Monday, April 13, 2015

Baisakhi 2015: The road ahead


Baisakhi 2015: The road ahead

“Wine, women and money will not buy you a real Sikh. (The essence of this statement is the Sikh sense of commitment to a socially just cause, rather than Sikh as an identity.)”

First of all, a very happy Birthday to Khalsa on this auspicious day that marks their 316th Birth Anniversary. Now let me get down to the various business items that I intend to address in this write-up. Some of them I have already brought up previously through my various supposedly un-connected articles. But let me assure you; nothing is unconnected for I never lose sight of what I ultimately want to achieve, and hence work my way towards the goal in incoherent manner so as not to give away too much when it is too early. Now everybody may not like what is written in this article, but I do recommend reading this piece all the way to its end. There is plenty of stuff that the whole world needs to know about, in addition to what one may not like. Besides you might have a different view about what you didn’t like initially, by the end of this piece.

Now I need to mention here that I intend to address Sikh issues first on priority because of three very good reasons (not just one). Firstly, if I as a Sikh won’t address those issues, then no one else in the world will have a reason to do so. Secondly, when the Sikhs themselves are unaware of these issues, I cannot reasonably expect any other good human being to be aware of these issues in a friendly manner. Thirdly, I see a very prominent and important role for Sikh values in the future, and thus it is all the more important to not just protect them, but also highlight them at appropriate times.

Now there is a reason why I specifically mention Sikh values instead of Sikhism as a faith. The reason is that in current form and content, Sikh teachings have themselves become afflicted with the same shortcomings that plague any of the diverse religious thoughts in the world. Sikhism, which is supposed to rid human brains from the grasp of superstition and help it see the reason and rhyme behind every reality, has itself become overawed with superstitious beliefs. To give just one example outside a full length video; “Damdami Taksaal” tells of its’ origins as to how after the battle of Muktsar, the tenth Guru had stopped at the place now called Damdama Sahib, where while listening to a Sikh read the holy scriptures wrong, he had corrected the Sikh and explained that a wrong pronunciation of a word is akin to inflicting a wound to a Guru’s limb. The Sikh Holy Book is the current Sikh Guru, and every word written in it is like a part of that Guru’s body. But rather than grasp the real reason contained within Guru’s explanation, Sikhs have instead laid more emphasis on learning the correct pronunciation, going as far as superstitious belief that a wrong pronunciation is a sin. The real reason is; the words as written have a literal meaning and a contextual meaning. While the latter can change, the former stays consistent. And it is the former which can be affected by a wrong pronunciation, thus impacting all future contextual meanings. I’ll explain this in the video using the example of Punjabi words “Kitta” (Profession) and “Keeta”(did). But this is just an example of things going wrong with Sikhism at many levels.

Now the first point that I specifically want the Sikh (especially Khalsa) and Hindu communities to take note of (while the rest will be relevant for the entire world community, this one might arguably have some important lessons as well); democracy is not a perfect system. It has some major flaws that can adversely affect the fortunes of a nation if not addressed adequately. Now I will be making a series of videos about Sikhs, Sikhism and Khalsa, which will not only introduce Sikhism in a fresh light at the world stage, but will also address various issues that have plagued the Sikh fortunes since the British adopted a specific approach to deal with Sikhs after their two wars with them. A lot of them get overlooked in the din of the facts that the Indian Army under the British was made up of Sikhs up to 50%, when the Sikhs had never numbered more than 2% of the total Indian population.

But more important than those videos will be the one where I will specifically address the close blood bond between Sikhs and Hindus (and will touch on the bond between Sikhs and Muslims too), and how and why that bond came out to be. People often overlook the fact, that when Kashmiri Pandits needed respite from the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, they approached Guru Teg Bahadur, and not some Maratha or Rajput general for help. Guru Teg Bahadur wasn’t an army general who commandeered a mighty force to have challenged the tyrant regime, but just a saint. People fail to think; “Why a powerless fakir? What relationship did he have with the people who went to him?” People fail to question; “Why did Jassa Singh Ahluwalia ride with about 12000 men to repeatedly assault a one lakh strong force of Ahmed Shah Durrani in 1761, and effect the release of more than half of the people taken captives by the Afghan army at the battle of Panipat (mostly Maratha soldiers, and Hindu pilgrims who were undertaking holy trip to four Dhams under the protection of Maratha Army)? And from where did 20000 new Sikh soldiers come from, that rode under Jassa Singh Ahluwalia when the Sikhs routed the Shah in October 1762 at Amritsar, and again in 1766, when in February 1762 Ahmed Shah led forces had almost wiped out half of the Sikh population in what is known as the second holocaust in Sikh history (the figure being somewhere around 25000-30000 Sikh men, women and children dead)? Who became Sikhs, and why?” Just to give you an idea of Sikh resilience and rise, let me bring to your attention; 1762 was the year when the British forces comprehensively defeated the Spanish forces in Havana, a victory that decided the fate of the Seven Years War which ended in 1763, and the British emerged as the strongest imperial force.

Perhaps I might also mention here; Gujrat was a part of the Sikh empire under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, its’ Governor being an American who never came to the war when British and Sikhs fought the first time. He was one of the few people in India who were handsomely rewarded for their non-contribution by the British, as he retained his Governorship after the war.

But more important that this video will be the series of videos where I will address the issues of how and why this bond between Hindus and Sikhs was broken. Who was behind this, and has ever since been, given the fact that the British needed to control the spread of Sikhism, which had been spreading like a wild fire? The British experience in their second war with Sikhs had all but made it certain that only one thing will be able to rise in the Indian Subcontinent; it would either be a British Empire, or Sikhism. The importance cannot be overstated by mentioning the fact that after this second war, the British had banned people from carrying even a knife on the streets in Punjab, leave alone a sword or gun. The search for an answer to this question led me to extensively question motives of various communities and sections of the society in India in those times, and has thus helped me form an opinion that I will share with everyone through this series. Let me cut long story short.

I want the Khalsa to treat RSS, BJP, Congress, Shiv Sena and similar organizations as nothing but a modern day version of the “Pahari Rajas” (Hill States Chiefs/Rulers), who had always been the adversaries of Sikhs. I want Khalsa to specifically address the issue of lack of education about Sikh history even in Punjab. I grew up feeling proud that I am being taught in a CBSE affiliated school, without realizing that I haven’t even learned two pages of Sikh history in my entire school life. All my knowledge about Sikhism is a result of an extensive search and study that I have taken post education. My parents were both Government employees, with neither having time to teach me Sikh history. In fact I sometimes tell them stories that surprise them. I cannot stress the importance of history enough by saying that the pride that a community gets from its’ rich cultural, social, ethical, political and military history is the basis of the inherent bravery it exhibits. By disconnecting Sikhs from their own history, not only have the tenants of Sikhism and Sikh bravery been diluted, but even the Hindu community has become totally unaware of the connection with Sikhs. Why do BJP, RSS and others talk about Safronization of education? What purpose will modifying an education that makes people proud of their history serve? The answer to this question is the reason why Sikh history has been sidelined. The situation is so bad, that the majority of Indians don’t even understand why so many Sikhs have died for India since 1947, defending against our neighbours. There is a reason why the Sikh component of army was dropped from 50% during the British times, to the less than 2% level by late 1970s. But has this really strengthened India? Is this really what the ordinary Hindus want, the Hindus who are not even aware of the real political game that has been played since the British annexation of India?

In one of the videos I will raise questions as to what part of Indian population had actually betrayed India during the British times. The answer to this question is important in ascertaining as to whether we have been following the right people since our independence, for if we had been, there is no way there would have been as big a gulf between the fates of China and India, as it is today. The real traitors were not the ones that we were told about by British, or the subsequent Indian leaders. No one discloses their allies and then leave them to be mauled by people when it will serve no better purpose than sacrificing dummies. The answer to this question lies in the question: who would have interest in gaining access to the power? There was a section of Indian society that hadn’t experienced the power of authority for centuries. This section of the community was quite possibly approached by the British, and has since been amply rewarded for its dishonesty. And unfortunately, the only people who have suffered since are the ones this section always pleaded to as being their own. And no, I am not saying that the organizations that I have red-lined for Khalsa, their predecessors alone were a part of that section of traitors. There were people from Muslim faith as well, the ones’ who lead to the creation of Muslim League. But the main reason to bring this up is; we as Sikhs are guilty of having overlooked a sizeable section of our own court for a possible breach and betrayal (in order to gain control over the empire), what to talk about ordinary Indian who is not a Sikh.

Now this brings me to the first important video that I will make for the purpose of entire world community; “The ugly side of democracy.” Now I have already given examples of how western democracies have degenerated into oligarchies, and how their famed capitalistic systems are fast degenerating into “Corporate Communism,” this video will however dig much deeper and point out the grave flaws that go to the root of the democracy. Inadvertently however, this video will provide another example of how UN fails as an organization.

Democracy at its worst can stifle all the minorities. I will take current examples from Indian democracy to highlight this shortcoming and show how an overpowering majority in a democracy can very easily, systematically and legally influence the fate of minorities in the society, to diminish, dissolve or annihilate their existence. The worst part of the democracy is; the minorities cannot change the outcome using democratic means (because they are democratic minority), and cannot pick up arms and break away, because the UN charter does not acknowledge independent states that have broken out using force, doesn’t matter how strong a reason there had been for the minority to resort to such a means. Sri Lankan Tamils are a recent example of this fatal flaw, while who doesn’t feel pity for the Palestinians? Has UN got a power to change either of their societies’ fates? I have nothing against the people of Israel for I see my own reflection in every ordinary man or woman. We Sikhs have seen more holocausts and testing conditions than Jews, and hence I feel solidarity with them. But the question here is not of taking sides, rather of what is just.

Now I may or may not make a video about the failing of UN for it would amount to giving too much importance to an organization that has already failed miserably and lived much beyond its shelf life. But I do intend to make a video and explain how the Middle East conflict came about to be. What was the driving reason for the imperialist powers (all democratic governments that had intimate connection with some of the biggest business houses with business interests globally during imperial days) to have a forward colony of their own in the region, that originated out of mass migrations from 1890s to 1910s? However, I don’t want the ordinary people, irrespective of what religion they come from (for all religions talk about something that doesn’t exists, and hence equal in value to me) to suffer the consequences for the greed inspired decisions of the people who were never really under their control. Hence I will put forward a solution that may not appeal to any of the parties concerned, but would still be a just outcome.

Perhaps as a side note I might mention as to how impressed I was with Mr Netanyahu when he convinced the US lawmakers 28 times in one sitting, that Iran has actually attacked US. And without going into the legitimacy of Nuclear power, I do want to ask; “How many times has North Korea nuked South Korea since they developed a nuclear weapons? Why haven’t they?” If anything, given the fact that allies and South Korea repeatedly incite North Korea by conducting military drills next doors (imagine yourself having a real issue with a dumb yet physically strong neighbour, and you repeatedly taking a friend along to his door and shouting obscenities at him), North Korea has shown commendable restraint by not losing its’ head. Perhaps the North Koreans are intelligent enough to realize the consequences of any idiocy. Why would Iranians not be intelligent enough? And even before that question; “Why would Iran attack US the first thing when it develops a Nuclear weapon (not considering the distance and ergonomics involved just for a second, and the consequences too)? How many times have Iran actually attacked US or US army in the past history? How many times have Iranians themselves said that they will never be friends with the US or any of its allies? What is the source of all this distrust?

Another video that is due is the one that dwells upon the question of loan and a bailout. While a loan is an advance for a returnable security, a bailout is a forced sale of the collateral. Why would an organization be interested in buying off your nation’s assets, rather than just earn money in the form of an interest on loan? Who would actually benefit from such a forced sale? Who is actually lending the money? This question actually brings me to the video that I would make to analyze the impact of Mr Obama’s visit to India, from the perspective of an ordinary Indian.

For a government that is running its own nation with a begging bowl in each hand, what possible financial advantage can US provide India at governmental level? Is it the advantage of western businesses investing in India? But will that investment really be helpful for India and ordinary Indians in the long run? And before even discussing that question: “Who needs the opportunity to invest in a market as big as India more; the western businesses, or the government of India?”

With all this talk of “Make in India”, I decided to analyze China. For all that we hear about China’s atrocious government policies, it’s funny how it is the Chinese investors spending thousands of dollars in global real estate market, so much that a big reason for skyrocketing real estate prices in the Australian market is the overpowering Chinese buyer. For all the bad things one hears about Chinese society, it is the Indian student who is using student visa route to migrate everywhere in the world, while Chinese students come to study for a year or two, have fun, and then happily return to their homelands. Why would they want to return to a tyrant nation?

Anyway, getting back to the question of “Make in India”, let me reflect on the Chinese renaissance as a production powerhouse. China is the largest importer of Australian minerals, so much that a Chinese slow-down results in a direct recession in Australian economy. China has an insatiable internal market for one, but do you remember how China first emerged as a production giant? They reverse engineered every technology and then flooded the global markets with sub-standard products that cost a fraction of what they imitated. I remember the days when I could buy two AA batteries from a recognizable brand for Rs 10, while a similar Chinese product cost Rs 2 per pair. Five pairs, even if substandard, invariable lasted more than the better quality reputed pair, although their usage was restricted in some other ways. But the point is; the Chinese production revolution was based not on “Make in China”, but on “Export from China”. And it was this approach that lead to the Chinese businessman leapfrogging ahead of his international competitors, and in turn strengthened China both as an economy and as a nation. The “Make in China” trend was an automatic outcome of the notice global business community took of the Chinese potential. And it is the same community that the Indian economy will supposedly benefit from, if I am guessing the intentions here correctly. But will it really?

Who is this global community, and where is it coming from? A community that couldn’t be loyal to its’ own people (ask the Aussies who took pride in how Holden was their car, and now have been left jobless by the same Holdens), what makes anyone else in the world think it would be loyal to them? They are not even loyal to their own governments? Why should they be? Their governments are their own representatives that they projected as leaders to their people using their own media. These representatives lead the ordinary people but do the bidding of these business houses. They killed their own people in 9/11 to wage a war that was only meant to protect their business interests in a far off region, and the real culprits are still at large in their own nations. What will they give to anyone? The jobs that they bring will destroy the local businessman rather than strengthening him. The local businessman, who is the real strength of a nation, will be reduced to an employee. The people who will get the jobs will get them at the cost of the economy where today they are free and able to set up a small business which might not make them filthy rich, but still enables them to stay independent. And the jobs, do you think they will stay forever?

Let us come to another video that has been a long time coming, and probably reflects on the answer to the question above; the takeover movement in Argentina. The first outsourcing of production began from Latin America. People had worked their entire lives for business houses, so much so they thought they were a family; were left high and dry when the same business houses ditched them like hot cakes. The reason was; they could have produced the same products at a fraction of the cost in, no prizes for guessing, Asia. Did it matter to them that they were betraying their own people? Did they even consider those people as their own people? Recently, stores like Target are closing their shop in Canada. First such stores wiped out local competing small businesses, to an extent where it was more viable to work a low paid job in places like Target, than run an own store. Now they don’t even have those low paid jobs anymore, leave aside having enough money to restart their own small businesses.

But anyway, coming back to the case of Argentina, the workers decided to take matters in their own hands and take over the control of the production facilities themselves, and restart production. Did their government or courts help them, especially given the fact that a successful venture would have only meant well for Argentina itself? Rather every hardship that could have possibly been thrown in their way was indeed thrown. The intention straightaway was to ensure this movement was a failure, for any resounding success of this scheme would have meant a death nail for the big business hounds globally. The US was the next location to lose production to offshore facilities, and then Europe. Imagine what would have happened if Argentina had proved comprehensibly, that workers can run their own factories and yet make profit. They actually did in many cases, even if after a lot of struggle, and they still are, yet you don’t hear any eulogies in your mainstream media because you all know who controls your mainstream media.

I must however add here; I have much respect for what the workers did in Argentina, and I support them and their endeavors, yet I do not propose a society based on a similar pattern, simply because it tends to corrode the importance of individual talents and efforts, much like socialism. “Disciplined” greed is a must for humanity to progress march into space age. Now this brings me to another video that I intend to produce about corruption in India, especially given the fact how some people have abused the pain of every Indian to build political careers for selves.

Now first of all; I hate the topis (caps) that give the impression of “putting a topi on every Indian’s head” (Sabko topi pehnanan – an expression that means “cheating everyone”). Now let me begin by first asking; “Who is not corrupt in India?” When people search for a groom for their daughters, one of the things they consider is the prospective groom’s employment, for that gives them an idea as to how much money the boy must be earning outside his official income. Recently a state government dropped electricity prices to please the poor people of that state, and claimed that the discount has been given by reducing the chance of electricity theft. Oh well! Who was stealing the electricity anyway?

Who is not corrupt in India? The people who employ underage house maids, the parents who would rather have their daughters work as maids than go to school (or in addition to going to school), the people who never give or ask for receipts of purchases, the people who adulterate food, the people who want to jump the queue everywhere, the people who want to get away with polluting vehicles (leave alone industries), the people who won’t dispose of their garbage properly (and then pick up a broom for clean India campaign as if someone else had littered in the first place), the people who like free rides in buses, trains and trams, the people who buy pirated CDs, watch pirated movies, steal satellite television signal; who is not corrupt in India?

When a politician says “take bribe money from others but vote for me”; is he really laying the foundations of a stronger society, or is he weakening it even further? At least until that point those who were corrupt were still honest once they had been paid. This is degrading the society even further where you have paid someone to do some work and you still cannot be sure if that person would be honest to you after having been paid. Is the real solution; catching the corrupt? Or will it open more avenues for corruption where authorities authorized for catching will themselves abuse the power to let those accused escape the net, albeit after having been amply paid for it? Besides, wasn’t this option always available and been used on numerous previous occasions? Besides, isn’t one of the reasons for corruption that most people want to see their work done quickly rather than wait for an agonizingly long time for it to get done in routine? Why is the routine so long? Is it because of over-population? Who is really the source of corruption? Now since it is me, and not some one-track opportunist politician, let me put a better question; “what” is really the source of corruption?

The difference between chalk and cheese is; chalk says “all greed is bad”, cheese says “humanity needs disciplined greed for it is good for progress and freedom”. Details I can’t explain for they go down to the root of who is really a leader, who is merely a politician, and who is just a worker.

At the end of it all, I have one final messaged to Sikhs; ask the Akali Dal (Badal) to ditch BJP and partner BSP. Sikhism is against any form of social discriminations as is evident from the historical fact that one of the very first “Panj Piaras” was from the weaker section of the society, but was given equal place by the Guru himself. All the new religious “God-men” that are perturbing Sikhs; neither of them or their religious off-shoots have a worth when compared to the real Sikh teachings. You don’t need to give them undue importance by talking about them. Rather concentrate on uplifting Sikhism and bringing to the fore its inherent goodness. Rid the Indian population of the control of superstition, just like the days of Khalsa under Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, Baba Deep Singh and others, and all other so called “God-men” will go out of business automatically.

Also, and this will be another video too; catch the drug smugglers. One of the ways to weaken a community is by making its’ posterity a slave of drugs. When imperial powers wanted to control China, they made its’ entire generation (including army) a slave of opium. The drugs flowing in Punjab have only one purpose; weaken Sikhs. Weak Sikhs also means weak India, but the Indians today probably won’t understand what I am saying because they don’t even understand why Sikhs have always died for them. Hence, it is up to the Khalsa to take care of our enemies.

Fatal Urge Carefree Kiss “Amanpreet Singh Rai”