Maharaja of Patiala at the frontline (April 1915)
As soon as the war broke out in early August 1914, the British and the French quickly mobilized their respective empires. Soldiers and labourers from all over the world soon found themselves on the Western Front.
More than 30 different nationalities were engaged in the Ypres Salient. There was a British Indian infantry division composed of three brigades with four battalions that quickly grew to five battalions after the battle of Neuve-Chapelle in April 1915.
Undoubtedly the British forces were composed of soldiers of the world’s greatest ever empire in 1914. Firstly, there were the Dominions; Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in addition to the crown colonies of Newfoundland and, of course, our main subject today - the Sikhs from British India.
It is now quite obvious that even though they were united in a common cause, a uniform sense of nation was, at the time and even up to the partition of India, blatantly absent.
The then troops of the British Indian army or the British Indian Labour Corps came from, what is today, the countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma and Nepal.
Even some smaller constituent parts of the British Empire sent their sons to Flanders’ fields, Egypt (Egyptian Labour Corps), BWI (the Caribbean and mainly Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados) and Bermuda, the Fiji Islands (Fijian Labour Corps). Then again, the British army counted white Rhodesians amongst its ranks. .....More
Seva or Karseva also shortened to ‘Sewa’ is a word used to refer to "selfless service", performed without any thought of reward or personal benefit.
The person performing this service is called a Sevadar. All Sikhs are encouraged by their Guru (Sri Guru Granth Sahib) to perform Seva or Selfless Service.
This is not only good for the community but is also good for the moral uplifting of the person performing the service. You will find Sikhs engaged in free service in Gurdwaras washing dishes, performing kirtan or cleaning the floors, etc.
Sikhs are also encouraged to help the community by performing unpaid work in hospitals, old peoples' homes, community centres, etc. Volunteers engaged in Seva or Sevadars find that this activity forms an essential part of their life, providing spiritual fulfilment and practical benefits.
Sikhism is founded on principles of "Sarbat da bhalla" - "working towards the common good". For Sikhs, this means reaching out to serve and to uplift all of humanity as an expression or devotion to the Creator. Many other Sikh institutes like Guru-ka-Langar, Kirtan, Paath, etc depend on the performance of Seva by many in the congregation. So the principles of Seva underpins many of the Sikh values and institutions - Such is the importance given to Seva in Sikhism. .....More
Akhand Jaap November 2006
- .... that Akhand Jaap - is a movement instigated by the youth as a "World Prayer for Peace". It involves the continuous repetition of the word "Waheguru" (Wonderful Lord) which is sung continuously from 1 to 24 hours; It is continuous meditation without interruption. The sangat (congregation) is led by various groups of 'Kirtanias' or Ragis (musicians) in succession and the whole of the congregation join in.
- ..... that Siropa is a term adopted from Persian sar-o-pa (head and foot) or sarapa (head to foot) meaning an honorary dress and is used in Sikh vocabulary for a garment, scarf or a length of cloth bestowed on someone as a mark of honour.
Once there was no rain in a particular area for an extended period resulting danger to the crops. In some areas, the crops had already been destroyed.
So the local people of that area decided to do Ardas - a prayer or supplication to God so that their crops may be saved. Many hundreds of people gathered together at the designated place for this Ardas.
While this gathering was in progress, a passing Sikh Saint stopped by. He asked one of the crowd why there was such a big crowd gathered and what was the purpose of the gathering. One of them told the Sikh Saint that that they had gathered here to do Ardas because the crops will be destroyed in the absence of rain; they were going to ask God for rain.
The Saint said that was a good thing that they were doing an ardas but he did not see anyone carrying an umbrellas or "barsatie" (rain coats)…. When Waheguru (God) accepted your Ardas then there will be lot of rain. One group leader laughingly said, "But we do not know whether it will rain or not."
The Saint said, "How will your Ardas be accepted when you do not have faith in Waheguru" . He told them all to go home .