Currently Browsing: Punjabi
Illegal Immigration and Entrepreneurship

In this election year, both during the primaries and presidential election campaigns, immigration policy is a hot issue. A lot of the debate on immigration reform centers around illegal immigrants/ion from drivers licenses to fences. Furthermore, this debate has created prototypical illegal immigrants in the United States as Latinos who are manual laborers on low wages, particularly during an election year when presidential candidates are trying to win the sizeable Latino vote. Therefore, they have created a narrative around illegal immigration that continually highlights this one aspect of the issue to the point where immigration reform has become the Latino Issue in the general eyes of the public (even though some presidential candidates are addressing some of the nuances). Understandably, Latino manual laborers are by-far the population in the United States most effected by immigration reform policies and need attention paid to their particular circumstances; however, by making it only the “Latino Issue” we are forgetting to address the nuances and complexity of illegal immigration in the United States, adding to the politics that continues to divide people of color and immigrants, and giving more ammunition to groups who continue to vilify illegal immigrants, particularly Latinos.

John Buchanan of The Washington Post recently tried to address some of the nuances of illegal immigration by writing,

Many illegal immigrants in the United States are manual laborers on low wages. But there’s another group that attracts much less attention: entrepreneurs who have set up businesses, created jobs and grown affluent.

These entrepreneurs come from, for example, India, Mexico, China, Taiwan, Israel and South Africa.


If You Don’t Know Me By Now

When an author chooses to write a memoir, they take the risk of unveiling a plethora of secrets that otherwise (and perhaps preferably) would remain buried. And when that author is Punjabi Sikh, it is almost guaranteed that issues will be brought up that make people uncomfortable. Sanghera.jpg For our parents’ generation, secrets remain in the family and they are never discussed in public – we are raised to uphold the family izzat (honor). But at what cost do we remain quiet? A new memoir by Sathnam Sanghera, If You Don’t Know Me By Now: A Memoir of Love, Secrets and Lies in Wolverhamptom, opens up the dialogue around being raised in a working-class Punjabi immigrant family and being a child living in a family paralyzed by schizophrenia. Some of these experiences can be felt universally throughout the Panjabi community and others are more personal, but what is clear is that there is a great need in our community to dialogue about these issues.

I clutched my schoolbag tightly as I walked along with Dad, as if my life and dignity depended on its contents (which, in a way, they did), mumbled the Japji Sahib, the beginning of the Guru Granth Sahib Mum had taught me, and watched Dad hum to himself – Hindi songs I didn’t recognise from Bollywood films I’d never seen – click his fingers to some beat I couldn’t hear, and smile, at people going past, at nothing in particular. [Link]

While I haven’t yet read the memoir (it is being released in March), several articles discuss his story at length. It wasn’t until he was in his twenties that Sanghera realized his father was a paranoid schizophrenic and his older sister also shared the condition. Intermingled within that tale is Sanghera’s own story of being a young Sikh boy growing up in Wolverhampton (one of the most densely populated Sikh communities in the UK).


Pyaar and Literature

Love lost, love gained, and love yearned for HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

gurunanak.jpgSome of the first things that comes to my mind when thinking about Valentines Day are thoughts of carnations, roses, scobby-doo miniature valentine day cards, and those sugary heart candies with statements like Be Mine and Page Me. With the expression-of-affection- through-consumption aspect of of Love Day aside, let’s take this time to think about the idea of love. As I think about the depth, significance, and longevity of the emotion and meaningfulness of love thoughts of Heer/Ranjha, Sohni/Mahiwaal, shyaari (poems) by Shiv Kumar Batalvi, and Guru Nanak Dev Jis love poetry come to mind. These works share the complications, nuances, selfishness, self-lessness, and spirituality of love.

backsikhcouple.jpgEven though the ending in some of these works is not happily-every-after, I think beauty lies in the process and meaning of their love how their actions expressed it not so much the outcome! Lets take Love Day to think and appreciate the expression of love in Punjabi and Sikh literature !


Punjabiyaan (Canadiaan?) di boli

New census figures show that by 2011, Punjabi will step up two places to become the fourth most spoken language in Canada (after English, French, and Chinese). Apparently, not only is the influx of Punjabi immigrants driving these changes, but also a resurgence of Punjabi-learning among Canadian-born Punjabis. While an increasing number of banks and businesses are offering Punjabi-language services, I can’t help but wonder if Canada has similar language-access legislation to the U.S. [Of course, with my Cali-U.S. bias, it’s hard for me to not wonder how these sorts of things compare or relate back]

Within the U.S., federal compliance with Title VI requires that — in areas with “significant” minority language populations (wishy-washy phrasing, I know) –, state agencies must offer translation services. They don’t have to have them on site, but they do have to have ready access to translated government documents, pamphlets, forms, and a spoken translator on reserve. As the Punjabi-speaking community continues to grow in Canada, despite any English capacity, it becomes increasingly important to ensure adequate language access. Two years ago, access to Punjabi translation became central in a government bribery and corruption investigation. How does this trend influence government spending/resources when basic access to services (e.g., shopping, banking, health care) requires accurate and ready translators?

Mortgage Crisis, Foreclosures, and Punjabi Sikhs

Co-Blogged By Camille and Phulkari

The National Context: Subprime Markets & Immigrant Communities
It’s hard to read the economic news these days without coverage of two big issues — the subprime mortgage crisis and a looming recession. mortgagecrisis.jpgIn many of these stories, the narrative of the subprime mortgage crisis focuses on two issues — how banks extended credit to low-income and traditionally unbanked communities, and how these communities lacked the funds to keep up with large interest rate step ups.

Underneath the surface of this narrative, a salient aspect of this conversation is rooted in the unique ways that predatory lenders sought borrowers with very little financial training. I live in Connecticut, where nearly 2/3 of the properties facing foreclosure were refinances of pre-existing mortgages. Even more jarring is how the lack of understanding around lending terminology impacts the upward mobility of both working poor and immigrant communities. For folks who had made enough money to buy into a higher tax bracket or economic class, subprime mortgages seemed to deliver on that promise of a nice house in a nice neighborhood.


The Romance that is Panjabiyat

I recently read an article by Christine Moliner, a French doctoral student in anthropology. The article’s title Frres ennemis? Relations between Panjabi Sikhs and Muslims in the Diaspora caught my attention and I thought it raised a number of interesting questions. While the different issues raised in the article may be of note, one that was most prominent for me is the romantic project to which I have also been delusional. It is the romance that is Panjabiyat.

Moliner aptly defines it:

partition_bros.jpgWithin this large South Asian category there co-exist several narrower types of identification that nonetheless cut across the national/religious divide. One of the most powerful ones is Panjabyat. This term of recent coinage, roughly translated as Panjabi identity, refers to the cultural heritage, the social practices, the values shared by all Panjabis, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, Indians, Pakistanis, and increasingly the diaspora. It is heavily loaded with nostalgia for pre-partition undivided Panjab, idealized as a unique space of communal harmony. Its usage tends to be restricted to intellectual, literary, academic or media circles, and although these valorize popular culture in their definition of Panjabyat, the term is not much used by the people. [Emphasis added]


Are we losing our Punjabi language?

My parents have always emphasized the importance of speaking Punjabi in our home. Their reasoning was that we would have the opportunity to learn English in our schools, but may never get the time to learn Punjabi again. My father was so passionate about creating an opportunity for children being raised in the West to be taught Punjabi, that he opened the first Punjabi School at the Gurdwara we attended in our town. I was grateful to my parents for sending me to the school, because it allowed me to communicate with my grandparents, and other elders who didnt speak English, and maintain my relationships with them.

Often the older generation is heard saying our language, and thus an aspect of our heritage, is being lost on the present generation. There are many young people who attend Gurdwara but have no idea what is being said. We have Gutkas with English translations. Weve become quite tech-savvy in our Gurdwara now too, where we have projectors displaying the English translations of Shabads. We watch Punjabi movies with english subtitles. In India, even Punjabis are speaking Hindi now.

Is it the responsibility of parents to teach their children or send them to Punjabi school to learn? Or is it an individuals responsibility? Some people take the initiative to learn Punjabi on their own, either through courses available at University, or from the growing number of online courses.

How can we preserve the Punjabi language?

Bhangra is our common link?

The SJ Mercury News ran a story on Dhol Di Awaz [disclaimer: I went to Cal and was part of the Berk SSA] and made the argument that in today’s multi-generational diaspoa, bhangra is the common thread that holds Punjabis together. I thought this was interesting on many levels. While the article is relatively well-written and sensitive, there were no excerpts from conversations with non-Sikh Punjabis, and certainly not with Pakistani Punjabis.

bhangra.jpgThis divide over who has a “right” to bhangra has certainly been a source of tension in the DDA-verse in the past — while many embrace bhangra as a Punjabi dance that can be shared by all across religions (and even regions), while others argue that some of the uniform elements of the dance (e.g. the phugri) require a Sikh focus. In the Bay Area, where Punjabis are somewhat divided along religious lines by neighborhoods, are we being truly honest with ourselves re: tolerance and inclusivity? Along those lines, is bhangra tying together generations of Sikh Punjabis from Indian Punjab, or is it tying together ALL Punjabis? I would argue that bhangra (and giddha), which is, in its purest essence, a dance of joy and celebration, belongs to everyone. It doesn’t see religion or region, and it also doesn’t see a “backdated” interpretation of “traditional” uniforms. This made me reflect on a question I often ask myself — where does the Punjabi begin/end and the Sikh begin?


Gurdwaras and Religious Tolerance

While reading Bruce La Bracks ethnography on Sikhs in Northern California my attention was drawn to his writing on Sikh and Muslim relations in the Gurdwara. He wrote,

Muslims, particularly Punjab-born-Muslims, had regularly joined the Sikhs of California at the annual celebrations of national holidays and in welcoming dignitaries from India. There are stories told by older Sikhs about how Muslims were welcome to spread their prayer rugs in the gurdwara so long as they did not place their backs to the granth (this being no problem as the dais of the gurdwara is oriented east-west) (219).

He was referring to the Stockton Gurdwara in California prior to 1947. I admit at first I was little shocked because it debunked my own beliefs about what I was socialized to believe a Gurdwara was supposed to be. I thought the Gurdwara was only a site of worship for Sikhs. However, after I got over that, I saw the beauty in the religious tolerance and ethnic commadare in allowing the Gurdwara to also be a place of worship for Muslims as long as they respected the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. I believe my Gurus would have practiced a similar peaceful religious tolerance (despite our history with Mughals) and this to some degree was an extension of that act. I wonder if we would practice a similar tolerance today in our Gurdwaras? When I think of my community, I am doubtful. Maybe its the changed socio-political backdrop of relationships between Sikhs and Muslims following partition or just the shear size of our communities in the Diaspora. What do you think? How about your community?

Mental Health Today — are we serving our community?

Like many communities bifurcated by both their religious understanding (Sikhi) and their ethnic/racial identities (for many of us, Punjabi), there are unique challenges to providing comprehensive mental health services to immigrant communities. Within the context of California, this is not only compounded by a lack of language access, but also by the vast isolation and transportation difficulties for those in the more rural areas of the state. And on top of all of that, the sheer diversity of issues that face Sikhs in the U.S. — from torture and domestic violence to struggling with learning disabilities, substance abuse, or depression — can exacerbate the experience for those who may already feel stigmatized.

A small but growing body of work examining how the religious and ethnic context of Sikh and Punjabi identity reframe service provision. Within the ABD, Punjabi, Sikh community in the Bay Area, a growing number of public health students are focusing their research specifically on mental health services, underreporting, and (the lack of access to) treatment.

Recently at The Langar Hall, we’ve discussed a variety of topics that seem to come back to the issue of mental health, both in the U.S.-diaspora and in Indian Punjab. There are certainly unique historical factors that contribute to what feels like a high incidence of mental health needs in the Punjabi community, but perhaps there are other factors at well. And while a significant number of ABD Punjabis become health professionals, how many have the language access needed to deliver health services and comfort newer immigrants? Are there new initiatives taking place, or are new resources being provided via already existing organizations? Some organizations (particularly DV organizations) have begun visiting at places of worship to do intake, but the need for translators is always a limiting factor. There’s a lot of energy bubbling around this, but will we see it concretely manifested soon? Do you see the need for outreach and services in your own local community? Or do you know of services and resources that are religiously-sensitive and culturally relevant?

Baby Boys and their BMWs

The news of the tiger attack in the San Francisco Zoo made national headlines. A few days later it was revealed that two of the three people attacked came from a Sikh background. bmw_1.jpgPaul, 19, and Kulbir, 24, Dhaliwal were hospitalized but recovered from the attack, unlike their friend Carlos Sousa Jr. Further evidence has come to light suggesting that the three boys had provoked the tiger. All three seem to have had high levels of alcohol and marijuana in their systems.

However, it seems that this incident was not Paul and Kulbirs first panga. It seems that they have been arrested for public intoxication in the past. At the time of the tiger attack, Paul was on felony probation after pleading no contest to reckless driving, driving under the influence, resisting an officer, and providing a false name.

However, while reading the latest updates, something caught my attention.

Police found a small amount of marijuana in Kulbir Dhaliwal’s 2002 BMW, which the victims rode to the zoo, as well as a partially filled bottle of vodka, according to court documents.

How did I know they drove a BMW? I am not going to further indict the Dhaliwal brothers. They are going to have enough problems of their own as I am quite convinced their original story of not harassing the tiger will soon fall apart. But this article is really about the majority of the male youth in our community.


Has the Anand Karaj Lost its Significance to the Afterparty?

Hey readers…I accidentally deleted the post on Sikh weddings and we are in the process of trying to retrieve it. I may attempt a reconstruction if we cannot, but in the meanwhile – We’d still like to hear your thoughts on the question posed in the title.Anand_Karaj.jpg The question is prompted by this article in the NYTimes about the trent of having ridiculously expensive weddings going on in Afghanistan currently. Reading the article made me think about our own wedding traditions and how much of the Sikh wedding has lost its meaning (particularly the anand karaj itself) and the focus has really shifted to the afterparty and in the case of Sikh weddings in Punjab the “before-during-after party” where many guests bypass the anand karaj altogether and head straight for the wedding palace.Recently the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee even mandated simple Sikh weddings (without extravagant parties that include alcohol) for the Sikhs to whom it was to issue marriage licenses.So, what do you think – has the anand karaj lost its significance to the afterparty?

P.S. some of the comments also were deleted with the post so if you commented, I apologize for losing your thoughts.

Mamla Gadbad Hai

In an earlier post, a couple of commenters mentioned the shortfalls of much of today’s Punjabi music industry (lack of depth and creativity, among other things). I agree that much (though not all) of today’s Punjabi music leaves me wanting something more, but I thought we could switch to a lighter note for a moment to reminisce and revel in the works of one of the best artists from modern Punjab…(I’d love to hear what others’ favorites are too)

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The simple taal at the beginning makes my skin tingle. And the pure charm of this 1970’s (I think- guessing from the clothes) Gurdas is like a breath of fresh air…


HIV/AIDS In Punjab and India: The Impact on Women

According to the World Health Organization at the end of 2005 there were 5.7 million adults and children living with HIV/AIDS in India with a population of approximately 1.1 billion. India is the second largest country behind South Africa with the highest number of HIV/AIDS patients. red-ribbon.thumbnail.jpgIn India, Mumbai is generally viewed as the Indian city with the most HIV/AIDS patients. However, the state of Punjab is not immune to the epidemic, even though the numbers are relatively small compared to major urban centers such as Mumbai. Numbers aside, the primary source of transmission of the HIV/AIDS within and outside of Punjab is heterosexual intercourse and intravenous drug use. Prof. Sehgal S. of the Department of Immunopathology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh states, that 80.5% of HIV/AIDS patients contracted the virus heterosexually in Punjab, while Indias National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) believes that the bulk of HIV infections in India occur during unprotected heterosexual intercourse. Furthermore, the International Womens Health Coalition cites that one of the highest risk factors for women contracting HIV/AIDS is marriage with 4/5 of new infections in women resulting from having a sexual relationship with their husband. Hence, women, particularly, those in rural areas are one of the fastest growing populations of HIV/AIDS patients in India as well as other countries. A CBS News report states that for Dr. Solomon, 90% of female patients [at his AIDS hospital in Madras] are not prostitutes, but monogamous women who’ve contracted HIV from their husbands. Many of these women are like Periasamy Kousalya whose husband from an arranged marriage was a trucker. He had HIV before they got married.


love across the lines

After many a post on the quandaries and challenges facing young (Sikh, Punjabi) folks today on the romance tip, I wanted to write something anecdotal about relationships today.

After Partition, and particularly after 1984, I think there’s been a polarization of Sikh identity within the diaspora, especially around conversations about relationships. I definitely grew up thinking that the default assumption was to find someone Sikh, most likely Punjabi, to grow up and get “settled” with [qualifier: I was really young when I thought this was the expectation]. I also grew up thinking that Sikh-Sikh couples were the norm.

Au contraire. Among my parents’ first cousins alone, at least 50% are in interfaith or interracial marriages (our motley family includes several Christians, Jews, and Hindus; Southies and Northies; ABDs and DBDs; and desis and non-desis). In fact, my mom is one of the only cousins to have married a Sikh Punjabi man, and certainly the only one to marry a kesdari Sikh. I always took this diversity for granted; it didn’t seem diverse because it was normal to me. What I find striking is that I still held the assumption that my parents’ expectation was much more limited (this of course changed when I was adult). I started to wonder where the heck I got the strange idea that Sikh-Sikh couples are the only “acceptable” outcome.

I thought more and more about where these ideas came from. I realize that some of it certainly came from the gossipy chatter of aunties and uncles. You know the subset — these are the same folks who comment disdainfully about everyone’s relationship choices (if the person is not the right religion or race, they’re not the right education or income or region). But I also wonder if the diverse “couplings” in my parents’ generation were more common/normal because there had NOT been the same level of polarization (most of these couples met pre-1984) that has ensued over the past 20+ years. Or, could it be that when Sikh-Sikh couples were common, there wasn’t the same level of “desperation” around finding a partner if you were open to a non-Sikh partnership?

This also made me reflect on how Sikhi is often interpreted or taught to children. I was taught that Sikhi requires both partners to be of the same faith (although this faith need not necessarily be Sikhi). This isn’t the reality on the ground, though. Is this really one of the most important facets of the religion? Does this vary based on how you want to raise your kids? Is it for the sake of consistency and to mitigate arguments within a relationship? Does it help provide a common ethical framework? Couldn’t many of these issues exist despite being of the same faith background?

Sikh Leaders and Speaking Up for the Sikh Identity

Recently I have read a few articles about instances where Sikh leaders have partaken in activities with various anti-Sikh groups, such as theRSSandDera Sacha Sauda.

In part, the controversies that have arisen are rooted in the questions of what role Sikh leader ought to play in the context of anti-Sikh propaganda.Should our leaders be attending functions organized by anti-Sikh groups? Should they boycott them? Many leaders have been seen supporting such organizations byhobnobbing with,accepting gifts from, and turning a blind eye to their activities.


Onerecent instanceof this is the Jathedar of the Akal Takht and others accepting pictures which expressly co-mingle Sikhi with Hinduism (with Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Sri Ram) at an RSS function. It may not seem like a big deal, but one of the RSS’s assertions is that Sikhs are derivatives of Hinduism and that the Guru’s are the descendants of the Hindu God Ram. I wonder if anyone else feels that our Jathedar’s acceptance of such a picture is a bit shady?As a Sikh I expect my leaders to stand up for Sikh beliefs and the Sikh identity – not accept memorabilia which dilutes my identity and depicts something that they sit on stages across the globe and negate.

As I write this post, I realize that some of you may be thinking that of the instance above does not amount to much, but I think it is illustrative of a much larger issue …if our leaders do not take a stand on something as simple as “Sikhi and Hinduism are not the same,” then where does that leave us as a Sikh nation? How are we to face other challenges to our identity in the West? What are our expectations of our leaders? And are there any avenues we can take to enact change?

Plot to murder father of bride for not enough dowry- foiled!

Veerharinder Singh and Pawanjot Kaur were married on November 1, 2001. Apparently this ill-fated relationship started off on the wrong foot.

Veerharinder had said he was a graduate owning gas stations. He turned out to be class 12 pass and an employee in a factory. Pawanjot was B.Sc medical.

Veerharinder then left for Surrey, abandoning his bride in Punjab.

Ranphool (Pawanjot’s father) claimed the man and his family were all good till they gave wrong information to the embassy that had rejected the papers of my daughter to emigrate to Canada.

As if abandoning the bride wasn’t enough: Veerharinder demanded 30 lakh (a mere $75,000!) for dowry, and his father was camped out in Punjab, waiting to receive this from Pawanjot’s family.

contract-killers.jpgPawanjot came to Canada on her own and stayed with her grandfather in Edmonton when Veerinder’s family rejected her. Then, the plot thickens… Veerharinder tried to teach his father-in-law a lesson for sending Pawanjot to Canada.

Police charges allege that the husband and his cousin hired a group of contract killers for 120,000 rupees (about $3,000) after the father of the bride could not raise the dowry for his daughter.

Luckily the killers were amateurs discussing their plan at a dhaba … where they were overheard and reported to the police.

Veerharinder, how do you face yourself in the mirror?

Top 5 Sikh Successes of 2007

Although this blog is new, I couldnt resist getting the in the countdown spirit with another useless list. Oh well, the end of the calendar year (although not the Nanakshahi Sikh calendar) gives us some time for thoughts and reflections. Here is my list of this years top 5 events that will influence 2008 and beyond.

05-khalsakids.gif5. Khalsa Kids The Sikh diaspora is coming of age and creating new tools for the community. It has been over ten years since the suicide of 13 year old Vijay Singh in the UK after being repeatedly bullied in school. Unfortunately the bullying of young Sikh boys tends to be the rule and not the exception. The Sikh Coalition released a harrowing report that showed 77.5% of Sikh boys surveyed in Queens reported being teased or harassed on account of their Sikh identity. However, the community is beginning to respond and it reveals a coming of age here in the US Sikh population.

A Sikh teacher, SriNam Singh Khalsa, recently published Break the Bully Cycle: Intervention Techniques and Activities to Create a Respectful School Community. This book provides strategies to enable school teachers and administrators in helping not only the victims of bullies, but also the bullies themselves. Another book, written by a Sikh high school student, Harkirat Singh Hansra, helps to give non-Sikhs, especially students, a basic understanding on Sikhi. Titled Liberty at Stake Sikhs: The Most Visible Yet Understood Minority in America provides a Sikh teenagers perspective of the world around him. Finally, perhaps the most innovative project was the Sikh Coalitions launch of its Khalsa Kids website. Fun, interactive, and professional the Sikh Coalition must be commended for creating a real tool that will serve Sikh communities throughout the world. That the Sikh community has a multi-faceted approach and is using its resources is a great success of 2007 that will set the bar for 2008 and beyond.


Sikh Diaspora 2007: Year in Review

newyear.jpgAs we celebrate the New Year and look forward to what it holds in store for us (at the very least an election!), it is important to look back and remember what we have experienced as a community this past year. In celebration of the Sikh Diaspora and what it represents to us today, here is a look back at some of the global stories, books, films and websites that impacted our community in 2007.

  1. Young Sikh Men Get Haircuts, Annoying Their Elders. Its usually college-going students who are more worried about looking good than about their spiritual identity[It] releases a certain amount of pressure.
  2. A new website, Sikh Chic, discussing articles related to the art and culture of the Sikh Diaspora was launched. We need to re-think the Sikh idea in the North American idiom, in our language, in our way of articulating our thoughts.
  3. The Sikh clergy issues an edict directing the Sikh Sangat to snap all ties, including social, religious and political, with Baba Ram Rahim Gurmit, head, Dera Sacha Sauda, and its followers.
  4. Several books for and about Sikhs are published and discussed including Shame, Sacred Games, Sikhs in Britain, Londonstani, Sikhs Unlimited, I See No Stranger: Early Sikh Art and Devotion.
  5. A Sikh-Canadian group slams the long-standing immigration policy that forces people with the surname Singh or Kaur to change their last names. It was later noted that the immigration letter sent out was poorly worded.


No Longer Alone.

Yesterday, we received a special request for a blog topic. The urgency and pain expressed in the comment inspired me to write.

khanda.jpgIn 2006, the Jakara Movement sponsored an online survey that revealed a horrifying 1 in 4 women that took the survey revealed that they had been the victim of sexual abuse, while over half of the Sikh women responded that they know someone who had been abused. The results only confirm what many of us in the community already know.

The commenter specifically asked for us to look at how authority and hierarchies create an environment for such things to occur. Press reports of Gurdwara gianis that abuse their position are not hard to find, while those of Dera Babas, whether Dera Sacha Sauda, Nanaksar, Daljit Singh of Chicago, Mann Singh Pehowa or Sai Baba are even more common. (We will leave aside the problems of ALL Dera Babas for another post).

None should ever excuse such behavior nor try to hide it. If an allegation is made, a full inquiry should be made with the burden of proof on the accused. I do believe that this allegation is the one exception where the burden should be on the accused rather than the one making the allegations. (Unfortunately, many members of our community abuse the justice system by also alleging false cases due to personal dispute and rivalries.) Many with authority feel a sense of ‘invincibility’ that stems from their ego (haumai). The victims (both females and yes, even males) are silenced and their enforced silence deafens the entire community. We need to find a community solution to the problem.


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