Unifying Sikhs: A Riot Story

Guest blogged by Naujawani Sardar

When the riots began in London last Saturday, we all thought they were a one-off incident and the world would be back to normal by Monday. Instead we awoke to find that more shops had been looted, buildings were still being set ablaze and that the rioters were now widening their search for new canvases to destruct. The thought was certainlythere in the back of my mind, throughout my working day on Monday, but I think I purposely ignored it, hoping that it just would not happen: could a gurdwara be targeted?

IMG00057_20110809_1846.jpgA small number of Sikhs however did not let the thought fall out of sight and continued to monitor the situation. Having realised that a problem may arise, albeit very late at night, they spent the best part of the night driving across London from one Gurdwara to the next to ensure that there was adequate security in place. Where there was not, one man stayed behind or where possible, awoke a local friend to come in. Thus was sewn the seed for a collaborative effort from a number of individuals to coordinate Sikhs that wanted to defend their Gurdware. Throughout Tuesday, Facebook, Twitter and SMS text messages were used to inform and mobilise people into preparing for the night(s) ahead. We at Naujawani also played a small role in coordinating these efforts and garnering support from individuals which personally gave mea greater insight into how things developed over the last 48 hours. It was clear to a few of us that if we were to have any success, people had to be appropriately distributed to different Gurdware. In west London, Southall is naturally the hub and meeting point, but throughout the rioting other Gurdware to the north and east of London were at a higher risk.

By mid-afternoon on Tuesday, the collaborative efforts resulted in an announcement to meet at Park Avenue Gurdwara in Southall at 6pm. I fled work at 5 running to catch tube and train, with the optimistic expectation of an organised meeting and some real unity. Whilst I found the latter, to the credit of every Sikh in London, the former was conspicuous by it’s absence. As I returned from matha teking inside, the local MP arrived and proceeded to pose for photographs with large swathes of ‘leaders’ – men who largely have done little in life but make money, without spending it I might add! Ignoring the melee that now surrounded him, I made my way with a few acquaintances to one side of the car park where the lion’s share of Sikhs had gathered. Appropriate guidelines and advice was shared, but alas there was no splitting up into groups, no dividing strategically… We took it upon ourselves to divide the few dozen that would listen to us into teams of 5 and began making calls to contacts at other Gurdware. We found which places needed people and sent a car with volunteers as appropriate.

Myself along with a few new and old friends went to the Khalsa Jatha Gurdwara, the oldest Gurdwara in the UK. Our night passed without incident and we used the time to forumlate ideas on how we could better network in the future and respond to incidents such as these. We also spent a lot of time using Twitter and Facebook to distinguish fact from fiction regarding what was actually happening and found remarkably that we Sikhs were winning support for our endeavours from across the Globe and most importantly in the UK. The free-to-air satellite channel Sangat TV did excellent work (and continues to) reporting in a way that established media outlets just refuse to. The hashtag Sikhs was soon followed into trending charts by SangatTV – a testament to the impact we were all making, in particular the 3-man camera crew from Birmingham!

We UK Sikhs are not renown for our media savvy abilities so the positive press that Sangat TV and their enigmatic presenter Upinder Randhawa gained has been an unexpected silver lining in this cloudy few days. Non-Sikhs have been tweeting and facebooking their admiration for our strength of character and indiscriminate support of the community. But with the good work of Sangat TV came the need to ensure that those who are capable of speaking to the media should put themselves forward. For far too long we as a people have shied away from having confidence in our abilities in the guise of wanting to remain humble, but all that this has achieved in this regard is to open the floor to those who neither know how to represent us, nor should be allowed to. With all due respect to the Sikh in question, BBC radio has repeatedly aired a 30 second soundbite from a young man threatening to kill anyone who enters the Gurdwara. Leaving aside how the story of Bhai Dalla is relevant here, his passionate claim and youthful zeal did our cause no favours. He came off sounding blood-thirsty, intolerant and thuggish – everything that the last few days should be disintegrating. Never one to shy away, I have been putting myself forward to speak and write where needed, using the skills that I have gained from over a decade in broadcasting and media experiences. I strongly urge others with similar skills to begin making themselves known in the community and share their talents!

The riots are not over, but have largely diminished, in no small part thanks to the Sikhs and others who have stood up as our predecessors to intimidation and injustice. There will be many lessons learnt from the past few days by wider society and we too should not miss this opportunity to progress. We must continue to nurture these networks that have emerged and not miss the chance to take the UK Sikh world into the 21st century. We still do not take advantage of new technology, our extensive network of young people with wide-ranging skills and of course our ability to sacrifice for the greater good. But we have proved that irrespective of our backgrounds, jathebandiyan and affiliations, we can work together for a common purpose; we can put to one side our petty differences and be the people that we have been waiting for. This week the World has gained a renewed respect for those who give water to their enemies, are willing to die defending the rights and beliefs of others, and truly believe that we are all of the same light as the Earth and the cosmos. Let’s not let them down again.


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


71 Responses to “Unifying Sikhs: A Riot Story”

  1. Randep says:

    Who are the Sikhs unifying against? Do they even know? What does it tell us about the titillated bloggers who find no greater joy than being patted on the head like good-civilians who obey the order of the British judicial system? The enemy is a phantom, but your master is a pasty looking old man with crooked teefs.

    • Mandep says:

      The enemy is a specter, remember?

    • brooklynwala says:

      great question. much respect to this man for speaking the truth on the BBC (and facing ridiculous accusations as a result): http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embed

    • Thanks for your comments Randep. We were unifying against those who were coming out into the streets and running amok, attacking, looting and vandalising both private and public properties. These people were from a mix of races, ages and classes. Yesterday amongst those to be charged for participating were a teacher, a graphic designer and the daughter of a millionaire. Although the first incidents in Tottenham on Saturday night were related to the black community in North London, what we saw follow was sheer opportunism by people who had no respect for law and order.

      I cannot speak for all bloggers, but myself, I have not yet been patted on my dastar by the British judicial system (nor should they try to), quite the opposite in fact – we have in many quarters been slandered as vigilantes.

      • randep says:

        Thanks for the response Naujawani Sardar,

        Perhaps you could shed some light on this phenomenon, since you must know much more about it having been there. The Sikhs who did get together with arms, I believe, are criticized from (at least) two sides. As you point out, the bureaucratic line calls you vigilantes. You're supposed to let the police handle this stuff, not your own selves. The other side calls you law-abiding, and maintainers of the peace and law. This is primary the popular media, which has interpreted this act as Sikhs being law-abiding, enforcers of the peace and preservation of the British order. I want to suggest that the latter, in perhaps a more abstract way, is much more debilitating than the prior.

        Whereas being accused of vigilanteism by the bureaucratic framework of the government can be a nuisance for local projects down the line, the representation of Sikhs as internal allies of the British Raj insidiously robs Sikhs a locus for self-determination by re-orienting their reward system to serve national unity. In other words, if the media can elicit Sikh organizations to cherish the media's positive representation of Sikhs, this marks another moment of a long history of conditioning in which Sikhs are being re-programmed into assessing self-worth according to the affirmations from centers-of-power, i.e. government, media. This response on behalf of Sikhs perpetually robs one being able to speak, of being able to speak for one's self, or, rather, to tell one's own story. At most, one can only be a protagonist in another's story, never even a villain in one's own.

        What I am trying to get at, then, is not what Sikhs may or may not have done while the riots (insurrection?) happened, whether they protected themselves, a masjid, or fed langar to rioters themselves. But rather what happened after, how that representation by the British media was leveraged by Sikhs as a positive reflection on Sikhs themselves.

        • Good question. I'd say the leverage is still happening, but of course we don't have the sheer quantity of quality needed to respond adequately to the media machine that operates in the UK. If you heard the comments I made on BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight in short debate towards the close of the rioting, I generally acquitted the cause that I and some of my fellow Sikhs had engaged in well, maintaining that we would stand up in this manner in any place, at any time, anywhere in the World, as we had done for centuries before against oppression, tyranny and injustice.

          I can assure you that I for one am not the kind of person who looks to any power for vindication and self-worth. Nor would I think were a lot of those who stood alongside me in August :)

  2. rocco says:

    Tell the uncles to get out the way and make way for younger second and third generation youths.

  3. SIngh says:

    Whats wrong with him sayiing that he will kill anyone who desecrates the gurughar…maybe if we had shown this resolve in the recent past certain events in the 1980's would not have taken place…there is def. a right in law to defend yourself, property and community with equal force – so if someone came to the gurughar intent on killing people (which i think firebombing could reasonably lead to) a similar force would be to dispatch that person beforehand…hats off to the UK Sikhs for not sitting idly by and hats off to everyone including muslims and others…So naujawani, good to see you are lected the only speaker for the Sikhs…he put it out there and im sure the pics of these lads ready to defend with weapons in hand and that stern warning helped to make looters make the decision not to come to Southhall

    bigups to everyone in the UK from Canada

    • Thanks for your many comments SIngh. I'd like to respond to each if I may in turn.

      "maybe if we had shown this resolve in the recent past certain events in the 1980's would not have taken place…"
      We did show this resolve then. It was a pretty large movement and involved hundreds of thousands of individuals. In particular you might like to read Ajmer SIngh's 'Veemee Saddee dee Sikh Rajneetee' for an overall analysis or Cynthia Mahmood's excellent 'Fighting for Faith and Nation'.

      "Whats wrong with him sayiing that he will kill anyone who desecrates the gurughar"
      I explained why this was unhelpful in the blog post: 'his passionate claim and youthful zeal did our cause no favours. He came off sounding blood-thirsty, intolerant and thuggish…' When speaking to the media SIngh, any person, business or community need to be very careful about how they word
      just what it is they are trying to convey. It can be easily misconstrued or used at a later date causing further problems. He actually said he 'would kill anyone who entered the Gurdwara'. This has an impact on the listener that is very different to what would have been felt had he used the word 'desecrated'. Moreover, I alluded to the story of Bhai Dalla in the same sentence which I hope you are familiar with and is entirely applicable to this situation.

      "So naujawani, good to see you are lected the only speaker for the Sikhs…"
      Once again, please refer to my blog post where I have clearly stated: 'I have been putting myself forward to speak and write where needed, using the skills that I have gained from over a decade in broadcasting and media experiences. I strongly urge others with similar skills to begin making themselves known in the community and share their talents!' I was not elected, nor do I want to be. I was however selected from amongst the coordinating group to speak on NDTV yesterday and through my own contacts gave audio statements to BBC Radio 4 and ITV News. I would really encourage others who are media-trained to step forward now and in the future.

      'im sure the pics of these lads ready to defend with weapons in hand and that stern warning helped to make looters make the decision not to come to Southhall'
      Those pictures and comments were not aired until at least 8pm on Tuesday in the UK by which time the Southall 'meeting' had concluded and many of us were en route to various Gurdware around London. If looters were going to gather in Southall they would have become visibly clear in neighbouring areas many of which we drove through on our way into Shepherds Bush. They weren't. Partly due to the increased Police presence that night (from 6,000 to 16,000) and in no small part the social networking buzz created by Sikhs in particular which had been prolific throughout the day, these looters did not emerge. The Sardar was, is and always will be a startling proposition for anyone to take on – we are lions with beards for manes and dastars for crowns – that in itself is a formidable sight. Of course being shastar-dhari is part of that picture, but it is not the be all and end all. Having taken Khande-di-pahul 11 years ago my kirpan has never left my side. By the will of the Almighty I have never needed to even draw it from the sheath, nor did I this week. God-willing that will continue.

      • SIngh says:

        I read Mahmoods book…FOr the most part it interviews reactionary figures. Those who joined the Khalistan movement after Harmandar Sahib attack and the events following. My point was that if Singhs had the himmat to listen to Sant Bhindranwale who said "they are coming – be ready" the attack may not have happened…there was not a hundred thousand at harmandar sahib and if you think that I think youve been sniffing glue

        • The point you forget and have missed from Mahmood's book, but accepted is better highlighted in Ajmer Singh's work, is that even the reactionary figures were not coming cold to the movement. Bluestar and Woodrose brought them out of whatever it was that kept them from stepping up in the months preceding June.

          Many Sikhs did listen to Sant Jarnail Singh hence why thousands were in the complex at Harimandir Sahib. I never suggested that there was a hundred thousand at Harimandir Sahib in June 1984, rather that there "was a pretty large movement and involved hundreds of thousands of individuals". The movement was more than one year and one event. I was counting from as early as the 1950s.

          Why would you suggest I sniff glue? I could understand you suggesting that i'm kidding myself, that I don't have a grasp of history, but you didn't – you said sniffing glue. Interesting.

  4. kantay says:

    The only way they left proceeds at times like this is that they are the ones who see injustice and care about those who are suffering and everyone else is benighted in ignorance. It is as if no one matters except the at times ill defined poor and others are simply dismissed as the establishment. This story has come about organically re Sikhs in the UK but it does not fit a narrative that mass violence by the poor is only a reaction to their conditions that occurs because there is no other way available to express rage and that anyone effected by this rage is either part of the establishment or collateral damage. The attitude of pity the shop keeper or the guy caught in the middle…..but the establishment hasn’t listened to the poor driven into inarticulate rage or to their middle class would be advocates who have been warning of the coming violence.

  5. @JazzK1976 says:

    Older generations stuck in the past, younger generations not broad minded enough. UK Sikhs certainly need to change the way they think and perceive the greater good. We need to clean up our own house first by removing the greedy committees that claim to run our gurdwarae and we need to educate through Sikhi and modern schooling. We Sikhs have a rare moment in the spotlight to shine and project onto the world values of truth, respect and selfless service while maintaining grace and decorum under fire that becomes a true Sikh.

    A simple message to the so called Sikhs who brandished weapons and threatened to kill while standing outside Gurdwara Sahib. Your not Sikhs. Your a disgrace. Your no better than the rioters.

    • KDS says:

      Who has given you right to decide who is disgrace and who is making proud of sikhism.Who has given given you right to decide who is Sikh or not

      When anyone say that one who cuts his hair is not a Sikh or One who do this is not a Sikh then One of the favourate argument of of so called progressive Sikhs is who are you to decide,but the same progressive sikhs just brand any person non Sikh with whom their thinking don't match.Double standard at its best

  6. Blighty Singh says:

    ^ thats just lovely innit ? Sikhs who acted like little girls and sat at home while other's homes, property and businesses were destroyed have the nerve to call those brave enough to get out there and protect their communities a "disgrace".
    What those sikhs brandishing weapons did was articulate the mood of the nation. They became, if you like the voice of the nation. They did and said what everybody in England wanted to do and say.
    What is ironic though…..is that while the sentiments of those sikhs has found found widespread approval and support among all other communities we still have in our community very effeminate pansy type men (as illustrated above) who get diarroeah at the thought of conflict.

    • brooklynwala says:

      "acted like little girls and sat at home"
      "effeminate pansy type men"
      Please express your thoughts without reverting to sexism, which has no place on this blog and no place in Sikhi.

      • Blighty Singh says:

        ^ seeing as you've got your thesaurus at hand care to enlighten us then brooklynwala as to the politicly correct term for men that act like girls ?

        Also…..about that video you posted re the BBC interview with Darcus Howe : Darcus is well known to see us browns as the devils as much as whites. He used to have a show on channel 4 where he made his views about us pretty clear. Also, if you pay attention to what he's saying in your favourite interview you'll notice he mentioned inequality in Trinidad . What he's talking about there is the likes of you and me…..i.e the fact that Indians rule of blacks. If you hate yourself that much fella why not just jump off a bridge ?
        You're trying to justify something here that is just unjustifiable. Its not about poverty. If it was then it should have been us south asians who were rioting because the Bangladeshis have the highest rates of poverty and live in the poorest neighbourhoods of London. What we saw is was nothing but outright criminality. Do you remember a month or so ago in your thread about policing in America where I mentioned how here in London the police let us get away with anything ? Well…….thats all gonna change now. Policing in this country will never again be community policing by consent again.
        Now……this is not the first time these districts have burnt. we all remember too well similar scenarios in 1981 and 1985. After each riot, we the taxpayer, have invested heavily in those districts……giving them state of the art libraries, sports centres and facilities. To show their appreciation they then go and burn them down again. To hell with them. Its time to get tough. American style policing is now here to stay.

        As for the sikhs here calling the sikhs in southall with weapons a "disgrace" : Yesterday in Parliament an MP stood up and asked if the Prime Minister will join with him and salute the brave Sikhs of Southall who en masse came out to protect their community. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, agreed with the sentiment.
        The irony here then is this : White, muslim, hindu, British, christian, Indian, police and politicians, judges and the general public…all have nothing but praise for the Sikhs. But here, we have some of our own….so full of self loathing that they can see nothing but negative. Me ? I'm full of positive. I'm gonna take acting classes so I can play one of the leads in the soon sure to be made 'sangat TV : The Movie'

        • Blighty Singh, you make some good points across this site, really you do. But you let yourself down with notions such as 'men that act like girls'. How do girls act? Are you suggesting they don't fight? Fancy saying that about Mata Bhag Kaur? I really enjoy your comments even if I don't agree with them, but how can I take you seriously when you suggest things like that? I beseech you to rethink that particular notion.

        • brooklynwala says:

          you think indians should rule blacks, that we're somehow better than black folks? to hell with "them"? who is the them? to hell with working class black people?

          sikhi teaches us to stand with the oppressed and do everything in our power to break the shackles of oppression. sikhs coming together to protect gurdwaras is great and deserving of credit. but if we are pitting ourselves against our black brothers and sisters, we are only perpetuating this vicious cycle of injustice. black people are not the enemy, blighty. and repressive policing is not the solution.

          "This age is a knife, kings are butchers; justice hath taken wings and fled. In this completely dark night of falsehood the truth is never seen to rise." -Guru Nanak Sahib

          • Blighty Singh says:

            “you think indians should rule blacks, that we’re somehow better than black folks? to hell with “them”? who is the them? to hell with working class black people?”

            (Comment edited by Admin Singh) I said your heroe Darcis Howe, in the very you tube interview link you posted, talked about inequality in his native Trinidad……where he expresses his dissatisfaction that power lies in the hands of Indians of Trinidad rather than the blacks of Tobago. Its your own link you muppet. (Comment edited by Admin Singh) Thats the second time in two days that someone here who can’t even be bothered to read what I said has called me a racist. Its getting beyond silly now.

            (Please read the commenting policy. “No profanity, name-calling, discrimination, or hate will be tolerated, whether directed towards another commenter, a blogger, or an individual or group not directly present on TLH.”)

  7. Sunny says:

    i patrolled my community and stood outside my gurdwara and not once did I threaten to kill nor did i brandish a weapon. I agree with Jazz. Violence and corruption has no place in Sikhism.

    What those sikhs brandishing weapons did was make themselves look like complete fools, that image of Sikhs outside Havelock gurdwara with kirpans and staffs branded Sikhs as vigilante.

    I prefer the term community protector, dont you?

  8. Sunny says:

    Im ready to give my life for my family, my dharm and my country.

    I am not willing to take a life. That makes me no better than the rioters and thugs.

  9. Blighty Singh says:

    ^ just out of interest then Sunny. …..if you actually came across a gang of 6ft tall muscular ex-british heavyweight contender rioters that night what exactly were you intending to fight them off with ? Your shoe ? A rolled up copy of the wall street journal ?

  10. Sunny says:

    kick em in the nuts!

  11. kantay says:

    The left is an ideological tendency anyone can adopt the term is originally from the French revolution. In most cases such as this the left position is usually in favor of seeing social disruption from the poor or otherwise disadvantaged as a product of social inequality.

  12. Anyone fancy commenting on my conclusion? Controversial I know, but I thought it might evoke some productive discussion about how we Sikhs can work together more efficiently going forward :)

    "We must continue to nurture these networks that have emerged and not miss the chance to take the UK Sikh world into the 21st century. We still do not take advantage of new technology, our extensive network of young people with wide-ranging skills and of course our ability to sacrifice for the greater good. But we have proved that irrespective of our backgrounds, jathebandiyan and affiliations, we can work together for a common purpose; we can put to one side our petty differences and be the people that we have been waiting for. This week the World has gained a renewed respect for those who give water to their enemies, are willing to die defending the rights and beliefs of others, and truly believe that we are all of the same light as the Earth and the cosmos. Let’s not let them down again."

    • Deeph says:

      Once again, as I've stated before: Sikhi is not solely defined by the ability to physically defend your infrastructure.

    • Sanehval says:

      Its easy to pick up a cricket bat with 300 other Singhs and protect a place that's unlikely to be seriously attacked in the first place. Communal fervor is fun. I don't think anyone at a Gurdwara was ever in serious danger. Seems more like a fun get together. Sure people will go regardless of their affiliation, its a similar feeling at a Nagar Kirtan, no? Im not demeaning the ability for us to organize, but as others have mentioned this should only be seen as simple instantiation of the productive power of media to generate solidarity. It happened with the Khalistan movement, it happens with our youth with Bhangra, it happens in ever country after a terrorist attack. We've got big issues to tackle, beating our chests is helpful to a certain extent, I just can't think of how to move this forward. Try sending out a call for "Workshop on reducing domestic violence" or "Get to know your Guru" and well see?

      • Blighty Singh says:

        ^ Reading some of the comments here from people that don't know the first thing about the matter is like me posting on a nuclear physics forum and giving my views on the subject. For your interest sahnewal, Southall is in the Ealing borough. when Ealing was attacked on Tuesday by the mob on the Uxbridge Road their intention was to carry on down the same road which is named Southall Broadway during its Southall stretch. The police knew this…the locals knew this and we knew this……everybody knew that the intention was to get to the street just 1.8 miles away where more money changes hands and has more gold than any other street in the whole of London expect Hatton Garden. The Sikhs were there that day. The bulk of the riot group backed off because of the Sikh presence on the Broadway but small pockets tried their luck anyway and were beaten off after trying to break into jewellers.
        The other point you need to know is this. Southall, and the rest of west London happened later (Tuesday)……but while you were either having a bath or washing the dog, the sikhs from all over London spent Sunday and Monday at the very heart of riots in East London and south of the river in Woolwich. Those gurdwaras in Forest Gate, Ilford, East ham and especially Barking were at an extreme risk and were in areas where the police had no control whatsoever. The area included Bow where we lost the historic gurdwara completely to an arson attack by a gang of black youths from hackney a little while ago. Many of those Sikhs with kirpans and bats filmed and photographed outside Southall Gurdwara on Tuesday and Wednesday had just spent 3 days and 3 nights non stop guarding the gurdwaras at the heart of the riots in the east. Shame on you for rubbishing their efforts. Shame on all of you here who have never done anything yourself for your faith and yet criticise the brave ones that did. Shame on you.

      • Thanks for your reply Sanehval. Blighty Singh has said a few of the things I wanted to, but could I just inform you that I was one of only 15 Sikhs at Shepherds Bush Gurdwara on Tuesday and by Wednesday I was the only non-ragi/Granthi there (one of 4). Not quite the communal fervour you suggest.

  13. guest says:

    i'd rather we be known worldwide for being champions of reason, intelligence, and discernment (all qualities we get from gurbani) rather than being known for marching in the street brandishing weapons.

    • Meena says:

      @guest: you have long way to go then….good luck!

      Also with regards to intelligence have you ever heard the words Miri Piri, buddy?

      Sardar HS Phoolka himself noted with regards to the Nov 1984 pogroms that those Sikhs who chose to fight were largely left alone. Unfortunately it was only those Sikhs who mistakenly believed the police and either handed in their weapons or were caught off guard that suffered the most and died….any lessons to be learned Guest or should I say DeepH?

  14. Deeph says:

    Blighty,

    You need to be more specific with your criticism of Darcus Howe, so please proceed. You're suggesting that he is somehow condoning racial oppression in Trinidad? You also stated that he's said some controversial things on Channel 4; such as what?

    Why do you speak with such vague language?

    Your comments sound sexist, racist and classist; the total opposite of what Sikhi teaches.

    I'm also going to put something else out there: I've heard and read some Singhs saying that they are defending Sikhi out there in the UK. You are not defending Sikhi; Sikhi is not under attack.

    Here are some further readings on the situation in the UK from a more rational perspective:
    http://www.adbusters.org/magazine/71/generation-f
    http://m.architectsjournal.co.uk/8618373.article

    One of the best reads so far! Russel Brand:
    http://www.russellbrand.tv/2011/08/big-brother-is

    • Blighty Singh says:

      So what…you're now using the arguments of an ex-heroin addict mental case and the Islington chattering classes to back up your argument ? You're on a slippery slope to nowhere my friend.
      Now….lets be more honest about things here. I'm a working class Londoner, both in accent and lifestyle I earn just over minimum wage and my wife works as a cleaner at minimum wage. I don't need lectures from you or the middle class intelligensia with more money than sense about what working class londoners feel. Talk to the half a million Bangladeshis in London, who have a higher unemployment rate than blacks and live in worse housing in worse areas than blacks. Ask them how they feel about the rioters. Talk to the hardworking black Nigerians and Ghanians in Tottenham and Hackney. Ask them what they feel about the rioters. Talk to the Hassidic jews of Tottenham and Hackney, who are officialy Britains most deprived citizens. Ask them what they think of the rioters on their doorstep. Now….anyone thats ever read my posts here knows that i don't like the police and i don't like the establishment. I would have totally understood a riot against the police in tottenham given the recent spate of deaths of black people in custody….not to mention the rampant racist policing of muslims…….not to mention shooting brazilian electricians 6 times in the head on tube trains. But I will never say words of support for the wanton looting and destruction of hardworking peoples property. They way I feel is the way that every decent working class person in London feels. I find it nauseating when I read comments here from pseudo intellectuals that live middle class lives in middle class surroundings trying to teach us normal working class folk how we feel. As if we're too stupid and too uneducated to know how to feel or to know right from wrong without you teaching us. The whole country was in support of the Turks of Hackney and the Sikhs of Southall and their tough stance against criminals. Everyone…….white, brown, straight, gay, hindu, christian, muslim….everyone is in support of the stance the Sikhs took. Everyone but the likes of you. So…what I suggest you do is this : Quit your cosy little job and cosy lifetsyle……put yourself on the council list…..start living life on a council estate in the ghetto….and work damn hard for minimal pay. Then……lets see what excuses you come out with for the criminality around you. coz sitting from afar your opinions are worthless. Until you're prepared to do that i suggest you roll your opinions into a tube and shove 'em where the sun don't shine.

  15. kantay says:

    If you think the Gurus were on the left you are in basic agreement with most who are on the left. There is another part of that left also from the French revolution regarding violent overthrow of the present order….but just ignore that part because its harder to be holier than thou (in a literal sense in this case)

    • Sanehval says:

      I looked at wikipedia. Down and dirty, I know. If the left is:
      In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist are terms generally used to describe support for social change to create a more egalitarian society.[1][2] The terms Left and Right were coined during the French Revolution, referring to the seating arrangement in the Estates General; those who sat on the left generally supported the radical changes of the revolution, including the creation of a republic and secularization

      And that's something to be critiqued and is a politics that misreads situations and contexts,
      and the right is:

      In politics, Right, right-wing and rightist are generally used to describe support for preservation or promotion of social order and the legitimacy of social hierarchy in society that is often advocated in the name of tradition.[1][2][3][4][5] It involves in varying degrees the rejection of egalitarian objectives of left-wing politics, claiming either that equality is artificial or that the imposition of social equality is detrimental to society.

      Help me to understand an alternative reading to this situation then that is in line with Sikh principles?

  16. deeph says:

    Blighty,

    If indians are oppressing blacks then this is a form of injustice. Indians are oppressing Sikhs and other minorities in India as well. We have so called Sikhs that continue to be tools of oppression against other Sikhs.

    Our fight is against oppression and we show solidarity, provide compassion and have a deep sense of understanding toward other oppressed peoples.

    Your language is oppressive.

    • UBCPatel says:

      Deeph: HIs reply is right on the point and is not oppressive. Your comments smack of pseudo-intellectualism but lack real depth and analysis. You need to both understand and have lived the situation. Blighty is right in that you need to move out of our coccoon of middle class living, courtesy of your father, and start fending for yourself before you lecture other people on what they should say or think. Blighty, well done man! Its been a long time since someone with a serious thought has actually appeared on this board. I am blown away by your circumstances but you have more knowledge and a handle on things than poor Deeph who has yet to graduate!

      • Deeph says:

        Really? What makes you think it's middle class? Maybe I live in an upper-class household and drive a really nice BMW and live in a swanky pent-house suit in Downtown?

        Is that all you have, UBCPATEL? Is this the only recourse you can take? Pathetic.

        • UBCPatel says:

          Deeph: If that is really true and I suspect part of it is since I am from the same area it makes your remarks even more pathetic and transparent. Stop trying to be holier than thou and trying to win brownie points by parading your self-righteousness. Grow up man!

  17. rocco says:

    how did the UK bhangra artist/singers/community contribute to help during th riots?

  18. deeps says:

    Blighty,

    This is getting nauseating. Once again, as usual, your prejudiced views manifest as you're pressured to carry your arguments into the realm of reason.

    You have just suggested in your very first few lines that 1) you believe the mentally ill, drug addicted and otherwise the downtrodden of society have no voice and should not be given an ear even if they do scream out – however reasonable it may be. 2) That your Sikhi lays in your impulsive physical reactions to what you perceive to be threats to it.

    These aren't hallmarks of a Sikh trying to unify other Sikhs, or a Sikh in general.

    The rest of your banter is just reactionary mumbling. You're telling me that I live in a cozy lifestyle, away from all these troubles that surround you, and have become so disconnected from society, and I am just some wannabe intellectual speaking out of my ass? You don't even know who I am. What if I live in London as well, in those poor boroughs? What if I live in the ghettoes of New York or Toronto? Who are you to start making such nonsensical claims?

    All you've done is a poor evasion after another poor evasion. You lash out by calling members 'little girls', you subdue voices from those poor boroughs as being racist hypocrites, or in this case, you throw away any arguments made by mentally ill, drug addicted and troubles individuals. And here you are, brandishing a sword in front of a Gurdwara as our saviour? For shame.

    • UBCPatel says:

      Deeph: Finish graduating mate first before lecturing others!

      • Deeph says:

        Oh, so now people that don't hold degree's don't have a voice either? Thanks. I'll be sure to note that next time I open my mouth.

        Other than that, do you have anything else to say or will you continue on with useless remarks like that?

    • Sanehval says:

      I'm beginning to believe that Blighty has some sort of kind of cognitive dissonance when it comes to reading situations and making his arguements. . I mean, this guy went on diatribes about Ensaaf having 90% White Christians on its staff. He repeated the point over and over, never providing proof. Its cause he's wrong: http://www.ensaaf.org/about/staff/

      Chal I need to quit.

      • Blighty Singh says:

        Sahneval, except coming here and provoking arguments and picking fights do you actually serve any usefull purpose ? You possess little knowledge about very little at all and yet you still come on thread after thread with basically nothing to say. Basically, you come on threads and fill space. Your sentence starts with a capital letter and ends with a full stop…but apart from that ? Well, there is no apart from that. You are easily the most forgettable one dimensional nothing ever to grace this site. We're all wondering if there is no beginning to your talents. I came onto the thread about the riots and provided information…..I provided first hand experience…..i provided historical contexts etc. and yet all i've recieved in return from what are supposed to be my fellow sikhs is abuse. I regret the day I ever stumbled upon langar hall.

        • Meena says:

          Blighty dont give up the good fight! Keep them coming…you are going great. These two are losers!

          • Sanehval says:

            Gosh, I'm being such a woman.
            But I can't let go of the Ensaaf business. You slandered the life out of that organization without any evidence to support your useless claim that they're not rehabilitating the careers of newly minted Sikh lawyers who succumbed to dreams of prestige, wealth, and power. You should have a bit of shame in denouncing the efforts of a group of dedicated Sikhs who have discarded aspirations of landing a top job at a firm to instead compile and produce the only comprehensive account of the forced disappearances (that means killing) of over 20 thousand innocent Sikhs during the militancy era, picking up the works of sevadars like Sardar Jaswant Singh Kalra who had the courage to go to India knowing that he would likely face death for his work (spoiler alert: he was martyred). Sorry that I can't let that go and sorry for being unfortunate enough born into a family that struggled so that we don't live in a low-income neighborhood. If only I had been so lucky for it to have been otherwise.

          • Jodha says:

            @Sanehval, he was wrong and didn't/doesn't have full information. He gave reason for his charge, but may not also know that they pay and give jobs to people on the ground in Punjab that collect the data. Ok now let it go.

  19. Deeph says:

    "very effeminate pansy type men (as illustrated above) who get diarroeah at the thought of conflict."

    May I also add that you're also deeply prejudiced against Homosexuality and comparing those Sikhs that choose not to engage in your sort of physical activities as being homosexual. You should be more careful with your language.

    Stupid, senseless conflict against phantom enemies an oppressive, racist, classist, sexist homophobic state pits you against doesn't make you a 'man'; it makes you a stupid man.

  20. Deeph says:

    That's it? That's all you have? Is this where your intelligence rests: making useless immature remarks in the hopes that you'll somehow come out the victor and parade yourself as chief amongst readers on the Langar Hall.

    Graduate? I don't want to. Now what? In fact, I want to live of my dad and drive a ferrari across the street to my private jet which will charter me to my personal assistance who feeds me grapes and massages my fingers with the oil of a Great White Shark. Now what?

    You've failed to prove anything here other than your immaturity. Good job.

    • UBCPatel says:

      Yes Deeph that is it! My intelligence lies in exposing imposters like you who have never achieved anything in their lives except frankly living off mum and dad, and then moving from one lousy college to another still failing to even graduate. Before you begin educating other on their language and their views and showing the world how liberal and accepting you are in the attempt to come across as more righteous than everyone else (wow, Canadian values at its best) perhaps you need to prove yourself worthy at least of this much….graduate and get a job like other men….and then come and talk to me about immaturity! Yes, good job…there it is buddy!

      • Sanehval says:

        Dude what are you going on about? Forreal.

      • Deeps says:

        Yeah, maybe you should muster up the courage to message me on Facebook or twitter, meet me and let's discuss this in person. How does that sound? I doubt you would, you seem content on talking smack over the internet after being unable to continue a reasonable discourse on the issue. Who sounds like the idiot here? You do. Not I, you're the one making insults against me. Going far as calling me a pseudo-intellectual while not having the intelligence yourself to contest and rebuke my argument makes you what exactly? A tool, that's what.

        Stop being an internet gangster.

  21. Harry says:

    the wheels on the bus go round and round….

  22. Blighty Singh says:

    …..except, of course, the number 68 from Croydon to the West End which, the rioters burnt out. The wheels on that bus are no longer going round and round. Although it's unclear whether or not the horn on the bus is still capable of going Beep beep beep. http://www.flickr.com/photos/rogersg/6025867820/

  23. kantay says:

    Naujawani I think those Singhs in the UK who put their personal safety on the line to protect others and themselves did a good thing. Good job and thanks

  24. A P Singh says:

    All this news from your site is, I feel is very great work this, shows sikhi spirit .And I suggest all my sikh friends to join your sikhism and must read your histry which have great great info about your elders how they face the very tight time in there life. Everbody have to spend some time for there great relegin in daily life to fase this, how to do job on this time when any problem come to us.

  25. kantay says:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/sep/05/tottenha

    Reading this report, it is striking that riots harm neighborhoods in which they occur almost irreparably. And also the activists who participate in the dance of coordinated public outrage and marches almost to no avail other than the simple fact that "something has occurred" in response to some event.

    If an activist knows that riots harm communities and hold third parties hostage and feels they are close to coming about, to say that the riots were inevitable and the product of decisions made far away and by others who are in effect simply in some way morally flawed people and then wait for someone else to do something to prove them right, is irresponsible.

    It seems to me the thing to do is to do everything one can to prevent such events taking place instead of in effect saying, "I told you so, next time listen to us." That would be the course a person would take who was taking seriously that this sort of event undermines communities over the long term and are seriously tragic events and not simply object lessons of the correctness of liberal points of view.

Leave a Reply


We love hearing from our visitors, so please do leave your comments! No profanity, name calling, or discrimination, please - we try to keep The Langar Hall a clean, open, and hate-free zone. We reserve the right to edit or remove inappropriate comments.