Holi (festival of colour)

On the full moon of the last month of the Indian year (Phalgun – Feb/Mar), a special festival is celebrated.

I first experienced Holi in Panjab, after we had left Kenya during the Mau Mau uprising, and it was eye-opening.

I already knew the three main stories associated with the event. Inter-connected, they stemmed from the Arya tradition, morphed into Vedic tradition, aspects of which were then debunked in Sikh tradition, until they came to be made synonymous with Hindu tradition. The version of the story which one celebrates at Holi is usually chosen after a quick period of introspection as to which story resonates the most.

Story #1

An arrogant and obnoxious king of Multan, Panjab, considered himself the perfect human being – a god whom his subjects ought to worship. This king’s son, Hiranyakashipu (Hira, for short – which in its diminutive means ‘gem’), however, worshipped not his father but Lord Vishnu. When debate, dictates and threats proved useless in swaying the child to do his father’s bidding, the king employed a nursemaid to smear her breasts with poison before suckling the child. The nursemaid died from poisoning; Hira lived. Exasperated, the king then ordered his son to sit in his aunt’s lap – she who, following a prolonged period of penance had been granted the ability to withstand fire – and she would then sit on a pyre with the child in her lap. The son acceded to his father’s demand – his aunt was burned alive; Hira emerged unscathed.

Seldom making its way into this version of the Holi story is that Hira, Lord Vishnu’s worshipper, covered himself in an array of earth elements of various colours, and thus protected himself from the fire. The inclusion of such a critical aspect of the story would have been deeply problematic to a an Arya culture grown increasingly impotent in terms of its capacity for analytical understanding and instead pinning all its hopes on divine intervention. If Hira saved himself, whither the miracle of God’s intervention and grace!

Sikhs have taken up the baton of analytical understanding and insight discarded and lost by the Arya. Indeed, according to their dharma (i.e., Sikhism) there is no divine intervention. Psyche and divinity are logical aspects of creation, albeit at a rarified super-conscious level; though of course, they must get their hands dirty, so to speak.

Accordingly, Holi is celebrated as the victory of good over evil in the form of Hira smearing himself with the colours of the earth. No divine intervention in sight!

Story #2

As a child, Krishna’s skin pigment was deep purple. In fact, he was so deeply and darkly purple as to resemble people from Africa. You can conclude, therefore, what his origins were; I have an open mind about such things, but Hindu India is certainly not ready for such facts. Anyway, Krishna was besotted with Radha. She was fair. He was dark, very very dark, purplish-black indeed, on top of which he had all the usual boyish complexes. Following his mother’s advice, Krishna the child smeared Radha – who up until then had dismissed his approaches – with earth colours. Their differences thus muted, the children played together happily and went on to become the great lovers of Vedic Indian lore.

Story #3

Lord Shiva, a very boring guy should you happen to meet him since he is always meditating, is portrayed as moody, unapproachable and intolerant of mischief and petty conversation. You can decide for yourselves whether that makes him a social outcast or a god, though for my part I respect this configuration of his personality. Anyway, one day an upwardly mobile, divinely-steeped person decided to test Lord Shiva’s meditative focus. Assuming the form of an irresistible damsel, the changeling began dancing in front of Lord Shiva. Where others would have been fooled, Lord Shiva was not. The changeling was burned to ash with one look from Lord Shiva’s third eye, who then gave him back life. Thus, during Holi, ash is smeared on the forehead by the devout to represent the death and the revival of the changeling. Over time, earth colours were introduced too – suggesting some symbiosis of the various Holi stories.

Sikh analysis

Now let’s imbue proceedings with some Sikh analytical thought and insight. For this, I need to revisit my childhood.

As I said earlier, my first Holi celebration took place in Panjab after we had moved there from Kenya. In the days leading up to the event, all the local kids raced around borrowing each other’s possessions as if it were their right to do so (we would now call this thieving). We gathered together things we had thus ‘borrowed’, including from our own mothers’ kitchens, after school and raced to the local playground – basically, a large area of dry and barren earth, around which housing was erected, and which we used for playing gulli-danda, kick-about and, above all, cricket.

Escaping the clutches of mothers and sisters, as we ran we held close our booty of turmeric, neem, dhak, kumkum, powdered red sandalwood, dried flowers, radishes, pomegranates, mehndi, gram flour, vibrant and deep coloured fruits and vegetables such as berries, grapes and beetroot, dried tea leaves and charcoal… and of course most important of all, water.

No single household had all these items, so we each gathered what we could find, and brought them to the playground where the older boys organised for us to take turns grinding everything into a paste using a pestle and mortar – basically a larger flat stone and a smaller more rounded stone. We would then leave the paste out to dry in the sun.

Each group of lads would end up with a fair amount of dry powder at the end of this activity. Three days before the last full moon of the year, younger kids like me were assigned to collect firewood from around the local area. As darkness fell and the full moon appeared on the horizon, we lit a fire to commemorate the symbolic burning of the young boy Hira.

The next day, the fun began. We dispersed our dry powder in large metal buckets filled three quarters of the way up with water. We filled our bicycle pumps, appropriately sealed to prevent leakage, with the colourful solution… and then it was a case of let them have it! No one was spared, as we sprayed all around us with colour, and everyone was a happy smiling target – old and young. Those of us who didn’t have bicycles yet, filled up glass Coca-Cola and Fanta bottles and shook them around. It was playful war.

Misunderstanding the rules, I would often forget the playful aspect in favour of the war aspect, thinking it was my mission to remain as dry as possible while soaking as many other people with colour as possible. One lad too umbrage at this misunderstanding of mine and came after me, glass bottle against glass bottle. The inevitable happened, the necks of the glass bottles broke, and I was slashed deep at the wrist just above the bone, while he was similarly if also less deeply cut. A gaping bloody wound opened up just centimetres from a huge vein that snakes its way around the wrist bone, and was duly wrapped in cloth. Instinctively, I submerged my hand and wrist into one of the buckets of colourful water, and then an elder yanked it out of the water and smeared it with some of the powder we had ground days earlier. I got an earful that day, and I still bear the scar to this day – but damn it was fun!

Looking back at the event now, I can apply some rational thinking to what went on.

The season is turning; bio-systems are undergoing a physical cleanse to release them from the rigours of winter; and the cold virus abounds. Cures and cleanses are sought in homeopathic medicines whose ingredients are earthbound. The beginning of springtime is thus the moment in which we boost our immune systems.

All of this activity is of course stepped in rite and ritual – but its effects are tangible and embodied.

In communities that celebrate Holi using traditional earth ingredients, none of the eye, skin, or inflation problems suffered by city dwellers are experienced; and rates of influenza are lower, as is their severity. In urban areas, by contrast, the use of industrial synthetic colours entails eye irritations requiring hospital intervention, severe skin problems requiring manufactured medicine, and seriously debilitating bouts of flu.

If I were you, I’d make my way to India – off the beaten track there are places where Holi celebrations last a month. Tell them Avtar sent you!

As for the story of Holi that resonates with me? Well, I prefer to conceptualise the event as a turning point away from old grudges, feuds and animosities; and towards the renewal of friendships and reinforcement of existing ties.

The new organic year has kicked off and has brought with it spring and new life.

Happy Holi!

Now, go bury the hatchet…

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Menstruation and Hinduism

On November 24th 2015, the internet was sensationalized by the story of a Hindu hilltop temple, Sabarimala, in Kerala, India, whose president announced that women may be allowed entrance if a machine could be used confirming that they were not menstruating.

The temple’s president stood firm on the management committee’s decision to bar entry to women of child-bearing age on the grounds that their bleeding would defile the temple’s purity.

The president cited the new-age decision as an old-age tenet of religious practice. In fact he was spouting an ancient misinterpretation of an equally ancient quote, which, when read in its entirety also states that, ‘you need visible horns on your head to be called dumb…’

My response:

In 1650, a mercantile body engaged the Rajahs, lawyers and businessmen of the time to construct a common working language for the banking and mercantile class across the countries of north India, countries that are now called states. The states that make up Pakistan, the states of current north India, including Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Myanmar (then known as greater India) and down to the emptiness of the Deccan plateau were all once countries of the old India. The new business confederacy, with its standardized legal currency, and its shared business language, legal framework and ethos, was given the name ‘Hindu’. The Hindu template extended beyond the parameters of the mercantile to construct a specifically Hindu religious template as a sign of modernity. It took another one hundred years for this concept to formally take root. By the time the Europeans arrived, the term Hindu was entrenched, but it only gained legal recognition under the British occupation, and even then only as a term of segregation and division.

‘Hindu’ was from the outset, then, never a dharma, a religion or a rite-ritual entity.

It was an economic, later socio-cultural construct. Nehru confirmed this – in books, in English – when he wrote that Hinduism only took root in the 1750s, originally as a function of commercial, business and banking ease and integration across the old India countries. (Gandhi, too, held the same view in private, though he would not declare this openly, and neither ‘Hindu’, regardless of their education and knowledge, refused to de-list Hinduism as a religion or dharma.)

Hinduism was a framework employing codes and regulations to bind commercial players and transactions to principles and practices of fair play and trust without third-party oversight. This drew upon a belief in adhering to one’s personal and ancient genetic dharma, which was sacrosanct and could not be soiled or betrayed. So what the new common Hindu practice conferred on the world of business and commercial activity was a code of conduct that each side would act according to their prescribed dharma and on a basis of mutual trust.

Alongside this, a formal ritual business practice was also established. This brought together diverse and highly valued rituals under the rubric of a shared Hindu-business prayer ritual, which was overseen by an officiating Pandit, whose remit was to be more cosmopolitan than exacting. The Pandit knew the parties involved were lacklustre parishioners of their own dharma, the hypocrisy and expedience of the business world requiring that they cross lines which strict adherence to their personal dharma would not in fact allow them to transgress.

So much for age-old Hindu edicts.

Now let me revert to the temple and its discrimination against women…

Background:

In C.E.900, Adi Shankaracharya defeated a man in a formal debate. The man’s wife challenged him to a debate about the act of man-woman love-making. Adi Shankaracharya, a Sannyasi – somebody who has never had a sexual relationship nor been moved to masturbate – accepted. Now, as an old soul (not to be confused with atman), the Sannyasi ought to have been able to draw on the databank of previous emotionscapes and physiologicalscapes in order to participate in the debate. He did not. Instead, he pulled what in the hierarchy of divinity is considered a dirty trick. He caused the death of the husband.

As the body was being carried for cremation the husband regained life. The husband and wife enjoyed sexual union numerous times. Then the husband died again. This time, as his body was being carried for cremation, on the horizon appeared Sannyasi Adi Shankaracharya. After due passage of time, he took up the debate with the now widowed woman. The widow accused him of having defiled his own body, so informatively did he speak about love-making. The Sannyasi announced that he had in fact used the body of her now cremated husband, the first time he had passed away, to gain experience of love-making.

The widow, who had believed that she was making love to her husband when he came back to life, was shocked at the revelation that his body had been appropriated by another. She felt herself to have violated her marriage vows, and she duly conceded the debate to Adi Shankaracharya.

At the august indication of Adi Shankaracharya, victorious in debate against a woman, India was subsequently united under the leadership of men. The Mohammedan invasion and iron-fist belief in, and implementation of, female subservience to man therefore found its corollary in the Indian practice of men-only rulers…a practice with no religious or dharmic grounding, but arrived at by one wily old Sannyasi and ever since contrived to be emblematic of ‘Hinduism’ – the same Hinduism later constructed as an integrative mechanism and framework of business practice.

And it is in the Mohammedans’ rules and dictates, governed by Semitic concepts, that the notion of ‘unclean’ menstruating woman emerged and was practiced by those anxious to not fall foul of their Mohammedan Rajahs.

A troublesome problem: men dictate terms of conduct to women, the very women without whom – from the Pandit to the Lounge Lizard – man could not be born, let alone survive or find sexual and emotional comfort. Nevertheless, these women are used as whipping boys by men suffering from the inferiority complex derived from knowing that they owe everything to women…

…oh, what joy it must be to be a confused Hindu man.

Seva

In this post, I seek to explain how the human world divides into distinct bio-structural groups and what this means for nishkam seva (selfless activity).

One group, mature advanced consciousness (MAC), has a fully-developed and active organ-mechanism to permit inner awakening. The other, egocentric consciousness (ECC) has a hibernating organ-mechanism which acts to inhibit attunement with advanced awareness.

Mechanically, both bio-structural groups can engage in selfless activity. However, having lived in the UK for fifty years, I can attest to the fact that in the ECC group this manifests as a passing fad – albeit committedly undertaken – that doesn’t endure over the longue duree and is not saturated with selfless-consciousness.

There is, for the ECC, instead a wariness about being pushed beyond one’s limits of selflessness – a self-preservation consciousness that draws the line in order not to be taken advantage of – and it’s there to see in the eyes and body language of European converts to Sikhism and Hinduism.

Among the MAC group, selflessness is not conditional. It is intuitive, innate, natural, humble service. Whereas the ECC regards parents as birthing pods to be discarded or farmed out when they hit old age and infirmity, deference to parents and elders is part-and-parcel of the MAC bio-signature. The selflessness that European converts undertake with all manner of caveats is, for the Sikhs and Hindus a privilege.

Nishkam seva used to be relished by the Indians of Britain. Lately, though, I’ve noticed a soiling, a weakening, a creeping impurification of this purest of activities in the minds of those doing selfless service.

MACs are becoming ECCs.Why?

Well, one reason is the proliferation of a media culture, bulwarked by right-wing devotees, and entombed in right-wing discourse that fosters and projects a form of thought graffiti that creates factional high-mindedness. Hence, supreme truth is sacrificed at the altar of cultural hierarchy, incarcerated by rigidly demarcated and authorised versions of reality that invite scepticism about the apparently unattainable and outdated dreams of our elders.

So accelerated is the contamination of nishkam seva among Sikhs that they now conduct it with fear, serving gur-langar (blessed food) – in the Gurdwara kitchens, to anybody who wishes to partake of the wholesome free food – as if those they serve have a contagious disease.

Where once valiant Sikhs stood fearless in the face of physical violence or black-magic operators, such fear is unbelievable. Where once, anybody who came to the langar hall was served with openheartedness, nowadays I witness gur-langar being served with selective openness, rather than with the abiding consciousness that all are equal in the eyes of God – and it is cowardly.

Seva has historically been linked with karamjôg (jôg in Panjabi is a higher state than Sankrit’s yôgā); karamjôg denoting an interaction wherein one’s humility and selfless service provide a mental opportunity to remain actively egoless for a certain period of time, and to thereby help lose the egotistical weight gained in one’s everyday interactions with others

This type of activity was sought after and actively enjoyed, and people had to await their chance to cleanse their own negativity. The more demeaning an activity one engaged with egoless attention during seva, the greater the burden of negativity one was able to neutralise and cancel.

Unfortunately, the Europeanised Asians, now well into their retirement, are steeped in fear of the same unknown that Sikhs used to tackle with ease and fearlessness. Lacking practical guidance from seasoned ESP-able Beings has created an argument in their minds against the rightfulness and deep sincerity of seva. How sad.

Those who are ESP-able, like myself, are hounded on a daily basis and viewed with suspicion, aided and abetted by the cowardly occupiers of positions of power within the Sikh faith – who lay claim to advanced awareness (Sant), yet cannot dig deeper than the regurgitated Gur-stories in their claim to fame.

Ask them for deeper clarity about ESP and the higher layers of consciousness and they are left floundering for answers. Having said that they are doing a sterling job in containing and guiding the masses, teaching them the rituals and rites fundamental to gaining entry into the advanced realms, and which must be mastered faithfully decade after decade before one can be inducted into deeper thought and teaching.

Until that happens, deeply sincere and humble selfless seva have to be engaged in as often as possible, week in and week out. Doing seva while also passing judgement on those about whom you hear salacious stories being passed around the community is to effectively relinquish your opportunity of inner cleansing, and the egotistical weight piles back on.

And additionally, something which is not explained widely enough, is that in judging another person you secure a connection whereby you suck their negativity of their psyche into your own psyche, which as you interact with your nearest and dearest becomes shared amongst your dearly beloved.

Any place of worship is an opportunity to cleanse one’s negativity by focusing on your own faults without sitting in judgement over whoever enters your eyesight or your wandering mind.

Non-judgement. That is the first type of seva.

The second type of seva is active participation in the operation of your chosen place of worship, without seeking the limelight or applause. Simply go and help. Let others, who are stupid enough to seek adulation and status and power, hand out orders.

The opportunity for sincere humble service is theirs too, and if they choose to ignore or discard that opportunity, so be it. For your part, just be grateful that you have an opportunity to step back from day’s hard toil and to reenergize your battery of purity and positivity.

As for the ECCs – I am determined to help the race Europeans (for that is whom the ECC references primarily) seek and find the trigger point for activating their participation in inner awakening. I know that I will fail. But I shall never give up trying or hoping that I will succeed in this endeavour.

To the MACs – well, please do not give up hope. You are on the right track. The journey is very long indeed, but it has an end. And you will be surprised what awaits you at the end… and they say God does not have a sense of humour?! Just you wait and see.

 

Orphan of shame

I have almost finished my fifth decade of life in the UK.

As a child, my innocence wholeheartedly accepted the Christian hymn-singing and worship each school morning. I embraced the Christian ethos and English life manners. Many of the Christian and Anglo-Saxon quirks I found uncomfortable or considered downright idiotic, but the culture I come from ingrains equal respect to others, their lifestyle and their beliefs.

With crass ignorance, we were forcefully told that we had Christian names, when they meant our first name. We were equally forcefully told that Singh and Kaur were unacceptable as last names, and all kind of threats would rain down on you along with the insistence that you give them the ‘family’ name used before baptism, as that name would be used as your last name.

It took a lot of explaining and needless effort to maintain the irreversibility of a name change, let alone reverting to ones old family name. The point that bapitsed Sikhs would choose death rather than revert to a family name finally seemed to convince the ‘know it all master race’ that perhaps they were not well informed about other cultures. However their last word on the matter would always be. ‘Well, you are in England now. Here we do things differently and if you want to get on you had better fit in’. ‘Fit in’ was a euphemism for ‘mimic our lifestyle’. You could forget about equality right away.

Moving on. I found it shocking that children who had not yet discovered masturbation could answer back a teacher. Furthermore, the outright rudeness, abuse and disrespect by these children who could not yet wipe their own snot, but who could and would publicly scream, shout, and use offensive adult words at their own parents and other elders, disgusted me.

One of the rituals I found offensive was the dishonouring and waste of food at school dinnertime, as if human hunger had been wiped out globally. There was another dinnertime ritual I found baffling – it occurred during my first English summer. Winter and spring had passed. Summer’s arrival saw oranges and apples (bananas were rare in those days). The students relished eating fresh fruit. The shock was that they sprinkled lashings of white sugar on their dissected oranges and apples before eating! What?

On the other two continents I had lived prior to arriving in Europe and the UK, you either ate the fruit straight-up or sprinkled it with salt and/or black pepper, chilli masala. But white sugar?! Yuk. When the other kids saw me use salt and black pepper they collectively laughed, until copying my action they found the fruit tasted not only better but had a kick which enjoined the taste buds to savour the chemical reaction of tangy citrus juice salt/pepper.

But a few days later and despite their obvious enjoyment days earlier, the schoolkids reverted to using white sugar.  When I asked the boy nearest me at the school dinner table, he retorted that ‘we English do not eat foreign muck.’ It was an incident that, though I rarely realised it at the time, came to encapsulate and define the English attitude in virtually every area of my adult life.

The English will willfully dig their heels in as if their ego and esteem were at stake if they employed an idea from Johnny Foreigner. Though even being a foreigner was not simple, was in fact hierarchical. The Scots, Welsh, and Irish were foreigners, but to different degrees. Houses with rooms to let invariably had a sign hanging outside that read ‘No dogs. No Blacks. No Jews. No Wogs. No Irish.’ The Europeans were foreigners in different degrees too (Northern better than Southern and both better than Eastern – unless you were defecting from the Soviet bloc), though in the larger hierarchy they were below the Home Counties’ foreigners and above the non-European ones.

And in all of this the English defended their lifestyle and dietary habits as if their participation and enjoyment of something more enjoyable, maybe even better, than whatever they were used to would somehow dilute the ‘master race’. The cherished ‘master race’ idiotology was nailed to the mast of their mentality. This master race mentality translated in how you, as a foreigner, were not meant to sit on a bus if the available spaces were all next to English passengers; the bus conductor would shout at you to stand instead. Though truth be told, we weren’t all that keen on sitting next to a native anyway – they stank.

We learned that the English didn’t bathe for a week at a time, didn’t change their underclothes or socks either; and then there was the stinking fumes of their breath, on which commingled alcohol, cigarettes and meat. Most repulsive was learning that they smudged their faeces around their bottom using toilet paper when they went to the toilet – instead of washing their bottom – and just as often used the hand they ate with to accomplish this task. And all of this unbreathable stench  was then compound by using cheap, nasty-smelling perfume, though the men invariably didn’t go in for this – master race men smelled like men. You have no idea how nice that was!

And with the arrival of the first ray of sunshine, regardless of the chill-wind factor, the British would remove their shirts and find every excuse to become brown. Then gleefully they would compare their browned skin to ours to see if they had reached parity, their mouths stretched in smiles as wide as the Mississippi river, while never failing to mention that our rich skin – the one they were trying to emulate, the one that acted as natural barrier to the sun’s harmful rays – was dog dirt, and that this meant we were the mess under their shoe. Hence, ‘wog’ as a play on the word ‘bog’. The British government in their radical reappraisal of race relation laws eventually outlawed the term ‘wog’.

While it lasted – well beyond its official lifetime – this derogatory name really infuriated me. As a child, I wished to be a grownup so I could smack the other grownups in the face for calling me such names. An elderly friend of my father explained a very sensible mindset to cope with the derision. He was an authority on the body chakras and mindscapes corresponding to these. He gave a simple explanation: We, he said, from the mature civilisation operate from the heart chakra. Thus, we are hospitable, warm, friendly and thoughtful. Our mature kindness means we turn a blind eye to aggression and aggressive behaviour.

By contrast, hateful people, he went on to explain, suffer with low self esteem, which manifests as a need to be offensive, rude and aggressive, and this mentality operates from the chakra controlling bowel and urine movements. Thus, the English are homing in on their own bowels when they look at us with disdain. If, he added, ones entire thought process is based in the bowel then one is in fact encouraging diseases from that part of the body into the entire body.

This elderly man’s final advice to me was that my best offence was to encourage the master race hate me, because the fact of my skin colour being what it is represents an advanced state of reprisal in itself; and that their race hatred would, over time, build up into a potent disease. So let them hate you. To this day, when I notice race hate attitude and behaviour, however subtle, I do whatever I can to increase this hatred for me as my way of settling a score. It’s quite an English behaviour to manifest, which I learned from the English.

My intermittent ESP informed me that when the master race began enquiring about our caste, certain trouble loomed ahead. With the advent of a European foothold on India’s shores caste in India had become transmogrified as something rigid, degrading and divisive. Wanting and having an attention span for only soundbites, the master race used these soundbites about caste to believe that they had swum the depths of deep knowledge.

The eventual fall of the Roman Empire was predicated on their rulers demanding strict caste division of labour, and the suppression of natural flair and ability to move along the occupational bandwidth. In India, caste was likewise an occupational definition, but ability and talent were respected over things like inheritance, so boundaries were porous. The East India Company, a ragtag of ignorants masquerading haughtily as superiors, demanded rigid occupational boundaries in order to render governance more easy and manageable. Hence, the caste system of today in India.

So, when in my second school term some more Panjabi students joined and our teachers asked about our castes, I intuitively realised trouble was brewing. The teachers grouped us off and tasked a lad from the ‘lower caste’ to be our spokesperson in the event that we faced harassment or violence from other students. Later, when I had a part-time job a colleague from the ‘highest’ caste was named to lead us. It was only then that the penny finally dropped. The chosen one in each case was being singled out from the collective, and acquired a status of superiority vis-à-vis the collective he ostensibly led, which gave him more protection from the management and epitomised the divide-and-rule concept so foundational to European colonial rule. I realised much later how shrewd this was; but at the time – certainly at school, I viewed it as a revelation.

So, what has any of this got to do with being an Indian living in the UK?

Permit me another digression at this moment, which will help explain.

Hinduism is neither a religion nor a race. And Hindi, like English, is a mongrel language. Hindi was created by taking words and syntax from several north Indian languages including Panjabi (which is a sister language to Sanskrit) and was fashioned to bridge communication between the people and legal/business administration, and to create an in-house language for those engaged in law and business. Those officially and incorrectly classified as Hindus by the British are those who have come to rule India.

Their core mentality as a group is identical to that of all Indians – they are a docile and peaceful people; and their default setting is absolute adherence to ‘karma’ (a wholly misunderstood term that I have touched upon in another blog post); they will attempt something once to the best of their ability, and if they fail, they will willingly accept this as ‘god’s will’ and thus as karmic. This once outward-bound adventurous group became an inward-looking group, like the Scandinavians – denouncing conquest, violence, and physical domination, and relying instead on subjective advanced argument and discourse to maintain their authority. They were known by the world of that time as the ‘Noble People’ – in Sanskrit ‘Arya’.

With the invasion of the Moslems, Aryadesh’s people were found to be wanting in war skills, and she was thus easily overcome and ruled. Sindus, later abbreviated to Indus, was the first part of Aryadesh to be conquered. And ‘Hindu’ is a derogatory appellation taken from Sindus/Indus to signify the all-too-easily-conquerable people of Aryadesh, the weak defenceless men unable to prevent the rape and slavery of their women. The Arya people of the time were, like the Buddhists of Tibet, given to a dispassionate mindset and bent on living as pacifists that gave no quarter to mental anger let alone physical violence.

One thousand years of demoralising slavery later, the Hindu has gained power in India. And the flexing of that power now includes the Sikhs as a target for proving Hindu masculinity – the same Sikhs who secured freedom from conversion of ‘Hindus’ to Islam. Act upon act of negatively-induced and –directed violence has been perpetrated by Hindu against Sikh. Sikhs have been languishing in jail for more than twenty-five years for crimes they did not commit – their innocence proven – because of their attachment to being Sikh. I have very little doubt that were they to embrace Hinduism, these jailed Sikhs would be set free before the conversion ceremony was even completed.

In the meantime, Sikhs living in the west are fighting to maintain their own racial, linguistic and cultural heritage. Many formed fanatical groups seeking independence from India. The 1984 debacle was occasioned by one such incident. These radical fanatical fantasists fail to realise the world has moved on – demands mean nothing, unless you are willing to invest two to three centuries’ worth of training in modern warfare and conquer your opponent in the way of such violence – and that simply being a baptised Sikh is not a sufficient enough rationale to demand and have your will be done. They forget that such voice and traction as Sikhs historically enjoyed was located in, and dependent on, their superior warrior skills. And that their ancestral homeland will only be delivered if the world invests in Panjab the same way as it has in Israel – as a proxy war site, armed to the teeth, that acts as a frontier against Islamic nations. The fact is that the Sikhs willingly gave up their kingdom, and now they cannot expect realpolitik to hand it back to them on some long-ago promise.

Meanwhile, the Sikhs of the UK and their disenfranchised, independence-seeking movement, are having the flames of their discontent fanned by the British government, who are openly courting them and giving them carte blanche support to set up broadcast networks. Thus, the old Khalistanis use their newfound global voice to attack and embarrass India into cooperation with Sikh demands. The Kesri Lehar movement is one such demand: it seeks removal of the death penalty from the Indian statute books; but Kesri Lehar plays a double role, in that it represents a skillfully managed British Government project to reinforce Sikhs as a thorn in the eye and mind of the Indian Government.

I stand on the sidelines watching the debacle and am incensed by the government and country I have chosen to call my home using such divisive, underhand means to destabilise India. I am equally disgusted by the Hindu government’s need to pursue self-empowerment and self-esteem by imprisoning innocent non-Hindus, especially Sikhs. This cannot be called an Indian government anymore. It must be called a Hindu government.

The actions of two selfish governments, the British and the Indian, have left me utterly ashamed. Their actions have turned me into an orphan.

I am an orphan of shame.