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Pacific Husband And Wife Jailed For Attacking Sikh Taxi Driver And Ripping Off His Turban

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,219
And can't -- since they aren't their ancestors. Today isn't 200 years ago. How one lives, the dangers one faces -- very different today from 200 years ago.

...

Respectfully,
Akiva

Akiva ji

I am not convinced that any assault is a minor event in the lives of people who experience assault. However, your comment above makes more sense than anything so far. Reality, a complicated matter. Our responses to realities of today may well be based on our fantasies about the past.
 

akiva

SPNer
Apr 20, 2011
126
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Jerusalem
SPNadmin Ji

I agree that an assault is traumatic to the one receiving it -- and I didn't mean to belittle that.

I meant "minor" relative to the life/commnity/Panth-threatening "Moguls are coming raping/killing/etc" day-to-day type of experience.

(And while I know there ARE places on this planet where things like that still happen -- I think those of us raised/living in the West have only experienced it in books and films.)
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,219
SPNadmin Ji

I agree that an assault is traumatic to the one receiving it -- and I didn't mean to belittle that.

I meant "minor" relative to the life/commnity/Panth-threatening "Moguls are coming raping/killing/etc" day-to-day type of experience.

(And while I know there ARE places on this planet where things like that still happen -- I think those of us raised/living in the West have only experienced it in books and films.)

And I agree! I did not think you were minimizing the experience and understood by "minor" you were putting things on a scale. I was speaking from a part of me that cannot divorce my attention from the havoc wreaked in individual lives, here a father and a son... just so that it won't be lost. You are also seeing something not stated so often... that every misfortune these days seems scaled equally large. We stand to lose sight of the vaster scale of misery and chaos that visits thousands of people each day in many parts of the world.
 

Harry Haller

Panga Master
SPNer
Jan 31, 2011
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In this article Mr. Singh apparently cut his son's hair. Was that to spare him the shame he himself suffered and feared his son might later have to endure? And with that shame comes intense emotions, including the feeling of lost identity.

Shame can be the result of pride and ego. Perhaps by letting go of pride and ego shame will be banished. However, in some cultures and, in particular, in traditional cultures, shame is taught and ingrained until it becomes a natural response. A response so automatic that the one who feels shamed does not even realize that reactions other than shame are possible, or even appropriate. Reactions that may follow one's feelings of shame can be equally unthinking and even drastic.

What happened to Mr. Singh was more than an assault on his person, but an assault on his identity. I might think it is over-reaching. He is the one responding to deeply felt inner reactions. Japan is a society where shame is considered a legitimate response to "loss of face." It is even today followed by suicide in some cases. We read recently how psychological suicide is committed by young men who become hermits when they lose face because they are unable to live up to modern-day expectations of school and business success. In other societies even today suicide is considered a legitimate response to rape. Shame and a person's responses to shame cling if they define a loss of identity and have done throughout the lifetime of a culture and from the childhood of an individual.


Big Sisji

I understand absolutely where you are coming from, I myself have no concept of shame, although there was that time for a short while I owned a Jeep Cherokee.

Does this sort of shame, that quite clearly exists, have any place or role in Sikhism, or indeed any society? Is it not another nod to the many bad facets that have infected Sikhism that have come out of Punjabi culture, rather than Sikh thinking
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,219
Big Sisji

I understand absolutely where you are coming from, I myself have no concept of shame, although there was that time for a short while I owned a Jeep Cherokee.

Does this sort of shame, that quite clearly exists, have any place or role in Sikhism, or indeed any society? Is it not another nod to the many bad facets that have infected Sikhism that have come out of Punjabi culture, rather than Sikh thinking

You may not understand where I am coming from. My paragraphs there, which kept getting longer and longer, come from my awareness that shame is very real, entrenched, sometimes, and often a method for keeping children in line, preserved in families over generations, and finally institutionalized in some cultures as a way of regulating the "individual" in individuals. So for many people there is no way escaping the inner experience of shame and the consequences of shame on how one treats oneself and every one else.

Look around you, and you won't have to look far, to see how some people will magnify even small errors into opportunities to "shame" someone else, usually a child.

The woman who pulled his turban knew she was shaming him, and she knows how shame works.

Where am I coming from? I am coming from a lot of years of watching people. I don't know anything about this cab-driver's childhood or how it was to be in his family. However his sense of shame had to be very great, or he would not have reacted as the article claims that he did. And who am I to tell anyone -- rise above your shame, it nothing but your ego talking!!!!! Give your ego a rest !!!! Accept the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and shame will be lifted forever !!!!! Even if he could hear me, how would he respond? Maybe a light would be struck, maybe! Or ... Now he has not only been assaulted, but some strange kaur on a forum in another country is telling him he isn't even up to the message of Guruji! Maybe he would turn away in shame.

p/s The wages of shame is resentment and resentment festers and infiltrates every nook of a life.
 
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Jan 26, 2012
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Shame at one's legitimate failings is fine (and healthy).

Shame at failing to live up to unrealistic standards isn't healthy.

Very profound.

Still, I can't help but ask at what point do we start to excuse and actually facilitate the growth of cowardice amongst ourselves? It's a fine line for sure.

What is the line between 'unrealistic standards' and a people who have become lax about maintaining admittedly difficult high standards that they should aim for?

Not too sure if I expressed that clearly?
 

akiva

SPNer
Apr 20, 2011
126
154
65
Jerusalem
Very clearly -- and it's a tough question.

What are those "high standards"?

More importantly -- how are they to be expressed today?

Are we, today, in the West, expected to master swordsmanship and horsemanship?

I've seen too many videos of Sikhs waving swords like feather-dusters, thinking that's how one uses a sword...

Are we supposed to strive to emulate their "actions" or their "awareness/intention"?

(Whoever "they/their" is...)

Maybe using TOR so people in oppressive countries can have access to secure/untraceable internet, for example -- or protesting against injustice -- or helping in the third world, like Khalsa Aid. IMO those are all prime examples of those high standards in action.

Akiva
 
Jan 26, 2012
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maybe it is this fear of cowardice that is responsible for the hot headed attitude so popular at Gurdwaras up and down the country..

I share your disgust at this phenomena myself. But let's not mix two separate issues here.

The above relates to pathetic politicking, ego and usually greed.

However, I'd like to focus on real situations, not uncommonly faced in certain disaporas, where yes, Sikhs are on the receiving end of abuse and violence or teetering towards it. Be this physical attacks on males such as in the US or the targeting of gullible Sikh girls by sexual predators as in the UK.

I'm talking about cowardice in confronting real things as opposed to the more dubious matters you allude to above.

Your point is important though because yes, some people do seem to manipulate some machismo streak for the wrong reasons whilst never having the courage to face up to the real challenges facing the community.
 
Jan 26, 2012
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More importantly -- how are they to be expressed today?

Fascinating topic.

I have to shoot off for a few hours. Will think about that and share some thoughts on the matter.

The point about TOR is a great one and really gets to the heart of the matter in a way I've struggled to.
 

Harry Haller

Panga Master
SPNer
Jan 31, 2011
5,769
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I share your disgust at this phenomena myself. But let's not mix two separate issues here.

The above relates to pathetic politicking, ego and usually greed.

However, I'd like to focus on real situations, not uncommonly faced in certain disaporas, where yes, Sikhs are on the receiving end of abuse and violence or teetering towards it. Be this physical attacks on males such as in the US or the targeting of gullible Sikh girls by sexual predators as in the UK.

I'm talking about cowardice in confronting real things as opposed to the more dubious matters you allude to above.

Your point is important though because yes, some people do seem to manipulate some machismo streak for the wrong reasons whilst never having the courage to face up to the real challenges facing the community.

The tenth master stated that "When all other means have failed, it is righteous to draw the sword", courage, bravery, strength are not automatically yours just because you inflict physical violence.

all other means covers quite a big spectrum

as for cowardice in confronting real matters, in the last 15 years, I have, amongst other things, had my throat grabbed by a customer, spent some time in prison, had a knife pulled on me by an angry husband, etc etc etc, all diffused using humour, all ended in a hug, (ok not the angry husband), does that make me a coward?
 
Jan 26, 2012
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What are those "high standards"?

More importantly -- how are they to be expressed today?


Are we, today, in the West, expected to master swordsmanship and horsemanship?

That we have agency in our own protection. That we do not become an emasculated society. That we look around us to the general standards of strength and threats and match/meet them. That we honestly admit when we are failing to do this or have become apathetic to such issues as a community and as individuals.

That our children grow up being taught to truly appreciate the need and role of physical strength, discipline and courage in an often hostile world. That we collectively grasp this and act on it as a community.

This has nothing to do with swordsmanship or horsemanship (for the record - by the mid 1700s Sikhs had gained a reputation for their use of guns/matchlocks more than swords).


Harry made a valid point by quoting zafarnama, but sometimes it feels that many people actually think the idea is avoid all activities that prepare, ready and strengthen our ability to use the metaphoric 'sword' effectively until we've exhausted all other avenues first.
(By the way I wasn't trying to make this a personal matter but rather a general one for wider discussion).

The point of having a deterrent that sort of facilitates many of the bad-minded to leave Sikhs alone comes to mind. This doesn't mean imposing ourselves aggressively by any stretch of the imagination, but rather creating a social culture where people growing up in the collective community are encouraged and supported to be upright and brave as well as physically capable. Dare I say it, especially the guys (not that women are excluded from this as they most often have the most sway on their children's development). It's a maxim that bullies pick targets they perceive as 'easy', we have to ask if we've become that. In our own heritage the point was illustrated by putting a tiger skin on a donkey and here comes that ugly question we have to face. Are we becoming like the donkey in a tiger skin? Paper tigers so to speak?
 

akiva

SPNer
Apr 20, 2011
126
154
65
Jerusalem
Or is the "High Standard" that Sikhs are supposed to be at the forefront of defending the weak, downtrodden and oppressed -- through whatever means are necessary and called for?

The shift in motive is important -- one is "selfish", one is "selfless" ("selfish" used in a non-judgemental way)

FWIW, just to make it clear -- I'm not a pacifist. I carry a handgun, trained for 4 years in knife- and swordsmanship, and in general hold that people should be able to defend themselves.

OTOH, against more than one person, or against a handgun from a distance, all the training in the world is more or less worthless if you are on your own.
 

akiva

SPNer
Apr 20, 2011
126
154
65
Jerusalem
Are we becoming like the donkey in a tiger skin? Paper tigers so to speak?

Yes. But that's because, in part, the world, society, and we have changed.

For all the bravado and talk very few people actually are trained and prepared to defend themselves.

UNless you want to have Sikh's seen as a "Gang of hoodlums" or "gang of vigilantes", with all the problems that entails, it's unavoidable. Modern society had deferred defence to the police/military. Any attempt by civilians to defend themselves or others in an organized way is portrayed negatively in the press and frowned upon by the authorities.

A good example, from the US, were the Guardian Angels (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guardian_Angels)
 

arshdeep88

SPNer
Mar 13, 2013
312
642
35
just wondering what exactly courage and bravery is
beating the hell out of the person who raises a finger on you or insults you or standing up for what you believe in and not resorting to acts done to save himself /herself from the shame inflicted by the other ?
 
Jan 26, 2012
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UNless you want to have Sikh's seen as a "Gang of hoodlums" or "gang of vigilantes", with all the problems that entails, it's unavoidable. Modern society had deferred defence to the police/military. Any attempt by civilians to defend themselves or others in an organized way is portrayed negatively in the press and frowned upon by the authorities.

A good example, from the US, were the Guardian Angels ( Guardian_Angels )

Exactly this occurred with a group called Shere Panjab in the UK who confronted the 'grooming issue'. This started in the 80s.

We can fast forward 3 decades now and see that police denials of such things taking place were outright lies - plus they seem to have known this was going on but kept things quiet for reasons best known to themselves. Not only that, the scale at which this was/is taking place was infinitely larger than even the SP guys originally thought.

Going back to America, I think it is shameful that more Sikh men don't defend themselves robustly, especially seeing as the law is so understanding in this respect.

I for one am as glad as hell that guys had the courage to stand up and resist violent anti-immigrant groups like the NF where I lived. It's a honor to be around men like that - and it IS a shame that we don't have more Sikhs like that in areas where they are needed. Current events make those guys look even better.

Anyone from a community genuinely under attack who views other people from amongst their community, who try to step up and defend them as simple vigilante/ hoodlums probably need their own head examined?
 
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Jan 26, 2012
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Or is the "High Standard" that Sikhs are supposed to be at the forefront of defending the weak, downtrodden and oppressed -- through whatever means are necessary and called for?

The shift in motive is important -- one is "selfish", one is "selfless" ("selfish" used in a non-judgemental way)

Yes, but until you can protect yourselves what chance do you have of being able to help others?
 
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