khalsa

We are Sikh

Fifth largest religion in the world, and people are ignorant enough to call us Hindus or Muslims. Educate yourself.

  • We are Sikh. Our faith matters to us. So much so that we will gladly give our life fighting for what we believe in as many saint soldiers have done in the past, including our own Gurus.
  • Sikh mothers had their newly borns chopped, limb by limb and then placed around their necks like garlands. This was the price they payed for not converting to another religion, those brave Sikh women remained in high spirits and sang the praises of Guru Nanak & Vaheguru.
  • We made up less than 2% of the Indian population yet 67% of the Indian army were Sikhs.
  • The first battle for freedom from British was won by Sikhs, when after loss of many lives in 1929 they were able to take over the charge of their shrines from British.
  • Our ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji offered to sacrifice his life to protect another religion. He laid down his life in defense of religious tolerance, freedom of worship, and freedom of religion. He gave his life for the Hindus’ right to wear the sacred thread despite the fact that Sikhs themselves do not believe in these rituals. This was martyrdom for the defense of basic human values.
  • In 1709, Guru Gobind Singh Ji left this world with a lifetime of heroic events which changed the History of India. (which I cannot even compress enough to make it into this text post &  still do it justice)
  • Bhagat Singh while studying in Berkeley University in California went back to Punjab to fight against the British army and was hanged in 1913 while fighting for freedom.
  • Punjab lost its most fertile part to Pakistan during the partition. However, today due to hard labor of Sikh farmers, the Punjab in India produces much higher quantities of food grain than the fertile Punjab in Pakistan. Punjab contributes 40% of rice and 51% of wheat into the central pool of food grains in India.
  • On April 13, 1919, the British conducted Jallianwala Bagh massacre, which consisted of killing 1300 unarmed Indians, 62% of those who were Sikhs in a single day.
  • 1984; we don’t even KNOW how many Sikhs were brutally murdered in the most inhumane ways possible because the Indian government burnt all the bodies without keeping track.

And that’s not even half of the history covered; 
Seeing news like the picture above absolutely shatters my heart, our Gurus and martyrs didn’t give up their life to be called someone we’re not. We have  been given a unique identity so that the world may recognise a single Sikh in a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people.

  • We wear a turban in which we have a small wooden comb to keep and protect our sacred gift from God, our uncut hair, our Kes.
  • We wear a Kara (iron bracelet) to resemble handcuffs, which reminds a Sikh to be a servant of the Guru & think twice about doing evil deeds.
  • We wear a Kirpan (a sword) which symbolises dignity, self-reliance, capacity and readiness to always defend the weak and the oppressed.
  • We wear a Kachera (undershorts) which reminds the Sikh of the need for self-restrain over passions, lust and desires.

A Sikh is a devotee first and to protect his devotion, a Sikh is a warrior as well. A real Sikh will never let weapons take the precedence over his spiritual values and devotion. A real Sikh will always help the one in need and fight for him/her regardless of the person’s caste, color or religion. When all other means of self-protection fail, the Sikh can use his sword to protect himself and others. A Sikh is never to use his sword to attack anyone.

So please, don’t call us something we’re not. We are Sikh. But before that, we are human.

2

You know you have lost all humanity when you get angry at someone for feeding the hungry.

Hindutva politics in India is getting bad, you guys. Rohingya Muslims fleeing genocide are being persecuted, and the Sikhs trying to feed them are being criminalized.

India is not a safe space if you are not an upper caste Hindu.

(Also it’s rich how these people act as if they are the saviours of the Guru, when in reality they don’t even respect Sikhi’s existence as an independent faith.)

ਇਹ ਬੋਲਾ ਹਰਿਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਕਾ ਸੁਣੋ ਖਾਲਸਾ ਬੀਰ ॥
This ‘Bola’ is of Guru Hargobind, listen Khalsa warriors!
ਫਤਿਹ ਪਾੳ ਮੈਦਾਨ ਮੈ ਪਕੜ ਹਾਥ ਸ਼ਮਸ਼ੀਰ ॥
Attain victory on the battlefield holding a Shamshir (scimitar). - Brahm Kavach

Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji with his newly formed Akaal Sena (Timeless Army) at Sri Harimandir Sahib

Types of People at the Nagar Kirtan

The Vaisakhi season is nearing an end, and with it, many Sikhs all over the diapsora may have attended their local nagar kirtans. In case you haven’t though, here are some of the people the Nagar Kirtan features:

1. The Foodie: Forget the birth of the Khalsa, the agriculture new year, or the harvest, these people are here for one thing and one thing only, FOOD. One can find these species in their natural habitat, shovelling spoonfuls of chholai, chaat, and anything else you can think of beside the numerous tents that pop up overnight. Please also note the hoarder foodie, with stacks on stacks on stacks of pakorai, samosai, and pizza to take along for the road.

2. Mr. Entrepreneur: You know that whole “selfless” part of doing seva? Yeaaahhhh, this person didn’t get the memo. They greet you with their company slogan as they wear their company shirt and virtually everything, from the napkins to the cutlery, at their langar stall has stickers of their A1 First Class Super Duper Number 1 Chat Patt Dhamakedaar Sweet Shop Movie Rentals and Grandma Cardigans. Be prepared for product placement on steroids.

3. The Stroller Warriors: These people (not just women y'all) use their child’s mobile devise as a weapon of mass heel destruction to get you out of their way. Awweee, you’re wearing your new Punjabi juthi straight from that boutique in Patiala? Too bad, because the strolley gonn’ be all up on that shoe. These people have places to go, and they do not care if the back of your feet get bloodied up. Beware.

4. Punjab’s Next Top Model: Speaking of missed memos, this person has forgotten that a Nagar Kirtan is a mobile occassion with an entire parade route and everything. Yet, they insist to wear the highest heels, and the tightest tube-bottomed kameez/kurta. Makeup fit for a bride, parandi swag on point, Rayban shades in hand, she be lookin’ fierce! I’m actually slightly jealous (even as a guy) at how awesome she looks. Only problem is, she can’t walk more than 1/668997099 of the Nagar Kirtan route.

5. Marathon Nagar Kirtaner: In contrast to the one above, this person has taken the whole walking scenario too far. Hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband cuz they be pushing everyone out there. Their fast walking through the sangat, snaking around bibiyaan, breaking open the held hands of mothers and their children, and push away old uncles just to get ahead. Hint hint, THE NAGAR KIRTAN IS NOT A RACE. You are now walking in a line geopgraphically in front of a bunch of pushed and mangled people. Would you like a cookie?

6. The Rebels Without a Cause: We call ‘em Surrey Jacks in my neck of the woods. They’re decked up with their $986969.99 track suits, Gucci murses, rumaals barely covering their heads, and they all walk in a herd. Forget family fun time, these peeps be mean mugging every other jack that walks by. They stake their territory and they commence their litany of “yooooo,” “budddyyyyy,” and “youuuu that’s so clutch yoooo.” Not to mention, this area has now become Shaadi.com, minus the shaadi part, and minus the security of being behind a digital screen.

7. But First, Let Me Take A Selfie: Compleeeettteeellllyyyy guilty of this one myself. Yes, we are addicted to taking pictures of myself, and hey my dumalla was ON POINT that day. However, it can be a nuisance to those who are walking behind you, and you’re just giving the stroller warrior an excuse to massacre your feet. Move to the side of the road, then take selfies. 

8. EVIL BIBIYAAN: Last, but certainly not least, are our lovable, adorable, pushing machines. Are you standing in line for that bread pakora? Well now you’re being pushed straight into the karahi because the bibi needs to get her grub on. Want a moment of solitude with the King of Kings, as Guru Sahib’s float passes by? Nice try, bibi’s gotta get her parshaad on. Whether you be walking in the procession, waiting in line, or just plane standing on the sidewalk, the razor sharp elbows of the bibiyaan WILL pierce your sides. Do not be fooled by their “puths” and their innocent laughs, they know they pushed you and caused 50 people to fall on top of one another. She knows she just littered styrofoam all over the street instead of throwing it in the nearby garbage bag. She knows she just turned your kidney into a pâté with her elbow, but you know, she’s a cute short sweet looking bibi, so she can probably get away with murder if she wants to.

———-

In all seriousness though, I absolutely love Vaisakhi. However, there are people who ruin the experience of others in the sangat due to their own actions. Let’s please be considerate and keep the sanctity of this day in mind.

April is month that is like few others in the Sikh community. No matter what jathebandi you are, not matter if you’re amritdhari or not, no matter what your knowledge level of Sikhi is, the Vaisakhi season brings us all together under one Kesri Nishaan of our Dasam Pitaa Ji. Therefore, let’s all act like a family and watch out for one another. A very happy belated Vaisakhi and hope you have fun at your Nagar Kirtan if it has not happened yet.

This is just a parody and was not meant to hurt any sentiments. :)

The Woman Who Saved A Religion

The tenth and final Sikh guru, Gobind Singh, founded an egalitarian religious warrior community called the Khalsa in 1699. His father had been beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam, and Singh lived his life fighting the Muslim Mughul Empire. Four of his sons died before him, either fighting the Mughuls or executed by them. The Mughals were determined that this small new religion would submit, and convert. The Sikhs were literally fighting for survival.

In 1704, the Mughuls attacked the city of Anandpur. Under Gobind Singh, the Sikhs were initially victorious, so the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb sent a larger army, with two of his top generals. A full-out siege ensued. Water and food supplies were cut off, and multiple minor battles happened while the city slowly succumbed. At one point, about forty Sikh warriors deserted Gobind Singh, and returned home to their families.

According to legend a Sikh woman, Mai Bhago, heard of the desertions. She was not going to stand for it. Mai Bhago shamed the deserters to return, and fight, and she would join them. They all died in the fighting, and only Mai Bhago – and Gobind Singh – survived. In thanks for her heroism, Mai Bhago was made part of Singh’s personal bodyguard.

Vaisakhi 1699 - The Birth of a Nation

It was a Vaisakhi like no other in the land,
People gathered in the City of Bliss anticipating the Guru.
Out He emerged naked sword in hand,
His crimson-shot eyes scanning the sangat through and through.
The people gasped in shock at His command,
The sacrifice of a human head was due.
Awaiting a volunteer He did stand,
As the fear and apprehension in the sangat grew.

“The Guru has gone mad,” people would yell,
But then one faithful man got up, offering his head.
“My name is Daya” to the Guru he did tell,
Into the tent he was lead.
The swoosh of the sword, the sound as the head fell,
A river flowing of crimson red.
People looked onwards in shock at what just had befell,
The Guru came out and repeated what He said.

Then Dharam and Himmat got up one by one,
Giving their heads without fear.
Then Mokam and Sahib stood up under the sun,
Ready to die as they held their Guru dear.
Spout of blood out of the tent did run,
On this holiest day of the year.
People lamented at what the Guru had done,
Some ran away as their own fate was unclear.

What happened next is lauded to this day,
The five men emerged alive.
The Guru smiled as the fear went away
In the sangat, as they watched the new Singhs arrive.
The blood was not of death and decay,
It was procreative for a community to revive.
Becoming a new Father, the Guru revealed His play,
Showing off his new sons, the Beloved Five.

We celebrate the gift of Amrit today,
Recounting the Vaisakhi of 1699.
From the Lord’s Essence let us not go astray,
The values of Khalsa in our hearts we must enshrine.

My Father, Guru Gobind Singh,
His majesty cannot be defined.
The sweet Nectar of Immortality to us He did bring,
To sweeten and liberate mankind.

ਗੁਰੁ ਸਿਮਰ ਮਨਾਈ ਕਾਲਕਾ ਖੰਡੇ ਕੀ ਵੇਲਾ । 

ਪੀਵਹੁ ਪਾਹੁਲ ਖੰਡੇਧਾਰ ਹੋਇ ਜਨਮ ਸੁਹੇਲਾ । 

ਗੁਰ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਕੀਨੀ ਖ਼ਾਲਸਾ ਮਨਮੁਖੀ ਦੁਹੇਲਾ । 

ਵਾਹ ਵਾਹ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿੰਘ ਆਪੇ ਗੁਰ ਚੇਲਾ ॥

Happy Vaisakhi to you and your family!

ਵਿਸਾਖੀ ਦੀ ਲੱਖ ਲੱਖ ਵਧਾਈ |

“You look too Taliban”

A gorah tried to tell me today that I should stop tying my turban (which I tie as a dumalla) “like the Taliban” and start tying a “proper turban” (the one that looks like a samosa).

LOLOLOLLL

MY

PEOPLE

HAVE

BEEN

TYING

THE 

DUMALLA

FOR

CENTURIES

BEFORE

THE

TALIBAN

EVEN 

EXISTED

In short, your orientalist analysis on xenophobia isn’t needed. :)

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