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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

"Golf Digest" Magazine made Guru Arjan Dev Ji into a Golfing Guru.

Recently the good ol' family was in town for my Cousin's wedding, which were good times had by all. I always enjoy times like this as it allows for all my uncles/aunts and cousins to get together and just forget about our worries. I especially enjoy watching my Parents interact with their brothers and sisters, as they too in ways become like children again enjoying each others company.

However, I was presented one worry during this time that I was totally not expecting. And this worry came from the weirdest place of all… the May 2008 Golf Digest magazine.

My Masi Ji's son, Harjit Singh Sandhar, presented a thought to me after he landed in the DC area from his air trip from Tulsa. While killing time on the plane ride, he decided to open up the latest addition of Golf Digest as he is an avid golfer. While flipping through the pages, he started to read one article called the "Golf Guru." This article allows for readers, like Harjit, to write and pose their various golfing questions. Then the authors then answer the various questions as if they are the gurus to the game of golf, hence the whole "Golf Guru" article a play on
words.

However at the conclusion of the "Golf Guru" article on page 66, Harjit noticed something strangely familiar but couldn’t figure out what. As seen in the scanned image below of page 66, the pictorial image of what is suppose to represent the "Golfing Guru" seemed strangely familiar:

Page 66 of the May 2008 Golf Digest magazine.
Page 66 of the May 2008 Golf Digest magazine, at the conclusion of the “Golf Guru” article.

A closer look…
A closer look…

Harjit and I kept thinking that this image was familiar from somewhere. If you took away the golf club and the golf glove it appeared to represent a Sikh Guru, but we could not pinpoint which one. Harjit kept thinking the image was of Guru Ram Das Ji, but I wasn’t convinced.

So after some thought, I started to think as if I was part of the graphics art team of Golf Digest. Here’s an article on the “Golf Guru,” and they want me to make an image for it? Hmmm… maybe Google images can help out?

With that thought in my mind, I went to Google images and did a search on “guru.” After doing a search, take a look at the far right most image. It appears to be a “guru” like character, as seen in the image below:

Something looks fishy…
“Hmmm, that looks like a guru to me,” thought the graphics arts department at Golf Digest.

However when you click on the image, it becomes very clear where Golf Digest got their inspiration for the “Golfing Guru.” It is none other than the Sikh’s Fifth Religious Prophet, Guru Arjan Dev Ji:

Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the Fifth Guru of the Sikh Religion.
Guru Arjan Dev Ji, who is not a “Golfing Guru.”

And for fun, let’s just do a side by side comparison:

Desecration of Guru Arjan Dev Ji.
Sorry Golf Digest, you are guilty.

So clearly Golf Digest didn’t do their homework when selecting an image of a “guru” for their article. They went with their stereotypical gut of what appears to be a “guru” like figure without doing any homework to who Guru Arjan Dev Ji is.

If they had done their homework, they would have realized that Guru Arjan Dev Ji is a major figure for the Sikh religion. They would have realized how he stood for civil and human rights for all people regardless of faith, creed, or gender. They would have realized that Guru Arjan Dev Ji was the principle architect for both the city of Amritsar and Harimandar Sahib, which is popularly known as the Golden Temple. Furthermore they would have realized how he was the Sikh Guru who created the first compilation of Sikh scriptures known as the Adi Granth, which laid the foundation for its current compilation known as the Guru Granth Sahib (the 11th and immortal Guru for the Sikh faith) and consists of almost half of his teaching. Furthermore if they did their homework, they would have realized that Guru Arjan Dev Ji compiled a special prayer known as Sukhmani Sahib which calls for universal world peace.

And finally if Golf Digest did their homework, they would have realized that Guru Arjan Dev Ji was martyred for his beliefs that worked to benefit all of society, whether it was a Sikh or Non-Sikh.

But they didn’t do their homework. So what do we get? A doctored image of Guru Arjan Dev Ji as a “Golfing Guru.”

Totally pathetic and sad.

Unlike followers of Islam, Sikhs have allowed for artistic works to represent their Gurus and major historical events. It allows for their adherents to remember the message of Sikhism through artistic portrayals. But unlike some other religions who may verbally scold individuals for doctoring their faith (like Kanye did to Jesus on Rolling Stone), Sikhism has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to desicration of their religious figures. Anyone remember that idiot Gurmeet Ram Rahim?

Sorry Editor in Chief Jerry Tarde of Golf Digest, looks like you got a whole lot of hurt coming your way.

Oh yeah, you can email Jerry here.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Obama the Turbanator, say it ain't so!!!

So in today’s US Political News today, The Drudge Report posted a picture on their website of Senator Barrack Obama in 2006 wearing a cultural headdress and clothing representing the people of Wajir on a visit to Kenya. Both the Obama and Clinton camps are going back and forth with the “he said/she said game,” with ultimately a sense of dirty politics being played.

What’s worse is that image is causing people to “question” Barrack as to why he donned this attire:

Is this a sign of loyalty to Kenya?
Is Barrack a Muslim?
Is he anti-American?
Is he already loosing the War on Terror by dressing like the “enemy?”
Hmmmm turbans scare me, so should I be afraid of Barrack Obama?

… and bingo Houston. We have identified the problem. Mr. Obama is seen wearing something that looks like a turban and everyone goes nuts. It’s sad to see that it just takes a man in a turban to cause fear in people as if the individual is crazy, a monster, or a terrorist.

So Mr. Obama, welcome to the club. Now you too know how it feels to be looked at differently in the modern world, and it is not because of your skin color but for what you have on your head.

It really does surprise me how shallow people can be to make a news item of something that is not… and that goes for the media and those who are eating this story up thinking that Senator Obama is suddenly different because he has a turban (gasp!) on his head.

Sometimes I feel people just need to realize that the world is diverse and due to the post 9/11 world, it has forced to recognize this diversity if we like it or not.

It just proves to me that those who wear head coverings, whether it is for religious purposes (like Sikhs) or not, there is a distinct need to continue to educate people that we are not weirdos or crazy people.

The freakin’ world is diverse and there is more to it than you think. So get over it and don’t let xenophobia take you back to 1952.

Hell, the world should look at Canada. They got a whole lot of Politicians who wear turbans, and their Sikhs too (Navdeep Bains, anyone?)!

Sorry for the rambling, but I really was pissed when I saw this news break. I’m not necessarily a Barack or Hillary supporter yet, but I do think either candidate would be a good Candidate for the Democratic ticket so it’s a win/win.

However my Father-in-Law likes to remind me that Mr. Obama did write that Senator of Punjab slanderous paper (link1, link2).

Hopefully his thoughts will truly change and can sympathize how it feels to wear a turban in today’s world.

Maybe I should just walk down the streets going “boooooooooo” like a ghost. I bet some people will shriek and run.

Hmmm, maybe a new video project idea coming….

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Open Letter to Minister Conor Lenihan

Minister Conor Lenihan T.D.
Leinster House, Dublin 2
Phone: 459 6285
Fax: 451 2002
conor.lenihan@oireachtas.ie

August 16th, 2007

Sartaj Singh Dhami
Washington, DC

Minister Lenihan:

Thanks to the power of the Internet, recently I read in the news how a Sikh male in your country (link 1, link 2) of Ireland wished to volunteer as a reserve in your police force of Garda Siochana. Unfortunately, this Sikh was not allowed to due to his distinctive identity of wearing a turban which is mandate of the religion Sikhism.

Furthermore, news reports have stated your comment about social integration that “If we are to take integration seriously, people who come here must understand our way of doing things.” You went on to add that “When the president and ministers travel to the Middle East, they accept cultural requirements of the country and the culture they are operating in. It is a vice versa situation with regard to Ireland.”

I wanted to share with you some thoughts as you potentially work towards resolving this matter positively:

1. The literal translation of Garda Siochana, as I understand it, means the Guardians of the Peace of Ireland. As you learn more about the Sikh history and culture, which I’m sure you’ve had some experience as you were a reporter in London for some time, one of its core essence is to promote peace and social harmony throughout society. As both Canada and the UK have learned, having Sikhs in the police force can be an asset (whether it be cultural understandings or language translations) especially when targeting areas that have a high population concentration of Indian/Pakistani descent.

2. On your comments of Middle East cultures, you should understand that Sikhs are not from that area of the world. Although some still continue to confuse this, Sikhs originate from Punjab which is now a portion of land split between Pakistan and India. Many Sikhs migrated to East Punjab and now call India their home. So it is a bit unfair to impose the cultural influences of the Middle East to Sikhs who are not from that area. If anything, you’ll come to learn that a strong Punjabi cultural trait is to welcome and love guests as if they family members. Another trait of Punjabis, and strongly embraced by Sikhs, is to promote good will wherever they go. This trait has benefited many countries as Sikhs have formed their own Diaspora around the World.

3. Indeed the Sikh population of Ireland has made great strides to understand Ireland’s way of life as well as accept the cultural requirements of your Country. In particular, Sikhs have participated in various high profile parades in Ireland demonstrating their love for your Country as well as their cultural pride. Under the banner of the Irish Sikh Council, Sikhs have participated in both the Saint Patrick’s Festival Ireland and the Festival of World Cultures. In both of these events, Ireland is promoting its duty towards integration by highlighting its unique diversity. You can see photos of the Irish Sikh Council’s participation at the following web link:

http://news.restoringthepride.com/2007/03/sikhs-in-ireland-cool.html

4. Final thought: I’d argue that a central theme that Ireland has shared with the world is to promote good will and harmony for all. One of Ireland’s greatest Sons is Paul David Hewson, better known as U2’s singer Bono, who shares this theme with the world with his various humanitarian and social goodness based efforts.

Personally I feel that as we start to learn about various world cultures, democratic establishments need to work towards integration efforts versus easily accepting ideals of assimilation. Unfortunately as experienced by this sole Sikh who wanted to participate in Ireland’s civil service by volunteering, the incorrect principles of segregation cannot be tolerated in this new modern era.

As Integration Minister, I encourage you to find a proactive solution that will make the Sikh Diaspora feel even more welcomed in Ireland.

Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts. Although I am not a citizen of Ireland, I felt inclined to share my thoughts thanks to the digital email revolution that we live in.

Very Respectfully,

Sartaj Singh Dhami
Washington, DC

Sikhs in Ireland
Sikhs love Ireland. Why not love them back?

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Chris Benoit. 1967-2007

Chris Benoit

Well what is turning out to be potentially bizarre and sad story, one of the best technical wrestlers of current time passed away.

Chris Benoit was found dead in his home, along with his wife and young child.

Who knows about his personal life, but as a wrestler Benoit was a true beast. He was one of the toughest wrestlers out there whose career spanned across ECW, WCW, and WWF.

This dude was so tough, he is probably one of the few guys who could really beat the crap out of any wrestler if they really went toe to toe. Trained in Stu Hart's Dungeon, Chris "The Crippler" Benoit was a pleasure to watch in wrestling. Benoit is known for doing several german suplexes in a row on his opponent, which would be sure to drive anyone senseless.

I actually fear one of his finishing moves, the Crippler Crossface.

Too bad that the news of his death, and his family, have all the makings of being a sad one.

May Waheguru bless you Chris Benoit. I'll sure miss watching you wrestle.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

23 years later, the wounds are not healed.

Some wounds though may never heal, especially this one.

In remembrance of 23rd anniversary of the sacrilege, destruction, and desecration of Harimandar Sahib complex.

The attack of the Akaal Takhat
Artistic painting of the destruction of the Akaal Takhat in June 1984.
My Dad snapped this picture when he visited Toronto two years ago.


For those of you, who don't know what happened 23 years ago, check out the following video below. It's a documentary called Storming the Temple as it was aired on The History Channel some years ago.


Storming The Temple


If you want, you can download the video here.

I was six years old when 1984 happened, and that is the day I woke up and realized who I am.

What about you?

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

They messed up Megatron!

OK... Time Out. Flag on the field. Red Card.

I think I’m pissed.

I think they messed up Megatron in the upcoming live-action Transformer’s film.

I mean, they royally screwed up.

While reading up on the new movie coming out this July, I came across some interesting revelations:

1. Reporting indicates that Megatron will not transform into a gun, but rather a stealth alien ship.
2. They are bringing back the guy who did Optimus Prime’s voice, but not the dude who did Megatron’s voice.
3. The design of Megatron doesn’t even look like him.

So they went from the classic bad-ass Megatron of this...

Megatron in all his glory
The really cool design of Megatron

... to this new design.

Megatron???
The alleged live action version of Megatron in the upcoming live action movie.
Megatron, is that you?

AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

IT’S NOT EVEN MEGATRON!

Come on man, how are you going to screw up with something that is already established and respected. I mean, you can’t start calling a banana an orange, you can’t start calling your car a train, and you can’t start dressing up and acting like Guru Gobind Singh like that idiot Gurmeet Ram Rahim did!

Man... I think I’m pissed.

For real.

I really hope the images leaked are not the real Megatron and just an early preliminary design. For those of you who do not know who Megatron is, he’s the ultimate bad boy in the Transformers universe. He was the leader of the Decepticons, and he was ruthless.

I’d put Megatron up there with other great villains like Cobra Commander, Mumm-Ra, M. Bison, The Rock, and even Karl Rove.

Worst of all Megatron is suppose to transform TO A GUN, NOT A PLANE! After all, that's why you have Starscream and crew.

Please Transformers live action team, prove me wrong.

So for those of you who never experienced the wrath of Megatron, here are some quick videos to bring you up to speed.


We shall rise again!



Megatron spares no one. Not even the legend Ironhide!



Awesome sequence from the Animated movie. Decepticons, attack!



The Megatron we all love.


I’d take Megatron any day over the upgraded Galvatron version.

OK, that’s it. Back to whatever it is I do.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Memorial Day

So here in the United States, every last Monday in the month of May is observed as Memorial Day. I’ve been meaning to post these pictures for some time, and I can’t think of a better day to do it than today.

Sgt. Uday Singh was a member of the United States Army, who unfortunately perished while serving in Iraq in December 2003. I take a trip on his birth and death anniversary every year, per request of his parents, and place flowers on his memorial grave marker at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC).

The United States wished to honor Sgt. Singh since he was the first person of Indian decent to die serving this Nation. He was cremated in Punjab and a ceremonial grave marker was placed at ANC. Since he was a follower of the Sikh faith, a Khanda was etched on his marker. This year my main man, and cousin, Bhavan rolled with me to pay respects.

Sgt. Uday Singh
Sgt. Uday Singh
United States Army
Combat casualty of Operation Iraqi Freedom
1982-2003

Bhavan Singh Gill
My main homey, Bhavan, paying respects to Sgt. Singh and all others at ANC.

While placing flowers, Bhavan and I spent some time looking at the new grave markers placed in front of Sgt. Singh. We came across Sgt. Alessandro Carbonaro of the United States Marine Corps, who was native to the Washington DC area.

Sgt. Alessandro Carbonaro
Sgt. Alessandro Carbonaro
United States Marine Corps.
Combat casualty of Operation Iraqi Freedom
1978-2006

As seen in the picture below, his Mother left a touching message for her fallen Son.

Letter from Mom
A Mother's love towards her Heroic Son.

May Waheguru bless Sgt. Singh, Sgt. Carbonaro, and all those who seek your guidance.

Whenever you are visiting in Washington, take some time to see Sgt. Singh’s marker at ANC. Just go to the visitor center and state that you wish to visit his marker. They’ll take care of you from there.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Waheguru, bless those who need you at Virginia Tech

As a graduate from Virginia Tech (BS E.E. '02), it just breaks my heart to know of the massacre that happened at campus today. It truly hurts to see the Campus where I stayed at under siege as seen in the images below:

An unidentified person is carried out of Norris Hall at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. on Monday, April 16, 2007, after a shooting incident. A gunman opened fire in a dorm and classroom on the campus, killing at least 30 people in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history. The gunman is killed but it's unclear if he was shot by police or took his own life. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Alan Kim)
An unidentified person is carried out of Norris Hall at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. on Monday, April 16, 2007, after a shooting incident. A gunman opened fire in a dorm and classroom on the campus, killing at least 30 people in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history. The gunman is killed but it's unclear if he was shot by police or took his own life. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Alan Kim)

In this photo provided by the Collegiate Times, Sheriff's officers patrol near Burruss Hall on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., after multiple shootings, Monday, April 16, 2007. At least 30 people have been reported killed. (AP Photo/Collegiate Times, Teodora Erbes)
In this photo provided by the Collegiate Times, Sheriff's officers patrol near Burruss Hall on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., after multiple shootings, Monday, April 16, 2007. At least 30 people have been reported killed. (AP Photo/Collegiate Times, Teodora Erbes)

Blacksburg police officers run from Norris Hall on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., Monday, April 16, 2007. Multiple shootings occurred at the engineering building on Monday. A gunman opened fire in a Virginia Tech dorm and then, two hours later, in a classroom across campus Monday, killing at least 30 people. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Matt Gentry)
Blacksburg police officers run from Norris Hall on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., Monday, April 16, 2007. Multiple shootings occurred at the engineering building on Monday. A gunman opened fire in a Virginia Tech dorm and then, two hours later, in a classroom across campus Monday, killing at least 30 people. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Matt Gentry)

Students walk on campus after being released from their classes on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., Monday, April 16, 2007. Burris Hall is shown in the background. A gunman opened fire in a Virginia Tech dorm and then, two hours later, in a classroom across campus Monday, killing at least 30 people. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Eric Brady)
Students walk on campus after being released from their classes on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., Monday, April 16, 2007. Burris Hall is shown in the background. A gunman opened fire in a Virginia Tech dorm and then, two hours later, in a classroom across campus Monday, killing at least 30 people. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Eric Brady)

An injured occupant is carried out of Norris Hall at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., Monday, April 16, 2007. A gunman opened fire in a dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech on Monday, killing 21 people before he was killed, police said. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Alan Kim)
An injured occupant is carried out of Norris Hall at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., Monday, April 16, 2007. A gunman opened fire in a dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech on Monday, killing 21 people before he was killed, police said. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Alan Kim)


It's just sad to see a place where I had so much joy suffer on the World's stage.

Waheguru, bless those who seek your guidance in their time of need.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Help, Pleeaaaassseeeeee!!!

Calling out a S.O.S. to everyone out there in Internet land.

On March 29th, the New York Times ran an article of Sikh identity issues being faced in Punjab (what else is new). If you haven't read this depressing artcile, check it out on Gurudwara Tapoban Sahib's forum.

I wanted to go back and download a series of pictures that were displayed on the New York Times website in regards to this article, but they have been archived and are no longer available online. See the image below for Exhibit A:


Stupid!

If anyone has downloaded these images, hit me up as I'd like to have a copy for a project that I'm working on.

Later buddies!

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Unfortunate reality

News Source: Times Online
Publication Date: 03/03/07

Muslims accused of blackmail to make student girls convert

Nicola Woolcock

Radical Muslims are being accused of blackmailing young Hindu and Sikh women into changing religion in "groomed conversions" on campuses.

The men aggressively target vulnerable university students by using the fear of being dishonoured to force them to convert, community leaders have told The Times. Many befriend their victims, then threaten to tell their families that they are in a sexual relationship with a Muslim. Some teenagers are said to have been drugged and photographed in compromising positions.

Many comply because they are so afraid of shaming their parents or being rejected by their communities.

Police are aware of the problem. Sir Ian Blair, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, recently attended a Hindu conference where the issue was raised. But police are powerless to act unless incidents are reported. This rarely happens because the stigma of a child converting to Islam often silences Sikh and Hindu parents.

Community elders say that the practice is widespread but their estimates vary from 100 annual incidents nationwide to 120 in the past few months in the South East alone.

Ranjeet Singh, of the British Organisation of Sikh Students, said: "There are cases of aggressive techniques, of drugging and of rape, of the man taking photos and blackmailing the girls into converting.

"They know that by dishonouring the girls, they will make their families disown them. In the past few months there have been about 120 cases in Luton and the South East. It’s a problem that has been going on for a while, but a lot of people are reluctant to come forward and there’s not much being done.

"It’s not the whole Muslim community, it’s extremist individuals. Some girls are very innocent and vulnerable when they go to university. Then they are befriended by these men. We know of some whose lives have been ruined."

Some of the young women have suffered physical violence. Others have said that the men claimed to have been paid to convert their victims.

Ramesh Kallidai, secretary-general of the Hindu Forum of Britain, said: "The main problem is these girls feel very vulnerable and intimidated by these men. They talk about it to their friends, who tell us what is happening, but don’t want to speak to the police. Some families are completely broken apart by it. It becomes difficult to admit in public.

"One girl was beaten up when she refused to convert. She is petrified. She only spoke to one other girl about it, who contacted us."

One Sikh organisation sets up telephone helplines and arranges visits to temples to raise awareness of the problem. Its leader, who wishes his identity and the group’s to remain anonymous, said: “This is very much taboo. These issues have been going on for many years and come to the boil at university.

"I deal with many very serious cases. There are horrific examples of abuse and blackmail, with men saying they’re going to tell the girl’s parents. Then they’re pretty much trapped. We call it groomed conversions. Some of the girls go through with it because they feel they have no choice.

"The men start a relationship with them, with the agenda of conversion down the line. Sometimes they take a picture of her in a compromising position. It’s so easy with camera phones. An 18-year-old girl ends up in a situation that she can’t control."

He said that the extremists were exploiting the Sikh community’s tendency to treat conversion as a grave dishonour, adding: "That’s a cultural mindset we need to tackle. It’s the worst thing you could face — worse than bankruptcy or losing your job."

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman confirmed that officers had attended a Hindu security conference last month. She said: "We are aware of it as an issue that concerns the Hindu community but are not aware, without further research, of any specific incidents reported to police. We would encourage anyone who has been targeted in this way to seek help."

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2008