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Sikhism And Disability

namjiwankaur

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Nov 14, 2010
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Sat Nam _/|\_

I am trying to create a clear topic as I start these threads so I have brought up a thread specifically dealing with mental illness and also this one on the topic of disability in general.

How well does the Sikh community throughout the world deal with disability? Does the Sri Guru Granth Sahib speak of or address disability at all?

I am also wondering which sign language is used by Sikhs who are hearing impaired and using sign language to quote the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. And is there an equivalent to Braille for those who need it to read the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Blessings,
Nam Jiwan
 

Ishna

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May 9, 2006
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This is an excellent topic. I read on another forum a while ago that some parents felt there wasn't much support in the Gurdwara for their children who have disabilities. At the Gurdwara I visit there are programs for the elderly but not for people with disabilities.
 

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
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Jul 4, 2004
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There are very very FEW Blind Sikhs ( whose eyes are physically not ok)..BUT many many of the "Spiritually BLIND" ones. Those Spiritually Blind dont need Braille..they need to use their Brains.
Gurbani says.."Call them not "the Blind"..those whose eyes are defective...Call them BLIND..those that have 20/20 vision, 100% healthy eyes BUT CANNOT SEE. These are the MAJORITY...among the BLIND.
 

namjiwankaur

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Nov 14, 2010
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@Kanwaljit ji What are swaroops? I didn't get any helpful results when I googled.

@Ishna ji I'm grateful that you are interested in this topic. I brought it up for a couple reasons, one of them being a friend who posts a lot of videos on FB where the Quran is read in sign language (but whether American or British or otherwise, I'm not sure). Another reason are the videos of a woman whose autistic son is not allowed in the masjid. Another interesting challenge came up when a boy wanted to bring his assistant-dog into the masjid. Many Muslims are pretty superstitious about dogs because of two hadith. Lastly, I bring it up because there were two men with developmental disabilities who attended the church of my childhood faithfully. When we would sing hymns, their voices could be heard singing the wrong song or to their own melodies. They were embraced completely and I thought that was a beautiful thing. I suspect not many places of worship would try to discourage men like these from singing.

@Gyani ji I agree with you. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib speaks frequently of spiritual blindness, but I am speaking of physical and mental challenges and how well the Sikh community is meeting them.

peacesignkaurpeacesign
 

Kanwaljit.Singh

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Jan 29, 2011
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Bhai Gurmej Singh Ji has made his dream and the dreams of thousands of others come true. The release of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in Braille language was one of the most important events in the Sikh calendar and in the history of Sikhism.
Visually impaired people will now be able to get the ‘true vision’ themselves and read the Holy scriptures of the Sikhs given by Sikh Gurus. Gurmej Ji has worked hard, focusing on this project for the past ten years. Countless nights without sleep and continuous proofreading enabled him to reach the goal that he had set for himself in the retiring years of his life. Whenever visually impaired persons take time to enjoy the greatness of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, they will remember and bless the tireless author.
Gurmej Ji has been visually impaired since he was nine years old. He has done service for over 28 years at Sri Harminder Sahib in Amritsar, popularly known as the ‘Golden Temple.’ He studied at an Amritsar college founded by Bhai Veer Singh for the benefit of the disabled and visually impaired.
He was keen that children with special needs make use of their lives and to be as independent as possible and be gainfully employed. Such children were taught not only to read and write Braille, but also to do simple jobs such as looking after themselves. The courses included lessons on music as well. Gurmej Ji succeeded in music and was employed at the age of 17 at the Dehradun Gurdwara for kirtans. He was a regular visitor to the biggest Braille press located in that City and worked with the people concerned to complete some small parts of Gurbani.
He has dedicated all his life for the community in order that people could have opportunities that were unavailable to him. A man of great learning, Gurmej Ji is respected by people (including those of the older generation) for his unique style of rendering Kirtans. He is renowned for reciting most Shabads from memory, a rare feat at the Golden Temple and at Gurdwaras.
The late Sardar Swaran Singh, affectionately known as ‘Daddy Ji’ in Auckland, was Gurmej Ji’s uncle, whose family has helped in the project. Copies of the publication are now being donated to different institutes in India. Gurmej Ji has also kept in mind two visually impaired New Zealand born twins. He is planning to visit New Zealand soon to gift the Braille Edition to them. New Zealand will be among the few fortunate countries in the world that would have Sri Guru Granth Sahib in Braille.
The Braille edition of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is divided into 18 parts and Gurmej has taken care to ensure that it is a true version of the normal edition. This was achieved with the help of his family that lives in New Zealand.

Source - http://www.sikhiszone.com/news-events/guru-granth-sahib-in-braille-gratifies/
 
Mar 6, 2020
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Sat Shri Akaal,

I'm curious where you are on this topic now that it has been so many years. I came to Sikhism through news in America and eventually converted. One of the things that I found really useful was the bilingualism that exists, at least here. So many Gurdwaras have televisions with a broadcast of what is being heard. This is helpful for people who are new to Punjabi, but it is also helpful to those of us who can't hear. It's not perfect, and it seems to be more of a collection of what is planned than a live captioning. But it does provide a lot of access.

Concerning:
"I am also wondering which sign language is used by Sikhs who are hearing impaired and using sign language to quote the Sri Guru Granth Sahib."

Ignoring me for a moment because I was raised non-Sikh and in America and I use ASL, but when I went to India and met with Sikhs at a Deaf school there, they were signing ISL which has some crossover in Britain and American sign languages but is most similar to Pakistani from what I know so far. Indian Sign is distinct and would be used to quote the Shri Guru Granth Sahib.
 

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