Caste riots across Punjab amongst Sikhs


by Sunny
26th May, 2009 at 4:23 am    

This is such a bizarre story. Apparently a fight kicked off between Sikhs in Vienna, Austria, with the result that Sikhs across Punjab got angry and started rioting. I swear, people don’t need much excuses in India to start burning shit.

Sant Ramanand, 57, was attacked by six men with knifes and a pistol at a ceremony in a Vienna gurdwara on Sunday. It is thought that Ramanand, from the Dera Sach Khand sect – a low caste Sikh sect that is widespread in Punjab and made up largely of Untouchables or Dalits – was targeted by Jat Sikhs – a higher caste, landowning sect – who accused him of disrespecting the religion when he visited the gurdwara.

That, to me, looks like another one of those cases where Jat Sikhs (a grouping my family unfortunately belongs to) swagger around telling everyone who is a proper Sikh and who isn’t, and who is a fake Sikh etc. I’m not surprised that lower-caste Sikhs in Punjab are angry. But street riots?

This article in the Times of India says it has put caste in the spotlight. And here’s the shameful thing – Sikhs are not supposed to follow the Hindu caste system at all. It is strictly forbidden. And yet Jat (landowner) Sikhs, who see themselves at the top of the pecking order, are the worst offenders in perpetuating caste differences. Annoys the hell out of me.


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  1. veerams — on 26th May, 2009 at 7:22 am  

    Sikh extremists are becoming more like the taliban.
    In fact my friends call it the ‘talibanisation of Sikhi’
    Religion is being distorted to suit the political or social agenda of certain groups – nameley the Taksali’s. What was a very reputable school of Sikhi has disintegrated into a fascist organisation. I was at a Gurdwara the other week, the taksali preacher was cussing Christianity saying it was not a proper religion as it sanctioned the drinking of alcohol.

    The ‘sant’ Ramnand has now died from his injuries.

  2. platinum786 — on 26th May, 2009 at 9:14 am  

    Correct me if i’m wrong, but the lower caste sikhs, have this other guy as their guru don’t they? I thought Sikhism only had 12 Guru’s… hence these guys are like your Ahmedi’s? OR is the term guru in this case used to term the head of the group, and not in the divine sense?

    I read (on another forum) that the guru fella went to a mainstream gudwara and was preaching and that caused the fight in Austria, which then spread to India, as these things logically do. :|

  3. Jai — on 26th May, 2009 at 9:49 am  

    I thought Sikhism only had 12 Guru’s…

    10 human Gurus, plus the 11th in the form of the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh scriptures).

    A couple of other Sikh sects exist alongside the mainstream majority “Khalsa” version. This includes interpretations involving a continuing human “Guru”, but they’re not regarded as “canonical” by mainstream Sikhism as the latter views Guru Gobind Singh as the final human Sikh Guru, who transferred spiritual authority to the scriptures as his eternal successor shortly before he passed away.

    who accused him of disrespecting the religion when he visited the gurdwara.

    Does anyone know exactly what he said/did to “disrespect the religion” ?

  4. cjcjc — on 26th May, 2009 at 11:59 am  

    I *knew* you were posh!

  5. Amrit — on 26th May, 2009 at 12:11 pm  

    Once again, I find myself ashamed to be affiliated with Sikhism. And all because of people like this.

    Nice to see the words of the Gurus being ignored as usual. Anyone who’s even got a whiff of the marriage process between Sikhs in this country, esp. in Sikh-heavy areas, is only too aware of the caste differences and how people uphold them still because ‘everyone else does it.’

    That is my parents’ actual justification for why they do it. Yes, and if there was a mass suicide, would you do that too?!

    veerams – yup, the Taksalis are pretty keen on being the top authority on all things Sikhi, it would seem. I’ve heard quite a bit about that too.

  6. qidniz — on 26th May, 2009 at 2:13 pm  

    the Taksalis are pretty keen on being the top authority on all things Sikhi, it would seem.

    If people are somewhat puzzled by the radical fundo nature of the Damdami Taksal nowadays, the missing link is that Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was once the jathedar (head priest/custodian) of the sect. (Some Taksalis, like the current jathedar Thakur Singh, still maintain that Bhindranwale survived Operation Blue Star.)

  7. Sunny — on 26th May, 2009 at 3:47 pm  

    Once again, I find myself ashamed to be affiliated with Sikhism.

    Whoa now. I have no problems affiliating myself with Sikhism. I have major problems with people who call themselves ‘Sikhs’. The two are different things.

  8. Nobodys hero — on 26th May, 2009 at 4:21 pm  

    Another jat bashing.I have never seen a sikh gurdwara named after a jat guru or bhagat. Every other community has its own caste based hero. The media are playing the caste card. The murder was a barbaric crime without any sense. Some human being died over the interpretion of some religious ritual not saying , or saying a different prayer. The victim and suspect may have been from a different caste . But caste was not the motive. Sunny you have to make up a story to earn a living so carry on mate

  9. SKye-Vee — on 26th May, 2009 at 4:27 pm  

    Re: Sikhs are not supposed to follow the Hindu caste system at all. It is strictly forbidden. And yet Jat (landowner) Sikhs, who see themselves at the top of the pecking order, are the worst offenders in perpetuating caste differences.

    In Hinduism the different castes are suppose to have equal importance. The street sweeper is just as important as the shopkeeper and landowners in a community.

    Through education you can move up in caste. Unfortunately education cost money. Children often did what their parents did, and thus people became stuck within their caste, or born into it which was wrong.

    People are inherently arrogant and like to be one up on the next man. They deliberately keep people down instead of helping them up. The religions speak of not being materialistic, yet people are.

    It is why in Sikhism they sought to abolish the caste system. Thing is people are still inherently arrogant and will seek to stratify themselves in any way.

  10. qidniz — on 26th May, 2009 at 4:32 pm  

    who accused him of disrespecting the religion when he visited the gurdwara.

    Does anyone know exactly what he said/did to “disrespect the religion” ?

    Something seems to have been lost in the telling. BBC says that the Rudolfsheim gurdwara where this happened is a Dera Sach Khand temple. If so, then Sant Ramanand, while “visiting” in the strict sense, was clearly “at home” sect-wise, and the attack was by outsiders invading the premises (as opposed to, say, Ramanand entering a mainstream gurdwara and being set upon by “defenders”).

    As for what he might have said disrepectfully, the Ravidasis of Dera Sach Khand and similar groups are viewed as heretical by orthodox Sikhs, which means that they are disrespectful by definition. We all know how that argument works.

  11. qidniz — on 26th May, 2009 at 4:50 pm  

    the Ravidasis of Dera Sach Khand and similar groups are viewed as heretical by orthodox Sikhs

    The Dera Sach Khand case is somewhat special.

    Ravidas (fl. 14th CE) is a Bhagat of the Sikhs (41 hymns of his are in the Guru Granth Sahib), but not a guru. Thus the Ravidasi sect is Hindu (bhakta) in origin.

    In Punjab, at some point the Sikhs descended from Chamars (a very low caste group in Hindu society) became Ravidasis — it is said, to protest caste discrimination by Sikhs descended from higher castes — and they were a large enough group to dominate the sect from then on, so that today the ancient Hindu origin is basically irrelevant. Whether this was an “adoption” (of extra beliefs) or a “conversion” (out of Sikhism) is the doctrinal point separating them from the mainstream.

  12. Mangles — on 26th May, 2009 at 4:51 pm  

    Jai -’Does anyone know exactly what he said/did to “disrespect the religion” ? ‘.

    From what I’ve read and heard he allowed himself to be seated on a higher pedestal, alongside Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

    Though there are reports that individuals of a so called ‘higher caste’ may have been involved in this tragedy and crime, there have been numerous problems with this sect leader when he visited the UK and there were many-a scuffle amidst the Ravidassi community because of this fellows insistence on sitting on a pedestal and having obesience to him alongside Guru Granth Sahib Ji. To the extent that opposing sections of the Ravidassi community protested against his presence at their Gurdwaras and took out adverts in the press to condemn him.

    BTW Sunny it isn’t just ‘jatts’ (who historically are no higher up the so called caste pecking order -theoretically- than anyone else) who swagger around telling people who are Sikhs and not. For example the geezer who assasinated the then head of the Nirankari cult was reportedly of a ‘Ramgharia’ family background and the the Sikh who assassinated Indira Gandhi was what many people would describe as a ‘low caste’ Sikh.

    So in a nutshell it isn’t simply a caste thing, though its easy as always to believe everyting that’s reported in the media.

  13. Sunny — on 26th May, 2009 at 5:07 pm  

    So in a nutshell it isn’t simply a caste thing, though its easy as always to believe everyting that’s reported in the media.

    In that case, why are these people burning stuff in India? why are the media talking about caste? Has it come out of thin air?

  14. Sunny — on 26th May, 2009 at 5:08 pm  

    From what I’ve read and heard he allowed himself to be seated on a higher pedestal, alongside Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

    Didn’t realise that was a good enough reason to kill someone these days. And what’s the difference between these people and the Taliban then?

    Mangles: Not sure how the person who assassinated Indira Gandhi was telling others whether they were proper Sikhs or not.

  15. Jai — on 26th May, 2009 at 5:14 pm  

    Thanks for the clarifications, Qidniz & Mangles. I think it’s important to differentiate between a conflict being specifically about caste (ie. one group harassing another directly because of that issue) and differences of opinion between groups who happen to be from different backgrounds but whose arguments centre on ideology/theology rather than the matter of caste itself.

    From what I’ve read and heard he allowed himself to be seated on a higher pedestal, alongside Guru Granth Sahib Ji

    Hmmm. Well, I can see why that would be a major problem, although not necessarily one that should have resulted in anyone actually killing the guy or even using violence full-stop.

    Simply stating the historical reasons that there aren’t supposed to be any human Sikh Gurus any more (and certainly not anyone on an equal level — literally and metaphorically — with the Guru Granth Sahib), along with stating that setting oneself up like that — or following such an individual — is a self-destructive and spiritually unwise path to go down should all have been sufficient.

    You then agree to disagree and leave it up to them to reap what they sow (in solely spiritual terms, I mean), but it should be self-evident that they are not part of the mainstream “Khalsa” Sikh religious theology or path.

  16. blah — on 26th May, 2009 at 5:33 pm  

    The ironic thing is that many Sikhs would say Sunny himself isnt a Sikh since he doesnt have a beard or wear a turban

  17. qidniz — on 26th May, 2009 at 5:52 pm  

    I think it’s important to differentiate between a conflict being specifically about caste (ie. one group harassing another directly because of that issue) and differences of opinion between groups who happen to be from different backgrounds but whose arguments centre on ideology/theology rather than the matter of caste itself.

    Good point, but the further complication here is that the doctrinal divide was very likely the continuation of an original distinction based on caste. A sublimation, as it were. Doesn’t make it any less nasty, even though the media are playing up the caste aspect for the sensationalism.

    (PS: Jai, I posted some music links for you in Rumbold’s Bank Holiday thread. The spam filter got in the way for a while. Enjoy!)

  18. Amrit — on 26th May, 2009 at 7:11 pm  

    Sunny @ 9 – yeah, fair enough, I guess.

    I guess the reason I said that (so faithlessly!) is that a religion to a large extent depends on the people who follow it. Therefore, if they don’t do that correctly, it’s like it has no meaning.

    Which was why I said that the way I did… but I accept your clarification. Ta. :-D

    Jai, you are teh awesome. I said exactly the same thing you said about how the correct response to this guy would have been just to ignore his incredible arrogance, and then I see…

    leave it up to them to reap what they sow

    Great minds think alike!

    P.S.: I like Mangles’ sudden rash of humility there.

  19. Leon — on 26th May, 2009 at 7:21 pm  

    The ironic thing is that many Sikhs would say Sunny himself isnt a Sikh since he doesnt have a beard or wear a turban

    How many? What proportion of all Sikhs do you think view him this way?

  20. veerams — on 26th May, 2009 at 7:35 pm  

    Nobody’s hero you stated

    “I have never seen a sikh gurdwara named after a jat guru”.

    That is because none of the Sikh Guru’s were Jat.

  21. Pooja — on 26th May, 2009 at 7:52 pm  

    I would just like to clarify that Sant Rama Nand ji did not, and never has insisted on sitting on a higher pedestal alongside the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. They were not in Vienna to disrespect Sikhism, they were raising funds to continue work on a hospital they recently built in Punjab.

  22. nobodys fool — on 26th May, 2009 at 9:17 pm  

    Once again, I find myself ashamed to be affiliated with Sikhism.
    Whoa now. I have no problems affiliating myself with Sikhism. I have major problems with people who call themselves ‘Sikhs’. The two are different things.
    i am glad that sunny has met 25 million people and dislikes thier attitude.
    i was once mugged by a black guy .Now i have a major problem with with people who are black . But i like thier culture and basket ball skills

  23. nobodys fool — on 26th May, 2009 at 9:41 pm  

    if sunny can hold racist stereotypes why cant i.
    if we are going to get technical jats are not a caste but a tribe. Jats are found all over central and south asia.From khazistan iran china afghanistan pakistan and india.There are pockets are jats in eastern europe places like romania serbia and croatia.

  24. Mangles — on 26th May, 2009 at 10:42 pm  

    Amrit:P.S.: I like Mangles’ sudden rash of humility there.

    Ouch!

  25. mk1 — on 27th May, 2009 at 8:16 am  

    Disgusting, absolutely disgusting – the killing of these two Priests simply because their brand of Sikhi was different to the ‘mainstream’ is wrong on so many levels.

    And to supporters who ran riot in Panjab, burning trains, cars and colleges, to protest at the deaths, well their actions are equally as reprehensible.

    LEts not forget this has happened in Europe before – in 1987 in a school hall in Southall, Darshan Das, a preacher from India was shot dead all because his teachings diverted slightly from the orthodox Sikhs.

  26. munir — on 27th May, 2009 at 9:43 am  

    Leon
    “How many? What proportion of all Sikhs do you think view him this way?”

    Maybe the Centre for Social Cohesion should do a survey

  27. Jai — on 27th May, 2009 at 10:15 am  

    (PS: Jai, I posted some music links for you in Rumbold’s Bank Holiday thread. The spam filter got in the way for a while. Enjoy!)

    Thank you very much for those, Qidniz. I’ve had a chance to check them out and have also posted a reply to you on that thread.

  28. Rumbold — on 27th May, 2009 at 10:16 am  

    While none of us knew the Gurus personally, from what I have read about them they would have found the killing of someone over this type of thing abhorrent.

  29. andrew — on 27th May, 2009 at 10:16 am  

    hope it does not get worse

  30. Mangles — on 27th May, 2009 at 10:28 am  

    mk1 – agree with you that violence does not solve anything. However you can’t class Darshan Das in the same vain as these two Sants. Equally though I don’t think violence solved anything in that scenario either, DDas was a provocateur and actively took a pro-India stance at a tme when the sentiments of the Sikh communty had been considerably hurt following the events of 1984. He not only set up a cult (i.e. not a Sikh sect) but also went out of his way to create tensions within the SIkh community by challenging the community to stop him if they dared – he was so politically motivated that he even fused the Indian flag into the SND cults flag. Clearly there’s a considerable difference between these Sants and the cult leader Darshan Das.

    Sunny touche – no Indira Gandhi was not telling people whether they were proper Sikhs or not. I was simply overzealous in my clarification regarding so called ‘Jatts’ and their alleged bravado- i.e. that it is not a Jatt trait to take revenge but a trait of the Sikh faith going back not only to recent history, but several centuries. Look at for example Banda Singh Bahadur and his revenge of the martyrdom of the Sahibzade at Sirhind. Banda Singh Bahadur was neither Punjabi nor Jatt.

    Rab Rakha

  31. Jai — on 27th May, 2009 at 11:00 am  

    Mangles,

    but a trait of the Sikh faith going back not only to recent history, but several centuries. Look at for example Banda Singh Bahadur and his revenge of the martyrdom of the Sahibzade at Sirhind.

    No.

    Guru Gobind Singh had provided military assistance to the new Emperor, Bahadur Shah, and the latter had promised that he would deal with Wazir Khan (the Governor of Sirhind) for his various crimes. The Emperor later reneged on his promise, and it was after that that the Guru invested Banda Singh Bahadur with the appropriate formal military authority to take on Wazir Khan directly.

    However, during the course of the campaign in Punjab, Banda Singh Bahadur repeatedly violated the various injunctions and precedents that Guru Gobind Singh had laid down in terms of “acceptable codes of conduct” for warfare; when he was finally captured by the Mughal authorities and suffered horrific torture and atrocities before his death, he admitted that he had overstepped the mark in his efforts and that, as far as he was concerned, his suffering was God’s justice in response to his own transgressions.

    Therefore, although (as you’ve correctly said) various historical Sikhs have indeed acted in revenge, this does not mean that the concept of revenge itself (in the generally-accepted meaning of the term) is “a trait of the Sikh faith”, and certainly not if it involves ‘collateral damage’, death and/or destruction impacting civilians, occupation/annexation of territory, attempts to assuage one’s own rage-driven thirst for revenge, etc etc. Theoretically, Guru Gobind Singh himself had ample justification to wreak vengeance on Aurangzeb personally in retaliation for the immense personal loss and tragedies he had had to deal with — but of course, as we all know, the Guru didn’t react in that way, and at the very end he was on good terms with Aurangzeb due to the latter’s repentence and renunciation of his previous actions & policies.

    Guru Gobind Singh would not have approved of Banda Singh Bahadur’s actions; the latter was aware of this upon his own death, and therefore knew that he had stepped far beyond what was acceptable in “the Sikh faith” (to use your term).

  32. Mangles — on 27th May, 2009 at 11:22 am  

    Jai- thanks for correction.

  33. curious? — on 27th May, 2009 at 1:04 pm  

    This has jack all to do with caste and more to do with alleged beadbi of Guru Granth Sahib Jee, killing of a ‘holy’ person and ravidassi’s running wild in punjab. The caste thing is just a spin by the media.

  34. Jai — on 27th May, 2009 at 1:22 pm  

    Jai- thanks for correction.

    No problem, Mangles. It’s yet another example of the difference between what a faith teaches & the examples of its founders, and what some of its supposed adherents subsequently do when claiming to act in the faith’s name.

  35. Dalbir — on 27th May, 2009 at 1:44 pm  

    The riots may be floodgates opening up. The base behaviour of some Sikhs who see themselves as “high” caste towards others is something that has been going on for a long time. Anyone who is even partially civilised would be sickened by it.

    It is one of those things where the cultural practices of some people who have joined the Sikh ranks are in stark conflict with Sikhism itself. You will find these pro-caste ‘Sikhs’ on the frontline of making excuses for and covering up the undeniable discrimination that takes place.

    Guru Nanak’s own thoughts on the subject are as clear as a newly polished window:

    ਨੀਚਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਨੀਚ ਜਾਤਿ ਨੀਚੀ ਹੂ ਅਤਿ ਨੀਚੁ ॥
    नीचा अंदरि नीच जाति नीची हू अति नीचु ॥
    Nīcẖā anḏar nīcẖ jāṯ nīcẖī hū aṯ nīcẖ.
    Those who are lowest of the low class, the very lowest of the low;

    ਨਾਨਕੁ ਤਿਨ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਾਥਿ ਵਡਿਆ ਸਿਉ ਕਿਆ ਰੀਸ ॥
    नानकु तिन कै संगि साथि वडिआ सिउ किआ रीस ॥
    Nānak ṯin kai sang sāth vadi▫ā si▫o ki▫ā rīs.
    Nanak seeks the company of those. Why should he try to imitate the great?

    ਜਿਥੈ ਨੀਚ ਸਮਾਲੀਅਨਿ ਤਿਥੈ ਨਦਰਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਖਸੀਸ ॥੪॥੩॥
    जिथै नीच समालीअनि तिथै नदरि तेरी बखसीस ॥४॥३॥
    Jithai nīcẖ samālī▫an ṯithai naḏar ṯerī bakẖsīs. ||4||3||
    In that place where the lowly are cared for-there, the Blessings of Your Glance of Grace rain down. ||4||3||

    Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Ji Page 15.

  36. nobodys fool — on 27th May, 2009 at 4:02 pm  

    Punjab has never had caste based riots.There is caste based self segregation. But caste based discrimination is minimal compared to other states in India. large migration of Bihar has brought thier caste based militancy to punjab. The murder was not caste but religous based. If people want to see it as caste based and pour petrol on sensitive issue. I hope they know the consequences. The jat people will not tolerate their people being attacked and property looted and destoryed. Like gerry adams once said the boys have not gone away

  37. Bobby — on 27th May, 2009 at 4:04 pm  

    Thanks for that Dalbir

  38. Bobby — on 27th May, 2009 at 4:21 pm  

    The jat people will not tolerate their people being attacked and property looted and destoryed. Like gerry adams once said the boys have not gone away

    So you’re equating yourself with a terrorist organisation like the IRA?

  39. Dalbir — on 27th May, 2009 at 4:35 pm  

    “There is caste based self segregation.”

    You sir are full of lying crap. I’m waiting for the typical hate filled outburst…..any minute now……

    Screw your kuttarhpuna (extremism).

  40. Bobby — on 27th May, 2009 at 4:49 pm  

    It’s all about power at the end of the day. These people use differences in rituals to attack those who they see as threatening their power.

    Someone said before that you don’t see ‘Jat’ sants and bhagats being named on Gurudwara gates. That is because there is so much Jat hegemony inside the Singh Sabha movement that they don’t need to. They have conflated ‘Jattism’ with ‘Sikhism’ so much.

    Ravidassis have their own Gurudwarey because they were so marginalised and discriminated against. Anyone who denies is this is either a liar, or ignorant to the point of stupidity.

    Guru Ravidas is intrinsic to Sikhi and Guru Granth Sahib and Ravidassis place an emphasis on his teachings and representation because he speaks to their heritage of social oppression and upliftment. That he is included in GGS is symbolic of the elevation of their history into a divine body that is an actual living Guru.

    These maniacs detest heterodoxy in the Sikh panth, and detest the fact that they cannot control every aspect of every diverse praxis of Sikhi. Add to that the fact that a prosperous and assertive Ravidassi community becomes self-sufficient, and even starts attracting congregants from a Gurudwara that the maniacs thought was the rightful ‘Kingpin’ of the Sikh community there, and you have a recipe for fascist action.

    The good thing is that these beasts thought they would carry out their deed and escape. Instead, they were apprehended by the sangat, and hospitalised. No worries, because they will stand trial and be sent to prison in Austria for a long, long time. We will also get to know exactly who they are, where they came from, who they associated with. The remnants of those ideological Khalistani purists who have devolved their struggle to seeking power at the lowest unit-level of Sikhism, at the level of the temple, may also be ideologically driving this kind of facist violence.

    At the end of the day, this can only go so far. They can never stop heterodoxy, no matter how hard they try.

    And as the stupid, beaten up fascist scumbag cowards are discovering, they can’t do so without finding that when attacked a Sikh sangat will attack back.

    There can be no escape from an enraged congregation, and no matter how hard intolerant bigots try and to bully others, they will not win in the long run, and if they carry on with this kind of thing lots of them, and their ideological apologists, will end up picking up bars of soap in prison showers next to murderers and other violent criminals, for a long long time.

    And that is good.

  41. nobodys fool — on 27th May, 2009 at 6:46 pm  

    Communities need to be defended we wont tolerate aggression

  42. nobodys fool — on 27th May, 2009 at 6:58 pm  

    i wish people would live in the real world.People like to live in their own communities like the uk . Apart from work and school, there is little integration between the various groups black white asian muslim hindu sikh high caste low caste etc. The same goes for india. In India, due to positive discrimination schedule castes have higher changes of education and employment.i repeat again the murder was completely again humanity. The attacking of hundreds of innocent people was even worse . It will not be tolerated. fight fire with fire not a water extingushier

  43. Bobby — on 27th May, 2009 at 7:13 pm  

    Communities need to be defended we wont tolerate aggression

    You sound just like the racist BNP. What are you going to do? Attack innocent people to ‘defend’ your community?

    Pathetic little bigots.

  44. mk1 — on 27th May, 2009 at 8:35 pm  

    i wish people would live in the real world.People like to live in their own communities like the uk . Apart from work and school, there is little integration between the various groups black white asian muslim hindu sikh high caste low caste etc.

    The real world? I think you mean your little insular world?

  45. nobodys fool — on 27th May, 2009 at 10:00 pm  

    im the bigot who is attacking who. Who are you defending a blood thirsty mob. Everyone seems to know the facts .Has Sunny and co got a link to the vienna secret service

  46. nobodys fool — on 27th May, 2009 at 10:03 pm  

    where does this secular pardise exist apart from eastender . let me know an area where communities live in arm in arm.

  47. nobodys fool — on 27th May, 2009 at 10:43 pm  

    We are deeply saddened and shocked over the recent incident that took place in Vienna, Austria and subsequent rioting in Punjab, India and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends, of everyone who has been affected by this incident.

    We would appeal to communities around the world to work together, in harmony to resolve this matter peacefully and uphold the honor of the Guru Granth Sahib. The rioting that has been taking place across Punjab and surrounding areas is causing a detrimental effect to all the communities residing in Punjab.

    Tensions had been building up within the Ravidass community for a number of years, concerning the Sach Khand Dera (Monestary) and there anti Guru Granth Sahib practices. A few years ago, Sant Rama Nand, leader of the Sach Khand Monestary came to the Guru Ravidass Gurdwara on Union Road in Handsworth, Birmingham, UK. He was forced to leave by the majority of the congregation and management committee because the majority of the Ravidass community took objection to the presence of any Dera leader, sitting parallel to the Guru Granth Sahib, the present and perpetual Sikh Guru.

    After this incident the Guru Ravidass Gurdwara in Handsworth mounted a plaque within the Gurdwara, banning any cult leaders from undermining the Guru Granth Sahib, with there ritual worshipping practices.

    At this time Sant Rama Nand leader of the Sach Khand Monestary hired the hall at the Holyhead High School on Holyhead Road, Handsworth to hold a gathering for his followers because the Guru Ravidass Gurdwara congregation and management committee, would not allow the gathering to take place there.

    It would be difficult for any community to allow cult leaders into there places of worship and allow them to undermine there religious beliefs. Similarly as in the incident in the Vienna Gurdwara, some members of the congregation were offended by the anti Guru Granth Sahib practices of the Dera leaders and this has led to this terrible tragedy occurring.

    Some media reports have suggested that the incident at the Gurdwara in Austria were due to tensions between higher and lower castes. Within the Sikh community we do not have a caste system, however people from different ethnic backgrounds or regions are referred to as Bradrees. This is different from the Hindu community in which castes exist.

    Within the Sikh community the bradrees literally mean equality amongst all ethnic groups, therefore although people may be from different ethnic groupings, collectively they make up the Sikh nation and are considered equal, which is different from the Hindu caste system, where people consider different castes to be higher and lower castes. Taken from sikh times.

  48. Sunny — on 28th May, 2009 at 1:22 am  

    There is caste based self segregation

    Lol! this is like those people who accused the blacks of segregating themselves from the white population. What rubbish. There’s so much caste-based pride among Jats it’s sickening at times.

  49. nobodys fool — on 28th May, 2009 at 3:45 am  

    there is tribal pride, jat is a tribe . Educate you self sunny , a tribe like celtic serbs pathans saxon jutes .it is not a occupation based grouping. No where in the indian language in any variety does jat mean farming or landowners. Jats were a central asian tribe who entered india three centuries ago. jat dna samples has shown many central asian and european traces espacially germanic. Like your name Mr Sunny Hundal which originates from the huns who invaded india from europe.

  50. qidniz — on 28th May, 2009 at 4:11 am  

    Within the Sikh community we do not have a caste system, however people from different ethnic backgrounds or regions are referred to as Bradrees.

    “Bradree”?! Must be some sort of newfangled Britishism.

    The word is biradari (“patrilineage” or “clan”).

    This is different from the Hindu community in which castes exist.

    Not really. Brahminical theorizing about the so-called caturvarnya aside, the reality of caste in Hindu society is jati — which, no surprise, means endogamous family groups. It all boils down to commensality and connubium: crudely, those you eat with and sleep with (i.e. marry). A form of tribalism.

    Jati-based distinctions are endemic in the subcontinent. The Hindu notion of caste add an extra twist of ritual status, but the lack of that extra complication among Sikhs and Muslims makes little difference to the realities.

  51. Jai — on 28th May, 2009 at 10:01 am  

    The ongoing debate about “caste” vs. “tribe” in some quarters of this thread is just a matter of semantics and attempted clever wordplay. I think we’re all perfectly aware that “jati”, “biradari”, and whatever other terms one wishes to use are not only frequently interchangeable in Indian society but they do also have certain hierarchical connotations.

    It’s also worth bearing in mind that the concept of casually using the word “caste” to mean a particular group-based identity is sufficiently endemic in India for many people over there to even use it to mean individuals belonging to a different religion, eg. “I’m a Hindu and wanted to marry my girlfriend, but my parents objected as she is a Muslim and is therefore from a different caste to us”.

    But, to take this back to Sikhism…..There is one very important point that obviously needs to be re-emphasised: One of the major reasons for the formation of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh (and, ideally, the replacement of caste/location-based surnames with “Singh” or “Kaur”) was to eradicate insular, segregating caste/biradari/regional-based mindsets, particularly those limited to the culture of the Indian subcontinent (the Gurus had a more timeless and global perspective, remember). If you’re a Sikh, your “biradari” is supposed to be the rest of the Khalsa, along with the entire human race. Full-stop. No ifs, no buts, no excuses, no caveats, no further subdivisions.

    Now, people being people, individuals always find ways to label themselves and others according to some form of presumed/assumed group-based identity, especially if they are surrounded by or in contact with people regarded as being from different backgrounds. People frequently define themselves by what they regard as having in common with some others and also by what they believe differentiates them from others. This kind of “tribalism” is a universal human trait and is not limited to Indians by any means. Fine. Most people (including me) do this, to various degrees.

    But do not claim that there is any sanction for this kind of mindset in Sikhism, or that your actions are in accordance with the teachings of the Sikh Gurus and the principles they promoted. This is very far from the truth indeed.

  52. Mangles — on 28th May, 2009 at 11:28 am  

    Sikh Federation (uk) Statement On The Vienna Incident And Attacks Against Sikhs In Punjab

    UK: We are deeply saddened and shocked over the recent incident that took place in Vienna, Austria and the subsequent rioting in Punjab. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sikh families and friends of those affected by this incident. Any loss of life is regrettable whether in Vienna or Punjab.

    All concerned need to ensure that incidents, like the one in Vienna and the violent reaction against Sikhs in Punjab that followed are not allowed to occur again. This will only happen if we take a hard look at the facts that have still to emerge about why the situation arose in Vienna in the first place and what was done by the authorities in Punjab to maintain calm and prevent attacks against Sikhs.

    The incident in Vienna and reaction in Punjab have brought back many memories. Firstly the memory of 13 April 1978 when thirteen innocent Sikhs were killed for peacefully demonstrating against a fake Nirankari baba for showing disrespect towards the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Secondly, the memory of the events from 25 years ago; when innocent Sikhs were deliberately targeted and killed.

    Many hearing about the incident in Vienna or unsubstantiated rumours have immediately jumped on the popular bandwagon to condemn the attack that took place on Sunday without establishing the full facts. This includes the possibility that three local Amritdhari Sikhs, simply wearing their Kirpans, may have been shot dead by Indian security agents providing armed protection to the two so-called self-proclaimed gurus visiting Austria. A fourth local Sikh is believed to be in a serious condition in hospital with bullet wounds to the head.

    Rumours abound as to why the incident took place in Vienna, including local tensions that existed. For example, there is talk of an incident a week earlier when a local Sikh man was supposedly attacked by thugs at the same location in Vienna for peacefully complaining about disrespect towards the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The local Sikh man is believed to have been left with life threatening injuries and subsequently died in hospital of the wounds inflicted.

    The media has largely been silent on the killing of Sikhs in Vienna by Indian security agents with the use of illegal firearms. Ironically the only statement in the media on the killing of three Sikhs has come from the Indian police itself. The media has also failed to report on whether a serious incident took place a week earlier that may have relegated the incident in Vienna to a local dispute that got totally out of hand by the over reaction of Indian security agents.

    There are however a number of hard truths that many of those making statements to the media have avoided to mention. It is well-known that the two so-called self-proclaimed gurus visiting Austria described by one Austrian politician as ‘problem gurus’ that should not have been allowed to enter the country to preach hate, were partaking in activities disrespectful of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. One possibility is these ‘problem gurus’ sealed their own fate through their offensive actions and continued disrespect towards the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The likes of the SGPC and those that promote and protect these ‘problem gurus’ must shoulder the blame for what has happen due to their inaction.

    There has been extensive misreporting about the Sikh faith by the media following the incident in Vienna. The repeated mistake made by the media is the failure to recognise Sikhs do not have a living human Guru. Instead the Sikhs eternal Guru is the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, which includes the teachings of Bhagat Ravi Dass and this has been the case for over 300 years.

    The tenth and last human Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji was unequivocal when he stated: “Sab Sikhan ko hokam hai Guru Manyo Granth” meaning “All Sikhs are commanded to take the Granth as Guru”. Sikhs throughout the world last year celebrated the 300th anniversary of the ending of the concept of the human Guru and the gurudom passing to the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Nonetheless these ‘problem gurus’ have been encoraged to continue to stir up matters and have been provided armed Indian government protection while in India and abroad.

    The media also continue to provoke the situation by portraying the Vienna incident as an issue linked to caste. However, by definition a Sikh is one who believes in one God, the teachings of the ten Sikh Gurus and their utterances contained in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji; and believes it is necessary to take Amrit by Khanda-ki-Pahul bequeathed by the tenth Guru. Those that understand the Sikh faith know those who take Amrit and become part of the Khalsa are deemed to be equal and the Sikh Gurus finished the caste system, which continues to be linked to the Hindu faith and way of life.

    Source: Jaspal Singh, National Press Secretary

  53. Rumbold — on 28th May, 2009 at 11:59 am  

    So the Sikh Federation think that:

    “One possibility is these ‘problem gurus’ sealed their own fate through their offensive actions and continued disrespect towards the Guru Granth Sahib Ji.”

    In other words, they got what’s coming to them.

    Thanks for highlighting this Mangles.

  54. comrade — on 28th May, 2009 at 2:14 pm  

    latest from Punjab

    Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) owned the responsibility for the Vienna firing.

    Sunny, these were not cast riots, this was just wanton violence, not targeting any particular cast. The voilence as always is instigated by certain politcal parties. Many Dalits, were also against this ‘holly man’ There is a election coming up in the Nuremal seat Jalandhar. I belive this killing was carried out by the ‘Babbar boys’ I call them ‘Teleban Sikhs’

  55. Dalbir — on 28th May, 2009 at 3:32 pm  

    “I belive this killing was carried out by the ‘Babbar boys’ I call them ‘Teleban Sikhs’”

    Strange thing is, there is a “press release” under their name condemning it?!?!

    CHANDIGARH: Even as the Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) claimed responsibility for the Vienna incident that sparked violence in Punjab, the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) has condemned the killing of Sant Rama Nand of the Dera Sach Khand.

    According to information posted on its website, the London-based Akash Radio said the KZF has claimed responsibility for the Sunday’s attack in Vienna. Claiming that it had received an e-mail, it said the message, written on the KZF’s letterhead, was signed by one Ranjit Singh.

    The KZF is said to have claimed that the incident occurred because “these people did not heed to the warnings that they should not disrespect Guru Granth Sahibji by sitting parallel to Sri Guru Granth Sahibji; letting people bow before them in the Guru Sahib’s presence and committing various unacceptable anti-maryada (Sikh code of conduct) acts. As they continued to commit such sins, the KZF was forced to take this action.”

    The Babbar Khalsa International, which figures on the U.S. list of terrorist organisations, has condemned the killing of Sant Rama Nand. Akash Radio claimed that the BKI chief Wadhawa Singh Babbar said in an e-mail that the entire Sikh Panth regretted the attack on Sant Niranjan Das and Sant Rama Nand. The e-mail said:

    “Everyone knows that this attack was not done by the Sikh Panth. Indian agencies are behind this attack; and they are trying to split the Ravidasiya community from the Sikh Panth. The Khalsa Panth will continue to cherish this relationship formed since the times of Guru Nanak Devji.

    “The Khalsa Panth requests the Ravidasiya community to maintain peace. The Khalsa Panth will always stand by the Ravidasiya community and will not let the Indian agencies succeed in their mal-intensions.”

    http://www.thehindu.com/2009/05/27/stories/2009052760101300.htm

    PS – Yes, I know Sikhs have spelling “issues”.

  56. Mangles — on 28th May, 2009 at 4:55 pm  

    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2422/3572930097_7897375456_b.jpg

    See link above for advert taken out by Ravidasi Community UK against the dera in 2002 condemning their actions (Sorry its in Punjabi!!)

    This clearly illustrates that as suggested by some on this thread the issue wasn’t an inter caste problem but something which brought diverse sections of the Sikh community together. For the Ravidasi community to make such public statements aginst this dera illustrates the strength of feeling amongst its members against the priests who headed this group, as the Ravidassi community has rarely, if ever, raised internal issues in public.

    Clearly there are people wanting to make political mileage out of this terrible incident and orchestrating the rioting in Punjab. perhaps its it is due to some forthcoming elections. What’s new in India.

    Rab rakha.

  57. Dalbir — on 28th May, 2009 at 5:39 pm  

    Sorry but I have to add this:

    This is either the actions of some extremely dense section of the community, who have managed to do his on the eve of the 25th annivesary of the 1984 attack on the Golden Temple and its aftermath.

    Or an extremely clever plot to deflect from the anniversary.

    Intuition tells me it’s the former, experience tells me not to rule out the latter just yet.

  58. nobodys fool — on 28th May, 2009 at 5:46 pm  

    There is caste based self segregation

    Lol! this is like those people who accused the blacks of segregating themselves from the white population. What rubbish. There’s so much caste-based pride among Jats it’s sickening at times.

    How many times have you heard asian people say they have brought a house in a white area, no muslims no blacks and asians, sheer angelic white paradise.

  59. Dalbir — on 28th May, 2009 at 6:13 pm  

    Nobodys fool

    Your name is just so wrong my friend………..

  60. nobodys fool — on 28th May, 2009 at 9:20 pm  

    a joke for yer
    next time your relation or friend tells yer he,s brought a house in a gora area all white even the sun does not caste a shadow.
    Tell him, his house is worth more than his neighbour.
    He’ll ask why.
    you ve got a gora next door, the goras got a indian neighbour.

  61. nobodys fool — on 28th May, 2009 at 9:34 pm  

    Why has the vienna story gone quiet.Three individual were reported to have been shot in the head. It takes a skilled expert to shoot three targets in the head in a confused environment. Has it become a international sensitive issue. Gung ho indian intelligence have taken out protesting individuals leading to murder mele. To cover their arses blame the khalistani nobody likes them. So its happy families again

  62. Dalbir — on 28th May, 2009 at 10:02 pm  

    KZF denies involvement in attack
    Sanjeev Singh Bariana
    Tribune News Service

    Ludhiana, May 28
    The Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), the organisation that has cropped up in the context of the assassination of Sant Ramanand ( 57), tipped to take over as the the next head of Dera Sachkhand, in Vienna on Sunday, today denied any involvement in the attack.

    In an e-mail on a letter pad of the KZF, received by the Tribune office here, it has been pointed out the Punjab leadership was defaming their struggle for Khalistan. The press note was signed by Ranjit Singh Jammu, a “servant of the Guru Panth.”

    Jammu said, “Guru Granth Sahib has borrowed sayings from leading lights of different religions. Our ‘baani’ stresses on equality of mankind. We urge the followers of Dera Sachkhand to be vigilant regarding moves with ulterior motives by different agencies. Our fight for Khalistan is with those opposed to the panth and not against our brothers.”

    “People are being misled in the name of the KZF. The incident has hurt the entire Sant Ravidass brotherhood. The KZF begs pardon from the entire Sikh panth and also from the Sant Ravidass brotherhood,” the press note added.

    http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090529/punjab.htm#6

  63. Dalbir — on 28th May, 2009 at 10:04 pm  

    #60

    “How many times have you heard asian people say they have brought a house in a white area, no muslims no blacks and asians, sheer angelic white paradise.”

    What kind of idiots have you surrounded yourself with?

  64. Sapni — on 28th May, 2009 at 10:19 pm  

    It’s funny how indians are seen by the world as peaceful tolerant people, but this has obviously changed the view of India for other nations. Let me just say no killing of a person be it saint or man is ever justified in the house of god. We are all just blind egoistical humans who claim to be jat, ravidass, hindu……..in a scriptures written by the enlightened ones it urges you to realise who you are and prepare yourself for your journey after death. God has many names forms and ways…..to be humble will elevate you………..

  65. kELvi — on 29th May, 2009 at 3:24 am  

    No Sikh Guru has ever claimed to be divine or claimed any divine authority. The Sikh Gurus have accorded the highest praise to the sayings of the Bhagats who came before them and have all but acknowledged their goodness. Swami Ramanand intiated Kabir and at some time worked with Ravidas, before the coming of Guru Nanak. The distinction between the Gurus and the Bhagats is only one of naming and not authority. When you have Ek Onkar and Naam Simran to claim the words of one sant or Guru or Bhagat are higher than another’s is wrong. We are forgetting that Guru Gobind Singh initiated the panj piare as Khalsa and then had them initiate him as a Khalsa! So if Guru Gobind Singh did not consider himself higher than his panj piare, let us muddy the waters and take his name in vain.

  66. nobodys fool — on 30th May, 2009 at 10:23 pm  

    lest forfll sunnys prophecey. lest start a jat dera religion, a true jat faith for the jat nation. like the other ethnic groups. fuck seculism we dont need muslim kabirs and hindu bhagats. only jats for the putt jatten de. i better sunny supports celtic like a true plastic asian intelletual to please his irish brothers but hates jats having any tribal pride

  67. kELvi — on 31st May, 2009 at 12:02 am  

    Nobody’s Fool,

    There already is a Jat tradition/community that cuts across regions, languages, and faiths in India. That’s what brings together Dara Singh, Dhamendra, and Ajit Singh, all three Jutts. Community relationships in India are very complex and multi-dimensional. Mahendra Singh Dhoni the attacking wicketkeeper batsman from Jharkhand is a Rajput, while Gur Gobind Singh by virtue of being born in Patna is the patron saint of Bihar to this day.

  68. Shakila — on 31st May, 2009 at 8:11 am  

    This is why India will never be the next economic power…. it is deeply flawed and utterly prejudiced – unable to transcend its deep-rooted class, caste and religious dogma…

  69. douglas clark — on 31st May, 2009 at 8:37 am  

    What a sad thread this has turned out to be. Sunny Hundal, who knows squat all about football, is now accused of being a Celtic supporter. I’ve been around here long enough – too long some might say – but that takes the biscuit.

    There ought to be a nomination button for most ridiculous post of the year. It would be a stern fight, but Nobodys’ Fool and I would contest bottom spot ferociously!

    Don’t ya just love ‘asian intellectual’, as if that’s a bad thing?

  70. Rumbold — on 31st May, 2009 at 8:45 am  

    Douglas:

    I take it from your tone that you are a Rangers man (when you have to pick between the big two of course). Congratulations are in order then.

  71. douglas clark — on 31st May, 2009 at 9:14 am  

    Rumbold,

    Nope. I am Partick Thistle born and bred. One of our chants – although it is not politically acceptable anymore – is “FTP & FTQ, we are the Partick Thistle”.

    Which is probably why I felt quite at home there. Unfortunately we are in a tiny minority. You’d feel quite at home too!

    Anyways, a plague on both of them!

    There was a thread, a long time ago, where Sunny made it quite clear that he didn’t like football, much. He preferred some sort of contact sport whose name I forget.. Though I think it had mixed sex teams or summat. And a lot of touching.

    Maybe I should look into that.

    As an admitted beach volleyball addict.

  72. Rumbold — on 31st May, 2009 at 10:33 am  

    Oh, I knew you were a Partick man too. You had a decent season as well.

    Is there much opportunity for beach volleyball in the Highlands? Whatt with Thistles and all?

    I think Sunny likes kabaddi.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabaddi

  73. Dalbir — on 31st May, 2009 at 2:02 pm  

    “i better sunny supports celtic like a true plastic asian intelletual to please his irish brothers but hates jats having any tribal pride”

    Just an outside observation from someone who has mixed with the Eastend Irish community for many many years, (admittedly mainly in pubs and in construction work, when I did it) and Jatts. I have never once really seen the type of openly obnoxious hate and supremacist thinking demonstrated by many of my Panjabi Jatt brothers from an Irishman to this day.

    Sure there have been some drunken insolent moments but you would be hard pressed to find but a more down to earth, humble and open hearted people. From my observation, the pride they have in being Irish is a world away from the essentially hate filled type that characterises the thing that causes all the grief in India or that espoused by the BNP. Nobodys fool, you have to learn this distinction.

    Pride is cool, but not when it is based on hatred.

  74. nobodys fool — on 31st May, 2009 at 11:37 pm  

    Just an outside observation from someone who has mixed with the Eastend Irish community for many many years, (admittedly mainly in pubs and in construction work, when I did it) and Jatts. I have never once really seen the type of openly obnoxious hate and supremacist thinking demonstrated by many of my Panjabi Jatt brothers from an Irishman to this day.
    i m glad for you, but my experiences are different. In my city,4 of the 10 comprehensives are catholic school. Which shows the level of irish population. Hearing anti british and protestant songs in pubs is a common occurence. Have you heard any anti dalit songs sung by jatts. The only jatt songs i hear are about jatt tribal pride merryment dancing and dinking.

  75. nobodys fool — on 1st June, 2009 at 5:55 am  

    why do people write in a text no body understands is it a show of dick size. remember all words are made up.Best to talk in a language everyone undestands

  76. Dalbir — on 1st June, 2009 at 7:07 am  

    #76

    Erm…..there was a war between Brits and Irish republicans that may explain that……

    No I haven’t heard any anti-dalit songs by Jats but I have had the misfortune to witness the degrading inhumane way that dalits are treated in the Panjab by many Jats on a daily basis myself.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTv4JmeznnQ

    You keep trying to defend the undefendable mate.

  77. Nobodys hero — on 1st June, 2009 at 5:23 pm  

    JaTT must eradicate thier tribal identity but other occupation based groups are encourage to express theirs.Dalbir ,during the 80s coventry suffered more racist murders than any city in the uk. All the murderers and conspirators went to catholic schools and were of irish decendent. Check the backgroud of the suspects in lawrence murder in south london. You will see green culture. See how racist celtic based police and fire service in the usa have been. Dont make general statements like irish shit does not stink. Bihar has highest caste based problems but has low number of jatts. punjabi has highest number of jatts but lowest caste based problems in india

  78. Mangles — on 1st June, 2009 at 10:15 pm  

    Nobodys Hero – u may be correct that Punjab has a lower level of caste based problems than other states, nonetheless caste remains a problem in Punjab, even though as i’ve stated before the rioting last week was clearly politically motivated. Even the Ravidassi community was split and remains split on this dera, which has a limited following and in no way stretches the whole of the Doaba belt, let alone Punjab.

    The crux of the matter is that even though you don’t get villages wiped out in Punjab because people have drank water from the wrong well, you do get Gurdwaras which are divided or established on caste lines, and even Gurdwaras where parshad is given at different doors (Dalbir thanks for the link – totally shocking though it was)depending on which ‘caste’ you are. And in civic society you get separate crematoria, housing colonies etc etc.

    I am someone whose ancestary would describe themselves as land owners, though I would describe them as peasants and nothing more than that, as that is what Jatts were. In Mannus caste hierarchy they were not much higher up the pecking order than the Ravidassis. The only reason they have an attitude is due to the fact that Guru Ji gave them ‘Sardari’ (along with all th eother ‘low’ castes) and if you ask me most peasants are not worthy of that Sardari; following on from that British land policies helped them become landowners in their own right, and subsequently emigration to the west brought in economic status. Conversely the quota allocation of jobs and education has brought in great divides as peasants feel that their educated off-spring cannot get a fair crack of getting employment due to caste based reservation policies. This has led to resentment and increasing tensions, which have been largely pushed along and fermented to use the polarisation of communities for electioneering and vote banks. Clearly after many decades of reservation policies they have certainly not succeeded in socially mobilising scheduled classes.

    Ravidassis should equally reclaim the Sardari (a bit like reclaiming the flag from the BNP lol) and become mainstream Sikhs instead of allowing Babas like this one or the Sacha Sauda lot become their middle men, if not quasi Gurus.

    Ravidassi’s are equally if not more worthy of Sikhi, and must not allow some bigoted Jatt to push them away. They could help establish models of inclusivity, and there are many people of peasant heritage who will join them. I know of many such Sikhs who are trying to reach out to Ravidassi and other communities, and slowly these efforts are bearing fruit. The important things is that Ravidassis who are coming forward aren’t coming forward on caste based differences, but are becoming flagbearers for others (even peasant Sikhs lol) to emulate and look upto, as many are stronger in their Rehat and Amrit. Ultimately it is the Rehat (Sikh code of conduct) and adoption of Sikh principles which will differentiate Sikhs, not their caste heritage.

    I sense a cleansing of the caste based apartheid of Punjab is sure to come, I just hope it comes in my lifetime. The events of the past couple of weeks, as undesirable as they were, should serve as a catalyst for some real social change in the Sikh psyche. That change inevitably will surely have an effect on India’s evil caste system.

    Rab Rakha

  79. Mangles — on 1st June, 2009 at 10:41 pm  

    This is an interesting read in World Sikh News:

    Who killed whom in Vienna? Did the Sikhs kill a non-Sikh? Was it internecine rivalry between particular sections of the community? Who are the people who sport a Sikh look but are still not Sikhs? Who are the people whom the media calls a sect of the Sikhs, but they themselves are unwilling to subscribe to the basic tenets of Sikhism?

    They also raise the question as Sikh Federation do about Punjab Police reporting 3 assailants being killed, though no details have been released. See: http://www.worldsikhnews.com/27%20May%202009/Too%20Many%20Questions.htm

    (Sorry don’t kow how to add a link ..lol)

  80. Dalbir — on 2nd June, 2009 at 3:00 pm  

    #79 Nobodys fool.

    Nobody gives a flying shite if you want to wear long skirts, drink ‘biskey’ and go ‘bruaah’ singing ‘Put Jattan De’ songs all day long! Stop trying to deflect on the issue at hand by dragging the Irish into the argument. We are talking about caste within Sikhs here, particularly the hate that it generates.

    By the way, not everyone has forgotton that the British themselves created legislation in Panjab that positively favoured Jats to the disadvantage of all others. Read up on the Punjab Land Alienation Act, if you are ignorant of this. This essentially split Panjabis into agragrian and non-agrarian people and the latter group were prevented from owning land. What is ironic is that in modern day Panjab, peasants are essentially groaning about broadly similar policies (aimed at upliftment), now that they do not favour them.

    #80 Mangles

    Yes, you are right but if people have to face constant barriers and ignorance it is any surprise that a portion go off and do their own thing? That is the crux of the problem here, people being pushed away, in total contradiction to the fundamentals of Sikhi. In a word exclusion.

    “I sense a cleansing of the caste based apartheid of Punjab is sure to come, I just hope it comes in my lifetime. The events of the past couple of weeks, as undesirable as they were, should serve as a catalyst for some real social change in the Sikh psyche.”

    Like you, I am hoping for this too. If America can do what it did with Obama, Sikhs should not aim for any less. This involves combating long standing, deeply ingrained mind sets. On a higher level, we can see that people who have become our ‘leaders’ in Panjab really have no desire to face the issue and are actually likely to be a major force behind preserving the status quo. If change is to come it must come from a grassroots level.

    The other point you made about the “murky” background of the incident in Vienna is valid. We do not know what has happened. It could be seriously misrepresented. That should not, however, detract from the fact that we as Sikhs need to attack the caste issue full on now. Our society needs to get closer to what it says it is on paper. This trend of comparison with other to alleviate blame, such as “Oh, caste isn’t as bad in Panjab as in other states” is just a cop out. Don’t forget there is a whole hidden side to this. The discrimination highlighted in the video I posted is just the tip of the iceberg.

  81. nobodys fool — on 2nd June, 2009 at 9:25 pm  

    Dalbir you may need a drink. I dont see a caste problem. In the pubs i frequent people of all castes shapes and colours sit eat bhakra, drink ‘biskey’ and go ‘bruaah’ together.epecially to the tribal song putt jatten de. I think the problem is with your religious places where every one wants their own temple and cant sit and eat with each other forget about bruaahing together
    Everyone in history from the aztics to the zulus acquired land by being part of a army due to the lack of property guides and tracker mortgages

  82. rana singh — on 16th June, 2009 at 3:23 pm  

    Who told you it was caste related, how do you know this ?

  83. HARMINDER PAL SINGH — on 17th June, 2009 at 4:22 am  

    WE ALL ARE ONE ,WE HAVE GURU GRANTHSAHIB AS SUPREME GURU ,WE HAVE TO FOLLOW THE PREECHINGS OF OUR 10 GURUS..LET US BE UNITED & BE DEDICATED TO LIVE IN A WAY GURU GOBINDSING JI HAS ORDERED US ,,& FOCUS ON ONE GOAL OF CREATION OF HOMELAND …

    SIKHI & SIKHISM ZINDABAD

    Everyone knows that this attack was not done by the Sikh Panth. Indian agencies are behind this attack; and they are trying to split the Ravidasiya community from the Sikh Panth. The Khalsa Panth will continue to cherish this relationship formed since the times of Guru Nanak Devji.

    “The Khalsa Panth requests the Ravidasiya community to maintain peace. The Khalsa Panth will always stand by the Ravidasiya community and will not let the Indian agencies succeed in their mal-intensions

  84. HARMINDER PAL SINGH — on 17th June, 2009 at 4:28 am  

    we all are pillars of sikhism stand together to make the religion popular ,praising,& understand what others are trying to do with us..they want to split us so that we can divert from main cause ,,,shouldnt do like that ..we all SINGHS AND KAURS are under one umberalla

    god bless sikhism

  85. nobodys hero — on 28th June, 2009 at 12:39 am  

    the irish are a lovly race they only hate gypsies but love blacks

  86. nobodys hero — on 28th June, 2009 at 12:42 am  

    jat and proud. tribe but not caste

  87. comrade — on 28th June, 2009 at 7:40 am  

    A 26 year old Sikh was rested in Austria after a brief shoot out with police {18 june] the police recovered a number of weapons from the property. A nisssen car parked outside the property was full of weapons including guns and knives.

  88. Jit — on 3rd January, 2010 at 8:22 am  

    From what I’ve read and heard he allowed himself to be seated on a higher pedestal, alongside Guru Granth Sahib Ji

    this is an absoloute stupidity, firstly everybody is going by what 1 person has heard. secondly Jai the idiot ageed why it would be a major problem in the 15th post.

    Let me just explain why it should never be a major problem…

    the word “Guru” means teacher and not god. so we are to respect the Guru Granth Sahib as the 10 Guru’s. They themselves died preaching so that we should all unite and be one, without colour, caste and creed. they also stressed themselves to say that they are teachers and should not be worshiped, as there is only 1 God (Ik Onkar!!!)

    Panj Piare (The Five Beloved Ones) is formed of mixed castes majority being ‘lower’ (as some would say) In 1699 Guru Gobind Singh iniciated them and then iniciated himself as a Sikh. Thus in the institution of Panj Piare, he had created the nucleus of a casteless and democratic continuing society.

    The whole meaning of Sikhism is a “Family” or “Brotherhood” and not a hierarchy.

    So Therefore Sant Ramanand Ji should never have been killed for sitting anywhere in the Gudwara at all.

  89. Jit — on 3rd January, 2010 at 9:31 am  

    Platinum 786 on post number 2.

    Yes you are right. there are 10 Guru’s of sikhisn. However a Guru does not mean leader or god. The Word Guru means Teacher. So in reality there are possibly millions of teachers of sikhism. Therefore we can even call them all guru’s. The reason as to why we dont is because the Guru Granth Sahib holds all the Scriptures of the 10 Gurus, so their teachings form the religion. After that each teacher just repeats it.

    About Guru Ravidas. Ravidas was subversive in that his devotionalism implied a levelling of the social divisions of caste and gender, yet ecumenical in that it tended to promote crossing of sectarian divides in the name of a higher spiritual unity. He taught that one is distinguished not by one’s caste (jati) but by one’s actions (karma) and that every person has the right to worship God and read holy texts. He was a “lower” caste poor shoemaker’s son who devoted himself in songs and versus of worship.

    Guru Ravidas Ji visited north india twice during his pilgrimages. He met Guru Nanak Dev Ji for the first time in ‘Chuharkana’ now known as ‘Nankana Sahib’. Where Guru Ravidas Ji along with four others were served with meals worth 20Rupees, given to Guru Nanak Dev Ji by his father, Shri Mehta Kalu Ji, his was given this money to invest it into a truthful business (Sacha Soda). Guru Ravidas Ji was so happy by Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s gratitude, that he gave him the secrets of ‘NAM’ by giving him the Mool Mantar shabad. He told him that if you devote yourself to it, then you will gain everything.

    In an INITIATION CEREMONY, the initiator becomes the “GURU” and the person that is iniciated becomes his DISCIPLE or STUDENT (E.g. Guru Gobind Singh iniciated the Panj Piare and the became his devotee’s)

    Guru Nanak Dev Ji travelled on foot wherever he preached. He sang the verses and poems of Guru Ravidass Ji.

    Now people say Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Guru Ravidas Ji never met, this is because they are ignorant to fact, they chose to deny that a lower caste person can be a significant part of their religion so they dont allow people to call him Guru just as they never allow people to call his temple a “Gudwara” instead its called a “Bhavan”

  90. booga — on 22nd February, 2010 at 11:42 am  

    well, i’m again embarrassed by my sikh brethren. so many sikhs think they ‘own’ the religion.
    if the mughals were wrong in imposing their religion upon sikhs and hindus, then arent the khalsa also wrong in imposing their variant of sikhism onto others.

    i’m taking that stinking dhoti off my head – unwrapping it for good.

    nanak and the next nine were good like jesus, but hey, i now quit religion!

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