria. Dr. Sandhu and Mr. Gowon met the Nigerian Lady magistrate (who lived in their neighbourhood) and appraised her about the circumstances in which accident happened, in addition to the police report. Dr. Iyengar was released on bail but was not sure about his and his wife's security from the victims family members, who were Muslims..

As a courtesy, Dr. Iyengar wished to visit the other members of the victims family. But none of his close friends (north or south Indian Hindus) supported his idea and so none was willing to accompany him to the family who lived in a village near the university campus. Dr. Iyengar asked me and I told him that on the strength that you were not drunk driving and you had no enmity what so ever against the victims family, I am inclined to go with you to visit the victims family. My wife was terribly upset that as a turbaned Sikh I will become their target because of my conspicuous appearance. She went on to say that they might forget Dr. Iyengar but the victims family and their other relatives can go after you.

We had daily Parkash of Guru Granth Sahib (GGS) in our house and used to read the GGS and pray for a while every day. I told her that it was not Dr. Iyengar who wanted this accident but this was to happen - but why did it happen? We did not know the answer?

I advised Dr. Iyengar to take along some rice, kasawa, sugar, oil and tin fish for the aggrieved family. After enquiring we reached the right house in the Samaru village. Some members spotted us and the ushered us in to the house. Walking through several interconnected rooms we finally entered a room where the lady (lying) and two children were with bandaged legs and arms. We both were quite nervous that any thing could happen to us. As we finished exchange of greetings and paying our condolences, we were served a soft drink each.We were not sure whether to drink or not? But somehow I took a sip and Dr. Iyengar followed me.

We told the family that we were sorry for what had happened. The lady in crutches wasted no time and in a brave tone told us "it was Allah's Will that all this happened. We have no ill-will against Dr. Iyengar (pointing towards him) - it is Allah only who gives and takes away life". The next day was fixed for hearing in the court and she added that they have no intention to pursue any case against Dr. Iyengar.

On hearing this I had tears flowing in my eyes to learn of such a strong faith and devotion in Allah from an ordinary Muslim lady. I was also ashamed that even on daily reading of Gurbani I had not developed such a strong faith in Waheguru. The following verses from Sukhmanee Sahib sounded differently and clearly after that encounter:-

ਮਾਰੈ ਰਾਖੈ ਏਕੋ ਆਪਿ ॥ਮਾਨੁਖ ਕੈ ਕਿਛੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਹਾਥਿ ॥ (Raag Gauri Sukhmanee Sahib, GGS. 281-4).

Maarai Raakhai Eaeko Aap ||Maanukh Kai Kishh Naahee Haathh ||

मारै राखै एको आपि ॥मानुख कै किछु नाही हाथि ॥

The One Lord Himself destroys and also preserves.

Nothing at all is in the hands of mortal beings.

ਤਿਸ ਕਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਬੂਝਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ਤਿਸ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਰਖੁ ਕੰਠਿ ਪਰੋਇ ॥

This Kaa Hukam Boojh Sukh Hoe ||This Kaa Naam Rakh Kanth Paroe ||

तिस का हुकमु बूझि सुखु होइ ॥तिस का नामु रखु कंठि परोइ ॥

Understanding His Order, there is peace.

So take His Name, and wear it as your necklace.

ਸਿਮਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਸੋਇ ॥ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਘਨੁ ਨ ਲਾਗੈ ਕੋਇ ॥੧॥

Simar Simar Simar Prabh Soe ||Naanak Bighan N Laagai Koe ||1||

सिमरि सिमरि सिमरि प्रभु सोइ ॥नानक बिघनु न लागै कोइ ॥१॥

Remember, remember, remember God in meditation.

O Nanak, no obstacle shall stand in your way. ||1||

- This Muslim family taught me the meaning of Gurbani more than any Teeka or Gyani or Parcharak.

There was a change in my perception of Gurbani ever since - a great lesson from a Muslim Family for which I am grateful to them; and Dr. Iyengar for taking me along to witness such a blissful experience.

The court case lasted for four months and finally Dr. Iyengar was cleared.

I do believe that there are good Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Jews, Budhists and Sikhs in the wide world.

- In addition, I learnt the meaning of the expression," Dekh ke un-dith keeta", which is part of the Sikh daily supplication (Ardas.) It is one of the highest ideals by any standard.The Sikhs repeat in their daily supplication (Ardas) by admiring those who see or witness an evil being done to them yet they turn their attention away from that evil/unfortunate incident. The Gurbani teaches us:-

ਕਰਣ ਕਾਰਣ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਏਕੁ ਹੈ ਦੂਸਰ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਿਸੁ ਬਲਿਹਾਰਣੈ ਜਲਿ ਥਲਿ ਮਹੀਅਲਿ ਸੋਇ ॥੧॥(Raag Gaurhee Sukhmanee, M. 5. 276).
karan kaaran prabh eaek hai dhoosar naahee koe ||Naanak This Balihaaranai Jal Thhal Meheeal Soe ||1||

करण कारण प्रभु एकु है दूसर नाही कोइ ॥नानक तिसु बलिहारणै जलि थलि महीअलि सोइ ॥१॥.

God alone is the Doer of deeds - there is no other at all.

O Nanak, I am a sacrifice to the One, who pervades the waters, the lands, the sky and all space. ||1||

"Dekh ke undith keeta" - is a virtuous act though a very difficult one. Those who lost their loved ones in 1984, it is not easy to forget and brush aside their grief. However, we do remember those who are imbued with the spirit of forgiveness in our daily supplication (Ardas). I think it is time to give practical shape to our longing for fulfilment of "Dekh ke undith Keeta".

As Gursikh of Gurbani, we should be guided by the message of Sabad Guru. All that happened in 1984 was as per the Divine Hukam (Waheguru ordained).

In the light of the Gurbani then how should we treat the saga of June and November1984 (killing of thousands of innocent Sikhs) in which various parties (sikh leadership, government of the day and some hooligans) should share blame in any rational terms? It has both legal and spiritual dimensions. The legal part is for the security forces and law enforcement agencies to handle, whereas the spiritual side belongs to all of us who profess Hindiism or Sikhism.

I think that the well meaning Sikhs and Hindus can bring about reconciliation between the two communities a lot better than politicians who have failed to do so far.

Although it is very hard for the families of those who lost their beloved ones to come to grip with the situation yet spiritually speaking the agrieved parties shoud forgive the perpetrators of such henious crimes to invite spiritual strength as a solace.

I would suggest that just like Guru Nanak Dev Ji himself went to Sajjan Tugh, Haridwar and Kabba etc to show people the right paths; Guru Arjan Dev Ji and Guru Teg Bhadur ji sacrificed their lives for upholding unity and spiritual values, it is time to say a collective Ardas to Waheguru for the forgiveness of all those involved in killing of fellow human-beings. This will be in keeping with the highest Ideal and Spirit of Sikhi.

An Ardas could be suitably worded somethink like the following and publised in media in Indian Dailies from Shiromani Gurduara Parbhandhak Committee, Amritsar and Delhi Sikh Gurduara Management Committee, Delhi and Haryana Gurduara Management Committee etc :-

"May Waheguru forgive all those who somehow lost their sanity and became instrumental in killing of innocent people in 1984. Please give a sense of direction to those who became part of such criminal act and grant peace to them and their near and dear ones who have been suffering since and help restore sense of unity among fellow human-beings."

ਜਬ ਧਾਰੈ ਕੋਊ ਬੈਰੀ ਮੀਤੁ ॥ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਚੀਤੁ ॥ (Raag Gauri Guru Arjan Dev Ji, GGS. 278-17).

Jab Dhhaarai Kooo Bairee Meeth ||Thab Lag Nihachal Naahee Cheeth ||

जब धारै कोऊ बैरी मीतु ॥तब लगु निहचलु नाही चीतु ॥

As long as he considers one an enemy, and another a friend, His/her mind shall not come to rest.

I do hope such an initiave will bring solace to both the Communities in keeping with the message of true spirit of the Sanatan Dharma and Sikhi alike, which stand for FORGIVENESS.

"It is well known that forgiveness removes unhealthy emotions that would otherwise cause harm & creates emotions with a wholesome effect."

The various Hindu Organizations can also come up with some suitable gestures towards the Sikhs in general upholding their ancient Spiritual traditions of peace and reconciliation.

With best wishes.

Kirpal Singh

New Zealand

October 28, 2012


Remembrance and Reflection: 1984 Sikh Genocide

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The DFW Sikh American Community extends its invitation to you for our event "Remembrance and Reflection: 1984 Sikh Genocide". We aspire to share the tragedy which unfolded and provide recognition to an event which has withered away in the annals of history. We seek to provide conversation and engage with our audience to ensure dark moments such as these never occur again and that justice prevails. As the great Martin Luther King stated, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

We urge and request everyone to attend

When: Saturday, November 3, 2012 from 12 PM – 1 PM Where: Gurdwara Sikh Sangat 1400 West Euless Blvd. Euless, TX 76040

All our educators, our law enforcement officials, our elected officials, people of faith and in short all our fellow Americans are humbly requested to take advantage of this opportunity. We will highlight and recognize the fundamental principles of this great nation which was on prominent display during and in the aftermath of the Wisconsin massacre of how a nation is to respond and respect its citizens. This fundamental principle must be brought to the forefront for all to appreciate and fathom.

Sikh Americans have been an integral and constructive part of the DFW community for over 50 years and we invite you to share in our experiences and a history which permeates within all of us.

The institution of langar (community kitchen) will be in full effect in which everyone is requested to partake and have a delicious vegetarian meal. So please come by and ask your questions, eat and drink some food, or just engage with your neighbors.

For any questions or comments please contact: 1. Gurvinder Singh 469.222.6288 gurvinder.singh@unitedsikhs.org 2. Manmohan Singh 469.733.5190 m.singh.180@gmail.com 3. Manpreet Singh 972-415-7897 kingmani15@yahoo.com 4. Pritpal Singh 214-505-6375 pritpaltx@yahoo.com
We will be honored and look forward to your presence.

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