Saturday, 27 July 2013

Newcastle Rhensabhi 27 July 2013 LIVE stream

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Thursday, 25 July 2013

Your Britain Your Say -- Interview with Paul Uppal MP

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Questions answered

What influenced you to come into politics and why did you choose the Conservative party?

Having recently returned from India with the Prime Minister, could you talk to us about your experiences?

On this visit, did you and the Prime Minister raise the issue regarding human rights in India and the grievance that the Sikh community is feeling?

Following on from this, how important is the relationship between India and the UK?

Since entering Parliament what has been your proudest achievement?

What would you say are the biggest challenges facing Wolverhampton and what are you doing to tackle them?

You currently sit on the Prime Ministers Policy Board, looking towards the next election, what do you think are the biggest challenges facing the UK?

Are you supportive of free schools?

With regards to festivals and religious days to the faiths in your area, how do you communicate with the local residents on that day to pass on your best wishes?

The purpose of the Your Britain Your Say initiative is to encourage the BAME voters in particular to vote for the party that best represents their views; is there anything you would like to say to the voters?

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Your Britain Your Say -- A New Initiative!

Register to vote::


Your Britain Your Say is an initiative to engage the BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) voters in politics, especially focusing on the British Sikh and Indian/Asian community, with the hope that through this initiative you will be more informed on politics, what an MP does and how they can help you.

The main goal is to encourage all eligible voters to turn out and vote! A non-vote is not only a wasted vote but a non productive vote. We each have issues important to us such as; education for our children, the health service (NHS), our pensions, human rights, women rights, etc and use our vote to have our say.
To register to vote: go to and fill out the form.

If you wish to register for a postal vote: go to and follow the instructions.

Any questions or ideas you may have, or if you wish to submit a question to ask an MP; please e-mail

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and the hashtag:: #BallotBoxBritain

Friday, 19 July 2013

An Amazing Woman: Irena Sendler

Remember this lady? I didn't either.

Irena Sendler

Died: May 12, 2008 (aged 98)
Warsaw, Poland

During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive.

Irena smuggled Jewish infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried. She also carried a burlap sack in the back of her truck, for larger kids.

Irena kept a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto.

The soldiers, of course, wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids/infants noises.

During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants.

Ultimately, she was caught, however, and the Nazi's broke both of her legs and arms and beat her severely.

Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she had smuggled out, In a glass jar that she buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and tried to reunite the family. Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

In 2007 Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize.
She was not selected.
Al Gore won, for a slide show on Global Warming.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

'they thought that the bullet would silence us' Malala Yousafzai UN speech

".....They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed. And out of that silence came thousands of voices. The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions. But nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born......."

"......The wise saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” It is true. The extremists are afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them. ........ "

"In India, innocent and poor children are victims of child labour. Many schools have been destroyed in Nigeria. People in Afghanistan have been affected by extremism. Young girls have to do domestic child labour and are forced to get married at an early age. Poverty, ignorance, injustice, racism and the deprivation of basic rights are the main problems, faced by both men and women."

......we want schools and education for every child’s bright future.......
One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.
  Full transcript of the speech here

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Bhaji Ravjeet Singh and Bhenji Daljit Kaur Anand Karaj (6 July 2013) live stream

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For anyone watching this live: would love some feedback on quality and whether worth live broadcasting rhensabhi keertan from the UK?
Please either comment below or send e-mail to


Monday, 1 July 2013

Battle of the Somme -- 97 years on #wewillrememberthem

Remembering the Fallen of the Somme today - 97 years on #wewillrememberthem


Intended to be a decisive breakthrough, the Battle of the Somme instead became a byword for futile and indiscriminate slaughter, with General Haig's tactics remaining controversial even today.
The British planned to attack on a 24km (15 mile) front between Serre, north of the Ancre, and Curlu, north of the Somme. Five French divisions would attack an 13km (eight mile) front south of the Somme, between Curlu and Peronne. To ensure a rapid advance, Allied artillery pounded German lines for a week before the attack, firing 1.6 million shells. British commanders were so confident they ordered their troops to walk slowly towards the German lines. Once they had been seized, cavalry units would pour through to pursue the fleeing Germans.

However, unconcealed preparations for the assault and the week-long bombardment gave the Germans clear warning. Happy to remain on French soil, German trenches were heavily fortified and, furthermore, many of the British shells failed to explode. When the bombardment began, the Germans simply moved underground and waited. Around 7.30am on 1 July, whistles blew to signal the start of the attack. With the shelling over, the Germans left their bunkers and set up their positions.

As the 11 British divisions walked towards the German lines, the machine guns started and the slaughter began. Although a few units managed to reach German trenches, they could not exploit their gains and were driven back. By the end of the day, the British had suffered 60,000 casualties, of whom 20,000 were dead: their largest single loss. Sixty per cent of all officers involved on the first day were killed.

It was a baptism of fire for Britain's new volunteer armies. Many 'Pals' Battalions, comprising men from the same town, had enlisted together to serve together. They suffered catastrophic losses: whole units died together and for weeks after the initial assault, local newspapers would be filled with lists of dead, wounded and missing.

The French advance was considerably more successful. They had more guns and faced weaker defences, yet were unable to exploit their gains without British backup and had to fall back to earlier positions.

With the 'decisive breakthrough' now a decisive failure, Haig accepted that advances would be more limited and concentrated on the southern sector. The British took the German positions there on 14 July, but once more could not follow through. The next two months saw bloody stalemate, with the Allies gaining little ground. On 15 September Haig renewed the offensive, using tanks for the first time. However, lightly armed, small in number and often subject to mechanical failure, they made little impact.

Torrential rains in October turned the battlegrounds into a muddy quagmire and in mid-November the battle ended, with the Allies having advanced only 8km (five miles). The British suffered around 420,000 casualties, the French 195,000 and the Germans around 650,000. Only in the sense of relieving the French at Verdun can the British have claimed any measure of success.

Taken from

Contribution by the Sikhs

Battle Of The Somme
On October 7 Sikh despatch riders with their bicycles at the cross roads of Fricourt and Mametz Road during the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. The bicycles of the two men in the foreground are fitted with a special bracket to support their rifles. The man in front has the rank of Sergeant shown by the stripes on his right shoulder. The loss of life on the Somme was terrible.

Company of the 15th Sikhs perfroming kirtan  in their billets after being relieved from the line. Flanders was a perpetual battleground in World War I. The Sikh regiment was the first Indian contingent to land in Europe. “Unique stalwarts from the east” remarked the press. One of their t memorable events occurred on 28 October 1914 when the regiment was detailed to capture the village of Neuve Chappelle in France. After bitter hand to hand combat the village was captured – of the 280 Sikhs who started assaulted only 58 survived.

Trench Life. Men of the 14th Sikh Infantry in the trenches during the disastrous Gallipoli campaign. The 14th Sikh was virtually wiped out in Gallipoli as it lost 379 officers and men in one days fighting on 4 June 1915 when, as part of the combined Anglo-French forces they tried to assault the Turkish defenses
“I am now about to return to the trenches.  There is no hope that I shall see you again.  For we are grain that is flung a second time into the oven, and life does not come out of it.”

From a Sikh at the front to his father in India (Gurmukhi, dated 17/3/15): Education Guides – Indian Soldiers and WW1 IOR lists 103c,OIOC

 Drawings by Paul Sarrut from the French postcard series Types de l’Armee de l’Inde or Men of the Indian Army
The Sikhs did not turn even their noses.  They were keen for the fight, and where one man fell, another from behind stood in his place.  And we took pleasure in the battle…  Until now God has preserved us, but there is no hope of any one of us returning to India.  This is no war, but the destruction of the world.”

From a Sikh soldier in hospital, England, to his friend in India (Gurmukhi, dated 31/3/15):Education Guides – Indian Soldiers and WW1 IOR lists 103c,OIOC
 Sikh Cavalrymen, Pys, France 1914.
“…The Germans are very frightened of our men, but they are sturdy fellows.  Several times they have displayed the white flag and then attacked, but now we know their tricks and have taken many of them prisoner.  Spread this news everywhere because this is the only letter that I can send you.”

From a Sikh cavalry soldier, written from Marseilles Depot, and sent by hand to India (Urdu, dated 15/2/15): Education Guides – Indian Soldiers and WW1 IOR lists 103c,OIOC

 If God spares me to return, I intend to start new customs.  Look, in our country people ruin themselves over marriages and lawsuits.  In this country rich and poor, high and low, go to church together and worship, and there is no distinction between them there…  The very best custom in this country is that a man chooses his own wife, and a women her husband.”  [letter dated March 12, 1918]  Punjab Past and Present, Essays in Honours of Dr Ganda Singh, ed. Harbans Singh and N. Gerald Barrier, 1976. 

Commemorating Lt-Col Jackie Smythe of the 15th Ludhiana Sikhs in the memorial gates pavillion in London.
 56 years ago I joined the 15th Ludhiana Sikhs in Loralai, Baluchistan and at once became embued with the teachings and the life of Guru Nanak. The Sikh Gurus, the Sikh religion, the Gurdwara, the Granth Sahib became part of my life. The British and Sikh officers of the Regiment were convinced that religion was an important factor in the make-up of a good soldier and we fostered that in every way possible.

An extract from a speech by Brigadier the Rt.Hon.Sir John Smyth, Bt.VC at a celebration of the 500th Birthday Anniversary of Guru Nanak, Grosvenor House, London, December, 1969.
 Men of the 1st Sikh in the trenches of Gallipoli.  At one time of my life (1914-1915 in France) the Sikhs exerted me to wear a turban. This was kindly meant in an endeavor to prolong my life by making me less conspicuous to the German snipers. I hated wearing a turban – simply because it took a long time to put on – and once on I couldn’t ever take it off. However, on the t important day of my life, there wasn’t time to “make me up” and I wore my British Service cap. It was sad but true that all the 10 Sikhs with me were killed – while I survived. I never wore a turban again. Brig. The Rt. Hon. Sir John Smyth, VC. Letter to the Times.  

Sikh prisoners of war in German captivity, 1916.
One aspect of combat that is overlooked in Sikh history is the plight of the prisoners of war, the subject of these rare images. They were taken from a German postcard series. Placed in the context of the typical German soldier’s belief that the Indian soldier was a superior fighting man, its true purpose becomes clear – to counter such a belief and to instil confidence in the ordinary German trooper who would inevitably meet the Indian soldier in the battlefield.

Very few accounts of Sikh prisoners of war have been documented, but one that makes up for the dearth is the subject of a book called Hira Singh by Talbot Mundy (1918).:
“One hundred Indian troops of the British Army have arrived at Kabul, Afghanistan, after a four months' march from Constantinople. The men were captured in Flanders by the Germans and were sent to Turkey in the hope that, being Mohammedans, they might join the Turks. But they remained loyal to Great Britain and finally escaped, heading for Afghanistan. They now intend to join their regimental depot in India, so it is reported.”
New York Times, July 1915.

 In his preface, the author mentions this newspaper story which was the inspiration for the book and continues with a tribute to the Sikh soldiers whose story he tells:
“I take leave to dedicate this book to Mr. Elmer Davis, through whose friendly offices I was led to track down the hero of these adventures and to find the true account of them even better than the daily paper promised.

“Had Ranjoor Singh and his men been Muhammadans their accomplishment would have been sufficiently wonderful. For Sikhs to attempt what they carried through, even under such splendid leadership as Ranjoor Singh's, was to defy the very nth degree of odds. To have tried to tell the tale otherwise than in Hira Singh's own words would have been to varnish gold. Amid the echoes of the roar of the guns in Flanders, the world is inclined to overlook India's share in it all and the stout proud loyalty of Indian hearts. May this tribute to the gallant Indian gentlemen who came to fight our battles serve to remind its readers that they who give their best, and they who take, are one.”

 “A remarkable people, the Sikhs, with their Ten Prophets, five distinguishing marks, and their baptismal rite of water stirred with steel; a people who have made history, and will make it again.”

Martial India, F. Yeats-Brown

Quotes taken from various websites and journals...

BBC - India: A Dangerous Place to Be a Woman

In December 2012 a young medical student was brutally gang-raped on board a bus in Delhi. Horrified by the attack, 28-year-old British Asian Radha Bedi travels to India to uncover the reality of life for young women there.