Monday, December 28, 2009

Flying USA

December 27 2009
14th Poh (Samvat 541 Nanakshahi)

Press Release
Are your Travelling in bound to the United States. What does it mean to YOU?

New York, NY, Dec 26, 2009: Your safety is our priority.  Passengers flying from International locations to U.S. destinations may notice additional security measures in place.  Since the recent airport high alert on all in-bound flights to the United States, you will find that you are being screened for turbans at the airports and maybe profiled.  Additionally due to the busy holiday travel season, both domestic and international travelers should allot extra time for check-in.
Passengers travelling internationally could see:

Increased security screening at gates and when they check their bags, as well as additional measures on flights such as stowing carry-ons and personal items before the plane lands.
Expect delays on US-bound flights. Keep in mind this is a holiday season and the busiest time of the year.
US-bound flights have been restricted for one carry-on item.
Sikh passengers have been known to be targets for increased security checks and associated harassments worldwide. Recently, a Sikh passenger was harassed in Poland during a security procedure at the airport without any justified reason.
We are seeing an increased number of cases where Sikhs returning from Pakistan after a visit to the Sikh shrines have to undergo excessive screening,  delays and harassment at the US airports on in bound flights.  This screening then becomes a pattern under which they get  screened/harassed and delayed following on every International flight in bound to the United States of America.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement Saturday that passengers flying to the U.S. from overseas may notice extra security. However, she said "the measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same thing everywhere."

UNITED SIKHS is closely monitoring complaints of harassment from Sikh passengers for International in-bound flights and will take the issues on a case by case basis with the TSA and Department of Homeland Security. For this we need your help and request you to report your experience at all International Airports by filling in the form available at:
Report all Turban (dastaar) related harassment experiences at the USA airports or International airports at
If you feel that you have been racially profiled, if in the USA, please call us at:
1-888-243-1690 or from outside the USA at 001-646-688-3525. You can write to us at
Resources for Travellers:
Helpful Hints for Holiday Travellers:
Flight Delay Information- Air Traffic Control System Command Center: (Check with your airline if your flight is affected here.Information on wait times at security checkpoints is available here.)
Department of Homeland Security’s Traveller Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP)
TSA Claims management Branch: Department of Homeland
Airport Checked Baggage Guidance Material:
Civl Rights for Travellers  (Office of Civil Rights and Liberties):
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA):
Department of Homeland Security FOIA:
United States Coast Guard FOIA:
United States Secret Service:
For an earlier press-release on this issue read: http://unitedsi leases/PRSRLS-1 ml

Issued By:
Legal Coordinator - West Coast
Amardeep Singh
Phone: 646-315-3909/408-838-2264

Keep in Mind
1) Report your  Turban  (Dastaar) related harassment experiences on all in-bound  and local flights in or to USA at

2) If you are continuously harassed on all US inbound international flights, immediately  do the following-

a) Apply for a DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS Trip) by filing a complaint at:

b) Report your experience at

3) The original and revised Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Guidelines can be read at

4) Travel  Screening procedures are available at the UNITED SIKHS website at:

Contact Us
To Contact UNITED SIKHS, please visit:

To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.

UNITED SIKHS is also an avenue for networking between like-minded organisations to establish and nurture meaningful projects and dialogues - whether social, cultural or political- to promote harmony, understanding and reciprocity in our villages, towns and cities.

UNITED SIKHS is a coalition of organisations and individuals, who share a common vision based on the belief that there is no greater endeavour than to serve, empower and uplift fellow beings. The core of our philosophy is an unwavering commitment to civic service and social progress on behalf of the common good.

Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfil its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all.

We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Giani Ji's Katha - The future

Giani Thankur singh Katha on future and what will happen. I haven't listened to it all but here is link.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Sikhs in hospital in Ludhiana, Panjab from attacks

For background information on the violent attacks by authorities on Sikh protestors Sikhs please see Attacked in Ludhiana, Panjab

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thought for Today: Sikh Philosophy and History

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh
One of the countless expamples of the Sikh's courage comes at the battle of Kohima, Burma in 1944. The 15rh Sikh Regiment headed by Naik Gian Singh was facing defeat. The Sikh solidiers wer well entrenched in teh sweltering swamps of Burmese jungles. The Japanese, better suited and well motivated were strongly pushing westward to the plains of India. As the merciless machine gun shots from the Japanese foxholes burst from the bush, Gian Singh pushed forward with his men behind him, he ordered his men to cover him as he single handedly cleared foxhole after foxhole.
Despite being severely wounded, he continued to push through the intense fire and cleared a stragegically vital road, The Japanese were forced to retreat. Gian Singh received the Victoria Cross, the highest order of gallantry in the British Army at the end of the war.
Today in the Kohima cemetery, among the 1,378 grave markers is the famous Kohima memorial with its historic incription:
"When you go home tell them of us, and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today"
Photo of Naik (Corporal) Gian Singh VC 15th Punjab Regiment
Naik (Corporal) Gian Singh VC
15th Punjab Regiment
Bhul chuk dhi khima, H
Picture: Naik Gian Singh
Contributed by UNITED SIKHS Volunteer, Harbans Kaur

Sunday, November 15, 2009

FT article on Darbar Sahib

The holy city of Amritsar

By James Lamont

Published: November 13 2009 23:45 | Last updated: November 13 2009 23:45

The Golden Temple in Amritsar, India
The Golden Temple in Amritsar

Amritsar was the first place to which Manmohan Singh, the prime minister of India, travelled after convalescing from heart surgery earlier this year. The dignified Singh, India’s first Sikh prime minister, went from New Delhi to Amritsar, a dusty city in north-west India, to give thanks for his life. Amritsar is to the Sikh what Jerusalem is to the Christian and Jew, Mecca to the Muslim and Varanasi to the Hindu. The Golden Temple, or Darbar Sahib, is the holiest Sikh shrine.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Two place God does not reside

Video from
Bhai Surjeet Singh at Khalsa Camp 2009,

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

19th Century Necklace Owned by Wife of Last Sikh Ruler Ranjit Singh for Sale at Bonhams

LONDON: An important 19TH Century emerald and seed-pearl Necklace from the Lahore Treasury, reputedly worn by Maharani Jindan Kaur wife of Ranjit Singh, the Lion of the Punjab (1780–1839), is for sale in Bonhams next Indian and Islamic sale on 8th October 2009 in New Bond Street.

The necklace has six polished emerald beads, one later converted to a pendant, each bead gold-mounted and fringed with seed-pearl drop tassels, fastened with a gold clasp. It comes with a fitted cloth covered case, the inside of the lid inscribed: "From the Collection of the Court of Lahore formed by HH The Maharajah Runjeet Singh & lastly worn by Her Highness The Late Maharanee Jeddan Kower" It is estimated to sell for £25,000-35,000.

This rare necklace comes from the Collection of Maharajah Ranjit Singh and Maharani Jindan Kaur (1817-63), which was sold by Frazer and Hawes from Garrards, Regent Street, London.

Between 1849 and 1850, when the British took control of the court in Lahore, they entered the Treasury, where they found the court jewels wrapped in cloth. The Treasury was fabled to be the greatest and largest treasure ever found. The most famous and well-known jewels were taken away as gifts for Queen Victoria, including the Koh-i Noor and the Timur Ruby.

The Maharani Jindan Kaur was born in 1817 in Chahar, Sialkhot, Punjab. Of humble origins, she was the daughter of Manna Singh Aulak, the Royal Kennel Keeper at the Court of Lahore. She grew into a young lady of exquisite beauty and came to the attention of Maharajah Ranjit Singh at a young age. Manna Singh was reported to have pestered the Maharajah, promising that his daughter would make him youthful again. In 1835, she became Ranjit Singh's seventeenth wife and in 1838 bore him a son, Duleep. Duleep was his last child and just ten months later Ranjit Singh died following a stroke. Jindan was the Maharajah's only surviving widow, rejecting the practice of 'Sati' or throwing herself on the funeral pyre with his other wives, choosing to bring up her young son instead.

Ranjit Singh's empire stretched from the Indian Ocean to the Himalayas, with its southern boundary bordering British India. His court was fabled for its patronage of the arts and sciences, and for its riches.

The Russian painter Alexis Solykoff wrote on visiting the court: "What a sight! I could barely believe my eyes. Everything glittered with precious stones and the brightest colours arranged in harmonious combinations". Upon the Maharajah's death, his body was carried through the streets to his funeral pyre in a golden ship, "with sails of gilt cloth to waft him into paradise'. I

mmediately after his death, Ranjit Singh's golden empire began to crumble. His eldest son, Kharak Singh took the throne, but was murdered two years later; the reign of Sher Singh was similarly short-lived and he was assassinated in 1843, upon which Duleep was proclaimed Maharajah at the age of five, with his maternal uncle as Prime Minister and his mother, Jindan, as Regent. His uncle's position as Prime Minister was brief, after the Khalsa Army declared him a traitor and killed him. As Jindan came to power, she was swiftly confronted by the British army that had moved to her southern border in the hope of conquering one of the last independent states of northern India.

As Regent, Jindan became a thorn in the side of the East India Company. She waged two unsuccessful wars against the British, the First and Second Anglo-Sikh Wars of 1846-49, which brought about the annexation of the Punjab. In 1846 she was deposed as Regent and in February 1847 the British took possession of the capital, Lahore, installing Sir Henry Lawrence as British Resident to oversee their affairs.

The British continued to see her as a major threat to their control of the Punjab, since she was instrumental in organising Sikh resistance, rallying her armies to battle and plotting rebellion against the British. Thus in August 1847, to halt her influence on the young king, Duleep was sent away from the palace and Jindan was ordered by Sir Henry Lawrence to the Summan Tower of Lahore Fort and was then was incarcerated in the fort at Sheikhurpura. After being moved around several prisons, in 1849 she escaped from British captivity at Chunar Fort, leaving a note for the British: "You put me in a cage and locked me up. For all your locks and your sentries, I got out by magic....I had told you plainly not to push me too hard – but don't think I ran away, understand well that I escape by myself unaided...When I quit the fort of Chunar I threw down two papers on my gaddi and one I threw on a European charpoy, now don't imagine I got out like a thief!". Disguised as a beggar woman, she fled to the Himalayas, where she found troubled sanctuary in Kathmandu, Nepal. All her jewels and gold that had been left in the government treasure in Benares were confiscated, with the added threat that if she went to Nepal she would lose her pension as well.

In Kathmandu, she lived under the protection of the Nepalese King and government, and spent her time studying scriptures and doing charitable work through a temple she had built near her house. Life was not easy for her and she was kept as a virtual prisoner with a meagre allowance. Under pressure from the British officials at Kathmandu, who portrayed her as dangerous with her alleged efforts to create disaffection against the British, the Nepalese imposed humiliating restrictions upon her.

The young Maharajah, Duleep, was moved to Fategarh, where he lived under the guardianship of Dr John Login and his wife, and eventually arrived in Britain in 1854, at the age of sixteen, where he was adopted as a godson by Queen Victoria. Under the influence of the Logins, he converted to Christianity and was brought up as a young English gentleman. In 1860, Duleep sent his native attendant to Kathmandu to find out about his mother and a report came back through the British resident at Nepal that: "The Rani had much changed, was blind and lost much of her energy, which formerly characterised her, taking little interest in what was going on". The Governor General agreed to a meeting based on this report of the Rani's condition, thinking that the last queen of the Punjab no longer posed a threat.

In 1860, tired of her exile and isolation, and the indignity she was made to suffer, she travelled to meet her son in Calcutta. For the first time in thirteen and a half years, they were reunited at Spence's Hotel in January 1861. Duleep found her almost blind and suffering from poor health. He offered her a house in Calcutta, but she expressed her wish to stay with her son, following years of enforced separation. And so it was agreed that the Rani would travel to England. Her private property and jewels, previously taken by the British authorities, would be restored to her on the basis that she left India and in addition she would be granted a pension of £3,000 per annum. Her jewels were returned to her at Calcutta at the start of the journey.

On the 1st August 1863, Jindan died in her Kensington home in the country of her sworn enemy, just two and a half years after being reunited with her son and leaving him inconsolable. In 1864, permission was granted to take the body to India, which had been her dying wish, and she was cremated at Bombay (Duleep was not allowed to go to the Punjab), her ashes scattered on the Godavai and a small memorial or samadh erected on the left bank. In 1924, her ashes were later moved to Lahore by her grand-daughter Princess Bamba Sutherland, and deposited at the samadh of Ranjit Singh. Finally the 'Messalina of the Punjab' returned home to rest.


Sikhs seize onto culture in remote Argentina

True parchar would be going to places like this and supporting the sangat with Gurmat vichaar smagams and camps to ensure Sikhi remains generation after generation.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Remember the Battle of Saraghari - 12th September 1897 - "greatest act of courage in military history"

12th September 1897

Described by British military historians as the "greatest act of courage in military history" "Of courage and braveryA tale be told Long forgotten, brought forthFrom the memories of the old.Of 21 men who Died at duty's callWho laid down their livesAnd let not the fort fall.

(To read the rest, click the link)

Battle of Saragarhi: 21 Sikh soldiers (36th Sikh Regiment) defended to death, the Fort of Saragarhi in the Kohat, North-west Frontier, against 10-15,000 Afghan and Orakzai tribal armies. "The British, as well as the Indians, are proud of the 36th Sikh Regiments. It is no exaggeration to record that the armies which possess the valiant Sikhs cannot face defeat in war" - Parliament of the United Kingdom[5]”

“"You are never disappointed when you are with the Sikhs. Those 21 soldiers all
fought to the death. That bravery should be within all of us. Those soldiers
were lauded in Britain and their pride went throughout the Indian Army. Inside
every Sikh should be this pride and courage. The important thing is that you
must not get too big-headed it is important to be humble in victory and to pay
respect to the other side." - Field Marshal William Joseph Slim, 1st Viscount

"The British, as well as the Indians, are proud of the 36th Sikh Regiments.
It is no exaggeration to record that the armies which possess the valiant Sikhs
cannot face defeat in war"
British Parliament

"The British, as well as the Indians, are proud of the 36th Sikh Regiments. It is no exaggeration to record that the armies which possess the valiant Sikhs cannot face defeat in war"

- Parliament of the United Kingdom[5]

"You are never disappointed when you are with the Sikhs. Those 21 soldiers all fought to the death. That bravery should be within all of us. Those soldiers were lauded in Britain and their pride went throughout the Indian Army. Inside every Sikh should be this pride and courage. The important thing is that you must not get too big-headed it is important to be humble in victory and to pay respect to the other side." - Field Marshal William Joseph Slim, 1st Viscount Slim[9]

"The British, as well as the Indians, are proud of the 36th Sikh Regiments. It is no exaggeration to record that the armies which possess the valiant Sikhs cannot face defeat in war" - Parliament of the United Kingdom[5]

"You are never disappointed when you are with the Sikhs. Those 21 soldiers all fought to the death. That bravery should be within all of us. Those soldiers were lauded in Britain and their pride went throughout the Indian Army. Inside every Sikh should be this pride and courage. The important thing is that you must not get too big-headed it is important to be humble in victory and to pay respect to the other side." - Field Marshal William Joseph Slim, 1st Viscount Slim[9]

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Guru & I

If you walked into this Gurdwara and instead of the Guru Granth Sahib being there, say it was Guru Nanak, or Guru Amar Das or Gur Tegh Bahadur, sitting there – how would you act? How would you carry yourself when walking in? Would your mind-set be any different? Would your muthha tek take on a different meaning? Would you be more attentive and alert during the divan? Would you be more eager to listen to his words and try harder to understand him?

Guru Ram Das says:
Baani Guru Guru Hai Baani Vich Baani Amrit Saarey
Bani is the Guru and Guru is the Bani. And it’s within this Bani, that Amrit is found.

Thus, the Shabad (”The Word”) is, was and always will be the Guru. History tells us that even during Guru Arjan’s time, the Granth (then referred to as the Pothi Sahib because it was yet to be completed and anointed Guru), was the center of the congregation, the center of the Darbar, even in the presence of Guru Arjan himself.

The saakhis tell us that Guru Arjan had so much reverence for the Pothi Sahib that he kept it on an pedestal elevated even from himself, and joined the Sikhs in paying obeisance to it. This tells me that it is not the person, the attire or the physical attributes that make the Guru; instead, it is the Shabad. But we call the ten physical forms (from Nanak to Gobind Singh) Guru because they were the living manifestation of that Shabad.

They lived the Shabad. We sing it, they lived it.

Guru Nanak was so immersed in the Shabad that the two became one.

He says in Raag Ramkalee:
Shabad Guru Bhavsaagar Tariye Ith Uth Eko Jaanai
Shabad is the Guru that will ferry you across the terrifying world-ocean.

So, if this is the case, how can the Guru Granth Sahib we bow before, be any different than Guru Angad or Guru Amar Das sitting before us?

We refer to the Guru Granth Sahib as the living Guru. But is it really living to me?

Some say we have it harder, because we don’t have a physical Guru simply telling us what to do, particularly since, in Sikhi, we don’t believe in “holy” persons being the official “interpreters” of scripture. Thus, it falls upon us to make the effort to listen to, read, and apply the lessons to our lives.

People often asked, “What does the Guru Granth Sahib say about this or that?” About life after death, about good and evil, about socio-political issues, such as abortion, divorce, climate change, etc., and the children are often disappointed when I can’t point them to a direct quote – a simple “Thou shalt …” – to answer their question.

To some, this is frustrating; but I find it … beautiful!

The Guru refrains from giving commandments or a list of do’s and don’ts. Instead, He has compiled 1430 pages of divine poetry that provides a structure for our life and a personal map to guide us through our daily choices and challenges. Instead of quick and fast answers , the Guru has trusted and empowered his Sikhs, to reflect, discuss and interpret the Word [within basic parameters] and form our own opinions and make ethical decisions accordingly … for anything and everything.

So, is the Guru living?

I can go through life and treat the Guru Granth as a mere idol and bow before it out of empty ritualism, or I can take the time to reflect on Gurbani – to think, reason, understand and genuinely act on the Guru’s teachings … and that is when the Guru comes alive.

As a Sikh, do I need the Guru in my life? This is where Gurbani is as very clear…black and white:
Anand Anand Sabh Ko Kahai Anand Guru Tay Jania
Bliss! bliss! Everyone talks of bliss! Bliss is but known only through the Guru.

Then he goes on to say:
Jai Ko Gur Tay Vaymukh Hovai Bin Satgur Mukhat Na Paavai
One who turns away from the Guru and becomes “baymukh” – without the True Guru – shall not find liberation.

The role of the Guru is to enlighten and bring us to a heightened sense of awareness, to establish that connection with the Divine. The forces of kaam, krodh, lobh, moh and ahankaar – lust, anger, greed, attachment and pride – are so strong that it is only through the Guru that we can overcome them.

Throughout this festive year, there have been many celebrations, kirtan darbars, nagar kirtans, conferences and seminars and symposia, discussions and debates on all aspects of the Guru Granth to mark this special milestone – but I truly hope that we, even if we are small and isolated communities, take this opportunity to develop and strengthen our personal relationship with the Guru. I believe this one-on-one conversation, this spiritual dialogue with the Guru, is essential in our self-discovery – which is fundamental to being a Sikh.

On this very early stage of my journey with the Guru, I have learned that all roads on this path lead to within. As the Guru says:
Mun Tu Joth Saroop Hai Apna Mool Paichan
O my mind, you are the embodiment of this Divine Light – recognize it, O, recognize your own origin … the true origin of thy self.

I have been the beneficiary of a lot of advice and guidance in my life, but one of the most meaningful things has been what a friend once said to me: “You know, many think the Guru Granth Sahib’s 1430 pages are about the Guru’s lives and teaching … but, in reality, it’s about you.” And I believe this. There is not a Shabad I come across where the Guru is not challenging me, where the Guru doesn’t push me to question myself.

I often stop in my tracks while reading Baani and ask: Is he referring to me? Am I one of those ego-filled beings that he is talking about, that is, obsessed with myself and my own thinking? Am I being humble in my actions, am I truly forgiving to those who have hurt me, do I speak lovingly to others? Am I really walking the walk … or am I just talking the talk?

This is my dialogue with the Guru, and with my Ardaas and his Grace, I continue to strive to improve myself every time I stand before him.

So I hope this year will not end as just a celebration of a historical event, but instead, be the motivation for a spiritual event – for personal change, within me, within each of us … that brings us closer to the Guru.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Churchill on Sikhs : The Story of the Malakand Field Force

Wed Mar 4, 2009 10:37 pm (PST)

In the Sikh the more civilised man appears. He does not shoot naturally,
but he learns by patient practice. He is not so tough as the Pathan, but
he delights in feats of strength--wrestling, running, or swimming. He is
a much cleaner soldier and more careful. He is frequently parsimonious,
and always thrifty, and does not generally feed himself as well as the
Pathan. [Indeed in some regiments the pay of very thin Sikhs is given
them in the form of food, and they have to be carefully watched by their
officers till they get fat and strong.]

15. During the fighting above described, the conduct of the whole of the
garrison, whether fighting men, departmental details, or followers, is
reported to have been most gallant. Not the least marked display of
courage and constancy was that made by the small detachment in the
signal tower, who were without water for the last eighteen hours of the
siege. The signallers, under No.2729, Lance-Naik Vir Singh, 45th Sikhs,
who set a brilliant example, behaved throughout in a most courageous
manner; one of them, No.2829, Sepoy Prem Singh, climbing several times
out of a window in the tower with a heliograph, and signaling outside to

the Malakand under a hot fire from sungars in every direction.

The Sikhs arrived first, but by a
very little. As they turned the corner they met the mass of the enemy,
nearly a thousand strong, armed chiefly with swords and knives, creeping
silently and stealthily up the gorge, in the hope and assurance of
rushing the camp and massacring every soul in it. The whole road was
crowded with the wild figures. McRae opened fire at once. Volley after
volley was poured into the dense mass, at deadly range. At length the
Sikhs fired independently. This checked the enemy, who shouted and
yelled in fury at being thus stopped. The small party of soldiers then
fell back, pace by pace, firing incessantly, and took up a position in a
cutting about fifty yards behind the corner. Their flanks were protected
on the left by high rocks, and on the right by boulders and rough
ground, over which in the darkness it was impossible to move. The road
was about five yards wide. As fast as the tribesmen turned the corner
they were shot down. It was a strong position.

In that strait path a thousand
Might well be stopped by three

Being thus effectively checked in their direct advance, the tribesmen
began climbing up the hill to the left and throwing down rocks and
stones on those who barred their path. They also fired their rifles
round the corner, but as they were unable to see the soldiers without
exposing themselves, most of their bullets went to the right.

The band of Sikhs were closely packed in the cutting, the front rank
kneeling to fire. Nearly all were struck by stones and rocks. Major
Taylor, displaying great gallantry, was mortally wounded. Several of the Sepoys were killed. Colonel McRae himself was accidentally stabbed in the neck by a bayonet and became covered with blood. But he called upon the men to maintain the good name of "Rattray's Sikhs," and to hold their position till death or till the regiment came up. And the soldiers replied by loudly shouting the Sikh warcry, and defying the enemy to advance.

On the right Colonel McRae and his
Sikhs were repeatedly charged by the swordsmen, many of whom succeeded
in forcing their way into the pickets and perished by the bayonet.
Others reached the two guns and were cut down while attacking the
gunners. All assaults were however beaten off. The tribesmen suffered
terrible losses. The casualties among the Sikhs were also severe. In the morning Colonel McRae advanced from his defences, and, covered by the fire of his two guns, cleared the ground in his front of the enemy.

How terrible that march must
have been, may be judged from the fact, that in the 35th Sikhs twenty-
one men actually died on the road of heat apoplexy. The fact that these
men marched till they dropped dead, is another proof of the soldierly
eagerness displayed by all ranks to get to the front. Brigadier-General
Meiklejohn, feeling confidence in his ability to hold his own with the
troops he had, ordered them to remain halted at Dargai, and rest the
next day.

Killed. Wounded.
No.5 Company Q.O. Sappers and Miners . 3 18
24th Punjaub Infantry . . . 3 14
31st " " . . . . 12 32
45th Sikhs . . . . . 4 28
Q.O. Corps of Guides . . . . 3 27


Colonel Goldney simultaneously advanced to the attack
of the spur, which now bears his name, with 250 men of the 35th Sikhs
and 50 of the 38th Dogras. He moved silently towards the stone shelters,
that the tribesmen had erected on the crest. He got to within a hundred
yards unperceived. The enemy, surprised, opened an irregular and
ineffective fire. The Sikhs shouted and dashed forward. The ridge was
captured without loss of any kind. The enemy fled in disorder, leaving
seven dead and one prisoner on the ground.

On this occasion, our provisions were supplemented by the hospitality of
the khan. A long row of men appeared, each laden with food. Some carried
fruit,--pears or apples; others piles of chupatties, or dishes of

Nor were our troopers forgotten. The Mahommedans among them eagerly
accepted the proffered food. But the Sikhs maintained a remorseful
silence and declined it. They could not eat what had been prepared by
Mussulman hands, and so they sat gazing wistfully at the appetising
dishes, and contented themselves with a little fruit.

Sikhs, who now numbered perhaps sixty, were hard pressed, and fired
without effect. Then some one--who it was is uncertain--ordered the
bugler to sound the "charge." The shrill notes rang out not once but a
dozen times. Every one began to shout. The officers waved their swords
frantically. Then the Sikhs commenced to move slowly forward towards the
enemy, cheering. It was a supreme moment. The tribesmen turned, and
began to retreat. Instantly the soldiers opened a steady fire, shooting down their late persecutors with savage energy.

Afterwards in
the Mamund Valley whole battalions were employed to do what these two
Sikh companies had attempted. But Sikhs need no one to bear witness to
their courage.

Out of a force which at no time exceeded 1000 men, nine British
officers, four native officers, and 136 soldiers were either killed or
wounded. The following is the full return:--

Killed--Lieutenant and Adjutant V. Hughes, 35th Sikhs.
" " A.T. Crawford, R.A.
Wounded severely--Captain W.I. Ryder, attd. 35th Sikhs.
" " Lieutenant O.G. Gunning, 35th Sikhs.
" " " O.R. Cassells, 35th Sikhs.
" " " T.C. Watson, R.E.
" " " F.A. Wynter, R.A.
Wounded slightly--Brigadier-General Jeffreys, Commanding 2nd Bde.
" " Captain Birch, R.A.
Killed. Wounded.
The Buffs . . . . 2 9
Killed. Wounded.
11th Bengal Lancers . . 0 2
No.8 Mountain Battery . . 6 21
Guides Infantry . . . 2 10
35th Sikhs . . . . 22 45
38th Dogras . . . . 0 2
Sappers . . . . . 4 15

The next day the first instalment of rifles was surrendered. Fifteen
Martini-Henrys taken on the 16th from the 35th Sikhs were brought into
camp, by the Khan of Khar's men, and deposited in front of the general's
tent. Nearly all were hacked and marked by sword cuts, showing that
their owners, the Sikhs, had perished fighting to the last. Perhaps,
these firearms had cost more in blood and treasure than any others ever
made. The remainder of the twenty-one were promised later, and have

There are many on the frontier who realise these things, and who
sympathise with the Afridi soldier in his dilemma. An officer of the
Guides Infantry, of long experience and considerable distinction, who
commands both Sikhs and Afridis, and has led both many times in action,
writes as follows: "Personally, I don't blame any Afridis who desert to
go and defend their own country, now that we have invaded it, and I
think it is only natural and proper that they should want to do so."

Such an opinion may be taken as typical of the views of a great number
of officers, who have some title to speak on the subject, as it is one
on which their lives might at any moment depend.

The Sikh is the guardian of the Marches. He was originally invented to
combat the Pathan. His religion was designed to be diametrically opposed
to Mahommedanism. It was a shrewd act of policy. Fanaticism was met by
fanaticism. Religious abhorrence was added to racial hatred. The Pathan
invaders were rolled back to the mountains, and the Sikhs established
themselves at Lahore and Peshawar. The strong contrast, and much of the
animosity, remain to-day. The Sikh wears his hair down to his waist; the
Pathan shaves his head. The Sikh drinks what he will; the Pathan is an
abstainer. The Sikh is burnt after death; the Pathan would be thus
deprived of Paradise. As a soldier the Pathan is a finer shot, a hardier
man, a better marcher, especially on the hillside, and possibly an even
more brilliant fighter. He relies more on instinct than education: war
is in his blood; he is a born marksman, but he is dirty, lazy and a

In the Sikh the more civilised man appears. He does not shoot naturally,
but he learns by patient practice. He is not so tough as the Pathan, but
he delights in feats of strength--wrestling, running, or swimming. He is
a much cleaner soldier and more careful. He is frequently parsimonious,
and always thrifty, and does not generally feed himself as well as the
Pathan. [Indeed in some regiments the pay of very thin Sikhs is given
them in the form of food, and they have to be carefully watched by their
officers till they get fat and strong.]

There are some who say that the Sikh will go on under circumstances
which will dishearten and discourage his rival, and that if the latter
has more dash he has less stamina. The assertion is not supported by
facts. In 1895, when Lieut.-Colonel Battye was killed near the Panjkora
River and the Guides were hard pressed, the subadar of the Afridi
company, turning to his countrymen, shouted: "Now, then, Afridi folk of
the Corps of Guides, the Commanding Officer's killed, now's the time to
charge!" and the British officers had the greatest difficulty in
restraining these impetuous soldiers from leaving their position, and
rushing to certain death. The story recalls the speech of the famous
cavalry colonel at the action of Tamai, when the squares were seen to be
broken, and an excited and demoralised correspondent galloped wildly up
to the squadrons, declaring that all was lost. "How do you mean, 'all's
lost'? Don't you see the 10th Hussars are here?" There are men in the
world who derive as stern an exultation from the proximity of disaster
and ruin as others from success, and who are more magnificent in defeat
than others are in victory. Such spirits are undoubtedly to be found
among the Afridis and Pathans.

since all been surrendered.
Total Casualties, 149; with 48 horses and mules.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Prof. Puran Singh’s Century-old Advice To Sikhs

Prof. Puran Singh’s Century-old Advice To Sikhs

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Fri Jan 2, 2009 2:24 am (PST)

Puran Singh's Century-old Advice To Sikhs

The digitization of books has created a whole new way for Sikhs to access their history. I've stumbled onto a lot of historical Sikh literature that I had never heard of. For example, through Google's Book Search function, I discovered a tourist guide to Punjab from the 1880's (here's an excerpt on visiting Amritsar).
Over the holidays, I found a scanned version of a first edition of The Life and Teachings of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur. It was written by Puran Singh and published by The Khalsa Agency in Amritsar in 1908. Puran Singh has a way with words like no other Sikh author I've ever encountered. His books The Spirit Born People and The Ten Masters are essential readings for anyone interested in Sikhi. In his book on Guru Tegh Bahadur he writes:
He looks upon the world with that far-seeing vacant eye with which a mariner, having lost his boat, looks upon the broad sea, seated on a rock in the middle dashed by the waves of the angry sea. The world to him is lost in the constant vision of the higher Reality of its soul. There is an intense spirit beating within his heart, which weeps ard cries at the sight of a man who is lost in the tempest of passions and remembers not the glorious life of his beyond this little life and the glorious inheritence of his in ideals of God, Love, and Truth.
He is a high abstraction in the love of God, and whenever a single thought of the world lowers his consciousness from those ethereal heights, he at once sings of God-consciousness and soars again."Remember thy God, remember thy Lord, this is thy one duty, thy only duty," says he.
However, what I really want to share is his opening introduction. The words are 100 years old, but just as or probably more relevant today.
Sikhism is a wonderful power that has been put in the soil of the Punjab and the flesh and blood of the Punjabis. I raise a warning note, lest the forgetful men may sleep over again on the verities of the sacred faith preached by the Sikh Gurus, and lest they may only apparently continue the babbling of the mere letters in delirium. The time has come that the life of man should be, awakened to its natural position of the Master Witness of Nature, realising afresh the Law of life, for the good of himself and the whole Society. "My I'd comes when I see the moon," "They are like dogs and hogs, who live on this earth with heads and eyes and hearts and consecrate them not to God." "Live in God or do not live at all." "Know thyself."
The Gurus have preached this and let us justify them by our daily conduct. Let us justify them and their beautiful teachings and their still more glorious life, by our life of love and dedication. In their honor and memory, let us make this Punjab, by living nobly, the "golden land where no monuments exist to Heroes but in the daily thoughts and deeds of men." Let all the individuals of the nation be the living and moving temples of God.
All Truth is alike. It is one and the same everywhere. Only men are needed to realise it and bear witness to it in their own soul. Unless, I am alive to Truth, all writings preaching Truth are meaningless to me. Unless I have some sort of the Hero's character, the life of a Hero has no lesson for me. Therefore, the true act of following any prophet is to evolve another prophet out of myself. It is to travel along the road taken by the prophets and the victory of faith is achieved, when we scale up the same heights as reached by them and see things as they saw, and read things as they road. Rhetoric availeth not, even learning and scholarship toil in vain. It is a simple inner reaction, wrought by acting upon the best and highest in us, that furnishes us with a new standpoint, an original view-point of looking upon things. "To see through God's eyes is knowledge." The world of misery, trouble and pain and death is gone and I see God everywhere. I become
twice-born then. My father, mother, wife, master, servant, city, home, country, life, death, joy, sorrow, are all resolved into "the Eternal Me," the God, the One Reality. Nothing but God is.
Men of such high realisation and such ample and broad life and experience were our Gurus, the Masters of man. Let us sit at their feet, with respect and veneration, to receive that light from them which may open our eyes and make us fresh and alive to the presence of God.
But friend ! Beware! Our love for them is apt to change into an unhealthy zeal which, while trying to build the magnificent superstructure of love's and devotion's external show, digs only the grave of the whole Church of Love within.
Beware! our faith is apt to take the shape of hatred for others beliefs.
Our gratitude to our heroes is apt to degrade into a foolish obedience to the letter of the Truth they lived, when sonship does become idle and bankrupted in the false pride of their fatherhood.
Our missionary zeal is likely to change into a morbid tendency of reforming others instead of ourselves. Instead of vindicating the Truth preached by our masters we mar and jeopardise Truth, because of our non -realisation of the Facts which came into their inner spiritual experiences. Instead of Life, we only have mockeries in the form of our prayers, and talks and boastings.
Stop these mockeries and do not talk but live. Do not be anxious to save Sikhism. Rest assured that Sikhism can take care of itself. Your only anxiety should be to save YOURSELF.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Years Resolution

Guroo Pyario, Happy New Year to everyone from Sikh Seva.

May Guroo Sahib Bless 2009 for everyone as a year in which they get closer to Gurbani, Naam and Gursikhi Jeevan.


Lets all make a "New Years Resolution" to read a book for just 15 minutes each day. 15 Minutes is nothing compared to the time spent watching a movie, Eastenders, etc!

Spending JUST 15 minutes each day reading a Sikhi Book is not alot to sacrifice for your spirituality and learning about your roots!

*In Search of the TRUE GURU
*Autobiography of Bhai Sahib Bhai Randhir Singh Ji
*Se Kinehiya
*Garland Around My Neck


Happy New Year from all the Sevadaars!

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