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  1. Caveat: this is a broad observation and being framed on an anecdotal basis I'm finding in North American western media, there does not appear to be very much mention of Sikhi among the world's largest religions whenever a discussion of religious relativity occurs (ex. comparative stats for religions, interfaith discussions etc.) I always see a reference to Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, however very little mention of Sikhi amongst the grouping of major world religions. I find it concerning as Sikhi is visibly distinct, there are many Sikh-related issues which can be addressed with greater awareness and understanding such as the constant wave of disproportional hate crimes targeted at Sikhs for their visibly different appearance. Sure there the mention of the occasional 'langar', however i don't think there's much time allocated to explain the context and history behind the practice of Sikhs providing 'langar' and how it connects to the broader ideals of Sikhi. This is not to say there have not been campaigns to educate and inform western media about Sikhs by many Sikh organizations doing great work. A great example is the recent PBS documentary about Guru Nanak Dev Ji - https://gurunanakfilm.com/ which was aired on local PBS stations across the US) It just makes me wonder though if the disregard is intentional or due to a lack of awareness of Sikhi or perhaps a conflation of Sikhi as some part of Snatan Dharma (which I imagine is viewed as what is called Hinduism')? There has been a sustained anti-Sikh campaign by many powers that be over history (with a live campaign in India and Pakistan to distort and downplay Sikh history in history textbooks for example), and historical evidence of attempts to dissolve Sikhi or assume it as part of a larger group (ex. Hinduism). So it wouldn't surprise me if the truth is a mix of ignorance and what many would call 'conspiracy'. This being said, in this age of equity/diversity/inclusion, there's a real opportunity to seize the openness and invitation to the table to present the Sikh identify, and bring greater awareness to it to counter any narrative which is misrepresenting it.
  2. Guest

    Dual Identity (Sikh/Hindu)

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh, I come from a Hindu family, but have never been very attached to Hinduism. I was born and raised in India, and I lived in Punjab through my childhood and adolescence. Since I was in Punjab, I was surrounded by Sikh people. Naturally, I also learned Punjabi during those years. Over the years, I gradually got more and more fascinated by the Sikh faith. I really liked the Sikhi ideas of equality and sharing with everyone regardless of their background. I would watch my neighbor tying his patka; I would watch another neighbor tying his turban, so that I could learn to tie them myself. I even borrowed (technically, stole) a patka from my landlord's son, so that I could tie it on myself (I know I shouldn't have done that, but I just wanted to put to practice what I had been learning). The point is, my connection to Sikhi grew stronger as I went on. Naturally, my family never knew about all this, so it was all a secret exercise. Four years ago, I moved to Germany for my studies. In the beginning, I forgot much about Sikhi, but in the last few months, the connection has been stronger than ever before. Since I had my privacy, I ordered 2 patkas, turbans and a kara online to start to tie them. I'm still learning to tie a turban (watching someone tie a turban and actually tying it are two very different things). But in the meantime, I am trying to wear a patka every day when I'm home. When I'm outside, I'm my original self -- the guy with cut hair who has a job, but at home, it's like I'm another person -- I have a patka on (with a fake joora, but I love the feeling of having virtual hair on my head). I go to sleep in a patka but I'll be learning how to tie a keski. I am also learning turban tying on the weekends and am learning Japji Sahib, so that I can chant the Guru's name every day. I have also chosen an alternative Sikh name for myself - Amritpal Singh. Deep within, I feel like Waheguru has been leading me to get closer to him through all these experiences. It's just that I have two lives -- one where I am Sikh, and the other where I am a not-so-religious Hindu. My question is: What can I do to be a better Sikh while I am a Sikh? I know I am not a baptized Sikh and don't keep the 5 Ks, but I do respect Sikhi and try to follow it seriously in my private time. If you have any other general comments, I'd be glad to hear them and take them into account. Thanks for your help! Amritpal Singh
  3. Guest

    Know this child

    Does anyone know the identity of this boy in the photograph. The first picture shows him having short hair and the second picture shows him wearing a patka. I cannot tell if he is of White-European background or Ethnic Punjabi.
  4. I was thinking about the political and religious influences which have shaped the modern Sikh identity. I then researched what past Sikhs perceived themselves as, whether Hindu or Sikh. Here is my first chapter on the affair: http://tisarpanth.blogspot.co.nz/2014/08/semantic-shifts-in-early-sikh-self-hood.html?view=magazine It is my request to the mods to keep this thread on this sub-forum as it will assist members in educating themselves on what Sikhism or Sikhi identity truly is and what it means for them as individuals.
  5. Lahore roundabout (to be named after Bhagat Singh) sparks battle of identity in Pakistan BBC News 1 January 2013 Last updated at 00:33 A row over the naming of an apparently mundane roundabout in Lahore exposed how much of a battleground Pakistan's identity can be. BBC Urdu's Shumaila Jaffrey examines the city's struggle to embrace its history. Lahore has long been known for its historical traditions, love of culture and its diverse heritage, where parts of the city were named after Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and other communities. That is now changing. Most roads and spaces have been renamed to be associated with Muslim heroes or personalities. It appears as if nobody ever objected until the trend was bucked by the renaming of a small and insignificant roundabout, which stirred up a huge controversy between religious groups and civil society in the city. In September, the district government of Lahore declared it would rename a roundabout called Fawara Chowk in the city's Shadman area after the revolutionary Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh in order to acknowledge his sacrifice for freedom. Revered idol Bhagat Singh was hanged in Shadman Square almost 80 years ago - when this part of the world was under colonial British rule - on charges of murdering a British police officer. He is still one of the most revered idols of the Indian movement for freedom. For years, admirers of Bhagat Singh across the border in India have been imploring authorities to rename this square after him. He was born into a Sikh family, but many historians believe he was an atheist. Irrespective of his religious views, his Sikh identity has become a bone of contention in the most recent controversy. Several religious groups opposed the move. A spokesman for the hardline charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa, said: "We respect Bhagat Singh's sacrifices for freedom, but in the present age, the controversy is between Islam and non-Islam, and we believe that Islamic names, personalities and ideology should be promoted in Pakistan." But the decision to rename the roundabout was approved - and it unleashed a torrent of opposition. Religious groups said they would rename the roundabout Hurmat-e-Rasool (Sanctity of Prophet Muhammad) Chowk for themselves and threatened protests. Now a local traders' association has filed a petition against the decision in the Lahore High Court. In reality, most people do not care about its name but religious groups can bring pressure on people, particularly if they cast the move as anti-Islamic. The trader who filed the petition, known simply as Zahid, said: "How can we tell our children such names, names that are associated with Sikhs? Hindus are demolishing our mosques [in India], and our rulers are naming squares after them!" There is little evidence to support the claim that mosques are being demolished in India, but such a message is likely to find supporters in Pakistan. Although this is not the first time public amenities or monuments have been subject to dispute, it did raise many questions. Is Pakistan a society that can embrace the long history of its land, including the events that shaped events in the sub-continent before Independence? Or is it a place that wants to shed all such past associations and focus on its current identity. Queen Victoria moved Under the British, there were many statues erected in public places. Many have since been removed. One statue, of Sir Ganga Ram, noted for giving many landmarks to Lahore, was torn down in the communal riots of 1947 - retold in a short story by Urdu writer Hassan Manto - as documented in this blog post on Lahore's cultural heritage. "They first pelted the statue with stones; then smothered its face with coal tar. Then a man made a garland of old shoes climbed up to put it round the neck of the statue. The police arrived and opened fire. Among the injured were the fellow with the garland of old shoes. As he fell, the mob shouted: 'Let us rush him to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.'" Another prominent statue was Queen Victoria's which since 1904 had stood on Charing Cross Square on the Mall road until 1974 when it was removed from the public eye on the eve of the Islamic Summit Conference. Since then it has been displayed at the Lahore museum. Statues of Dayal Singh, King Edward, Bhagat Singh, and Lord Lawrence met the same fate. The prominent archaeologist, historian and the ex-director of the Lahore Museum, Saif-ur-Rehman Dar, believes that the statues were removed for religious reasons. "A very limited number of people are against pre-partition social and cultural icons, but they have access to media. They are very loud so their voices can be heard everywhere." He adds that statues are not popular in Pakistan: "We don't have statue of Jinnah or Liaqat Ali Khan anywhere in the country as well." But when it comes to home-grown symbols, there are fewer inhibitions. Wagah cheerleader Earlier this year, Mehar Din, also known as Chacha Pakistani (Uncle Pakistan), died aged 90. He was widely mourned in the city and indeed across the country. With a distinctive white beard, for years he was regularly seen at Pakistan's Wagah border crossing with India holding a Pakistani flag and wearing colour-co-ordinated clothing as the famous ceremony was played out each day. A patriot rather than a nationalist, he had become a prominent feature and could always be heard chanting pro-Pakistan slogans. The troops and visitors mourned his death and his zeal has been sorely missed. "The Wagah border had become his home, and everybody here was his family," said one border guard, Asim. "As long as we remember, we cannot recall any evening when Chacha Pakistan was not around." Bhagat Singh dedicated his life to revolutionary actions out of love for his motherland and these acts were part of the march towards independence from British rule. Chacha Pakistani lived from day-to-day to express his zeal for Pakistan. But were it not for Hindus, Sikhs and others like Bhagat Singh who fought for independence from the British, the series of events that led to Pakistan's creation might never have occurred. Lahore, meanwhile, remains divided about giving Bhagat Singh a place on its streets. Mr Dar says: "History is continuity, individuals can accept or reject it on their personal liking and disliking - but it cannot be disowned." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20762866
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