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Poet, Singer, and Activist

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Nothing pleases human beings more than living in a free country and feeling free. Happy 4th July Independence Day America!

Posted by on Jul 6, 2017 in Discussion, Kavita Di Kahani | 0 comments

I am sure as an Indian American, Pakistani or Bangla Deshi American, you participated some way in these celebrations on July 4, 2017. Like the previous year, we were visiting our daughter’s family living in Morgan Hills where all of us attended the celebration in downtown Morgan Hill – California. Stretching up to the mountains and beautifully tucked in its undulations, Morgan Hill is a small town extending both sides of Hwy 101, south of San Jose.

Nothing pleases human beings more than living in a free country and feeling free. Interestingly even those who may think that it denies full unfettered access to those freedoms to so many never said they hate America. They may not think it is the best country in the world; proudly still they call this land home.

It reminds me yet again of Ghadarite, Founder- President Baba Sohan Singh

Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna pointing out to Nehru

Bhakna’s words to Pt. Nehru, as the first Prime Minister of Independent India. When the Desh Bhagat delegation met the Congress high command leaders in Delhi and congratulated him, Baba Bhakna among other things said something like this “ Pt. Ji you are talking about rejoicing the freedom of India; we are talking about the freedom of Indians”!

When a nation has raised itself to liberty and has finally broken through the shackles of subjugation and slavery, it calls for celebration. Liberty and freedom comes with a price that patriots and their families have paid with their lives, blood, sweat and tears.

Touching upon the spirit and inspiration that ties us together in a unique relationship, let us revisit briefly on this day, the Declaration of American Independence and the formation of Ghadar Party in America.

The Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, announced that the 13 American colonies, then at war with Great Britain, regard themselves as independent states and are no longer a part of the British Empire. Instead they now formed a new nation—the United States of America.

Abraham Lincoln many years later, not only reaffirmed this declaration in his famous Gettysburg Address of 1863, he made it the centerpiece of his policies. Since then, it has become a major statement on human rights, particularly its second sentence that became the spirit that inspired the modern world: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Since it was greatly motivated and driven by the American Independence, understandably this was a declaration not too far removed from the ideals of the Ghadar Party fighting for the Independence of India in the early 20th century. While I fully celebrate, appreciate and participate in the Independence Day celebrations of my adopted country America, I wish the Ghadrites had won the day in my home country India and had made a similar declaration in 1947 that said: “The war with Great Britain is over. Indian Provinces regard themselves as independent states and are no longer a part of the British Empire. Instead they now formed a new nation—the United States of India,” (meaning there would be no Pakistan, Bangla Desh, Kashmir a disputed territory or the cry for Khalistan!).

I say this because as much I love my adopted and beloved country America as a naturalized citizen, a migrant’s fear never subsides however he gets naturalized in his new environs. His heart keeps throbbing in the land he /she were born and brought up.

Explaining the irony, I wrote a Punjabi poem a while ago that I would like to share it here for my Gurmukhi reading friends:

ਕੀ ਰੱਖੀਏ ਨਾਂ ਇਸ ਆਲਮ ਦਾ:
ਕੀ ਰੱਖੀਏ ਨਾਂ ਇਸ   ਆਲਮ ਦਾ
ਇਨ੍ਹਾਂ
ਦਿਲ ਵਿਚ ਰਿਸਦੀਆਂ ਯਾਦਾਂ ਦਾ।
ਸਾਥੋਂ
ਟੁਟ ਗਏ ਕੌਲੁਕਰਾਰਾਂ ਦਾ,
ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਅਣਸੁਣੀਆਂ ਫਰਿਆਦਾਂ   ਦਾ। ਕੀ ਰੱਖੀਏ ਨਾਂ . . . .

ਨਿੱਕੇ ਜਿਹੇ ਪਿੰਡ ਮੇਰੇ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨੂੰ,
ਆਸਾਂ ਸਨ ਵਡੀਆਂ ਮੇਰੇਤੇ।
ਮੈਂ
   ਚਾਨਣ   ਲੈ   ਕੇ ਪਰਤਾਂਗਾ,
ਸੱਜਾਂਗਾ   ਆਣ   ਬਨੇਰੇ   ਤੇ।
ਪਰ
ਤਲਖ ਹਵਾਵਾਂ ਦੇ ਸਾਹਵੇਂ,
ਨਾ ਚੱਲਿਆਂ ਜ਼ੋਰ ਚਿਰਾਗਾਂ ਦਾ। ਕੀ ਰੱਖੀਏ ਨਾਂ . . . .

ਇਹ ਖਸਲਤ ਰਹੀ ਹਨ੍ਹੇਰੇ ਦੀ,
ਕੋਈ ਜੁਗਨੂੰ ਇਸ ਨੂੰ ਭਾਉਂਦਾ ਨੲ੍ਹੀਂ।
ਉਹ
ਟਿਮਕਣ ਬਾਝੋਂ ਰਹਿੰਦਾ ਨੲ੍ਹੀਂ,
ਤੇ ਨ੍ਹੇਰਾ ਚਾਨਣ ਚਾਹੁੰਦਾ ਨੲ੍ਹੀਂ।
ਇਹ
ਝੜਪ ਨਹੀਂ ਕੁਝ ਰਾਤਾਂ ਦੀ,
ਇਹ ਘੋਲ ਹੈ ਆਦਿ ਜੁਗਾਦਾਂ ਦਾ। ਕੀ ਰੱਖੀਏ ਨਾਂ . . . .

ਇਕ ਐਸੀ ਰਾਤ ਦਾ ਆਲਮ ਸੀ,
ਮੈਂ ਸੰਗ ਜੁਗਨੂੰਆਂ ਤੁਰ ਆਇਆ।
ਮਾਂ
ਸੇਜਲ ਨੈਣੀਂ ਤਕਦੀ   ਰਹੀ,
ਜੂਹ ਪਾਰ ਲੰਘਾ ਪਿਉ ਮੁੜ ਆਇਆ।
ਉਹ
ਮੇਰੀਆਂ ਮੰਨਤਾਂ ਮੰਨਦੇ ਰਹੇ,
ਖੁਦ ਜੀਉਂਦੇ ਜੀਣ ਆਜ਼ਾਬਾਂ ਦਾ। ਕੀ ਰੱਖੀਏ ਨਾਂ . . . .

ਮੈਂ ਹਾਂ ਤੇ ਕੈਸਾ ਦੀਪਕ ਹਾਂ,
ਜੋ ਪਾਰੁ ਸਮੂੰਦਰ ਬਲਿਆ ਹਾਂ।
ਲੈ
ਚਮਕ ਅਮਾਨਤ ਤੁਰ ਆਇਆਂ,
ਸੰਗ ਚੰਨ ਚਾਨਣੀ ਰਲਿਆ ਹਾਂ।
ਮੇਰੇ
ਸਿਰ ਤੋਂ ਕਰਜ਼ਾ ਨਹੀਂ ਲਹਿਣਾ,
ਮੇਰੇ ਪਿੰਡ ਦੇ ਜੂਨੁਖਰਾਬਾਂ ਦਾ। ਕੀ ਰੱਖੀਏ ਨਾਂ . . . .

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Revering Ghadrites in a shared landscape on Memorial Day in America is the right thing to do!

Posted by on May 29, 2017 in Discussion | 0 comments

The last Monday of May is observedFlag every year as Memorial Day, when Americans pay tribute to their martyrs in America. It is a day of national awareness and reverence to honor those who gave their all in service to this country. Every nation has a history and a story of its patriot warriors who at one critical juncture or another of a dire need stood up to the tyrant. They stood up for their country to be counted, fought and sacrificed their all to protect its freedom and foster its nationhood.

Singapore Mutiny of Muslim Sepoys

Singapore Mutiny Muslim Sepoys

Mogha Morcha Railway Station ASR

Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna 2nd from Right

Years later in national celebrations, memorials and thanksgivings however, only those few are remembered who somehow find a place in its history books and thus in peoples’ minds. Others remain unknown, ignored or forgotten as the time goes by. The incredible story of our pioneer Indians, who immigrated to America a century ago and inspired by the American Revolution, became revolutionaries themselves, appears to have met the same fate as above mentioned others!

The rise of the Indian national Ghadar Party from the American soil, which flew the first Indian independence flag in San Francisco was such a glowing chapter, which deserved a suitable spot in history books.

I am not a historian but this much I know; whether our ancestors in Punjab or India were Dravidians or Aryans can be debatable, our ancestors in North America were most certainly those, who came here in late 1900’s and early 20th century against all odds.

Indian immigrantsThey labored in lumber mills in Oregon and worked on railroads and farms in California . Unfortunately, the story of velour and sacrifice of those pioneers turned Ghadrites that began in Astoria –Oregon in 1913 is a history now that was lost in both countries – America as well as in India due to different reasons. Johanna Ogden – a local historian based in Portland writes, “In America it was lost and silenced in Oregon due to social attitudes, notably that conception of America as a white Christian nation. While America has utilized the labor of millions from around the globe to build up the country, Chinese, Punjabis and many others were barred from the citizenship and from the American story.” In India they were paid only a lip service for almost a century. That is not to say, the flickering light was not kept alive by the left of center political parties, mainly the communist parties in India as well as by their sympathizers abroad. The Punjabi American community in Californian for instance commemorates Ghadrites every year by organizing “Ghadri Melas” on different days and sometimes twice in the same town depending upon the number of organizations doing this.

Baba Ji speaking to Nehru

Baba Bhakna telling Nehru; Respect all Freedom Fighters

Despite the commendable work being done by these organizations which deserves to be appreciated, commemorating Ghadrites the right way needs to dedicate a day just like Memorial Day when all diasporic Indians of erstwhile undivided India should come together. It is critical to remember, while the Ghadar movement was started and was   largely represented by the Sikhs, it was a very diverse membership with undivided Indians of all backgrounds, regions, and who spoke various languages involved with the goal of getting the British to quit India the same way the American Revolution caused the British to quit America. Ghadrite’s story is our proud heritage as diasporic Indians living in America, especially Punjabis and Sikh Americans. It is not just a footnote in Sikh history; it is a crucial part of American history as well which deserves to be told in the history books. In this regard, testimonies have already been made for updating the Curriculum for History –Social Science Framework for Grade 10 California Schools.

Rendering of Original Ghadar Memorial

Original Ghadar Memorial 5 Wood Street San Francisco

In India, a century later however, during his inaugural address on January 8, 2013 at Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in Kochi, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said:”This year, we are celebrating the centenary of the Gadar Movement, which was a luminous spark of support in distant California for the struggle for independence being waged at home in our country. Apart from commemorating it by the issue of a special postage stamp, we will also upgrade the Gadar Memorial in San Francisco into a functional museum and library with a sculpture to honor the Gadari Babas, the heroes of the great movement.” Dr. Manmohan Singh also sanctioned the sum of $4 million for this upgrade. The plans are now said to be ready. But the current estimate of $15 M instead of $4M for this state of the art building is under review by the now External Affairs Ministry is another matter.

DSC00071

Plaque Dedicated by the City Council of Astoria at the original site of meeting which took place in 1913

Picture 1

Proclamation Presented at Centennial Celebration in Astoria 2013 (Pic. Mayor Willis Van Dussen and Pashaura Singh Dhillon)

Interestingly, this story also suddenly sprang to life in 2013 in Astoria- Oregon, where the Ghadar party was originally born a century ago in 1913. An article, “Ghadar, Historical Silences, and Notions of Belonging: Early 1900s Punjabis of the Columbia River, by Johanna Ogden which was published in (Summer 2012), issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly, proved a miracle. Based on this article, on October 4-5, 2013, the city council and the mayor of Astoria hosted a 3 day centenary commemoration of the founding of the Indian national Ghadar party in 1913 in that city’s Finnish Socialist Hall. They also passed a proclamation that in Johanna’s words took a life of its own. A dozen city councils and mayors in California when approached took a similar stand.

Although there is a long way to go in getting our unsung heroes the right place in history books, but all of the above ongoing is a big step forward to get them closer to the main stream.

To conclude this post, I would like to emphasize the need to dedicate one day for the commemoration and would go back to the title “Revering Ghadrites in a shared landscape on Memorial Day in America is the right thing to do!

What says you? Please leave a comment as usual.

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ਹਮ ਘਰ ਸਾਜਨ ਆਏ . . .

Posted by on Apr 18, 2017 in Discussion | 0 comments

ਕੈਨੇਡਾ ਦੇ ਪਲੇਠੇ ਸਿੱਖ ਸੁਰੱਖਿਆ ਮੰਤਰੀ ਹਰਜੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਸਾਜਨ ਦੀ ਹੋਰਨਾਂ ਦੇਸਾਂ ਸਮੇਤ ਭਾਰਤ ਫੇਰੀ ‘ਇੱਕ ਇਤਿਹਾਸਿਕ ਮੋੜਾ’

ਇਕ ਸਦੀ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਜਿਸ ਧਰਤੀ ਉਪਰ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ-ਭਾਰਤੀ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨੂੰ Undesirable Indian Identity ਗਰਦਾਨ ਕੇ ਜਹਾਜ਼ ਵਿਚੋਂ ਵੀ ਉਤਰਨ ਉਪਰ ਪਾਬੰਦੀ ਸੀ। ਜਿਹਦੀ ਪਾਰਲੀਮੈਂਟ ਵਿਚ ਕਨੇਡਾ ਦੇ ਪਹਿਲੇ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਮੰਤਰੀ ਸਰ ਜੌਹਨ ਮਕਡੌਨਲਡ ਦਾ ‘ਵਾਈਟਮੈਨ’ਜ਼ ਕੰਟਰੀ’ ਵਾਲਾ ਸੰਕਲਪ ਦੁਹਰਾਉਂਦਿਆਂ ਕਾਮਾਗਾਟਾ ਮਾਰੂ ਦੇ ਮੁਸਾਫਰਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਵਾਪਿਸ ਮੌਤ ਦੇ ਮੂੰਹ ਵਿਚ ਧੱਕਦਿਆਂ ਓਦੋਂ ਬ੍ਰਿਟਿਸ਼ ਕੋਲੰਬੀਆ ਦੇ ਤਤੁਕਾਲੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਮੀਅਰ ਸਰ ਰਿਚਰਡ ਮੈਕਬਰਾਈਡ ਨੇ ਆਖਿਆ ਸੀ ,  . . “ and we always have in mind the necessity of keeping this a white man’s country”. ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਮੰਤਰੀ ਜਸਟਿਨ ਟਰੂਡੋ ਦਾ ਉਸੇ ਪਾਰਲੀਮੈਂਟ ਵਿਚ ਰਸਮੀ ਤੌਰ ਤੇ ਕਾਮਾਗਾਟਾ ਮਾਰੂ ਦੇ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਪੀੜਤ ਮੁਸਾਫਰਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਹੋਈ ਨਸਲੀ ਬੇਇਨਸਾਫੀ ਲਈ ਮੁਆਫੀ ਮੰਗਣਾ ਕੋਈ ਛੋਟੀ ਗੱਲ ਨਹੀਂ ਸੀ। ਪਰ ਅੱਤਿਵਾਦ ਦੇ ਇਸ ਅਸੁਰੱਖਿਅਕ ਦੌਰ ਵਿਚ ਆਪਣੇ ਇਸ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਦੇਸ ਦੀ ਸੁਰੱਖਿਆ ਦੀ ਵਾਗਡੋਰ ਹੀ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ-ਭਾਰਤੀ ਮੂਲ਼ ਦੇ ਓਸੇ ਸਿੱਖ-ਕਨੇਡੀਅਨ ਦੇ ਹੱਥ ਸੌਂਪ ਦੇਣਾ ਦੂਰੁਅੰਦੇਸ਼ੀ, ਮਨੁੱਖੀ ਬਰਾਬਰੀ ਅਤੇ ਪੂਰਨ ਭਰੋਸਗੀ ਲਈ ਚੰਗੀ ਸ਼ੁਰੂਆਤ ਹੈ।

ਜੋ ਕੌਮਾਂ ਜਾਂ ਲੋਕ ਆਪਣੇ ਇਤਿਹਾਸ ਤੋਂ ਕੋਈ ਸਬਕ ਨਹੀਂ ਲੈਂਦੇ, ਉਹ ਬਾਰ ਬਾਰ ਉਹੀ ਸੰਤਾਪ ਭੁਗਤਦੇ ਹਨ; ਇਹ ਗੱਲ ਆਾਪਾਂ ਸਭ ਕਹਿੰਦੇ, ਸੁਣਦੇ ਰਹਿੰਦੇ ਹਾਂ। ਇਸ ਤੋਤਾ-ਰਟਣੀ ਦੇ ਬਾਵਜੂਦ ਹੁੰਦਾ ਉਹੀ ਕੁਝ ਹੈ ਜੋ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਤੋਤਿਆਂ ਨਾਲ ਹੋਇਆ ਸੀ, ਜੋ ਸ਼ਿਕਾਰੀ ਦੇ ਜਾਲ ਵਿਚ ਫਸਦੇ ਵੀ ਰਹੇ ਸਨ ਤੇ ਅੱਗੇ ਤੋਂ ਕਦੀ ਨਾ ਫਸਣ ਲਈ ਗਾਉਂਦੇ ਵੀ ਰਹੇ ਸਨ। ਪਰ ਕਨੇਡਾ ਦੀ ਨਵੀਂ ਦੁਨੀਆਂ ਇਸ ਨੂੰ ਅੰਜਾਮ ਦੇਣ ਲਈ ਅਜ ਰਾਹ-ਦਸੇਰਾ ਬਣਕੇ ਜੱਗ ਨੂੰ ਮੁਖਾਤਿਬ ਹੋਈ ਹੈ। ਇਤਿਹਾਸ ਨੂੰ ਪੁੱਠਾ ਗੇੜ ਦੇਣ ਦੀ ਤਾਕ ਵਿਚ ਗੋਂਦਾਂ ਗੁੰਦਣ ਵਾਲਿਆਂ ਦੇ ਉਲਟ ਉਸਰ ਰਹੇ ਇਸ ‘ਗਲੋਬਲ ਪਿੰਡ’ ਵਿਚਲੇ ਨਵੇਂ ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰ ਦੀ ਉਸਾਰੀ ਲਈ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਵਲੋਂ ਇਹ ਨੀਂਹ- ਪੱਥਰ ਵੀ ਹੈ, ਤੇ ਲਲਕਾਰ ਵੀ ਹੈ। ਬਹੁ-ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰ ਦੀ ਜਿੱਤ ਹੋਣ ਲਈ ਭਰੋਸਾ ਹੈ। ਬਹੁ-ਭਾਸ਼ੀ ਹੋਣ ਲਈ ਸੱਦਾ ਹੈ। ਵਿਕਸਤ ਪਛਮੀ ਸੱਭਿਅਤਾ ਦੇ ਸ਼ਕਤੀਸ਼ਾਲੀ ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰ ਵਿਚ ਇਹ ਕੇਵਲ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਜਾਂ ਹਿੰਦੁਸਤਾਨੀ ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰ ਲਈ ਹੀ ਨਹੀਂ, ਸਮੁੱਚੇ ਘੱਟ ਗਿਣਤੀ ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰਾਂ ਲਈ ਵੱਡੀ ਜਿੱਤ ਹੈ। ਨਵੇਂ ਰਾਹਾਂ ਤੇ ਤੁਰਦਿਆਂ ਇਸ ਉਦਾਰ ਚਿੱਤ ਦਰਿਆੁ ਦਿਲੀ ਲਈ, ਆਉ ਕਨੇਡਾ ਦੀ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਦਾ ਇਸਤਕਬਾਲ ਕਰੀਏ |

ਆਪਣੇ ਤੌਰ’ਤੇ ਇਸ ਬਾਰੇ ਮੈਂ ਇੱਕ ਵੀਡੀਓ ਅਤੇ ਹੇਠ ਲਿਖੀ ਇਹ ਬਲੌਗ ੪ ਅਗਸਤ, ੨੦੧੬ ਨੂੰ ਵੀ ਪੋਸਟ ਕੀਤੀ ਸੀ। ਪੂਰੇ ਪਰਚੇ ਦੀ ਰਿਪੋਟ ‘ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਸਰ ਟਾਈਮਜ਼,’ ‘ਸੀਰਤ’ ਅਤੇ ‘ਪਰੀਤਲੜੀ’ ਰਸਾਲਿਆਂ ਵਿਚ ਵੀ ਛਪੀ ਸੀ। ਦੋਸਤਾਂ ਸਨੇਹੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਕਹਿਣ ਤੇ ਉਸ ਪਰਚੇ ਦਾ ‘ਸਾਰ – ਅੰਸ਼’ ਇਥੇ ਪੇਸ਼ ਕਰਦਿਆਂ, ਹੇਠ ਦਿੱਤੇ ਲਿੰਕ ਉਪਰ ਉਹ ਦੁਬਾਰਾ ਪੋਸਟ ਕਰਨ ਦੀ ਖੁਸ਼ੀ ਲੈ ਰਿਹਾ ਹਾਂ। ਹਮੇਸ਼ਾ ਵਾਂਗ ਤੁਹਾਡੇ ਕੁਮੈਂਟਸ ਦੀ ਉਡੀਕ ਰਹੇਗੀ: http://www.pashaurasinghdhillon.com/discussion/parvas-vich-punjabi-sabhiachar-ate-badlde-parsang/

PARVAS VICH PUNJABI SABHIACHAR ATE BADLDE PARSANG’ Total 17 papers were presented by various scholars from different countries, who attended the Vishav Punjabi Conference held in Fresno on 4-5 June, 2016. Here are Concluding Remarks ( ਸਾਰਅੰਸ਼ ) of the above mentioned paper presented by Pashaura Singh Dhillon.

“ਪਰਵਾਸ ਵਿਚ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਸਭਿਆਚਾਰ ਅਤੇ ਬਦਲਦੇ ਪ੍ਰਸੰਗ ”
ਸਾਰਅੰਸ਼:

ਅਮਰੀਕਾ ਵਿਚ ਆਪਣੇ ਗ਼ਦਰੀ ਅਤੇ ਸੰਗਰਾਮੀ ਵਿਰਸੇ ਉੱਪਰ ਪਹਿਰਾ ਦਿੰਦਿਆਂ ਮੇਰੇ ਇਸ ਲੇਖ ਦਾ ਸਿਰਲੇਖ ਪਗੜੀ ਸੰਭਾਲ ਜੱਟਾ ਵਾਲਾ ਇਨਕਲਾਬੀ ਸਿਰਲੇਖ ਵੀ ਹੋ ਸਕਦਾ ਸੀ। ੨੦ਵੀਂ ਸਦੀ ਦੇ ਸ਼ੁਰੂ ਵਿਚ ਚਾਚਾ ਅਜੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਵਾਲੇ ਇਨਕਲਾਬੀ ਗੀਤ ਨਾਲ ਓਦੋਂ ਵੀ ਇਸ ਪਗੜੀ ਨੇ ਅਲੰਕਾਰ ਵਜੋਂ ਕਿਸੇ ਇੱਕ ਧਰਮ ਖ਼ਾਤਰ ਨਹੀਂ ਸਮੁੱਚੇ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਅਤੇ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਸਭਿਆਚਾਰ ਦੀ ਰਾਖੀ ਦੀ ਪ੍ਰਤੀਕ ਬਣ ਕੇ ਅੰਗਰੇਜ਼ੀ ਸਾਮਰਾਜ ਨਾਲ ਟੱਕਰ ਲਈ ਸੀ। ਅਮਰੀਕਾ ਵਿਚੋਂ ਗ਼ਦਰ ਪਾਰਟੀ ਦੇ ਝੰਡੇ ਹੇਠ, ਗ਼ਦਰੀ ਬਾਬਿਆਂ ਦੇ ਸਿਰੀਂ ਵੀ ਇਹੀ ਪਗੜੀ ਪੰਜਾਬੀਅਤ ਦੀ ਪ੍ਰਤੀਕ ਹੀ ਨਹੀਂ, ਸਮੁੱਚੀ ‘ਹਿੰਦੁਸਤਾਨੀਅਤ ਦੀ ਆਜ਼ਾਦੀ ਲਈ ਲੜਾਈ’ ਦੀ ਪ੍ਰਤੀਕ ਬਣ ਕੇ ਉੱਭਰੀ ਸੀ। ਉਸ ਵੇਲੇ ਕੇਵਲ ਸਿੱਖ ਜਾਂ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਹੀ ਨਹੀਂ, ਸਮੁੱਚੇੇ ਹਿੰਦੁਸਤਾਨੀ, ਇੱਕ ਲੜੀ ਪਰੋਏ ਗਏ ਸਨ। ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੇਸ਼-ਭਗਤਾਂ ਦੀ ਅਗਵਾਈ ਹੇਠ ਕੌਮੀ ਏਕਤਾ ਵਾਲੀ ਅਜਿਹੀ ਮਿਸਾਲ ਨਾ ਤਾਂ ਕਦੇ ਇਸ ਤੋਂ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਮਿਲਦੀ ਸੀ, ਅਤੇ ਨਾ ਹੀ ਉਸ ਤੋਂ ਮਗਰੋਂ ਅਜੇ ਤੀਕ ਹਿੰਦੁਸਤਾਨ ਵਿਚ ਦਿਸਦੀ ਨਜ਼ਰ ਆਉਂਦੀ ਹੈ।

ਅਜੋਕੀ ਸਥਿਤੀ ਅੰਦਰ ਕਿਸੇ ਹੋਰ ਪ੍ਰਸੰਗ ਵਿਚ, ਹਥਲਾ ਲੇਖ ਵੀ ੳਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਹੀ ਮੇਲ ਖਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ, ਜਦੋਂ ਕੌਮੀ ਸੁਰੱਖਿਆ ਦੇ ਬਹਾਨੇ ਇਸ ਪਗੜੀ ਨੂੰ ਬਾਹਰੀ ਦਿੱਖ ਕਾਰਨ ਆਤੰਕਵਾਦੀਆਂ ਦਾ ਹਊਆ ਬਣਾ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ। ਅਜਿਹੀਆਂ ਚਾਲਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਵਾਰੀ ਵਾਰੀ ਨਾਨਵਾਈਟ ਘੱਟਗਿਣਤੀਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਨਰੜ ਕੇ ਨਸਲਵਾਦੀ ਬਘਿਆੜਾਂ ਅੱਗੇ ਸੁੱਟ ਦੇਣਾ ਕੇਵਲ ਕਲ੍ਹ ਦੀ ਗੱਲ ਨਹੀਂ ਹੈ, ਉਸ ਸੋਚ ਅਤੇ ਚਾਲ ਵਾਲੇ ਲੋਕ ਅੱਜ ਵੀ ਹਨ। ਪਰ ਇਸ ਵੇਰ ਇਸ ਪਗੜੀ ਦੇ ਪੇਚਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਕੇਵਲ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਜਾਂ ਹਿੰਦੁਸਤਾਨੀ ਸਭਿਆਚਾਰ ਹੀ ਨਹੀਂ, ਏਥੇ ਵੱਸਦੀਆਂ ਹੋਰ ਘੱਟਗਿਣਤੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਸਭਿਆਚਾਰ ਵੀ ਬੱਝ ਗਏ ਹੋਏ ਹਨ। ਇਹਦੇ ਸਨਮੁੱਖ ਅਜੋਕੀ ਵੰਗਾਰ ਬੇਸ਼ੱਕ ਪਹਿਲੀਆਂ ਇਤਿਹਾਸਿਕ ਵੰਗਾਰਾਂ ਨਾਲੋਂ ਕਿਸੇ ਤਰਾਂ ਵੀ ਵੱਖਰੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਹੈ, ਵੱਖਰਾ ਜੇ ਹੈ ਤਾਂ ਇਹ ਕਿ ਇਸ ਵੇਰ ਕੌਮੀ ਪੱਧਰ ਤੇ ਪ੍ਰਤੀਕਰਮ ਵੱਖਰਾ ਹੋ ਰਿਹਾ ਹੈ।ਜਿੱਥੇ ਮੁਗ਼ਲ ਰਾਜ ਵੇਲੇ ਮੁਗ਼ਲ ਆਪਣੀ ਬਾਦਸ਼ਾਹੀ ਨੂੰ ਪੰਜਾਬੀਅਤ ਕੋਲੋਂ ਖ਼ਤਰਾ ਸਮਝ ਕੇ ਅਖੀਰ ਤੀਕ ਇਸ ਦੇ ਕੱਟੜ ਵੈਰੀ ਰਹੇ। ਅਜੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਵੇਲੇ ਅੰਗਰੇਜ਼ਾਂ ਨੇ ਇਸ ਉੱਪਰ ਤਸ਼ੱਦਦ ਢਾਹਿਆ।ਅਮਰੀਕਾ ਵਿਚ ਗਦਰੀਆਂ ਵੇਲੇ ਗੋਰੇ ਨਸਲ ਵਾਦੀਆਂ ਨੇ ਇਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਨੂੰ Rag headed ਗਰਦਾਨ ਕੇ ਜ਼ਲੀਲ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ ਕੋਸ਼ਿਸ਼ਾਂ ਕੀਤੀਆਂ, ਅੰਗਰੇਜ਼ ਨੇ ਤਾਂ ਹਿੰਦੁਸਤਾਨ ਵਿਚ ਚੁੱਕ ਕੇ ਫਾਂਸੀ ਉੱਪਰ ਹੀ ਲਟਕਾ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਸੀ। ਤਸੱਲੀ ਵਾਲੀ ਗੱਲ ਇਹ ਹੈ, ਕਿ ਇਸ ਵੇਰ ਕੌਮੀ ਪੱਧਰ ਉੱਪਰ ਉੱਠੀ ਇਸ ਨਫਰਤੀ ਖੁਨਾਮੀ ਵਿਰੁੱਧ ਹਾਂ-ਪੱਖੀ ਪ੍ਰਤੀਕਰਮ ਵੀ ਕੌਮੀ ਪੱਧਰ ਉੱਪਰ ਮਿਲ ਕੇ ਹੀ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੈ।ਇਸ ਦੀ ਪਹਿਲਕਦਮੀ ਬੇਸ਼ੱਕ ਵੱਖ ਵੱਖ ਸਿੱਖ ਅਮਰੀਕਨ ਜਥੇਬੰਦੀਆਂ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਹੀ ਕੀਤੀ ਗਈ ਹੈ, ਫੈਡਰਲ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਅਤੇ ਸੂਬਾ ਸਰਕਾਰਾਂ ਨੇ ਕੇਵਲ ਸਿੱਖਾਂ ਜਾਂ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨਾਂ ਲਈ ਹੀ ਨਹੀਂ, ਸਮੁੱਚੀਆਂ ਘੱਟਗਿਣਤੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਹੱਕਾਂ ਦੀ ਰਾਖੀ ਲਈ ਠੋਸ ਕਦਮ ਚੁੱਕੇ ਹਨ ।ਹੇਟਕਰਾਈਮ ਦੇ ਪੀੜਤਾਂ ਦੇ ਹੱਕ ਵਿਚ ਪਰੈਜ਼ੀਡੈਂਟ ਓਬਾਮਾ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਹਮਦਰਦੀ, ਨਸਲਵਾਦੀ ਹਮਲਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਸਖ਼ਤ ਆਲੋਚਨਾ, ਇੰਟਰਫੇਥ ਕਮਿਊਨਿਟੀ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਪ੍ਰਦਰਸ਼ਨੀਆਂ, ਮੁਜ਼ਾਹਰੇ ਅਤੇ ਕੈਂਡਲ ਲਾਈਟ ਜਗਰਾਤੇ ਰੱਖੇ ਗਏ ਹਨ। ਪਿਛਲੇ ਮਹੀਨੇ ਹੀ ਪੀਸ ਫਰੈਜ਼ਨੋਂ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਸਿੱਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਦੇ ਸਹਿਯੋਗ ਨਾਲ ‘ਇਸਲਾਮੋਫੋਬੀਆ’ ਵਿਰੁੱਧ ਵਿਚਾਰੂ ਗੋਸ਼ਟੀ ਦਾ ਪ੍ਰਬੰਧ ਕੀਤਾ ਗਿਆ ਸੀ, ਜਿਸ ਵਿਚ ੭ ਵੱਖਰੇ ਧਰਮਾਂ ਅਤੇ ਭਾਈ ਚਾਰਿਆਂ ਦੇ ਬੁਲਾਰਿਆਂ ਨੇ ਹਿੱਸਾ ਲਿਆ।ਮੀਡੀਆ ਵੀ ਪੈਰ ਘਸੀਟਦਾ ਹੀ ਸਹੀ, Diversity ਬਾਰੇ ਕੁੱਝ ਬੋਲਣ ਲੱਗਾ ਹੈ।ਸਭ ਤੋਂ ਵੱਡੀ ਗਲ; ਸਕੂਲਾਂ ਦੇ ਹਿਸਟਰੀ-ਸੋਸ਼ਲ ਸਾਇੰਸ ਕਰੀਕਲਮ ਫਰੇਮ ਵਰਕ ਵਿਚ ਨਵੀਨਤਾ ਲਈ ਰਾਹ ਪੱਧਰਾ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੈ । ਅਮਰੀਕਾ ਵਿਚ ਘੱਟਗਿਣਤੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਇਤਿਹਾਸ ਨੂੰ ਮੁੱਖ ਧਾਰਾ ਵਿਚ ਸ਼ਾਮਿਲ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ ਪਹਿਲ ਕਦਮੀ ਹੋਈ ਹੈ। ਲੰਮੇ ਸਮੇਂ ਤੋਂ ਕੈਲੇਫੋਰਨੀਆ ਦੇ ਵਿੱਸਰੇ ਹਿਸਟਰੀ-ਸੋਸ਼ਲ ਸਾਇੰਸ ਦਾ ਸਿਲੇਬਸ ੨੦੧੬ ਵਿਚ ਨਵੀਨ ਹੋ ਕੇ ਟੈਕਸਟ ਬੁਕਸ ਵਿਚ ਪਹਿਲੀ ਵੇਰ ਪੰਜਾਬੀਆਂ, ਖ਼ਾਸਕਰ ਸਿੱਖ ਪੰਜਾਬੀਆਂ; ਜਿਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਬਾਰੇ ਜ਼ਰਾ ਜਿਨਾਂ ਜ਼ਿਕਰ ਵੀ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਹੀਂ ਸੀ ਮਿਲਦਾ, ਸ਼ਾਮਿਲ ਕਰਨ ਦੀ ਗੱਲ ਦੇਰ ਨਾਲ ਸਹੀ, ਦਰੁਸਤ ਕਦਮ ਹੈ।

੫ ਲੱਖ ਪੰਜਾਬੀਆਂ ਦੀ ਆਬਾਦੀ ਵਾਲੇ ਗਵਾਂਢੀ ਦੇਸ ਕੈਨੇਡਾ ਵਲ ਵੇਖਦਿਆਂ ਤਾਂ ਹੋਰ ਵੀ ਨਵੀਂ ਆਸ ਬੱਝਦੀ ਹੈ। ਚਾਰ ਸਾਲ ਤੋਂ ਕੈਨੇਡਾ ਵਿਚ ਬੋਲੀ ਜਾਣ ਵਾਲੀ ਤੀਸਰੀ ਬੋਲੀ ਬਣਨ ਸਦਕਾ ਹੁਣ ਕੈਨੇਡਾ ਦੀ ਪਾਰਲੀਮੈਂਟ ਵਿਚ ਵੀ ਸਰਕਾਰੀ ਤੌਰ ਤੇ ਅੰਗਰੇਜ਼ੀ ਅਤੇ ਫਰੈਂਚ ਪਿੱਛੋਂ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਦਾ ਤੀਸਰਾ ਸਥਾਨ ਹੈ।ਬ੍ਰਿਟਿਸ਼ ਕੋਲੰਬੀਆ ਦੇ ਸਕੂਲ਼ਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, ਕੋਰਸ ਵਜੋਂ ਪੜ੍ਹਾਈ ਜਾ ਰਹੀ ਹੈ। ਕੈਨੇਡਾ ਦੀ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਵਿਚ ਡੀਫ਼ੈਂਸ ਮਨਿਸਟਰ ਹਰਜੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਸਾਜਨ ਦੇ ਨਾਲ ੩ ਹੋਰ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਵਜ਼ੀਰ ਬਣੇ ਹਨ। ਇਹ ਸਭ ਕੈਨੇਡਾ ਦੇ ਬਹੁ-ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰੀ ਅਤੇ ਬਹੁ-ਭਾਸ਼ੀ ਹੋਣ ਦੇ ਚੰਗੇ ਭਵਿੱਖ ਵਲ ਸੰਕੇਤ ਹੀ ਆਖੇ ਜਾ ਸਕਦੇ ਹਨ। ਸਮੇਂ ਦੀ ਨਜ਼ਾਕਤ ਵੇਖੋ: ਪ੍ਰਸਿੱਧ ਸ਼ਾਇਰ ਰਾਹਤ ਇੰਦੌਰੀ ਦਾ ਸ਼ੇਅਰ: ਜੋ ਅੱਜ ਸਾਹਿਬੇ ਮਸਨਦ ਹੈਂ, ਕਲ੍ਹ ਨਹੀਂ ਹੋਂਗੇ, ਕਿਰਾਏਦਾਰ ਹੈਂ ਜ਼ਾਤੀ ਮਕਾਨ ਥੋੜ੍ਹੀ ਹੈ ! ਜਿਹੜੀ ਪਾਰਲੀਮੈਂਟ ਵਿਚ ਕੈਨੇਡਾ ਦੇ ਪਹਿਲੇ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਮੰਤਰੀ ਸਰ ਜੌਹਨ ਮਕਡੌਨਲਡ ਦਾ white man’s country ਵਾਲਾ ਸੰਕਲਪ ਦੁਹਰਾਉਂਦਿਆਂ ਕਾਮਾਗਾਟਾ ਮਾਰੂ ਦੇ ਮੁਸਾਫ਼ਰਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਵਾਪਸ ਮੌਤ ਦੇ ਮੂੰਹ ਵਲ ਧੱਕਦਿਆਂ ਓਦੋਂ ਬ੍ਰਿਟਿਸ਼ ਕੋਲੰਬੀਆ ਦੇ ਪ੍ਰੀਮੀਅਰ Sir Richard McBride ਨੇ ਆਖਿਆ ਸੀ, “ And we always have in mind the necessity of keeping this a white man’s country.”  ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਮੰਤਰੀ ਜਸਟਿਨ ਟਰੂਡੋ ਦਾ ਉਸੇ ਪਾਰਲੀਮੈਂਟ ਵਿਚ ਰਸਮੀ ਤੌਰ ਤੇ ਕਾਮਾ ਗਾਟਾ ਮਾਰੂ ਦੇ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਪੀੜਤ ਮੁਸਾਫ਼ਰਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਹੋਈ ਨਸਲੀ ਬੇਇਨਸਾਫ਼ੀ ਲਈ ਮੁਆਫ਼ੀ ਮੰਗਣਾ, ਛੋਟੀ ਗੱਲ ਨਹੀਂ, ਇਤਿਹਾਸਿਕ ਐਲਾਨ ਹੈ। ਇਸ ਤੋਂ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ੨੦੧੩ ਅਮਰੀਕਾ ਵਿਚ ਔਰੀਗੌਨ ਸੂਬੇ ਦੇ ਅਸਟੋਰੀਆ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਦੀ ਸਿਟੀ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਅਤੇ ਮੇਅਰ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਗ਼ਦਰ ਪਾਰਟੀ ਨੂੰ ਉਸ ਦੀ ੧੦੦ਵੀਂ ਵਰ੍ਹੁ-ਗੰਢ ਤੇ ਸਨਮਾਨਿਤ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾ ਚੁਕਾ ਹੈ।

ਸੌ ਸਵਾ ਸੌ ਸਾਲ ਪਿੱਛੋਂ ਇਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਰਸਮੀ ਇਸ਼ਨਾਨਾਂ ਦਵਾਰਾ ਪਿਛਲੇ ਸਾਰੇ ਪਾਪ ਤਾਂ ਬੇਸ਼ੱਕ ਨਹੀਂ ਧੁਪਣੇ ਅਤੇ ਨਾ ਹੀ ਗੋਰੀ ਮਨੋਬਿਰਤੀ ਰਾਤੁ-ਰਾਤ ਬਦਲਣ ਵਾਲੀ ਹੈ। ਫਿਰ ਵੀ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਮੁਸਾਫ਼ਰਾਂ ਕੋਲੋਂ ਭਾਵੇਂ ਉਹ ਹੁਣ ਇਸ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਵਿਚ ਨਹੀਂ ਰਹੇ, ਮੁਆਫ਼ੀ ਮੰਗਣਾ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਪੁਰਾਣੇ ਜ਼ਖ਼ਮਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਭਰਨ ਲਈ ਚੰਗੀ ਸ਼ੁਰੂਆਤ ਹੈ। ਪਬਲਿਕ ਸਕੂਲਾਂ ਵਿਚ Diversity ਬਾਰੇ ਪੜ੍ਹਾਈ ਨੂੰ ਕੈਨੇਡਾ ਅਤੇ ਹੁਣ ਅਮਰੀਕਾ ਵਿਚ ਨਵੇਂ ਸਭਿਆਚਾਰ ਦੀ ਉਸਾਰੀ ਲਈ ਨੀਂਹ ਪੱਥਰ ਕਰਾਰ ਦੇਣ ਤਕ ਦਾ ਸਫ਼ਰ, ਕੇਵਲ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਜਾਂ ਹਿੰਦੁਸਤਾਨੀ ਸਭਿਆਚਾਰ ਲਈ ਹੀ ਨਹੀਂ, ਸਮੁੱਚੇ ਘੱਟਗਿਣਤੀ ਸੱਭਿਆ ਚਾਰਾਂ ਲਈ ਵੱਡੀ ਜਿੱਤ ਹੈ। ਕਥਿਤ ਗਲੋਬਲ ਵਿਲਿਜ ਵਿਚ ਹੁਣ ਇਹ ਜਿੱਤ ਨਵੇਂ ਉੱਸਰ ਰਹੇ ਬਹੁ-ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰ ਦੀ ਜਿੱਤ ਹੈ। ਬਹੁ-ਭਾਸ਼ੀ ਹੋਣ ਲਈ ਸੱਦਾ ਹੈ। ਪਰਵਾਸ ਦੇ ਇਸ ਬਦਲਦੇ ਪ੍ਰਸੰਗ ਅੰਦਰ ਚੰਗੀ ਗੱਲ ਹੈ, ਜੋ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਸਭਿਆਚਾਰ ਵੀ ਹੁਣ ਇਸੇ ਨਾਲ ਬੱਝ ਰਿਹਾ ਹੈ । ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਭਾਸ਼ਾ ਅਤੇ ਲਿਪੀ ਵੀ ਹੋਰ ਭਾਸ਼ਾਵਾਂ ਵਾਂਗ ਧਰਮ ਨਾਲ ਨਹੀਂ, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਸਭਿਆਚਾਰ ਨਾਲ ਜੁੜੀਆਂ ਹੋਣ ਸਦਕਾ ਇਹਨਾਂ ਦਾ ਭਵਿੱਖ ਵੀ ਇਸੇ ਵਿਚ ਹੀ ਸੁਰੱਖਿਅਤ ਹੈ!

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DISAPPEARING WITHOUT A TRACE? OR CAN IT SURVIVE IN SOMEWAY!

Posted by on Nov 23, 2016 in Discussion | 0 comments

DISAPPEARING WITHOUT A TRACE? OR CAN IT SURVIVE IN SOMEWAY!
That is the question?

ਕੋਈ ਤੇ ਹੌਂਸਲਾ ਦੇਵੋ ਮੇਰੇ ਉਸ ਦੇਸ ਬਾਬੁਲ ਨੂੰ,
ਉਹ ਪਰਬਤ ਹੌਂਸਲੇ ਵਾਲੇ ਖੁਰਦਿਆਂ ਖੁਰ ਰਹੇ ਵੇਖੋ
ਪਾਲ -ਪੋਸ ਕੇ ਧੀਆਂ ਤੇ ਕਰਦੇ ਸੀ ਵਿਦਾ ਆਏ,
ਪਾਲ-ਪੋਸ ਕੇ ਪੁੱਤਰ ਤਾਂ ਵਤਨੋਂ ਤੁਰ ਗਏ ਵੇਖੋ . . .ਦੀਵਾ ਬਲੇ ਸਮੁੰਦਰੋਂ ਪਾਰ ਵਿੱਚੋ

courtesy-inderjit-chogawan-plough-1Inspired by this picture shared from Inderjit Chogawan’s post, I felt compelled to write this blog again although I have written about the subject and posted on my website before.

Change that comes through progress also means the destruction of what was in its place before.  Evolution through which this universe has evolved also meant change. Man cannot stop the wheel turning but he can learn to regulate it and steer it safely. In my own generation, I watched this wheel turning at a dizzying speed apparently going the wrong way. Take the story of water and the ‘Persian wheel’ for instance. khooh-te-bota

I watched the Persian wheel we call “Khooh”in Punjabi with its earthen pitchers and wooden mechanism driven by good old bullocks or a camel.

This was replaced by metal buckets, wrought iron mechanisms improved by the addition of ball bearings in its own time. Since then things moved so fast and so out of control that the hand-dug wells were replaced by shallow tube wells, which went deeper and deeper before we know it.
deep-tubewell

Now all are replaced by submersibles sucking water up to and beyond 500 feet beneath the surface drawing from more and more brackish layers as it gets deeper.

As a consequence there is not enough sweet water left to go round fulfilling the irrigation needs of Punjab; not to mention help meeting the needs of her brotherly states such as Haryana or Rajasthan. Dilapidated Satluj Yamuna Link Canal at Ropar. -Express photograph by Swadesh Talwar *** Local Caption *** Dilapidated Satluj Yamuna Link Canal at Ropar. -Express photograph by Swadesh Talwar

Elsewhere I also watched the man landing on the moon and beyond perhaps in search of more water!

In Punjab, the land of five rivers – cradle of erstwhile Indus Valley civilization, something more important is at stake!

It was here that the land was first brought under the plough before anywhere else in the world some 5000 years ago. In order for help in heavy lifting, it is here that the little man called farmer or jatt in Punjabi is said to have shown the world the way. And that was to respect, care and work with domesticated animals as pals. Working together they treaded paths for feeding mankind never treaded before; opening the door to the civilization as we know it today.

granary-of-indiaMore to the point, over the years and for centuries as Punjab remained the food bowl; it became the backbone of undivided India and so remained, since. Come rain or shine sacrificing and toiling for generations; the little man however, remained little!

4-5 decades ago his plough began to disappear; so did begin the disappearance of the little man, his pals and the associated culture. What an irony that the specie and its associated culture which revolutionized the world in terms of food production is at the verge of getting extinct in its very homeland; where it was born, grew up and evolved. Some say the backbone of India especially Punjab is now cracked if not entirely broken.

A Sikh farmer prays with his grandson for rains in the district of Fatehgarh Sahib in the northern state of Punjab July 22, 2002. After a spell of rain in northern Punjab and the Indian capital over the weekend farmers in some parts of the state are still hoping that the monsoon rains will arrive. REUTERS/Dipak Kumar

A Sikh farmer prays with his grandson for rains in the district of Fatehgarh Sahib in the northern state of Punjab.

Go figure out the nature of the so called ‘Vikas’ in modern times that is leading to this!

Relevant to this post you may check it out at the following link for my previously posted blog: “Punjab Cries for a New Perspective on Environment,” and as usual leave a comment at: http://www.pashaurasinghdhillon.com/discussion/discussion-piplan-de-sung-bohr-gva-lei/

 

 

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Relevant To ACR 37 (Gray) Designating November As Sikh Awareness & Appreciation Month, Fresno County Sheriff Organizes a Conversational Seminar in Fresno California!

Posted by on Oct 20, 2015 in Discussion | 0 comments

Marrgaret Mims & Pashaura Singh DhillonOn the request of Charanjit Singh Batth and Pashaura Singh Dhillon of the Education and Sikh Awareness Committee for the Sikh Council of Central California (SCCC), Fresno County Sheriff organized a   conversational seminar with law enforcement agencies relevant to ACR 37 (Gray) on October 19, 2015.

The Assembly Concurrent Resolution 37, ACR 37 for short, was authored by Assembly member Adam Gray and was passed unanimously by the California legislative Assembly and Senate this year, whereby the month of November has been designated as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month to coincide with the Guru Nanak Prakash Utsav.Seated members 1 DA's Office 1

The seminar was held in the Police Department headquarters in Clovis, California and the attendees included members from the office of the Fresno County Sheriff, the FBI, the Coroner’s office, the District Attorney’s office as well as half a dozen members of the Sikh Council of Central California.

Pashaura Singh Dhillon coordinator of the Education and Sikh Awareness Committee made the presentation coupled with display of two short videos namely ‘Cultural Safari’ produced by Kaur Foundation and ‘Sikhs in America’, a KVIE Classroom Version. Both these videos are approved by the California Department of Education (CDE). Conversation ensued and questions were answered.

The District Attorney’s office in a presentation laid down the criteria for hate crimes that is now in place statewide. It was followed by a spirited discussion, questions and answers.

Following is the excerpts of the introduction speech made by Pashaura Singh Dhillon:

Pashaura Singh Dhillon answer questionsWe are gathered here in relation to the Assembly Concurrent Resolution 37 passed by the California legislature this year. Relevant to ACR 37 as it is called in short, designating November as the Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month, I have brought with me a couple of short videos for you to watch. But before that I want to say a few words about the bit of an irony to this reality that our Sikh American community faces at this moment in time.

“Reality that Sikhs have been living in California for more than a century, under a million now live in America and approximately 300,000 in California. The Sikhs respect the constitution, all other religions and do not believe in conversions. The Sikh religion is the youngest and as distinct from Hinduism and Islam is the 5th largest practicing religion of the world. The Sikh Americans have made and continue to make significant contributions to California and the United States economy and society in a variety of ways. They came to California driven from their lands in Punjab by excessive land taxes by the then colonial government, indebtedness and deep recession, Not lured by the Gold Rush, they came looking for work on railroads, lumber mills and farms. And now of course they make significant contribution through military service, as business owners, transportation professionals, doctors, engineers, teachers, attorneys, mayors, councilors, farmers and in many other capacities. The irony is that our fellow Americans in general, and law enforcement and national security personnel at the airports in particular, know very little about the Sikhs. Consequently, since the 9/11 tragedy, they are often mistaken for terrorists of Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaida, because of the commonality of beard and the turban. As such they are subjected to a disproportionately high rate of hate crimes, routine security searches at every level and Sikh kids suffer bullying at twice the national bullying rate for other kids.

The Sikh American community thoroughly believes in the constitution and continues however, to peacefully overcome attacks on its identity and practices whether it is in the form of school harassment, employment discrimination, intimidating security searches at the airports or fatal shootings. One of the latest incident as you know was the case in Fresno when Piara Singh an elderly man, was attacked and beaten up outside a Sikh Temple and there was a confusion deciding whether it was a hate crime or not!

Fortunately, the California Legislature recognizes the seriousness of the problem and acknowledges the significant contributions made by Californians of Sikh heritage to our state. By adoption of this resolution ACR 37, it seeks to afford all Californians the opportunity to better understand, recognize, and appreciate the rich history and shared principles of Sikh Americans.

Interestingly, at a time when we as Americans are worried about our crippling political divisions, it is pleasing to note that two social scientists, Robert Putnam of Harvard University, and David Campbell of the University of Notre Dame, have just written a book that examines a powerful source of American unity. Perhaps unexpectedly, the unifying force they focus on is religion and how Americans turn religious diversity into a source of unity. Coming back to the ACR 37, we at the SCCC have been working in collaboration with the California Department of Education (CDE) since 2010, when the first such ACR 181(Logue) was passed. Accordingly, CDE has included November 1-30 as Sikh American Awareness and Appreciation Month in its current Calendar of Events – as they have been doing it since 2010. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction has been writing to the Principals of all public schools and Administrators of all Chartered Schools to encourage appropriate events and activities aimed at implementing the spirit behind these ACRs.
Since the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is also one of your working partners, we suggest that they should also be included in your training programs. As a Sikh American community, we would be more than willing to work with you and help you in any way we can in training and to help spread the awareness message about our community.

Finally, we would like to request the Fresno County Sheriff, Coroner’s office as well as the Fresno County District Attorney’s offices to designate Nov1-30 as Sikh Awareness month, when appropriate events, training and activities aimed at implementing the spirit behind these ACRs can be encouraged and made certain.”

Do you have a similar story for any other minority community anywhere near you? As usual leave a comment if you please!

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STOP!!! You Are A Jatt; You Rock Brother. DO NOT COMMIT SUICIDE!

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in Discussion | 0 comments

courtesy: Kamaljit's photo

courtesy: Kamaljit’s photo

“Hum Bahut Mehnat Karenge, Aap Haunsla Rakhen. . . . . If The Good Old Days Have Gone, These Bad Times Will Surely Pass Too. . . Aap Suicide Mat Karen. . .Please. . We Beg Of You. . Aap Suicide Mat Karen.”

“We need you, your nation needs you and your country needs you! Do it for the sake of your wonderful family who loves you. We are the family. Don’t leave us. Don’t hurt yourself. Don’t hurt your family, your aging parents, your growing sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. Don’t hurt us. Your nation and your country need you. They want you. We beg of you, don’t leave us like this. If no one else cares, we care about you. Are you listening! We are your family. We have always given our all for you and cared about you. We will work harder. Promise . . . we will act more wisely!”

“Man! We were not born yesterday. Remember we are together for the past 5000 years since you FIRST brought the land of the five rivers under the plough. We taught the world how to do it. How to feed their families, their nations and countries forever. We built the Indus Valley Civilization together. We made the back bone and still remain the backbone of our nation, our country since. We became the envy of the world. Together we did it before. We can do it again. Take heart. O’ please . . . . . . .Please. . . take heart and don’t do it. STOP!”

“This is not the first time brother. It has happened to us before. Remember the early 20th century. The small farmer was deliberately being sniffed out by the British policy makers. They needed money for fighting their wars. They needed money and blood from you. They excessively increased the land taxes and changed the payment method from kind to cash. By doing this they thought you, the small land holder will abandon farming and there will be plenty young recruits kicked out of farming that could beef up their army to fight their wars. Being at the back of the sharking moneylender and the greedy feudal lords, they thought they will take over your fertile land. That will make management and land tax collection simpler and easier for them. That was the conspiracy. That was the their plan!”

“The British were attempting to introduce a similar process in Punjab to grab your fertile land as was done under the Enclosure Movement in the 18th and 19th century England but in a different form.”

“Enclosure Movement was the process that was used to end traditional rights in England and has historically been accompanied by force, resistance, and bloodshed. It has been referred to as “among the most controversial areas of agricultural and economic history in England”. Some claim this was the end of the family farm in England and beginning of commercial farming.”

“But the reverse happened in Punjab. They succeeded to win some battles in making the life miserable for small farmer. Few farmers did leave to find a better life elsewhere. But you stayed put. You did not let them win the war. You organized agitations and raised protests in Punjab against this evil design. You began participating in the common agitations protesting against this anti farmer, foreign iron hand rule in Punjab. You took active part in the ‘Pagri Sambhal Jatta’ (Save the land) agitation led by Sufi Ambha Prasad and Ajit Singh, uncle of Shahid Bhagat Singh. Sir Chhotu Ram, son of a small farmer appeared on the horizon. He reversed the tide by fully exempting small holdings from the payment of land-taxes. Thus, it was after a long time in poverty and misery that the benefits of the land reforms reached the peasants.”

“The Punjab Registration of Moneylenders Act of 1938 and the Relief of Indebtedness Act XXI 1940 are the witness that gave a great relief to the peasants from the burden of debts of unscrupulous moneylenders. The family farm did not go extinct. It was saved then. The same thing could happen again today. The minds and wills are working to save you again. Miracles created by ordinary people do happen. Motherland is capable of giving birth to another Chhotu Ram. Meanwhile wipe a tear and begin organizing. Give the drug back to whoever gave this to you in the first place. Tell him stuff it. You don’t need it. Think clearly. Be patient. Educate yourself and be aware and begin organizing. Together we have done it before. We can do it again!”

In conclusion I must acknowledge how deeply I was moved when I first saw Kamaljit’s photo on his wall. The photo speaks volumes and needs no words. It tells all. But I am writing this blog to share my thoughts with my friends anyway. As usual, leave a comment on my website or face book if you please!

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Happy July 4- American Independence Day

Posted by on Jul 5, 2015 in Discussion | 0 comments

Happy 4th of July Independence Day!

Downtown Morgan Hill

Downtown Morgan Hill, California

I am sure as an Indian American, Pakistani or Bangla Deshi American, you participated some way in these celebrations on July 4. Since we were visiting our daughter’s family living here, all of us attended the celebration in downtown Morgan Hill. Stretching up to the mountains and beautifully tucked in, Morgan Hill is a small town located on both sides of Hwy 101, south of San Jose.

Baba Ji speaking to Nehru

Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna Talking with Pt. Nehru

Nothing pleases human beings more than living in a free country and feeling free. It reminds me of Ghadarite (Founder- President) Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna’s words to Pt. Nehru, as the first Prime Minister of Independent India. When the Desh Bhagat delegation met him in Delhi and congratulated him, Baba Bhakna said something like this “ Pt. Ji you are talking about rejoicing the freedom of India; we are talking about the freedom of Indians”!

When a nation has raised itself to liberty and has finally broken through the shackles of subjugation and slavery, it calls for celebration. Liberty does not come without a price. Patriots have paid for liberty and freedom with their lives, with toil, blood, sweat and tears.

Touching upon the spirit and inspiration that ties them together in a unique relationship, let us briefly revisit The Declaration of American Independence on this day:
The Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, announced that the 13 American colonies, then at war with Great Britain, regard themselves as independent states and are no longer a part of the British Empire. Instead they now formed a new nation—the United States of America.

Abraham Lincoln many years later, not only reaffirmed this declaration in his famous Gettysburg Address of 1863, he made it the centerpiece of his policies. Since then, it has become a major statement on human rights, particularly its second sentence that became the spirit that inspired the modern world: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This was a declaration not too far removed from the ideals of the Ghadar Party fighting for the Independence of India considering, it was greatly motivated and driven by the American Independence. While we fully celebrate, appreciate and participate in the Independence Day celebrations of our adopted country America, I wish the Ghadrites had won the day in our home country India and had made a similar declaration in 1947 that said: “The war with Great Britain is over. Indian Provinces regard themselves as independent states and are no longer a part of the British Empire. Instead they now formed a new nation—the United States of India,” meaning there would be no Pakistan, Bangla Desh, Kashmir a disputed territory or the noise for Khalistan!

Happy 4th of July Independence Day Everybody!

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