Category Archives: Seva – Helping Others

Aborting Sikhi by Kamalla Rose Kaur

(After eight years of studying and writing about Sikhi via the internet, I have returned to university, age 53. I am finishing up my Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and will soon enter the Masters program, also in Creative Writing. This article was written for a university class I just completed on Global Women.)


Kamalla Rose Kaur

I am very upset this morning and need to cry.

Statistics today reveal the genocide/abortion of female feotus continues.

1500 amongst British Indian born women over last 15 years or so.

7 Million on the subcontinant. Most highest number ??

Punjab and Gujrati communities

Amongst the most prosperous!! Sikhs and Jain communities

Jaswinder Kaur, Sikh woman posting on Sikh internet forum.

Why are so many Sikhs of Northern India participating in female foeticide and why can’t Sikhs seem to stop it? Down through humanity female infanticide is usually linked with hopeless poverty. But Sikhs in India- and not low income, uneducated Sikhs either – are aborting their futures, depriving their o so precious and valued sons of wives. This is especially sad and horrifying because the Sikh religion promotes womens equal rights. Sikh dogma and doctrine specifically forbids female infanticide; also the Hindu practice of sati and the Islamic practice of veiling women. Sikhs have been trying to keep their culture against amazing odds since the very conception of their religion, 500+ years ago. Now in one generation, due to one bad sad sin, there are no longer enough Sikh women being born.

Infanticide, Abortion Responsible for 60 Million Girls Missing in Asia
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
By Sherry Karabin

…In India, where the child sex ratio is calculated as the number of girls per 1,000 boys in the 0-6 years age group, the problem is severe. The 2001 Census shows there are only 927 girls per 1,000 boys, representing a sharp decline from 1961 when that number was 976. In certain parts of the country there are now fewer than 800 girls for every 1,000 boys.

“The problem is more prevalent in the northern and western states, where prosperity, rapid fertility decline and patriarchal (male heads the family) mindsets combine to put girls at risk,” said Ena Singh, the assistant representative at UNFPA.

My intention is to communicate, to the best of my abilities, why Sikhs have this horrible problem, how Sikhs are responding to it and why it is hard for Sikhs to get anything done at this point in their history.


Hear my prayer, my Only Master; all beings and creatures were created by You. You preserve the honor of Your Name, O Beloved One, Cause of causes.

Dear Creator/Creation, Beloved, please, make me Your own. Whether good or bad, I am Yours.

(Pause and reflect)

The Almighty heard my prayer; cutting away my bonds, my Beloved has adorned me. The Beloved One has dressed me in robes of honor, and blended this humble servant with the One True Master.

Now Nanak is revealed in glory throughout the world.

The Siri Guru Granth Sahib

Scripture and Only Guide and Guru of the Sikhs

Page 653 Guru Arjan

“Kamalla!” A Western academic confronts me, “North India is one of the most macho places on earth! Sikhi is male dominated from one end to the other.”

“Not Sikhi.” I argue. “Sikhs! Particularly those still living in India. There is hope for Sikhs in the West. The younger generation practices gender equality much better than the older folks.”

“Kamalla, they are losing their younger generation in the West and in India too.” my friend insists. “Hard as it is for you to believe, the fact that Sikhi is so progressive theologically didn’t matter. When we study Sikhs we have to study what they do, not just what they say they ought to be doing.”

“No. Wrong. What you say is true in some obvious Western sense, but I am a Sikh. Academics need to get it through your heads that what a Sikh is and what a Sikh is not is defined by our scripture and Only Guide, by the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. According to the Sikh Guru/scripture, those who practice gender inequality are not True Sikhs. They are phoney.”

“So the majority of Sikhs down through history and in present times are not really Sikhs? Is that what you are saying?”

“That is correct. They are all phoney Sikhs at the level that they do not follow Sikh teachings as set out in the Sikh scripture. But of course, only God and Guru can judge who is a good Sikh – Sikh just means ’student’ as you well know.” I retort and then add, “Sikhs don’t even believe that you have to be Sikh to be one of the Almighty’s best beloveds either. The Sikh Guru/scripture reminds readers all the time that good honest, loving and humble people everywhere, irregardless of beliefs or culture are better ‘Sikhs’ than people claiming to be Sikhs who fail to follow Sikh teachings.”

Sikhs will argue about all sorts of things but we almost unanimously, across all schisms and sects, agree that it is our scripture, our Holy Book – our Guruji – who defines what it is the be a True Sikh.

For our purposes here I will make a distinction between Sikhs and True Sikhs. True Sikhs follow the teachings of the Sikh Guru/scripture. Sikhs, on the other hand, are simply born into Sikh families.


Here is a very brief history of Sikhi from the UNITED SIKHS website. UNITED SIKHS is a global Sikh charity organization.

Sri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji founded the Sikh way of life in the fifteenth century as an ideology to reconcile the Human Race. Guru Nanak was a revolutionary teacher- his teachings that women and men were equal, that caste was unimportant, and that there are many paths to the One God- were ahead of their time. The title “Guru,” or enlightener, was passed onwards to 9 more individuals throughout Sikh history, who shared the light of Truth of Sri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji. These 9 Gurus also shaped the legendary Sikh traditions. In 1708 CE, the 10th Guru, Gobind Singh, bestowed the title of Guru upon the holy scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, which is recognized as the eternal enlightener.

Some Sikh men and women join the Khalsa, the defense only Knighthood established by Guru Gobind Singh (the last embodied Sikh Guru/Teacher) in 1699. They are required to keep the five symbols of the five Khalsa vows on their bodies. The symbols are uncut hair (Kesh), a comb (Kanga) a dagger (Kirpan), a steel bracelet (Kara) and underwear (Kacheras). These symbols remind members of the Khalsa Khighthood of their vows, which include being clean, free of intoxicants, and vowing to fight oppression and abuse, racism, sexism, caste and classism, on behalf of the weak against corruption and tyranny. They must never attack. Again the Khalsa is a defense-only Knighthood. Khalsa men wear turbans and many Khalsa women wear turbans as well.

But only a fraction of all Sikhs join the Khalsa Knighthood.

Confusingly, quite a number of Sikhs, especially Sikh men, who do not belong to the Khalsa, also do not cut their hair and they wear turbans. This is often an indication that a Sikh is “practicing” being Khalsa and plans to take his/her vows in the future. Or often as not, Sikhs feel it is a good thing for Sikhs who have not joined the Khalsa to wear turbans and beards because it supports Sikh cultural identity, which many Sikhs feel is at risk.

The downside, of course, is that there are thousands and thousands of Sikhs who wear the “uniform” of the Khalsa Knighthood who are not keeping the Khalsa vows. For instance, it is common to witness Sikh men in turbans drinking alcohol in public or smoking cigarettes. This of course greatly errodes the effectiveness and harms the image and reputation of the Khalsa Knighthood worldwide.

There are 20 million people on earth who call themselves Sikhs. Yet like other religions, many or most Sikhs are secular. They come from Sikh families and visit Gurdwaras for weddings and funerals and as social centers, but they are not devout nor do they claim to be.

Since aborting female foetuses is strictly and heavily banned by the Sikh religion, the middle and professional class Sikhs in India who are choosing sons over daughters are secular Sikhs by definition.


Sikhs have always considered themselves to be a separate and distinct religion from Hinduism. Yet from the point of view of most Hindus, Sikhi is just another sect of Hinduism. Hinduism is inclusive like that. Any and all beliefs and practices that have arisen in India are part of the whole brew and called Hinduism.

However, the founder of Sikhi, Guru Nanak, taught a Way that is quite distinct from both Islam and Hinduism, though he was affected deeply by both religions of course. In the West there is no dispute over whether Sikhs are distinct from Hindus. Sikhs are allowed to define themselves just like all the Western religions and sects do.

Approximately half of all Sikhs follow various “leaders” past or present – Sants, Babas, Yogis, Jathedars, Deras.

Another large percentage of Sikhs holds the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy Book, as their one and only Guide and Guru. They do not believe in avatars and they wire direct, as individuals, with “Guruji”, their source of Sikh teachings. This second group, to which I belong, has at times been called “fundamentalists” by Western scholars because we take the SGGS as literal truth. But the SGGS is a very very different scripture from the Bible. There is no history or stories in the SGGS, rather it is the hymns/poetry/teachings of Nanak. Nanak’s approach to religion is distinctly not woo-woo and no faith in miracles is required in Sikhi.

The first and foremost belief of all Sikhs is that “The Creator and the Creation are One”. Sikhs seek to experience nondualistic perception, to experience and rejoice in the One Reality all around them. So called “fundamentalist” Sikhs are more like Humanists or scientically oriented agnostics than they are like Christians, Hindus, or Muslims.

A third large subset of all those who call themselves Sikhs promote the Dasam Granth – the writings of Guru Gobind Singh- as equal canon with the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.

From a Westerner’s perspective these three types of Sikhs are distinct enough in practice and theology to be considered different religions or sects.

For a detailed geneology of Sikh sects:


For a very short time Sikhs had their own country in Northern India, and then the Brits invaded. The British fought a war against the Sikhs and won, but they fell in love with the Sikhs. Thus the British helped the Sikhs and they also hindered the Sikhs.

Sikh Central is presently in India but Sikhs in diaspora have no representation in the present (British established) Sikh religion administration. Some/many accuse Sikh Central of being infiltrated by nonSikhs or taking bribes, or corporate lobby money. Some/many disagree!

Gyani Jarnail Singh, a Sikh scholar from Malaysia explains:

Yes the SGPC – elected by the million or so eligible “SIKHS” (according to SRM – Sikh Code of Conduct) every five years according to the British Govt sponsored Gurdwara Act a sort of Sikh Central.

Its authority is confined to old Punjab – now divided into Punjab/Himachal/Haryana. Efforts are underway to take away Haryana out of its spehre by forming a Haryana SGPC. Delhi already has a DGPC for Delhi gurdawras and the Patna Takhat as well as Hazoor Sahib Deccan are independently controlled by their states.

So not only are the few MILLION Disapora Sikhs not reprsented in the SGPC….so are a few million Sikhs in the rest of INDIA ( those outside Punajb/Haryana/himachal).

So in a way the Sikh Central is a very MINORITY sort of “Sikh central”…similar to if the few citizens of Vatican were to be Christian Central on behalf of the 1 billion or so christians…

The point to note is that the Govt of India holds the “Elections”… so it decides when and when… For example during the tenure of Jathedar GS Tohra…he was defacto President ( together with his assembly) for a total of FIVE TERMS..25 years ++ as the Govt decided to have NO ELECTIONS. Thus it is a Sikh Central over which the SIKHS have absolutley NO CONTROL. GS Tohra was kept in power for a quarter century….for reasons known/unknown ?? and the SIKHS coundnt do a damn thing about it.

Due to the SGPC being a “Financial Powerhouse” Goluck money from all historicl shrines runs into hundreds of millions yearly…anyone in control of it is in POWER. Inspite of the Indian govt using all sorts of “proxies”….newly set up Gurdwar Boards and such…the SGPC has traditionally been won by the Akali DAL…now the personal fiefdom of the BADAL Family/Dynasty…since the 1970’s !!

Thus when “POLITICS” rules the roost..invariably shady chraacters stand and win…through money laundering/vote buying/alcohol flows freely, hoodlums roam freely and drugs etc..every weapon in the arsenal is used to retain the status quo…95% of the SGPC members are TAINTED heavily. The one or two “religious” ones get voted out subsequently or turn over a “old” leaf and join the rascals.


Sikhs in diaspora also have no central unified means of governance or headquarters. Every Gurdwara is independent and control of Gurdwaras by one sect or another is common. Sikhs who follow various Sants and Babas or embrace the teachings of other leaders, and “fundamentalist” Sikhs, who hold the SGGS as our only Guru, often end up worshipping in the same Gurdwaras, as do the more militant Guru Gobind Singh followers. Add to this the generation gap caused by Sikh youth embracing Western culture, and it is not so surprising that Sikh Gurdwaras can at times become political, hot and heavy.

Harmander Singh from the Sikhs in England organization explains some of the problems Sikhs in diaspora have. He believes that the main issue is:

The elders’ die-hard attitude and desire in seeking answers from their peers in the Punjab to problems they face in the West,


1. Factionalism based on ‘Jathebandis’ , the anti-Sikh practices such as ‘caste’ based groupings, gender discrimination and taking advantage of the deference to age by those who are younger than them.

2. The abject failure in accepting that age alone does not qualify one to be a ‘leader’ but it only helps if some wisdom was gained along the way in getting to their age. It is assumed that competency is automatic and only comes with age. The fact that many who hold positions of ‘power’ within the Sikh community somehow are unable to divorce their personal ego nurturing actions from the responsibility that comes with the positions they hold. As a result, when something good has happened, people who were once thought to be dead suddenly come out of nowhere for the photo opportunity but are nowhere to be seen when things are not so good or very bad – in such instances, it is always someone else’s fault and communication skills are suddenly ‘missing’ – an opportunity lost in promoting links with the media.


As shocking and also self defeating as it is, the reasons Sikhs abort female foetusses is that they want to have sons. It is greed in some sense.

Despite Sikh teachings, Sikhi worldwide is tremendously male dominated. In India sons are thought to be breadwinners while daughters are expensive. Births of sons are celebrated and births of daughters are often greeted with regrets, condolences and silence. In the traditional India family, when a daughter marries she moves into her husband’s family home, under the direction of her mother-in-law. One day, if you have a son, he will marry and his new wife will be under you. This is the height of woman’s power. Being a mother and ultimately the family matriarch is what life offers to women in traditional India families.

The United Nations website on Women and Violence reports::

Son preference affects women in many countries, particularly in Asia. Its consequences can be anything from foetal or female infanticide to neglect of the girl child over her brother in terms of such essential needs as nutrition, basic health care and education.

In China and India, some women choose to terminate their pregnancies when expecting daughters but carry their pregnancies to term when expecting sons.

According to reports from India, genetic testing for sex selection has become a booming business, especially in the country’s northern regions. Indian gender-detection clinics drew protests from women’s groups after the appearance of advertisements suggesting that it was better to spend $38 now to terminate a female foetus than $3,800 later on her dowry.

A study of amniocentesis procedures conducted in a large Bombay hospital found that 95.5 per cent of foetuses identified as female were aborted, compared with a far smaller percentage of male foetuses.

The problem of son preference is present in many other countries as well. Asked how many children he had fathered, the former United States boxing champion Muhammad Ali told an interviewer: “One boy and seven mistakes.”

Though it is only Sikhs in India who are engaged in widespread abortion of female foetuses, studies in the UK also indicate that UK Sikhs prefer sons and that is that.

From: Demography of immigrants and minority groups in the United Kingdom. London, England, Academic Press, 1982. :169-92.

The data were obtained in a questionaire survey of about 3000 married Asian Sikh women, living in West London. The main reason for the study was to find out whether Asian immigrants had any difficulties in adopting modern methods of birth control. Another reason was an interest in the nature of cultural influences on fertility and birth control practice. Sikhs were chosen because they were the largest of the Indian religious groups in Britain according to a national survey in 1974. The ideal family size for most Sikhs was 2 or 3, and they resembled the general population in the practice of birth control. Most survey respondents maintained their family size by modern methods of birth control, which were adopted early in marriage. Whatever methods used, they seemed to be effective, since fertility among Sikhs and other Asians is declining. Where Sikhs do differ from the general population is in their very strong preference for sons (84%). Some of the evidence on achieved fertility, contraceptive practice, and reasons for having or not having a 3rd child suggests a stronger bias towards a family of 2 children than is revealed by the preference scores. The Sikhs emphatic preference for sons may prompt some parents to produce at least 1 more child than they would have otherwise had.

I asked Harmander Singh from Sikhs in England for his thoughts on male domination within Sikhi:

An instrumental element of succession of goods/assets in the laws of many countries, where the West has had or continues to have an influence, is along male heirs. Sikhs, as opposed to Sikhi, have fallen prey to these prevalent legal precedences.

The ‘little prince’ syndrome is also linked to the difference of treatment between the genders.

Paradoxically, younger generations are driven away from all religions by the continued outdated and inconsistent application of sexist values – sadly this also has had an influence on the Sikh community which is run by ‘politically’ motivated and backed (mis)leaders. The ultimate effect will be the devaluing of the faith by those who are meant to be preserving it.

The balance of Miri-Piri has swung too far towards Miri under the invisible hand of the anti-Panthic elements. (Sikhi teaches that the mundane or temporal plane – Miri – and the spiritual plane – Piri – are One and need to work together)

Although there is the Christian ethos of ‘blame the sin, not the sinner’ , I feel that time has come to stop the rot, and to blame the sinners too for they should know better and pay for their sins – driving these hypocrites away from positions of power should be the start of the clean up process.


Lacking any direct political way for Sikhs to stop the abortion of Sikh baby girls in India Sikh women activists use the internet. They attempt to use the dogma of the Sikh religion to convert fellow Sikhs away from its male dominated worldview.

“Our Gurus did their utmost to make Sikh women equal partners. Guru Amar Das Ji sent out Sikh women to spread Sikhi. Alas, we have lost trace of those women. The worst situation now is that some of the Sikh women have lost their right to accept Will of the Creator when they are forced to abort female fetuses. The Sikh women need to come forward and express themselves as they did in our Guru’s days and become mentors to the Global women.”

Satnam Kaur, politician, London UK

From Sikh website:

Sikhism is unique in recognizing unequivocal equality for all human beings and specifically for both men and women. Among equality of all human beings, fundamental aspects of Sikh theology include implicit gender equality and independence for women. The spiritual beliefs of Sikhism (revealed to Guru Nanak in 1469) propose social reform of women’s roles in society. Sikhism advocates active and equal participation in congregation, academics, healthcare, military among other aspects of society. Female subordination, the practice of taking father’s or husband’s last name, practicing rituals that imply dependence or subordination are all alien to the Sikh principles. The universal principles of Sikhism and the spiritual beliefs are to be practiced daily and incorporated in day to day living.

Ideally, if each of us truly incorporated the Guru’s teachings in our daily lives, this would be a perfect world to live in. There would be no bickering over dowry, there would be less excuses to perpetuate violence. Equality of Women in Sikh Ideology and Practice would render moot the issues such as, “What Rights do Sikh Women Have? or What is a Women’s Identity?

The Guru’s defended our freedom and taught us to live free of bondage and tyranny. If Guru Nanak or Guru Gobind Singh were living amongst us, they would be terribly disappointed. Although some outdated traditions are still practiced, they are certainly not a reflection of Sikhi in our lives.

Sikhism equal rights extend to all beings. Acceptance and incorporation of those with special Needs, the disadvantaged, the poor or those without a gender designation are no exception to the rule.

From the website:

At the time of the Gurus women were considered very low in society. Both Hindus and Muslims regarded women as inferior and a man’s property. Women were treated as mere property whose only value was as a servant or for entertainment. They were considered seducers and distractions from man’s spiritual path. Men were allowed polygamy but widows were not allowed to remarry but encouraged to burn themselves on their husbands funeral pyre (sati). Child marriage and female infanticide were prevalent and purdah (veils) were popular for women. Women were also not allowed to inherit any property. Many Hindu women were captured and sold as slaves in foreign Islamic countries.

In such a climate Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism shocked the entire society by preaching that women were worthy of praise and equal to men. Five hundred years later, the rest of mankind is only now waking up to this fundamental truth. The Gurus actively encouraged the participation of women as equals in worship, in society, and on the battlefield. They encouraged freedom of speech and women were allowed to participate in any and all religious activities including reading of the Guru Granth Sahib.


It is both sad and fascinating to watch and hope that Sikhs will be able to convert fellow Sikhs to Sikhi. Still, Sikh men appear much more concerned about the schisms within Sikhi and the politics in India than about fighting for women’s rights. Sikh men, even the “fundamentalist” ones, have not risen up or bankrolled Sikh women’s efforts to establish Sikh gender equality in Sikh families, communities and Gurdwaras. Sikh women activists have few male allies.

On the other hand Sikh women are welcomed into the Khalsa Knighthood and more and more young Sikh women are becoming Khalsa. Khalsa women are theologically encouraged to be leaders who can initiate others into the Khalsa as well, yet no woman in truth has ever done so (except in a couple Sant/Baba groups).

Meanwhile, the Indian government has outlawed the use of technology to discern the gender of unborn children. Here is a PBS video about the gendercide problem in India.

Karabin Sherry. “Infanticide, Abortion Responsible for 60 Million Girls Missing in Asia.” Fox News.June 2007,2933,281722,00.html

“About Sikhs.” UNITED SIKHS.

Singh, Jarnail “Quick Guide To Sikh Politics” Soulbride’s Kitchen

Singh, Harmander, “State of Sikh Relations” Soulbride’s Kitchen

“Women and Violence” United Nations Department of Public Information February 1996

Coleman, D, ed. Demography of immigrants and minority groups in the United Kingdom. London, England, Academic Press, 1982. :169-92.

Singh, Vishavjit.

“Equality”. Sikh Women.Com

“Women in Sikhi” The Sikhism Homepage



Filed under Kamalla Rose Kaur's Writings, Multicultural, Seva - Helping Others, Sikh Women's Movement, Sikhi, VIDEOS, World Women's News

Canadian Girl Speaks at the United Nations

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BLUE BAROQUE by David Mason

About David Mason
“It is a schuloper!” David says with a German accent impersonating Bertolt Brecht.

“School operas were musicals designed to broaden the knowledge of scholars; educational dramas designed for teaching political lessons. These works are rich in realism and challenge political and didactic, as well as physical and biological, thermodynamic interpretations.”

Subtitle: or, It’s probably worse than you think.
Keywords: entropy, future, change
Author and affiliation: David. T. Mason, Fairhaven College, WWU 98225
©1990 David T. Mason


1. Preface and My Comrades
2. Humans, Life and Entropy
3. Culture as a Biological Phenomenon
4. The Worst Thing I Know
5. Thrice Transcendent, Go Fourth!
6. Research Strategies, a doorway to change
7. Ten Radical Ideas to Help Save the Earth

1. Preface and My Comrades

IMAGE: Out of a Blue Sky: Air

I would like to share with you seven of my severest concerns, seven glooms that glower in yellow melancholy, mist-like, as dank clouds on my half-head’s horizon.

I would like to share a few of the odd umbral images these clouds cast upon me.

As herald preface to begin, I announce, I acknowledge and I try to characterize the queer stress of autobiography on thought.
–I come from a commitment to comrades
Their love is as close to truth as I’ll ever be worthy
“For you, for you I am trilling these songs.”
–so I want to sing a simple two-part song which I wrote for Richard.
It is called “My Song for Richard.”
He may have liked it; I’m not sure.
I will teach it to you.
Hum along, with either part, please. It’s a good warm-up piece.
You hum, I’ll sing the words. Please.

I care for you. Your smile is true.
Your heart is warm and dear.
I love so much your tender touch.
Your thoughts are bright and clear.

—-àNow it’s time for audience participation. Take a pencil and card, and complete this sentence in the next minute or so:
“You only see what you think you see unless…”


Image: Blue Turbulence, Chaos and Order: Water

THE SERMON: Life, it seems, has built of itself a tiny dam
on a small diversion of the great river of solar energy
that arrives on earth.
The dam-the dam that is life-
holds that diverted energy on earth for a few cosmic moments longer
than it would were there not life,
were there not the dam on its diversion.
The energy slows down;
it is held in the web of life;
and then life lets it go again, out to the cold cosmos.
Through the long history of living process on earth,
the diversion of energy to life has grown and expanded
as plants spread from the seas to the lands
and as eaters ensnared the energy
in longer and more complicated slow pathways.
Evolution and the spread of life
have increased the volume of energy held by the biotic dam,
have increased the biomass on earth.
It appears that earthly life has always maintained
an overall strategy or purpose of
increasing the length of time that useful energy
spends on this living planet.
Life does this by offering energy
the possibility of passage through a continuing, complex,
slow cascade of low temperature improbabilities
that constitute the metabolism of the whole globe.

In the time since the plague of photosynthesis,
since the great oxytoxic crisis, billions of years ago,
humans seem the only organism ever
to have managed the large-scale simplification of the global biosphere,
the only organism ever
to have impacted major pathways and flows
of materials and energy on the planet.
We mine and disburse phosphates;
we fix and pump nitrogen out to our fields;
and we burn forests and fossil fuels
in the great incessant hearth roar of a hot civilization
spreading across the earth.
We are, it seems, acting contrary to the example of all life before us
by opposing life’s very purpose,
by tunneling through the dam,
weakening it, by exploitation and extinction,
draining to atmosphere through our flames the vast reduced-carbon past.

It is full time to forget the crap about our human nobility and to begin to regard ourselves as a seriously pathogenic organism, essentially out of any currently “humane” control, doing and threatening further and greater irreparable damage to the life of this lonely planet.

Throughout the spheres from the bang at the start
Bright energy’s gone from thickness to thin
Sun’s bright glowing
Heat goes flowing
Out to the dark where the pale stars aren’t
Pale stars, pole stars aren’t.

On this planet, perhaps, by will or by chance
Energy stuck in a tentative eddy
Sun-Stream backwater
Life-dam slackwater
Slowed the flow that warms the dark dance.
Warms the dark, forms the dark dance.

Freedom is clamp’d in molecular traps
As success must repeat all over again
Doing as did
What the ancestors bid
While lyric mistakes create the perhaps
Create the per-fectable-haps

The dam, in the flow toward wasting, grew
As integrative creatures evolved to be ready.
Earth and sea bloomin’
‘Til suddenly: humans
Found the dams edible. Sad tale but true.
Sad, sad tale and too true.


IMAGE: Glow in a Box in a Box in a Box: Blue Hierarchies

They usta do it, do it, do it,
With their chromosomes
They usta do it, do it, do it,
In their treetop homes.
They usta do it, do it, do it,
With a gamete here ‘n’ there.
They usta do it, do it, do it,
Where mutation made the brave-deserving fair.

See the zygote, zygote, zygote,
Headin’ for the matrix wall
Ya see the zygote, zygote, zygote,
Ontongenatin’ nature’s call.

An’ now we do it, do it, do it,
Language be our nucleotide.
They usta do it, now we do it,
Teachin’ greed an’ teachin’ pride.

We got a culture, culture, culture,
Livin’ on the back of our genes,
We got a culture, culture, culture,
Mutants always haunting our dreams.

We got a culture, culture, culture,
Wi’ specialists in mystery.
We got a culture, culture, culture,
Ontogenatin’ history.
Phylogenatin’ entropy.
Progenatin’ short term free.

The question: What is a “Darwin Machine”?
The answer: A Darwin Machine is “a class of computing device…[that] can evolve an idea [or other anit-entropic formation], using variation-then selection, in much the szme way that biology evolves a new species using Darwin’s natural selection to edit random genetiv variations and so shape new body[and] behavioral] styles.”-Wm. H. Calvin
In Cerebral Symphony

It is useful to think of culture as an evolved phenomenon, as an adapted and selected constraint on our futures. In the same way that our pre-selected DNA reduces our freedom and constrains us to be biologically human, culture constrains us to be effectively social and to teach our progeny the wise lore of our forebears.
We humans have in our several cultures, then, all the things which worked in the past, which were selected for by the needs of a former present.
A Darwin Machine may be seen working variously at several levels of the biology that is culture. And the same mechanisms motivate and guide it as motivate and guide organic evolution.

It is particularly important today to explore what kind of an animal our cultures have made us into. (Civilized traditions mostly teach just the opposite: that is, how un-animal-like cultures makes us.)


IMAGE: Looking into a mirror: Self

We are what we were and what worked in those times;
We are a past of success.
The trouble of course is what worked in those times
Got us into this mess.

So what worked and was “good” in the time that is past,
The values we all hold so dear,
Are the self-same values selected to last
By a past that got us where we’re.

From the teachings of our culture and the dictates of our genes’
We have learned and been selected to exploit and to control;’
We disregard all other creatures and demean the green terrene
Four our selfish short-term benefit, and our solipsistic souls.

What we acted on as “good”, what our behavior honor’d most,
What has come from pasts most sacred to our cultures fat with hosts,
Is now the quintessential problem: We’re adapted to be ghosts.
We never passed our wanton past, so “good” is only good for ghosts.

Both our genes and then our culture learned to be what we have been:
Perfected as exploiters, in the distant Pleistocene.
We are all the things we needn’t be, alas a stunning blow.
We’re inertially adapted: And that’s the worst thing that I know.


How be so sudden as new?
How a new who that’s still you?
Who be a difference for now?
Now for a different new who.

Consider this abstract geography: one crystalline transparent sheet cleaves obliquely through another and both through yet another.
We are so camped in the intersecting planes of self, social, and species consciousnesses.
And proud of it.
Red-necked human chauvinist pig flickin’ proud of it.
Proud of Each Self, born transcending the womb’s dark comfort.
Then proud of each individual, transcending self to be a social creature.

Then proud of those who transcend the societies of their rearing.
who come to see us all as one burgeoning profligate human species,
glorying in our selves and societies, thrice transcendent.
life at last with a consciousness to know itself and the world!
O wondrous proud Man!
We are camped in the intersecting planes of self, social, and species awarenesses. And proud of it.
We are camped here, now, telling stories.
We have come from our dens wondering some promise
of where we might go. And would we be “disturbed”?
Or might we be frightened by our afflicted selves,
by our abortive societies,
by our adipose-offal species?

Proud and yet frightened even by our pride?

Can we not transcend beyond self-serving goals,
beyond society-serving goals,
beyond species-serving goals,
to see the proper place for our strategies:
To learn to serve all life on this plante?
Even if this may mean a life or a planet without humans?

What are we willing to die for?

I am willing to die for other species.

IMAGE: Snuff the lit flames with blue heads: Fire dying.

Smooth muscle transcendence from utter dependence
From matrix to blindingly self. (Birth First!)

Then thou art born, from me and for us
And I like-wise, from you,
We joy, we joy to socialize,
And make one us fit two.

From two to two-to-the-tenth we grew
Our selves a species at large
Transcending culturehood, nurture and nature would
Reckon it cool to be gene in that pool
Of the species that threatens the earth. (Worth thirst!)
So one more time hence, transcend yet this sense
Of species, o proud prodigal,
Whose g’o-chemical curse, biocidal perverse
Is both terminal and episodical.

Transcend to a place in an infecund race
Bring an end t’your genetics right now, (Right Now)
Return to the garden, from first sin be ye pardon’d
For the birth of the worst cursed earth first. (Earth First!)

Don’t breed!
Don’t breed!
Don’t breed!
Don’t breed!
Don’t breed!

At this time I would like to offer you the opportunity to come forward and make a commitment to the future of life on earth. I suspect most of you, if you consider it carefully, will not wish to do this. Nevertheless, I have made a few buttons which say “I am willing to die for other species.” You may come forward and take a button if you will promise to wear it, and believe it, and try to move others toward your commitment. Those people who are willing to commit themselves to die for other species of life, may now come forward.


IMAGE: Janus, Roman god of doorways, of expeditions,
of setting the feet free; of Yana, mode of knowing:

Can we escape the clutch of the promise of our past?
Can we change? Biologically? or even culturally?
One appropriate avenue for immediate change may be in the kinds of input we develop for making decisions, in the kinds of study and research we do, in the assumptions we make before we bring knowledge to management. Too frequently in the past we have followed the broad, comforting, empiricist avenues of logic, experience, and action, and so we have systematically prepared the promise of the future form the wisdom of the past. But that “wise” past is so fraught with the heritages of exploitation and species-chauvinism as to make us the unwitting perpetrator of the problem of ourselves. Rather let us invite the baroque guest of educated indecision to the table of our times, that its presence in dynamic waiting patience might nourish the intuitive, the essentially human, in the suspended tension of unmade decision. Be meek!

Wisdom comes from opposite tensions
As science should look to its internal poles
For suspension in motion, a retentive dimension,
Hangs tangled, a plexus of cause.

Janus at doorways is keeping and letting
A demon decider whose ken stretches far,
The ineffable will-spark or the critical eddy,
That brought us to live near this particular star.
We assume that we either know something or nothing,
And proceed to learn something through each separate course;
By guesses confirmed and by patterns perceived,
Our tensor will hold out a polar re-source.

Resolution delayed in the nexus of will,
The pause that’s so human descends as a veil
The hush that gives rise to the thew to intuit says:
Do it. Don’t do it. While you stay you won’t fail.

When acquiring knowledge from and applying knowledge to large, information-controlled, and imperfectly knowable complex systems, ongoing critical dialogue is (probably) better than conclusion and action, and comfortably lingering doubt is certainly better than abrupt decision and certainty, I…I think.

Chorus: Seeing that seeing will never be free
For all I can see is my own history,
Knowing that knowing is locked in a trap
I’m lost in my brain with an ages-old map.

Verse: If you have a map of where you’re going
If you know the stations ‘long the way
Then you’ll learn what you have known and learning
You’ll refine your map with shades of gray.


If you have a map of where you’re going
And seek to see the patterns that you’ve seen
Then it’s safe to say you’ll find what you’re seeking
For the looking shaped the seeing of the scene.



I begin this conclusion, strangely, with two 19th century comments on the status and potential of the American earth: a fragment of a poem by Walt Whitman-I would be his elve, his comrade-and by a brief quotation from John Stuart Mill.

IMAGE: Blue living compost: Earth

Whitman writes in THIS COMPOST:

“…Now I am terrified at the Earth, it is that calm and patient,
It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions,
It turns harmless and stainless on its axis, with such endless
successions of diseas’d corpses,
It distills such exquisite winds out of such infused fetor,
It renews with such unwitting looks its prodigal, annual sumptuous crops,
It gives such divine materials to men, and accepts such leavings from them at last.”

This written of a pristine America some 7 generations ago.

About the same time, John Stuart Mill predicted that if the Western world took the road we have in fact taken, the environment must eventually be destroyed: “the earth must lose that great portion of its pleasantness which it owes to things that the unlimited increase in wealth…would extirpate form it…I sincerely hope,” said Mill, “for the sake of posterity, that [future generations} will be content to be stationary, long before necessity compels them to it.”

It is fashionable, it has been good, and it may even now be valuable to generate some little light in the dank gloom at the end of such half-headed intellectual cloud gatherings.

I have therefore, to conclude this conclusion, prepared a short list of moderately radical policies or objectives that derive from that same basic thermodynamic and biotic principles that govern the critique of my species I have just presented.

I trust we are all aware that the changes we humans must make are radical, reaching variously to the ultimate distal roots of our cultures and possibly even into our genetics. The changes must come; otherwise we will be condemned tragically to repeat our cataclysmic and degrading struggle with the limits of earth, with fewer and fewer informational resources on which to draw. The following suggestions are a starting list that goes beyond the brick-in-the-toilet approach to reform. I urge you to consider them carefully, to debate and test them, to improve and add to them, and always to keep the grim factors of our essential profligacy as motive and guide to the reform of human nature.


1. Retract all cultural missionaries: religious, intellectual, economic, and political. Everybody go home and work toward the material and energic self-sufficiency of each and all cultures.

2. Don’t use any new non-renewable resources; build all devices for repeated re-use. (An intact ecosystem is essentially non-renewable.)

3. Decrease the average non-metabolic energy use per person, with a goal of 5% of the present values in first world countries.

4. Do not make or fly airplanes.

5. Feed back all wastes as close as possible to their source until they are eliminated within the process that generated them, or until a use is found for them.

6. Shift away from incentives for profligacy and toward incentives for reducing entropy. Prohibit exercise for the purpose of counteracting overeating. Exercise only restraint. Don’t ride the elevator to the gym.

7. Do no pay people to manipulate people’s money; treat them all as addicts. Send me all your money. I will burn it for you. [I always tell the truth.]

8. Study and develop programs for eliminating the apparently involuntary worship of non-metabolic energy jumps, like hot cars, waterfalls, and fire.

9. Isolate and depopulate human societies on earth. Goal: an absolute maximum of 10 million humans, partitioned between Eurasia and Africa. (Ten generations of one child per couple will do this.)

and 10. To speed speciation, sterilize all but the meek, that they alone may inherit.

During the few remaining minutes, consider these suggestions quietly and note other radical ideas that may invade your own head.
We need them all.
Diversity is the basic resource of a Darwin Machine.

And while you consider, listen now with one ear to a canon,
A baroque, 4-part canon,
Which I wrote for Richard.
It is called, “My Canon for Richard”.
He may have like it; I’m not sure.
I will not teach it to you. And each of you, please,
Hum along with no more than two parts at once.

David Mason Postcard 1

Postcard 2

Postcard 3

Postcard 4

Postcard 5


Filed under Fighting Authoritarian Groups, Inspiring, Multicultural, Pacific Northwest, Seva - Helping Others

Sikhs of Jatt Descent

From Wikipedia:

“The Jat people are considered by some to be the merged descendants of the original Indo-Aryans and a later addition of Indo-Scythian tribes of the region, merging to form the Jat people. The Jat people of India and Pakistan are not to be confused with the peripatetic Jats of Afghanistan, who are a distinct ethnic group.
The Jat people follow different faiths and are engaged in different professions. They have a discrete and distinct cultural history that can be historically traced back to ancient times.”

Recently I have been visiting a “Jatt” internet forum to share my thoughts, and also be educated, by fellow Sikhs (of various types) who assert that “Jat” is not a Hindu caste, rather an ethnic group.

So now I have changed my opinion and I feel that Dusenbery and the rest of us, including those who happily call themselves “Jatt Sikhs” should use the standard modern English usage – “Sikhs of Jatt Descent.”

I am happy to change my mind again as seems wise in light of new and fascinating knowledge. Here is what I learned. Please comment!

LEO TX writes:

Hi KamallaRoseKaur,

I went through some of the article and the 5 comments. I would like to hear from you, how do you categorize an ethnic group or a homogeneous ethnic group if you want to call it that, as caste? People of all Jatt clans amongst Hindu, Muslim or Sikhs, have been living in North India (and W Punjab), for about a couple of thousand years now. Prominent Indian caste system binds every outsider to their lowest category, shudra. So that is what they would call a Jatt as or even a visible white person..let us say, from Canada as. As a matter of fact, if a Brahmin of their system eats meat, eats with shudra or crosses sea, he automatically falls off his high rank. If I were to present an analogy, I will use a job or more-so military system..although, not all aspects may match.

Having given the basic geographical location geographical of Jatts from all religions, I would understand it if someone is trying to tie Jatts down as shudras, like some highly intelligent scholars from some of the Sikh websites do, calling Jatts as low class (as per Indian caste system) and then marching with an agenda of No-belief-in-caste-system. But point is, that, Jatts haven’t whined about this credo & never associated themselves with this caste system in past, neither they do now. Instead, they prefer to maintain their ethnic identity, culture and customs, language and literature etc…none of which is prohibited by any regulations of Sikhism. This is what is maintained even today. Dropping it would be asking to drop all of those I mentioned above (which I don’t understand has a any reasons to be dropped). Having said that, question arises….so where is this scary chill of someone being Jatt or an inferiority complex from so called Gurmukh Sikhs, coming from…who are trying to put Jatts down and contradicting their credo as well?

But, is addressing a Sikh as Jatt wrong? Why…? Is he not a Jatt if he becomes a Sikh? Is a person not White or Black or Hispanic if their become Sikh or Christian or Muslim? Should he not maintain his culture or ethics or values or literature if he becomes a Sikh? I think he should. By your color I might tell you are white or black or whatever and by my clan name you might tell if I am Jatt or not. Does that make you or me any smarter, higher or lower? I don’t think so and I have always failed to understand…why it does so for most learned people. By our turban, one might be able to tell if these people are Sikhs or not.

Crux of the talk is that being a Jatt or Khatri or from a Hindu high caste system or being white or black does not make anyone higher or lower. A sikh would never mind if you call him Sikh or a Jatt Sikh (if he is Jatt). A practicing Sikh may not be a Jatt and still the one doing wrong deeds. What is separating the two sides then? We both know what it is. Names and titles wash away and die. It is a waste of time thinking, why he is calling himself a Jatt Sikh and not Sikh. Well, may be because he belongs to that ethnic group of Punjab & because he might be a Sikh. So he is just addressing himself that way. Gurbani mentioned Bhagat Dhanna ji, as Dhanna Jatt, because he was a Jatt from Dhaliwal clan of Jatts. Does that make him a non Sikh? Is it wrong? No. The entire point is that despite being from any background, you can still be under One’s command which is the truth. Rest of the details that we are discussing are petty.

I hope this post will be helpful.

Jat The High Kicking

(For nonSikhs – this Sikh practices a different type of Sikhi than I do – I am pro-SRM – but then again, can’t argue that colonial influence of Sikhi was racist and oppressive and that the Brit. Victorians have a hell of a lot to answer for. I am of Irish descent. Don’t get me going!)

I do not find it offensive being called jatt sikh, it is descrivbes my culture and sikh.

Also not using castes is something preached by colonial British Raj Lahore Tat Khalsa Singh Sabha (and now mainstream) neo sikhs and not traditional or sanatan sikhs. Again neo sikhs follow “religion” anmd want to belong to tribalisitic religion and follow sikh”ism”. Traditional sikhs do not follow religon and rather follow dharma/dharam, and end of the day we r all humans and sikh hindu muslim are all labels, but that doesn’t mean i can stop calling myself jatt.

Also the SRM or sikh rehit maryada u talk abput is probably the the SGPC maryada endorsed by the Akal Takht, am I right? Because firstly this maryada is not followed by nihangs, nor is it recognised by their headquarters of Budda Dal. In fact Nihangs they do not even see them as real khalsa and jut as mlecch khalsa, the Akal Takht is being occupied by neo-sikhs since the 1920s. Nihangs and nirmalas r the true khalsa. Buddha Dal rehat maryada is the most authentic maryada around.

Again jatt sikh is only an oxymoron to neo-sikhs because to them Sikh is a religion label in the western context.

‘One time the complete being [Guru Gobind Singh] said these words:
“In a hundred years my Panth [Khalsa] will reach adulthood. As adulthood increases and [Panth] matures, many are the vices that are found. Which vices?
All castes will force their way into the Sikh nation, even the Malesh [filthy]. All the bad people will force their way into the Sikh nation. They will look like Sikhs but their actions will be of thieves, deceivers and Malesh. To look at, they will be Sikhs but, their actions will be of evil with the forbidden five [5 cults, ie. the Dhir Malia, Ram Rais, Masands, and Minas]. Those, cutting their hair who have become apostate [from the Khalsa faith] will have relations, and believe in the five Pirs [Muslim holy men]. Not trustworthy, misers, known as slanderers, evil persons, highway men, Guruless, speakers of evil words, etc., such [characters] in appearance they will seem as intelligent wise Sikhs”.’
(‘Rehitnameh’, Piara Singh Padam, Pa.121-122)

And this is how sikhi was actually followed back in the day. People followed their tribal traditions INCLUDING their own types of marital ceremonies and their own cultures. It was tolerant. In that society theer would have been noproblem in being called jatt- sikh.

‘The Sikhism preached by the people such as Khem Singh Bedi and Avatar Singh Vahiria is difficult to envisage today, so comprehensive has been their defeat by the Tat Khalsa. For them Sikhism tolerated variety and upheld the right of Sikhs to participate in folk religion. Caste was maintained and idol worship was tolerated. There were different forms of marriage for different castes and different rituals could be practised by various members of the Panth. All manners of customs, such as those involving astrology, horoscopes and incantation, were acceptable. Visits to the sacred shrines of Hindus and Muslims as well as those of the Guru’s were entirely approved. Sanatan leaders might not follow these customs themselves, but certainly they were prepared to tolerate them in others. They were part of the immense variety which characterized the world they had known and the world they hoped would continue. All this was anathema to the Tat Khalsa. Sikhism could not possibly be as broad and as tolerant as Sanatan Sikhs believed.’
‘Sikhism’, by Hew McLeod, 1997, Pa. 77

So remember, 1920s, tat khalsa and British Raj, this is the kind of sikh”ism” u see, not the traditional kind taught by Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

Kamalla Rose Kaur :

I am happy to call people whatever they choose to be called. On the Sikh forums where I hang out people don’t talk about being Jatt or the like and I came to understand from general reading that Jat was a caste. Frankly you wouldn’t be spending so much time educating others. if this were not a common thought.

I am happy to be put straight and call people whatever they choose to be called. I do not care. I do not mean that I do not care about you as individuals, were I to meet you and get to know you, but as a group I see you as fellow Sikhs only. This comes from being a stressed and striving USAer and surrounded by so many people from all sorts of cultures that I do not have time to come to understand all of them that well this life. Which I hate in truth. I enjoy reading your posts for sure.

Again my focus of study is on the SGGS and local activism; and Sikh Women’s Right’s activism.

Lord Jatt writes:

Hi KamallaRoseKaur,

To your Topic “Jatt as tribe, Jat as caste….” I find this discussion interesting so let me add my viewpoints to this.

Sikhism and in this instance … the other Eastern tradition of Buddhism etc that deal specifically against the Caste System have specifically prohibited Discrimination based upon Caste (or Tribal or Racial). Perhaps no other religion has attacked and even at one time successfully annihilated most of the Caste System as Buddhism has in history. But Buddha is still referred to as SakaMuni (Sanskrit: Sakya Muni) meaning The ‘Silent One’ Sage of the Saka (Sakya) Tribe. Same within Sikhism. The Dasam Granth’s Bachittar Natak has details in which Guru Gobind Singh describes the origins of his Sodhi Khatri Clan. The Bani of Dhanna Bhagat in SGGS specifically refers to him as Dhanna Jatt.

Obviously, Sikhism’s position to one’s Tribe is clear – Identifying yourself with your Tribe and loving its customs is Not bad – Discriminating others on Caste/Tribal basis is bad.

“On the Sikh forums where I hang out people don’t talk about being Jatt or the like and I came to understand from general reading that Jat was a caste. ” – KRK

There are few of these “Sikh” forums that are doing more of a dis-service to Sikhism than anything good. Once a while you get to see few individuals on these forums who have their own Jatt-Hate agenda and purposely spread misinformation against Jatts and their customs. What’s annoying is that they even go to the extent of misinterpreting Sikhism to express their hatred for Jatts. This is Cowardice.

“Frankly you wouldn’t be spending so much time educating others. if this were not a common thought (that Jatt is a caste)” – KRK

I agree this misinterpretation is indeed a Common Thought. To counter it, JattWorld was created in the first place.

“I do not care. I do not mean that I do not care about you as individuals, were I to meet you and get to know you, but as a group I see you as fellow Sikhs only.” -KRK

That’s equally good. I’m sure most of the Jatt Sikhs always tend to seperate Religion and Culture. In the sense that these are not mixed together to create a hotch potch. The term “Jatt Sikh” is used more in the sense … meaning – “A Jatt who follows Sikhism and is a Sikh” and NOT in the sense of a “seperate kind of Sikh professing a different type of Sikhism”. So in religious sense, say, a Jatt Sikh would almost always call himself a Sikh but in the cultural sense would he use the term Jatt Sikh.


Filed under Multicultural, Seva - Helping Others, Sikhi

A Bad Bad Day In Corporate Cubicle Land



A friend sent me this video link, an assortment of examples of really bad days as filmed by surrveilance cameras in modern offices. I am struck by the horrible, dehumanizing, work conditions that corporate employees put up with!


Filed under Multicultural, Seva - Helping Others, VIDEOS

The Sikh Motorcycle Club


The Sikh Motorcycle Club

The Sikh Motorcycle club is the only one of its kind in all of Canada. The club is the result of hard work by BC Sikhs to single-handedly win the battle to amend the Motor Vehicle Act for the Sikhs. The club was formed by Avtar Gill, Malkeet Singh and radio Host Harjinder Thind.

The motorcycle club began holding regular meetings and started riding in flocks as well as writing the Constitution of the club. The main purpose of the club is to enhance communication between the mainstream societies and bring awareness about Sikhs. The Sikh next door is not a stranger.


Filed under Multicultural, Seva - Helping Others, Sikh Women's Movement, Sikhi

The Sikh Way of Life

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Filed under Multicultural, Seva - Helping Others, Sikhi, The Khalsa Knighthood, VIDEOS