Friday, June 10, 2016

Remembering the Past & Seeking Freedom: Reflection on June London Rally...

Last Sunday, after the London 1984 remembrance march and freedom rally held in Central London. For the me the event is important as it an acts as a testimony to India and the world that the Sikh community is undefeated and still proudly standing, despite attempts of holocausts, genocides, killings and attacks on Sikh ideology and beliefs. On the way back home from the event, I was reflecting on the day. Various thoughts came to my mind. Later in the week, Bhenji Navrup Kaur was sharing her experiences and observations about the event. Both of our observations were similar, so Bhenji requested for me to share some thoughts with the Sangat...

During the Hyde Park speeches, an elderly gentleman with a colourful orange Dastaar and white beard came on the stage. The person was introduced as "Mr. Patel". I thought it was a slightly strange to have a Singh with the name 'Patel'. Anyway, the gentleman began talking and he was speaking Hindi. I thought that was even more strange! Then he introduced himself with the following: "I am a Hindu. I a not a Sikh. However, I respect Sikhs because if it was not for the ninth Guru, Guru Teg Bahadar Ji, and the bravery and sacrifices of the Khalsa, today Hindus would not exist and thousands of our Hindu sisters and mothers would been forcefully taken and sold in Afghanistan and Iraq. For this reason, when I heard that the Indian government attacked Sri Harmandir Sahib in June 1984, I was deeply saddened. How could the Indian government be so ungrateful to the Sikhs? If it had not been for the Sikhs, there would be no India! In response to my Sikh brothers being killed, having their Dastaar direspected, and Kes forcefully cut in India, I decided out of solidarity to my Sikh brothers to stop cutting my hair and wear a Dastaar. It is not just me, but I know lots of other Hindus that stand by with Sikhs and support Khalistan." It was a short but very inspiring speech, and I hope that our brothers and sisters who have Sikh roots but are not yet keeping their Kes or wearing a Dastaar, may be inspired to stand and be counted for in solidarity with our brothers who fell down with bullets in 1984, by keeping their Kes and wearing a Dastaar with pride.

Whilst walking with the march, I noticed a man with cut hair and his head covered with a Rumaal pushing a wheel chair. A young boy wearing a blue Dumallaa (turban), a blue Chola (khalsa dress) and Kirpaan worn over his clothes, was by him. I thought it must be a nephew or someone that he knew. But then the Khalsa child, when speaking with the man, said, "Dad." It put a smile on my face and I thought 'wow.' The Indian State and anti-Sikh forces wished to destroy the Sikh identity and existence, and yet today, despite the middle-aged man who for whatever reason doesn't have Sikh identity, but his next generation are proud Khalsa and living proof of the legacy of the Shaheeds and those who laid their lives down for the sake of Sikhi. That's powerful! This illustrates the Sikh story of defiance, surviving holocausts, and remaining in Chardikala.

But I also noticed a growing trend of men and women wearing Western clothes instead of their traditional Sikh dress, and some dressed as if they were going to soak up the sun on the beach, and others as if they were going for a workout in the gym. The Shaheeds that we are remembering died wearing their cholas and traditional dress, wearing their kirpans with pride over the clothes, and wearing the beards flowing like lions. Anti-Sikh forces despised the identity of the Khalsa, and for them to see a sea of dastaars, men and women adorned in Khalsa dress and wearing their Kirpaans over the clothes with pride, would send a strong message to them that would make them think twice about how successful they have been in the campaign destroy the Khalsa.

Some people complained it was too hot, and had forgotten how hot it must have been in the Sri Harmandir Sahib complex in June 1984 when the army had shut off the electricity and water supply and the Sangat had to endure 40 degrees temperature for all the days the attack continued. It made me think, have we really understood why we are here?  Bhenji Navrup Kaur shared that before they left home, she asked her young 7 year old daughter that she can wear a t-shirt instead of Bana (Khalsa dress) because it was going to be  hot. Her daughter replied, "No mum, I wish to wear Bana, as we are remembering the Shaheeds."

Gurleen Kaur and Mansimar Kaur proudly dressed with Dastaars, Kirpaans and Bana last Sunday

When marching through London I also observed that people who came to attend the remembrance event were entering shops to go shopping, restaurants and cafés to have some lunch, others were enjoying ice-cream, having a laugh with their mates, and taking selfies at tourist site attractions that were on the route of the march. Are we taking this event seriously? Or has it become a day trip and an opportunity to go shopping and site-seeing in Central London for free (using the coach paid by the Sangat or Gurdwara)?

Bhenji Navrup Kaur wrote on her post that she shared on the Internet: 
"The day you see or hear me referring to this event as a day out in London, a day to pop into Primark en-route to the event, wearing my western clothes, getting myself a nice coffee and sarnie from Pret, not bothering to go to listen to the speeches or the videos, meet the Sangat, and support and remember this day and all that it stands for... That day is the day my heart would have gone stone cold and my being there will make no difference to the cause."
Bhai Gurpreet Singh and Bhenji Navrup Kaur with their children last Sunday

Monday, June 06, 2016

6 June 1984: Shaheed Bhai Avtar Singh Parowal...

6 ਜੂਨ ਦੀ ਸਵੇਰ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਦਰਬਾਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਅੰਦਰ ਕੋਈ ਕੀਰਤਨੀਆ ਨਾ ਜਾ ਸਕਿਆ ਤਾਂ ਅਖੰਡ ਕੀਰਤਨੀ ਜਥੇ ਨਾਲ ਸੰਬੰਧਿਤ ਕੀਰਤਨੀਏ ਭਾਈ ਗੁਰਦਿਆਲ ਸਿੰਘ ਹੋਰਾਂ ਨੇ ਕੀਰਤਨ-ਹਾਜ਼ਰੀਆਂ ਭਰੀਆਂ। ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੇ ਇਕ ਹੋਰ ਸਾਥੀ ਭਾਈ ਅਵਤਾਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਪਾਰੋਵਾਲ 6 ਜੂਨ ਨੂੰ ਸਵੇਰੇ ਕੀਰਤਨ-ਹਾਜ਼ਰੀਆਂ ਭਰਦੇ ਹੋਏ ਗੋਲੀ ਲੱਗਣ ਕਰ ਕੇ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਦਰਬਾਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਅੰਦਰ ਹੀ ਜਾਮ-ਏ-ਸ਼ਹਾਦਤ ਪੀ ਗਏ ਸੀ।

On the 6th of June 1984, when no other Kirtanis could go to peform Kirtan at Sri Darbaar Sahib due to heavy firing and bombardment by the Indian army, Bhai Gurdial Singh and his companions associated with Akhand Kirtani Jatha performed Kirtan duties. On the morning of 6th June, Bhai Avtar Singh Parowal had had a bullet fired at home whilst during Kirtan and attained martyrdom inside Sri Darbaar Sahib. 



A SHORT GLIMPSE AT THE LIFE OF
SHAHEED BHAI AVTAR SINGH PAROWAL
Childhood
Bhai Avtar Singh was born on 1st April 1950 in village Parowal, near Batala, Gurdaspur district. His parents were Sardar Gurbaksh Singh and Mata Bhagwant Kaur. Bhai Sahib was the fifth eldest of 8 brothers and sisters. From a young age, Bhai Sahib was attached to Sikhi and passed time by reciting Gurbani. While Bhai Sahib studied in 8th grade, the family had Parkaash of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj in their house and Bhai Sahib would do seva both times of Parkaash and Sukhaasan. In 10th grade Bhai Sahib had grown a beard and his friends would jokingly called him Giani (Priest). Bhai Sahib complained about this to the principal, who replied back to him, "If they call you Giani, then show them that you can be a Giani."  From then on Bhai Sahib made up his mind on attaining the happiness of Guru Ji and ignoring the attachments of this world. 

Sangat of Gursikhs from Akhand Kirtani Jatha
In 1966, Bhai Sahib passed his 10th grade from Lala Mussa Higher Secondary School in Fatehgarh Churian. Soon after Bhai Sahib opened a shop and earned an honest living. Bhai Sahib would regularly go to Sri Amritsar to the wholesalers and during these trips Bhai Sahib would also do darshan of Sri Harimandir Sahib. It was on these trips Bhai Sahib would meet Bhai Satnam Singh of Singh Brothers and Bhai Inderjit Singh Kirpana Wala. After which Bhai Sahib started doing sangat with the Akhand Kirtani Jatha, a group of devout Sikhs dedicated to Kirtan without worldly gain or money. In 1972, Bhai Sahib took Amrit from the Panj Pyare at the Vaisakhi Akhand Kirtani Smaagam in Amritsar. Bhai Sahib then stayed in Amritsar and learnt Kirtan from Bhai Inderjit Singh Kirpana Wala and Bhai Pala Singh, son of Baba Labh Singh Kaar Sewa Anandgarh Sahib. After the 1978 Amritsar bloody massacre, which resulted in 13 Gursikhs being shaheed by the Narakhdharis, Bhai Sahib continued to do sewa with the Chalda Vaheer group started by Shaheed Bhai Fauja Singh Ji.  

Hearing of the army attack on Sri Harmandir Sahib
Soon June 1984 came, government of India sent in tanks and cannons to demolish Sri Akaal Takht Sahib, the throne of the Sikhs. Bhai Sahib's father, Sardar Gurbaksh Singh was paying respects to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in the Sri Harimandir Sahib complex at the time of the attack. On 3rd June 1984, news reached Bhai Sahib's family that an old man had been killed on the complex. Bhai Sahib quickly got ready and headed towards Sri Harimandir Sahib. On that day the Indian army did not allow Bhai Sahib to enter the complex due to a curfew, but the next day on 4th June 1984, Bhai Sahib managed to squeeze past the curfew and entered the complex. Bhai Sahib managed to locate his father who was still alive and made their way together to the room of Bibi Amarjit Kaur, wife of Shaheed Bhai Fauja Singh Ji which was situated near Sri Akaal Takht Sahib. 

Maintaining the Maryada of Sri Darbar Sahib
The Indian army was showering the Sikh pilgrims in the complex with a rain of bullets. On the evening of 5th June 1984, Granthi Giani Puran Singh, accompanied with Bhai Avtar Singh, made their way to Sachkhand Sri Darbar Sahib to do seva of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj. On 6th June 1984, Raagi Bhai Amrik Singh had finished the seva of Aasa Ki Vaar and just as he returned he was shot by the Indian army and made shaheed. Due to heavy firing no other Raagi Singh managed to make their way to Sachkhand Sri Darbar Sahib to do Kirtan sewa. During this time, keeping in mind the Maryada of Sachkhand Sri Darbar Sahib, Bhai Gurdyal Singh of Akhand Kirtani Jatha started doing Kirtan and after him, Bhai Sahib continued to do Kirtan to maintain the Akhand Kirtan (continuous non-stop Kirtan) Maryada of Sri Darbaar Sahib. 

Martyrdom of Bhai Avtar Singh Parowal
It would have been roughly 8 o'clock in the morning.  As Bhai Sahib did Kirtan, a bullet came and went through Bhai Sahib's right leg and into the left leg. Bhai Gurdyal Singh took the bullet out with his Kirpan and tied a cloth around both of Bhai Sahib's legs. After some time Bhai Sahib sat down and rested against a wall. On the evening of 6th June, when Giani Puran Singh touched Bhai Sahib, whose eyes were shut, it was realised that he become shaheed. Bhai Sahib attained shaheedi as he maintained the Maryada and respect of Sachkhand Sri Darbar Sahib. Giani Puran Singh wrapped Bhai Sahib's body in a sheet and bought it to Sri Akaal Takht Sahib. Some months before the attack on Sri Darbar Sahib, Bhai Sahib's sister had a dream in which an old man asked her, "If your brother attains shaheedi in Sachkhand Sri Darbar Sahib, would you accept it as an act of Waheguru?" Bhai Sahib's sister remained quiet but when asked the same question for the third time she answered, "Even if my son attained shaheedi in Sachkhand Sri Darbar Sahib, I would accept it as an order of Waheguru."

ਕਬੀਰ ਮੁਹਿ ਮਰਨੇ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ਹੈ ਮਰਉ ਤ ਹਰਿ ਕੈ ਦੁਆਰ || 
ਮਤ ਹਰਿ ਪੂਛੈ ਕਉਨੁ ਹੈ ਪਰਾ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਬਾਰ ||੬੧|| 
"O Kabeer! I long to die; let me die at the Lord's Door. I hope that the Lord does not ask, "Who is this, lying at my door?"||61||"
(Salok Kabeer Ji, 1367)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Gurmat Responses to Anti-Sikh Parchaar...

18th century Sikhs hunted down and killed by anti-Sikh forces.
 
In the past Sikhs were attacked and killed physically, however, in the modern world, Sikhs are being attacked by having their theology, philosophy, Maryada and Gurbani attacked. The people making such attacks use the approach of questioning and creating doubts. Due to lack of knowledge of Gurmat many naive and innocent people have fallen prey to such mischievous individuals.

The aim of the articles below is to create awareness and provide education in tackling the questions posed regarding Gurbani, Maryada and Rehat with Gurmat responses:


Friday, May 27, 2016

A mix pot "Sikh" wedding: The modern day Punjabi wedding...


What is nowadays labelled as ‘Sikh’ wedding by Punjabis,  in reality are a mix of Hindu, Islamic, Christian and Punjabi traditions. Most people unbeknown to them follow these rituals in good faith and enjoy them thinking they are part and parcel of Sikhi. However, it is usually the case that these rituals and customs are contrary to Sikhi and therefore defeat the objective of having an Anand Karaj, which is to receive the blessings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Due to a lack of knowledge and awareness about what a ‘Sikh’ wedding in reality should be, most people carry on following popular culture.


6 non-Sikh traditions that people think are part of "Sikh" weddings

(1) Rangoli/ Maaeeyaa (Hinduism)
Rangoli is an ancient Hindu form of drawing for special festivities. It is meant to welcome the Hindu deities into the home for blessings and is an offering of good luck. Before weddings take place, a Rangoli design is made on the floor, which consists of repeating patterns of flowers and geometric shapes made of flour and colour. In this pre-wedding ritual, the bride or groom sits on a stool before the Rangoli pattern and has a a turmeric paste applied to them. This Hindu ritual is meant to make their minds and bodies pure before the marriage ceremony. It is also used to lighten and beautify the skin.

Note: A Sikh would want to invite Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji to their home, rather than a deity or goddess. There is no such thing as good luck. Good actions lead to lead good results. Reciting and singing Gurbani brings blessings. One is beautified according to Gurmat by singing Vahiguru's Praises and living in accordance to the Guru's Teachings.



(2) Mehndi Ceremony (Islamic)
Dyeing the hands and feet with henna is something mustahabb (encouraged) for women in Islam, unlike for men. A number of Hadiths indicate that it is highly encouraged. Abu Dawood (4166) narrates, "A woman gestured from behind a screen, with a letter to the Prophet Muhammad in her hand. Prophet Muhammad withdrew his hand and said: “I do not know whether it is the hand of a man or a woman.” She said: It is a woman. He said: “If you were a woman, you would have changed your nails,” meaning, with henna. It is part of the Muslim tradition (Sunnah) for women to dye their hands with henna as instructed by Prophet Muhammad to be differentiated from men.

Note: A Sikh wears that which pleases the Guru, not another religion's respected prophets. The Guru is pleased with a Sikh wearing the Panj Kakkaar.


(3) Sehra (Hindu/Mughal)
A Sehra is decorative veil worn by a groom that originates from Northern India from Vedic times. It consists of an embroidered rectangular piece with strings that make up the veil. The stringed veil can be either made of flowers or beads. The Sehra is tied over the groom’s turban. Alternatively the groom’s turban can have the Sehra stitched into it. First, it covers the face of the groom like a veil and protects him from "Nazar" or the "evil eye." Second, it reminds the groom that the search for a life partner is over and a veil across the face indicates he should not look any other lady. Although it originates from Hindu culture, amongst Muslims the Sehra has been patronised and adopted into Islamic culture since the Mughal era where kings wore elaborate looking head gears encrusted with precious pearls and stones during their weddings. In fact, the word ‘Sehra’ literally means a poem sung during a ‘nikah', Muslim wedding ceremony.

Note: Gurbani does not believe in the 'evil eye' concept', and says reciting Vahiguru's Name rids one any perceived evil eyes or bad luck. Secondly, a Sikh lives by the principal of seeing every other woman as his daughter, sister or mother. Throughout Sikh history Sikh's have been known for their high moral character, and this was without the help or reminder of a Sehra or face veil.


(4) Jai Mala (Hindu)
The Var Mala ceremony is known as Jaimala also. The reference of this ritual is found in Vedic literature. In ancient times (during Vedic age), the kings used to arrange the system of selection of the groom by their daughters. They used to invite the son of kings (raaj-kumars) of the friendly states, a grand ceremony was arranged and the girl (or bride) was given the opportunity to select the groom of her choice. In this system, she was free to put the garlands in the neck of her groom of choice. The same concept is followed in modern times too, but with the changes that there is only one bride and groom.

Note: A Sikh couple's union in Gurmat is bound by Gurbani and blessings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji when one bows before the Guru and walks around the Guru to indicate the Guru is the centre of their lives. A Sikh's union is not made with garlands or necklaces, but bound by the Guru.


(5) Ring Ceremony (Christian)
Early Christian marriages had a ritual to wear the wedding ring in the third finger. As the priest recited during the binding, "In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”, he would take the ring and touch the thumb, the index finger, and the middle finger; then, while uttering “Amen”, he would place the ring on the ring finger, which sealed the marriage. Nowadays, it is worn on the fourth finger. The church considers it as a symbol of love and faithfulness. It stands for the promise made between a man and a woman that binds them for eternity in love.

Note: A Sikh wears no symbol of any other religion or belief. A Sikh wears the Panj Kakkaar as their jewellery and symbol of commitment to the Guru.


(6) Throwing of Rice (Hindu/Christian)
In Hinduism as the bride steps out of her parent’s house to be a part of her husband’s family, she pauses at the doorstep to throw handful of coins and rice back over her head thrice. Throwing rice and or money, is a manifestation of Goddess Lakshmi (the Hindu Goddess of prosperity and wealth). The bride wishes that her parent’s house always remain prosperous. Coins signify wealth, whereas rice is a symbol of health. This ritual also symbolises that the bride has repaid her parents for her upbringing and for everything they have bestowed on her.  In Christianity, the rice throwing tradition at weddings originates from Paganism. Throwing of rice in marriage ceremony is the same as throwing salt over ones shoulder. It's casting a spell for good luck and a blessing for fertility. In Christianity it was re-interpreted as a reminder to the couple that the primary purpose in marriage is to create a family that will serve and honour the Lord. Therefore, guests symbolically throw rice as a gesture of blessing for the spiritual and physical fruitfulness of the marriage.
 
Note: According to Gurmat as one acts, he reaps. To throw rice as a blessing is not Gurmat. To wish someone well and give blessings in Sikhi is through reciting Gurbani and doing Simran.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

"Gangsterism" and violence in the name of Sikhi: A Sikh perspective...


ਜੋ ਸਿੱਖ, ਸਿੱਖ ਨੂੰ ਜਾਣ ਕੇ ਕੈਦ ਕਰਾਏ, ਲੁਟਾਏ, ਮਰਵਾਏ, ਸੋ ਦੈਂਤ ਜਾਨਣਾ । - Tankhahnama Bhai Choupa Singh Shibber 


Author: Bhai Jasjit Singh Ji, New Jersey

The current situation in the Panth of Sikhs fighting amongst themselves leading to Beadbi (disrespect) of the Dastaar, pulling of Kes, killings, and committing assassination attempts on fellow Sikh Gur-bhais (Guru-joined brothers), is sure a sad state. In fact, it points to the uprising of the  Malechh (fake imposters).

Daas was going through Rehatnamay (Sikh codes of conduct) and there are very hard Bachans (words) towards those Sikhs who commit and indulge in such acts against other Sikhs. Tankhaahnama Bhai Chuapa Singh mentions those accounts as very much against Sikhi, resulting in one becoming a Thankhaiya (liable for religious disciplinary action, including socio-religious boycott).
1) ਜੋ ਸਿਖ, ਸਿੱਖ ਦੇ ਦਾੜ੍ਹੇ ਹੱਥ ਪਾਏ, ਸੋ ਭੀ ਤਨਖਾਹੀਆ ।   
"A Sikh who pulls another Sikh's beard is a Thankhaiya."

2) ਜੋ ਸਿਖ, ਸਿੱਖ ਦੇ ਕੇਸਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਹੱਥ ਪਾਏ, ਸੋ ਭੀ ਤਨਖਾਹੀਆ ।
"A Sikh who pulls another Sikh's Kes (hair) is a Thankhaiya."

3) ਜੋ ਸਿਖ ਨਾਲ ਹੱਥੋਂ-ਪਾਈ-ਲੜਾਈ ਕਰੇ, ਸੋ ਭੀ ਤਨਖਾਹੀਆ ।
"One who gets involved in a physical fight with a Sikh is a Thankhaiya."

For the above three you can imagine how many Thankhaiye are out there now. How can we talk about the Chardi Kala of the Panth? The following code talks about one who doesn’t stop the fight even if asked by a fellow Sikh is also a Thankhaiya:
4) ਜੋ ਦੁਇ ਸਿਖ ਆਪਸ ਵਿਚ ਲੜਨ, ਸਿੱਖ ਮਨ੍ਹਾ ਕਰਨ ਅਤੇ ਲੜਾਈ ਨਾ ਛਡਣ, ਸੋ ਤਨਖਾਈਏ ।    
"When two Sikhs are fighting amongst themselves and a Sikh tells them not to but they continue, they are Thankhaiye."

The next Bachan is even stronger:
5) ਜੋ ਸਿੱਖ ਸਿੱਖ ਨੂੰ ਜਾਣ ਕੇ ਕੈਦ ਕਰਾਏ, ਲੁਟਾਏ, ਮਰਵਾਏ, ਸੋ ਦੈਂਤ ਜਾਨਣਾ ।   
"A Sikh who intentionally sends to prison, loots, or kills another Sikhs, should be recognised as a demon."

Furthermore, it says one who has close contact with them are Thankhaiye too. Not Just Thankhaiya but "Bemukh Thankhaiya". Be-mukh means one who turned their face away from the Guru, i.e. an apostate:
6) ਗੁਰੂ ਕੇ ਸਿਖ ਐਸੇ ਨਾਲ ਨਾ ਵਰਤਣ, ਬੇਮੁਖ ਤਨਖਾਹੀਆ ।   
"A Sikh of the Guru should not associated with such a person, otherwise they are Bemukh Thankhaiya."

In light of above Rehatnamay (codes of conduct), the recent killing of Bhai Bhupinder Singh is committed by none other than a Daint (demon). They can’t even be called Sikh. Whoever supports them or keeps relation with such people are also BEMUKH Thankhaiye.

May Guru Sahib save us from this dark age of Kaljug and Malechha da Naas Hovay.

Daas,
Jasjit Singh



Sunday, May 15, 2016

Gurdwaras and Sikh Rehit Maryada...




5 things that most Gurdwaras don't do but still claim that they only follow Sri Akal Takht's Maryada

 1. The colour of the Nishan Sahib
The Sikh Rehit Maryada states:
(ਡ)  ਹਰ ਇਕ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰੇ ਵਿਚ ਨਿਸ਼ਾਨ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਕਿਸੇ ਉਚੀ ਥਾਂ ਤੇ ਲੱਗਾ ਹੋਵੇ | ਨਿਸ਼ਾਨ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੇ ਪੁਸ਼ਾਕੇ ਦਾ ਰੰਗ ਬਸੰਤੀ ਜਾਂ ਸੁਰਮਈ ਹੋਵੇ ਅਤੇ ਨਿਸ਼ਾਨ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੇ ਸਿਰੇ ਉਤੇ ਸਰਬਲੋਹ ਦਾ ਭਾਲਾ ਜਾਂ ਖੰਡਾ ਹੋਵੇ |
"Every Gurdwara should have a Nishan Sahib on a raised level. The material of the Nishan Sahib should be yellow (Basanti) or greyish blue (Surmei), and the on the end of the Nishan Sahib should be a spear or Khanda made of Sarbloh (pure-iron)."
Sadly, nowadays it is becoming a rare sight to see a Nishan Sahib that is the correct colour. The colour of Nishan Sahibs are either orange (Kesri), dark orange, or peach colour. These are not colours that represent the Sikh sovereign nation. There is no Rehatnama that instructs Sikhs to have a Kesri colour flag. The Kesri flag, or orange colour, is a Hindu national colour and resembles the flag outside a Hindu temple and is the same colour as the RSS and Hindu right wing flags. The peach colour flag is used by Hindu saints and Deras.


2. The Nagara
The Sikh Rehit Maryada states:
(ਢ)   ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰੇ ਵਿਚ ਨਗਾਰਾ ਹੋਵੇ, ਜੋ ਸਮੇਂ ਸਿਰ ਵਜਾਇਆ ਜਾਵੇ |
"A Nagara (war drum) should be kept in the Gurdwara, which should be played at the appropriate times."
In most Gurdwaras the Nagara is absent and if they do have a Nagara it is not played during Prakaash time in the morning, during Ardaas time, and Sukhaasan time. 

The massive drum with a metallic hemispheric body was called ‘Ranjit Nagara’, the drum of victory, a name given the kettledrum percussion instrument installed by Guru Gobind Singh Ji at Sri Anandpur Sahib in 1684.  The Nagara, Punjabi for the Persian ‘naqqarah’ was a symbol of royalty. As well as fulfilling his spiritual office, Guru Gobind Singh Ji had, like his grandfather, Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, adopted the emblems of worldly dignity. He wore an Kalgi and arms, sat under canopy and went out riding in state. The installation of a Nagara was another sign of authority. Keeping and using a Nagara in the Gurdwara had become part of Sikh tradition. The Nagara is beaten as a declaration of the sovereignty of the Khalsa, as a symbol of the sovereignty of truth and righteousness. 


3. Akhand Paaths
The Sikh Rehit Maryada states: 
ਜੇ ਕੋਈ ਆਦਮੀ ਆਪ ਪਾਠ ਨਹੀਂ ਕਰ ਸਕਦਾ, ਤਾਂ ਕਿਸੇ ਚੰਗੇ ਪਾਠੀ ਕੋਲੋਂ ਸੁਣ ਲਵੇ ਪਰ ਇਹ ਨਾ ਹੋਵੇ ਕਿ ਪਾਠੀ ਆਪੇ ਇਕੱਲਾ ਬਹਿ ਕੇ ਪਾਠ ਕਰਦਾ ਰਹੇ ਤੇ ਸੰਗਤ ਜਾਂ ਟੱਬਰ ਦਾ ਕੋਈ ਆਦਮੀ ਨਾ ਸੁਣਦਾ ਹੋਵੇ |
"If someone cannot do Paath themselves, then should listen from a good Paath reader, but it should not be the case that the Paath reader is sitting by themselves reading with no Sangat or family of the individual present."
Akhand Paaths have become misused and the respect shown to Gurbani has deteriorated over time. Rather than encouraging the Sangat to read Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji themselves and hold Sadhaaran Paath, Gurdwaras happily do Akhand Paaths knowing at night time there is no Sangat or family members listening to the Paath. It has been inspiring to see Akhand Paaths conducted by Gursikhs during Smaagams before Rainsbaaees usually, where Gursikhs throughout the Akhand Paath sit near Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and listen to the Paath. However, for the majority Sangat that is not the case.


4. Anand Kaaraj
The Sikh Rehit Maryada states:
ਪ੍ਰਕਰਮਾਂ ਕਰਨ ਸਮੇਂ ਰਾਗੀ ਜਾਂ ਸੰਗਤ ਲਾਵਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਕ੍ਰਮ ਅਨੁਸਾਰ ਸੁਰ ਨਾਲ ਗਾਈ ਜਾਣ ਅਤੇ ਵਰ ਕੰਨਿਆਂ ਹਰ ਇਕ ਲਾਂਵ ਮਗਰੋਂ ਮੱਥਾ ਟੇਕ ਕੇ ਅਗਲੀ ਲਾਂਵ ਸੁਣਨ ਲਈ ਖੜ੍ਹੇ ਹੋ ਜਾਣ | ਉਪਰੰਤ ਮੱਥਾ ਟੇਕ ਕੇ ਆਪਣੀ ਥਾਂ ਤੇ ਬੈਠ ਜਾਣ ਤੇ ਰਾਗੀ ਸਿੰਘ ਜਾਂ ਅਨੰਦ ਕਰਾਉਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਅਨੰਦ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੀਆਂ ਪਹਿਲੀਆਂ ਪੰਜ ਪਉੜੀਆਂ ਤੇ ਅੰਤਲੀ ਪਉੜੀ ਦਾ ਪਾਠ ਕਰੇ |
"The boy and girl, after every Parkarma, should Matha Tek before Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, lowering their forehead to touch the ground and then stand back up to listen to the recitation of the next Laav. After the fourth Parkarma, the boy and girl should, after doing Matha Tek before Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, sit down at the appointed place and the Raagis or the person who has conducted the ceremony should recite the first five and the last Pauris of Anand Sahib"
According to the Sikh Rehit Maryada one is supposed to stand up to listen to the reading of each Laav, then do Matha Tekh, followed by Parkarma. When one goes before a judge, the person being addressed and spoken to by the judge, has to stand up. Similarly, when someone goes to receive the gift of Amrit from the Panj Piaare, you have to stand up when speaking to the Panj Piaare and when they interview and speak to you. 


5. Langar and Degh
The Sikh Rehit Maryada states:
ਸਿਰਗੁੰਮ , ਨੜੀ ਮਾਰ (ਜੋ ਸਿੱਖ ਹੋ ਕੇ ਇਹ ਕੰਮ ਕਰਨ) ਦਾ ਸੰਗ ਨਹੀਂ ਕਰਨਾ |
"Do not associate with (one who being a Sikh becomes) a Sirgum (cut-haired) or tobacco user." 
It further states:
(ਠ)  ਤਨਖਾਹੀਏ ਇਹ ਹਨ:- ੧.   ਮੀਣੇ, ਮਸੰਦ, ਧੀਰਮੱਲੀਏ, ਰਾਮਰਾਈਏ, ਆਦਿਕ ਪੰਥ ਵਿਰੋਧੀਆਂ ਨਾਲ ਜਾਂ ਨੜੀ ਮਾਰ, ਕੁੜੀ ਮਾਰ, ਸਿਰਗੁੰਮ ਨਾਲ ਵਰਤਨ ਵਾਲਾ ਤਨਖਾਹੀਆ ਹੋ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ |
"The following are Tankhaahias (individuals liable to be reprimanded involving automatic social boycott):  1.    Anyone maintaining relations or communion with Meene, Masand, followers of Dheermal or Raam-Raae, or any other anti-Panthic individuals or groups, Narhee-maar (users of tobacco), Kurhee-maar (those who kill or abort their daughters), and Sirgum (those who cut their hair)."
According to the Sikh Rehat Maryada foot note, maintaining relations or communion means "ਰੋਟੀ ਬੇਟੀ ਦੀ ਸਾਂਝ" (i.e. to eat from or marry into). Nowadays, there are Gurdwaras which have those who cut their hair or use tobacco or intoxicants (i.e. alcohol) giving out Degh, making Langar and distributing Langar.  Some Gurdwaras even have paid chefs or Laangaris who have cut hair and or consume intoxicants (i.e. alcohol etc). According to the Sikh Rehat Maryada, anyone cooked food and from the hands of such persons would be deemed liable for religious disciplinary action (i.e. Tankhaah). Due to pleasing others, the observation of the Sikh Rehat Maryada has been relaxed and yet still claim to be following the Panth's Maryada.