khalsa

ਬਾਪੂ ਸੂਰਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਦੇ ਜਵਾਈ ਦੇ ਸ਼ਰਧਾਂਜਲੀ ਸਮਾਰੋਹ ਸਮੇਂ ਨੇ ਪੰਥਕ ਏਕਤਾ ਸਮੇਤ 8 ਮਤੇ ਪਾਸ ਕੀਤੇ

ਪੂਰੀ ਖਬਰ/ਲਿਖਤ ਪੜ੍ਹੋ: @ http://bit.ly/1JrdUiL

ਬਾਪੂ ਸੂਰਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਖਾਲਸਾ ਦੇ ਜਵਾਈ ਭਾਈ ਸਤਵਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਭੋਲਾ ਦੇ ਪਿੰਡ ਹਸਨਪੁਰ ਦੇ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਵਿਖੇ ਹੋਏ ਸ਼ਰਧਾਂਜਲੀ ਸਮਾਗਮ ’ਚ ਇਕੱਤਰ ਹੋਈਆਂ ਲੱਗਭਗ ਸਾਰੀਆਂ ਪੰਥਕ ਜੱਥੇਬੰਦੀਆਂ ਨੇ ਜਿੱਥੇ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਸਿੱਖਾਂ ’ਤੇ ਹੋ ਰਹੇ ਜਬਰ ਦਾ ਭਾਂਡਾ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸ਼ ਸਿੰਘ ਬਾਦਲ ਸਿਰ ਭੰਨਿਆ, ਉਥੇ ਇਸ ਜਬਰ ਦਾ ਮੂੰਹ ਭੰਨਣ ਦੇ ਲਈ ਕੌਮੀ ਏਕੇ ਦੀ ਲੋੜ ’ਤੇ ਜ਼ੋਰ ਦਿੱਤਾ।

ਪੂਰੀ ਖਬਰ/ਲਿਖਤ ਪੜ੍ਹੋ: @ http://www.sikhsiyasat.info/2015/08/sikh-organizations-pass-resolutions-about-sikh-unity/

Mai Bhago: the Sikh Warrior Saint (late 1600s-mid 1700s)

Introducing the eleventh Rejected Princess: Mai Bhago, 18th century Sikh warrior-saint and only survivor of the Battle of Khidrana.

A quick bit of background, since it may be that you, like me, do not know a ton about Sikhs. You probably know that they’re the guys who wear turbans, don’t shave, and consistently get mistaken for Muslim – usually by ignorant morons who are trying to start something. Frustrating as that is, douchebags attacking them for virtually no reason is something that Sikhs have had to live with for the majority of the religion’s existence. Exhibit A: the Mughal Empire.

The Mughals were badasses. Their founder, Babar, had quite the lineage to begin with: descendant of Tamerlane (an Uzbeki warlord known for constructing pyramids out of his enemies’ skulls) on his father’s side and grandson of Genghis Khan on his mother’s. The Mughals continued and refined this legacy. On the one hand they did so militaristically, riding elephants into battle, redefining warfare, and expanding the empire until it encompassed all of present-day India and beyond.

On the other hand, they also advanced literature, culture, and the arts tremendously. They built the Taj Mahal, giant libraries, and had a tremendously multicultural empire. For more info on that, check out Akbar the Great, who – having brought together a huge number of disparate peoples in a surprisingly peaceful, literary, and secular empire, especially for the time – definitely earned the moniker. 

Unfortunately, by the time this story begins, the Mughals were being ruled by Aurangzeb, who was neither peaceful nor understanding. He was particularly aggressive towards the Sikhs, partly because of religious reasons, partly because the Sikhs weren’t down with the caste system. In fact, the Sikhs were egalitarian in general, with women considered equals to men.

Which brings us to Mai Bhago. Sorry for the long intro, I just want you to know what she was up against. 

Mai lived in a peaceful rural town with her parents. She spent a lot of time with her dad, who, in their daddy-daughter hangouts, taught her what any good father should: how to be a devoted Sikh, how to ride a horse, and how to kill anyone who starts shit with you. All of these came in handy just a few years later, when the leader of the Sikh, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, founded the Khalsa – the warrior-saints.

You see, the previous Guru before Gobind Singh Ji – and there were only ever ten of these guys to ever live, with Guru Gobind Singh Ji being number ten – was executed by Aurangzeb when the Guru was nine years old. Rather than capitulating to Aurangzeb and living a quiet life, the Guru ordered his followers to eschew the caste system, forsake their family names, be baptized as warrior-saints, and kick ass for the lord.

Mai Bhago was one of the first to get down on that.

The following years were very difficult on the Sikhs, with the Mughals waging nonstop warfare on the Guru. As tough as it was on him, it was arguably tougher on his warriors, holed up in fortress after fortress, eventually subsisting on nothing but nuts and leaves. After months of this, with heavy hearts, forty of them forsook the religion and left the Khalsa, in order to return to their normal lives.

Mai Bhago was having none of that. Upon hearing about the forty deserters, she rode to every city around and got all of the women to refuse any hospitality to them. She even rounded up a group of women to take up arms in the deserters’ place – telling the forty to either stay behind and look after the children or sack up and fight. Suitably ashamed by this, the forty deserters had a change of heart and decided to rejoin the Guru’s cause.

Just in time, too – because as the forty (plus Mai) were riding back to the Guru, the Mughals were making another assault on his stronghold. The size of the army is difficult to determine from historical records, with the only source I can find claiming the Mughals had ten thousand men, which seems a bit ridiculous. In any event, it is agreed that the Sikhs were massively outnumbered. 

On December 29, 1705, the forty-one Sikhs rushed in to cut off the Mughals anyway. They did several clever things in and leading up to the battle:

1) Positioned themselves in front of the Khirdana reservoir, the only source of water for miles around, and defended it viciously.

2) Laid sheets  across bushes everywhere, giving the appearance of tents – and then hid in nearby bushes, ambushing the Mughals when they started attacking the empty “tents”. 

3) Kicked up a colossal amount of dust, attracting the attention of the retreating Guru – who proceeded to unleash an incessant barrage of arrows from a nearby hill upon the Mughals.

Eventually the Mughals, battered and thirsty, withdrew. All forty of the deserters died in that battle, as did a large number of Mughal soldiers. Mai Bhago was the only Sikh survivor. From there, she became bodyguard to the Guru. She outlived him and later died of old age herself. The Mughal Empire under Aurangzeb’s leadership began a slow decline and died out a bit over a century later. The Sikh religion continues strong to this day. Mai Bhago’s spear and gun can still be found in Sikh museums, and her house has been converted into a Gurudwara (a Sikh place of worship). 

And lastly: although best known by the name Mai Bhago, technically her name, after converting to Khalsa, was Mai Bhag Kaur – Kaur being a surname all female Khalsa take, meaning, literally, “princess.”

As an art note: she is depicted here not just wearing the traditional Khalsa clothing, but that of the Nihang, an elite warrior Khalsa sect. This outfit includes a variety of bladed weapons (the Guru was known to have five weapons on him at all times), electric blue robes, steel-wrapped turbans, and steel bangles about the wrist. I am unsure if she was technically Nihang, but for damn sure she had their spirit.

And yes, she is decapitating that guy. Follow the trail of dust to see the arc of her sword. She has her sword and shield on the same arm, up around her shoulder. Realistically, I should have put the shield on her other arm, but hindsight is 20/20.

Lastly: the Mughal being beheaded has period-accurate clothing, although his helmet is one of an infantryman and his outfit is that of a cavalryman. I wanted to be able to see his face.

[many thanks for Zaid Hassan and the kindly anonymous Sikh who wrote in with additional information that went into edits on this entry!]

Amanjeet Singh is from East Palo Alto, California. He was last seen with his Mexican friend, Angel, who is also missing, at a Starbucks in EPA last week. They have been missing for a week. They were headed towards the wooded area close to Stanford and Palo Alto. Amanjeet is 6 ft tall, small build, last seen donning a black turban, and has a small beard. Please share his photo with hashtag #findamanjeet and #missingsikhteen CALL POLICE IF SEEN! His family, friends and community are praying for his safe return! #missingteen #California #eastpaloalto #amanjeetchahal #sikh #khalsa #amanjeetsingh #bayarea

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.

“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. :)

Keep reading

Human rights activist working for freedom of prisoners of conscience who are in jails despite completing their sentences. On 16 January 2015, Surat Singh Khalsa began a hunger strike which is still ongoing.He has refused food and water for more than 3 months to seek the release of Sikh political prisoners who have completed their court sentences. Where he is seeking release of Sikh political prisoners, he has also called for unconditional release of prisoners of all religions who have completed their terms. On 11 February 2015, Surat Singh Khalsa wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi[4] explaining the motive of his hunger strike. In his letter, Surat Singh Khalsa summed up his demands in two points 1; Treat all Sikh prisoners under trials and those sentenced in cases relating to the Sikh struggle- as political prisoners 2; Release all prisoners who have completed their full jail terms and are legitimately due for release, exactly in the same manner, as other prisoners are so released in various other parts of the country.

Guru Gobind Singh was the last of the living Sikh Gurus. And initiated the Sikh Khalsa (the most important point in Sikh history)in 1699, and is the reason why Sikhs since then should not cut there hair and wear the turban. And he is one of the main reason why Sikhs are such a formidable militaristic race of people even today.

Queerness and Sikhi

So yesterday I made a post about how some Sikhs are afraid to say the word “gay,” and I got several messages saying how it’s because “Sikhi doesn’t support homosexuality,” or “it’s unnatural,” or “God made men and women only” (inferring sexuality and gender are the same thing), or “Sikhi is about procreation,” and of course many linked to the videos of Basics of Sikhi talking about the topic.

There is a post made by another user on tumblr that sums up my response to the linked videos complete. You can find that post HERE. As for the other statements, I’m going to explore them in this post.

Let’s start with the “unnatural” part of it. To put it lightly, you’re wrong. There are HUNDREDS of species, besides humans, in which homosexuality is exhibited. Some of these species are bison, brown bears, cats, dogs, chimpanzees, horses, dolphins, elephants, and even lions. Gurbani tells us that all of nature acts in accordance to God’s Will. So if Akaal Purakh didn’t want homosexuality to exist, homosexuality would not be prevalent in these hundreds of species. Therefore, the claim that non-hetero sexualities are unnatural is baseless.

The idea that Sikhi focusses on procreation is, again, false. Nowhere in Gurabni does it command people to marry only to bear children. Such an importance on procreation can be found in faiths into which you can be born. Sikhi isn’t a faith you are born into. You can be born into a Sikh family, but you earn your Sikhi yourself with your own actions. Moreover, if Sikhi was only about procreation, then there would be prohibitions put on infertile people from marrying, or it would be forbidden for women past the stage of menopause, and men past the age of virility, to get married. That’s not the case. The truth is that Sikhi does not talk about these things, because at the end of the day they just don’t matter in comparison to the grandness of God. Guru Sahib explains in Asaa Ki Vaar:

ਕੂੜੁ ਮੀਆ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੀਬੀ ਖਪਿ ਹੋਏ ਖਾਰੁ ॥
False is the husband, false is the wife; they mourn and waste away.

With that precedence set, we can infer that when Gurbani talks about Husband and wife, it is talking about the allegorical marriage of our soul (in Sikhi all souls are said to be brides) with the Husband Lord. Therefore, the Gurbani pangtis that are brought up, such as the two bodies one soul one, are in fact talking about God and the soul, not a heterosexual relationship between a man and a women, because as Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj said, these unions are a temporal realities that fade, and in the big pictures this makes them a falsehood. Therefore, Guru Sahib essentially tells us to look beyond what we do in our beds and look into what we should do with our Sikhi sidak.

The cold hard truth is that there is no mention of homosexuality in Sikh scripture. Not even once. It’s not like the Guru Sahibaan and the Bhagats and Bhatts that revealed Gurbani weren’t aware of homosexuality. Guru Arjan Dev Ji, who is known as Bani ka Bohithaa (Boat of Gurbani- due to the fact that he revealed the most Gurbani in Sri Guru Granth Sahib), actually had several encounters with homosexuality that NEVER get talked about. None of this is recorded explicitly, but when you connect the dots, you see that Guru Ji has in fact met queer people and has known of queer people.

One of these examples is Sarmad. Sarmad was a devout follower of Sai Mian Mir, a Sufi saint. Any Sikh would know that Guru Arjan Dev Ji and Sai Mian Mir had a very close relationship, and it was Sai Ji that laid the foundation stone of Harmandir Sahib (now known as the Golden Temple- also called the “Sikh Mecca”). In Sikh belief we do not believe that the Guru Sahiban were regular human beings, we believe that the Guru Sahiban were antarjami. They could read us completely in the blink of an eye, every single detail. So, when Guru Arjan Dev Ji would hang out with Sai Mian Mir, he would know of Sarmad either through Sai Mian Mir talking about him, or because of his antarjami capabilities. Either way, Guru Sahib would know that Sarmad exists, and that he was in a loving and consenting sexual relationship with another man, Abhai Chand. Despite knowing of Sarmad’s existence, there is not Gurbani written against homosexuality.

However, forget degrees of separation. What if I told you that Guru Arjan Dev Ji came FACE TO FACE with a gay man? Well that is exactly what happened. In the Suraj Parkash Granth, a manuscript that is a source of Sikhi history, tells the story of Guru Arjan Dev Ji’s visit to Lahore. During this time, Guru Arjan Dev Ji as compiling Aad Granth Sahib (which would later be coronated as Sri Guru Granth Sahib), and hearing that Guru Ji had included Bani from Muslims like Sheikh Fareed Ji and Hindus like Bhagat Ravidaas Ji, poets and bards from all over the subcontinent would visit Guru Arjan Dev Ji in hopes that their poetry would be included in Aad Granth Sahib. However, the poetry was most often not accepted by Guru Ji, as that’s all it was- poetry. Guru Granth Sahib only contains Bani revealed from Sachkhand by Akaal Purakh, and while the poetry presented was beautiful, it was inspired by the human mind and therefore not Gurbani. When Guru Ji was in Lahore, four such poets visited him, and if you read that section of Suraj Parkash Granth, you will read that there was a man by the name of Shah Hussain, another Sufi saint, who visited Guru Ji.

The Suraj Parkash Granth doesn’t give much detail into Shah Hussain’s life aside from the fact that he had poetry he wanted to present to Guru Ji. However, if you read up on his life, Shah Hussain, like Sarmad, was in a sexual relationship with another man named Madho Laal. The love between Madho Laal and Shah Hussain are often recounted at Shah Hussain’s urs (death anniversary), and hundreds throng to his dargah, where Shah Hussain and Madho Laal are buried side by side.

Anyway, so Shah Hussain, who we know to be madly in love with Madho Laal, comes to Guru Sahib and the encounter they have is honestly quite beautiful. Shah Hussain was the last of the four poets to meet Guru Maharaaj, and present his work. Suraj Parkash Granth says that the entire time Shah Hussain recited his kalaam, Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaaj lovingly gazed towards him and praised his work, and was moved by the bairaag and love in his poetry. Here is an excerpt of the work Shah Hussain presented:

ਚੁਪ ਵੇ ਅੜਿਆ ਚੁਪ ਵੇ ਅੜਿਆ।
ਬੋਲਣ ਦੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਜਾਇ ਵੇ ਅੜਿਆ।
ਸਜਣਾ ਬੋਲਣ ਦੀ ਜਾਇ ਨਾਹੀਂ।ਰਹਾਉ।
ਅੰਦਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਹਿਕਾ ਸਾਂਈਂ, ਕਿਸਨੂੰ ਆਖਿ ਸੁਣਾਈਂ।
ਇਕੋ ਦਿਲਬਰ ਸਭ ਘਟ ਰਵਿਆ, ਦੂਜੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਕਦਾਈਂ।
ਕਹੈ ਹੁਸੈਨ ਫਕੀਰ ਨਿਮਾਣਾ, ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਥੌਂ ਬਲਿ ਬਲਿ ਜਾਈਂ।
Stay quiet O friend, stay quiet. This is not your place to speak. O sajana, O friend, this is not your place to speak. Inside and outside, there is only one Lord, to whom should I go and tell anything? One Lord, the Enchanter of the Hearts, is in every being, no one else is there. The humble Faqir Hussain says, I am sacrifice to Satguru again and again.

Moved by the poetry Guru Arjan Dev Ji blessed Shah Hussain and Shah Hussain left in happiness and bliss. While Suraj Parkash Granth doesn’t go into the details of the history of these Bhagats, as the focus is on Guru Arjan Dev Ji compiling Gurbani for Sri Aadi Granth Sahib, searching the history of Shah Hussain, you will see that he was in fact gay or bi. 

Guru Sahib in his Sakshaat Saroop met with Shah Hussain. As Guru Sahib is antarjami, wouldn’t he have known that Shah Hussain was gay or bi? Of course he did! Yet, he didn’t write anything against it when he had every authority to do so. That speaks for itself. The fact that the Gurus knew of homosexuality, and did not speak against it like they spoke against other vices humans commit, says something. 

No about the whole gender thing. Gender and sexuality are two completely different concepts. One is who you are programmed to get down with between the sheets, and the other is who you are and what you identify with. Being gay or bi is a sexual identity, not a gender identity. On top of that, Sikhi does not hold rigid genders. First of all, Sikh scripture (especially Dasam Granth Sahib) acknowledges the exiestence of varying gender idenities, such as the kinnar (also known as hijras or khusras). Even then, gender is not shown as something rigid, but rather as something fluid. In a shabad that explains the powers God has to transform things, Bhagat Kabeer Ji states:

ਨਾਰੀ ਤੇ ਜੋ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਕਰਾਵੈ ਪੁਰਖਨ ਤੇ ਜੋ ਨਾਰੀ ॥
The woman is transformed into a man, and the men into women.

Thus, Sikh scripture sets to foundation to not only reject the binary, but also reject the idea of rigid genders. (I am not an expert on trans* related things, so please let me know if I am making any blunders in the way I said that. Apologies.)

At the end of the day, Sikhi is about love, support, and standing up against oppression. Don’t let your mind’s rigidity turn you into the oppressor. Please share this message, and remember that our Guru is too big and too vast for his Sikhs to be narrow-minded and shallow.