Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Not cartoons this time - but just as irrational

From The Independent

One person was killed and more than 50 were injured after tens of thousands of angry Sikhs, many armed with their ceremonial kirpan daggers, went on the rampage across Punjab and the neighbouring state of Haryana.

India's Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, appealed for calm and put the army on standby as the central government sent thousands of police to the region.

The rioting broke out after the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, a non-profit group that combines social work with spirituality, placed an advert in a local newspaper showing its leader, Baba Gurmeet Singh, allegedly impersonating Sikhism's 10th and last guru, an act most Sikhs would consider deeply offensive.

The advert appeared to show Gurmeet Singh administering a special nectar, known as Jaam-e-Insaan, to his followers while wearing the same long robes worn by the guru, Guru Gobind Singh - who was also known to baptise believers with nectar. Unlike Islam, where picturing the Prophet Mohamed is strictly forbidden, most Sikhs believe it is permissible to picture their gurus, and families often place a picture of the religion's founding father, Guru Nanak Dev, somewhere in their homes. But pretending to be a guru is strictly forbidden.


  1. Sameer Bhagwat23 May 2007 at 13:35

    This article is EXTREMELY MISLEADING because it says one person was killed after thousands of angry Sikhs marched.

    This causes the reader to assume and infer that the angry Sikhs killed an innocent person.

    However, it is the complete opposite.

    A Sikh man, who was a very spiritual soul and did seva as "Punj Pyare" in the "Nagar Keertans" named Bhai Kanwaljit Singh. He felt the pain of disgrace against the Sikh faith in his heart, and he wanted to protest the dera cult.

    He tried to enter the dera cult and was attacked and killed by the dera cult members.

    Many of the people who were injured were Sikhs, attacked by rowdy and unscrupulous dera cult members.

    You can visit any website for the real pictures and information from Tribune to IBN TV to Sanjh Savera to

    The Sikh community is doing peaceful protest while the dera cult followers are doing violent attacks.

  2. Irrationality is a key theme for this blog.

    Whilst I can understand your desire to make sure the record of "who did what to who" is accurate, I think that at the end of the day, all violence in the name of religion is wrong. In this respect who did do what to who is not relevant to my particular message.

    Thanks for your opinion and the pointer to other versions of this story.

    I think that all forms of religious belief are irrational and they do therefore encourage irrational thought. One of the consequences of rational thought can be violence.

    Given the choice between armed mobs on the street or free speech and I know which I would vote for.