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Losing My Religion

Discussion in 'Sikh Youth' started by Neutral Singh, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. Neutral Singh

    Neutral Singh
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    Right Jab: Losing my religion by Tejpal Singh Swatch

    I am a Sikh. I grew up in this country, among thousands of others like me, a visible minority. But it still happens to me.

    "Ummm, Tej? Can I...can I ask you a question?"

    Here we go. I've learned to recognise most of these moments. Moments where I am asked to share the most mundane elements of my life, to be a representative of an entire people and their religion.

    "Tej, do you...well, do you sleep with that on? I mean, do you, like, take it off when you go to bed?"

    At this point I usually take on an air of superior indignation. I figure it is my duty to make such people feel as uncomfortable as possible. At least make them feel as uncomfortable as I am annoyed with such a stupid question. I draw in a quick breath and turn to face the questioner.

    "What do you think?" I usually snarl. I have a pretty good glare, so most don't answer. A brave few may venture into uncharted waters. The question is rephrased, sometimes with an apology, always with more stammering.

    With a sigh, a shake of my head and a roll of my eyes, I give an answer. The questioner, satisfied or afraid they have a crossed line, does not probe further. The incident quickly passes.

    It wasn't always the case. I have been answering such questions ever since I entered school. In my early years the response would involve long conversations, valiant attempts to make others, who grew up with a very Christian view of religion, to understand what I was and where I came from. In attempts to educate, I would ignorantly draw parallels between Sikhism and Christianity, sometimes to comic effect. At my gurdwara, when an offering is handed out to the congregation, I would explain this is our communion. "So this oily, sugary, flour-like substance is Nanak's flesh and blood?" they would counter. "Christ, no!" I would say, horrified. "What would make you think that?"

    To be completely honest, I don't mind answering most questions. My problem is with stupid, ignorant and insulting queries like the one posed above. And that one wasn't so bad. Consider the following, small sample of some of the worst questions I have ever been asked. I have only included questions that have been asked more than once.

    Do you ever take your turban off?


    What would lead educated, sane, normal people, with no signs of mental affliction to ask such a question? People who have seen me wearing different turbans have asked me this question.

    Do you ever wash your hair?

    The first time I was asked this, I got into a schoolyard fight. I have been reassuring people for 17 years of my life. I was asked this question in a third-year university English class.

    Does the colour/type of your turban represent anything?

    Does the colour of the pants you put on this morning mean anything? Yes, there are many different colours. There are also patterns. But like any other piece of clothing, the colour could mean something or could mean nothing. If you see a group of people wearing the same colour it probably means they don't want anything to clash.

    May I see your knife/dagger?

    No, you may not. Why? Because it's a dagger. Do you ask police officers to show you their Glocks?

    Do all Sikhs live to the East of their temples?

    This is a new one. People have only started asking this in the last couple of years. The level of ignorance this question represents infuriates me. I think people are trying to make connections between similar looking religions. I suppose because Muslims - some wearing turbans - pray facing East, so must Sikhs. You're getting your towelheads mixed up, you goddamned idiots.

    I could go on. I have left out the more moronic questions, some which still leave me speechless. I have been asked to justify the Air India bombing. I have been asked about supposed Sikh rituals that would make Satanists cringe.

    I no longer care. I am striking back. I have decided to embark on a mission of misinformation the likes of which has never been seen, strictly for my own amusement. I shall no longer be forthcoming or honest in my answers to any queries about my faith.

    What is my religion about? "I worship trees." But, don't many Sikhs work in various sectors of the forest industry? "Yes," I will answer, lapsing into a thick Punjabi accent, "many Sikhs lead very conflicted lives. However, we look to the trees and, like them, choose to stand tall." What's with the table and chairs? "My friend," I will smile tragically, "what do you think they are made from?"
     
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  3. devinesanative

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    Due to the myths spreaded like virus by some misinformed or Nautankee or Monkey type sikhs , such type of havocs are created .

    And , the end result is that the youths become the target of sarcastic or illogical questions.

    For example :

    If you wear a black turban , you are Akali.

    If you wear a White turban , you are a Nirankari.

    If you wear a orange Turban , you are Khalsa.

    So , its obvious that when one wears a Green , blue or Red Turban .

    One is definetely curious to know the meaning of the color.

    One may also conclude that if a person is wearing a Green Turban , he might be a Sikh-Muslim.

    Or for red turban , one may conclude that he might be from the Red Cross Society Sikh.

    Or for Blue turban , One may conclude that he might be from the business class as blue is preffered color of most business entities.
     
  4. Azzie

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    so if one wears a purple turban he's either gay or a teletubby fan ??
     
  5. drkhalsa

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    Dear Azzie


    Welcome here on this forum

    Actually the color of the turban does not mean anything in Sikhism its just your personal choice

    In the above post Devinesnative is also trying to say the same but in bit hunourous way



    Jatinder Singh
     
  6. Azzie

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    Sorry, i have a sacarstic funny streak. i was just trying to be funny i guess. I know that the colour of a turbam doesn't really mean anything
     
  7. justrandeepsingh

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    Quit being a baby. Sikhs of history and yesterday have been martyred and apparently you can't handle stupid questions? Suck it up.

    These people are interested in Sikhi and you, and you're too self-centered and shortfused to fulfill their curiosity. Nanak wasn't a shut-in, he travelled all the way to Mecca to sing the truth. When strangers come up to you, sing the truth.

     
  8. S|kH

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    I don't know if this is "losing religion" more than it is annoyance at stupidity.

    Hell, I went through that phase, and used to tell people if my turban comes off I'll melt like a snowman in the sun.

    When asked "Can you take that thing off?"
    I began to start retaliating with "Am I your damn private circus show, the hell do you think this is?"

    Usually, shut them up.

    But, it's fun to let loose every now and then and go on a streak of sarcastic responses. I used to do it when I was younger because I would get so annoyed with stupid questions.
     
  9. truthseeker

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    Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh!


    Do you think that answering sarcasticly will benefit you in any way????? Just tell them the truth and whether they choose to except it is up to them. In 2004 i was blessed to recieve Amrit, it was litterally like 3 days before school started. I had decided that i would tell 2 friends about my kirpan just in case there was any problem within school. So as i was telling them another one of our friends over heard me say that i wore a "kirpan", she asked me what it was but that day i just was not in the mood to answer any more questions about my religion. SOO i simply told her to look it up on the internet or to go and read a book. And that is what she did.
    Like Wise, If you are sooo frusterated with questions that people ask you, tell them to read a book and go do some research on your religion. If they truly want to learn more about Sikhi then they will make the effort. If you give them idiotic answers(excuse my language plz) then they will know that they have struck a nerve and will most likely keep on asking you those type of questions. Just a suggestion
    Bhul Chuk Maaf
    Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!!
     
  10. TeraRoop11

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    Vaahiguroo Jee Kaa Khaalsaa! Vaahiguroo Jee Kee Fateh!

    It must be taken into consideration wht you value more - your own calm mentality {ie not getting annoyed by specific types of questions} or the truth of Guroo Jee being spread in the world.

    I find that as Sikhs we often make such mistakes like feeling we are above 'it all'. Stop a moment, and consider, have you ever asked a person of another faith a question concerning their religion, or their belief? If so, do you think they might have felt the same way as you do when asked the question, "Do you die if you take it [turban] off?"

    I found the above post by truthseeker Jee to be informatively helpful - if you do not wish to explain something, simply tell the person asking the questions to look it up. However, in this, even, there is one small flaw - as I have seen, and am sure at least most of the Sangat Jee has as well - the internet is full of untrue, hateful, discriminative websites, blogs, and forum posts. It is the same case with books. Some are accidentally mistaken, while others are purposely lying. So, perhaps, in referring the person to another source, you should point out a specific source? ie, a book you own, or can help the person to get, or a specific website, or even message board like this one.

    The Sikhs must be careful in such harsh times.. sarcastic and annoyed answers will only lead to further misinformation and confusion.

    Kirpaa karke bhull chuk maaf karnee Maharaj

    Vaahiguroo Jee Kaa Khaalsaa! Vaahiguroo Jee Kee Fateh!
     
  11. BlackPanther

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    sat sri akal
    i read what neutral singh said and can easily corelate with him.

    i have been in various schools and in many places i was the only sikh boy around. i still feel the hatered inside me when i remember those days. and i have been in lots and lots of fights, even till my college days.

    Long ago i decided that if someone is really curious about sikhism and is polite, i explain him politely, but if someone makes fun or passes a remark , he deserves a punch. and till now i stick to that
     
  12. thecoopes

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    well, do you take it off?
    All this and still I'm none the wiser!:confused:
     
  13. manmitchera

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    my grandfather says i can weasr black bcuz its wat dakuz wea:down: r
     
  14. BhagatSingh

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    u guys are SOOO funny!!
    this is why sikhi is going down hill!!!!
    i dint know ppl gave thses sort of dumb answers that make no sense
    oh god! help these fools so they can help other fools
     
  15. thecoopes

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    Dear BhagatSingh Ji peace, is that your handsome face with the nice orange turban?

    Sikh is not going downhill, it’s just the people. If I wasn’t born a whiteeee in England and bought up as an Anglo Saxon I would like to have been a Sikh.

    So look positive, to be in Sikh religion is I think a wonderful privilege. No one can take that from you.

    Right now do you take it off?

    Peace and best wishes.

    John
     
  16. Jazz

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    Brother John,

    A sikh will keep the hair on his head covered, during the day this is with the Turban, during the night this is usually with a smaller piece of cloth.

    I suppose my learned brothers have mentioned elsewhere in this discussion, that if a little more thought/logic is put into the questions asked today, then the answers are obvious.

    In this case, if the answer to your question was no, then would that not really raise some serious hygiene issues ....

    But then again, Im sure noone will begrudge any well intentioned questions.

     
  17. thecoopes

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    My dear friend, mine was just a lighthearted question. I have a great respect for the Sikh religion and those who pay devotion to it.
    The spiritual tenets of Sikhism are very appealing.:wah:

    Best wishes

    John c
     
  18. Arvind

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    thecoopes singh ji,

    Reading your posts is a great privilege. Thanks for your presence veer ji.

    Regards, Arvind.
     
  19. tantrix

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    Very interesting post. I think you missed one big point though. These incidents have happened to me many times:
    1) Vegas -- on the strip -- guy yells "Osama".. that was the 7th time that night someone had yelled that. My singing the truth spirit had taken it's toll and I went up to him and almost got into a fight.

    2) My college -- a guy comes up to me, trying to be smart asks me "Are you a terrorist?". That was such an obviously stupid question.. that I replied "What if I am?".. Things became worse..

    3) Vegas again -- this guy yells "Osama" as I'm passing by. I walk back upto him as he tries to walk away. I ask him why would he say that. Why would he call me Osama? The guy stammers... "Coz you look like him".. I replied.. "you look like the back of my dog.. I didn't yell that at you!"


    These are very extreme cases.. I was driven to aggressiveness everytime.. usually i'm more subtle.. but the ignorance is high.. I'm so happy with the movie "Inside Man" and the sikh guy being treated as a terrorist. It was a good thing to show that..
     
  20. max314

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    Heya, Tej :wink:

    Yeah, I can see how it can get kind of frustrating. When so many people ask the same question so many times...one starts to question the general level of ignorance in the world.

    But the fact that we really are the smallest of the world's six major religions and the subsequent lack of media exposure we get as a result of that means that people aren't as familiar with our customs as with those of, say Islam. Living in a predominantly Caucasian society in the West means that these things are intrinsic inevitabilities.

    It's nice to see that you've at least kept a sense of humour about it :}{}{}:

    I think you're doing just fine, but don't be too annoyed if they ask you questions like "do you keep it on when you go to bed". Don't forget, these people have had to put up with Muslim women eating spaghetti over/under/around/through their hijabs in public places (I kid you not, if I could find the videos, you'd pap yourself laughing), and I think they've done a pretty admirable job thus far to making such a secular and accepting society. The fact that these guys are tittering and nervous at least shows that they have respect for you as a human being...unlike the slightly less civilised thugs who'd rather smash your head in with a baseball bat than ask any questions about what's on it :{-:)
     
  21. bopadum

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    My none sikh friends feel very priviliged that they have a sikh friend who speaks so openly about his religon. I have known some of them for about fifteen years and there knowledge of my culture and religon has got to the point where we can have 'sikh/punjbai' jokes with each other.

    Religon is always talked about, Its just part of natural human life to enquire. Not many people know about sikhism (hence the idiots all over the world who on september the 12th went harrassing sikhs thinking they were alqaeeda!). So I think it is a very honurable role to educate people in this. Would you not teach your children to be black and proud? so why not teach them to be sikh and proud aswell?
     

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