Opinion - I Don't Belong In My Community | SIKH PHILOSOPHY NETWORK
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Opinion I Don't Belong In My Community


Dec 19, 2011
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
This has been bothering me for the longest time and i would appreciate any guidance anyone has regarding this. I'm a teenage kaur living in Ontario, Canada. I came to Canada in the mid 2000's and settled in a suburb complete with ample Punjabis. I'm actually a Kashmiri Sikh, the majority of my family is in Kashmir and although I was born in Punjab I consider myself Kashmiri on account of my family. I know as a Sikh I'm not supposed to acknowledge any part of me that detaches me from Sikhs and places me in a different group but for the purpose of this situation it is necessary. Here is where the problem lies: my parents are part of this association which is for Canadian Sikhs who are Kashmiris.
Well this association was the mastermind of an old knowledgable Sikh gentlemen who wanted to achieve three things. Help new Sikhs from Kashmire settle down, teach Gurbani and Sikh ithaas(history) to youth, and help Sikhs back in Kashmir. Only the first thing has been done, the full extent of which hasn't even been discussed, and the other two have been sidelined. Nothing meaningful has been done to help Sikhs back home, even when a couple of years ago when Sikhs were getting death threats in Kashmir as well as threatening letters, the people that were executives of this association didn't do anything to help our brothers and sisters struggling over there. I know it is unreasonable to ask for the association to fix everything but to have parties and picnics while people there were under curfew and the price of food was inflated and the protests were becoming increasingly violent.That's just unresponsible.

Now I come to my second point, every Sikh family from Kashmir who is a part of this association pays $200 each year. Nobody knows where that money is going to this day and no one dare asks for fear for being ostricized by others. I remember once a Kashmiri family who also felt that the association should change and include things of Gursikhi talked to my family about the association's ommision of these necessary projects, and when they talked to others, one of the executives announced that "If any one has problems with how we operate please come to me and do not create confusion in the community" Confusion? Seriously? I wouldn't have minded this and actually would've talked to the execs. about it if it didn't have a nasty overtone that showed no one was ready to negotiate.

Gurbani and Gursikhi are never the topics of discussion at these picnics. It is merely about planning the next event or party, and some paths. I guess what I'm trying to say is this community doesn't represent me, not currently with their apathetic actions.

I don't know if people are aware but currently the water system in Kashmir has frozen over, the pipes that provide water to every house are also frozen are now travelling farther than before to find water. I heard from some family saying that people are deserting Kashmir for Jammu. What is my association doing about this? Probably nothing. What I would like help with is how to wake up my community from the parties and picnics to the real issues. I'm not against celebrating, but every year we have these picnics but what are we celebrating? There is no reason to rejoice when nothing of value has been done? Why don't we get together on Gurpurabs and days of importance in Sikh history and discuss our faith? The youths, with the exception of some couldn't care less about our faith and frankly haven't been given the education from their parents and as such are lacking vital knowledge.

Although this community doesn't represent (for other reasons too long to express in this post )I don't want to give up on them because some of them are simply misguided but well-intentioned people, just like all of us are at some points in our lives. I had taken to an attitude where I was ready to do everything by myself, but now I've realized that I may need my community with me. Although we don't see eye to eye on everything I would like for us to cooperate and work for the betterment of our family back home, and then extend it to Punjab.

So, what I really need help with is how to approach these middle aged men and ask them to listen and make changes because after I do this not only is everyone going to hate me, I'm going to be treated poorly. I WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK WITH CONVICTION AND ENOUGH REASONING TO CONVINCE THEM. But I need help, so pyari sadh sanghat help your fellow bhain wherever you can. And as always, your input is always appreciated.
P.s. I realize that some of my comments may have been inconsiderate and I apologize for that. I did not mean to offend.

Phul Chuk Maf,
Sukrit Kaur


ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
Dec 21, 2010
sukritkaur bhain sorry to hear your experiences. Don't feel alone.

The general issue is that first generation immigrants are a very transitional entities. Their abilities to do or achieve most often run into issues of survival, doing better for self versus others, looking for even small glory, looking for small economic benefits either legal or otherwise. When you put all this into a mixing bowl, what you get is pretty mixed up and you have identified the symptoms of this in your post.

I do not know much about the complex of Sikhs in Kashmir and perhaps if you give some basic facts like the key villages, cities, people in your community that are successful having come out of those places to be here in Canada, etc. It does not need to be super accurate.

One can perhaps then do a prioritization and find ways or look for answers. Unfortunately even high school level students here in Canada I find sometimes to be way smarter than older generation both with or without education. So trying to address through such people at times puts them on a defensive and nothing really positive happens.

There has been some successes in Punjab but some of the people are now into second and third generation from some villages. There are resources to learn from those as I saw some on TV at one time on I believe on "Des Pardes" program that originates from Vancouver. If I find something I will post for you.

Hope it gives ideas. As an approach sometimes it helps if you get people to own ideas even if those are yours. People participate more through ownership. You are a strong "Lioness" and one day you will make self and others proud.

Sat Sri Akal.


Dec 19, 2011
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
I just want to reiterate something that maybe was unclear when I wrote this, the elderly Sikh gentleman who proposed an association is an amazing man, an even better Gursikh. He's always telling me stories about Sikh history and is a very kind hearted, well intentioned person. My point of bringing him up was to indicate that his original intentions weren't upheld by people who are the organizers of the association. Just to avoid any possible direpute this may get him because he's awesome. I didn't notice that maybe I painted him in a negative light. Him and a few others are the reason I acknowledge the fact that I am from Kashmir, he makes me proud that I am from there.


Dec 23, 2009
Sukritkaur Ji,

it may be a good idea to discuss this with one of your parents, whoever you feel more comfortable with. And ask them to bring the ideas to the table in a non-accusing, safe manner... just b/c we come from a very hierarchial culture, and like Ambarsaria Ji mentioned, the backgrounds/experiences are just different. Sometimes older folks have seen a lot more struggle, and they're just not that receptive to hearing from younger folks.


Dec 19, 2011
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Thanks for the replies everyone. I do constantly talk to my parents about this. We are always trying to come up with ways to approach this in regards to talking to the community but considering what happened the last time word got out people were discussing projects for the association, my parents have stopped thinking about it altogether. Especially because that comment one executive made was targeted towards my family. Let me share the specifics of the organization. It is mainly run by one family who were the first large family to come here in the seventies (not too sure on the time frame) and everyone who is remotely related to them, in addition to some unrelated families who only know them by virtue of being from Kashmir. I'm the unrelated family option. I'm always getting stares from the kids and the older people because they don't understand why I come to their activities even though I'm not related to them, they don't agree with my views, and because the youth of my community are much less committed to what I believe in. We are dealing with a sort of people who have established themselves longer than anyone else and as a result consider themselves superior.
I'm also considering what was mentioned by Ambarsaria ji and will try to pass it off as they came up wit the idea. I don't care who claims to be the mastermind behind the humanitarian initiatives so long as we get the help out to those who need it,
Here's a link to the current situation: http://www.dailypioneer.com/pioneer-news/todays-newspaper/35478-kashmir-freezing-desolate-bereft-of-hope-a-supplies.html

As far as successful Kashmiris go there are enough in the community, we even have certain people that are involved with concerns in Punjab. But that is one young person who is in his twenties, someone I can try to convince to help, but he tries to avoid Kashmiri family politics. He likes doing humanitarian work outside of family connections.

With respect to major cities with a considerable Sikh population, right now my knowledge on this is only based on the areas where my family members reside, and they're dispersed through the region. So I apologize I'll get back to you on that one.
I will try and talk to them whenever the next event is but if they say no I'm planning on going around anyways and asking people for change(both meanings of the word)
See what I did there Mr. Harry Haller JI?:noticemunda:
I hope not to incite any more hatred in their hearts against me than they already have.
Thanks to everyone who replied, it means a lot.

Sukrit Kaur

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