This weekend the Sikh community celebrates the Khalsa festival, a time to educate Canadians about our faith and to ensure our culture is kept alive by new generations of Canadian-born Sikhs.
But the fighting going on at Sikh temples — Gurdawaras — is tarnishing the image of the entire faith.
Last Sunday, a meeting at the Sri Guru Nanak Sikh Centre turned into a riot, with machetes, axes and hammers pulled and four people sent to hospital.
And two weeks ago, the stabbing of a Sikh lawyer outside his Brampton temple has made some Canadians believe the kirpan is potentially a dangerous “weapon.”
Now is everyone going to be afraid of going to the Gurdwaras? Is this what we are trying to teach our next generation, or what we’re trying to teach Canadians about us?
You can bet the stabbing in Brampton will shine a light on this ceremonial knife on April 25, when Sikhs will march in the Khalsa day parade.
Undoubtedly, that attack was wrong. With this particular incident, the Sikh community’s image has been harmed and the debate over the kirpan has already ramped up again.
Sikhs do not perceive the kirpan — a two- to eight-inch blade carried at all times by baptized Sikhs, sheathed under their clothes — as a weapon and the literal meaning, “dagger,” is inappropriate, given the pejorative association between a dagger and violence.
At the parade, Panj Pyare (five Sikhs) will hold unshielded and shining big kirpans in their hands and lead the Sikh parade from the CNE to Queen’s Park.
The Sikh community must learn from this stabbing.Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sikh-sikhi-sikhism/30161-sikhs-must-learn-from-recent-violence.html
Follow what the tenth master told us to do. Yes, the kirpan is a weapon, but when Sikhs were baptized by the tenth master, he made some rules for them to follow.
In every country, Sikhs fight for five “k”s for practical and symbolic purposes.
Baptized Sikhs are bound to wear the Five Ks, or articles of faith, at all times. The five items are: Kes (uncut hair), Kangha (small comb), Kara (circular iron bracelet), Kirpan (dagger), and Kaccherra (special undergarment). The Five Ks have both practical and symbolic purposes.
But due to different laws and regulations in different countries, Sikhs cannot carry all five items with them all the time. So they fight for their rights.
Then someone uses the kirpan and proves it can be a weapon.Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=30161
If the media try to highlight the issue, they will be blamed for targeting the Sikh, Punjabi community. However, these community members are themselves at fault if they are acting irresponsibly.
One mistaken use of the kirpan exposes the entire community. If the authorities take some action against the use of the kirpan, the whole community has to pay the price.
Symbolically, the kirpan represents the power of truth to cut through untruth. It is the cutting edge of the enlightened mind.
We need to find that enlightenment again as a community so we’re known for our faith, not our fight. — By Surjit Singh Flora is a writer in Brampton