Amitoj Singh – UNITED SIKHS Blog https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog Recognize The Human Race As One Fri, 01 Sep 2017 23:45:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Part 5: General public of Mukhtsar and their problem https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/04/part-5-general-public-of-mukhtsar-and-their-problem/ Sat, 06 Apr 2013 20:08:02 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1895 Sri Mukhtsar Sahib

213-2013

In the last part of this series of United Sikhs team’s visit to Mukhtsar, the aim was to ask the general public of the city about the problems they face. Mukhtsar,  not being a big city, still attracts lot of people from the neighbouring villages for daily wages as lot is happening in terms of construction and of course the medical facilities.

The general public is not much aware of the fact that Mukhtsar has alarming rate of cancer as per the Punjab government’s report. Though it may not be important for the general public for to have a detail of the survey, no one seems interested to see the problem as such there than some nationwide NGOs or the hospitals which spread awareness as a routine for them.  After asking many citizens it was found that the problem of cancer is there in nearly every house as one member is suffering from cancer but the positive side is that the citizens have no problem with diagnosis as it is easily done followed by state government’s scheme of supporting cancer patients in terms of monetary funds and subsidised medicines. When it comes to food, the term organic agricultural products are totally an alien for them as the people there eat only what is available locally i.e. non-organic products. The people do not care as it hardly matters to them in this field.

After all the interviews, it was concluded that the problem of cancer is troubling as moreover the people of the state is getting more aware of the problem. The state has installed reverse osmosis plants in all the big places for better water supply. But there is more to be done there, the people need to be made aware of the problem in a correct way so that they do not believe in myths followed by proper counselling regarding the way to go regarding treatment, if any.

 

Amitoj Singh

Coordinator,

United Sikhs India.

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Part 4: Farmers’ dilemma at field in Sri Mukhtsar Sahib. https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/04/part-4-farmers-dilemma-at-field-in-sri-mukhtsar-sahib/ Sat, 06 Apr 2013 20:06:57 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1892 Sri Mukhtsar Sahib

21 March 2013

Going on to the fields, an essence of greenery went through the mind. The lush green fields give a great sense security regarding food and happiness. One can say that Mukhtsar is like an island in the sea of green fields around.  Nearly the whole city depends upon the production from the farm directly or indirectly as at least one member of the family is associated with the field.” If the production is good the city celebrates, whereas if the production is the other way round the city goes into darkness” tells a local of Mukhtsar.

The farmers of this region are not the original owner s of the land, they are working for their landlords sitting elsewhere. Organic farming constitutes not more than 2 % of the total farming in the area. It is the modern farming methods which are used to grow crops. The problem with the farmers is that they are helpless on using pesticides as the natural method is risky, a risk which they cannot bear as their whole 6 months depend upon the current production which can only be saved with the help of pesticides and insecticides. Also, on an overall basis, the monoculture of wheat in tone season and rice in the other is also a problem as the risk on crop failure itself digs a deeper well for the farmers and their owners.

As a measure to improve the farming system in the area, suggestion came out from them was an assurance from the farm owners that organic farming will be used which may not initially give the desired amount of production. Also, an awareness needs to be created to limit the use of pesticides and the use of safety measures like gloves, masks, jackets while spraying pesticides to reduce the occupational disease of farming.

 

Amitoj Singh
Coordinator, UNITED SIKHS India
E: unitedsikhs-india@unitedsikhs.org

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Part 3: Doctors’ conflicting points on Cancer and pesticides in Mukhtsar. https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/04/part-3-doctors-conflicting-points-on-cancer-and-pesticides-in-mukhtsar/ Sat, 06 Apr 2013 20:05:16 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1890 Sri Mukhtsar Sahib

20 March 2013

The recent Punjab State Government Cancer Awareness Survey, revealed allot about the city i.e. Sri Mukhtsar Sahib where it has the highest cancer prevalence, cancer incidence and second highest cancer suspect at 136.3, 343.7 & 446 (in persons per lakh) respectively amongst the total districts of Punjab. The United Sikhs team went to doctors who deal with cancer in the city and also visited two hospitals for further details.

Both the hospitals have quality doctors and state of the art equipments for cancer detection as well as treatment to cure cancer. One side of medical professionals claimed that the whole cancer survey is heavily inflated with number to show the sorry figure of the state as well as the micro districts. Also, there is no direct link between pesticides and cancer or uranium in water and cancer and all the present studies are not complete and neither have they provided with any concrete evidence between the pesticides/uranium in water and cancer. Punjab being health conscious with numerous cancer detection centres have made the state aware leading to higher detection rate than other north Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh. The chief reason is lack of medical detection centres in these states whereby similar rates of cancers may arise if detection facilities in these states are as good as in the state of Punjab.

The other schools of thought claims there is a link between pesticides/ uranium in ground water and cancer as the cancers detected since 5 years had no trace in the state. High content of Uranium in water is the chief reason of cancer and many other birth defects. The excessive spray of pesticides, urea which seeps in ground water creates the problem. Also, going through the official records of the Civil Hospital, Mukhtsar, 143 cases of cancer has been confirmed which is indeed high, higher than Delhi’s 30 (approx) since 5 years. It was also figured out from the register entries that since February 2013, as data entry started since then, that the Male:Female ratio of cancer suspect is 2:9 leaving females more prone to cancer, the age group of the females recorded were between 35-55 years. It was later told by the medical professionals that females are more prone to cancer as infection hits them harder than their male counterparts leading to low immunity.

Despite the difference in the opinions, both the hospitals do their bit of awareness drives by themselves once in 3 months in the city and nearby villages to make the people better equipped with correct knowledge of cancer and getting the right treatment. It is mainly in the form of pamphlets and verbal messages in different villages. The doctors made themselves available for any kind of awareness drives in the future. Also added by them was to have cancer council centres where the patients diagnosed with cancer can be properly counselled to wipe their fears.

 

Amitoj Singh
Coordinator, UNITED SIKHS India
E: unitedsikhs-india@unitedsikhs.org

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Part 2: Students on cancer awareness in Sri Mukhtsar Sahib. https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/04/part-2-students-on-cancer-awareness-in-sri-mukhtsar-sahib/ Sat, 06 Apr 2013 20:04:20 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1888 Sri Mukhtsar Sahib

19-3-2013

Sri Mukhtsar Sahib may not a big city with big educational institutes but over time some of the educational institutions have emerged as sought after ones atleast pulling students from north Indian states, also not to forget is the famous Government College, Mukhtsar will have highest number of seats in the area. The United Sikhs team went to 5 colleges of different educational fields for awareness campaign on awareness on cancer and organic agriculture and also to check the awareness level of the students studying in the area.

The team first reached the Khalsa College, Mukhtsar followed by Guru Nanak B.Ed College, Mai Bhago Medical College, Guru Nanak Ayruveda College and Govt. College Mukhtsar where a brief presentation was given regarding what the problem is in order to sensitise them. There after solutions were sought from them upon the issue. Students came up with solutions, some of them were specific according to their educational field. For example, the ayruvedic college students came up with a traditional therapy which is less painful and B.Ed students gave ways to sensitise students, specially the small ones which take their message home for their parents. Students from farm background gave their experiences and the problem and also expressed their unwillingness to go for organic farming as their task is huge with no results in terms of good yield.

Overall the awareness level of the students is low in the region when it comes to cancer and other problems which the city is facing right now. According to them it is the state government work to correct the situation in the city. Though some mentioned global warming, pesticides in the farm, uranium in underground as the problem but they were unsure of the same as it all came in the news. After talking to the authorities, an attempt to set awareness drives was made which can be done at a later stage for a beginning for better days ahead.

 

Amitoj Singh
Coordinator, UNITED SIKHS India
E: unitedsikhs-india@unitedsikhs.org

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Part 1: Sri Mukhtsar Sahib: Awareness of cancer and organic farming. https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/04/part-1-sri-mukhtsar-sahib-awareness-of-cancer-and-organic-farming/ Sat, 06 Apr 2013 20:02:56 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1883 Sri Mukhtsar Sahib

18 March 2013.

With the present day technology, reaching any place is not difficult. There were times in the 60es and 70es in India when even going 300 km off the main highway was a problem; it took days to reach the destination. Taking the United Sikh’s goal of cancer awareness and organic agriculture in Punjab, we made our first stop in Sri Mukhtsar Sahib, the place which is famous for the epic history of the 40 Mukhte. Sri Mukhtsar Sahib is 60km North-West of Bathinda, the only big city nearby. An Ariel view of Sri Mukhtsar Sahib reveals that the place is surrounded by green fields. Globalisation has taken its toll there as nearly all products of all brands are available without any special effort.

Mukhtsar was in news for the reason it should have not been. In the recent Punjab State Government Cancer Awareness Survey, Sri Mukhtsar Sahib has the highest cancer prevalence, cancer incidence and second highest cancer suspect at 136.3, 343.7 & 446 (in persons per lakh) respectively amongst the total districts of Punjab. Also, Sri Mukhtsar Sahib, a place which lies in the Malwa belt of Punjab, a geographical area which is in news since the last 5 years regarding the high rate of cancer prevalence/detection and other fatal diseases with many deaths taking place whereby the chief reason claimed is high content of Uranium in ground water and over use of pesticides sprays in fields which seep into ground water and adding to the vows. The problem is definitely not new as these take at least 10-20years to take effect.

The problem is huge, sensing the same the United Sikhs team when to colleges, hospitals, farmers and questioned the members of the public for the their opinion and also gave some awareness points for a better living in the future. In this 5 part article series, opinions of various parties of Mukhtsar will be narrated.

Amitoj Singh
Coordinator, UNITED SIKHS India
E: unitedsikhs-india@unitedsikhs.org

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Becoming an Eco-Sikh !! https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/03/becoming-an-eco-sikh/ Thu, 14 Mar 2013 19:41:36 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1862  

 USLogo  EcoSikhPoster

UNITED SIKHS  in collaboration with EcoSikh is planning to outreach all their members and sangat about Sikh Environment Day.

Becoming an Eco-Sikh !!

15th March 2013, Fremont California:

Environmentalism and Sikhism are commonly looked upon as two completely separate theologies. It is only when we look closely at the Gurbani, we can see how important our environment is to basic Sikh spirituality.

Somehow in the mixture of the waves of immigration, and shifting our focus from an agrarian lifestyle to more post-modern modes of production, we have forgotten how intrinsic and crucial our environment is, and has been, to the existence of basic Sikh philosophy and history. We have armed ourselves with physical, political, and legal protections to keep each spiritual thread intact on our sacred bodies. Despite being miles and years apart from our traditional history as agrarian innovators in Punjab, we still maintain a spiritual thread that connects us to our past and spiritual homeland. A homeland that is being decimated by international corporations, corrupt politics, lack of regulations, economic impositions, and so many man-made health and environmental disasters. The very roots of our metaphorical spiritual hair, whose roots are embedded in the environment that inspired Guru Nanak to start a powerful religious movement, is being destroyed by our decisions as modern Sikh consumers. The cyclical impact that we have on our environment is a spiritual embedding in our beliefs as Sikhs, which is something that Guru Nanak, himself, stressed when he stated “Pawan guru pani pita mata dharth mahat.” (Air is the Guru, Water is the Father, and Earth is the Great Mother of all).1
We must transform the question of “Who am I as a Sikh?” into “Who am I as an eco-Sikh?” Many of us will be surprised to find direct references to ecology in the Gurbani. But it is through the Gurbani where we will understand what our role as an ‘eco-Sikh” entails.

The Gurbani equates respect for every hair on one’s body to respecting all areas that God permeates, including forests, “O Nanak, He is pervading and permeating all places, the forests and the meadows, the three worlds, and every hair.” 2 If we, as Sikhs, are committed to maintaining our external and internal appearance as the gurus required, how can we ignore our duty to also maintain the environment? Caring for the earth is a not just a value that we must uphold, but is also a direct Hukam that aligns with the “Gurmukh’s path,” 3 “If someone is going to teach me something, let it be that the Lord is pervading the forests and fields.” 4 In aligning ourselves to this Hukam here are some steps that we can take to be responsible, environmentally conscious eco-Sikhs:

1. Planting Trees, replacing lawns with your own home-grown vegetables, and replacing your gardens with native plants and habitats. The Guru Granth Sahib states, “we shall reap the results of the seeds which we sow.” 5 We must engage in actions that promote sustainability for the whole planet. For more information on “food not lawns” please visit http://www.foodnotlawns.com

2. Use bio-degradable and recyclable plates, knives, forks, and napkins. Composting is a great way to minimize the amount of trash thrown out, and to enrich the soil for your gardens. For more information on composting, please visit http://www.epa.gov/compost/

3. Biking, walking, or taking public transportation instead of using a car is a great way to reduce carbon emissions in a healthy way.

4. If you cannot grow your own vegetables or fruits, as a consumer, you should choose to buy organic food from local farmers. Not only do you avoid exposing your family and the environment to the harmful effects of pesticides, but you also invest in local farmers and businesses.

5. Educate yourself and promote research in sustainable organic farming techniques.

The lasting effects of the Green Revolution that occurred in Punjab has unfortunately driven the “green” out of the revolution and has caused farmers in Punjab to look for alternative farming techniques. Heavy pressure for more food grain crops forced many of these farmers to focus on mono-cropping with the use of pesticides and insecticides. Increased dependence on pesticide use has drained the soil of its alkalinity and salinity; thus causing the soil to be unfit for growing crops, and further pressuring farmers to be dependent on chemicals to support the growth. This has resulted in irreparable damage to the farmers in Punjab and consumers. In addition to negatively impacting the environment, the use of pesticides and the depletion of the soil has caused many consumers to suffer from rare types of cancer at an alarming rate. By promoting research in sustainable organic farming techniques, areas such as Punjab and our own local farms will be able to farm organically, in an economically sustainable fashion. This will also maintain healthy soil, environment, and nutritious crops.

It is our responsibility to treat our sacred environment with as much respect as we treat our bodies and appearance as Sikhs. This is not a change that we make on one day of the year, but a lifelong commitment that we make with the environment and with God.

1. Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Pg. 8, line 10.
2. Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Pg. 133,, line 13.
3. Singh, Jagtaran. “Sikhism the Green Religion.” SikhNet | Sharing the Sikh Experience. N.p., 22 Mar. 2007. Web. 14 Mar. 2013. <http://fateh.sikhnet.com//sikhnet/news.nsf/
4. Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Pg. 92, line 12.
5. ” Saving Environment” WaheguruNet Sikhism info – WaheguruNet. Web. 14 Mar. 2013. <http://www.wahegurunet.com/saving-environment>.
Amitoj Singh
Coordinator, UNITED SIKHS India
E: unitedsikhs-india@unitedsikhs.org

 

 

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Water, cancer, Bathinda and what not!!! https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/02/water-cancer-bathinda-and-what-not/ https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/02/water-cancer-bathinda-and-what-not/#comments Fri, 15 Feb 2013 04:16:09 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1832 How horrifying is cancer when it is detected in any indivisual, most of them including there well wishers are taken a step back. An important aspect relating to cancer is that the gene which causes cancer i.e. oncogene is present in every human being, in some it reacts while in majority it doesn’t.

In the present day environment, allot depends on the external factors which has resulted in mutations with other gene or viral which has enhanced cancer detection in many individuals. Also a person may or may not be directly related to the problem though he/she may get the burnt for it. The most common case is the problem of Uranium in Faridkot, Punjab where many were detected with cancer who were remotely associated with farms. The problem was in the most essential thing on earth, i.e. water which was consumed by everyone. Also groundwater is the most prominent source of water as bottled water is not abundant in the area. The time when Venice, Italy is revolting against bottled water, a lot is needed in this section of Punjab where the short term need is to stop the use of tap water.

Often known as the cancer belt, the Mansa-Bathinda- Ferozepur sector of Punjab has made headline in Punjab and else were in the country and even the world regarding the wide spread of cancer. The problem is such that it is not tackled in the correct manner with the result that the patients have to look elsewhere and generally they end up to one destination i.e. Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment and Research Centre in Bikaner, Rajasthan. As many as 100 patients board the daily trains to Bikaner for a hope of better treatment, terming it the “Cancer express”.

Since the problem is on the rise two things are possible, the first is to increase the frequency of the trains or second it to have a proper measure to control this deadly outbreak of disease by purifying the basic essential of life, a reverse osmosis plant or good quality filter can make a better situation for the present and more importantly the future generation. But remember the options are open and rests with us. But do we need to just think??? while 100 more board the train to BKN (railway code for Bikaner).

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