Saturday, September 30, 2006


Todays post is based on the story of this family.

Rupinder Kaur Chahal, with her mother Jagjit Kaur and father Gurdev Singh in their home in Deenashabib, hasn't seen her husband for 19 months. Groom Beant Singh Chahal is living in Calgary.
Photograph by : Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald

This week was a fascinating one as we expected the verdict of ball tampering issue in cricket, then the AFL grand final ( yes, blokes from non footy playing nations outside OZ too are excited about this great game) and NRL grand final. But more than anything else what shook me during the week was the issue of Rupinder Kaur Chahal reported in the Canadian media. Having read this information and on the basis of previous reports, the question that I asked myself was " Can we call the these perpetrators sikhs simply because they were turbaned?
Historically, when a new religion was formed out of existing , it was natural that there could be manifold remnants of previous religions of the newly converted followers being added to the new community. But, in this process , it was necessary to shed negative and harzadous practices. The essence of a code of conduct ( Rehat Maryada) for followers emerged as a consequence of this kind of events. Discrimination against gender was so prevalent in the Indian society that specifically gender equity was promoted by sikh gurus. Sikhs were able to hold their heads high as sikhism was the only indian religion which promoted gender equity other than Buddhism. It has been recorded in sikhi literature that women were required to be held in the highest possible position as they were the ones who gave birth to kings, soliders or any person of might having had them in their womb for ten months. The sikhi approach to this existing issue was "how come women be inferior if they were to bear kings in their womb". Contrary to existing practices of hiding faces of women by a piece of cloth( Fardah)( Guru AmarDas banned Purdah) or confining them to the back yard when some one came to the house, sikh women were encouraged to be in the company of the male counterparts of the household in receiving guests.Thus, gender equity was openly preached in Sikhism.
There were many Hindu customs among the new followers of Sikhism and obviously there were repercussions of those considered to be negative upon the core values of the new religion( Sikhism).Among them, shedding away of Hindu influenced negative nuptial procedures was of significant importance. Having understood the magnitude of the damage that can be exterted upon the core Sikhi values , Guru Ramdas, introduced the Anand Karaj,the Sikh wedding ceremony literally meaning " BLISSFUL HAPENNING". Guru Ram Das emphasising the importance of a nuptial bond says ""They are not said to be husband and wife who merely have physical contact only. Rather they alone are called husband and wife who have one soul in two bodies". Guru Amardas was instrumental in banning socially unacceptable practice of SATI . Thus,Guru Amar Das occupies a special place in the Indian Sub continent in the same rank with Lord Buddha for uplifting the status of women and promoting gender equity.
Anad Karaj has an enormous social value. It symbolises the encapsulation of two souls as a one ( ONE LIGHT IN TWO BODIES) and from that moment the two souls travel together in search of the Amrit(Bliss). However, it is very sad that the meaning of the concept is loosing ground among the followers of the great religion in the face of western materialism.Sanctity of a marriage has been commented by Premila Kapur.She wrote "Marriage is a Sanskara and as such it is a sacrament and a religious bond which cannot be broken under any circumstances. Ideally, it aims not only at the individual's biological, emotional, social and spiritual fulfillments and development through union with a person of the opposite sex, but also at the development, fulfilment and welfare of the family, and through it of the society and mankind". (The Changing Status of The Working Woman in India, Vikas Publishing House, Delhi, p.6, 1975 )
Sikh nuptial requirements are clearly laid down and there are important points that should be adopted by a sikh family in a nuptial ceremony. They are :
Both partners must be Sikhs.
Marriage is a partnership of equals.
No consideration is to be given to Caste, Social Status, Race or lineage.
No Dowry is allowed.
No day is considered holier than any other; No astrological considerations are to be made; No superstitions are to be observed in fixing the date of the wedding.
The religious ceremony to take place in a Gurdwara or home of the Bride in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib
The religious ceremony must NOT take place in a hotel, wedding palace or Banqueting Hall.
Burden of the cost of the wedding to be shared as equally as possible
Going through the codes, one will feel as to why Guru Ramdas wanted to re organize a sikh nuptial code.It is obvious that the existing practices were obstructing the social development with too much emphasis on gender discrimination.However, it is sad that even in the modern era, the sheded practices dominate in the society of both resident and non resident sikhs. As reported from Punjab, our holy land, many NRI sikhs come back in search of brides in India, marry young women, seek pleasure in their company, demand money and leave the poor souls behind. Perhaps, the western kind of life style that they have seen from their western counterparts may be the reason for playing hide and seek games with poor souls in the land of their forefathers. Latest, pathetic story of the "beautiful princes", Rupinder Kaur Chahal is only a tip of the ice berg. The only question that I need to ask is if they are dowery hungry hindus( with appology to hindus living a dharmic life) in the Sikh Panthic form. Are we loosing our Sikhiness?
Bhai Gurdas writes, “ Seeing other women, do not cast a lustful eye on them, instead consider them as your mother, sister and daughter.” The impact of this concept was so powerfully engraved in Punjab that it has been noted that a sikh in turban was trusted more than any body by women in Punjab as they were certain that a Sikh in Khalsa will not lay their hands upon a women for lust.I could remember a person telling a lady planning to visit USA, to look for a Sardar taxi driver and assuring her that she was definitely safe in a sikh man's hand. Will we have the same kind of recognition in the future if the trend of the nature given below will be followed. It is a point to ponder for the Sikh community all over the globe.
Read the story of Rupinder Kaur Chahal as reported by
Valerie Fortney; With Files From Michael Roberts, theProvince., Calgary Herald
Broken vows and shattered dreams
Each year, thousands of men from Canada, the United States and Europe return to India in search of a bride, promising to whisk them away
Her name means "beautiful girl" in Punjabi. Yet for Rupinder Kaur Chahal, her life feels anything but. The shy 25-year-old resident of Deenashabib, a plain village in the Moga district of India's Punjab state, says her life is over before it's even begun.
"I have nothing to hope for, nothing to do," the graceful young woman whispers as she lowers her head, tears dropping on to her baby blue salwar kameez, also known as a "Punjab suit."
Sitting in the dusty courtyard outside her family's humble stone house, an emaciated cow grazing in a stall next to the room where she and four other relatives sleep, Rupinder explains the source of her misery. A newlywed, she hasn't seen her husband, a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) living in Calgary, for 19 months.
"He promised he would come for me in three months," she says. "Now he is saying it will take seven years to get me into Canada."
Rupinder's story is an all-too-common one in the Punjab, the northern Indian agricultural state bordering on Pakistan that is home to 24 million, two-thirds of them followers of the Sikh religion.
Each year, thousands of men --some new immigrants, many of them sons of 1960s immigrants to Canada, the United States and Europe -- return to the land of their ancestors in search of a bride.
Young Indian women are paired up with NRIs, the couples finding one another through village matchmakers, relatives and the full-page matrimonial ads found in every local newspaper.
Once a suitable match is found, they typically marry in India, the weddings grand events with often several hundred guests.
The majority of these young women are later brought to countries like Canada, the U.S. and Britain, where they start new lives and families of their own.
But in recent years, far too many of these young women -- a good number of them from Punjab state -- have been left behind, waiting months, even years, for their husbands to send for them.
Some never do, and these young brides, having given up their virginity and their dowries to a husband who then disappears, are treated as social pariahs. The children of these marriages also get their share of scorn, with many, especially in the smaller villages and rural areas, labelling them the progeny of an illegitimate union.
Their parents are often left near-penniless after selling off their land and liquidating much of their net worth to get cash and jewelry.
The long tradition of dowry in India, in which the bride's family is required to hand over a substantial amount of money and gifts as an offering to the groom -- often worth thousands of dollars, in a country where 47 per cent of the population lives on less than one dollar a day -- was outlawed in India in 1961.
But the under-the-table practice, many observers say, is even more popular today than in earlier times.
The family of Rupinder Kaur Chahal, the pretty 25-year-old who feels her life is over, now has no dowry to offer any other potential mate. Their daughter, living in a kind of marital limbo, has nowhere to turn. After a large wedding only months earlier, she's not supposed to still be here, in the home of her parents. Her continued presence in her village is a social stigma for both bride and her family.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Mental strength, Aussie sports and examples

Sportsmen have to be tough. "Going gets tough and tough gets going". This Billy Ocean song re vibrated in my mind as I read the article "How spirit of Kokoda has put mongrel into Swans" in the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. I always loved being tough and once you became mentally and physically sound, you never tended to disintegrate so easily come what adverse events.
Aussies are again in the front seat in inculcating the behaviour of using various situations to be tough in order to conquer the world.Stevan Waugh went to the war memorial to inspire players. Now comes the news from sydney as towhy footy team swan never looked back after their players were inspired by infamous Kokoda Trail.The man behind this latest inspiration was Sydney co-captain Brett Kirk's grandfather Wally Moras . After having treked over this trail, Kirk was so determined to make its presence felt in their game.
It had made them men.It gave them more determination on the field, the attitude of never give in.Moras inspired the other players reminding them of the trail and it has yielded remarkable results."I think they learnt from it that you always carry on, you never give in" added Moras.
Just judge the impact of this on the behaviour of the players in the words of Kirk to the author of the article , David Sygle."It taught me a lot about mental and physical strength and what the human body's able to endure, to push your way through. But also about what other people have sacrificed for us to be able to live the way we do."
Two conclusions can be made from this simple example:
Being physically and mentally strong can bring immeasurable amount of results
secondly, the inspiration may come from little things that we ignore in our past or what our elders did.
Physical and mental strength are pivotal in our sikh way of life as Gatka and conquering mind are integral parts of our belief.That is why sikhs are trained to be physically and mentally sound.This is the greatest investment a human being can make in his lifetime.
Read the article on the story of Kokoda trail inspiration

Friday, September 22, 2006


Monty Panessar saga continues. English media continues to torment the latest sikh wonder with possible onslaught with racial overtone from the crowd in Australia. It is true that no one escapes the harsh reality of Autralian cockiness and hard nut traits of Aussies. It is the very quality that has made them such a successful bunch in cricket plus many sports. I am bit sceptical about the same toughness in Wallabies, the national rugby union team. One has to be really appreciative of the way Aussies play Cricket,Rugby both union and league and of course my favourite AUSSIE RULES FOOTBALL.
Today, I laid my hands upon a book on Steve Waugh, the most professional sledger of our time. He is my favourite sports icon and I cannot disagree with his position on sledging.Steve does not want to define it as sledging.According to him " It is mental disintegration and a quality cricketer has to have ability not to be mentally disintegrated with all extant factors including verbal on slaughts.He says "It is not only your skill in sports .It is your mental soundness as well. I fully agree with him. If you are rock solid, you 've got to be able to withstand any pressure and consequently it will make you a success.If you are a lamb, how can you play five day tests.It will not be a test.
I happened to watch the Aussie movie "Moon the other night" (if my memory serves me right, the name is correct. ). In the film which took place in 1930's, the landowner having lost her daughter gets down a number of trackers to go in search of Emily, the daughter.Having seen a native Australian among them he openly protests against having a black tracker in his farm.He openly protests against him.This is a kind of sledging is n't it?.But, that man was gracious enough to help the depressed wife of the landowner to trackdown the corpse of Emily with his acquired skills in tracking things in the wild bush. What is conveyed in the film is accomplishment of your mission , not being carried away by advesre things that do occur in your surroundsing.
Asians really are worried by this tendency mostly. Carribeans are not really trubled by this at all. However, Carribeans of Indian ancestry were not immune as suggested by Sarwan-McGrath drama.This should not take racial overtone as this is a common phenomenon in Australia even when Aussies play each other.
When Swans played the West Cost Eagles in footy, O' Loughlin was not scared by voicferous Eagle fans. "I can shout louder than you... "Swan Michael O'Loughlin turned up the volume as he came close to a bunch of Eagles supporters. ( Click the link for the picture at REAL FOOTY
Last week before being landed on the ground by Swans in the first preliminary final, Fremantle Dockers had high hopes to reach the grand footy final.They were well known for aggressive and fast play while tormenting opponents, adding excitement to this wonderful game. Niggling is the word that they used for this kind of game.The tactics swans planned to use was not being fazed by the niggling of Western Australian Dockers.Josh Carr of Dockers, on the other hand, was ready to go ahead with his niggling kind of business in the footy field.Carr said he got a laugh when his opponents were upset by his tactics.The kind of attitude players coming to Australia should strive to cultivate if they are to be succesful in down under is encapsualted in this quotation of swan player BOLTON."[Niggling] is a part of it [the game], it's good fun. I think they [the Carr brothers, Josh and Matthew] enjoy it and it's what gets them to play their best footy and if that's what one player has to do to play well, it doesn't worry us. We just have to keep focused on the game."
As I believe, Monty should not make the crowd behaviour or the sledging a big mess .The best thing is to leave them aside as if he has not heard them at all and get on with his business.As a sikh it won't be a big problem for him.This pacifying approach is the right one as suggested by Kiwi great Sir Richard Hadlee who said the other day that this tip given to him by Ian Chappel made him a successful player in Down under.
Monty -The Man Behind the Mask ( Sydney Morning Herald)

Reports that Monty Panesar is on the verge of cracking up at the prospect of facing "Aussie hate mobs" are wide of the mark, writes Alex Brown.

MONTY Panesar will be savaged by Australian crowds, maybe even racially abused. They'll taunt him and tease him and torture him until there is nothing left but tears and a tattered patka. That is what awaits Monty Panesar, if you believe the myth being perpetuated by the English media.
But there's a problem with all of this. A rather significant one. It's complete hogwash. Makes for good headlines, though.
What is really in store for Monty? Warmth, most likely. And cheers, even if a good portion of those are of the Bronx variety, probably following a fielding effort that Benny Hill could have based an episode around. No harm in that.
Still, this isn't the message getting through to England. This week, The Sun reported that Panesar was seeing a sports psychologist " … to prepare for the Aussie hate mob". Which makes sense. Good naturedness, after all, doesn't make for saucy tabloid reading; not like a tired old stereotype, anyway.
The far more likely, if less sensational, scenario is that Panesar will become the crowd favourite of the summer. And a chat with England's rookie spinner during the week only reinforced this notion, first forged over the English summer, during which he artfully spun his way though the Sri Lankan and Pakistani batting line-ups - and clumsily offered them reprieves in the field.
When Panesar talks, it's with modesty bordering on the apologetic. When he bowls, it's with the flight and aggression that inevitably makes for engrossing contests; the kind of attacking spinner Australians admire. And when he fields and bats, he does so with the earnestness-to-skill ratio that once made Eric Moussambani the toast of the Sydney Olympic pool. In other words, Panesar is a wave to the crowd away from becoming the ultimate cult hero in Australia.
What, then, to make of his traumatic stints on the leather couch, rocking back and forth in the foetal position, with Steve Bull, England's team psychologist?
"He has spoken to us generally about what happens on a tour," Panesar told the Herald. "It hasn't been anything in-depth and has been pretty light-hearted."
But isn't he losing sleep over the prospect of playing before the "Aussie hate mob", most of whom commute from Ramsay Street to cricket stadia on roo-back and leer menacingly from behind cork-dangling swagman's hats? All to the tune of Locomotion?
"In general, I look to take energy from crowds that are passionate about cricket," he continued. "When you're in front of huge crowds, it's obviously a big motivation. I hope that most people in Australian cricket support the game in the right way. No one wants to see things that aren't right in the sport. In India, the crowds were big with a lot of people very passionate about the game. I hope it will be like that."

Hmmm. Not quite the angst-ridden response Fleet Street had you primed for.
For the sensationalists, Panesar is tough work. He's too damn nice, too soft spoken. When asked his thoughts on the recent comments made by Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting, both of whom said they would target England's rookie spinner this summer, Panesar's response is disarming for its complete lack of ego.
"It's just flattering that they've heard of me," he said. "Nothing that they've said will stop me from sticking to my game plan. But they are people who have achieved so much in the game. They are world-class players, more than anything, so for them to know me is great."
Though his endearing modesty may suggest otherwise, the list of those who know Panesar doesn't begin and end with Gilchrist and Ponting. Panesar's on-field success - 27 wickets at 26.85 against a pair of teams renowned for their skill against spin - earned him household-name status last English summer and won over a once-doubting England coach, Duncan Fletcher, who went so far as to label him the best finger spinner in the world. Murali might have something to say about that, though.
But whereas his unique version of left-arm orthodox enthralled English crowds, it was Panesar's unassuming nature and often comical fielding performances that secured him cult status. And by season's end, the 24-year-old had transformed from a fringe figure to one who rivalled Andrew Flintoff for prominence, plastered across the nation's newspapers, magazines and television screens.
Suddenly, the public wanted to know more - everything, anything. About Monty the family man. About Monty the first Sikh to play cricket for England. About Monty the everyday guy who spent much of the previous pre-season working voluntarily on a Canadian farm. Monty Inc.
"It was something I really enjoyed," he said. "At every Test venue, people came in new kinds of fancy dress and wearing patkas. There was a mask of me that people could download off the web, and it was quite amazing to look up into a crowd with that looking back at you. It just goes to show that the profile of cricket is rising in this country."
Of course, with reputation comes expectation. And Panesar, with just 10 Tests to his name, now stands to play a leading role in the most anticipated Ashes series in decades. "I've been lucky in the sense that I am around players who have just won the Ashes," he said. "There is a lot you can learn from their experiences. I was in Australia with the Academy team last year. The ball bounces more than in England.
"I'll look to gain more knowledge from guys like Ashley Giles and others who have toured Australia before and are more aware of the conditions."
And the hate mobs.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


I love globe trotting.But I and my wife have decided whatever the outcome may be Sri Lanka is gonna be our home.

In July, I was travelling the bredth of Australia before coming bck to New Zealand where I am currently following a course in Public Helath Medicine. I was able to be in close contact with some singhalese expatriate community.As a researcher, I was able to note the diffrential behaviour of Sri Lankans when they are in a foreign country and back home.

1. Many of the expats were very cautious in driving in Aus and NZ. They all comply with road rules( Sri Lankan English) to the perfection.Backhome, the same blokes cannot wait a minute just after the green traffic lights start flashing after red.The vehicle in front is warned by the horn of the vehicle. Here they are willing to wait years without noise.

2. Many whom we met do not drive after drinking.Either the son or wife sit behind the wheel after traditional SL parties with liquor.

3. Parking is strictly limited to parking lots. Even for a moment, they do not forget to " PAY AND PARK" sign to make the payments.Backhome, the same guys park wherever they prefer.Forget about the parking fee.

4.They never drop you off at the place you want to get off.Your are asked to wait till they find the right place.

5. Some refered to SL as NARAKADIYA and openly questioned as if we were mad to go back to the country.

This reminded me an e mail sent to me regarding why we remain poor.

It says that the difference is the attitude of the people, framed along the years by the education & the culture in their countries but they change attitude as soon as they migrate.the same lazy blokes who were hell bent on rights and privileges not the responsibilities become responsible citizens contributing to the productivity of the new country.

Sociologist say these are the qualities they lacked in mother country and follow in adopted country

1. Ethics, as a basic principle.2. Integrity.3. Responsibility.4. Respect to the laws & rules. 5. Respect to the rights of other citizens. 6. Work loving.7. Strive for saving & investment.8. Will of super action.9. Punctuality

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Harbhajan was in fine form with bat and the ball in Malaysia.

Dravid on Bhajji
Dravid was also full of praise for Harbhajan, whose superb spell with the ball was preceded by a gritty 37 with the bat. "One of the positives to come out was the way Harbhajan batted," he said. "We give our lower order a lot of batting, and that was stressed during the camps in Bangalore. It's nice to see that some of that has paid off, at least in terms of Harbhajan, if not anyone else. When you're playing with just six frontline batsmen, you're taking a bit of a gamble and if people like Ajit and Harbhajan can contribute, which they're capable of, it makes a big difference."

Prince Lara on Bhajji

"He tries to get wickets and is always a good attacking bowler in one-day cricket"
Monty gets ready to torment Aussies. He is reported to have sought support from a sport psychologist.

Monty feels the heat by Robert Craddock in Courier mail

CROWD villain Sir Richard Hadlee has passed on life-changing tips from Greg Chappell to England's Monty Panesar as he prepares to enter a lion's den called the Australian summer.Panesar, a gifted left-arm spinner but poor batsman and shambolic fieldsman, is seeing a psychologist in a bid to handle the crowd taunts sure to flow his way by the truckload in his debut Australian Test match summer.
New Zealand's champion paceman Hadlee believes Panesar is right to seek specialist help but feels the timeless advice Chappell gave to him in the mid-1980s is as good as any for a cricketer under siege.
"Greg took me aside and said I was over-reacting to the crowds and if you antagonise them or show them they are getting to you it will only get worse," Hadlee said from New Zealand yesterday.
"In the early days as a young puppy I overreacted.
"Greg said forget about the distractions and do your talking with the ball – and at the end of the day there there more Test wickets for me against Australia than any other nation. I think it worked out pretty well.
"He said the only thing I had to remember was that if they had a go at you they rated you and at the end of the day it was a compliment.
"Basically he said 'just settle down'. Those comments became a tower of strength to me."
Hadlee initially was unnerved by the abuse – particularly the infamous "Hadlee's a wanker" chant – and tried to tackle the problem head-on in his News Limited column by questioning the way Australian parents were raising children capable of hurling such abuse.
It was not until Chappell firmly advised him to do his talking with the ball and show no sign of weakness that he found he could cope.
He admits it wasn't easy.
"It's a question of how you deal with it," he said. "It is easy to say ignore it – and that's the right advice – but it is difficult to do when it's in your face.
"I can understand why Panesar would seek a psychologist. I would have used one if they had been travelling with the team when I was around.
"It was a very difficult time for me around 1980-81 but after that it was payback.",23739,20446638-5003413,00.html
Web Ranjan's sikh and cricket blog