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the role of sikhi in todays context an article by kamalla rose kaur

Discussion in 'Essays on Sikhism' started by etinder, Sep 24, 2004.

  1. etinder

    etinder
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    THE ROLE OF SIKHI IN TODAY'S GLOBAL CONTEXT
    Kamalla Rose Kaur Mon March 26

    Greetings,

    What is it about the Sikhs? Why am I so caught up with these people? I can go
    for months and never see another Sikh, living where I live. My close friends
    know that I am into this Sikh thing, that I write for Sikhs, that I pray for
    success as an artist in a Universe Far Far Away called "Sikh Diaspora".
    Friends and family watch me writing feverishly, playing to a Sikh audience,
    and it is puzzling and sometimes concerning for them. Given how hard it is to
    make a living as a writer in this World, kith and kin worry that I am wasting
    my time, being obsessive and throwing my talents away. Sikh activism does not
    pay the rent, in other words. And it can be dangerous.

    Sikhs, on the other hand, understand my obsession with Sikhi and Sikh people
    completely. Yet it is hard for Sikhs to understand that I much prefer my own
    Western USA culture over Indian/Punjabi culture. I am merely hooked on the
    Sikh RELIGION part - which I find to be fully superior and endlessly
    fascinating.

    Truly, Sikhi is a great path for Westerners to explore and learn something
    about. Sikhi and science are highly harmonious worldviews. Sikhi is
    Universalist, honoring of all Sacred Ways, of all people. Sikhi is feminist
    and Sikhi fights caste and class, and Sikhi rejects personality cults, and
    authoritarian hierarchies; among many other virtues. And Sikhs repeatedly
    prove themselves capable of huge and amazing, unified, acts of righteousness
    down through their history. The true stories of Sikhs are heart-meltingly
    inspiring, and Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh path in India, a mere 500
    years ago, was one of the sweetest and most powerful human-beings to ever
    walk on Earth.

    But still, whether Sikhs can actually change culturally, and back their
    amazing theology and history up with action in these modern times, seems
    pretty unlikely right now. For instance, so far, the cyber discussion forums
    (and all other systems within Sikhi) are completely male dominated. Yes, I
    DID say that Sikhi is not sexist in dogma. Sikh women are supposed to have
    equal authority with Sikh men. It is part of the religion, and gender
    equality within Sikhi is not an issue that is debated much.

    Yet, out in cyber-community (and everywhere else) I still see no effort by
    Sikh men to recruit women into their midst and few women are asserting
    themselves around the men. I am not sure if Sikh men know HOW to encourage
    women to speak out. And unlike Western forums, Sikh men don't seem
    embarrassed and self-conscious that they are male dominated - which implies,
    among other things, that they don't understand how this makes them look to
    outsiders. "Clueless" as we say here in the States.

    And, of course, sexism, and the bad public image that comes along with it,
    isn't Sikhs only problem either. The government of India is Right Wing and
    caste driven. The Indian Government is reported to be persecuting all
    minority religions in India right now, including Christians. We aren't
    hearing any News about any of this here in the USA because the USA does lots
    of bu$ine$$ with India.

    Same old story; USA acting as usual.

    Back in 1984 the Indian Government took troops in and attacked Sikh's most
    holy ground, the Golden Temple in Amritsar. It was a massacre and Indira
    Gandhi died as a result of this incident. Can you imagine if the USA
    government decided to blow up every Jewish Temple and Center in the country
    one day? Anyone remember WW2 these days?

    This is one of the many things that Sikhs find frustrating about Westerners.
    We USAers so conveniently space out history. Sikhs, meanwhile, remember
    everything. They remember Sikhs fighting the Nazis in defense of the Jews,
    like it was only yesterday. In truth, it was only 60 years ago. One lifetime.
    Sikhs think we are insane how we can't remember, and don't care to find out,
    what happened even one generation ago! It is as if we are on some sort of
    "denial drug" that allows us to pretend that our government isn't quickly
    getting as bad as India's Government, or China.

    Since the 1984 attack and slaughter of Sikhs by the Indian Government, Sikhs
    have been in an uproar, of course. Sikhs have been steadily streaming out of
    India and the India Government has infiltrated Sikh politics and temples so
    heavily in the Punjab that Sikhs in Diaspora no longer trust anything that is
    happening there. Alcoholism and drug abuse, domestic violence, cults, saints
    and saviors, and hopelessness is up among Sikhs. Carpetbaggers are
    everywhere. The younger generation is rebelling against the elders. And lots
    of people who wear turbans and beards, and say they are Sikhs, aren't keeping
    the Sikh vows one bit.

    Yet Sikhs aren't like other people. Sikhs live under a unique set of vows -
    or they are supposed to at least. Sikhs vow to stay authentic and wholesome
    and natural and clean, free of alcohol and tobacco etc. Sikhs vow to
    intercede anytime they see anyone being attacked or oppressed, and a Sikh is
    under vow to help you if you ask. Sikhi is a warrior path, and Sikhs are
    famous for their courage in battle, but Sikhs can only fight defensively.
    They break their vows if they become attackers rather than defenders. And
    beyond this Sikhs control their sexual energy. They practice chastity, not
    celibacy. Sikh men hold all women as Sisters and they do not sexually dream
    about women who are not their mates, which makes them, in theory, fully SAFE
    around women. Same goes for Sikh women, who vow to resist the urge to
    romanticize about celebrities and such.

    All of which is to say that, on a whole, Sikhs are a lot less addicted to
    fantasy than the rest of us, which is one thing I truly admire about them.
    Sikhi is also a path where social justice activism is spiritual practice. So
    in spite of the fact that the problems facing Sikhs seem completely
    overwhelming, and that it will probably take generations for Sikhs to change,
    Sikhs and Sikhi still greatly inspire me.

    But, truthfully, I don't think ANY of us have generations of time to waste on
    gradual change, given the growing environmental crisis and everything else
    happening in our World right now. So I can't help but wonder and pray, hoping
    that Sikhs might actually might pull off another amazing act of
    righteousness, or two, like they have so often in the past, in front of a
    full World audience!

    No one BUT Sikhs seem as likely to do anything of the sort.

    This is why I write for Sikhs, more than for people of my own culture.

    Love and Light- Kamalla Rose Kaur



    Kamalla Rose Kaur is a USA born writer of Irish descent who converted to Sikhism in 1972, at age 18. She tried everything for over twenty years, including frantic practice of Yoga, until she learned "why Sikhs are so adament about having the Sri Guru Granth Sahib as their only Guru."

    I got this from some other site..everyones view is welcome

    gurufateh
     
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  3. Neutral Singh

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    Brilliant article, thanks for sharing...

    Sometimes, to me, the tast of making the world aware about real Sikhism looks so monumental that we do not know from where to start really. Sikhism can only spread if we have some lead examples in our sikh society to whom non-sikhs can look up. We need some inspirational people coming to front and leading the sikh diaspora. More importantly we can only make people aware about sikhism only when we ourselves are aware as to what sikhism is all about... which is already a lifetime project in itself.

    This statement really struck me... Sikh Philosophy Network has two woman moderators with equal rights and they somehow shy away from the responsiblities or i think they feel uncomfortable in the company of men all around... and the writer has rightly pointed out that we hardly see woman actively participating in these forums along with men...

    Its quite encouraging that we find people like Kamala Rose Kaur who are making efforts to make this world about the real sikhism but unfortunately we find sikhism highlighted for the wrong reasons in media these days.

    Thanks for sharing this article.
     
  4. Amarpal

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    Dear Member,

    My response is limited to the line quoted from the artical.

    It is true, that all fourms in Sikhi are male dominated. This is because our ladies are allowing them to dominate. Our ladies have to fight it out and carve out place for them selves. This task they should take as sacred duty for themselves.

    We all know that no birth takes place without pain and women know it better than men.

    Women should occupy the high place they deserve in all fourm. They should not expcet that some one will give it to them. I know work builds, charity destroys. The position gained by successfully wining in competition is more satisfying. Remember that 'Struggle is essential ingradient of Happiness'.

    When women takeup the fight for their just place, there will be many men like me to support them.

    With love and respect for all.

    Amarpal
     
  5. drkhalsa

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    it was marvelous piece of writing , and was so inspiring that i cant state , i will try to circulate it and also pray AKAL PURAKH to give us direction and strenght to be example for other

    [B]But, truthfully, I don't think ANY of us have generations of time to waste on
    gradual change, given the growing environmental crisis and everything else
    happening in our World right now. So I can't help but wonder and pray, hoping
    that Sikhs might actually might pull off another amazing act of
    righteousness, or two, like they have so often in the past, in front of a
    full World audience!


    may AKAL PURAKH BLESS US ALL
     
  6. Arvind

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    In a few situations, I have seen, there is not even any need of fight etc. Progressive men WANT women to stand shoulder by shoulder, then I fail to understand any reason for shying away
     
  7. etinder

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    what i feel at this juncture that SP.net can act as a role model, we all here at least on this forum shuld try to convince the women on the forum to be more active n participative..i feel this can be a good start.
     
  8. Arvind

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    etinder ji,

    People complain abt me being a dictatorial or authoritative kind of person, so perhaps I can learn from other learned members when that kind of convincing starts for more/active participation.

    Mainly, I liked articles by K Rose Kaur very much. And recommend those to all seekers. Her writings are wonderful and inspiring, and raise valid questions as our friend here is asking about - what to do?

    Regards.
     
  9. etinder

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    arvind veer

    what i feel is that SP.net can be a wonderful place to start, what i feel that a person can be assertive as well as democratic too..
    we have to make the women members of the forum more comfortable and at ease so that we can get them to speak their minds loud and share their valuable insights with the sangat, and this will give us all a fair understanding of their thinking and connects us with their perspectives too..
    in nutshell we need them here on the forum and we have to get them to speak their minds..becoz sikhi starts at home, the religious and spiritual values children learn and pick from their moms, so we have to empower women if we all want the light of Gurus message spread in our households.
     
  10. Neutral Singh

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    I think we need to take initiative on our behalf... we would have to invite some of our know woman activists visionists and relatives who we all know that they can contribute and encourage other woman members to speak their heart out.

    Nice discussion... I am looking forward to a favourable outcome...

    Regards
     
  11. Arvind

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    Personally, when I discuss, I dont care, if the words are coming from a female, male, a kid or an aged person. This kind of neutrality is more achievable in cyber discussions however. I will contact females active in sikhism related studies, and request for their contribution.

    Regards.
     
  12. etinder

    etinder
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    i totally agree with u arvind veer stroke of brilliance is not limited to any age, gender or caste..its the thought and the perspective that is important, and as the pool gets bigger i guess the quality should improve..
    regards
     

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