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How Do You Explain What a Kirpan is to a Non-Sikh?

Discussion in 'Sikh Youth' started by truthseeker, Oct 1, 2004.

  1. truthseeker

    truthseeker
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    waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji ki fateh!

    I was just wondering what you tell someone when they ask you why you wear a kirpan? I have tried many times to explain to my non-sikh friends why it is that i have started started wearing a kirpan, but they just don't understand. For me being a girl and just taking amrit was a big step but if i can not explain to my friends what our religion is and why i wear me 5 k's they may interpret our religion.

    Fateh
     
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  3. Arvind

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    truthseeker bhain ji,

    Waheguru ji ka Khalsa,
    Waheguru ji ki Fateh.

    Kirpan is a reminder to constantly fight against sin.

    In Guru ji's times, this kakaar was taken as a last measure of protection in case the need to defend oneself, or another, arises.

    In present times, this is a constant reminder to fight against oppression.

    I will look for more information regarding this, for our knowledge.

    Best Regards.
     
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  4. truthseeker

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    Veerji,

    Thank you very much for responding. That is what i have tried to explain to my friends but they seem to think that i can just take it out and use it when i feel like it. I dont want them to think that i wear it because i want to show others that i have a "weapon" or make others afraid.

    I myself will try to find out some more information, by guru's grace we will find our answers.

    Fateh
     
  5. Arvind

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    Kirpan is neither to scare anyone, nor to be taken out just any time one feels like.

    We are to consider this kakaar as a reminder or committment to fight against oppression, and protection of needy ones.

    Regards.
     
  6. drkhalsa

    drkhalsa
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    Dear Sewadar ji
    I was wondering that are there any strict guidlines about kirpan I mean about make , size and all that stuff
     
  7. Arvind

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    I dont about know about the specifications.

    Although we know there was a big old time sword, then 12/6 inches kataar type, and now I see some necklace kind of things too. Rehat Maryada must be talking about these things in more detail, which I am unaware of. Anyone, who comes across useful information, please post that here.

    Thanks much.
     
  8. etinder

    etinder
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    As far as my knowledge goes, I dont think rehat maryada speaks of size of the kirpan ( i wud look into it and would get back to you), but i strongly believe that no matter what kirpan represents philosophically or symbolically as explained above by arvind veer above, i dont feel right about kirpans as pendants..I feel its a shastar and it should be kept like that..and there are very strict guidelines for kirpan like never to be used to threaten or intimidate..

    as far truth seeker query is concerned, dear sis what i feel that you can tell ur non-sikh friends that as people worshipping different religions adorn various symbols like crosses, janeyu,kipa (small caps by jews) and so on..and you can also explain that as you are a baptised sikh so you have to follow certain guidelines and this includes kirpans among the other 5 kakaars.
    And what else i can suggest is that as kirpan is lot many tomes being frowned weapon and considered a weapon, its best to practice keeping it hidden, instead of wearing sideways with a gatra you can wear it like a belt. What i feel is that it is not for show off but adherence to the rehat maryada.
    hoping i m of some help
    gurufateh


     
  9. Bharat Vir Singh

    Bharat Vir Singh
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    Kirpaan is a weapon of defence against oppression.Not only in Gurus' times,but even today,it is a weapon.That is what Guru gave it to his Sikhs for.But since the usurping of Khalsa Raj by the British in the 19th century,Sikh leaders have surrendered it to conquering authorities(first the British,then Hindus) and have agreed that it is only a 'symbol'.Hence it is now treated no different from the Brahmin's janeu or the Muslim's taveet,or any other good-luck-charm.Fact is, our holy shastar,the Kirpaan has been sold away by our so-called leaders in exchange for position,or subordinate authority.They have gone against Guru's teachings,and that is why Panth is in constant trouble.Our sovereignty has been surrendered,and today we invite VIP's to our functions and give them shining new Kirpaans as saropa!Whereas Khalsa himself is not even allowed to use his Kirpaan!What irony!There are cases all the time where Sikhs are attacked,even their hair is cut off(as with some Sikh teenagers in UK and USA)but they are unable to use their Kirpaan for defence,because it has been reduced in law to a tiny,blunt,'symbol'.When Guru blessed us with the Kirpaan,wearing it was no joke(like today!),it was meant to be used in defence of self and other poor,weak and oppressed ones.But today,when a Sikh is theatened or attacked,he/she seeks the police for help,and police can't be with you all the time.But Kirpaan will.Wearing a Kirpaan is serious business.It calls for solid commitment.It is not a mere ritual like most Sikhs wrongly take it to be.Kirpaan is a weapon and it is so for ever.Sikhi's values are eternal,not only for Gurus' times.Kirpaan is as important today as it was 300 years ago.It has to be accorded its true role and status if the Khalsa is to be in Chardi Kala.Kirpaan is our sovereignty,and we have lost it - to the British,to the West,and to the Hindus.We have to wrench it free from them,if we are to survive.We have to fight for the rightful place of our holy Kirpaan and restore its true meaning. Bole so Nihaal!Sat Sri Akal!
     
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  10. Arvind

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    Bharat Vir Singh ji,

    Please dont take this as a personal attack on yourself by me, I am just using you and me as an example in this hypothetical situaion.

    While living in present world governed by civil laws of a particular country, will you draw your kirpan out and fight against something bad happening in front of you. Or perhaps start keeping a sophisticated weapon which is more powerful and can attack from lot of distance too! Well, if you say - Yes, then I beg to differ veer ji.

    I may be ignorant, but my understaing is to consider kirpaan as a reminder about things already mentioned, which in no situation should be used to threaten or intimidate anyone in any situation.

    With no offence to anyone. If you dont agree, apna chotta veer samajh ke maaf kar dena ji.

    Best Regards.
     
  11. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    1. If Kirpaan is a weapon then what's the difference between a Talwaar and a Kirpaan?

    2. If Kirpaan is a weapon then it is obsolete. Should we be carrying AK47?


    Tejwant
     
  12. Arvind

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    Tejwant ji,

    That is why I begged to differ before, and said kirpaan is not a weapon.

    Looking forward to enlightened views.

    Regards.
     
  13. freevoice

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    Common man. Can't you call spade a spade. Kriipan is another name for a sword. that is hilarious. for the first time I am hearing that Kripan (a sword) is not a weapon!!!
     
  14. etinder

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    dear brothers
    what i feel that kirpan is a weapon and it wud always remain like that
    and as the famous saying goes "shastar wohi jo waqt te kum aawe" meaning
    a weapon is only that can come to help when u needed it"
     
  15. Arvind

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    Dear freevoice,

    I expressed my ignorance already. Looking forward to learn more from learned persons.

    Regards.
     
  16. Amerikaur

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    Kirpan is not a weapon.

    I have a 40 piece knife set at home, including six steak knives and knives with blades that range from 2 to 12 inches. Not weapons.

    I have a hammer in my tool kit. Not a weapon.

    I keep the hammer near the box cutter. That's not a weapon either.

    I have set of wickedly sharp pruning shears for my agronomic pursuits. Not a weapon.

    I have a baseball bat in my closet. Not a weapon.

    My dad has a 2 gallon can of gasoline in his garage. Not a weapon.

    I flew on a Boeing 757 last month, the same kind of plane that was flown in to the WTC. Not a weapon.

    I have a tire iron in the back of my SUV. Not a weapon.

    I have an SUV. Not a weapon.

    I went to visit friends in a neigboring state on the 4th of July. We bought a large variety pack of fireworks and set them off in her back yard. They are DOT Class C explosives. They would have gotten me arrested if I brought them back to my home state. But, they are not weapons.

    I have a sharp letter opener on my desk at work. Not a weapon.

    I just bought a colleague of mine the REALLY cool Swiss Army Knife for a special company event. It's a Swiss Army Knife, with a flashlight and a USB drive. It is SOOOO cool!! Also, not a weapon. Even though it is called a Swiss Army KNIFE and has a BLADE and my colleague carries it ON his person...it is NOT a weapon!

    http://www.swissarmy.com/webstore/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=4230&category=35

    I have a Sikh kirpan, too. Not a weapon.

     
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  17. Prabjyot Kaur

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    AmeriKaur, wonderful response...great logic!!

    Truthseeker, regarding your explaining to a non-sikh (friends), it is enough for them to know that you are a initiated/baptised/practicing(whatever works) SIKH who is supposed to keep the kirpan as other 4 K's intact. Kirpan is symbol of 'Miri' that is; a Khalsa is ready to protect the weak and fight against the oppression any moment. It has differnt meaning to different people; to me I feel internally strong and protected when I am wearing one. I had strange feeling when I had to take it off while travelling overseas. It is also a part of my Khalsa Uniform; I feel confident with it same as I feel confident when I am dressed professionally for my work as employee.

    I work for a public company where kirpan wearing is not allowed since it is considered a weapon. If found it is even worse because it will be considered as 'concealed' weapon. But the 'sense of protection' gave me courage to wear it all the times since last 15 years. I do not want to make it a big deal by wearing it outside, after all it has a special meaning to me NOT to others. But if ever need be, there are plenty of sikh organizations who will back me up for my right to wear kirpan as a Sikh.

    I hope that helps,

    Guru Raakha!

    Truthseeker I have found following at Sikhnet...hope it answers it all.

    http://www.{url not allowed}/Sikhnet/discussion.nsf/SearchView/2521E615D8A844FF87256E8B0058A71F!OpenDocument


    WHAT IS A KIRPAN (pronounced Kir-paan)?
    It is a small sword held by a
    · material strap which goes across the body.
    It is not an offensive weapon
    · but a protective tool
    Kirpan means ‘hand of kindness/mercy’, which
    · highlights how the Kirpan is not to be used to attack anyone but merely to defend oneself or another as a last resort.

    WHO CARRIES A KIRPAN?
    Initiated Sikh men and women, irrespective of age.

    WHY CARRY A KIRPAN?
    It is part of the Sikh uniform which consists of 5 articles:
    1. Kes: uncut hair (tied up and the head and crowned with a turban)
    - The Kes is an identity of a Sikh.
    - The Kes is a stamp or seal that a Sikh’s head is God’s.

    2. Kanga: small wooden comb (placed in the hair knot under the turban)
    - The Kanga is used to keep the hair clean.
    - Just a Sikh combs their hair daily; he or she should also comb their mind with the Guru’s wisdom.

    3. Kara: Iron bangle (worn on the wrist)
    - The Kara is a gift of a Guru which acts as a reminder to do the right action (with our hands).
    - The Kara is made of iron which symbolises how a Sikh should have strength and courage.

    4. Kirpan: small sword (made of steal/iron)
    - The Kirpan is to be used to upkeep righteousness
    - The Kirpan exemplifies the warrior character of a Sikh.

    5. Kachhera: Long shorts (which is above the knees, and worn as an undergarment)
    - The Kachhera is worn to be respectable and dignified at all times.
    - The Kachhera reminds a Sikh to practice self-control and to have a high moral character.

    The 5 articles have the same value as the uniform of a policeman or a soldier and something more subtle than that. This means equality, uniformity, unity and identity of the wearers. Every member of a team is required to put on a certain prescribed uniform for this very purpose. In the same way a Sikh has to wear the 5 Articles (known commonly as the 5 Ks) as part of being a ‘Saint-Soldier’, a ‘Khalsa’.

    IS IT OPTIONAL TO WEAR A KIRPAN?
    No! It is mandatory for initiated Sikhs to carry a Kirpan (this is recognised by the British Law).

    WHAT IS THE FUNCTION OF THE KIRPAN?
    Defence (as a last resort, to upkeep righteousness
    · and justice)
    Used to bless Sikh Holy Communion, called ‘parshaad’, at the
    · end of religious functions.

    WHAT ARE OFFENSIVE OR MISLEADING SUGGESTIONS ABOUT THE KIRPAN?
    To suggest that is a ‘dagger’, ‘knife’ or ‘offensive
    · weapon’.
    To suggest it is a merely cultural symbol.
    ·
    To suggest that
    · the Kirpan can be replaced by wearing a miniature Kirpan.

    IS IT LEGAL TO CARRY A KIRPAN IN
    BRITAIN?
    Yes it is! Under the Criminal Justice Act 1988, Section 139 allows anyone to carry a blade exceeding the length of 3 inches for religious, cultural or work related reasons. This safeguards the Sikhs to carry the Kirpan.
     
  18. Rubicon

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  19. Amarpal

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    Kirpan is not just hardware; there is significant deeper meaning behind it. It is an instrument of mental transformation.



    To understand the meaning, we have to go back to the sociology and the frame of mind that it had given to the people of this land.



    The ancient scripture of our land had repeatedly told that to eradicate evil from the society God comes down to earth and do the job. If God is not coming, then what good or bad is happening to the individual is because of the Karmas in her or his past birth and the individual should endure it as they come. This created a frame of mind that they cannot do any thing to improve their lot; a sense of total helplessness prevailed in the masses. Non-activity was being blessed. Escaping from the problems had become a virtue.



    This frame of mind was not conducive to counter the wave of oppression that was unleashed on the people by the rulers. It gave the oppressors free hand. The powerful were exploiting the weak. The weak looked towards the sky for some one to descent and fight for them. No one came from sky. Over time, the defeatist tendencies were ingrained in the masses.



    Though ancient scripture and mythology of the land is full of stories where God had come down even for an individual devotee and protected her or him. Yet we also know when Nazis committed atrocities at such large scale, when people were butchered, women were raped during the partition of this subcontinent, when Sikh were subjected to Genocide in 1984, and more recently when senseless violence that engulfed Bosnia and Angola, no God descended to protect the victims, many of whom were ardent devotees. It is clear that God does not intervene in such circumstances.



    And why should God intervene? ‘The Sat’ (God) has given we humans all the faculties to manage our worldly and spiritual life, there is no reason for ‘The Sat’ to intervene. What we know Guru Sahib knew it better.



    There was a need to transform the thinking of people. Guru Gobind Singh Ji, instituted the process of Amrit Shakna, gave this process his blessing, and equipped we Khalsas with Kirpan and other Kakaars. This way Guru Sahib told us that we are not what we were in the past; the mentally transformed individual was called ‘Khalsa’.



    Kirpan, a weapon, denotes empowerment. Guru Sahib has empowered us to protect our lives, our families, our properties, our culture and our values. Kirpan tells us that we Khalsas are empowered individuals and a Panth. We do not have to and should not keep looking towards the sky for some one to descent to jobs for us. ‘The Sat’ (God) is not our servant. We have to manage our own lives and continuously keep improving i.e. remain in Chardian Kalan.



    Kirpan was, it is, and it will remain a symbol of empowerment of we Khalsas. We must wear the Kirpan in one-way or the other.



    I do not become a greater Khalsa by carrying a bigger Kirpan. The size of Kirpan is not important; the message that it conveys to we Khalsa is important. The size and mode of wearing the Kirpan should be chosen based on what the law of the land permits.



    Akaar is not important; the Nirakaar i.e. the meaning that wearing Kirpan conveys to us is important.



    Kirpan denotes empowerment of we Khalsas as individuals and also as a Panth. It was valid in the past, it is valid today and it will be valid in future also.



    Earlier on this, site I had posted as to why I have Kesh. I request the administrator of this site to store this post and the post regarding Kesh in the folder of Kakaars also.



    With love and respect for all.



    Amarpal Singh

     
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  20. Neutral Singh

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    Amarpal Ji, I think this is a significant statement. Would it be ok if someone wears a small size kirpan on his/her neck like a mala... Would that be sufficient? What are sangat's view, in general.

    Regards
     
  21. Arvind

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    An add-on to Aman veer's question, next thing people ask - why not tie a miniature kachera too in the necklace, just like kangha and kirpan are done. I am serious while asking so.

    Regards.
     

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