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Why Bother?

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by badmash, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. badmash

    badmash
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    Hello all, Sat Sri Akal!

    If any responses, do not be formal please.

    I have been thinking and contemplating, about why we get bothered about the dissolution of our culture and Sikh way of life and traditions?

    If you all will not, who will be bothered? Many who post on this site are from abroad, i.e. outside of Indian Punjab. It does not seem there are that many well informed, Sikh youth of India who are passionate about Sikh history or culture.

    Now I am painting with broad strokes of the brush. But sometimes the generalizations will have to suffice. Ours is not the history of a Greece, or Persia or other GREAT civilization. Yet, it is a unique, glorious history with many great attributes those civilizations did not not have, nor do they even today.

    I was talking to people recently come back from Punjab, who were reflecting (once more!) on the lack of any perceptable movement there to preserve and perpetuate the true "punjabi" culture. Youth out dating, drinking, being modern as humanly possible.

    And it got me to wondering? Why do I care and why do I bother? If our Sikhs in India have a majority who only pay lip service to Sikhism, who are often not bothered (or too busy with the challenges of modern life) to speak Punjabi, practice Sikhism, preserve cultural traditions, ceremonies and MODES of behaviour (respect, obedience, hard work, perseverence), then what the hell are the rest of us sweating it for? It seems to me that Sikhism in Punjab will remain only as a foo-foo, ornamental, clothes deep phenomenon. Sure, there will be the few die hards, the few families who remain true to tradition and language and behaviour, but how many? We are not talking here about going to gurudwara once a month or so, or saying rehras here or mool mantra there. We are talking about true belief.

    While people on this forum go on and on about philosophy, should another forum be created for real, non abstract, concrete ACTIONS or projects which will enhance the dissemination of knowledge and preservation of Sikh history and culture? And please, we all know Waheguru is not going to come down, wave a magic wand, and cure the current ills. If some of us sit around and rue the passing of what we know is being lost, maybe better if we just got over it and moved on, eh? Otherwise, why not create new ways to battle the loss of pride, knowledge, devotion, loyalty and indeed identity itself?

    While this issue is not doubt essentially subjective, make no mistake, we Sikhs are in a state of free fall. If you do not realize that, one is either blind or impervious to reality. By an standard of evaluation, we as a society come up far short. Our leaders are corrupt, ignorant, undereducated, and generally useless to all except themselves and their families. Our Granthis and "priests" are living in the next world, the world of "Nam Japo" and karma. They are seldom useful to provide any support or transfer of knowledge to youth. Our Middle age folks look around, see the reality of the ebbing away, the dissolution of the community by inter marriage, the cutting of hair, the taking up of hindi and english and loss of punjabi --- and they hark to the age old Indian mantra "What can one do?". The youth, well too many of them believe aping the west and being up on pop culture is a lot more important than anything we talk about on this forum.

    Soooooo...............what are the solutions? Personally, I think none. I think we are proverbially hosed. Get ready, because its going to get a lot wetter!
    BUT, BUT....if you think you want to make a difference, think about some of the following.

    Get involved personally. Make a trip to India, to Punjab, and see the places of old. Learn Punjabi. Read the real history. Volunteer to teach classes in Gurudwara. Ask the granthi than when there is Sunday service, why is it that the kids are all outside playing and why there is no interest in the sangat to persue a "Sunday School" of quality, vision and durability. Ask the youngsters, why did your ancestors sacrifice? So you could play football and soccer and then eat some langar?

    While sikhs in larger cities have organized programs, I can tell you the vast majority of sikhs in smaller locales do not have the time, resources, energy but MOSTLY the vision to do what it takes to preserve sikhism in the long run. It takes loyalty. It takes respect of one's own identity and the desire to preserve it. AND it takes PRIDE, which most academics and intellectuals will frown upon, because undeniably pride invokes negative attributes of a certain measure of inequality. But without real pride, and yes even some BIAS for own's people and history, we might as well just give it up and join those who do, because the crying over spilled milk can only last so long.

    Those of us who have a sense of some of the above problems must try to do more to goad our peers and leaders to follow some path, any path of constructive action. The alternatives are clear, and frankly, in the face of a general apathy among sikhs to do more, not undeserved or that bad either.<br /><br />
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  3. simpy

    simpy
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    most of the people talk about all this but end up saying-what can one do.

    we can do a lot. only thing that we need is the Courage to Initiate.




    forgive me please
     
  4. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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    Courage ?
     
  5. Lee

    Lee
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    I'm going to go back to the title of the OP's post, and turn that question back on it's self.

    Why bother? Or what is important about maintaining this cultural heritage?

    I mean shouldn't Sikhi be rid of culture should it not be culture-less, if not cross-cultural.

    I'm not too 'into' culture, I just don't 'get it' so again, yes, indeed, why bother?
     
  6. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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    Lee Ji,

    For one, Sikhism uses language for communication. Language is Gurmukhi which is mainly Punjabi or Brij Bhasa. If we say that English can be used as the language for Sikhism, then our scholars really have to have an on-going discussion to improve the translated versions. This can eventually get rid of the cultural barrier.

    I know there will be many comments after this, and I welcome them.
     
  7. Lee

    Lee
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    Namjap ji,

    yes I understand that, but I do not belive that the Op was lamenting the loss of gurmakhi or Punjabi language. In deed it is very hard to find a Gurdwara which activly uses both languages anyhow.

    No I speak more of lamenting the loss of Punjabi culture within the Sikh religoin. A loss that I just don't see as a problem. We all know that Sikhi is not an easy path to tread, indeed not, I can probably count on one hand those Sikhs I would call 'real' (myself not included). *shrug* I guess all religoins are prone to problems why should ours be any differant?
     
  8. Sardara123

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    naamjap ji can you please elaborate on 'Gurmukhi mainly Brij Bhasa'.
     
  9. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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    Brij Bhasha (ब्रज भाषा), also called Braj Bhasha, Braj Bhakha, or Daihaati Zabaan (country tongue), is a Central Indian language closely related to Hindi. In fact it is usually considered to be a dialect of Hindi, and was the predominant literary language before the switch to Khariboli in the 19th century. It is spoken by more than 42,000 people in the nebulously defined region of Braj Bhoomi, which was a political state in the era of the Mahabharata wars. According to ancient Hindu texts such as the Shrimad Bhagavatam, the kingdom of King Kams is described as spreading through the Braj (also known as Vrij or Vraj), where the incarnation of Krishna was born and spent his childhood days. This region lies in the Agra-Mathura area, and stretches as far as the environs of Delhi. In modern India, this area lies mostly in northwestern Uttar Pradesh, the eastern extremities of Rajasthan and the southern extremities of Haryana. Today Braj Bhoomi can be seen as a cultural-geographical entity rather than a proper state. It is the vernacular of the region and boasts a rich culture and literature by famous poets like Surdas, Bhai Gurdas and Amir Khusro. Brij Bhasha is very close to Avadhi, spoken in neighbouring Avadh region.
    Brij bhasa is spoken in the cities of Mathura, Vrindavana, Agra, Firozabad, Hathras, Etah, Aligarh, Bareli, Bulandhshahar, Bharatpur and Dhaulpur. Much of the Hindi literature was developed in Brij in the medieval period. However, today Khariboli dialect has taken its place as the predominant standard dialect of Hindi.
    In modern India, Braj Bhasha exists as an unofficial dialect spoken colloquially by natives of the region of Braj Bhoomi, with great cultural and religious significance. Much of Hindi poetry, especially that of 'Bhakti' or devotional poetry is in this language. Some devotional poems for Krishna are also composed in Braj Bhasha. The pioneering Hindi poet Aamir Khusro, also spoke and composed poetry in this language. Famous Braj Bhasha folk songs or poems include 'Chhaap tilak sab chheeni' by Aamir Khusro, and the popular devotional song ,"Main naahin maakhan khaayo" by Surdas. Braj bhasha is also the main language of Hindustani classical music compositions.

    Braj Bhasha Literature

    Studying Braj Bhasha literature, it can be noticed that most of the literature is of a mystical nature, related to the spiritual union of man with God. This is not at all surprising since virtually all of the poets were God-realised saints and their words are thus considered to be directly emanated from a divine source. Much of traditional Northern Indian literature shares this trait. All traditional Punjabi literature is similarly written by saints and is of a metaphysical and philosophical nature.
    Another peculiar feature of Northern Indian literature is that the literature is mostly written from a female point of view, even by male poets. This is because the saints were in a state of transcendental, spiritual love, where they were metaphorically women reuniting with their beloved.
    Examples of Brij bhasha literature include Buddha Charit by Acharya Ram Chandra Shukla, Sufi poetry by Amir Khusro and compositions by Bhakti saints like Kabir.
     
  10. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    The languages used in the Siri Guru Granth sahib Ji are:

    a. Panjabi - Sikh Gurus , Bhagat (saint) Sheikh Farid and others
    b. Sindhi - Guru Arjan
    c. Sanskrit - Guru Nanak, Guru Arjan and others
    d. Influence of Arabic and Persian - Bhagat Namdev
    e. Western Panjabi/Lehndi - Guru Arjan
    f. Gujrati and Marathi - Bhagat Namdev and Trilochan
    g. Western Hindi - Bhagat Kabir
    h. Eastern Hindi - Court poets
    i. Eastern Apabhramas - Bhagat Jaidev


    The languages used in the Dasam Granth are:

    a. Braj
    b. Hindi
    c. Panjabi
    d. Persian
     
  11. Sardara123

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    Thankyou naamjap ji.
     

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