Here are some notes I made for in preparation to being interviewed by Aled Jones.
o Now I know lots of people are familiar with podcasts but just for the benefit of those people who may still be living in the 20th century… just briefly explain what a pod cast is?
Apparently it was an sparked off by an TV producer who on his home wondered if it would be possible for programmes to be produced as mp3 files and distributed using the Internet together with syndication properties using dates and times. Once these files were downloaded from the Internet they could be played at your leisure, away from on-air schedules or links.
o And you do four podcasts… one of which is called Sikh Within… just tell us what’s included in each episode of the Sikh Within?
Each episode, unless it’s dedicated to a special outside event, say a performance or series of interviews, is divided into 6 segments:
The History of the Sikhs
Shabad Translation – That’s a Sikh Hymn
Resource Review – Looking at online resources for Sikhs & there are lots.
Inspirational words and songs.
o Who listens to your podcasts?
From our web statistics we see people we see people all over the world listening. I’ve had school teachers, for example, an religious education teacher in Scotland who played one of my episodes to his RE class. It explained the celebration of the birth of the Sikh identity called Vaisakhi. I get a great buzz when I see the map light-up with a new location.
o What do you hope to achieve with them? What’s the purpose of them?
My goal was to use the Podcast as a bridge in English for greater understanding of the faith for those Sikhs whose everyday language is a both English and Punjabi. In addition, a way of communicating who Sikhs are, their heritage and respect for all religions. In the inspirational words and music section there is an opportunity to understand common messages too.
o You’re also a blogger… better just explain what blogging is…
The word is derived from 2 word, Web and log or journal, making up the word Blogger. I wonder if I was one the early bloggers. My first Blog entry was posted in October 2003.. It consists of a daily diary entry, where you can share your thoughts to the world maybe or maybe it is purely therapeutic!
o So what sort of things do you write about?
I call the Blog Peaceful Hemispheres and my strap line is from an early Stevie Wonder CD entitled, Conversation Peace!
I see it as a way of communicating the need for us to harmonise the world in terms of our resources and general comment on world happenings.
o On you’re website you have the quote… To become enlightened, we must first become a light’… is that the way you try and live you life…
I heard this saying once from a great Sikh singer called Snatam Kaur. She had heard it from a Harbajan Singh Yogi. I think there is a great meaning in these words – i.e: That it is up to us to mediate and put effort in wanting to merge with God by the time your life if over. We’ve all got to set a positive example in our lives. We can only try!
o Now I know you’re also a big music fan… and one of your regular podcasts is about jazz funk music… is that right? And you’ve brought a piece of music in for us… what is it?
Yes, I have too many records to mention that I’ve lost count.
My other Podcast is The Smooth Groovers Review. My Co-host, the Professor and I have been running the show since Oct 2005. I’ve brought in Brenda Russell’s ‘Ideal world’ as it has a wonderful universal message of hope for us all…
Still with me is the Sikh podcaster and blogger Dr Savi Arora,
o The internet has enabled individuals to make their own radio shows if you like… that’s what podcasts are… and through blogging they can publish a what is effectively a newspaper column of their own… are there dangers there? Do we need to censor them?
There is potentially a danger of unverifiable references and it is sad that some people use this new liberating self-expressive technology as a platform to deface others. Legally it become complicated to prove what has been said. We have to rely on peoples sensibilities.
o You’re involvement in new media lead to you becoming a writer for old media… you now have a column in the Sikh Times… do you think we’ll ever abandon old media?
I believe people generally still want and appreciate the aesthetic feel of paper. It might take quite a few generations and maybe some new technology before people give up reliance on traditional media sources.
o The internet transcends borders of course… so I guess it must be a useful tool for world religions… have Sikhs embraced the internet
Yes. Big time. The Sikhnet Film festival is a yearly online exhibition of talent and there are many Sikh Temples, Gurdwara’s that use a programme that is both local and on the Internet called Sikhi-to-the-max. Whilst Hymns are being sung, instant translations in Romanised English, Gurmakhi/Punjabi and English are available as Powerpoint presentations for all to see.
o It could be said that there are so many different websites that it’s kind of divisive in a way… we don’t all use the same one… (apart from the bbc website of course)… but isn’t there a danger that Christians will use Christian sites and never look at a Sikh site and the internet, instead of bringing us together, is just separating us.
Interesting point. However, everyone striving for enlightment uses the resources that they can find. Maybe the more the better as it helps people to connect with their own religious beliefs and share in their experiences. In terms of religions looking at each others sites, one could argue that the BBC offers one Interfaith resource.
o On our website today… we’re launching a prayer board… a place where you can ask other people, no matter their religion, to pray for a special intention… what do you think of that idea?
I remember a few years back the BBC2 Documentary that selected a set of patients. Some were asked to be prayed for and others were not.
You cannot test God but any form of prayer. Generally, I believe Pray generates good.
o How important is prayer of this kind within Sikhism?
Prayer is an important part of Sikhism. We have morning and evening prayers and praying for others is also a good thing.
We are required to engage in regular remembrance of God and also be committed to actions of Selfless service to the community
o Do you ever look at over websites to do with religion of spirituality? Any favourites?
I do scan sites and podcasts of a religious nature and have discovered some interesting Buddhist and Yoga ones too. I love the variety of styles and formats. No favourites as yet!
o And what’s the name of your website again
Sikhwithin.com – One word no spaces.
My strap line is Believe in Waheguru which means Wonderful Lord.