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Sikh Involvement: The Quandry

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by gascosikh, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. gascosikh

    gascosikh
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    Ok. I am a college professor and a "Convert" to Sikhism. I teach at a rather large college where there is a large Sikh population in the Community---as well as a large Muslim Community, Christian Community, Jewish and Hindu Community. There WAS already a Muslim Student Club, and a Christian Club...but no Sikh Club.

    So I decided to start a student club for Sikh Students. It could have offshoots on Punjabi Culture, but the core was about religious identity, and educating the community about Sikhs.

    It was popular at first. We started with fundrasing stuff like selling cups and pens...as well as performing SEWA in the community. A lot of people, however, wanted the club just to meet members of the opposite sex and for dating since they could not do this anyway else. We had to address this issue and keep the focus on Sikhism when we had meetings.

    A lot of the focus became about Punjabi Culture, which is not Sikhism...just the place where Sikhs began. So we started a Punjabi Club. The kids had a dance and that did not go over well with parents because there was a DJ and dancing American style (With adults present) The Sikh Club was for the religious studies and educating those interested in it...so we had to stress that Sikh Club was not do Bhangra or dance parties.

    Now the club has dwindled down to a paltry number. It is still alive, and we are just going to keep the focus on educating each other and the community about Sikhs, Sikh History, Philosophy, Art, Kirtan....

    I think Sikhs...if they want more attention by the community---be it political, simple recognition, artistic, or literary......should be more proactive participants. Get involved in Local government, charities, clubs, newspapers, musical groups, community festivals and other community activities-help students, get involved with politics ...maybe even provide a volunteer Langar for members of a community or those less fortunate....be creative...it is what Guru says we are. We have any options and possibilities for bettering our lives and being active participants....It is not just for Sikhs.:eek:
     
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  3. Kirpal Singh

    Kirpal Singh
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    I agree with you but please continue your efforts sincerely.Eventually Waheguru will bless your struggle & bring about a change in our community outlook & dedication to GuruSpirit!
     
  4. Randip Singh

    Randip Singh
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    We had a similar problem at our UNi. We had a Sikh Society that organised Bhangra gig's. I took over and split the societies forming a Sikh Society and a Bhangra Society.

    You may want to consider the so called "exciting" aspects of Sikhism, such as the martial stuff i.e. Gatka etc to pull people in. It works wonders.
     
  5. desilegend

    desilegend
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    I totally agree with you! Please keep doing what are you doing and I wish you a success! Good job!:happy::up:
     
  6. Rani Sandhu

    Rani Sandhu
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    I agree with each of you....we need to get the youth involed especially.....our youth are getting involved in gangs, drugs, alcohol, they need to be guided....we need to set role models for them.....the focus should be working collectively with other South Asian organizations and main stream service providers to get our youth involved in politics, media, leadership.......idea should be to share knowledge and resources with other organizations.....the problem with South Asians is that they tend to focus on their own ethnic group ie: sikhs tend to focus on sikhs, muslims work with muslim community....they never work collectively...........to have appropriate programs/services with huge funding...one has to unite and share knowlege/sources...we become very selfish...we tend to worry about our ownself....but why not share sources/knowledge to set appropraite programs/services for the entire community...Chinese have done it.......I am sure South Asians can do it too if they put their differences aside.........
     
  7. gascosikh

    gascosikh
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    WJKK! WJKF!

    I totally agree Rani. This is a problem I think with many "religious cum ethnic" groups innately. You couple religion with an ethnic group, you have bonds that are harder to make collective...to see the "whole" picture...I posted this a long time ago and this is a big problem I am having with SIkhism in general, and Punjabis. There is very little effort to become involved in the community, except when it benefits Sikhs or Punjabis. It really gets very very old. I, being white, would be very very bored around all white people, or people of my own interest. There is a lot of obsessing over materialism and outward appearance as well. SOmetimes I do not bother to get all dressed up for gurdwara. Ladies approach me and say I should take some clothes or that they will make me a fancy suit. I do not want their fancy suits. Bani is more important than bana.

    It reminds me of Christian church as a child and who knew who and this is a universal issue anytime you have an organization. As a result I have had to distance myself from the gurdwara and just focus on inward spiritual aspects.

    The Sikh youth group dissolved. Many parents did not like the bhangra and college parties the kids wanted to go to. Whilst I understand this, much of this is just a part of American life and a rite of passage. I have found more often in conservative families that the more kids are denied it, the more desire they have to pursue it and the more secretive they becomes in order to sneak out with friends.

    Open and honest parent child relationships and an open mutual attitude (with rules of course) is better than secrecy and lying. I see many Sikh youth falling away from the Sikh community and maybe it would help if parents shared some of the non-Sikh interests of their kids.
     

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