Thursday, 19 June 2008

Yuva...use it wisely...BE the change

I don't know how to express myself sometimes. Some people do my head in. Since the moment I woke up I was just in a 'Don't bother chattin to me, I'll bite your head off' kinda mood. Don't ask why, I just was.

Later into the day I realised that Guru Ji has been challenging me. Everything I believe in as been challenged by many different individuals at different times today.

Earlier on it was about Guru Gobind Singh Ji's stance on muslims.

As far as I am concerned from reading Zafarnama addressed to Aurangzeb. He couldn't forgive the emperor or his followers but he never aimed his letter to ALL muslims. Therefore Sikhs and muslims are as much brothers as SIkhs and any other human being. Deal with it.

Later my stance on Khalistan was challenged by a close sister of mine who felt hurt that I consider myself Indian; as her father played a key part in the freedom movement and was tortured amongst his relatives.

I am Indian because I love India. I love all the different states, the different histories, the different people, cultures, religions, languages, dress codes, foods, weathers and what not. I love it.

However, I HATE the corrupt Government, corrupt officials, the SGPC (for doing nothing worthwhile for the Panth), drug dealers, drinkers, certain Bollywood rep's, corrupt coppers (common knowledge, MOST are corrupt, RSS, BJP, Congress etc.

But I don't hate India. I have firm belief that if every Gursikh who hated how India was run, got up and stood against the State (cleverly) i.e. join government, politics, law and order; police, teach...whatever, we'd change India for the better. We'd have Khalistan but it'd just be called India.

But when you say this to a khalistani, they lose interest...

'it's not our fight', they say,

'we need to use violence to achieve peace', they say,

'you arent a sikh if you dont want Khalistan', they say,

'you dont care about all the Shaheeds and their beliefs', they say,

'Khalistan is our birthright,' they say,

'you're an AGENT,' they say....

All I can say is Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji died for the sake of freedom...for basic human rights which we happily live under in the West. If you can't follow his example and do something to help in India then you're a waste.

If we are the true sikhs we say we are, we should not be corruptable.


Mai said...

Shanu Ji,

You must hold true to what you believe, anything else would be unSikh. Dig deep, deep, deep within and find that reserve well of chardi kala hidden down beneath all the garbage. Don't worry about using it up, either; it's infinite!

I have long asked how the SGPC could sit on all their riches which my sisters and their children - and some brothers, too - suffer to this day in Delhi. I am sure the Nanaks would collectively look on this and weep.

Be strong! Be brave! Have courage. Don't give in and don't give up! (All my friends have heard these words from me many, many times.)

So, knowing that we disagree, why do I encourage you? We are sisters, not enemies; we just hold differing opinions on a very important issue. I would ask only that you keep an open mind to hear facts and arguements you may not have heard before. I myself, as you have learned, listen to those who oppose my stands, I hope with courtesy and respect.

I do take issue with the next to last statement in this post. I am not an Indian, although my Daddy was a Punjabi. I was born and raised in Canada, although we did spend summers in India. And I am not a waste. Just a Canadian who still hopes to meet and give you a big hug in Amritsar some day.

I try to be incorruptible, with Guru's help.

sumanpreet kaur said...

lol bhenji i dont actually believe in having khalistan as in an individual country-just a place we are treated fairly and where justice is done

Anonymous said...

In Bombay, Public Indignity Is Poverty's Partner
New York Times, 10 February 2002

BOMBAY, Feb. 9 - To be poor and female on the streets of India's largest city is to exact a punishing daily self-discipline: to relieve yourself only before sunrise and after sunset.

For Selvi, a mother of four who lives in a shantytown on the banks of the railroad tracks here, that means rising at 4 a.m., the only time water flows bountifully through a jury- rigged pipe. She fills her small plastic bucket and wanders in search of a private spot on the tracks where she can hoist her sari and squat in peace.

The rest of the day she is out of luck. She has no bathroom at home. The nearest public toilet is in the slum next door, and to go there, which she does only in emergencies, is to risk being accosted as an interloper. Along the tracks that serve as her community's front yard, garbage dump and lavatory, the Central Line trains roar by all day long, daily commuters dangling from its crowded cars.

"We are women; how can we go in broad daylight?" asked Selvi, who uses just one name, as she sat in the two-foot-wide corridor in front of her house, combing her daughter's hair. "In the nighttime no one can see us. In the daytime, trains are going by."

For Bombay, the capital of India's financial services sector and the enduring symbol of the country's ambition and pluck, supporting the basic human needs of its citizens is a challenge of mammoth proportions.

According to the 2001 census, 11.9 million people live within the city limits, which include a finger-shaped island built on reclaimed marshland. Nearly five million more live in the suburbs that have spread to the north and east, in what makes up the Bombay metropolitan region. By 2015, this is projected to be what demographers inelegantly but accurately call the largest "urban agglomeration" in the world, with about 28 million people.

Bombay's trains ferry seven million commuters a day, several times their capacity. Fatal accidents are so frequent that there are insurance policies for daily commuters. The blare of horns from scooters, cars and buses form a wall of sound interrupted only occasionally by crows. The sidewalks, where they are not chewed up by roadwork, are thick with vendors doing brisk business in everything from pulp fiction to feather dusters to figs.

According to a widely cited 1995 estimate from the government, an astonishing 58 percent of Bombay's population - more than 6.7 million men, women and children - live in slums.

In the dearth of toilet facilities for these slum dwellers lies the most revolting and most unhealthy sign of Bombay's housing crisis - and the most vivid indignity of being poor here. People relieve themselves wherever they can - in open fields, on the seaside during low tide and along railroad tracks and gutters. It is virtually impossible for the rest of the city to ignore it.

In Selvi's community, it is common to hear of someone who was run over by a speeding train while trying to sprint across the tracks with a water bucket in hand. Even in Dharavi, believed to be among the world's largest sums and this city's most established settlement, there is one public toilet seat for every 800 people. Theoretically, that means waiting in line for a week to use the facilities.

"If you really look at it, that's the most, most important infrastructural need - the toilet," said Jockin Arputham, Bombay's best-known advocate for the poor and the president of the National Slum Dwellers Federation.

A municipal experiment is under way to address that need. About 400 public toilet complexes are under construction in slums across the city, financed by the World Bank and the city and carried out by nongovernmental organizations led by Mr. Arputham's. Each complex will have 40 toilets, and they will be equipped with water storage tanks, a luxury that most municipal toilets currently do not have, making it impossible to maintain even a semblance of cleanliness.

The users of each toilet block are to pay a monthly fee for its upkeep. Identity cards are to be issued to those who pay: 100 rupees, or $2.50, per adult toward construction costs, plus another 10 rupees a month for maintenance.

"If it works," said V. N. Pathak, chief planner for the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority, a government agency, "it will make a big difference in public hygiene."

Bombay's crumbling infrastructure has not left better-off residents untouched, either.

Frustrated with the inability of city officials to satisfy their quality- of-life needs, an increasingly vocal band of middle-class residents has taken matters into its own hands. A movement against noise pollution has led to an unprecedented ordinance, a 10 p.m. curfew on amplified sound - a concept once unthinkable in a city known for its late-night, sometimes all-night, weddings, concerts and religious celebrations. Private security guards have been hired to patrol the streets of some prosperous neighborhoods. Street vendors have been cleared in a handful of areas.

"The rich and elite have realized that in sheer numbers, the urban poor outnumber them," said Kalpana Sharma, an urban affairs journalist at the newspaper The Hindu.

"It's not possible to travel from one part of the city to another without coming face to face with urban poverty," said Ms. Sharma, who has written a book about the Dharavi slum. "It's actually led to a hardening of attitudes and intolerance and a delusion, where you refuse to accept that the poor are as much a part of the city as the rich. You can't block it out visually, so you block it out mentally."

Bombay's slums are on the banks of the sea, in national parkland, around old salt pans. They include dwellings made of blue tarp and gunny sacks and two-story concrete and brick homes, furnished with cable television and altars draped with blinking lights. The "pukka" houses, as the latter are called, are bought, sold and rented in the underground economy. Some of the shanties are brand new. Some are more than 100 years old. Some have been blessed with a water connection or electricity by a local politician trawling for votes at election time.

Many of the slums hum with commerce. Inside their clogged, twisting streets, leather jackets are sewn. "Papads," the spicy wafers that are commonly found on the tables of Manhattan's Indian restaurants, are rolled and sun-dried in the courtyards.

The slums here are home to doctors and social workers, as well as the multitudes of maids, gardeners and other laborers that sustain Bombay. More than 80 percent of Bombay's slum dwellers are literate, according to a recent government- sponsored study.

What the slums do not have are the basics of human hygiene. At the Bharat Nagar colony, where Selvi's family lives, the older residents talk wistfully about a time when it was not such a bad place. Most had come from villages down south and had built huts near the factories where they found work amid the woods that once lined the railroad tracks. The trees, as in their villages, offered privacy. A small boulder created a natural divide between the men's and women's toilets.

In the last 40 years, though, the colony's population has exploded, with migrants from near and far. The one-room shacks are packed tightly against one another with narrow passages for roads and the roar and whistle of trains all day long. The tracks out front, the road above, is all there is now. If the children have to go, the mothers have to chase after them.

It is not exactly what Selvi, as a teenager in a village in Tamil Nadu, had in mind when she was married off to a man in the big city. But that was 17 years ago. There is no going back now.

"We came to Bombay," Selvi said with a shrug and offered a jutting chin toward the railroad lines out front. "We have to go there, on the tracks."

Shanu Kaur said...

I don't mean to discourage anybody in regards to what they believe.

You are all my brothers and sisters and often a lot more wiser than me.

If you wish for a Khalistan, I have no qualms, only when my own freedom of speech and what not are at risk because I don't necessarily agree with some of you on different things and get hassled. I don't wish to have Khalistan forced upon me nor do I wish to be brain washed (believe it or not some have tried to do so!)

Mai Ji your words are so encouraging and really illustrate your wealth of wisdom, intelligence and compassion. Guru Ji has definately done some Kirpa on you!

Please try and forgive me for that last statement or so. Sometimes I forget this is a public site and get carried away in my Krodh which I must learn to master.

Sumanpreet Kaur pehnji, you really are a great inspiration and sister to me. I really do look up to you. You were the first of any of my 'real' sangat. I can't ever thank you enough for just that! Please don't get offended by my views and what not. Cos I definately don't wish to do that :)

Thanks for reading guys, really gives me a boost once in a while that this thing's actually being read! haha

Anonymous Ji, thanks for the article, really makes me feel sad and strengthens my resolve. Waheguru give me the strength to not just talk about helping these people but actually doing so.