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British Sikhs conference


by Sunny on 2nd April, 2006 at 7:57 pm    

More of a point of interest note

——————
The Sikh Human Rights Group (SHRG) and the British Organisation of Sikh Students (BOSS) present a one day conference on issues affecting the Sikhs in the United Kingdom. A day of lectures and seminars will be presented by eminent and impressive Sikh academics, human rights activists and lawyers.

The conference aims to examine and highlight the current issues affecting the Sikhs in the United Kingdom and the impact of global issues on the Sikh Diaspora, security, religious freedom, employment and misconceptions about Sikhs. Graduate /undergraduates these issues affect you - so make your voice heard!

The conference is open to all individuals, faiths, communities and organisations. Those with a particular interest in issues affecting Sikhs are especially welcome to attend.

Event Title: Sikhs in the UK: Fact, Fiction and Future
Event Date: April 5, 2006
Event Type: Single Day Event
Time: 10:30am - 5:30pm (Tea and refreshments will be provided for).
Venue: Imperial College, Sir Alexander Fleming Building (No. 5 on the Campus map). Nearest tube South Kensington

Key note speakers will include;
* Professor Gurharpal - Department of Theology, Birmingham University
* Professor Arvind pal Singh Mandair - Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Hofstra University, USA)
* Manjit Singh Gill Barrister and leading Queens Counsel
* Dr Jasdev Singh Rai - Director of the Sikh Human Rights Group
* Key note speakers from BOSS.

The lectures will cover key topical issues such as Legal invisibility: Sikhs and the law, The Panth in a global world, Facts, fiction and reality of the Sikh Community in the UK, Challenges and Opportunities.

This conference will act as a focus for debate over the issues and concerns affecting the Sikhs and wider Sikh community. .

For more information contact 07971602159 Whilst the conference is free please register for a full time table and information pack at sikh_conference_2006@yahoo.co.uk

There will be transport available from west midlands, east midlands and north-west. please contact us to book places. www.shrg.net

—————————
And in case you are not aware, the SHRG is rubbish. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of hearing Dr Jasdev Rai speak, you’ll know what I mean. I had to debate this guy on BBC 5 Live during the Behzti controversy and he made the most inane arguments. Apparently all British Asians have “no culture” because we’re neither here nor there…. yada yada. I believe he swore at Jeremy Paxman just before the 5 Live debate when he was on Newsnight. Never heard an “intellectual” come up with so much rubbish, for example.

Professor Guharpal on the other hand is more intelligent and interesting, which is why I’m posting this.



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71 Comments   |  


  1. Jay Singh — on 2nd April, 2006 at 8:06 pm  

    Professor Arvindpal Singh Mandair is good too. Along with Jeevan Deol from Canada.

    =====

    ‘Legal invisibility: Sikhs and the law’

    What does this mean? What is ‘legal invisibility’? I don’t understand.

  2. Sunny — on 2nd April, 2006 at 8:09 pm  

    They want Sikhs to be recognised as an individual ‘visible ethnic minority group’. People with too much time and not enough work to do.

  3. Vikrant — on 2nd April, 2006 at 8:13 pm  

    lol… SHRG sounds like a Khalistani group to me.

  4. Jay Singh — on 2nd April, 2006 at 8:18 pm  

    They want Sikhs to be recognised as an individual ‘visible ethnic minority group’.

    Like I said before - Sikhs are not beggars. This is the begging culture of minorityism - which is fine for other people but not for Sikhs. Have some dignity you beggars.

  5. raz — on 2nd April, 2006 at 9:47 pm  

    “Sikhs are not beggars. This is the begging culture of minorityism - which is fine for other people but not for Sikhs”

    Sorry, Jay but that’s a load of shit. Sikh’s are not superior beings, they are humans just like ChristIans, Muslims, Hindus and everyone else. Either begging is ok or it isn’t. Nothing special about Sikhs. This is the kind of superiority complex I’d expect from Pizza Hutters, not you.

  6. Jay Singh — on 2nd April, 2006 at 10:01 pm  

    raz

    Sikhs shouldnt beg for crumbs from the table. In every Sikh house and every gurdwara it is rammed into a Sikhs head to go out into the world and make a living - never expect handouts, never ask for favours, do things for yourself. It is a maxim in India that you never see a Sikh beggar. This attitude of chip on the shoulder minorityism is all about expecting special treatment and asking for favours. Nothing whatsoever to do with superiority - it is about dignity. Begging like this is minorityism and Sikhs should know better - sadly in the ‘me too! look at me! look at me!’ minorityism culture of Britain, some ‘Sikhs’ want to bring their begging bowl to the ‘multicultural table’ too.

    Pizza Hut analogy is bollocks, I’m afraid.

  7. raz — on 2nd April, 2006 at 10:15 pm  

    “It is a maxim in India that you never see a Sikh beggar”

    Nonsense. If you think Sikh beggar’s don’t exist you are deluding yourself. (and how would one know if they ’saw’ a Sikh beggar anyway?).There’s NOTHING suprising about the behaviour of this SHRG group - being Sikh does not preclude stupidity.

    “In every Sikh house and every gurdwara it is rammed into a Sikhs head to go out into the world and make a living - never expect handouts, never ask for favours, do things for yourself”

    Jay, I’m pretty sure all religions would drum the same thing into peoples heads. Muslims and Hindus have all kinds of things rammed into them - but in the real world we all see what happens. The fact is, whatever claims people make for the ‘theory’ of their religions, it is the practice which they will be judged on. It is hopelessly naive to think somehow Sikhs are immune to the same temptations and follies of other religious groups.

  8. Jay Singh — on 2nd April, 2006 at 10:22 pm  

    The rise of these ‘conferences’ and community forums represents all that is wrong with the way multiculturalism has gone in this country.

    For almost fifty years Sikhs have been self sufficient in the UK, within one or two generations going from immigrants at the bottom of the ladder to a fairly successful group, generally well integrated, good social indicators, education, entrepeneurial etc. This was all achieved more or less off Sikhs own ethic of hard work. Sikhs participated in the wider struggle against racism as part of the black and Asian communities and faced down discrimination. They did that whilst facing discrimination and prejudice themselves, often severe, often prejudice acted as an incentive to work harder and better.

    Now, with all the legislative and major anti-discrimination battles won, with complete religious freedom, and in an atmosphere relative tolerance, after all the struggles and successes, the establishment of institutions like gurdwaras and other institutions, now, all of a sudden, in the year 2006, supposedly, we are being led to believe, that there is an urgent need for Sikhs to be treated as a separate ethnic minority and blah blah blah - as if overnight Sikhs have become a bunch of wilting violets in need of sops from the state. How pathetic.

    Also - beware of ‘community leaders’ and their agendas - they will lower themselves to any level of begging in order to claim legitimacy - how to do that? Simple. Complain. Moan. Groan. Lobby. Say there is a need for this and a need for that. Beg and beg some more. Reduce your dignity. Get the ear of this commitee and that politician. All of a sudden you are a ‘community representative’ manufacturing grievance and ready to lay down your conservative and orthodox vision from one high, boosted by your ego and achievments, ready to get your face in the newspaper. What a farce.

  9. Jay Singh — on 2nd April, 2006 at 10:30 pm  

    raz

    It is a maxim that has a certain amount of truth - and it is a maxim of personal dignity that largely has enabled Sikhs to do well in the UK and elsewhere - don’t beg! I am ready to criticise Sikhs for their conservatism, feudalism, patriarchy, alcoholism and whatever faults they have but one thing Sikhs have is a genuine belief in self sufficiency and hard work. And it is a reality.

  10. Nindy — on 2nd April, 2006 at 11:25 pm  

    I am a Sikh. Not religious though, I see it more of an identity kind of thing.

    There is one huge fundamental problem - Sikhs are very classist. You have jats which, in in layman’s terms are are like the aristocracy, and you have people like me, who are lower down the sikh stratum. call me vintage 19th c. working class.

    Anyways, none of this should matter, but it does. the mentality is we are better than you. so, for example, jats will generally not get married to non-jats. i was seeing this jat girl and she said despite liking me the relationship had no future because I was not a jat and it would not be approved. even though she is a modern british born independent women, she can’t get away from that archaic mentality. i really dug this chick too.

    anyways, enough of the soppy shit, this is quite a profound problem in my opinion. we sikhs are very stubborn. very proud. very elitist!

    and yep, we do like a good drink and a dance.

    chak de phutta!

  11. Jay Singh — on 2nd April, 2006 at 11:38 pm  

    Nindy

    Exactly! You would think a conference that set out to challenge things like you mention would be of more relevance to Sikhs in the UK than abstract notions like ‘The Sikh Panth in a Globalised World’ and other such, like, really urgent stuff. But apparently the most pressing issue facing Sikhs today is ‘Legal Invisibility’ - what a joke!

  12. Amandeep Madra — on 3rd April, 2006 at 9:49 am  

    Sikh history is full of stories of how Sikh have persevered through hard times against oppression, subjugation or victimisation. Our daily communal prayer (the ardaas) remembers countless sacrifices at the hands of Mughals. Later it was the Brits and Indira Gandhi’s Congress lead government of India who played the role of oppressor.
    This political milieu (especially in the last 25 years) has lead to a victim-industry. These are Sikh “leaders” who depend on a sense of oppression and victimisation so that they can scream and shout about it to give themselves political legitimacy. JAsdev Rai is a classic example and ever since the political climate in Punjab has died down he has been at pains to find examples of Sikh being victimised so he can ride in on his white horse and rescue Sikhs from his own self made paranoid fantasies of oppression and subjugation.
    A case in point was the desire by architectural conservators and heritage lovers to have the Harimandir Sahib (Golden Temple) in Amritsar declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in order that the fabric of the building was not further degraded by either environmental damage, religious vandalism or poorly advised restoration work. Jasdev Rai, through his paranoid victim glasses, saw this as an evil underhand plot by the Government of India to take control of the Harimandir and simultaneously control Sikh politics and religion in fail swoop. By raising, very effectively, the whole concept of victim hood he derailed the process and the application was dropped.
    It seems that this conference is simply trying to establish a sense of injury in the Sikh community in the UK on order that Rai and his reactionary mates can rescue us once again.

  13. Roger — on 3rd April, 2006 at 11:11 am  

    ” a fairly successful group, generally well integrated, good social indicators, education, entrepeneurial etc. ”
    Is that the problem in the eyes of community leaders and religious sikhs? A group like that could easily become absorbed into the wider society? What are rates ofintermarriage between Sikhs and other groups? Going by observation I’d say that it is higher than for other recent immigrant groups, which means that unless skhs insist on their separate identity sikhism will effectively vanish.

  14. Jay Singh — on 3rd April, 2006 at 12:23 pm  

    What does ‘insisting on a separate identity’ mean? It is meaningless - insist on what? This kind of nonsense about Sikhism vanishing is a total scaremongering.

    oooh - I am going to ‘insist’ on my separate identity! Its pure childishness! As soon as ‘leaders’ start talking about how the religion or identity is under threat - put your sensors on! Last refuge of the scoundrel is that canard.

  15. Sunny — on 3rd April, 2006 at 12:24 pm  

    YEah, that UNESCO thing wasn’t long ago either, good point Amandeep. I remember getting emails about the world heritage thing being a great idea, and next thing I started getting emails from the same people saying how it was an Indian govt plot! Sheesh…

  16. Jay Singh — on 3rd April, 2006 at 12:30 pm  

    What do all religious community leaders have in common, especially amongst Asians? They all put it about that their religion is under siege, under threat, being persecuted - paranoia and siege mentality! Scoundrels.

  17. Roger — on 3rd April, 2006 at 12:33 pm  

    “This kind of nonsense about Sikhism vanishing is a total scaremongering”.
    It happens though- the logical end of integration is absorption. There isn’t a huguenot community any more. Many jews worry that that will happen to the British jews. How many non-practising or ex-Sikhs are there?

  18. Jay Singh — on 3rd April, 2006 at 12:43 pm  

    Roger

    Judaism is not going to dissapear from England. Nor is Sikhism, nor Hinduism or Islam. Integration offers challenges which require more subtle responses than foot stamping ‘we are dying we insist on separate identity’ scaremongering.

  19. Jai — on 3rd April, 2006 at 1:10 pm  

    Jay Singh,

    =>”What does ‘insisting on a separate identity’ mean? It is meaningless - insist on what? This kind of nonsense about Sikhism vanishing is a total scaremongering.”

    Not entirely. I think the so-called “threat” is certainly exaggerated here in the UK (and indeed the West as a whole), but back in India the consequences of people either not being aware of some Sikhism’s basic tenets, or deliberate efforts on the part of some quarters of the media along with some right-wing organisations, are already evident. I’ve previously mentioned the way Sikhism is erroneously portrayed in certain popular Indian television programmes which reach a huge audience, and there are apparently already large numbers of Sikhs based in India who participate in various religious practices which have nothing whatsoever to do with Sikhism (and which in some cases are specificially condemned). From what I understand based on conversations with other Sikhs actually living there (eg. in Chandigarh etc), in recent times there has been a degree of confusion on the part of some members of that community (esp. the younger people) regarding what is and what is not technically part of Sikhism, partly due to the Indian media and partly also due to them being insufficiently educated on the matter by family members, other members of their social circles etc.

    As you may know, a couple of weeks ago I was dragged into quite a nasty argument on this issue on Sepia Mutiny, and the major ringleaders were mostly FOB-types (relatively recent arrivals from India, or those who spend a substantial proportion of the year over there) who refused to acknowledge any delineation between Sikhism and Hinduism.

    However, I don’t think there is any corresponding risk of “Sikhism disappearing” amongst the majority of 2nd/3rd Generation Sikhs in the UK and the US, although the day-to-day practice of the faith is undoubtedly going to be substantially more liberal than some conservative Sikhs would like. Despite the fact that the majority of younger Sikhs here these days are clean-shaven and relatively Westernised, as long as a sufficient number do practice the faith a little more strictly (and as long as ‘everyone’ is at least aware of the basics and the humanitarian principles involved), I don’t see any danger of Sikhism ‘dying out’ here.

    The sheer numbers of Sikhs here, especially considering the fact that they are not vastly outnumbered by the Hindu community (unlike the situation in India) mitigates this risk — even more so when you bear in mind that Sikh/Punjabi culture is dominant in the British Indian population, at least amongst the younger generation.

  20. Vikrant — on 3rd April, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

    But then again Jai, Hindu kids in India are also woefully ignorant of their Hindu identity. For them being a Hindu simply mean bursting crackers on Diwali and celebrating Holi.

  21. Jay Singh — on 3rd April, 2006 at 1:34 pm  

    Jai

    The paranoid scaremongering of Sikhism under threat in the UK is nonsense and is played on by people with agendas. As for India - well people have to deal with such things with intelligence and maturity - as long as they do that - fine - but I wonder - do Sikhs have mature leaders? Nope.

    And Vikrant makes a good point.

  22. Jai — on 3rd April, 2006 at 2:05 pm  

    Vikrant,

    You’re right, but Hindu kids in India don’t go around claiming to be Hindu whilst simultaneously doing namaaz towards Mecca or taking Catholic communion in churches, especially if they think the latter two have some kind of spiritual benefit in line with traditional Hindu teachings.

    I’ve just given a fairly stupid hypothetical example, but you get my point. I’m not just talking about celebrating various festivals as a “social holiday” — which plenty of us do, after all — but people engaging in certain religious practices which either have nothing whatsoever to do with their own religion and, as mentioned before, are specifically discouraged in some cases.

    Now, people can practice their religious beliefs any way they choose, and that’s perfectly fine — but the problems arise when people start practicing religious rituals from other faiths which are explicitly contradicted by their own religion’s teachings. It’s exacerbated if some of these activities do involve elements which are normally identified as part of the more orthodox aspects of certain other organised religions.

    Like I said, there have been several fairly explosive arguments on this issue on Sepia Mutiny over the past 6 months or so, and in the most recent incident several non-Sikhs started attempting to undermine my own understanding of Sikhism’s basics by drawing attention to India-based Sikhs who allegedly participate in the very type of non-Sikh religious rituals I’ve been alluding to.

    Anyway, that’s more of an issue back in India than out here in the West, especially the UK. (In fact I would go so far as to say that it is Hinduism which is more in danger of vanishing amongst the younger Indian generation here, beyond people paying lip-service to it — especially when the older generation are no longer around.)

    Jay Singh,

    =>”but I wonder - do Sikhs have mature leaders? Nope.”

    I agree, absolutely. This is yet another problem — those people who are supposed to be the most committed and pious adherents of all are not necessarily credible examples of the full potential of what Sikhism is really all about.

  23. Vikrant — on 3rd April, 2006 at 2:51 pm  

    I would go so far as to say that it is Hinduism which is more in danger of vanishing amongst the younger Indian generation here

    Hinduism has so far survived in the Carribean islands for over 200 years (though Evangelists have made a singnificant dent.) i see no reason why it would vanish here.

    Hinduism/Sikhiksm are more than religions they are our racial/cultural identities. Frankly very few younger Hindus have even read the scriptures. In Britain’s hedonistic and self centric lifestyle it is easy to see your religion as inferior and backward. I for one became disillusioned by the all the caste jingoism that still exists amongst Rajputs (both Hindu and Sikh).

    p.s have any of you guys ever been target by evangelists?

  24. Jay Singh — on 3rd April, 2006 at 2:59 pm  

    Nice post Vikrant.

  25. Sajn — on 3rd April, 2006 at 10:51 pm  

    Since when was swearing at Paxman a bad thing?

  26. Sunny — on 3rd April, 2006 at 11:12 pm  

    but back in India the consequences of people either not being aware of some Sikhism’s basic tenets,

    Erm Jai - that is the fault of Sikhs themselves, not of Hindus. If Sikhs themselves knew how great their religion was, instead of the crap that comes out of the Akal Takht, SGPC and the rest of those idiots, then there wouldn’t be a problem.

    Blaming Hindus is not going to solve the fact that there are hardly any major Sikh personalities in India to aspire to, unless you count the cricketers.

  27. Jai — on 4th April, 2006 at 11:20 am  

    Sunny,

    =>”that is the fault of Sikhs themselves, not of Hindus.”

    I do agree with you — I’m not blaming Hindus, except for those in the media who deliberately distort Sikh tenets in their portrayal of supposedly-Sikh characters, or those Hindus who start arguing with Sikhs about what constitutes the fundamentals of the faith (as has happened a few times on SM, as you know).

    =>”Blaming Hindus is not going to solve the fact that there are hardly any major Sikh personalities in India to aspire to, unless you count the cricketers.”

    There’s quite a few in the entertainment industry (actors/actresses etc), although obviously not the turbaned type.

  28. raz — on 4th April, 2006 at 1:22 pm  

    “the fact that there are hardly any major Sikh personalities in India to aspire to”

    Isn’t the Indian PM a Sikh, and a ‘turbaned type’ at that?

  29. bananabrain — on 4th April, 2006 at 2:01 pm  

    jay,

    “judaism is not going to disappear from england” - actually, we’re not quite so sure. we do, of course, know that ultra-orthodox judaism isn’t going to disappear, but when you’re having 12 kids per family, the numbers are going to look good. on the other hand, the intermarriage rate overall is looking pretty bad. i would encourage you to read this excellent article:

    http://www.davidrowan.com/2005/02/sunday-times-magazine-jewish.html

    (although don’t get me started on what i think of the “outreach” organisations like aish and the jle)

    what is important to remember, however, is that intermarriage is our own threat to ourselves. anti-semitism is a very different kettle of fish. and, yes, although i do broadly recognise the “self-made community representative” picture, we ought to recognise that a tolerant multicultural society can’t be legislated into existence. people do have to demand correct treatment and immigrant communities have to come to an understanding with their host society. we’ve certainly had to do it but have done so by developing our own institutions, not by demanding that the government do so for us.

    i’m aware that this is quite a short post so people may wish to criticise my logic. do feel free, but i hope i am coming across as sufficiently reasonable.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  30. Jay Singh — on 4th April, 2006 at 2:22 pm  

    bananabrain

    As always, you show me how much can be learnt from the Jewish experience in Britain and how many of the challenges we face are similar. I was sent a link on this subject that made me think and reflect too on this very subject and the responses from Sikhs and Hindus to where we are now in Britain - from the blog of Norman Geras:

    Well, here’s my solution for anyone who wants it: if the Jewish people can’t endure on the basis of their own resources, their traditions, their culture(s), on the basis of their own sense of what is valuable about Jewish identity and why it should be cherished and preserved, then so be it. We don’t need enemies.

    http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2006/04/jewish_survival.html

    b’shalom

  31. Vikrant — on 4th April, 2006 at 2:26 pm  

    those Hindus who start arguing with Sikhs about what constitutes the fundamentals of the faith (as has happened a few times on SM, as you know).

    My understanding is that Hinduism or Santana Dharma is collection of a wide range of beliefs ranging from polytheism, monotheism, monism, dualistic monism to atheism based on Vedas. The point is that Hinduism doesnt have fundamentals of its own. The only clear distinction between Hinduism and other Dharmic faiths like Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainsm, is that the Vedas are supreme authority in Hinduism while others do not accept the autority of Vedas.

    But Jai, these faiths have so much in common with each other that it is very easy to believe that these are just “ofshoots” of Hinduism.

  32. raz — on 4th April, 2006 at 2:37 pm  

    I’ve sometimes heard of links between Sikhism and Shia Islam. Anyone shed any light on this?

  33. Vikrant — on 4th April, 2006 at 2:42 pm  

    Well Sikhism is steadfast in monotheism and was in its initial days more militant than Hinduism. Sikhism i think incorporates many concepts of Hinduism (especially Bhakti Hinduism) and Islam, though it is classified as a Dharmic faith. Out of 12 Sikh Bhagats i think 10 were Hindu, 1 Muslim.

    Well atleast thats MY understanding of Sikhism.

  34. Jay Singh — on 4th April, 2006 at 2:43 pm  

    There arent links between Sikhism and shiaism - but Sikhs have always had an easy going relationshp with shias - partially because of their reverence for their martyrs which is something Sikhs can relate to and also because shias were persecuted alongside Sikhs when Aurengzeb decided to start killing infidels. Maybe there is a historical connection too with some of the Guru’s disciples being from shia background.

  35. Jay Singh — on 4th April, 2006 at 2:46 pm  

    Vikrant

    They are ‘offshoots’ in the same way that Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism or Islam is an offshoot of Judaism and Christianity combined. Or like how brothers and cousins are offshoots of the same woman - offshoots but different.

  36. Vikrant — on 4th April, 2006 at 2:58 pm  

    Jay i know Sikhism is different from Hinduism. I was just saying that you really cant blame ppl for believeing sikhism to be an offshoot of hinduism.

    Blah this religious thingy gets tad confusing…. Proud to be Nastika.

    Atheism pwns

  37. bananabrain — on 4th April, 2006 at 3:06 pm  

    hi jay,

    i’ve heard geras’ name before and, in this case, i certainly agree with him. the chap he is taking such exception to, r. dan cohn-sherbok, thinks that jews need anti-semitism to help us survive. i also take great exception to this PoV and heard rabbi c-s on radio 4 yesterday, talking about it - not that he made a case at all that i could hear, other than “well, that’s what i think”. i’ve rarely heard anything so fatuous. i suppose the next thing we’ll be expected to believe is that anti-semites are doing us a favour. hah. what a feculent pool of arse-water.

    it seems to me that sikhs should rely on their own considerable internal resources - you guys obviously have a proud tradition of social welfare (i think the kitchen at the gurduwara idea is fecking brilliant) and not turn into another bunch of carping “social exclusion”-wallahs. after all, we faced the same issue, big-time styley and we’re still here. you lot seem amply bloody-minded and thick-skinned enough to do the same.

    sat-sree akal! (if that’s an appropriate thing for me to say)

    bananabrain

  38. Jai — on 4th April, 2006 at 3:08 pm  

    Vikrant,

    =>”But Jai, these faiths have so much in common with each other that it is very easy to believe that these are just “ofshoots” of Hinduism.”

    Easy, yes, accurate, no — at least if one has an awareness of the specific teachings of the Sikh Gurus in such matters. I can see why the religion would appear to be an “offshoot”, but as far as the Gurus were concerned, their teachings were divinely inspired and not influenced by other local faiths.

    To expand on your own point — and simultaneously answer Raz’s question — I guess the closest “overlap” one can describe w.r.t Sikhism is with Bhakti Hinduism and Sufism. There are certain things the faith has in common with the former but there is also a hell of a lot that overlaps with the latter too. Several Sufi saints are venerated within Sikhism and their writings are included in the Guru Granth Sahib.

    =>”Out of 12 Sikh Bhagats i think 10 were Hindu, 1 Muslim.”

    Sorry Vikrant, I’m afraid you’re quite wrong here. There is a list of all the authors of the Guru Granth Sahib here:

    http://www.sikhs.org/granth2.htm

  39. Jai — on 4th April, 2006 at 3:11 pm  

    Bananabrain,

    =>”sat-sree akal! (if that’s an appropriate thing for me to say)”

    It’s an appropriate thing for anyone to say; Sikhism is not an “exclusivist” faith and, in a spiritual sense at least, does not distinguish between people in terms of religious affiliation. Such things are regarded as artificial, man-made concepts.

  40. Vikrant — on 4th April, 2006 at 3:13 pm  

    Re: Your link. Most of them seem Hindu to me unless ofcourse they converted to Sikhism. Namdev ofcourse was one of the founders of Bhakti Hinduism. My Maratha relations all rever him and other Bhakti saints.

  41. Jai — on 4th April, 2006 at 3:29 pm  

    Vikrant,

    That link specifically states who was formally Sikh (apart from 7 Gurus who contributed to the scriptures, 4 were Sikhs). Therefore, the rest were not. There were also saints who had no formal religious affiliation and regarded themselves as neither Hindu nor Muslim in the orthodox sense, regardless of what their names may indicate.

    The link explains what each contributor believed in terms of religion/spirituality.

    It’s also worth bearing in mind not just the number of authors but exactly how many of their writings were included in the scriptures. You are correct about Namdev, but apart from him the largest contribution from individuals who were not the Sikh Gurus themselves came from Kabir and Sheikh Farid; the former had no official religious affiliation and the latter was a Sufi.

  42. bananabrain — on 4th April, 2006 at 3:52 pm  

    that’s what i thought.

    anyway, not that i think i’m a suck-up, but i am a bit of a sikhophile. maybe it’s the opposition to barbering and the jack daniels (not that that is allowed of course) or possibly the feminine pulchritude. possibly there’s something about the bloody-minded pig-headed stubbornness that feels jewish to me. mind you, the same could be said of islam in many cases. but i always think that if heavy metal was a religion, it would probably be a bit like sikhism, what with the swords and all.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  43. Jay Singh — on 4th April, 2006 at 3:55 pm  

    Love your posts bananabrain! ;-)

    b’shalom

  44. Sunny — on 4th April, 2006 at 4:03 pm  

    I’m always sceptical of people who want to preserve a particular way of life/religion/ethnic group etc… We make fun of people who want to preserve racial purity but seem to have no problem with people who want to preserve their religion. Why is that?

    If a way of life or way of thinking is attractive, then it will sustain itself. Providing of course the proponents make a good job of actually showing how great its thinking is.

    There is an obsession with “look how many converts we’re getting” (specially by Muslims), or “there is too much inter-marriage” (by pretty much everyone apart from most Christians and Hindus in India)… but to me this strikes as nothing more than a feeling of cultural/religious superiority complex to be honest.

    Assuming I marry someone who does not come from a Sikh background (my parents are). The job of teaching our children about faith will usually be a joint one. At that stage it comes down to what we believe and what ideals we find attractive. If I don’t want my children to call themselves Sikhs (as I really don’t), it will not be because that I am repelled by Sikh ideology, but because I’m repelled by the organised religious structure.

    My point being - if an ideology is great, it will sustain itself. It does not need protection.. all it needs is great role models.

  45. Jay Singh — on 4th April, 2006 at 4:10 pm  

    Sunny

    Last week a met a Gujarati guy who was complaining that these days Brahmin girls are marrying out at an alarming rate! It’s everywhere mate - in the 21st century all the ‘protectors’ of faith see themselves as under siege

  46. Jai — on 4th April, 2006 at 4:19 pm  

    Bananabrain,

    =>possibly there’s something about the bloody-minded pig-headed stubbornness that feels jewish to me”

    I’m afraid I’m going to have to go in the opposite direction to Jay Singh and disagree with you, although your posts are indeed entertaining and obviously well-meaning.

    Sikhs are certainly supposed to stick to their guns (metaphorically) when appropriate, but “pig-headed stubbornness” is something that is specifically condemned in the faith. Perhaps you’re basing your opinions on the behaviour of Sikhs you have met — and there are certainly a lot of Sikhs out there who are indeed very stubborn etc — or perhaps it’s just the way you’re perceiving some aspects of Sikh behaviour.

    =>”but i always think that if heavy metal was a religion, it would probably be a bit like sikhism, what with the swords and all.”

    I hate to contradict you again, but this is nothing remotely like what Sikhism embodies. Music is indeed central to the faith; in fact it’s believed that the only way to gain a “true” understanding of the faith’s message is to listen to the hymns, rather than just reading the scriptures — the hymns are extracts from the scriptures but set to music, of course.

    You can go here to access a huge archive of the music I am referring to: http://www.sikhnet.com/Gurbani

    Personally I would recommend the songs by Bhai Dya Singh or Nirmal Singh.

    Sikh religious music is about as far from “heavy metal” as you can get — and they do embody the central spirit of the faith.

    The “swords” etc are integral too, but they have a specific context and ethos behind them. If you listen to the music then hopefully it will help place these things in their proper context. Despite outward appearances, Sikhism is not actually a warlike religion.

  47. Jai — on 4th April, 2006 at 4:22 pm  

    Sunny,

    =>”(If a way of life or way of thinking is attractive, then it will sustain itself.) Providing of course the proponents make a good job of actually showing how great its thinking is.”

    =>”.. all it needs is great role models.”

    “Shahbaash” ! These two points are absolutely correct.

    I don’t think I could improve upon what you’ve said so concisely and accurately.

  48. Jai — on 4th April, 2006 at 4:26 pm  

    *Personally I would recommend the songs by Bhai Dya Singh or Nirmal Singh.

    Apologies, having just checked the Sikhnet archive, Bhai Dya Singh is listed as “Dya Singh (Australia)”.

    (ie. no “Bhai” before his name)

    Beautiful music, extremely powerful and poignant singer. What an amazing voice.

  49. bananabrain — on 4th April, 2006 at 4:30 pm  

    jai - just to avoid misunderstanding, that last post was not meant to be totally serious. i might equally well have compared sikhs to australians. in fact, if you’re talking about birds, booze and fighting, ac/dc lyrics are kind of what i’m talking about. but this is the stereotype, of course, not the reality! it’s rather like getting your view of the jewish community from reading philip roth or seeing woody allen movies.

    and, in defence of heavy metal fans, they (or perhaps i should say we, although i am too fat for leather trousers any more) are, despite appearances, a peace-loving, harmless bunch who happen to like long hair, warlike imagery and symbolism. nothing sikhy about that i dare say. the music is an international language…

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  50. bananabrain — on 4th April, 2006 at 4:35 pm  

    sunny - what jai said, post #47, couldn’t agree more. except i don’t know how a faith is to sustain itself if it isn’t able to maintain its distinctiveness somehow. judaism has survived as long as it has not through numbers, but at least in part through social engineering and restrictive rules. now, i totally understand what you’re saying about who you marry and of course you can’t legislate for love, but the fact is that intermarried couples are not generally all that good at preserving the faiths concerned. in fact, that’s how you end up with abominations like “chrismukkah”. people are in fact terribly bad at being selective - that’s why “new age” beliefs tend to come across as so “fluffy bunny”-ish.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  51. Amandeep Madra — on 4th April, 2006 at 11:49 pm  

    The “visible” Sikh role model that Sunny speaks of aabound at the moment:
    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh : A incredibly well-respected, high achieving Sikh with utmost integrity
    Gen JJ Singh : Head of India’s Armed Forces
    MOntek Singh Ahluwalia: Another well respected and reagrded politician. I should also mention Monty Panesar and Harbhajan Singh. In my lifetime SIkhs have never been so well represented and well regarded.
    All this unsettles the paranoid fantastists who demand a anti-sikh conspiracy to retain their role as the communty’s defenders.
    Finally, I always thought that Sikhs were very much like Klingons in Star Trek rather than Aussies or Metalheads but I takeyour point

  52. Aman Singh — on 6th April, 2006 at 1:14 am  

    Sunny,
    A friend referred me to your site
    I am slightly bemused at your dismissal of Dr Rai in your comment above – If I understand from the transcript of Newsnight – Paxman said – ‘where to next, book burning?” Dr Rai said – “Now you are being stupid, Jeremy..”
    Surely this was a very sharp response to Paxman’s ignorant provocation, and at the time, a journalist friend of mine informed me that there was a respectful conversation between Paxman and Dr Rai afterwards.
    And I have just read the Guardian article you’ve linked – I wasn’t aware of this – c’mon now- this is the most intelligent comment I have come across re: the Behzthi controversy – it puts everything in context.
    It seems you have some other agenda going on here!
    Aman.

  53. Sunny — on 6th April, 2006 at 1:48 am  

    Aman - I wish I had the link to the Five Live discussion we had afterwards. It was beyond absurdity. The guy is obsessed with imperialism than is actually healthy. Do have a chat with him by all means and maybe you will see what I’m getting at.

    Regarding Paxman’s comments. I was told it was more than that, however it is a journalist’s job to be provacative. Given that Sikh “intellectuals” throw a fit anytime some other writer writes anything controversial and start talking about ex-communication and have fights everytime those people come here (I’m talking about the Kala Aghana thing here)…. a book burning is surely around the corner. After all, didn’t they burn some posters of “Bole So Nihal” in Delhi or something?

  54. Jay Singh — on 6th April, 2006 at 2:01 am  

    Given that Sikh “intellectuals” throw a fit anytime some other writer writes anything controversial

    That’s the truth! There is a long list of Sikh academics hounded by a small coterie of fanatics who harass them because they don’t like their interpretations of the faith and history.

  55. Jay Singh — on 6th April, 2006 at 2:02 am  

    Aman Singh

    Was was Paxman’s question an ‘ignorant provocation’, by the way?

  56. Jay Singh — on 6th April, 2006 at 2:05 am  

    I meant to ask, what was provocative about his question?

  57. Aman Singh — on 6th April, 2006 at 10:11 am  

    Sunny

    Uh duh? — how can imperialism ever be healthy?

    I have heard YOU on Five Alive when you were with Parv Bancil — and I tell you there was some embarrasing naivity from you in regards to that subject of Behzthi at the time - a kind of naivity which you display again!

    this site is such a bore - pseudo wannabe journalists — who are probably sitting in their mummy’s house massaging their gigabyte!! Why are all Asian magazines or publications never upto the mark, always so embarrasing??

  58. Jay Singh — on 6th April, 2006 at 10:25 am  

    Why so bitter and childish and abusive Aman? What’s up?

  59. Aman Singh — on 6th April, 2006 at 11:02 am  

    Not childish Jay Singh just irritaion of this unintelligence that is so prevalent of the standards of discussion and journalism in our community! - Here is a very intelligenct contribution as comment made by Jasdev Rai in the Guardian re: Behzthi (which I only incidentally came across thanks to this site) - and also as I said in my earlier comment - a sharp response to Paxman - but all Sunny does is personalise it to some dismisal that serves his personal agenda -(which to be frank I don’t understand - as I have a friend who is commissioning editor at C4 who thinks most people in the media think of him as an embarrasement) — and rather than start a progressive and challenging discussion - this site just does not rise upto that standard.— and perhaps you are right about the bitterness - but I can’t feel less than that when you have people like him branding about their reckless egos!! It’s a wasted opportunity!!

  60. Jay Singh — on 6th April, 2006 at 11:11 am  

    Aman

    You call this childish and ‘unintelligence’? Go to the majority of what passes for discussion on ‘our community’ message boards and then you’ll see what real childishness and idiocy is like.

    Calling someone ’stupid’ is not a sharp response by the way. It is called *throwing your toys out of the pram*

  61. Aman Singh — on 6th April, 2006 at 11:50 am  

    Jay singh

    c’mon now — you’re doing the same thing here — all remarks are in context to the situation - I saw the Paxman interview and I thought Rai’s response was a very robust sharp response that dismissed Paxman’s attempt to malign the Behzthi protests to the muslims book-burning during the Rushsdie ’satanic verse’ saga. I thought t served well to espress the attitude that Sikhs were feeling at the time - being the target of the media’s racism
    The two protests were from different perspectives and from different idealogies. And Rai had the opportunity to say so and he did it quite well. I agree that his subsequent comment about the background of the British Asian got confused in its expression- but I have heard him on radio making the same comment - made in its full context making aproporiate sense - the usual identity crisis crap that most of us make.

    Some of the comments above on this message board are quite simply pontifications - ‘fits’ and like yours ‘throwing toys out of pram’ — let’s rub the old brain cells a bit now.

  62. Jay Singh — on 6th April, 2006 at 1:18 pm  

    Aman

    Talk about differing realities. What was need for Paxman to ‘malign’ the protests? They had already done that themselves by smashing up the theatre and threatening people. Amazing that you reserve your ire for Paxman and not for the hooligans and barbarians who really did ‘maligned’ the protest - truly amazing.

    You havent actually made a single point yet Aman - just thrown the toys out of the prams, complained, talked about intellect and mouthed platitudes. What’s up?

  63. Sunny — on 6th April, 2006 at 1:27 pm  

    Uh duh? — how can imperialism ever be healthy?

    It finished 60 years ago. The phrase: “Get. Over. It” comes to mind. I’m sick of people talking about imperialism as if its yesterday’s occurence. It’s also the lazy Asian man’s argument to blame everything on imperialism because Rai knows the Guardian has a bit of a soft spot about imperialism. The argument in itself has fuck-all to do with Behzti.

    a kind of naivity which you display again!
    Yawn - are you actually going to make an argument about your thoughts or throw insults around like a little kid?

    Why are all Asian magazines or publications never upto the mark, always so embarrasing??

    Let’s get one thing straight. This is a free-to-use onlline blog/mag and relies on people having sensible discussions. It’s not a commercial “Asian magazine”. I set it up so I can have the kind of discussions I was looking for, and other people are welcome to participate or leave. If you don’t like it, bugger off.

    but I can’t feel less than that when you have people like him branding about their reckless egos!!

    Let’s get another thing straight. I say what I want to… I don’t need idiots like you coming here giving me a license on what I should be saying or not depending on what you’ve heard from you mates. Either engage the brain, or bugger off. End of discussion.

  64. Aman Singh — on 6th April, 2006 at 3:28 pm  

    Jay Singh,

    But I have made a point - that I have small tits and big arse - and you have big tits, perky arse — there, that’s the level of discussion on this site, isn’t it ?-
    And Sunny’s probably got 40DDs — mamoth big juicy ones!!

  65. Amandeep Madra — on 6th April, 2006 at 3:30 pm  

    Aman Singh

    Resorting to ad-hominen attacks really is the final vestige of a poor argument. Why dont you have a lie down and a cup of (non-imperialist) tea?

    Amandeep

  66. Aman Singh — on 6th April, 2006 at 3:33 pm  

    oooooh.. who’s a little kid now, Sunny???

    Just as well you’ve got a plonkish personality and no-one out there takes you seriously otherwise you’d be pretty dangerous..

    and oh yeah about imperialism - let’s wait for the Sir Sunny OBE, MBE,!!

  67. Sunny — on 6th April, 2006 at 3:37 pm  

    Heh. Well, good to see your true colours Aman. I was beginning to think Jasdev Rai’s supporters had brains! Thanks for proving me right. Goodbye!

  68. Aman Singh — on 6th April, 2006 at 3:39 pm  

    Amandeep

    Hold on a minute, mate— read all the stuff above starting with Sunny’s highly personal (even your ad-hominen) remarks - before I came on this site — I’m only making sure the standard is kept!!

  69. Vikrant Singh — on 6th April, 2006 at 4:00 pm  

    Yikes a Singh-saturation at PP. Sunny our friends from Pizza HuT, MPAC(man) are busy muddling up your entry on Wiki.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunny_Hundal

  70. Sunny — on 6th April, 2006 at 4:13 pm  

    No doubt people will accuse me of Islamophobia, but I’d like to see evidence of MCB etc doing that openly. In fact the MCB even used an article I wrote once to support their claim against the BBC!
    I’ve become a political football I tells ya.

  71. Jai (message for Raz) — on 8th April, 2006 at 10:48 am  

    Raz,

    =>”I’ve sometimes heard of links between Sikhism and Shia Islam. Anyone shed any light on this?”

    I’ve been meaning to reply to this for a couple of days, sorry about the delay in getting back to you.

    Guru Gobind Singh owned a double-edged sword that originally belonged to Imam Ali (I believe it’s currently housed in a gurdwara back in India). I’ve also heard stories that the Guru apparently used that sword when stirring the ‘Amrit’ during the very first Khalsa baptism ceremony on Vaisakhi in 1699. I don’t know if this has any underlying significance with regards to a link to Shia Islam or at least with regards to possibly legitimising Ali (as opposed to Sunni Islam and its first leaders, bearing in mind the historical clash between the two factions), but like you I have wondered about this too.

    *Shrug* I don’t know. However, since many Sufi orders trace their origins back to Imam Ali, and I’ve previously mentioned the Sufi overlap with Sikhism, perhaps that may have something to do with it too. I’m just speculating here.

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