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Sikh News Career Success And Sikhi Principles

Jul 13, 2004
While being at the SPN forum, I had been going thru a lot of discussions. At a personal level, I always look forward to how I can be a Sikh, and then a better Sikh, by looking at successful examples around us. There are numerous examples of Sikhs around the world, who act as inspiration to younger generations. Tejwant ji had mentioned name of his nephew working for Gap. Lot of youngsters look upto the successful people in their own chosen profession, to get more guidance, and also at the same time stick to the sikhi principles.

Well, just drifting a bit, I belong to Punjab, and I guess most of the sikhism related principles for me, started from home and surroundings. Sometimes, I think If I were not from Punjab, would I have gone for Sikhism or not. Without speaking out my heart here, which some people may feel biased, I wonder why kids born at foreign lands are so pulled back from following sikhi principles.

Most of the new sikh generations, seem to be (I may be wrong) leaving Sikhi. The reason may be best known to them. But to prevent that kind of thing, my heart asks for the best reasons and remedy to prevent that. As an SPN forum member, what can be done about it? How that kind of sangat can be reached, who dont even visit and participate the discussion?

Also, it seems people tend to leave the faith they are born in and seek others! Some kind of fashion, or flowing with majority trend, perhaps!!!

Please Help me to get out of these thoughts.



Jul 11, 2004
I just typed a huge response and lost it.


Anyway, to sum it up, I had written an essay on Charismatic Authority. Obviously, like many other religions, this is how Sikhism had began, and later transformed into a level of traditional authority.

You question, why Sikhs are giving up Skhi.

Like any other Charismatic authority, it is very short-lived and unstable. It lives in its strongest point, when the charismatic leader is still alive, then it becomes traditional, where soon the downfall comes.

To quote from Max Weber, "Every charisma is on the road from a turbulently emotional life that knows no economic rationality to a slow death by suffocation under the weight of material interests: every hour of its existence brings it nearer to this end." (ES, 1120)

Basically, to make it obvious it means, that when the authority is over, and the leader's charisma has either vanished due to death or dislike. People will go back to their "normal" lives, go back to material interests which are innate in every human.

Now you may ask, Why has Sikhism lasted so long since the last Guru's death? It's pretty easily seen that the after-effects of such an enormous amount of Charisma would be around for times to come. You can also note that at points in time, many people began to give up Sikhi, the identity, and go back to other rituals and selfish material interests. What brought them back together, what united them? What brought them back to the Guru's word? A Charismatic leader, a leader which showed them the right path and people followed, the disciples who changed thier lives at his word. The Singh Sabha Movement, Maharaj Ranjit Singh's reign, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale are all people who used charismatic authority. As with these individuals, there are many other people who some even see as "human gurus" and begin worshipping them as one of the original Gurus, and thus deemed "non-Sikh" from the majority of the Sikh population.

But, the basic Sikh is put into a puzzle, because his own Guru's words say not to view anyone else as a human Guru anymore, that the only Guru is the Guru Granth Sahib for all eternity now. The Charisma is lost once these words were stated and it was transformed into Traditional Authority (be it, in its own good and bad ways). So, for these other Charismatic leaders to come, they can NOT be worshipped as true Charismatic leaders as the Gurus, because the last Guru instructed us to never display that to another human again.

Now traditional authority has its own good and bad methods, but as years progress this authority diminishes greatly. It becomes less and less a factor in everyday life, it becomes only something people look to, or read, or cite when the "right" time comes around. (i.e. going to gurdwara on sundays).

I hope in some-way this helps explain why kids "are pulled back from sikh principles".

It's not just a case with Sikhism, its not just basic rebellion from their parents (of course in some cases it is), its a natural life-cycle, its how things happen. The same is happening and working at every religion, not just Sikhism.

Also, it seems people tend to leave the faith they are born in and seek others! Some kind of fashion, or flowing with majority trend, perhaps!!!

This fashion you speak of...must have started a really long time ago, I mean...even Guru Nanak was part of this fashion, and so were all his original followers. Honestly, you do not think any of the Gurus or original followers recieved ridicule from their parents for leaving the "religion they were born in?"
Why do you think theres passages explicitly stated in the Guru Granth Sahib that say there are multiple paths to God and one may choose as they wish? That you can not be just born into a religion, it is something you become?

Some of the Gurus went through personal experience with their parents which made them write what they did. Just think about it, parents back then in that sense were not all that different, they were conservative, and wanted their children to be raised up how they were, and to believe in the things they believed in, they did not want to face rebellion or challenge.


In the end, this is the 2nd time I've read these views from a moderator of this website. I do recall, you guys used to call me pessismistic ;). This is my life day in and day out, questioning if this is all worth it?

I'm just a realist though, or I try my best to be. I never get faded away by myths or stories and never give up easily at the quick sign of a loss, even if some are backed by facts.


And you made a claim that kids born in foreign lands are going more away from sikh principles, please provide this with facts.
By kids and the newer generation you must clearly mean people who are younger than 18. Look at the roster of this website, and any other Sikh-Youth forum, all the members under the age of 18 are either from UK, US, AUS or Canada. Where are the "Punjabi-Sikh-kids" at?
God, I wish you could tell me they were too busy at the gurdwara being actual Sikh activists...but we all know the real answer.

But, the real answer I think, is that we must all sit and think, separately, for answers, and to become active in our own communities, and then the global community. I really can't answer how I would help you get out of these thoughts as they run my mind 24/7.
Jun 1, 2004
I just typed a huge response and lost it.

General Clarification : If you are writing a very big message then it is suggested that you write your message in your windows notepad or wordpad and then copy paste on to the forum. Actually what happens is that if there is no activity for 25 minutes from a logged in ip address, the member is automatically considered as being logged out and this sometimes results in losing your message while posting. Please keep this in mind when writing a very very big response. Thanks.

Please continue.


Jan 21, 2005
Very cool!

I thought I was the only turbaned Sikh who worked in the Intelligence field in North America

I work for the Intelligence Branch of the Canadian Border Services Agency --just started a few months ago not as exciting as it seems.


Jan 21, 2005
Very interesting issue!

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you Arvind Singh ji, I don't think that Sikh youth outside of India are pulled away from Sikh principles --in fact I would argue just the opposite. It is true that many of them are not khesi dhari but I think that you have to acknowledge that living in India and wearing a turban is far easier than anywhere else in the world! And speaking as a turban-wearing Sikh I have to say that I have met many non-khesi dhari sikhs who are far more attached to sikh principles than I am. I think we need to distinguish between people who follow (or believe) sikh principles vs sikh rituals. Of course, wearing a turban is probably the most important one of them all but it is not the only principle that matters. Of course, in the end we are disagreeing on an empirical claim that can only be settled with appropriate statistics (that as far as I know do not exist) so your guess is as good as mine in this case!

S]kh: very interesting post (by the way, I don't find you to be pessimistic in the least) I agreed with many of the points that you made. However, I do disagree with your claim that a "charismatic leader" is required. I think that this was far more important in the past then now. Can you think of anyone who is currently living (or even for the last 10 years) that would fit the bill in ANY religion or politics or academics, etc? I think that as far as history goes the "great man" or "hero" phase has passed and, IMHO, will never return. Certainly in the past with leaders like: Roosevelt; Mussolini; Gandhi; Hitler; etc. the cult of personality was the most important factor in a movements success --I don't think this is the case anymore.

Arvind Singh Ji, I think the issue of how to get the youth interested in Sikhi principles is a very important one. Role models of course are always important and unfortunately they are lacking. In Canada especially with our Gurdwara leaders fighting about trivial things such as “tables and chairs” I can certainly see why the youth are turned away in droves –I was left quite cynical by it myself as well. I think our community needs to take a good look at itself and ensure that we are not falling into the same mindless rituals that the Gurus fought so strongly against. Can we even clearly enunciate what those principles are and what they mean in the modern world? It seems that the progressive, egalitarian spirit that once infused the panth has been lacking for quite some time now. I think that youth would more willing to get involved if it were clear what they were signing up for. Historically, the sikh identity was characterized (at least by the sikh community itself) by a struggle against oppressors of the weak –protection of those in need. I don’t think that this is the way our community can look at itself at this time. So imho the first step is to reclaim the sikh identity of defenders of those that need protection with an emphasis on progressiveness, equity and tolerance. Not an easy feat by any means.

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