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Controversial British Sikhs & British National Party (BNP) (an Editorial)

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by spnadmin, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

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    British Sikhs & British National Party (BNP) (an editorial)

    The Sikh Times

    By Gurmukh Singh

    A British Sikh, Rajinder Singh, is likely to become the first member of the BNP. Joining a political party is a personal choice. However, it is important to understand that there is much difference between the Britishness of the Sikhs and the BNP.

    Sikhs believe in treating the human race as one (Manas ki jaat sabhe ekai pehchanbo – Guru Gobind Singh). The BNP does not. The Sikhs believe in a diverse multicultural society sharing the same space while remaining united through loyalty to the country. The BNP’s policy is “keep Britain white”, despite some recent changes in their constitution to remain within the law. Sikhs are guided by their temporal-spiritual (miri-piri), twin track sovereign doctrine which is: primary allegiance to truth and opposing any authoritarian regime. They have adopted the UK as their home, and, subject to their miri-piri ideal, they remain loyal to any regime which safeguards human rights and accepts limitation of own power. These ideals clash with BNP political ethos.

    The BNP is unlikely to adopt the Sikh ideals by seeing the same Light of God in all and, therefore, treating all human beings as equal. Hitherto, BNP has been a racist party preaching expatriation of all non-white British citizens from the UK. The change in their constitution to allow non-whites to become members, is due entirely to their desire to remain within the UK law. The party has no track record of racial tolerance.

    Rajinder Singh made the headlines recently. Sikh reaction, whilst generally critical, has been mixed. Leading Sikhs have dissociated themselves from Sikh membership of BNP. However, someone did write on a cyber forum, “I do not understand why Sikhs as a community are being dragged and becoming willing partners in the controversy of the rights of a British Sikh to join a party of his choice.” It may be that, as a community, Sikhs are too sensitive about such matters, partly because the media is always quick to identify Sikhs as “Sikhs” for projecting a negative image of the community. Otherwise, for positive achievements, the media is content to use the label “Indian” instead of “Sikh”.

    Ironically, Rajinder Singh, is also raising questions in some minds concerned with "mistaken identity". Someone observed, “...while Indarjit Singh's 'Thought for the Day' reaches millions of middle class British citizens, there was a need for the rest of the population to be aware that Sikhs are not Muslims. The Sikh who joined the BNP has managed to achieve that very effectively.” One could say that even the short (less than 3 minutes) “Thought for the Day” on a radio slot filled by different religions in the most soothing and conciliatory language of the establishment, hardly brings out the essential differences between religious ideologies. The speakers are not shown on TV so that people can see what Sikhs look like, and for the half awake listeners in the morning, the “thoughts” are more or less the same. Sikhism comes across as the a most tolerant of religions, and, therefore, to the less discerning, no different from any other.

    Otherwise, the “middle class” media editors would have learnt something about the difference between Sikhism and other religions. They have not.

    The question I asked was if this maverick (Rajinder Singh) is trying to find expression to his frustration against Sikhs being identified with Islamic terrorism and what is seen as disloyalty to this country through terrorist activities?

    Let me digress a little. Almost daily, reports show unemployed Muslims in religious garbs living on the generous welfare system in western countries paid for by the tax payer, while preaching their fanatic interpretation of martyrdom for religion. There was a recent report of one such Islami preacher from Melbourne. He has been sent to prison for his fanatical outpourings in Australia while being unemployed for 19 years and claiming over a million Australian dollars in benefits for his large family. Even moderate people are shocked by such irresponsible interpretation of religion to spread terror, while living on state handouts. That is not the Sikh way. However, Sikhs do pay the price due to mistaken identity when there is a public backlash.

    Like the difference between heaven and hell, good and evil, there is a difference between a true martyr and a terrorist claiming martyrdom. A true martyr (shahid), while following the path of truthful conduct, sacrifices his (or her) life in the Will (Bhana or Rza) of, and love for, “God” by whatever Name called. The martyr even asks for forgiveness for his tormenters and has no hatred in his heart. The demented and brainwashed terrorist goes out to kill fellow human beings in cold blood. Forget heaven or zannat for such evil deeds, even hell (dozakh) would cough him out!

    A martyr or “shahid”, “provides testimony to injustice, witnessing to the truth with his blood.”

    Many Sikhs do feel unhappy about “mistaken identity” but support for BNP is not only going against Sikh teachings but also confusing many young Sikhs.

    I have in mind the near confrontation we had with Islamic zealots a few years ago at Trafalgar Square, where The National Front also turned up in force to demonstrate against Islamic zealots who had threatened to show off converts, including Sikh girls, to Islam. Thankfully, on that occasion, the young Sikhs behaved in a most Sikh-like manner by reciting Paaths of Chaopaee. The Islamic zealots, threatening massive gathering at Trafalgar Square, did not turn up. Some young Sikhs could have mistaken the National Front presence as support for the Sikhs, when, in fact it was due to their hatred for the Muslims.

    Sympathy for Rajinder Singh has been expressed, to quote one post, “Certainly, anti-Muslim feeling is not as per Sikh teachings but his strong sentiment, deriving I believe from the murder of his father during partition, has clarified the issue for many people.” Well, that is debatable whether it would clarify or confuse even further.

    The bottom line is, to quote from an e-mail, “Every British citizen has the right to join and support any party of his own choice, no matter how much others may disagree with the policies of that party and is entitled lawfully through legally peaceful means to operate as

    a political party. That should be the guiding mile for the measure of this right.”

    We should continue to make the Sikh position clear. We oppose intolerance and religious bigotry. We oppose religion backed terrorism under whatever pretext. We should continue to stress that the main pillars of Sikh faith are God awareness, earning livelihood by doing honest work, and sharing with those in need. Sikhs pray for the wellbeing of all.

    Sikh organisations should continue to oppose Sikhs joining any extremist or racialist party.
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