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Sikh Youth Pull Away from Tradition

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Archived_Member16, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. Archived_Member16

    Archived_Member16
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    from: The Vancouver Sun - March 30, 2008 (Page B3)

    Washington Post

    Sikh youth pull away from tradition


    In an effort to fit in, an increasing number of Sikh men in India are cutting their hair and discarding their turbans, much to the alarm of their parents



    CHANDIGARH, India: Text messaging with one hand and holding a cup of milky tea in the other, spiky-haired Amandeep Singh Saini, 27, recalled the year-long battle he waged against his traditional Sikh parents to cut his hair.



    RAMA LAKSHMI/ WASHINGTON POST
    [​IMG]
    Amandeep Singh Saini ( centre) cut his hair and discarded his turban, the most visible symbol of Sikh identity, at 14. The number of Sikh youths who wear turbans is declining.

    The act was blasphemous to his father, who tied his long hair in a turban, the most visible marker of Sikh identity.



    “ I was 14 then. I wanted to jump into the village pool and play in mud. The long hair and the turban were always in the way. It took half an hour to tie the turban every morning,” said Saini, a student pursuing a doctorate in Punjabi literature.



    After he cut his hair and disc a r d e d t h e t u r b a n , h i s t w o brothers followed suit. “ My mother wept, my father was angry, but I was stubborn,” he said. “ At that age, you don’t think about right and wrong. I look around the campus today, and t h e r e a r e s o f e w t u r b a n e d Sikhs.”



    The rapidly shrinking number of young Sikhs who wear turbans and have unshorn hair has alarmed many in this religious minority of 20 million. Although there are no formal surveys, community groups say that only 25 per cent of Sikhs younger than 30 follow the practice. Many young Sikhs say the daily tedium of combing and tying up their long hair and a desire to assimilate



    Tare pushing them to give up the turban, a sacred symbol of a religion founded in the 15th century. Now, a court case about college admission quotas for Sikhs is threatening to alienate hundreds of thousands of shorthaired, un-turbaned youths.



    In August, four students petitioned the high court after they applied to a medical college under a Sikh quota but were denied admission. The college said the students, who had cut their hair, did not fit in the category of Sikh. In the ongoing legal proceedings, religious bodies have testified about the importance of uncut hair to Sikhism.



    “ The case is about college admission quotas, but it has become part of dinner table conversations everywhere. People are asking, ‘ What am I? What will I be after the judgment?’ It is unsettling,” said Gurminder Singh Gill, an attorney for the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, an elected forum of the Sikh clergy that runs the college and whose rules are designed to prevent the dilution of Sikh symbols. “ The court ruling will impact future interpretations of the word ‘ Sikh.’



    Three hundred years ago, devout Sikh men and women were urged to demonstrate their commitment by not cutting their hair and by carrying a sword, comb and a bracelet. They were given the name “ Singh,” which means lion in Hindi, as a mark of common brotherhood that eliminates caste distinctions. Faced with the recent decline in turban-wearers, the community is thinking up ways to draw young people back to the tradition.



    A group called Akal Purakh Ki Fauj, or the Army of the Timeless Being, organizes the annual Turban Pride Day in April, sends volunteers to schools to teach turban-tying and has introduced a software program called the Smart Turban that helps people pick a style that suits them.



    Since 2005, the group has held Mr. Singh International, a beauty pageant for turbaned Sikhs. Among other talents, contestants must demonstrate their turban-tying skills. The winners have won modelling contracts and movie roles.



    “ We need more turbaned role models for our young,” said Navnit Singh, a member of the group. To this end, he recently launched a six-year-old turbaned cartoon character, Rony Singh.“ Rony Singh is a whiz kid and loves playing with gadgets. He can get his friends out of any sticky situation,” Singh said. “ He will be competing with Pokemon, Tintin and all the superheroes. I want kids to think the turban is cool.”



    Turbans come in a variety of colors and styles, including polkadotted and tie-dyed. Shops even sell ready-made turbans. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a Sikh who was educated at Oxford University, wears a blue turban, and a popular cricket player started a fad by matching his turbans and ties.



    In the early 1980s, Sikh religious extremists insisted on turbans and beards as an assertion of pride. Then, in 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards after she sent the army to the Golden Temple, a revered Sikh shrine, to rout radicals holed up inside. Angry Hindus retaliated by targeting turbaned Sikhs, killing and burning thousands alive on the streets of the capital, New Delhi. In the following years of armed militancy and bloodshed, Indian police crushed the movement.



    “ There were widespread human rights violations. Young men with turbans or with Sikh names were more vulnerable to being picked up and thrown into illegal detention. Many Sikhs cut their hair and discarded their identity to escape police brutality,” said Ishwinder Singh Chadha, a member of the Institute of Sikh Studies.


    Back in the college cafeteria, Saini and a turbaned friend, Sukhjeet Singh Sandhu, discussed their faith over another round of tea. “ I am a Sikh because my faith runs deep in my heart,” Saini said.



    “ Every fold of the turban of a devout Sikh is like a historical chapter of his blood-soaked history, which every Sikh carries with him with great pride and dignity,” said Sandhu, 26. But he trimmed his beard, he said, because “ campus life demands it."

    source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/28/AR2009032801901_pf.html
     
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  3. S|kH

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    “ Every fold of the turban of a devout Sikh is like a historical chapter of his blood-soaked history, which every Sikh carries with him with great pride and dignity,” said Sandhu, 26. But he trimmed his beard, he said, because “ campus life demands it."

    LOL, classic.

    Life demands inevitable change. A physical identity in a world of globalization will not succeed, no matter how hard you try. Spirituality in a world of information will not flourish and become obsolete.

    This article should not be alarming news to anyone. We need to accept this fact, the Sikh identity will be left behind. We need to prepare our society, state, culture, and children for the future, for them to be economically successful and given opportunities.

    Punjab has many more issues to worry about than if a kids hair is 2 inches or uncut hair. The sooner society leaves this topic alone and to the individual, the more we can focus on getting kids into schools and creating a bright economic future for the state. Build a future that the youth can economically survive off.
     
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  4. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Who knows about the future?

    In the 20 th century the main wars were not fought over religions but in 21st century
    The biggest war is between fanatic islam and west. In India muslim youths are again fighting in courts so they can keep their beards which they earlier never did.

    From 90s Cow slaughter is almost banned in all states of India even it is costing billions of rupees to economy.

    The biggest fund for separatist movement for khalistan came from canada and on many
    forum's I read That turbans have more bright future Than India
     
  5. Saran Singh

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    Some terribly bold statements there... both of which i personally, wholeheartedly, disagree with. The role of spirituality in society speaks to absolute truths, truths that go beyond the highly stimulated, media crazed, ego driven world we live in. Any physical identity challenges the individual - who are you? what do you stand for? why are you different?

    The physical identity in the Sikh tradition speaks directly to ones character, on a practical and spiritual level, but only if one UNDERSTANDs the religion and UNDERSTANDs the reasons behind it. A deeper level of understanding of ones own self certainly has a place in this world - there are many upon many successful Sikhs (with the physical appearence) who have made it far in this 'globalised world' without opting-out on thier spiritual journey.

    This issue in India, i believe goes to a lack of education of the youth, on the part of the 'clergy' as well as the parents. Scaring children into keeping the appearence, or forcing them through fear, even through an obligation to martyrs of old has limited success. THe true beauty of Sikhi, as expoused through the SGGS in philosophy, poetry, the absolute truths that are still relevent to us this very day, is often overlooked. The reason why we must accept the Will of Waheguru must be explained, debated, discussed - experienced - instead of scaring our youth into conforming.

    Osctrasising those who do not keep the appearence by casting them as 'non-sikhs' will equally be of limited success - it just gives them a reason to forget about SIkhi altogether - easy pickings for the Christain convertors around.

    I was born and raised in Australia - everyday we see more and more SIkh youth from punjab come to study here, their first port of call being the barbar shop. It is the local youth who are leading the religion into the future - who care about its future.

    It makes you wonder as to the furture direction of our Great religion. Whatever it is, there is no doubt it will be the Youth who decide its fate...
     
  6. friend

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    If guru Nanak Dev ji is the main source of sikhism. which i have many sikhs and they said he is. than what i don't understand is that he never made the Turban compulsory and said nothing about keeping your hair. It was later done by the 10th Guru. DID THE MOST IMPORTANT FIGURE IN SIKHISM (GURU NANAK DEV JI), THE MAIN SOURCE OF THIS RELIGION, IF HE DIDN'T FIND IT COMPULSORY FOR HIS FALLOWERS TO WEAR TURBAN AND NOT CUT HAIR, THAN HOW IS IT THAT YOU MUST IN SIKHISM. Does the word Of LAST SIKH OVERTAKES THE WORD OF 1st, or the word of last Sikh is most impotant than the 1st. INDEED THE PERSON WHO ACCORDING TO SIKHS FOUND THE RELIGION (SIKHISM), he would know everything about it.
     
  7. Archived_Member4

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    Dear friend ji,


    Guru Nanak Dev ji in his Tenth form made a edict for the Sikh where hair must be kept. Guru Nanak Dev ji in the first form and to the Tenth form always wore a turban and kept the hair uncut. No Guru was held higher or one lower than the other. In form they may have looked different, but in thought and teaching they were the same and there is no contradictions in any of the Gurus writing.
     
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  8. friend

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    Sir, find me a single saying from Guru Nanak Dev ji, in which he told the Sikhs (if there were any) to keep there hairs. He wore a turban, doesn't mean he didn't cut his hair. ME WEARING A TURBAN DOESN"T MEAN I DON"T CUT MY HAIR. I give you an example, IN ISLAM covering your head is Sunnah. which means that the islamic Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) covered his head with something, and if you study ISLAm, you will find out that the prophet wore a turban, now does that mean he didn't cut his hair, absolutely not. ( I AM NOT SPEAKING FOR ANY MUSLIM OR ANY RELIGION I AM A SIMPLE STUDEN OF ALL THE RELIGIONS AND SIKHISM IS ONE OF THEM).
     
  9. Archived_Member4

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    Friend ji, that's what I said to you, in the Tenth form Guru Nanak Dev ji made an edict, that hair must be kept uncut.

    Friend, yes that's why I said Guru Nanak Dev ji kept his hair uncut:yes:
     
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  10. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Dear Friend Ji,

    SIKHS consider the TEN GURUS as ONE JYOT..ONE ENTITY..ONE "NANAK".
    Ample proof of this in the SGGS..all Gurus are using the one name NANAK.
    ALL TEN follow ONE SPIRITUAL ROAD MAP. No deviations..distractions..derailments.
    And YES..the NANAK does know everything about his Gurmatt...and He wrote it all down for posterity in the SGGS.....and made it PUBLIC in front of a huge crowd of nearly 80,000 in AnandPur sahib in 1699 KHALSA DAY. WAho Waho Gobind Singh..Aapeh GUR- CHELA. The Chela is the KHALSA....and the GURU is SGGS...sanctioned by the TEN NANAKS.
     
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  11. friend

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    so what you are saying is that it was one soul or spirit in all 10 bodies. those 10 guru's together make a guru, BTW it reminds me of my christian fellow saying that Jesus <Holy spirit and father are together a GOD. but thats not the point.

    Can you please kindly find me saying from Guru Nanak Dev ji, in which he had said that the next 9 Guru's will be my own spirit or part of me, or he had said anything about next 9 Guru's. Thank you.
     
  12. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Dear Friend Ji,

    NO..this is NOT the same as the example you quoted from your Christian friends.

    1. Guur nanak ji had Bhai lehnna ji as his follower for many yeras..among others in the snagat (congregation) as well as his own two flesh and blood sons.
    All were "tested" by Guru Nanak Ji...in various ways ( accounts given in Janam sakhis history and traditional sources). Finally Bhai Lehnna Ji was found suitable. Guur nanak Ji named him GURU ANGAD JI. Angad means MY LIMB..part of ME.
    Then in front of All the sangat Guur nanak Ji bowed to GURU ANGAD JI...passed on his GURBANI POTHI (book) as mark of Gurgadee. A few days later Guru nanak ji passed on.
    Each Successor GURU ddi the same testing/and passing on the GURU-SHIP b BOWING to the successor Guru.
    Finally Guur Gobind Singh ji BOWED before the SGGS, declared that there are no more Huamn Gurus..the SHABAD IS GURU and the PANJ KHALSA will carry on Initiating the New KHALSA in accordance and in the Authoriity of the SGGS. Thus no initiation is carried out in the ABSENCE of the SGGS in any circumstance.

    i hope this answers your question.
     
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  13. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Friend ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    With a friendly name like yours, let us be open minded. :)

    Sikhi is the only religion amongst many that is idea based, not personality based. So what one may call spirit in the spiritual manner is actually the continuation of the idea in a practical, realistic and pragmatic manner.

    Guru Nanak passed the idea of sharing with people how to breed goodness within to Bhai Lehna and this is the way it carried on for the 10 Gurus. During this time the visionary Gurus also compiled these ideas of goodness in SGGS and the best part of this idea based way of life is that they did not claim it to be exclusive. That is why they added the same idea in SGGS from the like minded people from different religions, regions and of different social status, hence making Gurbani the true univesal message.

    One who reads, understands and puts this message in one's life, then one is able to realise what a true friend is and how to cultivate a true friendship irrespective of one's hue,creed or faith.

    Just a friendly note of sharing.:)

    Tejwant Singh
     
  14. friend

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    Gyani Jarnail Singh ji, thank you so much for your reply.

    as i much as i have studied sikhism, i cannot imagine Guru Nanak Dev ji, bowing to a man. Because bowing in front of something means that you think your everything is them. For example, (muslims bow down to God, Christian to Cross and Hindues to Idols (NOT ALL).) I have read some of Guru Granth Sahab, and The words from Guru Nanak Dev are amazingly deep and amazingly clear. Can you kindly prove your point of Guru Nanak Dev ji bowing to man.
    and another thing, Guru Nanak Dev ji appointing Baba Lehna as a successor can also mean he was saying Hinduism is the true religion. because as you know Lehna was a Hindue. Appointing Lehna doesn't mean anything more than spreading the same message as Guru NANAK dev ji was spreading without an alteration.
     
  15. friend

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    VaheguruSeekr ji,

    No, sir i don't agree to your statement of sikhism being the only religion out of all to be based on ideas and not personalties. Every religion is based on personality and ideas, and the fallower of any religion would think that there ideas are the best. since personality of someone remains similar in every religion. I give you an example

    In sikhism its not just the ideas of Guru Nanak Dev ji, it is the way he dressed, the simplicity, the kind words came out of his mouth, the way he walked, talked and everything is all personal and people liked it. Now his ideas, spreading peace, everybody equal, rights of women.....

    same in Islam, the ideas of Prophet Muhammad and how he was personally.
    same in Christianity, what was Jesus's teachings and how was his personality, they both go together.

    Now coming to the point, I do find many contradiction in my sikh friends on what the 10 Guru's mean, whether they are 10 in 1. It is reasonable to agree to what you said. They are not 10 in one as having one spirit but 10 in one as having the same ideas. :thumbup:. But they all didn't have same ideas, the teachings of guru Nanak dev ji were altered later, I am not saying the teaching of 1st Guru contradicts the last, but Sikhs are practising something that 1st 9 Guru's never taught, why did they not find the need to do it, i don't understand that. They added the ideas from different religions, they ideas they pleased. Not all of them. they can't add all of them, it would contradict their own beliefs.
     
  16. Admin Singh

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    Dear friend, what ideas are you talking about? Can eternal truth be ever borrowed or assimilated? Is truth a personal property a particular philosophy or religion? Ofcourse, there is truth in each religion/philosophy. Which ideas are your talking about which you think are taken from other religions? Please elaborate. From there onwards we can discuss. Let us have a fair discussion. :)
     
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  17. friend

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    O i think you understood me wrong. I was never trying to be negative or anything, i think i didn't choose the rigth words. Let me rephrase what i meant to say, As i read in the reply above me that there are things taken from fallowers of different religions and put in SGGS. For example there are 292 hymns Bhagat Kabir in SGGS, Since he was a muslim, he must have told people to fallow islam nad there must have been hymns on that, but those are not added in SGGS. another examples, Sheikh Farid, Dhanna, there are couple verses in SGGS from Hindues. Now only the verses that are suited to Sikhism are put in SGGS and verses that don't suit are not in there. I hope you understand what i am trying to say.

    and answering your question, THE TRUTH, IS ONLY ONE TRUTH. ALL TRUTH IS DIFFERENT FROM ONE TRUTH. FOR example, Lets say, Murder of innocent person is wrong in every religion, (hope someone doesn't argue against that), now that one part of religion is true in every religion, But, that one Truth doesn't mean that every thing else is TRUE about the Religion. THE TRUTH IS ALL TRUTH AND IF YOU CAN FIND DOUBTS IN A RELIGION THAT MEANS THERE ARE DOUBTS AND IT ISN'T THE TRUTH. ( now you will say well it can be doubts for you which aren't true, and you are just thinking wrong, Yes, that can be true, but than i would have a reasonable disscussions to clear my misconsuptions. I HOPE I MADE SENSE. SORRY FOR THE MIStAKES. :)
     

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