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#1 Kara



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Posted 02 July 2004 - 03:23 PM

Waheguroo Jee Ka Khalsa!
Waheguroo Jee Kee Fateh!!

I'm glad this thread has revealed some interesting responses from the Sangat.

Caste is definately a facet of our culture. Whether it has influences from other traditional systems or not, it is exactly as some of you have stated, contradictory to the dictates of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

I believe that caste and other affiliated stereotypes, to answer ram_simar's question, are resultant from societal status and a pseudo-moralistic tendency that emmigrates from an uneducated community.

Allow me to elaborate. The terms, 'Honor', 'Dignity' and 'Reputation', weigh a great deal amongst all Sikhs and Punjabis. In fact, most societies outside of our own, also recognize the titles associated with the above terms.

These terms are seldom defined, but quite commonly associated to noble individuals that are respected historically by our cultures or historically by our religions.
Caste and the creation of such hierarchy seems to be born from an absurd regard for these terms.

Especially reputation. When a proper education is not readily available, it is human nature, I believe, to be inclined to create respect for ones person or family by different means. Many unwritten rules that tie into caste revolve around such miseducation.

When someone cannot command respect with their educational background, they result to other more eccentric means of making their name bear better reputation. Of course, this leads to outlandish rules that segregate people on all levels, race, creed, religious background and even societal placement.

It is true that

caste and its attributes have spread across many of our communities and others as well. The difference may very well be that while many sects of many religions offer reasoning to justify such segregation, ours does not.

Why place such a high regard for image, honor, respect and reputation, when the only thing we must worry about is our personal connection to Waheguru.

Is this a problem of education?

Many of us stand behind the morals that we create, the ones that denounce caste and such hierarchy. But how does one enforce these rules when it is obvious such actions are against the essence of our religion?

Why talk about certain types of Sikhs? Why mention their contributions as opposed to anothers? I think that this is bordering on blasphemy. Our religion does not give us lieghway to make such rash categories.

It is true that tribes existed at one point, and that reputations of these tribes were priorities in some point in history. But at those times a lack of education and illeteracy were much more prominent than today. As well as the notion of exercising power with force. A Sikh, should not worry about maintaining or continuing this image. We as Sikhs are much more educated and wise to the fact that caste means nothing and it is an illusion.

Our connection and quest for truth through knowledge is what should guide us out of the dark recesses of the unenlightened mind.

Do you agree? That we must educate, or give our culture a reason to dismiss honor, pride and reputation as illusions. True honor, true pride lie within our Gurus and Waheguru, and the honorable thing to do is not worry as much about reputation when all we have to do is follow the morals our Guruji teaches us.

Waheguroo Jee Ka Khalsa!
Waheguroo Jee Kee Fateh!!

#2 Kara



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Posted 02 July 2004 - 09:07 AM

Waheguroo Jee Ka Khalsa!
Waheguroo Jee Kee Fateh!!

Is Caste in Punjabi Culture acceptable in Sikh Religion?
How do we define caste?

When we talk about different kinds of Sikhs, and their roles in our history, are we indirectly typecasting within the confines of our religion?

Is caste a product of our religion, or our traditions?

Waheguroo Jee Ka Khalsa!
Waheguroo Jee Kee Fateh!!

#3 _mehtab_

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Posted 02 July 2004 - 09:20 AM

vwihgurU jI kw Kwlsw!
vwihgurU jI kI &iqh!!

Caste is a Hindu phenomenon that has crept into Sikhi thanks to Punjabi culture. There are 20,000 solid ways to justify caste which are coming soon in forthcoming replies, but remember that Sikhi is 100% against it.

vwihgurU jI kw Kwlsw!
vwihgurU jI kI &iqh!!

#4 _Jahan_

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Posted 02 July 2004 - 09:50 AM

Caste has no place in Sikhism.

Sikhism rejects the idea of being bound to your ancestors trade/life-style/fate... Therefore, these social divisions of Khatri, Rajput, Jatt, Chamar etc have no place among Sikhs.

Caste is a product of Hindu ideology and belongs only to the Hindus.

If you call yourself a "Jatt Sikh" or a "Tarkhan Sikh" etc, you are contradicting yourself and are openly defying your religion.

Those who identify with a Hindu caste should consider what is better:

A) To live a contradicting, hypocritical life and spit on your own religion or:
B) To become a Hindu and engage in casteism as much as your heart desires.


#5 ram_simar


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Posted 02 July 2004 - 11:05 AM

Dear Sangat ji,

Sat Sri Akal!

I have a question which I have been pondering over for a long time. Caste has been shunned by Sikhism, Islam, Christianity etc. but still manages to creep through the system. Why?

The caste system in Sikhi is a social evil no doubt but prevelant nonetheless. Just look at some matrimonial section in any Punjabi newspaper and you will find all kinds of "Jatt Sikh munda" or "Khatri kudi" stuff. The muslims are very much into it even though their religion is STRICTLY against it. In Pakistan for example Syed caste is highly respected (considered as the family of Prophet Mohammed).. There are many incidents when robbers attack and loot a bus in a remote village, they wont even touch the Syeds. (An eery resemblance to the Brahmins in Hinduism). Pakistan Punjab has its own share of Jatts, Khatris etc.. A tacit caste system between Arabs and non-Arab (Africsn muslims etc.) has existed for centuries.

Christianity, with its hundreds of sects very much practices the caste system but its castes are based on the color of the individuals. Tilll only 50 years ago, many churches in USA had segregation as far as blacks and whites are concerned, let alone marrying or eating together. Even today, balck and white marriages are rare and limited to more cosmopolitan cities (not in rural south or midwest)..

The question is WHY? Can a high ranking and prominent Sikh become a leading example by marrying his son or daughter to a so called "Mazhabi/chamar" Sikh. Just a few of these kind of gestures will go a long way in removing caste system from its roots. Otherwise it will just be rhetoric after rhetoric and the problem stays..

Waheguru ji

da Khalsa
Waheguru ji di Fateh..

Bhul chuk nu maaf karnaa sangat ji..

#6 _Jahan_

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Posted 02 July 2004 - 11:46 AM

My friend you are confusing three very distinct things together, namely caste, ethnicity and race.

For your first question caste still exists in Sikh society because Sikhs refuse to change. Its that simple.

Now, understand this about caste system. First of all, Hinduism has four religious castes. The Brahmins (Priestly class) Kshyatrias (Warrior class) Vaishnav (Merchant/Trading classes) and Sudras (Servant class). In their traditional view, these were the divisions of mankind according to past kama.

Now there also exists something called 'social-castes' divided broadly into two like this:
'Occupational castes' - Clan and family groups associated with a particular trade (eg Jatts with farming/peasantry).
'Tribal castes' - Clan and family groups associated with one of Hinduism's four religious castes regardless of occupation (eg Rajputs are of Kshyatria caste, they have no association with any particular trade).

Caste became a hereditary identity over time as clan and family names became connected with a particular caste (eg Sandhu's, Brar's, Gill's with Jatt caste, Bedi's, Kapoor's, Khanna's with Khatri caste etc).

You mentioned 'Syed' as a caste, how? 'Syed' is a family group, or perhaps even a suffix like 'Chaudhary' or 'Shah'. It is NOT a caste. It has no relationship with Hinduism or Hindu caste society.

You go on to issues between Arabs and non-Arabs, that has nothing to do with caste, that is simply an ethnic thing or racism.

The stuff about Christian society also has nothing to do with caste, that is plain racism.

I find it worrying that many

Sikhs cannot comprehend these simple distinctions.

Caste is sole invention of Hindu ideology. It has no place in Sikhism or the real World, but sadly Sikhs will practice this Hindu idea more than the Hindus themselves. Sikhs have even gone on to invent their own castes like "Ramgarhia" and "Mazhabi". Even tho these were never castes to begin with, but are now accepted as 'castes' by Sikh society...

What a shame.


#7 _mehtab_

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Posted 02 July 2004 - 11:50 AM

Please check this thread for more

#8 Deep Singh

Deep Singh

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Posted 02 July 2004 - 11:57 AM

Jahan veerji,

aren't Jatts a part of Vaishnav group? like the Vaishnav Varan has different Jatis, and Jatt is one of them? or are these two different types of castes?
the thing is we had a discussion:

where caste issue and mcleod's views on Guru Sahiban and caste we discussed. i would be thankful if you take a look there and post your comments.
-: vwihgurU jI kw Kwlsw] vwihgurU jI kI Piqh] :-

dIp isMG, The Viking Singh

#9 ram_simar


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Posted 02 July 2004 - 12:38 PM

Sangat ji,

Deep Singh and Mehtab Singh ji, Thanks for pointing to the thread.

Jahan ji, I am not confusing ethnicity, caste and race. The main objective of my post was to point to the continued emergence of 'caste' under different guises. Syeds are called a'caste' as they are very strict about marrying with in their group or caste or whatever nomenclature you apply to it. I have many Pakistani friends and believe me jatt, Khatri, suffixes, prefixes etc. are a VERY serious business to them despite the fact that it runs totally contrary to the spirit of Islam.

You said "In their traditional view, these were the divisions of mankind according to past kama." (sic)

The above statement is true but there are many other theories about this varna theory in vogue. In its undiluted form it is said to have been conferred by the Guru(teacher) based on an individual's disposition.

The morphing of socio-castes, occupational castes etc. is just an example of the supple nature of this 'caste evil' that has plagued many a religions.

Now to a more important issue of seemingly 'un-caste' christian society. Leaving the black-white issue for a while, how about the Mormons, the Shakers, the Quakers etc. they never marry outside of their sect! (or rarely).. Anyways, racism is another version of castism! the fundamental social dynamics behind both remain pretty much the same, dont they?

We can look at the Huzuri raagis or SGPC or any major Sikh board or Gurudwara committee, can you tell me any "Mazhabi/Chamar" scholar/personality? This just shows that we need to seriously take this issue up and bring som

e social rejuvenation to today's Sikhi.

Waheguru ji da Khalsa
Waheguru ji di Fateh..

Bhul chuk nu maaf karnaa sangat ji..

#10 _mehtab_

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Posted 02 July 2004 - 01:18 PM

we need to seriously take this issue up and bring some social rejuvenation to today's Sikhi.

Extremely sorry to say, but thats not happening anytime soon. Alas!

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