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The ‘Flying Sikh’ Upstages Modi And India’s Propaganda Machine





EDITOR:  To the utter consternation of India’s Hindu fundamentalist government and its desperate attempt to put a negative spin on Premier Kathleen Wynne’s insistence on touring Punjab and visiting Sikh centres, Flying Sikh Milkha Singh upstaged the meeting between the ’Oontaaryo’ leader -- to use Modi’s own pidgin English --  and India’s prime minister. While India’s media -- notorious for its willingness to vilify Sikhs to favour Hindu right-wing extremists -- cooked up non-existent controversies over Wynne’s visit to the Darbar Sahib in Amritsar, the international press focused on the warm welcome and reception given to her by the Sikhs.

Chandigarh, Punjab

The octogenarian Flying Sikh gave Ontario’s most famous morning jogger a run for her money.

Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, Canada, visiting Punjab and leading a trade delegation, went for a sunrise sprint with Sikh-Punjabi track-and-field legend Milkha Singh at scenic Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh on Wednesday, February 3, 2016.

“I’m in my 80s, but I still love to run,” said Milkha Singh, as he greeted a visibly impressed Wynne amid a throng of some 50 local journalists covering the campaign-style event.

“It’s beautiful to see you,” the charismatic former 400-metre champion told her as he presented the Premier with a bouquet of flowers.

Wynne, 62, herself a one-time Ontario high-school record holder in what was then known as the 440-yard dash, joked that she “can’t run with a bouquet.”

The pair then set out on a one-kilometre jog as the sun rose over Sukhna Lake.

Wynne and Singh jogged and strolled for the benefit of the dozens of jostling photographers, videographers, and reporters who had begun gathering before dawn.

It was the first time Wynne -- whose enthusiasm for running has been promoted by the Liberals in Nike-style election advertising -- was able to jog outside in India. [It is considered grossly unsafe in every part of the violence-prone country; Wynne and her entourage however felt comfortable and warmly welcomed in Punjab and chose to tour different parts of the state.]

Also, the smoggy air and bustling traffic of New Delhi had led her to use a treadmill in a hotel gym in India's capital notorious for being the world's most polluted city.

“You’re so fast. You are remarkable,” the Premier told Milkha Singh, a 1958 Commonwealth Games gold medallist who finished fourth in the 400 metres at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, setting a South Asian record that still stands for after more than 40 years.

“This has been a wonderful experience for me to be able to run with the legend, Milkha Singh. He is an awesome role model for so many young people and for me,” she said.

Wynne has previously met Milkha Singh in Toronto in 2015.

As he handed her a copy of his autobiography before she departed, the country’s greatest sports legend and hero emphasized their brief time together sent an important signal.

“We didn’t just run today -- we made bonds of friendship … Through this run there will be more friendship between this city (Chandigah, Punjab) and the province (of Ontario),” said Milkha Singh, who is known the world over as The Flying Sikh.

“I would like to see a program to send [our] youth (athletes) to Toronto to train.”

Wynne assured Milkha Singh she would talk with Tourism Culture and Sport Minister Michael Coteau about such an exchange program for young teenager athletes.

[Courtesy: The Toronto Star. Edited for]

February 5, 2016

Conversation about this article

1: Gerald Minden (Scarborough, Ontario, Canada), February 05, 2016, 12:38 PM.

So true ... the Hindu wackos go into mass constipation mode every time there's some news about Sikhs, especially if it is something that drives their jealousy and envy levels to dangerous levels. I know the fools amongst the local RSS/BJP chapters have been suffering endlessly since the last federal election here, to the point that they are ready to drink Kool Aid a la Jonestown!

2: Tony Singh (Canada), February 05, 2016, 9:47 PM.

The anti-Sikh elements in India's government are only harming India by continually trying to humiliate Sikhs in India and harassing them outside of India. All that those activities do is to cause Sikhs to hate India more and more. It would be wiser for the Hindu nationalists to lend a sympathetic ear to the Sikhs' grievances and nurture goodwill and support among the Sikh diaspora who would then work in India's interest in the various countries they reside in. Otherwise, you have the current situation where the Sikh diaspora, at best, has no care for India, or, at worst, actively works to undermine India's interests globally.

3: Gurteg Singh (New York, USA), February 05, 2016, 11:40 PM.

This is not the first time when the fascist Hindu Government and its anti-Sikh media has created a pre-planned ruckus during the visit of a foreign dignitary to Darbar Sahib. When Canadian Prime Minister wanted to visit Darbar Sahib, the Indian Government refused to provide official aircraft. But Jean Chrétien still went by a private charter aircraft and described his visit to the Sikh shrine as the most memorable event of his life and the best birthday gift. Similarly, Obama was made to cancel his visit when Hindu agencies manufactured the scare of terrorism from across the border. Just last week the Hindu terrorist gang that now rules New Delhi deliberately kept the Sikh regiment out of the Republic Day parade where the chief guest was the President of France which prohibits Sikh children from wearing their dastaars in public schools. Just this week India's minister of home affairs called Punjab a "disturbed" area which not only keeps foreign investment away but also could be a precursor for imposing new 'black laws' to commit genocide of Sikhs. Our enemy is bent upon in its nefarious activities and directly or through turbaned minions controls most of the Sikh institutions and religious bodies. In its latest attack, the Hindutava gang now wants to destroy the oldest Sikh educational institution, Khalsa College, grab its land and destroy its architectural beauty through its BJP stooges by building a totally unnecessary new private university controlled by the father of the alleged drug king pin Bikram Majitha and BJP minion Raj Mohinder Singh Chinna. Similarly a new post of chief Secretary of SGPC has been created with a monthly salary of Rupees 300,000 per month and has been given to a retired banker with links to the RSS. The occupied Sikh nation today is passing through one of the most dangerous times in its history and it is only the activist Sikh diaspora which can help to blunt our enemy's march to totally obliterate Sikhi and our identity.

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