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Use Of Shastaars At Protests


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Iv noticed a trend in protests over recent years both in India and in the UK where Singhs have started carrying shastars to demonstrations and protests.

Im not sure how I feel about this. On one hand it is inspiring that Sikhs appear to have woken up and are demonstrating their anger. I suppose it can also be a useful form of intimidation and deterrent to people who may want to pick fights with Sikhs.

However, doesnt this visual display of aggression start to lose its impact and value after a while? ie dont people start to catch on that this all just for show and not really that dangerous after all? This image is cemented by footage of several instances where armed Sikhs shouting jaikaras are being chased off and/or beaten off by police.

I think we have to be careful not to overexpose our shastars and start pulling them out all the time, especially by people who 1. Dont have the guts to use them and 2. Dont know how to use them.

I think that maybe some self regulation is required, particularly in our own sphere of influence here in the UK. I was having this discussion with some Singhs who insisted on carrying 3 ft Kirpans and spears doing the UK riots last Summer. Since I knew some of these guys, I also knew that they were basically just posing for the cameras and if it really did kick off, they would most likely trip over and stab themselves by mistake or something daft like that. How embarrassing would that be? People wouldnt take us too seriously after that.

The image of shastar-dhari Sikhs is a powerful one and we can use it to our advantage to get our way on some pivotal issues. It has a tremendous psychological value and deterrent towards our enemies. However, if we are not careful and we dont regulate its usage. It will start to lose its value and wont work any more.

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No need for shashtars during peaceful protests of this kind. Basaikhi parades, etc., are quite different as we're marching for our heritage and our history, but even then only the Panj Pyaare should carry them. Randoms shouldn't be waving kirpans in the air. It sends out the wrong message and once the TV cameras broadcast those kind of images, even as a Sikh it doesn't look right.

If you're Gursikh then you're obviously wearing a kirpan and even if it's over your clothes then fair play to you. I've got no issue with that.

But when it kicks off, the gloves are off and if something needs to be done then it will. As for protestors in Panjab I really don't know what to say. Whose going to tell them what to do? Will they listen?

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