Got this from the Network of Sikh Organisations today, thought it was worth sharing:
Yesterday, Brenden Gormley, Head of the Disasters Emergency Committee commented that generous donations by the British public to flood relief in Pakistan were shaming politicians across the world. His words remind us how political concerns, like those over terrorism or corruption, can all too easily trump basic humanitarian considerations.
The suffering evokes poignant memories for many Sikhs The floods are in the land of the birth of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith; a land that saw the forceful expulsion of their grandparents during the partition of the sub-continent 63 years ago this month, in a frenzy of religious hate. Despite this, most Sikhs see it as their basic religious duty to help. Many Sikhs like others have contributed generously to the aid effort, while others are helping in Pakistan. But for some, the hurt of the past remains. So how do we break the chains of history to look to the needs of the present?
For Sikhs, the answer lies in two incidents. The first occurred a little over 300 years ago, when the infant Sikh community was defending itself from attack by the Mughal rulers. . In a particularly fierce battle, a Sikh water carrier called Kanyia was seen supplying water to the enemy wounded Angry Sikh soldiers dragged him before Guru Gobind Singh. The Guru asked if the charge was true. The bewildered Kanyia replied that it was, and said that he was simply doing what the teachings of Sikhism required him to do: look to those suffering whoever they might be. The delighted Guru embraced him, calling him ‘bhai’ or brother and gave him medicines and bandages to continue his good work.
The second incident lies in the experience of the war between India and Pakistan in 1971 when Punjabi Pakistani prisoners of war and their Punjabi Sikh captors embraced each other and swapped stories like long lost brothers. The incident showed the utter absurdity of man made borders drawn on maps to divide communities on the basis of politically induced communal fear and hate. Yet this has been done over and over again, and is still being done around the world today.
Helping those in need is not only a basic human duty, but here it can also play a small part in boosting confidence, trade and prosperity. More importantly, it can give a lie to the myth that people of different faiths cannot live together.
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Filed in: Organisations,Sikh