Awake India, awake to his vision. Leave those caste barriers, acquire knowledge, be strong in body and be a Khalsa in spirit. Your religion doesn’t matter. Khalsa is a state of mind, not just a religion.

by Frank Hazur

While Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi across India; rest of India wonders if it is about doing the Bhangra and dancing. No, it is not; Vaisakhi holds a lesson for all Indians.

So the day 13 April 1699, in a congregation of people from across India were standing there listening to their Guru, Gobind Rai. Gobind Rai asked for the human sacrifice of five men one after the other.

Five men from different castes from different parts of India stood up from a crowd of thousands.

– A shopkeeper Baniya called Daya Ram from Lahore
– A Tarkhan carpenter called Dharam Das from Meerut
– A so-called low-caste water carrier called Himmat Rai from Jagannath Puri, Odisha
– A tailor of Cheema caste called Mukham Chand from Dwarka, Gujarat
– A barber of Naai caste called Sahib Chand from Bidar, Karnataka

With his choice of disciples from five different corners of India, Gobind Rai visualized the national dream from the coast of Gujarat along Western Arabian Sea to coasts of Odisha along the Bay of Bengal; from the great Plains of Punjab to the Gangetic Plain and then to the Deccan peninsula covering Karnataka.

Do not forget that at that time, all these were separate states; it was Guru Gobind Singh that thought of all of them as one. This day Baisakhi 1699.

With the choice of disciples from five different caste-groups, he visualized an integrated class-less society.

The five were christened as the first five Khalsa Sikhs, and the five, in turn, christened their Guru as the sixth. Gobind Rai was now Gobind Singh.

All caste names and surnames were dropped, and a common surname was proposed for all Indians across India; a surname that denoted a caste-less, class-less creed of men willing to sacrifice themselves for the nation and against injustice.

And the Swaroop he chose for the class-less people was an amalgamation of the ancient Indian thought of Rishis (as mentioned by Guru Gobind Singh in the Sarbloh Granth) and the Kshatriya tradition of Warriors, hence the Jooda, the hairs, and the Talwar.

The concept of Miri-Piri was coded in the dress-system of this new society envisioned by him. A group of people who were strong in Miri (Physical Strength and material possessions) and Piri (Spiritual Strength and humility)

So, the five so-called lower castes were given the temporal strength of a Rishi (a Brahmin citadel till now) and the Physical responsibilities of a Kshatriya (a duty till then limited to the Rajputs).

This motley group of people uprooted Afghan and Mughal rule from entire North India from the Yamuna to the Khyber pass, such as the power of the vision.

And this was the Indian that he envisioned from five corners of HIS nation. Guru Gobind Singh was visionary par excellence. His vision has been diluted and limited to Sikhism, that is the travesty.

Awake India, awake to his vision. Leave those caste barriers, acquire knowledge, be strong in body and be a Khalsa in spirit. Your religion doesn’t matter. Khalsa is a state of mind, not just a religion.

(Frank Hazur is the editor of Socialist Factor magazine, Lucknow, India)



Before goons and fanatics (using the word Hindu for them disgraces my sacred religion) demolish another mosque or church, they can go and bulldoze the Kathua temple, a disgraced structure now, and a symbol of national shame and stigma.

Till now it was a place of reverence and tranquility. But the temple’s sanctity and divinity were grounded by its very custodian, the caretaker priest and his accomplices in the vicious and disgusting acts of rape and murder of just eight-year-old girl within its premises. That too, right in the presence of murtis of Hindu goddesses from whom they seek morality and virtues in their ritualistic performances.

How a devout Kathua Hindu pass by that street or let alone enter the disgraced building which was once an abode of God and a space for personal invocation.

-By Promod Puri, Author Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs And Traditions. Editor progressivehindudialogue.com



Through Law, Ambedkar Declared Manusmriti Illegal

By Promod Puri
(In celebration of Dr.Ambedkar Jayanti and his birthday)

Earlier in the mid 19th century Jyotirao Phule, an activist, reformer, and theologist from Maharashtra initiated the struggle to end the social exploitation of the outcasts. He espoused the word Dalit originating from the Marathi language meaning broken and crushed. He denounced the caste system and focused on the rights of depressed classes.

The campaign against caste system gathered momentum under contemporary leader Dr. Bhumirao Ramji Ambedkar at the forefront. He vehemently opposed the caste-based discrimination and fought against the plight of Shudras and Dalits.

Hinduism, he argued if followed according to Manusmriti, has assigned Dalit “the role of a slave.”

Before his apostasy, Ambedkar was a born Hindu in a Dalit family and experienced firsthand the discrimination and humiliation in early childhood. He set out to eradicate the centuries’ old segregation and stigmatization of fellow human beings classified as Shudras and Untouchables.

His biography states:
“Although able to attend school, Ambedkar and other untouchable children were segregated and given little attention or assistance by the teachers. They were not allowed to sit inside the class. Even if they needed to drink water, someone from a higher caste would have to pour that water from a height as they were not allowed to touch either the water or the vessel that contained it. This task was usually performed for the young Ambedkar by the school peon, and if the peon was not available then he had to go without water; the situation he later in his writings described as “No peon, No Water.” He was required to sit on a gunny sack which he had to take home with him”. (Source B.R.Ambedkar, Wikipedia).

His father was a ranked army officer under the British rule in India. Using his little influence, he got his children educated. Ambedkar being an industrious student and while facing challenges, he did his matriculation, graduation and post graduation in economics and political science. He attended Columbia University and London School of Economics and received doctorate honors. He served as India’s first law minister when the country gained Independence.

Distinguishing himself with several academic degrees and being an eminent scholar was indeed his personal feats which infused a great sense of pride for the entire community of Dalits and under-privileged class.

In his book Annihilation of Caste Ambedkar, while arguing against the deep-rooted caste system in the Hindu psyche, he gives a vivid description of the custom and practices prevalent in the society.

He writes: “Under the rule of the Peshwas in the Maratha country the untouchable was not allowed to use the public streets if a Hindu was coming along lest he should pollute the Hindu by his shadow. The untouchable was required to have a black thread either on his wrist or in his neck as a sign or a mark to prevent the Hindus from getting them polluted by his touch through mistake. In Poona, the capital of the Peshwa, the untouchable was required to carry, strung from his waist, a broom to sweep away from behind the dust he trod on lest a Hindu walking on the same should be polluted. In Poona, the untouchable was required to carry an earthen pot, hung in his neck wherever he went, for holding his spit lest his spit falling on earth should pollute a Hindu who might unknowingly happen to tread on it”.

In his crusade to end the ill-treatment of Dalits, as well as expressing his moral sense, that on December 25, 1927, he led a public protest of the symbolic burning of Manusmriti. The event was attended by thousands of people in a ceremony performed by a Brahmin priest amidst chanting of mantras.

Ambedkar was a fearless and dedicated soldier who fought to uproot casteism from the contaminated soil of India’s social and religious culture.

Combating religious wrongs is more challenging than tackling other social, economic and political issues. Ambedkar was one of those rare personalities in the history of humankind who consciously ruffled with religious sensitivities.

With his intellect, knowledge and rational understanding of the religion, Ambedkar confronted with and impeached the Hindu establishment for its treatment of the Dalits and Untouchables. He awakened the dormant consciousness of the oppressed class who otherwise resigned themselves to the act of fate.

Unlike in Mahabharata, Ambedkar fought the battle against evils thru nonviolent strategies.

When India got Independence and Ambedkar being the principal author of the nation’s constitution and holding the law portfolio in the cabinet, Untouchability was declared unlawful.

Ambedkar believed the law is an instrument to establish a sane social order in which the development of the individual is in harmony with the growth of society.

After centuries of hitherto unchallenged and illegal authority relating to human rights violations, Manusmriti in terms of laws of India became illegal overnight.

Granting equality does not mean justice. But legalities were put in place. Special privileges for the underprivileged members of the society were enshrined in the constitution to break the shackles of virtual economic and social slavery, and to free the Dalits and Shudras from the humiliating social disorder.

As a key person in the drafting of the Indian constitution, he was successful in making adequate inclusions of women’s rights in addition to all other general provisions applicable to all. These inclusions sought to abolish different marriage systems prevalent among Hindus and to establish monogamy as the only legal system, conferment of the right to property, and adoption of women and restitution of conjugal rights and judicial separation.

Ambedkar, in fact, was an inspiration for the progressive Hindu mind, a guide for the rationalist and reformist Hindu, an advocate of women rights, and almost a messiah for lowest of the low which for the first time felt some hope of freedom from their dehumanized status.

Ambedkar helped in the revamping of the Hindu society. He was posthumously honored with India’s highest civil award of Bharat Ratna in 1990.

The technical advances particularly in the social media, promise the societal cleanup of the clogs within the Hindu religion which would see Ambedkar’s dream of social democracy comes true.

(From my book Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs And Traditions)

India’s Pride And Shame

When India wins gold, silver or bronze by some participants at the Commonwealth Games it becomes a collective pride for the country. And when rapes followed by murders of the rape victims are committed by few beastly members of the society including characterless politicians then these cases are not accepted as collective shame for the nation. –Promod Puri


IMG_3003While most Hindu deities are revered thru their symbolic medium of murtis, the sun god is worshiped not only as graphic or statue-like idol, but in His live appearance as well.

Surya Namaskar or salutation is an early morning Hindu prayer in standing posture and with folded hands facing the sun god.

Surya Devta or sun god enjoys unique status in Hindu iconography as the visible divine personality emerging from the horizon every day. His celestial arrival frees a devotee from ritualistic customs or caste-based barricades and taboos to have an independent face to face obeisance and worship. The sun god is approachable without any medium.

The Sun’s universal distribution of light and energy has been recognized since Vedic time as the ultimate source of life, the cause of our existence and the environment it nourishes.

From metaphysical viewpoint light and energy occupy fundamental ranking in Hindu faith. And sun is the spirited and analogous force in this numinous discernment. Light and energy are the divine elements to lead us to the path of knowledge, reality and truth. The Gayatri mantra predicates the divinity in light and energy.

The life and soul of the universe is the Sun.

(Excerpts from Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs And Traditions)

Court Considering Case For Chimps As Persons

NY Times April 9, 2018

By Jeff Seb, director of the animal studies program at New York University.

You might be aware that chimpanzees can recognize themselves in a mirror, communicate through sign language, pursue goals creatively and form long-lasting friendships. You might also think that these are the kinds of things that a person can do. However, you might not think of chimpanzees as persons.

The Nonhuman Rights Project does. Since 2013, the group has been working on behalf of two chimpanzees, Kiko and Tommy, currently being held in cages by their “owners” without the company of other chimpanzees. It is asking the courts to rule that Kiko and Tommy have the right to bodily liberty and to order their immediate release into a sanctuary where they can live out the rest of their lives with other chimpanzees.

The problem is that under current United States law, one is either a “person” or a “thing.” There is no third option. If you are a person, you have the capacity for rights, including the right to habeas corpus relief, which protects you from unlawful confinement. If you are a thing, you do not have the capacity for rights. And unfortunately, even though they are sensitive, intelligent, social beings, Kiko and Tommy are considered things under the law.

In response, the Nonhuman Rights Project is taking a bold position: It is arguing that if every being must be either a person or a thing, then Kiko and Tommy are persons, not things. I agree, and many other philosophers do, too.

In February, a group of philosophers, including me, submitted an amicus curiae brief to the New York Court of Appeals in support of legal personhood for Kiko and Tommy. (Members of the group contributed to this article as well.) The court is considering whether to allow the case to proceed.


“Utopias are idealized visions of a perfect society. Utopianisms are those ideas put into practice.This is where the trouble begins.” This is called dystopia. Writes Michael Shermer Publisher, Skeptic magazine. “Dystopias are failed social experiments, repressive political regimes, and overbearing economic systems that result from utopian dreams put into practice.”https://qz.com/1243042/utopia-is-a-dangerous-ideal-we-should-aim-for-protopia/

Redesigning Political & Economic Systems

Redesigning of our political and economic systems based on changing social needs as well as our ethical and environmental commitments will be more viable, responsive and revered than the outdated, impractical and utopian Socialist idealism, and greedy Capitalism. The contemporary world society seeks that the idiosyncrasy of the present sociopolitical Left and the Right cultures should be replaced by a new political and economic ideology. An integrated approach is needed where modern sciences, ethics, and environmental updates can be part of both the political and economic systems

-Promod Puri


Democratic freedoms breed authoritarianism. Consolidation of power, achieved through democratic means, is a tempting phenomenon when regimes are slowly being wrapped up in totalitarianism.

Nationalism is aroused, and the fear factor is introduced by scapegoating foreign enemies and targeting the minorities.

To streamline the influence of fear several practices and arrangements are mobilized. Judiciary, the intelligence agencies, the income tax department, the police forces, state-sponsored ‘terrorism,’ and the disciplined media are the channels to move democracy towards fascism.

It is a camouflaged and uneven process which the majority and middle class naively get adapted to acceptable disturbance to fake national security concerns.

However, the fear factor permeates into the culture of silence and apathy.

And this is where the authoritarianism survives as the next elections are corrupted too.

-By Promod Puri


Cuba is getting a new president on April 19, and for the first time in six decades, his last name will not be Castro.


The article seeks redesigning of our political and economic systems based on changing social needs as well as our ethical and environmental commitments.



by Promod Puri

The article seeks redesigning of our political and economic systems based on changing social needs as well as our ethical and environmental commitments.

From Mohammad to Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr. to Nelson Mandela and Dr. Ambedkar all had religious commitments grounded in humanism, love, compassion, and kindness to wage their political and social campaigns against slavery, apartheid, discrimination, inequality, and un-touchability based on color, class, and caste.

Gandhi’s crusade against evils in the society and his political discourse were derived from the Hindu scriptures of Upanishads advocating the concepts of non-violence, truthfulness, self-discipline, compassion, and virtuousness.

Obama, who believes in the power of faith, has sought a “serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy”.

He argues, “more fundamentally the discomfort of some progressives with any hint of religion has often prevented us from effectively addressing issues in moral terms”. In a public address, he said: “secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square”. (“Obama’s 2006 Speech on Faith and Politics”, The New York Times, June 28,2006 edition).

“Before entering the public square”, what Obama is demanding instead is the infusion of true religion, without its symbolism, in the political environment to establish moral guidelines in its ideologies.

In a world, which is politically divided into two castes of Leftists and Rightists with sub-castes of Extreme Left and Extreme Right, ideological fanaticism runs high along with elements of power, ego, and greed, which are opportunistically embraced by all political establishments. In this “dirty game”, socialist idealism becomes just sloganeering.

The idiosyncrasy of the present sociopolitical left and the right mental constitution is that the leftists have a revulsion for religion. And the rightists are religious fanatics. The former ridicules and rejects religion and the latter is narcissustically illiterate about it.

And this is where the science of politics must step in to explore the true spirit of religion based on its universal teachings to find permanent residency in political leadership.

Deepak Chopra says: “Enlightened leadership is spiritual if we understand spirituality not as some kind of religious dogma or ideology but as the domain of awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, beauty, love, and compassion, also intuition, creativity, insight, and focused attention”.

Paved with these divine and acknowledged values religion offers an ever-guiding relationship with politics in the service of humanity and its environment.

(Promod Puri resides in Vancouver, Canada. He is a journalist and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, and Traditions).





Should Politics Be Separate From Religion

via Should Politics Be Separate From Religion

Should Politics Be Separated From Religion?

“Politics and religion must be kept separate” is an acknowledged doctrine in secular and democratic-socialist systems. But there are elements in most religions that are liberal, secular, and democratic. For these reasons, politics can incorporate religion in its order, whereas religion can keep its sanctity if the “dirty politics” stay out of it.

It is a fact that the laws of the land with their universal application have been constituted from religious teachings to institute political ideologies.

Barack Obama cites that “The Majority of great reformers in American history were not only motivated by faith but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause”.
In his political activism, Rev. Martin Luther King advocated “that the spiritual practices of prayer and worship must be translated into concern for the poor and vulnerable”.
He urged fellow Americans “Work to defeat racism, speak out in principled opposition to war and combat poverty with enlightened and compassionate public policy.” Read the complete article https://promodpuri.com/2016/12/10/religion-has-guiding-role-in-politics-2/