Sunday, January 29, 2006

COSS Dinner BusTrip

The bus trip on the way back from the dinner was definitely a good time.... If you missed out check our gallery

Weekly Meeting

Meeting will be in Kresgie 208
Discussion will begin at 8pm!

This weeks meeting will follow the regular scheduale of paht, translations and then discussion. This weeks discussion will be run by one of our members. The two proposed topics for discussion are...

Women's rights - We wil briefly consider Guru Nanak Dev Ji's teachings on equailty as a pioneer women's rights. This can lead to a discussion on abortion and pre-marital sex, and perhaps discussion on love and lust.

Sikhi and Health - The debate will consider situations in which Sikh individuals are recommended to add meat in their diets or are required to undergo surgeries in which they may have to remove some of their hair (for example). What should an individual in such a situation do, while attempting to adhere to the principles of Sikhi.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Clash Between Culture and Religion

Quite often, religion can often be overshadowed by the interminable caste system. Although, Sikhi does not believe in the caste system, it has been fused into our religion, thus blurring the line between culture and religion. This week's discussion focused upon these misunderstandings and tried to re-draw that line. The Following are some of the main points that were discussed.

The Caste System:

  • Various Castes in the Punjabi culture: -Jatt (farmer), Carpenter (mistry), Landlords etc.
  • Guru Gobind Singh ji wanted to eradicate the caste system by introducing the 5 K's and so the individuals of lower caste (Jatts) embraced Sikhi.
  • "Jatt" vs. Ramgharian Gurudwaras --> marriage has to be in the Gurudwara of the caste that you belong to.
  • Parents are responsible for coming up with and encouraging this way of thinking. For example, a typical encounter with an auntie would include her asking the famous question: "what are you?" in hopes of knowing the caste that you belong to although Sikhi is casteless.
  • The generations in the UK especially, have taken the caste system very seriously
  • It seems as if it has been ingrained in our (parent's) minds.
  • Media Influences:
  • ~So many "wannabe" Sikhs coming out in the media and setting the wrong example for today's generation.
  • The youth in India especially rely on the media as their source
  • ~One of the main reasons for the increasing violence in Vancouver are these role models who promote drinking and fighting as the "Jatt" way of life.
  • ~The Jatt way of life: To look for fights
  • ~The Khanda- what is an emblem for Sikhs is now becoming more so a symbol for jades exemplifying their level of devotion to religion.

Questions Raised:

  • Sikhs today are usually associated with the caste system- what does that say about us as a community?
  • Role models for children today are Hip Hop Videos not the Gurus-Is there something wrong with that? If so, what should we do about it?
  • If you are asked by an auntie "what are you?" How should you respond?
  • What should be done with those communities in the UK and Vancouver where the second and third generation Sikhs are still adamant about sticking to their caste?
  • Whatever happened to the fundamental Sikh belief in equality?

Conclusions reached:

  • The caste system is against the Sikh philosophy
  • When it comes down to things, all "castes" have a similar lifestyle and live in the same environment
  • The more Punjabis we have, the greater the belief in the caste system--> notice that smaller communities have less knowledge about it-which is a good thing.
  • Plain and simply, the caste system is just Wrong and needs to be abolished.


  • They continue to exist today
  • Common examples: You cannot wash your hair on Tuesdays and Saturdays, don't leave the house/turn on the car if someone sneezes
  • There is still a predominant belief in Sants and Babas of one sort or another.
  • A reason why this hasn't been abolished is out of respect for the elders.

Punjabi Culture Vs. Sikhi

  • It is quite difficult for the two to be compatible, more so now because our culture has been tainted
  • The Western culture has a great and inevitable influence upon our way of life.
  • There is an increasing amount of alcohol abuse, compliments of the media.
  • The last name issue: Our Guru had given us one instruction but we fail to follow it and instead of using Singh and Kaur use the names which identify the caste that we belong to.
  • Although the Punjabi culture is a beautiful thing, it has a way of impressing beliefs upon you and seems to be more influential than our religion.
  • For example, when dealing with fellow Punjabi friends, you are more hard pressed to act a certain way in order to be accepted.
  • In Punjab, religion is fading rapidly. There is a common belief there that it is too hard to be the perfect Sikh so it is essentially pointless to try.

Questions Raised:

  • Is it too difficult to be a good Sikh with Punjabi/Hindu culture having such an influence on us?
  • Why is it so difficult? Can we make it better somehow?
  • Should religion have a greater influence on us or culture? Why is culture more influential?

Conclusions reached:

  • The youth here have a greater awareness about the issues between culture and religion facing us today (these discussions are perfect examples of that!)
  • Sikhism should be separate from culture.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


WesternSSA is looking to expand its network, which consists of both our blog and website at! If you are interested please let us know!

You are probably wondering what this all means, well basically we can link you and you link us! Essentially our traffic will become your traffic and this will benefit both parties.

If you are interested, one option that is available is that we can possibly even launch and announce an official partnership like we (WesternSSA) have done in the past.

It's about time the online Sikh Community began to network and help one another out so why wait...leave a comment or contact us via email!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Clash of Culture Vs Religion

This weeks meeting will be on Monday at Kresgie 208 from 7-9pm. We will adhere to the following schedule

7:00 - 7:15 ... Paaht
7:15 - 8:00 ... Translations
8:00 - 9:00 ... Discussion

The topic for discussion this week will be The Clash of Culture vs Religion. We will addressing issues such as the Caste System, Superstitious Beliefs and other Cultural Practices. The question that we will focus on is whether these two can coexist with one another.

This weeks discussion topic has been highly anticipated by many members, so make sure you come out!

We will also be collecting money for The COSS Dinner and lastly going over details for our ski trip! Check out the flyer...

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Skating (Event Update)

ikh Students Association
Skating @ Nathan Phillips Square
5:30-7:00 pm Sunday, Jan 22, 2006

The Sikh Students Associations of the Greater Toronto Area will be meeting for an SSA social event at Nathan Phillips Square for a night of skating followed by dinner (for those who would like to attendd). The event is open to members AND non-members. We will be meeting at 5pm @ the meeting place before leaving to Nathan Phillips. If you need a ride, please SSA execs. The skate rental is around $5-9, no experience necessary. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact any of the SSA execs.

For information contact: Deep (CT) @, or call (647) 280-8053, Japneet @, Sanjeet @, and SSA @

Monday, January 16, 2006

Samosas and Sikhi - First WSSA Meeting Back!!

It was our first meeting back and it was a good one. There are Quite a few things that the WSSA has lined up for us this semester so be sure to keep yourself updated with this blog.


  • Began with Paaht
  • Exec took care of business (Look at Latest Event Updates for more detail)
  • Samosas and discussion

This weeks discussion dealt with the issues of Religion (Sikhi) and its Modernization. We discussed whether Sikhi needs to change with time, and whether its a static or dynamic faith.

There were 2 main topics...Dating and the 5 k's:

While engaging in the discussion many different ideas and thoughts were expressed. We first talked about the modernization of religion then got more specific by discussing dating and the the importance of Amrit and the 5 K' are some of the things that were said.

  • Interpretation needs to change, not change the fundamentals
  • Culture is really what needs to be changed
  • You can't modify or modernize a religion- its not our place to say, it is what it is.

5 K's - Is there a need for them or were they relevant to the time period of their introduction?

  • Arguments For:
    • The 5 K's are a representation of personal strength
    • It was our Guru's wish for them to be there
    • Sikhs must make it their objective to listen to their Guru

  • Arguments Against:
    • The arguements against were weak and everyone appeared to agree they were a must.
    • However, an observation by a student who took a class on Sikhi taught at Guelph University was that his non-practicing teacher felt that the introduction of these symbols were contrary to the beliefs of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
    • This suggestion was not agreed upon by anyone.

  • Questions Raised:
    • What happens to someone who keeps the 5 K's but does not follow the other guidelines of Sikhi?
    • What is a Good Sikh and How do you become one?
  • Conclusion and Becoming a Good Sikh:
    • The best way to learn about Sikhi is to live it and learn it through the primary source which is GurBani and The Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji
    • Becoming a Good Sikh is something that requires progression
    • You can compare it to taking a course in University: Your ultimate goal in that course is to get 100% or as close to 100% as possible. You never take any action which is detrimental to that
    • Taking Amrit is just the starting point
    • Sikhism teaches that we shouldn'te shouldn't think ourselves as as good, nor should we think badly of anyone."If you cannot see good in all, you cannot see God at all"- Yogi Bachan Singh.

Dating - Is dating acceptable in Sikhi?

  • Arguments For
    • Dating is necessary in our culture- for the sole purpose of getting to know your future partner. -It all boils down to your intention and reasoning capacity.
  • Arguments Against:
    • Lust comes into play when dating
    • one of the Five Evils in Sikhism
    • It is against Sikhism to have Pre-Marital Sex
    • One needs to be able to get over the lust: The goal in Sikhi is to be one with God (i.e. A drop of water merging with the ocean)

  • Questions Raised
    • Would you dance/go out with the ugliest person in the world or someone attractive?"
    • What is the problem with dating and controlling your lust?
    • How successful are Arranged vs. Love marriages?

  • Conclusion
    • Could not come to a concise conclusion about success of each types of marriage
    • However, there was an agreement that the concept of arranged marriages has changed.
    • It is important that if one dates it should not be based on looks, although its very hard to do
    • When using arranged marriage parents can be just bad in arranging a partner when they take, because culture often conflicts with religion and they may take caste into consideration, something that is non-existent in Sikhism
    • Arranged marriages can also be beneficial, when you are raised in this mindset you learn learn to love your husband or wife

"Our Home and Native Land"
  • The WSSA is invovled with a Art Exibhit called "Our Home and Native Land"
  • The Art Exibhit is running until Feb. 19 at the McIntosh Gallery (its building with Red Doors in front of Soc.Science and UC)
  • The Exibhit features the work of London artist Agneta Dolman as she explores the immigrant experience and celebrates earning her Canadian citizenship.
  • The WSSA has contributed a print of "1984" by Amrit K.D. Kaur Singh along with various other posters.
  • There is Free Admission an Gallery Hours are:

    Tuesday - Thursday 12 - 7 p.m.
    Friday - Sunday 12 - 4 p.m.
    Closed Mondays
COSS Fundraiser
  • COSS Annual Fundraiser on January 27th
  • 25 bucks for Students at the Woodbine Convention Center
  • Transportation there and back to Western included!

Sikh Awareness Day
  • If you have any ideas on how WSSA can make this the A Day worth Remembering, make sure you respond in this Blog or E-mail WSSA at
  • This day will comprise of:
    1. Gatka in the day
    2. Movie later in the evening
    3. Guest speakers
    4. Interactive activities
    5. Educational displays on Sikhism, Canadian Sikhs and other important pieces of info about Sikhs
  • If you are interested in helping to promote Sikh Awareness Day and have that creative edge- be sure to take part!
  • Deadlines for the posters are on JANUARY 31st By 11:59 P.M!! The Poster that wins will be used for promotion!!
Ski Trip
  • Ski Trip Will be Held on: February 4'th
Raptors Game

  • The trip is now an official COSS event now and Nav Bhatia is trying to get us a chance to be able to meet the players!


Amneet Moderating Discussion While Members Speak Their Mind

Sundeep In Action and Excited To Contribute

From Left to Right Amar, Ravan, Narisa, Noorin and Neeru All Had Some Amazing Input For Discussion

From Left to Right Neeraj, Amritpal, Ajeet, Harkamal, Ranbir, Gurpreet and Sundeep

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


17 JANUARY 2006


A Worldwide Day of Protest is being organised for 17 January 2006. Sikhs in cities around the world from London, to Paris, to Toronto and to New York are aiming on 17 January to show their opposition to the death penalty and call for the release of all Sikh political prisoners held in jails in India.

Candles will be lit in prominent places in cities throughout the world, including in India itself. Sikhs in more than 100 cities are expected to take part in the protest and will be joined by prominent non-Sikhs, such as politicians, human rights and trade union activists.
In Canada the protest will take place at BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. The Canadian Organization of Sikh Students are coordinating these protests. In BC the protest will take place at UBC and SFU. In Ontario, the protests will take place in Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga, Kitchner/Waterloo, London, Ottawa and Kingston. In Alberta the protest will be at U of Calgary. In Quebec the protest will take place at McGil and Concordia.
In the Toronto the protest will take place at Nathan Phillip Square at the Peace Gardens between 5:30 - 7pm, Brampton at the Brampton City Hall, Mississauga City Hall. The protests are being supported by COSS, United Sikh Federation, Gurdwaras and the Sadh Sangat. The protests are being supported by Amnesty International and other members of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

MPs, MPPs, City Councillors, and members of the public will join Sikhs in celebrating life, freedom and in the opposition to the death penalty.

The worldwide protests are taking place on 17 January to coincide with the 11th anniversary of one of the most controversial and highest profile death penalty cases in recent Indian history. 11 years earlier on 17 January 1995 Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar, a Sikh political activist, was illegally deported from Germany. Davinderpal Singh was handed over to the Indian authorities on the basis that he had nothing to fear on his return to India.

For 11 years Davinderpal Singh has been forced to live with the mistake by the German authorities. He was arrested and put in prison as soon as he landed in Delhi, tortured to obtain a false confession, charged and sentenced to death by hanging for a crime he did not commit.

When Germany deported Davinderpal Singh to a death-penalty prone country it violated the European Convention on Human Rights. After his deportation, the court of appeal in Frankfurt allowed his appeal and said that he should not have been deported as he would face torture, harassment and death in India and were he to re-enter Germany he would be given asylum.

The verdict of the court of appeal in Germany came too late for Davinderpal Singh. However, it has left Germany and the EU with a moral obligation to ensure the threat of the death penalty by India is removed and Davinderpal Singh and other political prisoners that are unnecessarily being held, either without trial or under false charges and without evidence, are released immediately.

Jasdev Singh

Vice President
Canadian Organization of Sikh Students (COSS)
“Uniting the Youth of Canada”

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Upcoming Events

COSS Charity Dinner
  • The evening of Friday Jan 27th will mark the first COSS Charity Dinner. The evening will be filled with various forms of entertainment.
  • Entertainment will include...

-- Gatka Demonstration --

-- Theatrical Play --

-- Dinner and Presentations --

  • Tickets will be made available very shortly. Mark your calendars today. Friday, January 27th 6:00pm at the Woodbine Convention Centre.

Movie Night

  • This will be in place of our first weekly meeting after the winter break!
  • Snacks will be provided including Samosas, Chai and hot chocolate!

Raptors Game

  • This year a new tradition will begin!
  • WSSA along with affiliated University under Coss will travel to a Raptors game

Ski Trip

  • Early February will bring light to the much anticipated Ski Trip
  • This event will also be held in conjuction with COSS and Affilated Unis!

Sikh Awareness Day

  • On March 14 UWO will be aware!
  • UCC Atrium will be ours and it will be a day of oppertunity in which we will show and tell others who Sikhs are and what we are all about.

WSSA Langar

  • Every year The WSSA holds an Annual Langar at the London Gurudwara
  • It will be sometime during March

For More suggestions, give WSSA a shout!

What the WSSA is All About

The WSSA is not your stereotypical religious students association. It isn't just about doing paat and trying to better ourselves as individuals and as Sikhs. It knows how to chill and has had some Realll Good Times. Besides, being Sikh is all about balance isn't it? Take a look for yourself at WSSA's past events.

Ice Breaker on UC Hill - Soccer, free pizza, madd funn

Paintballing - It speaks for itself

Spinning Wheel Film Festival- Just goes to show how far we have come as a community of people

WSSA's First Annual Raensabhayee - NonStop Till 6am! Almost 12 hrs Straight

Waterloo Raensabhayee - It was nice seeing everyone again

---Pictures To Be Posted Soon---

WSSA Annual Bowling Night - Lets Get The Ball Rolling!

---Pictures To Be Posted Soon---

Weekly Meetings - Action packed, Intense and Peaceful Pahts and Discussions

---Pictures To Be Posted Soon---