Thursday, April 12, 2007

Indian Sikh pilgrims ask Pak. to relax visa regime

Sikh pilgrims from India, who are on a visit to Pakistan to mark the festival of Baisakhi, have asked the Pakistan Government to ease visa restrictions. The Pakistan Government should relax its visa policies so that more visitors from India could visit without hindrance, the Daily Times quoted them as saying on arrival।

The pilgrims said the followers of Baba Guru Nanak felt that it was the right time to forget past differences and promote peace, friendship and harmony between the two peoples.

"We have to promote love, peace and humanity in the region and this is only possible if Sikhs and Pakistanis commit themselves to live in peace। The fact that Pakistanis take care of our holy places is like loving us. We love Pakistanis and love Pakistan," Gurdeep Sing from Amritsar said.

Another pilgrim Ramesh Chander Sachdev said, "I am visiting Pakistan for the first time. I was born in Faisalabad 63 years ago and my family left our home when I was three years old. I have wanted to visit my home, but I do not have a visa for Faisalabad district. I appeal to the Pakistani Government to relax visa policies so that people like me can visit their birth places."

Sikh News :

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

NRI Dr Kartar Singh Lalvani offers to pay for restoration in Golden Temple

A non-resident Indian entrepreneur on Wednesday offered to pay for the "restoration" of the 300-year-old door at the Golden Temple and opposed any move to replace it.
"The door, known as Darshani Deori at the main entrance to the sanctum sanctorum, has a historic significance and I am prepared to pay for its conservation and restoration," Dr Kartar Singh Lalvani said.
73-year-old Lalvani, founder chairman of Vitabiotics, Britain's first specialist vitamin supplement company, who is also interested in the preservation of artefacts, said the door was originally part of the historic Somnath Temple in Gujarat before it was plundered by raiders from Afghanistan.
Lalvani, winner of the Asian of the Year award last year, said it was Maharaja Ranjit Singh who secured the door from the then ruler of Afghanistan Shah Zaman as part of a treaty after he defeated the marauders from Kabul. The door first offered to Somnath Temple but it was turned down.
A report quoted to SGPC executive member Kiranjot Kaur said the committee had recently decided to replace the door because its condition has deteriorated over the years.
The work was to be entrusted to the Birmingham-based Sikh missionary organization Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewa Jatha and plans had already been drawn up to import special timber from Africa.
Sikh Heritage and Gurudwara News :

Monday, April 09, 2007

Vanishing Sikh turbans finally get attention

In this new age of mass communication assaults and cultural penetrations, the Sikhs' turban, a distinguishing mark of the community is under constant threat, and many a Sikh youth are giving up this symbol of faith that has been responsible for centuries for the unique look of the community. Largely worn by the males, (though some womenfolk also do), the turban has been and is being discarded by many a Sikh youth who are getting their hair shorn.
Young Sikhs are abandoning the traditional headwear, wearying of the elaborate ceremony of maintaining long hair and knotting it under six yards of starched cotton.
Politically incorrect jokes, misplaced priorities and massive Bollywood onslaught have all contributed to the Sikhs taking a path which makes them 'patit' (apostate), but recently a number of efforts have been undertaken to pull back from the brink.
The SGPC has recognised the problem for many years now but has doen precious little to arrest the patit phenomena। "Across Punjab a large number of Sikh youth have cut their hair and, sadly, the turban-tying ceremony for teenage boys has also become rare, even in villages" lamented Avtar Singh Makkar, the SGPC chief. The jathedars of all Sikh takhts, the supreme seats of temporal power, have stressed the issue repeatedly but little emerged except verbiage over the time.
Now, a Punjabi singer Pammi Bai has sang songs in favour of turban, and featured many a known men from the world of arts and cinema. The SGPC, has declared the April 13 harvest festival of Baisakhi as International Sikh Turban Day. Two turban-tying schools have been founded in the holy city of Amritsar, and a competition to select "Mr Singh International", is expected to attract widespread participation.
Every region in Punjab has its own distinct style of tying a turban, with each claiming theirs to be the best, and Mr Singh contestants are to be judged on how stylishly their headgear is tied.

The present reigning champion, Navjot Singh Sidhu, an MP and former Test cricketer, recently held a procession in Amritsar to instill a sense of pride among Sikh youth. Meanwhile, concern over acts of violence in the West against Sikhs, mistaken for members of the Taliban, who also sport turbans, has also prompted overseas campaigns to "dignify" the headgear.
Sikhism and Sikh Culture :