Panthic Project Ideas Part 2

This is a followup to my last post where I discuss some possible panthic-focused projects to work on.

The children of Punjab now have completely lost the chance at a better education, and the main person responsible is still at it: attacking the people and institutions who made that project possible. This duplicity is painful to watch, and as I find out more about the pasts, I even somewhat blame myself for not seeing these crimes coming a mile away (e.g. the main accused took pretty similar actions at his last job at Datawind and then turned to sue that company). It’s insane that someone who has had all the higher education benefits that others struggle for everyday and was given several professional opportunities by his friends and sangat, one day makes such selfish decisions against thousands of little kids’ education and compromises any future USAID investment in Punjab, the land he claims to care for. Meanwhile, via Chandigarh, Seattle, he now reportedly sits in Vancouver, having forcibly shut down the promising project in Punjab.

Some more ideas I’ve come up with, that may be worth pursuing, feedback is appreciated:

Sikh Resource Archive

sraBack in 2008 I had the idea of creating a pure and simple online archive of sikh resources. This would be focused on digital collection of everything sikhi-related, with a specific goal of things that are ‘useful’. I even put together a proof of concept that some friends may have seen. I think this idea may still have some merit, even if the digital world has changed considerably since almost a decade ago. We could even work to get these things onto archive.org for long-term saving beyond my capabilities.

Nanakshahi

nanakshahiI have several strong opinions on the Nanakshahi calendar that was created by Pal Singh Purewal, then adopted by Sikhs… then un-adopted by corrupt sikhs. In 2009 I showcased this PHP calendar function by Harpreet Singh Buttar. There are a *ton* of things that could use Nanakshahi calendar support, that I could work to add to. I’d love to see full android support among other things, and this is likely something I could accomplish with a concerted effort.

Dial-a-simran

phoneemotionBack in 2009 I made a small project that was very simple – Call a number, listen to simran. While this has been completely superseded by apps, radio, mp3’s and everything available to everyone, I wonder if there would be an interesting way to expand on this idea (and the small amount of code that I made back then) to do something panthic and forward-thinking.

Timeline

punjab_timelineOne idea that I’ve been kicking around for a very long time is to make an awesome interactive timeline of Sikh History, across all sorts of dimensions. As specific as possible, with lot’s of different features and types of data you can access. To give a cool and easy-to-use view of sikh history and gurmat. Something like this or this. The main part of the project would be to consolidate the history into something that can be consumed by software, including lots of metadata, and making it free and open to all. This site is a great starting point and example to follow – it’s also very cool so check it out.

Gurbani Search

ggsIt might be almost cliche, but while there are a number of projects out there, plus the large number of Android and iOS apps, they all do things in a manner that doesn’t necessarily fill all the niches that I run into. I imagine a client-side single page web app, with a full offline mode that is focused on presentation to a secondary monitor. This would consume the excellent sikher api and related projects, to be focused primarily on good UI experience. We’ve all seen the Uncles and Aunties at gurdwara struggling with the 20-year old SikhiToTheMax project, it’s probably time to revamp that and make something cool and new. While there exists some other alternatives (iSearchGurbani and SearchGurbaniDesktop come to immediate mind), I have a long history with this project, from back in the windows mobile pc days, and ages ago when I used windows (windows free for at least 17 years now…) This could be a fun, globally collaborative project that would have high impact.

Again, would love to get any reader’s thoughts on this, or any other interesting ideas you may have.

Some ideas on panthic projects

So after being entirely disheartened watching someone I thought was trustworthy completely dismantle a 5 year project to help children in Punjab basically overnight, I’ve decided I need to carve some small amount of time working on a public project that will have some (any) impact on the kaum, and make me feel a lot better about the world.

khandaHere’s a few ideas that have been suggested to me or I’ve thought of, I figure I’ll probably go through several of these posts and illicit some feedback on what people think would have the most impact, and allow me the opportunity to learn something.

I’m most interested in projects that allow me to learn more Python, (I’d call myself a beginner, even though I’ve made a fair amount of tools already) Web, or Android development.

1) Naam Simran / Nitnem Groups App

compassThis would be a website you sign up with your phone number. You choose to be called at a specific time of day and join a small group of other people in a conference call to do Naam Simran or a selected baani. Optionally you can create a private group of your selected friends to join you to encourage you to do the same. UI will be primarily the website, though a phone app could be built as well. Phone number + baani + days of week + timings is the input, automated conference calls is the output. Costs me a non-negligible amount for using Twilio or similar

2) Rebuild khabran.sikhnerd.com

Khabran ScreenshotThis was an old project where I attempted to have all relevant sikh news and blogs in one place for easy consumption.  I could resurrect this project as I think there is still room on the internet for something like this, though a simple RSS aggregator is likely too simple. Maybe you’d want to build more of a community-style site around the news articles being streamed in, or focus only on positive stories.  Should also add audio/video/etc as well. There are a lot of ways I could make this better and more useful.

3) Help the Sikh Coalition

Sikh_CoalitionThe Coalition is a great organization that I have done a good amount of seva for in the past, they have a good number of active projects and some similar long-term ideas in the works as well. I could simply reach out to my good friends and see what they have going on that would be a good fit for me.

4) Free Akal Takht

free_akal_takht_logoNo matter what I think of the politics, being active in this area of the community would be fairly new to me, and could be a good route to take to find some Kaum-wide impact. There is always room for technology plays in these types of projects.

5) Help local/national Sikh camps and retreats

saanjhI have a long history of organizing, teaching, and aiding Sikh camps and retreats around the world. I’m already doing a good amount of seva with the great folks at Saanjh (you should go!), maybe I should up my game here and do a lot more.

Would love to get any reader’s thoughts on this, or any other interesting ideas you may have.

What keeps me doing Panthic Work

These days it’s really easy for me to tell other to go away, and that “I’m busy, sorry – no time”

But the reality is that as a Sikh it’s my duty to do panthic work. Right now the only thing that keeps me involved with Sikh Organizations is this paragraph from the Reht Maryada:

The concept of service is not confined to fanning the congregation, service to and in the Guru ka Langar etc. A Sikh’s entire life is a life of benevolent exertion. The most fruitful service is the service that secures the optimum good by minimal endeavour. That can be achieved through organised collective action. A Sikh has, for this reason, to fulfil his/her Panthic obligations (obligations as a member of the corporate entity, the Panth), even as he/she performs his/her individual duties.

(emphasis mine). This basically tells me that any seva I do should be the most efficient possible, and it seems obvious that to be efficient (and lazy) I should be doing it with others so that my efforts have the most effect. Honestly, even though I’m mostly burned out, this paragraph keeps me involved with Sehaj, The Sikh Coalition, and others.

What keeps you going?

Sikh Odyssey – Sikh Religion and Punjab Trivia Game

Check out this AWESOME game by Kulbir Kaur. It’s a trivia game all about Sikhi and related history.

It looks very professional and fun to play. Some Sample questions:

Q: Which Guru lived the longest?

A: Guru Amaar Das Ji , 95

Q: Name the five rivers of Punjab.

A: Jhelum, Chinab, Ravi, Sutlej, Beas

Q: When did Maharaja Ranjit Singh rule

Punjab?

A: 1799 – 1839

Q: Who was the first Sikh Guru to be a martyr?

A: Guru Arjan Dev Ji, May 1606

Q: Who was the first Sikh woman martyr?

A: Mata Gujri Ji.

Q: When was Bhagat Singh born?

A:  27 September 1907

Q: When was the first Gurudwara Sahib opened

in Canada?

A:  1908

Q: What does “Singh” mean?

A:  Lion

Q: How many shabads are in Guru Gran Sahib Ji?

A: 5872

Q: How many times does the Mool Manter appear in Guru granth Sahib Ji?

A: 33 times

Can’t wait till I get my hands on one of these. You guys and gals should check out the game and get one yourself!

Sehaj Houston Sikh Retreat – December 26th – 29th 2009

Sehaj Sikh Retreat 2009 – Houston, TX
December 26, 11:00 pm – December 29, 9:30 pm

Sikh enthusiasts are coming together to create an inspirational environment from all across the country. Fostering individuals towards innovative solutions for Panthic Oriented Causes, SEHAJ delightedly invites you to Sehaj Sikh Retreat 2009. Participants will engage in an intense Sikhiya, Kirtan, Vichaar, and Sangat. Join us this December 26th to December 29th at Gordan Ranch near Houston TX.

Bring this year to a close, and start the next one with a bang by joining us December 26th through December 29th for the Sehaj Sikh Retreat in Houston, Texas. Aimed at Young adults and professionals ages 20 -39, Sehaj aims to bring together individuals from across the world, and across the entire spectrum of life experiences to connect, share, and find each persons path to the Guru. The retreat features interactive workshops, intensive diwans, and guest speakers focused on exploring the individual’s role in the Khalsa Panth. With well planned workshops, plenty of time to bond, and a great environment of Sangat, be ready to have an intense learning experience along with a great time!

WHO: Ages 20-39

WHAT: Khalsai Rakhi – The Charge of the Khalsa

WHERE: Gordon Ranch, Houston Texas

WHEN: December 26th – December 29th

Visit http://sehaj.org to register and for more information!