Category: Latest News

Udham Singh helps at Shepherd's Bush Gurdwara
January 20th, 2018 by Sabine Jansen

Gurdev Singh Sandhu, Grandson of
Shaheed-i-Azam Udham Singh hangs himself
due to extreme poverty

An incredibly sad series of events has recently come to light regarding the grandson of the celebrated Sikh matyr, Shaheed Udham Singh.

Despite the celebrated status of Shaheed Udham Singh across Sikh communities, and promises from various powerful political figures, the family he left behind have never received any support. It seems highly questionable that the family of a man who has given his life for his country have had no choice but to live in poverty and work in exceptionally poor conditions.

It is due to this extreme poverty experienced by the descendants of Shaheed Udham Singh, that his grandson, Gurdev Singh Sandhu, has hanged himself this month. He was found hanging with a rope around his neck inside his well. Gurdev Singh Sandhu, a farmer by trade, had been living in poverty for decades. He has appeared on television a number of times, explaining how despite his grandfather was considered a national hero, he was unable to find the most basic of jobs and therefore was incapable of supporting his family.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case – there are many freedom fighters from India who have died for worthy causes and beliefs and yet their families continue to face poverty and hardship.

Is it right that millions are spent on building Gurdwaras, langars, romallas, and other expensive artefacts all over the world, when there are families of martyrs suffering in extreme poverty?

Udham Singh

Udham Singh

The Amritsar Massacre

For anyone who is unfamiliar with the story of Shaheed Udham Singh, The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (otherwise known as the Amritsar Massacre) is a horrific event which took place on the 3rd April 1919. In response to a peaceful gathering of men, women, and children in the Jallianwala Bagh Garden who had gathered to celebrate Baisakhi, Colonel Dyer made the decision to bring the event to a halt by driving tanks into the area.

He had not appreciated quite how narrow the roads were and was forced to abandon his plan as the tanks were unable to drive down the roads. Instead, he sent his men into the garden where he then ordered them to open fire upon the group with no warning. It is thought that over a thousand men, women, and children were slaughtered by Dyer and his men, with many hundreds more injured. The whole operation had been approved by Lieutenant Governor O’Dwyer who later stated that the massacre had been the right thing to do.

One of the survivors of this brutal event was a young boy, Shaheed Udham Singh, who vowed to one day claim revenge against Lieutenant Governor O’Dwyer, the Governer of Pujab at the time. In his later years, he made his way to London where he assassinated Lieutenant Governor O’Dwyer. Shaheed Udham Singh was subsequently arrested.

Following his arrest, Shaheed Udham Singh stated:

“I did it because I had a grudge against him. He deserved it. He was the real culprit. He wanted to crush the spirit of my people, so I have crushed him. For full 21 years, I have been trying to seek vengeance. I am happy that I have done the job. I am not scared of death. I am dying for my country. I have seen my people starving in India under the British rule. I have protested against this, it was my duty. What greater honour could be bestowed on me than death for the sake of my motherland?”

Following to his murder trial, Udham Singh was sentenced to death and subsequently hanged on 31 July 1940. Today, he is hailed by many as being Shaheed-i-Azam Udham Singh.

It is regrettable that his family continues to suffer in extreme poverty – poverty to such an extent that his grandson felt he had no choice but to commit suicide.

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Eighty Four Siropas
January 1st, 2018 by Markus Müller

Yesterday eighty four people received Siropas at the Central Gurdwara (Khalsa Jatha) in London.

A siropa is bestowed by a religious or social figure or institution and may comprise, as is usually the case, a single garment or a length of cloth, two to two-and-a-half metres long, usually dyed in saffron colour.

Siropa among the Sikhs is a symbol of honour or benediction. The practice can be traced back at least as far as Guru Angad who bestowed upon Guru Amar Das a scarf every year. The latter treated these siropas as sacred gifts and carried them tied on his head one above the other.

The Siropa is the highest award that a Sikh may receive in sangat.

It is a gift bestowed by the sangat on behalf of the Guru Granth Sahib upon someone who deserves the honour by virtue of his or her dedication. It is given as a mark of recognition of piety or as an acknowledgement of unswerving devotion to a moral or philanthropic purpose.

It is the most precious gift of the Guru made through the Sangat. This is the highest honour in Sikhi. Saropas are given when the service rendered by the recipient is truly extraordinary and selfless.

The fine tradition of bestowing of Siropa is frequently totally desecrated.

At times the practice of giving a siropa to anyone who makes an offering of or exceeding a certain value or who happens to be socially or politically important is, an aberration.

The good points of this tradition are not questioned, nor is this tradition to be cheapened by giving a siropa for every little thing, especially money donations.

At times it has become so ubiquitous that it is almost worthless.

Siropa is earned through high merit and dedication. Siropa commands significance.

Gurpreet Singh Anand, committee member, stated from the stage of the Gurdwara:

“These people [named below] deserve the siropa one hundred percent. They actually signify what the siropa is about. People who have given their blood, sweat and tears for this Gurdwara”.

Anand then went on to invite the following persons on to the stage of the Gurdwara to receive Siropas. Those present were then given a Siropa by Hardeep/Peter Singh Virdee and Rajinder Singh Bhasin. The Siropa ceremony culminated by Anand, Bhasin and Virdee giving a Sirpoa to each other.

Jaspal Singh Kheria Bunty Monu
Sonny Naz Ravi
Jags Raj Jeeta
Sabi Shera Bubby
Victor Gurj Mesh
Inder Rikki Bob
Binder Happy Minto
Gill Raj Benny
Raju Mario Alan
 Jaswinder Singh Atwal (Joyti)  Rajween Kaur Gill  Rameet Kaur
Sukhwinder Singh Paul (Tony) Bobby Singh Paul Amarjit Singh Paul
Srikarta Kaur Inderpal Kaur Jaswainder Singh Alg
Rajinder Singh Alg Mrs Alg Dapinder Kaur Alg
Bhupinder Singh (Bob) Satnam Singh Hothi Manveer Singh
Ishpal Singh Anand Jasjot Singh Kohli Gurpreet Singh
Mono Sandhu Avtar Singh Tethi Mrs Avtar Singh Tethi
Jaskeerat Singh Ravi Singh Mrs Ravi Singh
Preya Kaur Heer Sandeep Singh Sabharwal Harinder Singh Arora
Nanik Singh Rajveer Singh Sahni Sukhwinder Singh Sahni
Bhupinder Singh Bhasin Manpal Singh Anand Romi Singh Chadha
Nitu Kaur Chadha Sonny Chadha Sarabjit Singh Chadha
Pammi Kaur Randhawa Rajan Randhawa Gurpreet Singh Sethi
Buboo Singh Padha Vardatta Singh Deepak Singh Sethi
Gaini Arjun Singh Bob the Plumber Gurmeet Singh
Naha Chahal Kool Chahal Jagtar Singh Akan
Jasse Singh Akan Surjan Singh Akan Rajinder Singh Bhasin
Harminder Singh Ruprai Hardeep / Peter Singh Virdee Hardeep / Peter Singh Virdee’s father
Hardeep / Peter Singh Virdee’s mother   Gurpreet Singh Anand Mrs Gurpreet Singh Anand
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