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Religious Symbols

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by vasingh, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. vasingh

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    Apr 24, 2006
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    Dear friends,
    Sat shri Akal
    Follwing is an interesting article appearing in the Times of India editorial page on Nov2. I am sure many of you have read it. I would like our leaders to comment on this important issue. Idea is to help our future generations in getting a balanced view. Unfortunately our leadrs are not interested in solving problems faced by young sikh boys and girls in this fast changing World. This may be a good opportunity.


    Beyond the Veil

    Religious symbols are becoming cultural accessories

    Globalisation is bringing about something of a shake-out. It offers people new identities, yet they may aggressively reassert their old identities in reaction to this. According to reports, Sikh youth are shedding the turban and shaving off their locks in Punjab, but not so much in other states such as UP or MP. The paradox is should there be an explicit ban on the turban, as there is in France, religious identity is endangered and sporting one becomes a sign of protest. But wherever choice exists cross-fertilisation will happen and global fashions are likely to hold sway. Sikh youth are shaving their heads and tattooing them, following avant-garde punk style. Conversely, Hindus are taking to the turban in Punjab, while non-Sikh cadets posted to Sikh regiments grow beards and long hair. Something similar is afoot with respect to the veil. Some Muslim women have taken to the veil as a sign of Islamic identity. There’s nothing wrong with this, but Shabana Azmi too is right when she says it can’t be compulsory. When Syed Bukhari describes her as a “nachne gane wali aurat” not authorised to make such statements, it’s an ad hominem attack that betrays Bukhari’s own casteist mentality. According to this outlook certain human beings are destined to do certain things and shouldn’t overstep their limits, while only clerics can interpret religion.
    As a matter of fact quite a few Muslim clerics, most notably Kalbe Sadiq, senior vice-chairman of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, have defended Azmi’s statements. According to reformers, nowhere does the Qur’an enjoin the veil on Muslim women, and Sadiq has declared Islam to be against “Talibani purdah”. This is the beginning of a healthy debate and Islam, which lacks a Pope or a centralised hierarchy, offers plenty of room for it. It’s in sync with the casteist mentality to say that certain types of people can only wear certain kinds of garb, but identity can’t be made into a straitjacket. Today people are choosing, much like everything else in their lives, their religious identities. Madonna and rap singers have worn the cross as a fashion accessory rather than to show a devout state of mind. The one-size-fits-all religion that most clergy practised is no longer in sync with a world where even basic necessities like a toaster can be personalised. One can adopt a personal guru much as one chooses a trainer. And faith is not necessarily indicated by outward signs. The Sikh without a turban may prefer a more contemporary facade and yet be a faithful follower of the tenets of Sikhism.


    Kind regards,
    Va Singh

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  3. Lionchild

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    May 16, 2005
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    Thanks for sharing this article vasingh, I really think that sikhi in general in Punjab in desperate need of some support. It's a really shame now, that we are so divided in our communities, and have different sets in sikhi. So this is not helping. I would image sikhi in Punjab has still yet to reach the loswest of lows.

    I really think that if had expanded into other parts of the world in the past 200 years, this could have been avoided. With other Sikhs in the rest of the world, the community outside of Punjab could have supported and helped sikhi in Punjab. But we don;t have that options, so now we have to figure out how to revive sikhi and stop this nonsense of people trying to destroy sikhi image.

    Sikhi culture is separate from world culture, why don't people understand this?
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