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Sikh identity and understanding in wester media


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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.

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Was reflecting more on this - and it seems that there are so many minor things that as a collective minority could be done to bring awareness and understanding to Sikhi.  Knowledge is power. Spreading that knowledge in a consistent way, keeps the script in check.   One doesn't need to be visibly Sikh to be charged as an 'ambassador' for Sikhi, however if all the sehajdari Sikhs felt empowered to communicate and educate, or even passively correct misperceptions when they arise amongst the general public, we will have informal controls to set the narrative for Sikhi in the eyes of non-Sikhs.  The sad thing is our own people are not aware themselves, and culturally are passive when it comes to bringing awareness to tenets of Sikhi.  No one is saying go proselytize and claim supremacy like a lot of abrahamic faiths do - however why not claim the set and project that when appropriate and necessary?  I found through personal experience, that people will fly the flag of punjabiyaat and the related vices which are associated with it (party people, strong and big physique etc.) as opposed to championing the amazing blessing by association punjabiyaat gets by way of Sikhi.  

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On 5/12/2022 at 9:39 AM, Whatdoiknow said:

I found through personal experience, that people will fly the flag of punjabiyaat and the related vices which are associated with it (party people, strong and big physique etc.) as opposed to championing the amazing blessing by association punjabiyaat gets by way of Sikhi.  

Nothing wrong with having a strong and well-built physique. Not all of us have the physical build of money-lenders and merchants. You can't positively-discriminate certain physical characteristics out of a people who identify with a particular religion. If that's what a particular faction ACTUALLY desires, then come out and state it unequivocally, "We don't want this tribe in this religion."

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