Monday, April 19, 2010

Prince battles for Sikh regiment in army

Prince battles for Sikh regiment in army

Highly controversial plans to raise a Sikh regiment within the British army has pitched the Prince of Wales into conflict with the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The MoD believes that such a force would be divisive and immensely difficult to organise, even though the proposal has the support of some past and present senior officers.

The Prince, colonel-in-chief of a number of regiments, has taken a keen interest in ethnic minority recruitment and is known to have lobbied for a separate Sikh regiment in meetings with General Sir Charles Guthrie, while he was chief of defence staff.

Leaders of Britain's half a million Sikhs think the Royal backing significantly boosts their chances of a regiment of their own. They say such an unit will be no different from the Scots, Welsh and Irish Guards or the Gurkhas, and there will be no shortage of young recruits from a community that prides itself on its martial heritage.

Sikhs have fought for the Crown, from Flanders to Burma, as part of the old British Indian army, with a large number winning decorations for gallantry. They continue to play a central role within the Indian Army and have produced several of the country's chiefs of staff.

Mohan Singh Gill, one of a group of former servicemen campaigning for the setting up of a regiment, said "The army has a shortfall in recruits and we have young men to fill that. We have a warrior tradition and nothing to prove if you look at our record."

Harbinder Singh Rana, the chairman of the Maharaja Duleep Singh Sikh Centenary Trust, said "The army should do this because we have a legacy of military achievement with this country. I could give the army 280 names tomorrow."

Outside consultants brought in by the MoD to attract ethnic recruits have also rejected the Prince's proposals and advised against forming such an unit.

The MoD points out that a Sikh regiment will be a religious one. There are also logistical problems. There are currently only six Sikh officers and 18 other ranks out of the Army's 105,000 personnel, which would make it impossible to form a purely Sikh officer corps.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "The Prince of Wales is very interested in the matter of recruitment from ethnic minorities. He believes there should be a debate on this issue and that, of course, includes the Sikhs with their martial traditions."

David Miliband

While I do not endorse Labour or any other politcial party I just came accross a post by David Miliband, Sec of State talking about his visit to Gurdwara in Southall.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sikh to take top post at MasterCard

Banga to take top post at MasterCard


In this undated photo provided by Mastercard, President and Chief Operating Officer, Ajay Banga, left, and CEO Robert W. Selander, are shown. Banga will take over as CEO in July.(AP Photo/Mastercard)

PURCHASE, N.Y. -- MasterCard said its president and chief operating officer will take over the company's top job and announced Monday that CEO Robert W. Selander will retire at the end of the year.

Ajay Banga, 50, becomes CEO in July.

During a press conference Monday, Banga said his focus will be on MasterCard's global growth. MasterCard, based in Purchase, N.Y., generates 55 percent of its revenue outside of the U.S.

He said by emphasizing local markets, the payments processor can take advantage of its worldwide reach. "Local presence and local thinking is the best way to ensure your ability to grow while you leverage global scale," Banga said.

Banga was part of a leadership shake up at Citigroup last year, where he had worked for 13 years. He left the bank in June, following chief financial officer Gary Crittenden, who left the month before.

New York-based Citigroup, a major lender in the subprime market, was rocked as the housing bubble burst and the recession took hold.

Bana was brought to MasterCard for the top job.

Banga's original contract with MasterCard allowed him to leave the company with a $4.2 million signing bonus if it failed to offer him promotion to CEO before June 30.

"The news should come as no surprise," wrote Janney Capital Markets analyst Thomas C. McCrohan, noting the contract provisions. He called Banga "an overall highly seasoned executive with broad consumer financial services experience around the globe."

Banga had headed Citigroup's Asia Pacific division.

Beyond its core business of debit, credit and prepaid cards, Banga said Monday that he sees e-commerce and mobile commerce as key components of MasterCard's future.

The incoming CEO pointed to one example as a model for the types of opportunities ahead: last week's announcement of a deal between MasterCard and NextJump to provide online shopping tailored to a customer's prior spending.

Mobile commerce, particularly smart-phone based money transfers and payments, is another arena he targets for expansion, pointing to pilot projects in local markets around the world that are already under way.

Brazil, China and India are among the markets MasterCard will emphasize, he said.

Selander, 59, will stay on as executive vice chairman and board member until he retires on Dec. 31. He has been the company's CEO since 1997.

MasterCard said in February its fourth-quarter profit rose 23 percent as it raised fees to offset fading credit card use in the U.S. Revenue rose to $1.3 billion, from $1.22 billion a year ago.

Shares of MasterCard Inc. rose 69 cents to close at $259.57 Monday.

Sunday, April 04, 2010


>>> vaheguru ji ka khalsa vaheguru ji ke fateh

>>> pyare jio, a nice post forwarded to me by a local Gursikh.....

>>> Several years ago, a gyanee from out-of-town accepted a call to a
>>> Gurdwara in canada

>>> Some weeks after he arrived, he had an occasion to ride the bus from
>>> his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the
>>> driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change. As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, "You'd better give the quarter back. It would be wrong
>>> to keep it." Then he thought, "Oh, forget it, it's only a quarter. Who
>>> would worry about this little amount?

>>> Anyway, the bus company gets too much fare; they will never miss it.
>>> Accept it as a gift from Vaheguru and keep quiet.

>>> When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, then he handed
>>> the quarter to the driver and said, "Here, you gave me too much change."

>>> The driver, with a smile, replied, "Aren't you the new Gyanee in
>>> town? I have been thinking a lot lately about going somewhere to worship. I
>>> just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change. I ' ll
>>> see you at gurdwara on Sunday."

>>> When the Gyanee stepped off of the bus, he literally grabbed the
>>> nearest light pole, held on, and said, "Oh Vaheguru, I almost sold your Son for a quarter."

>>> Our lives are the only Teachings some people will ever read. This is a really scary example of how much people watch us as Sikhs and will put us to the test! Always be on guard -- and remember -- You carry the name of Guru ji on your shoulders when you call yourself "sikh."

>>> Watch your thoughts; they become words.

>>> Watch your words; they become actions.

>>> Watch your actions; they become habits.

>>> Watch your habits; they become character.

>>> Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

>>> vaheguru ji ka khalsa vaheguru ji ke fateh

Comments of British Generals

These comments of British Generals regarding the Sikhs and their Turban.
These quotes are from my book, How Europe is Indebted to the Sikhs - Role of
Sikhs in Europe during WW II, Vol. II.
- Bhupinder Singh (Holland)

Lt.General Sir Reginald Savory K.G.T., C.B., D.S.O., M.C. states in a letter
to Mrs.G.Scott, Scientific Section, House of Commons Library:

"... I have known Sikhs to pick bullets out of their turbans during and
after battle. In fact the turban absorbs the shock of a bullet possibly
rather better than a tin helmet. If the turban is properly tied, it will
also form an effective buffer too, for instance from a toss from a motor

During World War 1, when the steel helmet was first introduced, we British
Officers of Sikh Regiments tried to persuade our men to wear them, but they
steadfastly refused, and have done so ever since."

A letter from Major General B.W.Key, C.B., D.S.O., M.C. to Gyani Sundar
Singh Sagar states:

"... At the outbreak of World War II I was serving at A.H.Q. (Army
Headquarters). Shortly after I was sent for by the C. in C. General Sir
Robert Cassells. He asked me if the Sikh Regiment was prepared to wear steel
helmets. I replied that they had not done so in World War I, that it was
contrary to their religion, that we had never interfered with religious
tenets, and was it worthwhile arousing strong feelings to reduce head
injuries by an infinitesimal proportion? I also pointed out that the Sikh
Pagri (Turban) was a very good protection in itself to head wounds.

This latter point I would emphasise as regards riding motor bicycles. There
is no question that the Pagri offers greater protection than an ordinary hat
or cap.

The reasons given above were accepted by the C. in C. India. Sikhs did not
have to wear steel helmets, and I hope the same reasons will satisfy the

A letter from Col. H.A.Hughes, D.S.O., M.B.E., D.L., and J.P. to Gyani
Sundar Singh Sagar:

"Thank you for your letter of 6th August 1975 enclosing Sir Reginald
Savory's letter. May I say I entirely agree with all that the General says.
I was in the 2nd Royal Battalion Sikh Regiment during the Frontier Campaign
of 1936-38 on the N.W.Frontier of India.

My Regiment consisted entirely of Sikhs and of course they always wore the
Khaki Safa (Turban to the uninitiated!)

During World War II I commanded the 4/16th Punjab Regiment from the battle
of El Alamein to Tunis. In this battalion I had a company of Sikhs plus
those in H.Q. Company. They all wore the Safa and I certainly had no more
head wounds in this battalion than in any other battalion in which the
soldiers were wearing steel helmets.

In Great Britain we claim to support religious tolerance. Why therefore
should we try to force someone to do something which is definitely against
his religious convictions?

The Sikhs have fought for us in so many campaigns and laid down their lives
for us - I consider that we owe them a great deal and have now a chance to
repay our debts in a small way by allowing them to wear Turbans instead of
crash helmets while driving motor cycles.

I give you my full support in your struggle to get exemption and wish you
the best of luck."

In "The Sikh Regiment In The Second World War" by Colonel F.T. Birdwood,
O.B.E., the last words of the foreword of this book written by General Sir
Frank Messervy, K.C.S.I., K.B.E., C.B., D.S.O. state

"Finally we that live on can never forget those comrades who, in giving
their lives, gave so much that are great and good to the story of the Sikh
Regiment. No living glory can transcend that of their supreme sacrifice. May
they rest in peace.

In the last Two World Wars 83,005 turban wearing Sikh soldiers were killed
and 109,045 were wounded. They all died or were wounded for the freedom of
Britain and the World, enduring shellfire with no other protection but the
turban, the symbol of their faith."

Turban vs. Helmet

In the early days of World II (1939-1945) the Sikh Regimental Center, then
known as 10th Battalion the Sikh Regiment, was stationed in Nowshera (now in
Pakistan), when I got enrolled in June 1940.

I recollect that Maj Gern Kilroy (who had earlier commanded its No: 4
Company as a Captain) was deputed by the Army HQ (then called General HQ) to
visit the Training Center to convince and persuade the Sikh soldiers being
drafted to the European War Zone, to wear helmets (even over their turbans )
to protect themselves from sustaining head injuries. The entire gathering
opposed the idea.

Ultimately he came forward with a bet that let any one soldier accompany me
to the battle field where heavy shelling is going on. If that person yet
refuses to wear a helmet, I will reward him with Rs. 100 and in case he then
wares it, he will pay me Rs.1 only for losing the bet. (In those days a
soldier's monthly salary was only Rs.16).

He was astounded to see that all the listeners raised their hands, in
acceptance of the challenge. He left the stage with a smile and submitted
his findings to Army HQ, where the idea was nipped in the bud for good.
- Gurbachan Singh Bedi, Ottawa, Canada.

What should Pope Benedict XVI do?

Interesting article below

What should Pope Benedict XVI do?

By Ajit Singh Sahota, Citizen SpecialApril 3, 2010

This matter relates to one religion, and I wonder if it was a fair question to ask the other religious communities! However, no religion or institution is immune to such tragedies and betrayal on a large scale. The issue of victimization of people in any place of worship or by a religious authority figure is an important one, and one that all communities face, not just the Roman Catholic Church.

Public media reports suggest that the abuse was widespread in the Catholic Church, and that proper, timely action may not have taken place. At this juncture, Pope Benedict XVI must be working on what he should do; all we can say is what any institution should do in face of such allegations.

Sikhs are taught to respect all religions equally. Sikh Gurus and their followers suffered brutal oppression with sacrifices and extreme physical tortures, for "freedom of religion." Sikh religion is a very young religion as compared to others. In India five centuries ago, the masses were oppressed by the rulers and the priestly classes of the dominant religions at that time.

There are many verses in Sikh Scriptures identifying that "we all are fallible, Guru Creator Alone is infallible." Guru Nanak said, "I am not good and no one is bad, Wondrous Lord alone is the Saviour of mortals." It is the same One Lord that resides in all of us. Errors in judgment and crimes committed by some clergy must be addressed according to the laws of various jurisdictions.

It should be an opportune time for members of clergy at all levels of religious institutions worldwide to acknowledge the need for the healing of victims of abuse.

The Catholic Church would be best served by leading efforts to facilitate victims' healing and to prevent further abuse. Some examples could be: providing victims access to funds for counselling and other healing therapies; establishing accountable protocols and positions that may receive anonymous reports of abuse by clergy and are mandated to investigate and force appropriate action. This should be seen as an invaluable opportunity for religious institution reform.

In the Sikh religion, the Guru eliminated the need for clergy altogether, by ordering Sikhs to receive all instruction directly from the Shabad Guru (Word ) in Sikh Scriptures, for a direct communion with the Supreme Power rather than through any intermediaries such as priests.

The abode of God is in all beings and everywhere.

Ajit Singh Sahota is a retired biologist from Agriculture Canada and a founding member of the Sikh National Archives of Canada; he was president of the World Sikh Organization of Canada from 2001 to 2005.