kenya, sikhs, website

letter from switzerland

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jambo! jambo, sana!
sat sri akal

congratulations from me, a kala simba, a swahili-speaking sikh living in switzerland. i have just logged in onto your website and wish you all the very best and chardikala.

kama una taka, unaweza kuandika jibu lako kwa kiswahili, kwa sababu (mimi) nasema kiswahili, kijerumani, kizungu, panjabi, hindi na urdu. mimi ni mwalimu ya kizungu hapa switzerland. na vaa kilemba na ndevu mrefu pia! haya
kwaheri ya kuonana.

will continue to surf your website for further information about sikhs (simbas) in kenya and the rest of east africa. you brought old memories of my times there 44 years ago! i’m in touch with a few dozen wananchis [citizens] here. keep up your excellent work.

siku njema.

paramjit

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gurbani, kenya, politics, sikhs, website

sanjhi ardas – a rare event in kenya’s sikh history

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the sanjhi ardas smagam pulled in the sangat in the numbers rarely witnessed in modern kenya. with over 26 different gurudwaras in the country, for the first time ever, everyone got together and offered a single petition to Waheguru – please, Lord, save our beloved kenya! the sight was one to behold – with over a thousand devotees filling the darbar, the sukhmani sahib recited in unison was powerful. during the ardas, the image of ragis and gyanis from nairobi’s gurudwaras, joining hands together as the sangat stood in reverence, was one we have never seen before. what a humbling ocassion . . .

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the full official report, pictures, kirtan tracks and some videos are now being prepared for upload on the kenyankalasinga website. what a day it was . . . truly blessed . . .

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kenya, politics, sikhs

makhan singh: the forgotten son of two continents

makhan-singh.jpgMakhan Singh, an unsung Sikh hero of Kenyan and Indian freedom struggles, who has been forgotten by Kenya, India and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), has been portrayed in a play Mungu Comrade (Mungu is a Swahili word for God), by noted playwright Atamjit.

Few Indians know Makhan (1913-1973) and other India-born persons who had made sacrifices in the freedom struggle of Kenya. He was born at Gharjakh village in Gujranwala, a Sikh majority area in the province of Punjab (now in Pakistan). At the age of 13, he moved with his family to Nairobi in 1927. In 1935, Makhan Singh formed the Labour Trade Union of Kenya and in 1949 he and Fred Kubai formed the East African Trade Union Congress, the first central organisation of trade unions in Kenya.

A Sikh by faith and true Communist leader, Makhan Singh was the founder of East African trades union movement. He spent 17 years in prison during the struggle for Indian and Kenyan independence. Alas ! Makhan has been virtually forgotten both by India and Kenya after their independence. Continue reading

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kenya, politics

‘the best way to revenge’

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the article below underscores what mehindi dahya of kisumu (kenya) whose 32 years investment was burnt to the ground says “i cannot sit down and cry. as long as GOD is with us, we will make it.

the issue before us is not easy as it looks. in guise, all of us are looking at the situation with our colored glasses. colored by our perception of the other people or by our perceived injustice carried against us depending on our social or ethnic backgrounds. we are all waiting for external events or the other person to act in a certain way in order to release us from our anguish and anger. we have become emotional prisoners of one another, regardless of our education or religion – we secretly want bloodshed and destruction. i met someone who seemingly can’t eat since this crises started, why? because of the way they feel about the situation and “that tribe” that has caused it. Continue reading

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gurbani, kenya, politics, sikhs

kenya – the good ‘ol days

oldkenya.jpgthe good old days seem like distant memories when you begin to get nostalgic in times when nothing now seems the same. how, truly, gurbani tells us that we are living in a dream (guru tegh bahadur ji in his slok mohalla 9 advices us to regard this life like a dream – and that without a moment’s notice, will be over so soon), with the current skirmishe and civil unrest sweeping across the country, this video on youtube makes the heart yearn for a return to simplicity of africa – the calmness of its rolling hills, the multitudes of wild game, the crystal clear weather, the wealth of land and countless more gifts from the Divine. o yes, this is what life once was – innocent and divine. but human progress over the centuries have stripped it all away. Continue reading

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kenya, politics, sikhs

kenya’s minority report

kenya-sikh.jpg i awoke this morning, looking forward to yet another challenging day at the office, but found myself turning back halfway through the journey. what appeared to be impatient drivers on the highway who were turning back, ended up in breaking into the sad turn of events that again created tensions in the city of nairobi. the road i was using – around 8.30am – was suddenly clamped close by the anti-riot police who turned out of nowhere. it’s only when i got home that i saw on the news that just after midnight this morning, an elected opposition m.p. had been brutally shot dead right outside his home. this led to the city erupting into chaos – roads and schools and offices getting hurriedly shut. what an interruption of life we are now going through. what used to be africa’s most stable country is now on the verge of collapse as the politicians continue to bicker for their own selfish ends. the plight of the common man is now in the hands of God.

when an oak tree like kenya begins to burn, it’s the smaller leaves that tremble first. Continue reading

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