Sunday, October 24

Shambling around doing stuff

It is slowly picking up speed on the charity front after the slow down over the summer. So what have I been up to?

1. Well, had a nice session with the SIFE LSE team who were formed for the first time this academic year. The financial trading game is going on fine, the interaction with TeachFirst is good and should pick up speed. Then we had a long chat about potential environmental projects and a shed load of projects popped up during the discussions, ranging from helping ex-convicts to homeless people to ex-soldiers who want to get back into civilian life and and and. Anyway, the chaps have decided to go away and check out the options. Spoke to one of our COO’s and he has kindly offered to sponsor a good sustainability project that has a clear business case (revenue, costs or both). So this promises to be good fun.

2. Help for Hero’s, we had a good quiz night and managed to raise more than £2000 for this charity. Good stuff, I think i will do a bit more for these fellows, lets see, I have some ideas which are brewing away.

3. Meeting somebody for the 100books projects next week which unfortunately sort of got paused because the main pusher of the project had to move jobs. But hopefully we can resurrect it and make something of this. Watch this space.

4. The team from Nottingham University SIFE team have met with Pat Ryan, who is our CEO of the IT4CH charity. They are apparently quite happy and excited to join into the charity and and and. Quite happy with this.

5. Talking about IT4CH, after pimping myself, managed to raise a £1000 cheque for the charity, that should help. We have also got a great volunteer who is speaking to various IT firms in London who could be potential donors of equipment.

6. An interesting project popped up at work during a sustainability meeting, and that’s a proposal to reduce the grammage of our printing paper from 80gsm to 75gsm. This could aim to reduce costs, save 15-12 tons of paper consumption daily. So am sponsoring this at my business unit to see if it works, if the client facing chaps don't object and the printing works. Quite a good idea, eh?

7. Didnt mention this before, but hosted a team from Essex University who were interested in knowing what we are doing with our sustainability piece within the bank. Quite an interesting talk, got two MD’s in as well to speak. This is one of our biggest selling points to graduates who love to join us because we live and breathe sustainability. Its indeed part of the DNA. Have you checked out our sustainability activities and report?? We walk the walk and talk the talk Smile

Another UK freedom of speech issue

This is ridiculous. You remember the Behzti issue? This isnt at the same level but we have a challenge with the British libel laws which screw up freedom of speech. I quote the original article which caused all this problem


The Sikh Times article from 23 August 2007 by Hardeep Singh
Recently a division due to the influence of an accused Cult leader called Jeet Singh has disturbed the peace in the Sikh community in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. The police and local MP are aware of the situation and have offered considerable support in finding an appropriate resolution to the crisis.
The Gurdwara 'Sikh Temple' was set up in 1991 by members of the Sikh community with the hope to join the local Sikh congregation and work to provide religious services and guidance for the community members. Wycombe is one of 3 affiliated Gurdwara's which was set up with the blessings of a Holy Saint Sant Baba Gian Singh Maharaj from Gurdwara Nirmal Kutia in Johla, Jullunder, Panjab.
The Origin of the lineage of true Saints from this ecclesiastical institution began with a man called Sant Baba Karam Singh from Hoti Mardan (1826 - 1903). Upon the dissolution of the Sikh army after the annexation of the Punjab to British India in 1849, Karam Singh joined the Corps of Guides which had been raised by the British in the Sutlej territory in 1846 to defend British interests in the region against the formidable Pashtun/Afghan tribesman, and which was later reorganised as the 5th (Guides) Battalion of the 12th Frontier Force Regiment, with Mardan near Peshawar.
During the famous 'Sepoy Mutiny' in 1857 Karam Singh along with his regiment, the 'Guides' helped the British defeat the mutineers in the British India forces in the Historic battle for Delhi on the 20th of September 1857. He later took official leave from his services to the British army and spent many years in solitude and deep meditation.
The fifth and present successor to Karam Singh the Historical Saint Soldier figure, is Sant Baba Roshan Singh who has set up Hospitals and Schools for the poor in the Panjab and is working to tackle deprivation and social/Health inequalities in the state.
The current conflict effecting Wycombe's Sikh community started in 2003 when the last of the lineage of Saints in the Gurudwara Nirmal Kutia, Jullunder passed away, without inaugurating a 'legally appointed successor' to the assets and position as head authoritarian of Nirmal Kutia.
In Wycombe, the catalyst for the division is the split over the allegiance to the cult leader who is currently contesting his claim over successorship to Nirmal Kutia in the Indian High courts, the matter is still pending.
Cults are by no means a new phenomenon affecting the Sikhs globally and Jeet Singh is one of several high profile accused Cultists who are causing difficulties for the community worldwide.
He has asserted that the place known as Gurudwara Nirmal Kutia, India is not in fact a Sikh Gurudwara at which an offertory is maintained. It has been stated that Nirmal Kutia is a 'Dera' (abode or residence) of Jeet Singh and any offerings made there are offerings made to him personally.
Only last month July 24 in Sirsa, district of Haryana, Six persons were injured when a Dera Sacha Sauda (cult) follower fired at Sikhs in a village in Sirsa district of Haryana, leading to tension in the area. According to official sources in Chandigarh, the six persons, belonging to Sikh community, had received minor injuries on their legs after the shooting incident in Mallewala village, about 10 kms from Sirsa, and were treated in a local hospital.
The area was tense following the stand off between the Cult followers and members of the Sikh community after the recent alleged blasphemous act of the Cult Chief Sant Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh following his appearance in dress similar to that of 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
Colonel GS Sandhu, Chairman of a Non Governmental organisation and Human Rights front called 'Aapna Panjab', is alarmed by the increase in Cultist activities in India,
'Simple Sikh men and women are being exploited by some of the ever increasing numbers of so-called sants and babas who have established dera's (cults) where many have sexually exploited and abused the women followers.'
He stated that the Sikh community needs to be aware of the nefarious activities of these anti-panthic (religious) people. He exhorted the Sikhs all over the world to seek the guidance and follow the teaching of only Sri Guru Granth Sahib and not from these self styled Babas. He gave examples of three such Bababs 'Johlanwala Babu' 'Ram Rahim Singh' and finally the Mann Singh of Pehowa and the latters exploitation of followers.
The Management Committee and Trustees of an affiliate Gurdwara to Wycombe, APDD Birmingham, Oldbury are fully aware of the APDD Wycombe situation which has also had a detrimental impact on their congregation, trustees and fellow management committee members.
In Oldbury, Birmingham the Cult leader attempted to even go as far as producing counterfeit trust deeds with an Attorney from India and remove the incumbent trustees and management committee in order to take over. These aggressive tactics and underhand operations demonstrate the influence these Cult leaders have both in India and abroad, tentacles which have now spread as far as Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.
We advise the Whole Sikh community which is 850,000 strong in the United Kingdom and in particular now those in Wycombe to stand up to these Cult leaders and we urge them to follow the true Guru Sri Gurur Granth Sahib Jee, The holy Scriptures of the Sikhs.
Members of the Sikh community in Wycombe will be looking to work with the local authorities and police to maintain peace within the community in light of this recent difference of opinion with reference Cultist activities which has divided the congregation and caused a bitter demarcation between those who oppose the Cult and those who support it.

Here’s a recent report on this issue. Ridiculous indeed. How on earth is the UK going to hold its head up high when shenanigans like this are allowed? But looking at the Simon Singh saga, one is encouraged that there will be justice