BC Sikhs – Beyond Elections and Gangsters

ranj_dhaliwal.jpgMany of the elements that make up this article have been featured in the Langar Hall in the past Ranj Dhaliwals book Daaku about the lifestyle of Punjabi gangsters, thugs, and drug-dealers in BC during the late 1990s and early 2000s that cost the lives of 100+ youth in our community, Mani Amars film A Warriors Religion that documents the real life stories and effects of the peak of the violence, and finally to the various twists and turns that is British Columbias Sikh politics from new coalitions to disputed certifications.

However, a recent article in The Walrus, author Timothy Taylor brings all these elements together in his piece, titled Showdown on Scott Road.

Bridging many aspects of the history of the Sikhs history in British Columbia, the author notes some of the communitys most difficult moments including that of the notorious so-called tables and chairs issue, where:

more important, a division formed between notional categories of Sikhs in British Columbia categories that had never been a factor in the past, and which were no doubt entrenched by media coverage shaping the terms of debate. On one side were fundamentalist, traditionalist, orthodox Sikhs thinly veiled code words for Khalistani, whether the people being described believed in the cause or not. On the other side were moderates.

It is at the intersection of the gangland violence and Gurdwara politics that gives the most pause for thought. Whether fully corroborated or not, it does speak to many people in the communitys beliefs of some of the corruption that does occur in our Gurdwaras, behind closed doors. Greater transparency remains key.

One of the most interesting aspects of the article was going beyond the labels that were projected by the media. It is the Sikh youth that will find the solutions to the communitys problems. Ranj Dhaliwal attempted to be an agent of change by joining a youth slate. Although unsuccessful, the amritdhari Dhaliwal, for me, represents the face of real change in the community.

Ultimate change, I believe, can only be conducted by those that identify themselves as part of the community. Those that opt out in some ways do lessen the audibility of their voice. This is their choice and there may be a myriad of reasons that would lead them to make that choice. In fact I am not questioning their individual choice, only discussing effectiveness for creating change in the community. Another reason that I believe that their effectiveness decreases is because once you opt out of the community, many then become extremely iconoclastic and no longer have reverence for any institutions that do hold special place for many others that are insiders in the community. This does not mean that those that opt out should not speak out or cannot speak out.

People like Ranj, the Jakara Movemnet, and other such organizations and individuals that believe themselves wedded to the community should be at the vanguard of taking on the social problems within our community. As I had previously written,

It is when community activists engage and mobilize community icons, symbols, Gurbani, and populations that we will be able to see the change we seek. I hope, I and others will begin to step forward in this process.[link]


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15 Responses to “BC Sikhs – Beyond Elections and Gangsters”

  1. Mai Harinder Kaur says:

    I have many times asked what people mean when they call me a "fundamentalist" or "traditionalist" Sikh. (I have never heard myself described as "orthodox" anything.) I had thought they meant that I keep kes, in fact keep all five kakkars, that I tie a turban (I do when I have help; I still don't know how to do it one-handed, although with so many of us injured in battle, there must be a way!) or even that I am a lactovegetarian. Evidently, it means that I am a Khalistani.

    That's good to know.

  2. I have many times asked what people mean when they call me a “fundamentalist” or “traditionalist” Sikh. (I have never heard myself described as “orthodox” anything.) I had thought they meant that I keep kes, in fact keep all five kakkars, that I tie a turban (I do when I have help; I still don’t know how to do it one-handed, although with so many of us injured in battle, there must be a way!) or even that I am a lactovegetarian. Evidently, it means that I am a Khalistani.

    That’s good to know.

  3. J Singh (Canada) says:

    By definition, ALL Sikhs — including India's current Prime Minister — are 'Khalistanis'.

    Every practicing Sikh, without exception, asks in his/her daily prayers: "Raj Karega Khalsa, Aaki Rahe Na Koi". Yes, we ask for the Khalsa's Raj.

    While some may choose to interpret this phrase in their own special way, there is no denying that we, the Sikhs, ask every day that the Khalsa's 'Raj' prevail.

    Indeed, this is not a political or geopolitical prayer where we ask for specific geographical boundaries and a body-politic that represents our "Khalistan". Instead, this prayer is our emotional plea for the spiritual uprising of the Khalsa which manifests itself in form of a Raj that destroys no one and is indestructable, fears no one and is fearless itself, and is so loving and accepting that the Raj prevails without enemies.

    Welcome to "Khalistan". You, me, and all Sikhs pray for it every day. Never deny this, but rather, be proud of it!

  4. J Singh (Canada) says:

    By definition, ALL Sikhs — including India’s current Prime Minister — are ‘Khalistanis’.

    Every practicing Sikh, without exception, asks in his/her daily prayers: “Raj Karega Khalsa, Aaki Rahe Na Koi”. Yes, we ask for the Khalsa’s Raj.

    While some may choose to interpret this phrase in their own special way, there is no denying that we, the Sikhs, ask every day that the Khalsa’s ‘Raj’ prevail.

    Indeed, this is not a political or geopolitical prayer where we ask for specific geographical boundaries and a body-politic that represents our “Khalistan”. Instead, this prayer is our emotional plea for the spiritual uprising of the Khalsa which manifests itself in form of a Raj that destroys no one and is indestructable, fears no one and is fearless itself, and is so loving and accepting that the Raj prevails without enemies.

    Welcome to “Khalistan”. You, me, and all Sikhs pray for it every day. Never deny this, but rather, be proud of it!

  5. Mai Harinder Kaur says:

    I cannot understand what "yo moderhater" is referring to.

    In the first place, as the "Kaur" in my name indicates, I am a woman, so the pronoun "his" is inappropriate. (If I can figure out how to post a profile picture, I'll do so.)

    In the second place, I mock no one. I am a proud Sikh woman, Khalsa, Khalistani. Usually, I ignore slurs toward myself; I am commenting here only because I don't understand what this is all about.

  6. I cannot understand what “yo moderhater” is referring to.

    In the first place, as the “Kaur” in my name indicates, I am a woman, so the pronoun “his” is inappropriate. (If I can figure out how to post a profile picture, I’ll do so.)

    In the second place, I mock no one. I am a proud Sikh woman, Khalsa, Khalistani. Usually, I ignore slurs toward myself; I am commenting here only because I don’t understand what this is all about.

  7. fire on ice says:

    Forget the Pakistanis or the Chinese, the biggest threat to india as of now are the naxalites.

    Roger magnet brings forth the issue of the naxalites, prime minister manmohan singh has ruled them as the greatest threat to India. Which should make their cause noticeable to any Khalistani.

    The violence in pre 1947 Punjab from the bunch of criminals and other anti social elements( or as roger would call them future Khalistanis) and the oncoming push of future naxalites all over India is what made the british realize that they could not stay in India much longer. India’s independence came about from the same people that are now fighting india.

    The “peace, love and let me hypnotize you out of your freedom” mahatma ghandi was riding on the coat tails of these people, without them ghandi was nothing more than a tired mosquito with a decrepit proboscis. Nathuram Godsey would have rushed to spray ghandi with bullets much earlier had ghandi not been riding on their shoulders.

    Now much later without ghandi these people thru simple education are realizing whats actually happened to them for over a thousand years, much like Sikhs in Punjab. And they’ve started to come to the determination that they don’t want to die serving brahmins in this lifetime nor to comeback in the next lifetime in service to them, what they’ve discovered is that they want to give their children a better future while they are amongst the living.

    Everyday politically the naxalites become a more and more powerful force to reckon with, and Western powers , which dominate the business called India, respect what this movement brings to the table.

    The naxalites have a strong base in eastern India even though the movement there has not taken off in the west. Nonetheless they do have a great underground base in western India, just not as vocal for the time being.

    The bjp, rss have consolidated with Sikhs in punjab especially for these future issues. They are counting on the support of Sikhs to bring the Naxalite movement down, just like they counted on Sikh soldiers to murder and commit atrocities against Tamils in the South.

    The opposition to the Naxalite movement shows us that the two cow movement of the Nationalist (bjp) and Congress (manmohan, indira and family) is indeed a two headed cow that shares the same body.

    This is a proper time for Sikhs in Punjab and elsewhere to recognize that Sikhism should not be confused with the prime ministers nationalist congressional agenda against the naxalites..

  8. fire on ice says:

    Forget the Pakistanis or the Chinese, the biggest threat to india as of now are the naxalites.

    Roger magnet brings forth the issue of the naxalites, prime minister manmohan singh has ruled them as the greatest threat to India. Which should make their cause noticeable to any Khalistani.

    The violence in pre 1947 Punjab from the bunch of criminals and other anti social elements( or as roger would call them future Khalistanis) and the oncoming push of future naxalites all over India is what made the british realize that they could not stay in India much longer. India’s independence came about from the same people that are now fighting india.

    The “peace, love and let me hypnotize you out of your freedom” mahatma ghandi was riding on the coat tails of these people, without them ghandi was nothing more than a tired mosquito with a decrepit proboscis. Nathuram Godsey would have rushed to spray ghandi with bullets much earlier had ghandi not been riding on their shoulders.

    Now much later without ghandi these people thru simple education are realizing whats actually happened to them for over a thousand years, much like Sikhs in Punjab. And they’ve started to come to the determination that they don’t want to die serving brahmins in this lifetime nor to comeback in the next lifetime in service to them, what they’ve discovered is that they want to give their children a better future while they are amongst the living.

    Everyday politically the naxalites become a more and more powerful force to reckon with, and Western powers , which dominate the business called India, respect what this movement brings to the table.

    The naxalites have a strong base in eastern India even though the movement there has not taken off in the west. Nonetheless they do have a great underground base in western India, just not as vocal for the time being.

    The bjp, rss have consolidated with Sikhs in punjab especially for these future issues. They are counting on the support of Sikhs to bring the Naxalite movement down, just like they counted on Sikh soldiers to murder and commit atrocities against Tamils in the South.

    The opposition to the Naxalite movement shows us that the two cow movement of the Nationalist (bjp) and Congress (manmohan, indira and family) is indeed a two headed cow that shares the same body.

    This is a proper time for Sikhs in Punjab and elsewhere to recognize that Sikhism should not be confused with the prime ministers nationalist congressional agenda against the naxalites..

  9. Guest says:

    Ranj is awesome :)

  10. Guest says:

    Ranj is awesome :)

  11. Guest says:

    More people like Ranj are needed. I know people that know Ranj and they say he is a fun loving guy, but when he stands up for a cause he doesn’t back down. I guess his opposition would consider him an idiot. I see a change-maker.

    Ranj is a great role model for kids staying out of gangs. Hon. Kevin Falcon, Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier of British Columbia.

    His [Ranjs] skills and knowledge have been very helpful to our organization Harbans Kandola, [former] President, Virsa.

    You [Ranj] have a lot of potential to make a significant difference to our community and our country. Hon. Gurmant Grewal, Member of Parliament (1997 2005).

    Ranj Dhaliwal thanks for all your work on gang violence. Barinder Rasode, Surrey City Councillor.

    An expert on the provinces organized-crime issues gang expert. Kamloops This Week.