A short movie by Bhai Satdeep Singh:
Monday, July 13, 2015
As British Sikhs, sending a quick simple email to our local MP to raise questions about human rights violations of Sikhs in India with the Foreign Office and Indian High Commissioner, is the least we can do for the cause of Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa.
Letter template below:
Dear (Insert name of MP)
As a resident in your constituency, I am deeply concerned about the continued human rights violations of the minority Sikh community in India.
Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa is an 83 year old grandfather, who was an American resident that travelled back to Punjab, India to support the campaign to free political prisoners languishing in Indian jails, many of whom have served years beyond their terms. As part of a non violent protest he took up a Hunger strike on 16th January 2015 and is now over 160 days and counting.
The Indian authorities are more focused on trying to end Bapu Surat Singh's protest by forcibly arresting him and feeding him against his will in hospital, than addressing the real issues and concerns of the wider Sikh and human rights community worldwide.
This humanitarian cause highlights the plight of many minorities in India that are treated secondary by both the legal and political system, despite India calling itself the world’s largest democracy. Whilst this campaign has had huge support on social media, the mainstream media and international western governments have remained quiet, and their stance on Human Rights violations unclear and compromised.
The matter was raised in writing with the Foreign Secretary by the Sikh community on 21 May and a request made for a meeting. Nearly six weeks later the Sikh community has had no response. As my representative in Parliament, I request and urge you to contact the following to raise my concerns and ask specific questions regarding their understanding and actions in relation to Bapu Surat Singh and his campaign.
- Write to the Foreign Secratary to determine the UK Government position & actions to date with India
- Write to the Indian High Commissioner in London to ask how India are dealing with this serious issue
- Consider other initiatives, interventions or public statements that you and the UK Government are able to take concerning this matter
Please send me a copy of any letters you write and any subsequent responses.
I look forward to receiving your reply in due course.
Insert your Name
Address & Postcode
Address & Postcode
Saturday, July 11, 2015
Birmingham Annual Akhand Keertan Smaagam
19th - 25th July 2015
Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick, Birmingham,
West Midlands, B66 3AP
Accommodation throughout Smaagam in Hall No.5/6
Sunday 19th July
Akhand Paath Arambh
Wednesday 22nd July
6.30pm - 9.30pm: Akhand Keertan
Thursday 23rd July
5.30am - 9.00am: Aasa Ki Var
6.30pm - 9.30pm: Akhand Keertan
Friday 24th July
5.30am - 9.00am: Aasa Ki Var
6.30pm - 10.30pm: Akhand Keertan
Saturday 25th July 5.30am - 10.30am: Aasa Ki Var
6.30pm - 5am: Rainsbaaee Keertan
For more information, contact:
Bhai Bhupinder Singh (Birmingham) - 07725 973836
Bhai Sanjovanpreet Singh (Birmingham)- 07938 633653
Thursday, July 09, 2015
Monday, July 06, 2015
'Bhai Pheru Morcha' was one of a series of the campaigns of Sikh agitations, in the 1920s, for the reformation of their holy places. Gurdwara Sangat Sahib in Lahore district, is dedicated to the memory of Bhai Pheru jee (1640 - 1706). Bhai Pheru jee was a masand or parish leader in the time of Guru Har Rai jee who was honoured for his devotion by Guru Gobind Singh jee with the titles of Sachee Daahree ("True Beard") and Sangat Sahib. The shrine was an important shrine, with 2,750 acres of land attached to it. At the time of the morcha (campaign) it was being managed by Mahant Kishan Daas.
After the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), a representative body of the Sikhs, had taken over management of some of the major shrines and mahants or care-takers had started voluntarily handing over gurdwaras under their control. On 28th December 1922 Mahant Kishan Daas transferred Gurdwara Bhai Pheru to the SGPC. He later went back on the agreement he had signed and petitioned the government to have the shrine and the lands restored back to him. On 7th December 1923 the police arrested the manager appointed by the SGPC, Bhai Jagat Singh jee, and eleven other representatives of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.
However, by time the Mahant came back to take possession of the gurdwara and its land, the Deputy Commissioner of Lahore ruled in favour of the SGPC. Feeling raged by the decision, Mahant Kishan Daas along with Pala Raam (brother of Mahant Narain Das, the Mahant of Sri Nankana Sahib) lodged a complaint with the police that the Akalis were forcibly taking possession of his property. Acting on his complaint, the police arrested 34 Akalis on 2nd January 1924. The government then went back on its decision and instead released new orders that Pala Raam was to have temporary possession of the land.
Jathas (batches) of Akali volunteers started marching to Bhai Pheru from different parts of the district. On 5th January 1924, the SGPC took the campaign into its own hands. By 10th September 1925, 6,372 Sikhs had been arrested. An unsavoury incident, however, led the local organizer, Arjan Singh, to suspend the morcha on 20th September 1925. The Gurdwara and the lands attached to it came under the SGPC's control after the Sikh Gurdwaras Act of 1925 was passed by the Punjab Legislative Council, and the court case too was decided in the Committee's favour in June 1931.
Below is a story relating to this morcha was illustrates the spirit of the Khalsa which made them invisible:
How a British Officer admitted defeat from Sikhs
Author: Bhai Kulbir Singh jee
Taken from www.GurmatBibek.com
|Sodhi Harbhajan Singh jee|
"I was a police captain in 1924 when the Akalis launched Bhai Pheru morcha in Lahore city of Punjab (now in Pakistan). I got special orders from the Inspector General of Police to crush the Sikhs. I told him that I could do so only if I was to be given the police party of my choice. At this he agreed and I hand picked the most ruthless and strong young men from backgrounds such as Lyalpuri Jaanglis and Jhelami Jaats. I took my police party to Gurdwara Bhai Pheru and surrounded the disputed place with wire and had my police party stationed there.
The first Jatha started marching from Amritsar and slowly reached Gurdwara Bhai Pheru after doing prachaar (preaching) in several villages on their way. On the day of the arrival of the Jatha at Gurdwara Bhai Pheru I asked my toughest Thanedaar (Police Officer) to get me the list of all the members of Jatha along with their father's name and home address. That afternoon I got surprised when I saw the list. All Jatha members had listed Guru Gobind Singh jee as their father. I got really mad when I saw the list and swore at the Thanedaar for failing to get even the name of their father.
The thanedaar replied that he tried his best but no one in the Jatha gave any other name for their father but Guru Gobind Singh jee. My wife who was sitting beside me mocked me by saying that if I can't even get their father's name how the hell am I going to crush them. At this I vowed that I will eat my breakfast the next day, only after getting their father's name from them.
I chose another 50 policemen and asked them to do the same thing. I asked them to use very severe measures to torture the Jatha members to break their resolve of not telling the name of their worldly father. I knew that if they admit defeat and spit out their father’s name, then they would also accept the defeat of their agitation. A lot was at stake. I put their hands upside down under the Charpai (Indian beds) and made the police officers jump on the beds. The Sikhs were in great pain but they did not yield. I even made my policemen hammer nails in their buttocks but still we were unable to break their resolve.