Will Panthic Weekly Raise the Bar? (updated)

For the uninitiated Panthic Weekly is a Sikh portal that provides news and media on various issues that affect the Sikh community. As part of the Panthic Network, my first memories of the team are related to the long-standing Fort Panth Khalsa that especially became popular during the debates centered around the then-Jathedar Ranjit Singh.

The website over the years has developed a formidable presence on the website and is a celebrated by that section of our community that have a leaning towards the strong opinionated slant it represents, especially towards a specific Jathabandi.

For the most part, I applaud Panthic Weeklys efforts and their abilities to engage with youth audiences with a variety of media. Their Khalsa.tv, Panthic.fm, Kathaa.net and Keertan.net are all efforts that deserve praise.

However, my problem with the network is their derogatory language and uncivil discussions that are promoted, often bordering on bullyism. Whenever, the editors of Panthic Weekly do not like a person, they change their name from Singh to Sinh. Parkash Singh Badal becomes Parkash Sinh Badal; Former Jathedar Darshan Singh Ragi becomes Darshan Sinh Ragi; Prime Minister Manmohan Singh becomes Manmohan Sinh. Allegations of RAW agent, RSS-stooge, “traitor”, etc. and the worst parts of our post-1984 history are relived where Sikhs spew vitriole on other Sikhs.

Another issue is it has often become a haven for violent retribution. While the website can in no way be held responsible for its commenters, still I no first-hand that they do censor comments, too many inflammatory comments that harm the discourse amongst Sikhs are allowed to pass.

When reporting the death of a controversial Sikh scholar, the news did not lament his death, only discussed his heresy (such a tactic seems remnant of a Sarah Palin rally). No remorse was shown over his killing. One commenter even wrote

Chakdo Singho! Few more to go, Lets GOO[link]

Even the reporting often leaves much to be desired. The original report on the controversial scholar stated that the Sikh Sangat [not members of the Sikh Sangat mind you, but they are presented as if they speak for the entire Sikh Sangat, which of course they do not] was irritated by some responses the murdered scholar gave. However, the reporter follows:

local Sikh activists lashed out at the controversial reporter and injured him. But he was released soon after his wife and two daughters intervened.[link]

The bias of this news reported soon becomes apparent. The Tribuneindia published a photo of the released Seona and his two daughters. One can see that this gang thrashed an old man and may have even attacked his daughters (the article is unambiguous).seona.jpg

I used this example not to defend Seona, nor do I have any link with Darshan Singh, Manmohan Singh, or even Parkash Singh Badal (in fact, I have been critical of all). Again, while I respect much of the Panthic Weeklys tireless seva, I do believe promoting hooliganism, interjecting violence instead of discourse, and self-appropriating the ability to label or de-label members Singh and Sinhs does not help the long-term fortune of our Qaum, something that I hope all of us are working towards. All Sikh organizations and forums (including this one!) should work hard to raise the standard of discussion and conversation within our community.

Somewhat related: BKI as Boogeyman

UPDATE:

I should have done some more research before the original post. As usual, Shinda Singh (pagh salute!) was ahead of the curve. For another thoughtful critique and analysis of Panthic Weekly, see his post.


bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark
tabs-top


91 Responses to “Will Panthic Weekly Raise the Bar? (updated)”

  1. We love the Langar Hall at Naujawani!! :) Echoing Satinder's comments above, this blog is one of the best things to happen within Sikhdom in recent years.

    Conversely, Panthic Weekly does leave a sour taste in the mouth with many of it's reports. It is unfortunate as Jodha has pointed out, because they do so much good work. However, the beauty of the internet is that everybody has a voice and in the spirit of free speech, they are entitled to opine as they see fit. Looking at the bigger picture, in time they will lose a larger section of their audience as a result of the intimidating rhetoric. In part, this has already happened. In the UK, certainly in the south of the country, there reports are often held up for ridicule amongst Sikh society's and youth groups.

    But how different are they from many of the internet warriors who post on internet forums, message boards and blogs? It is too easy to make a threat and hide behind your PC these days, maybe in time these issues will be resolved naturally. For the time being, Panthic Weekly will no doubt continue to write in the manner that we all have come to know.

    Re: Singh above, you are way off the mark if you think the UK Govt bans blasphemy of the Church. I mean have you ever seen 'The Life of Brian' by the Monty Python crew?! And as Jodha pointed out, there is a stark difference between protesting against someone and advocating or justifying their death. I never liked what Seona wrote, but I would've liked the chance to have spoken to him about it. Likewise with Professor Darshan Singh today. One of the gravest mistakes human beings make is not to talk to each other and THINK. Watch this excellent UK advert from a decade ago that says more than I ever could
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=BG1lUd5-sz4

  2. We love the Langar Hall at Naujawani!! :) Echoing Satinder’s comments above, this blog is one of the best things to happen within Sikhdom in recent years.

    Conversely, Panthic Weekly does leave a sour taste in the mouth with many of it’s reports. It is unfortunate as Jodha has pointed out, because they do so much good work. However, the beauty of the internet is that everybody has a voice and in the spirit of free speech, they are entitled to opine as they see fit. Looking at the bigger picture, in time they will lose a larger section of their audience as a result of the intimidating rhetoric. In part, this has already happened. In the UK, certainly in the south of the country, there reports are often held up for ridicule amongst Sikh society’s and youth groups.

    But how different are they from many of the internet warriors who post on internet forums, message boards and blogs? It is too easy to make a threat and hide behind your PC these days, maybe in time these issues will be resolved naturally. For the time being, Panthic Weekly will no doubt continue to write in the manner that we all have come to know.

    Re: Singh above, you are way off the mark if you think the UK Govt bans blasphemy of the Church. I mean have you ever seen ‘The Life of Brian’ by the Monty Python crew?! And as Jodha pointed out, there is a stark difference between protesting against someone and advocating or justifying their death. I never liked what Seona wrote, but I would’ve liked the chance to have spoken to him about it. Likewise with Professor Darshan Singh today. One of the gravest mistakes human beings make is not to talk to each other and THINK. Watch this excellent UK advert from a decade ago that says more than I ever could
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=BG1lUd5-sz4

  3. singh says:

    Naujwanidot

    Your statement that Seona was not invited for discussions is not true. He had parleys with his opponents and he did not desist from writing against sikh scriptures.

    I did not write that opponents should be physically assaulted. I say that many of the people who are siding with blasphemic writers do not know the truth behind such issues. For example you are writing about ragi darshan singh. This ragi has earned name and money by doing kirtan from Dasam bani all his life. Now he is condemning that bani. He was invited for talks by many sikh groups so that issues are settled amicably within panth. Darshan singh does not agree to that. Since he does not know much about dasam Granth, he is afraid if engaged in discussion he will be exposed.

    Have you noticed the language these Gurnindaks use for the scriptures of sikhs? If not i can quote some examples here. Have you seen the language the posters e.g, Prem use here for sikhs they do not like. Please read that. These people are themselves using uncivilized language for Panthic weekly and they blame panthic weekly for using rough language.

  4. singh says:

    Naujawanidotcom

    Watch these vidoes where Ragi darshan singh was invited

    http://www.panthic.org/news/125/ARTICLE/3899/2008

  5. singh says:

    Naujwanidot

    Your statement that Seona was not invited for discussions is not true. He had parleys with his opponents and he did not desist from writing against sikh scriptures.

    I did not write that opponents should be physically assaulted. I say that many of the people who are siding with blasphemic writers do not know the truth behind such issues. For example you are writing about ragi darshan singh. This ragi has earned name and money by doing kirtan from Dasam bani all his life. Now he is condemning that bani. He was invited for talks by many sikh groups so that issues are settled amicably within panth. Darshan singh does not agree to that. Since he does not know much about dasam Granth, he is afraid if engaged in discussion he will be exposed.

    Have you noticed the language these Gurnindaks use for the scriptures of sikhs? If not i can quote some examples here. Have you seen the language the posters e.g, Prem use here for sikhs they do not like. Please read that. These people are themselves using uncivilized language for Panthic weekly and they blame panthic weekly for using rough language.

  6. singh says:

    Naujawanidotcom

    Watch these vidoes where Ragi darshan singh was invited

    http://www.panthic.org/news/125/ARTICLE/3899/2008-02-14.html

  7. pksingh says:

    Folks, I am an loyal fan of panthic weekly, I think it stands in a class by itself, so it has alrady raised the bar.

    As far as, worldsikhnews, it is nothing but recycled news, I have seen many articles copied from panthic weekly where they don't even give credit to the source. They slap WSN on everything. 90%+ of the content is AP, ANI, etc. WSN seems to promote bollywood stuff too much, what that got to do with sikhi ?

  8. pksingh says:

    Folks, I am an loyal fan of panthic weekly, I think it stands in a class by itself, so it has alrady raised the bar.

    As far as, worldsikhnews, it is nothing but recycled news, I have seen many articles copied from panthic weekly where they don’t even give credit to the source. They slap WSN on everything. 90%+ of the content is AP, ANI, etc. WSN seems to promote bollywood stuff too much, what that got to do with sikhi ?

  9. Good point made above Singh, that both Seona and Darshan Singh have or had been invited to talks where they could make their feelings known: they have been given a chance to talk and chose not to use it :) However, that does not excuse the silencing of Seona permanently, nor does it justify the ostracising of Professor Darshan Singh. With Seona the mattter is closed, he is dead. However, Professor Darshan Singh needs to be approached and filmed or audio recorded debating his side of the argument comprehensively. At present there are far from categorical media records of exactly what Darshan Singh wants to put across. Whether there is an opposing view put forward by someone in that recording is not important because at least this way you can hear or see EXACTLY what Professor Darshan Singh is putting forward. Naujawanidotcom has been endeavouring to do this as he is in the UK at present, however, it is difficult to locate him and convince him that we genuinely want to clarify what he is saying, not kill him!! Unfortunately the immense lack of an independent media in Sikh circles is killing us off, hence why we are so pleased to have found The Langar Hall blog! To pksingh above, if your political or social affiliations were different do you think you might like worldsikhnews more or perhaps panthic weekly less? Genuine question, no offence intended, as you have left no email about yourself we are forced to ask on the Blog comments!

  10. Good point made above Singh, that both Seona and Darshan Singh have or had been invited to talks where they could make their feelings known: they have been given a chance to talk and chose not to use it :) However, that does not excuse the silencing of Seona permanently, nor does it justify the ostracising of Professor Darshan Singh. With Seona the mattter is closed, he is dead. However, Professor Darshan Singh needs to be approached and filmed or audio recorded debating his side of the argument comprehensively. At present there are far from categorical media records of exactly what Darshan Singh wants to put across. Whether there is an opposing view put forward by someone in that recording is not important because at least this way you can hear or see EXACTLY what Professor Darshan Singh is putting forward. Naujawanidotcom has been endeavouring to do this as he is in the UK at present, however, it is difficult to locate him and convince him that we genuinely want to clarify what he is saying, not kill him!! Unfortunately the immense lack of an independent media in Sikh circles is killing us off, hence why we are so pleased to have found The Langar Hall blog! To pksingh above, if your political or social affiliations were different do you think you might like worldsikhnews more or perhaps panthic weekly less? Genuine question, no offence intended, as you have left no email about yourself we are forced to ask on the Blog comments!

  11. J.Kaur says:

    Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh

    [quote comment="7313"]Looking at this picture, again makes me think, that the level of fanaticism and idiocy is unprecedented amongst a certain group of "Sikhs." When in history have Sikhs been aggressive before modern times? NEVER, and now people calling themselves Khalsa, the very sacred pure ideal that we all honor, are going around acting like thugs. What a total disgrace.

    These people are so small-minded and egotistical that they have to beat up an old man because he writes things with which they disagree. I've had these people at my blog and read their posts on other blogs and forums. I'm really getting sick of them. Someday I'm going to find the "gupt" cowards, and expose them. I know which jethas they belong to and which cities they live in, I just don't know their names. They shouldn't have the power that the young Sikhs are giving them. The power to control their thoughts and dictate what it means to be a Sikh.[/quote]

    just to clarify… the people who beat (and eventually murdered) Seona are not part of the same "jetha" which most of the Panthic Weekly staff are associated with. while Panthic's reporting of said event may have been less than stellar, it's not fair or accurate to associate them with the thugs who beat an old man and his wife and daughter within the sanctuary of Darbar Sahib.

    i don't think it's a good practice to condemn some one for being biased and then blame entire jathas for their crimes.

    while Panthic Weekly may be plagued by a vocal minority who make inappropriate comments, it is not fair or appropriate to blame the entire staff or any Jatha for the behaviour of a few.

    bhul chuk maaf…

  12. J.Kaur says:

    Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh

    [quote comment=”7313″]Looking at this picture, again makes me think, that the level of fanaticism and idiocy is unprecedented amongst a certain group of “Sikhs.” When in history have Sikhs been aggressive before modern times? NEVER, and now people calling themselves Khalsa, the very sacred pure ideal that we all honor, are going around acting like thugs. What a total disgrace.
    These people are so small-minded and egotistical that they have to beat up an old man because he writes things with which they disagree. I’ve had these people at my blog and read their posts on other blogs and forums. I’m really getting sick of them. Someday I’m going to find the “gupt” cowards, and expose them. I know which jethas they belong to and which cities they live in, I just don’t know their names. They shouldn’t have the power that the young Sikhs are giving them. The power to control their thoughts and dictate what it means to be a Sikh.[/quote]

    just to clarify… the people who beat (and eventually murdered) Seona are not part of the same “jetha” which most of the Panthic Weekly staff are associated with. while Panthic’s reporting of said event may have been less than stellar, it’s not fair or accurate to associate them with the thugs who beat an old man and his wife and daughter within the sanctuary of Darbar Sahib.

    i don’t think it’s a good practice to condemn some one for being biased and then blame entire jathas for their crimes.

    while Panthic Weekly may be plagued by a vocal minority who make inappropriate comments, it is not fair or appropriate to blame the entire staff or any Jatha for the behaviour of a few.

    bhul chuk maaf…

  13. Jas SherGill says:

    I think that the Panthic Weekly is biased towards certain issues and should take note where they get their funds from . There are several so called Sikh sites that try to force certain ideas on its readers . So its their way or no way at all .

  14. Jas SherGill says:

    I think that the Panthic Weekly is biased towards certain issues and should take note where they get their funds from . There are several so called Sikh sites that try to force certain ideas on its readers . So its their way or no way at all .

  15. singh says:

    Darshan Singh ragi attacks ardas, sikh rehat maryada, sikh history and much more

    http://santsipahi.wordpress.com/2008/10/28…s-ow…

  16. singh says:

    Darshan Singh ragi attacks ardas, sikh rehat maryada, sikh history and much more

    http://santsipahi.wordpress.com/2008/10/28…s-own-words-ii/

  17. Prem says:

    Have you seen the language the posters e.g, Prem use here for sikhs they do not like

    I use the term 'fascist' to describe anyone who employs violence, revels in violence, or apologises for violence as a means to silence criticism or debate. How else would you describe anyone who celebrates violence against an individual? Having witnessed with my own eyes violence and mobs threatening violence to bully, intimidate and silence people, I use the word very carefully. It is appropriate.

  18. Prem says:

    it is not fair or appropriate to blame the entire staff or any Jatha for the behaviour of a few.

    This is true, in that ultimately those individuals who carry out acts of violence are alone responsible for their actions. We understand the insidious nature of prejudice and collective demonisation for the acts of a minority because of our recent history, and any such demonisation should be confronted wherever it happens. Not just amongst Sikhs, but against anyone who seeks to ascribe culpability on individusla for which they are not personally responsible.

    But on a more broad point, is it not true that we all have a responsibility to condemn incitements to violence, and condemn those who celebrate the act of violence after it has been commited? I mean all of us, as Sikhs? I believe so. I believe that it is our collective responsibility to condemn and act against mob violence, bullying, intimidation and fascist speech and actions when it happens amongst us. If we allow an atmosphere of violent bullying to flourish, it leads to a situation in which he who shouts the loudest, who speaks threats, and employs violent threats and rhetoric will intimidate people into silence. This is not the way to live open and free lives.

    We face many problems in the diaspora. We face misunderstanding, prejudice, stereotyping and stigmatisation. We should therefore strive to not only confront those 'external' threats to us as individuals and as a community, but we should also be aware and ready to confront violence that threatens us as individuals and as a community from within, as it were.

    And finally, as individuals and as a community the effect of people being bullied, intimidated, threatened with violence and even, may God forbid, being murdered over disagreements, or because of things they have written will reverberate far beyond the actual acts themselves. We don't need the stereotype of fanaticism, of some Sikhs being people who deny the most basic right of free speech through violence to become a stereotype to add to the burden upon our heads as a minority.

    This is very important, and I sincerely hope that people do think on this issue deeply.

  19. Prem says:

    Have you seen the language the posters e.g, Prem use here for sikhs they do not like

    I use the term ‘fascist’ to describe anyone who employs violence, revels in violence, or apologises for violence as a means to silence criticism or debate. How else would you describe anyone who celebrates violence against an individual? Having witnessed with my own eyes violence and mobs threatening violence to bully, intimidate and silence people, I use the word very carefully. It is appropriate.

  20. Prem says:

    it is not fair or appropriate to blame the entire staff or any Jatha for the behaviour of a few.

    This is true, in that ultimately those individuals who carry out acts of violence are alone responsible for their actions. We understand the insidious nature of prejudice and collective demonisation for the acts of a minority because of our recent history, and any such demonisation should be confronted wherever it happens. Not just amongst Sikhs, but against anyone who seeks to ascribe culpability on individusla for which they are not personally responsible.

    But on a more broad point, is it not true that we all have a responsibility to condemn incitements to violence, and condemn those who celebrate the act of violence after it has been commited? I mean all of us, as Sikhs? I believe so. I believe that it is our collective responsibility to condemn and act against mob violence, bullying, intimidation and fascist speech and actions when it happens amongst us. If we allow an atmosphere of violent bullying to flourish, it leads to a situation in which he who shouts the loudest, who speaks threats, and employs violent threats and rhetoric will intimidate people into silence. This is not the way to live open and free lives.

    We face many problems in the diaspora. We face misunderstanding, prejudice, stereotyping and stigmatisation. We should therefore strive to not only confront those ‘external’ threats to us as individuals and as a community, but we should also be aware and ready to confront violence that threatens us as individuals and as a community from within, as it were.

    And finally, as individuals and as a community the effect of people being bullied, intimidated, threatened with violence and even, may God forbid, being murdered over disagreements, or because of things they have written will reverberate far beyond the actual acts themselves. We don’t need the stereotype of fanaticism, of some Sikhs being people who deny the most basic right of free speech through violence to become a stereotype to add to the burden upon our heads as a minority.

    This is very important, and I sincerely hope that people do think on this issue deeply.

  21. singh says:

    Panthic weekly did not endorse violence in the article. Can you show us where they wrote endorsing violnce.

    Have you written about Hindu thugs who massacred sikhs in Delhi? What about Hindu BJP dispalying fascism openly?

    "I use the term ‘fascist’ to describe anyone who employs violence, revels in violence, or apologises for violence as a means to silence criticism or debate"

  22. singh says:

    Panthic weekly did not endorse violence in the article. Can you show us where they wrote endorsing violnce.

    Have you written about Hindu thugs who massacred sikhs in Delhi? What about Hindu BJP dispalying fascism openly?

    “I use the term fascist to describe anyone who employs violence, revels in violence, or apologises for violence as a means to silence criticism or debate”

  23. BUCHANGI says:

    Panthic weekly is doing its thing.

    Start article competitions on certain issues and encourage journalism.

    Panthic shouldn't make decisions for readers, yet still, facts can be stated by Panthic, like Hukamnama's and Historical references.

  24. BUCHANGI says:

    Panthic weekly is doing its thing.

    Start article competitions on certain issues and encourage journalism.

    Panthic shouldn’t make decisions for readers, yet still, facts can be stated by Panthic, like Hukamnama’s and Historical references.

  25. pritpal singh says:

    waheguru ji ka khalsa
    waheguru ji ki fateh
    yes panthic weekly will raise the bar
    i hv been reading news about sikh issues but no one give good information like panthic weekly.
    they are doing a great job.
    whoever opposing them just tell me what are they doing for the panth.
    i always prefer panthic,org

  26. pritpal singh says:

    i had a great respect for thelangarhall but now i can that thay are opposing true singhs
    who are doing great sewa in our delhi region and other places.
    please gursikho support everyone who is doing good deeds for panth.
    today some people is opposing violance in sikhism.
    one day they will oppose guru gobind singh ji as well.
    pleaseee be united.
    do you people considered badal as a singh?
    manmohan singh as a singh who never visited the widow colony of 1984 riots in tilak vihar once.
    please be united
    akal purakh sabte mehar kre

  27. pritpal singh says:

    waheguru ji ka khalsa
    waheguru ji ki fateh
    yes panthic weekly will raise the bar
    i hv been reading news about sikh issues but no one give good information like panthic weekly.
    they are doing a great job.
    whoever opposing them just tell me what are they doing for the panth.
    i always prefer panthic,org

  28. pritpal singh says:

    i had a great respect for thelangarhall but now i can that thay are opposing true singhs
    who are doing great sewa in our delhi region and other places.
    please gursikho support everyone who is doing good deeds for panth.
    today some people is opposing violance in sikhism.
    one day they will oppose guru gobind singh ji as well.
    pleaseee be united.
    do you people considered badal as a singh?
    manmohan singh as a singh who never visited the widow colony of 1984 riots in tilak vihar once.
    please be united
    akal purakh sabte mehar kre

  29. P Singh says:

    I have been reading the Panthic Weekly for some time and have to say they are one of only a handful of sites that actually stand up for Sikh values and do report on controversies not just try to cover them up. Most of the comments I am reading below, are typical of the "glossed over" and "diluted" Sikhi that has become a cancer in the current age. During the British raj in India, many of the the martial aspects of Sikhi were the focus of attempts to be removed by the victorian leaders, who were fine for their military to use guns etc for a "clean kill" but were overwhelmed by the Sikh ability to engage in ferocious and bloody hand-to-hand fighting, so they tried to ban jhatka and the like.

  30. P Singh says:

    con't from prev comment….The comments on this site are continuing in the same vein- what next, do we become pacifists and now start to remove the glorious history of shaheedi from our history? We have seen this with Congress and Akali Badal in Punjab- whichever is in power, 1984 shaheeds are always vilified like criminals and murderers….yet Bhagat Singh and Udham Singh's death anniversaries are hailed as national days of pride..did Bhagat Singh and Udham Singh not commit "crimes" against the rulers of their time?…wake up, smell the coffee and realise the truth. Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!!!!

    • Jodha says:

      So P Singh, are all acts of violence equal and worthy to be celebrated? Is bullying someone and threatening death for an opinion you don't share equal to giving your life in defense of the Akal Takht. I don't think so, I have a gut feeling you probably don't either? Most discerning Sikhs probably wouldn't.

      I am all for the 'reporting' of controversies. Is it done fairly? Does one make an attempt to understand the complexities of an issue? Offer analysis?

      For Panthic Weekly, I am unconvinced that these are the aims. That is fine if you are just an opinion blog. This website is just a blog, not a news website. Panthic Weekly claims to be a "Non-profit Sikh news publication run by the Khalsa Press, providing Panthic oriented news and information."

      There are many issues I even share with Panthic Weekly, but I can still tell the difference between news and opinion.

      Let us all hope Panthic Weekly continues in its seva and raises the bar to actually 'report'. We have huge issues ahead of us, far more important than only campaigning for the next group/person that we disagree with to be excommunicated. Again I end as I ended the article in 2008:

      Again, while I respect much of the Panthic Weekly’s tireless seva, I do believe promoting hooliganism, interjecting violence instead of discourse, and self-appropriating the ability to label or de-label members Singh and Sinhs does not help the long-term fortune of our Qaum, something that I hope all of us are working towards. All Sikh organizations and forums (including this one!) should work hard to raise the standard of discussion and conversation within our community.