RAGHEAD TENACITY

July 1, 2010

Before Nikki Haley, a practicing Sikh and second-generation American, won the runoff for governor in South Carolina on June 22, 2010 with 65% margin, State Senator Jake Knotts called her a raghead. “We already got one raghead in the White House, we don’t need a raghead in the governor’s mansion too,” Senator Knotts said. The senator might even call the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh a “raghead” if he is ever invited to the White House to sit down for a State dinner. Raghead is a slang term used for Muslims, Arabs, Sikhs, and other groups who traditionally wear headdresses  such as a turban , keffiyeh or headscarf.

South Carolina Governor Haley, President Obama, & Indian Prime Minister Dr. Chandoreth

Gov. Haley, President Obama, & Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh

While Nikki Haley’s win of the Republican nomination for governor shows that the majority of Americans have begun to accept faith as a personal choice, it also shows how nervous Americans get when confronted with a show of any faith. Americans can learn from Asians that though faith is a personal matter, it is not necessarily a private one.  Showing one’s faith—or as the Christians say, not hiding your light under a bushel—is an important part of a functioning 21st century democracy. The pride and conviction in one’s belief contributes to one’s courage and tenacity.  An American will proudly wear his country’s military uniform but has been taught to shy away from advertising his religious and cultural background. Is this a good thing in time of global war?

Take a look at the Muslim ragheads of Afghanistan and the North West Frontier of Pakistan–the Taliban. Their tenacity has pinned down the NATO forces for almost a decade now. Whenever it ends, the war in Afghanistan will be America’s longest war, even longer than Vietnam.

Now take a look at the Hindu ragheads of India. In the Second World War, American forces overcame German positions with massive fire power. But when the Germans counterattacked, the American GIs could not hold their position, even with casualties. So the British, who knew the Indians well, had them hold places once a German position was captured. Lo and behold! Indian soldiers fought with tenacity and would not yield.

Lastly, consider the raghead Sikhs from India’s rural areas. In 1897, like the Spartans at Thermopylae, twenty-one Sikh soldiers held up against about ten thousand Pushtoons of Wazirstan region of the then Afghanistan. Fighting to death, to the last man, the Sikhs slaughtered six hundred of the enemy. The Pushtoons were brought the negotiation table and Waziristan became part of British India. The individual determination of each soldier, following the dictates of the Tenth Guru, led to a decisive victory.

Each of these three groups in the area around the Khyber Pass has shown great tenacity at different moments in history. As NATO stalls and President Obama wavers about a pullout date in Afghanistan, Americans should wonder if wearing the regalia of your group – like the Sikhs – inspires young soldiers to perform more bravely with tenacity.

9 Responses to “RAGHEAD TENACITY”

  1. Johan Says:

    I thought Nikki Haley had converted to christianity?

  2. Paul Says:

    Mr Tejwant ….

    “Gov. Haley listed her race as white on her voter registration card”

    “Haley had long converted to Methodist Christianity”

  3. tejwantsingh Says:

    I am not sure how Nikki Haley converted to Christianity: marriage or her own choice. The title of my blog being ‘Raghead Tenacity’ implies that it is tenacity which propels a person to greater heights of achievements. Someone had called Nikki a Raghead during her campaign because she came from a background where turban is an honorary headdress. In the same way Mr. Obama basically belongs to a background where the turban has an honorary place and so is the present Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.
    And my blog highlights the tenacity of Sikh soldiers. The values that are inculcated through stories of valor and tenacity as you grow up in your society make you perform in life in a better or lesser way. Your rise to higher or you drop to inferior status depends upon your value system. How does it make a difference now if she goes to Church of to a Gurdwara –the Sikh place of worship? I have read somewhere on the internet that she goes to the Church with her husband and he goes to the Gurdwara with her. If this is true then they are very good people who know the value of give and take. More important is her job performance and not where she goes to park her devotion to God Almighty.
    It is us humans who have gone and bisected God with sharp edged weapons to suit our whims and fancies and killed more and more people in His name. How many people have been killed in the name of Jesus and Mohammad?
    On the contrary the Sikhs are the only ones in Indian history to effectively take up the sword against Islamic terrorism. Had our Tenth Guru not converted us from mere rosary wielding sheep into selfless fighters with a unique tenacity, India would have been by now called ‘The Islamic Republic of Hindustan’ with Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism relegated to the corridors of national museums. The future generations would have wondered how a Muslim minority swallowed a vast Hindu majority. 95% of the Muslims of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are converts from Hindus the rest being descendants of Turk, Persian and Afghan mercenaries and soldiers of opportunity.
    If we keep bickering about our religions with an ‘I am better than you’ attitude then this world is going to be a very difficult place to live in. Having become a small world now, thanks to the technological wonders, we ought to move ahead and love each other and accept each other as we are.
    And whoever called Nikki Haley a Raghead, ought to call Moses a Raghead as well unless he or she is not a Christian. If you don’t believe me open the Bible and read Lev. 8:9 in the Old Testament. The honorable turban is mentioned more than twenty times there as a symbol of prophecy among the Israelites. It says, ‘He set the turban on his head, and on the turban, in front, he set the golden plate, the holy crown, as Yahweh commanded Moses.’
    Amen for the Christians and Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh for the Sikhs.

    • Wasim Says:

      Your deep hate for Muslims is very visible. If you were correct then by now when the Islamophobia is on the top most converted Muslims would have been reconverted to Hinduism.

      • tejwantsingh Says:

        Dear Wasim,

        Thank you for the comment. And sorry for the delayed reply.

        I think your remark ‘Your deep hate for Muslims is very visible’ is absolutely wrong. It’s one sided without any proof. I have read through the blog and the three comments so far, but there is no sign of hate anywhere from my side.

        The best thing about the Internet is that it’s possible to discuss something about religion with Muslims: There is a general impression that one cannot do so face to face.

        Please read ‘The God Who Hates’ by Wafa Sultan, a Syrian who is Doctor settled in USA. The book is available on http://www.amazon.com

        Analysis by sensible Muslims themselves is that due to Islam’s one sided code of conduct and the treatment specified in the Koran for non-Muslims, it does not leave any ground for adjustment or give and take. One cannot discuss the pros and cons of Islam with a Muslim unlike other world faiths. If an attempt is made, he (and very rarely a she) is bound to start shrieking and threatening the other person with dire consequences, with Jihad and possible a blaspheme lawsuit depending upon in which country the discussion takes place. It’s very clear that there is no scope for a healthy discussion in Islam other its so-called ‘peaceful virtues’. I am listing out some of those ‘peaceful virtues’ which are supposed to be the code of conduct for ‘pious’ Muslims.

        Dear Wasim, I have a copy of the Koran in original Arabic translated into English and printed in Saudi Arabia. Here are some extracts for your information, in case you have not read the Koran. And Wafa Sultan writes in her book that in reality no Muslim understands what is written in the Koran because it is a writing of an old time and no one really knows the proper meaning. She asserts that they are just repeating the verses like parrots more out of fear than love for it. How far that is true, I cannot comment.

        Islam is a peaceful religion. Why?
        Because:-
        1. It lets men marry four women.
        2. It lets men divorce by saying “Divorce-Divorce-Divorce” three time to his wife by telephone, on Facebook, by email, by letter or any other means.
        3. After Divorce, he can marry another woman or any other women.
        4. He can even marry a minor because Mohammad, The Prophet, did so. (His wife was enjoying and playing on a swing when he arrived at her house. While he waited inside the house, the girl’s mother picked her up and placed her in his lap and went out. The little girl was 9 years old only when he seduced her to solemnize the marriage.) This is not a story made up by me but an extract from the writings by an Arabian author titled ‘Wives of Mohammad’.
        5. Women cannot go out of the house without a male member being with them.
        6. Girls are not to be educated.
        7. Women are not to drive cars.
        8. Women must cover their full body and face when going out of the house.
        9. People must not indulge in art, music and dance or TV.
        10. No beauty parlors for women.
        11. Married women who have an affair with another man must be stoned to death.
        12. Hands of thieves must be cut.
        13. All those who do not believe in Allah must be killed.
        14. All those who do not believe in Allah, their wives and children can be taken away as slaves and their property can be confiscated/looted.
        15. Islam does not believe in Democracy.
        16. Men and women are not equal. The job of women is to stay in the house, look after the house, kitchen, produce kids and produce more kids: If they are all males, even better.
        17. Anyone who brings dishonour to the family may be killed and the killer can be pardoned by any other member of the family. Thus, the killer does not go to jail.
        18. All those who do not believe in Allah can be pardoned even if they have committed worst of the crimes as long as they accept Islam and abandon their original faith. (That is a great incentive for criminals of all kinds to join Islam.)
        19. If a Muslim tries to abandon his faith and tries to join another religion out of his own choice, then he should be killed. (Great fear for anyone wanting to go back to the original religion where he or she came from.) I suppose this answers your question as to why Muslims have not been reconverted to Hinduism.
        Therefore, if-so-facto and for all the abovementioned reasons Islam is a peaceful religion. Hence people should not fear Muslims. They are a peace-loving people.
        Now here is a comparison I am listing for you dear Wasim
        Sikhism is Secular

        ‘Huge blessing in Small Virtues’ by Major General SPS Narang (Retired) in The Tribune, Chandigarh, Punjab, India. He wrote the below mentioned:-

        Like a large percentage of secular Indians, I have an incident to share which may awaken the conscience of some of my fellow men.

        The incident goes back to nearly a year, and even now evokes poignancy in my heart.

        Last November, I was driving back to Dehradun from Chandigarh — a fascinating four-hour journey, with the added attraction of visiting Paonta Sahib Gurdwara (Sikh Temple of God). I had to break on the way to give myself and my car some rest. And what better than entering the abode of the Guru. Besides the soothing Kirtan, it is the Langar (the community eatery in each Gurdwara) that one savours, seated on the floor among a multitude of people from all walks of life. Some partake of all meals as they have no means to satiate their hunger.

        Breaking bread with them gives an indescribable spiritual high, and to experience this, one doesn’t have to belong to any one religion. I, too, enjoyed the Langar and came out to get on with my journey.

        I stopped to buy some knick-knacks from a kiosk outside the Gurdwara. Just then, I spotted a family of Gujjars (Muslims nomads who rear cattle in semi mountains areas and sell milk), in an intent discussion in front of a tea vendor. The family comprised an elderly couple, two middle-aged couples and four children. Three women were partially veiled. They seemed poor as the eldest gentleman (probably the father) counted coins and some crumpled currency notes.

        Undoubtedly, the issue was how much they could afford to buy. They asked for three cups of tea and four Samosas (popular Indian snack).

        Gathering courage, I asked him, “Kya aap sab khana khayenge?” (would you all like to have food!!) They looked at one another with a mix of surprise, apprehension and a hurt self-respect.

        There was silence. Sometimes, silence can be loud. The innocent eyes of the kids were filled with hope. “Hum kha ke aaaye hain,” (we have eaten already) the eldest man responded.

        There was an instant retort, “Kahan khayaa hai subeh se kuch bhi, Abba?” (we have not eaten anything since morning, Papa!!).

        Hearing that, a dull ache in my chest caught me by surprise. The stern look in the eyes of the three men and the pleading moist eyes of the women said it all.

        I insisted that they come with me. They agreed, reluctantly. We entered the Gurdwara.

        A good feeling descended over me as I deposited their shoes at the Jora Ghar (Shoe deposit room in all Gurdwaras). The elders were awed by the architectural marvel of the Gurdwara.

        However, there was fear in their eyes, which was understandable. They were entering a non-Islamic place of worship for the first time.

        But the children couldn’t care less, their innocent faces single-mindedly focused on food. Some onlookers flashed strange looks from the corner of their eyes. But then I followed the children, adopting their easy attitude as they excitedly chose head wraps of different colours. (everyone is supposed to cover their heads inside a Gurdwara).

        Except for the eldest member, all others accompanied me inside, and emulating me, bowed their heads and touched their forehead to the floor. Many others must have noticed, as I did, that these children went through this ritual with utmost reverence. They took Parshad (sweet offering) from the Bhaiji (The Priest) who asked them if they needed more. The children gladly nodded.

        We entered the Langar Hall and I took the kids along to collect Thaalis (the traditional Indian plates).

        They did it with joy, like only kids would. Seated opposite us was a newly-married couple. The bride, with red bangles accentuating her charm, asked the children to sit beside her, and two of them sat between them. The way she was looking after them, I could tell she would make a loving mother.

        Langar was served, and though I had already eaten, I ate a little to make my guests comfortable. One had to see to believe how they relished it. The initial apprehension had vanished and they ate to their fill. I have no words to describe the joy I experienced.

        We had nearly finished when an elderly Sikh and a youth with flowing beard (perhaps the head Granthi -who in charge of the all spiritual ceremonies and a Sewadar-helper) sought me out.

        I was overcome by fear, and more than me, my guests were scared. I walked up to them with folded hands.

        He enquired, “Inhaan nu tusi le ke aaye ho? (Have you brought them in?)” I nodded.

        The next question had me baffled, “Tusi har din path karde ho? (Do you say prayers every day?)” I almost blurted “yes”, but it would have been a lie. So, with utmost humility I said “no”.

        Expecting an admonishment, he surprised me, “Tuhaanu tha koi lorh hi nahin. Aj tuhaanu sab kuch mil gaya hai ji (You don’t need to. Today you have got everything).” I was flabbergasted. Was it advice or sarcasm? He added, “Inha nu Babbe de ghar leya ke te langar shaka ke tusi sab kuch paa laya. Tuhaada dhanwad. Assi dhan ho gaye (By bringing them to the Guru’s abode for Langar, you’ve got everything from God. Thank you. We are blessed).”

        Then, with folded hands, he walked up to the elderly couple and requested them, “Aap jad bhi idhar aao to langar kha ke jaaiye. Yeh to uparwale da diya hai ji (Whenever you happen to pass through here, please come and have food. It is God’s gift).”

        I escorted my guests out of the Langar Hall. Just as we were about to pick our footwear, one of the children said, “Humme aur halwa do naa.” (Get us some more sweet offering which was the Prashad). We five went in to get more Parshad.

        Finally, as they were about to depart, the elderly lady whispered to her husband.

        I enquired, “Koi baat, Miyanji?” (is there any problem, Mian Ji!!

        Almost pleadingly, he said, “Yeh keh rahin ki, kya aap ke sar par haath rakh sakti hain? (She is saying, can she keep her hand on your head -meaning to bless me)!! I bowed as she blessed me with tears in her eyes.

        A wave of emotions swept over me.

        Is it my imagination, or for real, that I often feel the beautiful hand of a Muslim lady, wrapped in purity and love, on my head?

        This is the reason, the Sikhs are secular

        There is another point which you need to note dear Wasim. Despite utter cruelty perpetuated upon the Sikhs during the time of Mughal and Afghan rule over Punjab where the Punjabi Muslims took part with lot of zeal, when the control of Delhi Darbar began to fail, Punjabi Muslim should have taken control since they were a vast majority -almost 33% of the total population of Punjab. No! They did not do anything. They waited for some Turk, or Afghan or Persian or Hindustani to come and take over the reign of control at Lahore as had been happening for centuries and centuries of Muslim rule.
        The Hindus were the next largest in numbers as farmers and shop keepers or other trades or as employees of the Lahore Darbar. The Sikhs as the Khalsa were a few thousands only and mostly from farming background -from Jatt, Rajput and other communities. There were some Sikhs from Khatri and Arora communities who were all traders but kept a low profile. (A trader would much rather end the day with profit rather than cross swords with an imbecile fanatic.)
        Therefore, the Khalsa was the only one who ventured out and captured small-small areas to start with and gave a tough time to the local administration of each area. They provided protection to the people of their occupied areas so much so that they would hang any item of their personal use on a pole and pronounce the village as their protectorate. If a cruel administrator ever came to that village, the people told him to lay off or else Singhji would come and sort him out. The fear of the Singh’s sword or Khanda and their selfless purity was spreading and becoming more and more reassuring to the common people. As each Singh succeeding, his popularity attracted more and more Hindus farmers and other menial communities to join him and take the oath of Khalsa. Thus over a few years the concept of Misls came into being as a conglomerate of like-minded fighters for the common cause. Not only the Hindus, even Muslims converted to Khalsa. That is how 12 Misls came to control Punjab and ultimately Ranjit Singh amalgamated 11 of them through diplomacy, or marriage or outright battle. The citizens of Lahore invited him to take control and he was crowned the Maharaja of the Sikh Empire and he extended his control into Tibet and Afghanistan. He treated all faiths with due respect. No criminal was ever executed in the Punjab during his rule.

        Even to this day, I have heard Pakistanis say on their TV or videos uploaded on U-Tube that Pakistan has had only two Kings worth their salt: Raja Porus who took on Alexander the Great in 326 BC and Maharaj Ranjit Singh. Others were all useless debauches.

    • British-Indian Says:

      Hindu Ashok killed millions for sport. Sikhs were beat up by Muslims but were pretty vicious in return too. The oft-repeated mantra – all religions have their good and bad – is so always true.

      • tejwantsingh Says:

        Dear British-Indian,
        Yes, in war lot of things happen. A soldier who is committed to his profession, can at times step beyond the limits.

        But the fighting spirit of the Sikhs was admired by Nur Mohammad, the court reporter of Ahmad Shah Abdali. He praised the Sikhs for their code of conduct in battle as ‘they don’t attack a fallen enemy’ compared to the conduct of his own Afghan raiders who were merciless plunderers and rapist.

        Group Captain Tejwant Singh (retired)

  4. British-Indian Says:

    Correction – Britain recruited the Punjab army of British India. Majority of the soldiers were Muslims and Sikhs. There were Hindus too, but they were not the majority.

    • tejwantsingh Says:

      That is because they were fed-up with the caste system of the Brahmin and Rajput soldiers of the Bengal Army. For an army divided by caste and individuals not willing to share even their cooking pots, can pose lot of logistical problems when they have to move. In the case of the Bengal Army their baggage train used to be much bigger than the actual fighting men.

      After the British fought the Punjabis in the two Anglo-Sikh wars, before Punjab was annexed, they opted for the Punjabi men because the Sikhs and Muslims did not have any caste distinction. The British also found that the Punjabi men were definitely better at fighting than the Hindustanis.


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