Sunday, May 27, 2007

Dera Sacha Sauda

The Dera Sacha Sauda episode refuses to die out. The other day, it was the subject of a heated debate in our house too... here are the "exclusive" excerpts:

"He" stands, obviously, for the person I was having this discussion with.

He: How can someone dress up like Guru Gobind Singh? Use the same baptism mode? This man does not even measure up to the toemail of the Guruji.
We have nothing against the creation of Deras. They do not come under Sikhism and we have no issues with how someone else runs a spiritual center. But to mislead simple people with a well known image, and to benefit from the replication of such an image, when you are not worthy of any such replication, is not acceptable. For a corrupt criminal like him to even place the word "Singh" after his name, is a disgrace to Sikhsim.

Me: Sure he doesnt measure up to Guruji. Thats why he is copying, remember? But how does it make a difference to my faith if 10,000 ppl dress up like Guru Gobind Singh? I know they are not Guru Gobind Singh, and never can be.

He: That may be the strength of one person's faith. But the majority will not have a faith that strong.

Me: We are not responsible for the strength of other people's faith.
Tell me, why are there Dalit Sikhs in Punjab in the first place? To have a Dalit Sikh is to deny the very foundation on which the Sikh faith was built. "Ek noor te sab jag upajaya, kaun bhale ko mande"
एक नूर ते सब जग उपज्या , कौन भले को मंदे ॥
(One light has given birth to all, so who may we call Holy and who unholy?)
Are the people who exploit these poor Sikhs and keep them as Dalit Sikhs, worthy of being called "Sikhs"? They are the bigger criminals in the books of Sikhism।

Why is it that a state that was ravaged by the political play of the INC, voted the same party back to power? The party that was responsible for the economic devastation and the social fabric tarnishing of the state, was brought back with honours? How can a people allow this? Even a so called "caste driven" state like UP has shown better political sense! The current issue is also hugely driven by politics, but we as Punjabis continue to be drawn into a battle that is non existant to start with.

Human Gurus are not allowed in Sikhism. Go to the gurudwara in Sec. 38C of Chandigarh. You will find pictures of these "gurus" from various Deras in the basement of the Gurudwara. That is not the icing on the cake. The icing is that these pictures are placed in the form of a square "Pradakshina" . This gurudwara comes under the SGPC.

Sikhism also prohibits a Sikh from using any form of Caste identification. Yet, more and more Sikhs are found writing "Singh Chawla" or "Singh Banipal" etc. after their surname. I find that a recent phenomenon in the Obit columns of newpapers. It is not about rituals. It is about the spirit behind that rule. That spirit is violated when you place a matrimonial ad asking for "Ramgarhia Sikh match required for..."

If the SGPC needs to accuse anyone, it is itself. If Sikhism needs to look anywhere, it is within.

The third person in the room: "Will the two of you please shut up? "

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Weekend Roundup

The most interesting thing heard all week: Rahul Gandhi blaming the congress organisation for the UP debacle. Wondering why they would not have got the credit for any win.

The most preposterous thing heard all week: A man called Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh (with a name like this, he became neither Ram nor Rahim) dresses up as Guru Gobind Singh, and the Sikh custodians, instead of sending him a letter, end up destroying public property. A totally different man loses his life.

The best news of the week: Global Warming is finally being noticed.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What is below is a part of the song from Jism. We usually do not notice the excellent poetry of film songs, but i have always found it awesome. Some song snippets end up meaning a lot. Have been thinking of putting them up on the blog for a long time now...

Won't attempt a translation. This is too good to be mutilated by my translation. Any volunteers welcome.

आवारापन, बंजारापन, एक खला है सीने मे,
हर दम, हर पल, बैचैनी है, कौन भला है सीने मे॥

जाने ये कैसी आग लगी है, इस में धुँआ ना चिंगारी
हो ना हो, इस बार कहीं कोई ख़्वाब जला है सीने में॥

कहाँ किसी के लिए है मुमकिन , सब के लिए एक सा होना,
थोडा सा दिल मेरा बुरा है, थोडा भला है सीने में॥

खंजर से हाथों पे लकीरें, कोइ भला क्या लिख पाया?
हमने मगर एक पागलपन में खुद को छला है सीने में॥

Friday, May 11, 2007


We finally have the DVD of Maachis(the film) at home... got it as a wonderful gift recently, which made the possession dearer.

You'll remember, this was a Gulzar movie released in the previous decade.
It was about the terrorism problem in Punjab.

The leads were Om Puri, Tabu, Chandradhur Singh and others, incl. Jimmy Shergill.

Things I remember from the film:

Song snippet:
अखियों मे बैठा था, अखियों से उठ के,
जाने किस देस गया...

He sat in my eyes,
God knows where he went from there..

What i love about this line is the pain of living through the fact that someone who practically shared your days, just goes away one day,and you never see him again.

Dialogues from the film: (ओम पुरी)
चंद्रचूर : "तो अब कहाँ है, वो, घर वाले आप के?
ओम पुरी: "आधे ४७ ने खा लिए थे, आधे ८४ खा गया। "

ओम पुरी : " घर बाहर हमारे उजड़े, बाप दादे हमारे मरे, और आजादी कोई और ले कर आया? "

ओम पुरी : "सीली माचिस की तीलियों से आग नही भड़कती। "
(Referring to the fact that an unawakened population cannot bring about a revolution or reform movement. Classic Gulzar, the best possible way of saying it. )

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

What working with the Blind has taught me

A lot of people who know me personally, often comment on how it’s a very good job that I’m doing with the blind. Each time, I have tried to correct the person and inform them that actually, it’s the other way round. What I have learnt from the blind people I have worked with is much, much more than what any of them has gained from me.

Here is how my life is better because of the skills I learnt from the blind.

I can walk around my house in pitch darkness.

If I’m cooking when the power goes off, I don’t have to turn the gas off and wait for the electricity to come back. I can continue cooking most of the times.

I don’t have to wake up to monitor the maid or the house. Even in my sleep, I do it with the ears and the nose. The maid hates it. I love the extra sleep. I learnt that from the students who knew someone was entering the class, even when I did not know it until after the person had entered.

Even if I am entering a building for the first time, I will be able to find my way over the sections that I have covered, in pitch darkness. This is because I count my steps and make a mental note of all the ups and downs of the floor surface. I learnt that from the students I worked with.

When buying clothes, I have learnt to close my eyes and then feel the texture. The difference in sensation is quite impressive.

I have learnt that it is possible to have fun AND hate people who pity you at the same time.

I have seen that it is possible to dance to perfect formations by just counting your steps and perfecting them individually. You cannot see the harmony you have created on stage, but everyone else can, and its beautiful!

I have learnt that there are 2 ways in which you can react to abject pity from others. You can either learn to use it to your advantage, or you can push it back with even more vigor. Your repulsion to that pity gives you more strength.